by Emily Betz,
Traverse Magazine, June 2001
Even if you aren't a quilter, you'll begin to think like one after
spending some time at the Icehouse.
lcehouse in Grayling people know how to talk shop when
to drop the dreaded "t-word" (that'd be template) and
in whose company it's OK to bring up drunkard's paths (quilts
designed with semicircles). Questions and advice flow freely.
novices find themselves wrapped in a fabric of seasoned quilt-makers.
The place exudes a good, homespun vibe, the hum of sewing machines
and the genteel snip of scissors. The cavernous space with
no shortage of vibrant, inspiring fabrics to thumb over
is the perfect spot to restore your sanity. "Lots of people
just come in because they say they need an 'Icehouse Day,"'
owner Ali Baynham says. "It's rejuvenating."
parents, Dave and Jill Wyman, opened the quilt shop in 1980 and
named it for the building's historic use ice storage for
the dining cars on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Eventually they
expanded the shop to encompass the clothespin factory next door
and part of the lumber supply beyond. For the past 20 years they
made their business supplying Northern Michigan with all things
cozy, finally passing the torch to daughter Ali this January .
Blessed with an early career start (Ali's mother helped her create
her first star-design quilt when she was just 10), Baynham continues
the Icehouse's primary purpose, sharing quilt wisdom. Baynham
invites instructors from far and wide to help make her customers
more confident quilt makers. After a few Icehouse seminars or
project days, bedspreads and blankets become more like works of
best is Pam Holland, who [made] her Icehouse homage from Australia
in July . The gifted quilter, teacher and professional photographer
has a way of helping her students transfer their imaginings to
paper and then to fabric. Her expertise is bringing light and
balance to her student's compositions.
Even if you
aren't a quilter, you'll begin to think like one after spending
some time at the Icehouse. Classes on color theory, quick quilts
(essentially quilting-by-number), tablecloth quilting and machine
quilting are only a few of the Icehouse's offerings.