It started off as a cartshed, and my earliest memories of it were with an old tractor in it that provided a great place to play as a child. Then I remember it being a maternity wing for cows before this particular barn became known as Calico Barn back in 2001. It even served as our wedding reception when I married Phil in 2012.
Calico Barn Patchwork & Quilting Shop
It was my Mam who convinced my Dad that a business could be made out of her hobby, patchwork and quilting, and he dutifully converted the barn into a shop for her with a small workshop space. Apart from my Mam I don’t think anyone realised the potential and Calico Barn became the largest patchwork & quilting shop in the UK at one time.
This was despite the fact that about a month after she opened the doors for the first time the UK was hit by foot & mouth disease and farms were on lockdown so the big barn door slid closed again, and stayed so for about 6 months.
When she opened the shop again it became apparent very quickly that there wasn’t going to be enough space to accommodate all of the patchworkers and their fabric requirements and Dad dutifully converted the old milking parlour and large classroom meant much more shop space.
Calico Barn was open for 10 years and in that time saw it’s fair share of quilts made, tea drunk and problems shared over a sewing machine before it closed down in 2011 when Mam retired.
A new chapter as Bunkhouse Accommodation
Sadly Mam passed away following a battle with cancer in 2014 and never got to enjoy her retirement, it has taken quite a while for us to be able to empty the shop out since closing the doors back in 2011 and move the barn onto it’s next purpose and it was with heavy hearts that we said goodbye to Calico Barn.
But, as it happens the new Calico Barn has become a bit of a tribute to Mam and her work. The old fabric cutting table has been incorporated into the kitchen, ruler still in place. Some of the hundreds of quilts she made adorn the walls, and even the ‘Calico Barn’ colour scheme has been retained.
I had always kind of thought that I would end up working with Mam in the barn in some capacity (a capacity that didn’t involve sewing which is something that I appear to be incapable of) and in some ways I feel that she’s still around the place through her quilts and her stamp on the place, a mark that we’ve tried to keep as much as possible.
So as one chapter ends, the story of Calico Barn and all of the memories stitched together there will live on and we look forward to sharing it with the many visitors we hope to welcome in the coming years.
Calico Barn sleeps 18 people in 5 bedrooms ranging in size from 2 to 6. It is equipped for cyclists and walkers with drying room and secure cycle storage as well as a large living room with wood burner, fully equipped kitchen / diner and outdoor space to enjoy a beer or two. Groups welcome by arrangement. Cost is £25 per bed per night and includes light breakfast. For more information please visit www.hemscotthill.com.