I have officially kicked off this year’s quilt shop hop in the state of Maine! While I don’t anticipate hitting any impressive number of shops with kids in tow, I love that having an official state quilt shop hop month gives me the incentive to visit some of the more distant among my favorite Maine quilt shops, and to try to visit new ones.
Last week, I had an errand to run down in Rockland, so I decided to make a day of it and visited the quilt shops down there: Quilt Divas and Clementine. Quilt Divas stocks more traditional and cute novelty fabrics, so I stopped in for a stamp and a walk around but didn’t stay too long, especially since I had three year old Max AND mobile Finn in tow.
We spent a bit more time in Clementine. It’s a gorgeous shop that focuses strongly on garment sewing, but also has a great selection of modern quilting cottons, as well as notions, patterns, thread, wool, zippers (do they count as notions?), and more.
As a huge added bonus, they have a gorgeous and spacious kid play space, which actually succeeded in keeping my busy 3 year old occupied for a good 15-20 minutes (which is unprecedented and amazing, trust me). A quilt shop that can somehow cater to kids in tow is an immediate win in my book!
I bought a few zippers for upcoming projects, some crushed walnut shells to use for stuffing pincushions, and the most adorable tiny Merchant and Mills Baby Bow Scissors ever. I am itching to sew something teeny tiny for a scissor intro photo shoot! As part of the shop hop, Clementine gave some jelly roll strip swag, which I’ll happily add to my stash.
For those of you looking for more information about the Maine quilt shops in the hop, I did a thorough run-down of many of the shops I visited two years ago. This year, I will most likely be less formal with my reviews since I don’t plan to visit many shops, but I’ll be sure to show you where I go anyway! Here are links to reviews from two years ago:
Ah! It is so good to be home! While it’s not the hot, full-blown spring of New Jersey, there are only small patches of snow left here in Maine, which means spring is upon us. We arrived home after dark, but this morning the kids and I went out in search of flowers that have bravely burst through the mud. The greens are working their way up, but no flowers yet!
With two small children, many stops are required along the 450 mile drive between New Jersey and Maine. This particular trip took 13 hours and required eight stops! Before you run and hide in horror, let me tell you about a quilt shop I visited while passing through southern Maine! My fabulous husband agreed to have a playground stop in Portland so that the kids could run around and I could hop over to a quilt shop as part of the Maine Quilt Shop Hop.
Z Fabrics is a cute little shop with a good variety of modern fabrics, notions, patterns & books, Brother sewing machines, and a large selection of gorgeous laminates. The fabric selection reminds me a lot of Fiddlehead Artisan Supply store, so you know how happy that makes me! Z Fabrics has an entire shelf of Lotta Jansdotter fabrics!
I spoke with Lillian while I was there, and she was very friendly and helpful, even though I chatted her ear off–after a long drive with two little kids, it was great to talk with another adult about all things fabric. She agreed that the shop’s primary customers make adorable clothing, bags, etc. since the fabrics are the contemporary prints with more bold patterns rather than tone on tone or blender quilt fabrics. To me, it’s a store full of feature fabrics for modern quilts-to-be. I picked up a few fat quarters while I was there, again adding to my grey scale stash: Kyoto Garden Koi by Lori Mason for Andover Fabrics in colors yang and grey, and a fabulous black and grey tone on tone fabric, the name and designer info for which I can’t remember. Do any of you recognize it? Let me know if you do; I’d love to know! One big plus: you can buy fat quarters off the bolt at Z Fabrics!
I would definitely stop by Z Fabric again the next time I’m in Portland. Here’s a look around the shop:
Z Fabrics at a Glance
Location?Z Fabrics is located right in downtown Portland, in the center of the action. The address is on Congress Street, which threw me for a loop at first, but as soon as I checked the website I saw that the storefront was on Preble Street. Found in a flash! There is plenty of street parking, especially on Preble Street. I paid 50 cents to park for a half an hour. If I were to go and spend time actually shopping for specific fabrics, that would definitely be at least $1, but still reasonable. During your shopping trip, there are plenty of other shops, restaurants, bars, and even the Children’s Discovery Museum within close walking distance. This is definitely a great shop to hit up during a day trip to Portland!
Sells? Modern fabrics, cotton laminates, notions, Brother sewing machines, patterns and books, and offers classes.
Modern or traditional? Definitely modern.
Swag? 5″ charm square of Shop Hop Theme fabric and good conversation.
Kid friendly? Yes. While Z Fabrics doesn’t have a bucket of toys and books (I asked since I didn’t see one!), it is a fairly small store with lots of open space. There are not too many racks of notions or items a toddler could swipe to the floor in one pass, and the area by the front window has a big poof and ample space in which kids can play while Mommy shops.
Today began the 11th annual Maine Quilt Shop Hop, and I started with a bang! Well, a bang compared to last year, anyway; I’ve already doubled the number of shops I visited. My friend Emily and I, accompanied by our two year olds, fairly successfully visited our first two local quilt shops this morning. I say fairly successfully since our sons didn’t wreck too much havoc, AND we were able to look around both shops, get our passports stamped, and even chat with the shop owners a bit!
The Maine Quilt Shop Hop is an annual event in the State of Maine. Participating Independent Quilt Shops invite “Shop Hoppers” to pick up a passport at any of the stores to start the hop, then visit as many stores as we can between April 1st and April 30. We have our passport stamped at each shop we visit, get a free 5″ charm square of the shop hop theme fabric, and sometimes an additional special gift. It’s a great way to see beautiful Maine during glorious springtime, and have a chance at winning some awesome prizes!
Here are the shops we visited today (click each name to visit the store’s website):
Fiddlehead Artisan Supply Store is my go-to fabric shop. It is a family-owned sewing, quilting, and craft shop right in downtown Belfast. The aesthetic in this store is fabulous. I just love their style. I walk in and I’m in fabric heaven. Many of their fabrics lend themselves more to adorable dresses and clothing items, but they also have a good supply of quilting blender fabrics and of course quilt feature fabrics. Fiddlehead also has a wide selection of books and patterns, felt, roving, Waldorf-style dolls and art supplies, they offer classes in the back, and even have started a Thursday night open craft gathering night. Here’s some eye candy for you from inside their shop.
Fiddlehead at a Glance
Location? Right in the town of Belfast, in midcoast Maine. Great location with street parking right out front. You can shop for fabric and then walk to lunch, catch a movie, walk for ice cream, do some gift shopping for other made in Maine items, and even walk right down to the Belfast Boat Launch. A great store to visit on a day trip!
Sells? Modern fabrics, threads, notions, felt, laminates, a large selection of books and patterns, craft supplies (paints, wooden doll forms, etc), fancy paper, and more.
Modern or traditional? I’d say Fiddlehead has more modern fabric lines and styles
Swag? At Fiddlehead we not only received the 5″ charm square of Shop Hop Theme fabric, but we also were able to choose a free fat quarter, and received a gift bag with a hershey kiss, an adorable sewing machine charm, and coupons to Fiddlehead and Heavenly Socks Yarn, a local yarn shop.
Kid friendly? Yes! While any fabric store isn’t an ideal spot for toddlers on the loose, Fiddlehead has a basket of books and toys to help keep kids occupied, and the owner and shopkeepers are very relaxed with kids (even wild ones, as I’ve learned through experience).
Today was my first time in Nancy’s Sewing Center, but it most likely will not be my last. This shop is clearly created for quilters. There are walls of gorgeous tone on tone fabrics in glorious colors, as well as many pre-cut fat quarters, fat eighths, and even scraps for 10 cents apiece! It is definitely a more traditional shop, but has a wide variety of fabrics that would work in both traditional and modern quilts. As I admired all of the quilts hanging on the walls, the colorful variety of fabric, and the copious amounts of tone on tone fabrics, I made my way to the back room where lives a long arm quilting machine! One day I may go back there and ask if I may give it a try. I would LOVE to try a long arm!
Here are some pictures from Nancy’s Sewing Center.
Nancy’s Sewing Center at a Glance
Location? On Route 3 in Belfast, outside of town. There is ample parking and large signs, but Nancy’s Sewing Center is on a busy road with no other shops within walking distance.
Sells? Quilting fabrics, threads, notions, and quilting books and patterns.
Modern or traditional? Mostly traditional quilting fabrics, with a large selection of tone on tones and batiks.
Swag? 5″ charm square of Shop Hop Theme fabric.
Kid friendly? Yes. Nancy’s Sewing Center also had a basket of toys to help keep kids occupied. In fact, my son Max wanted to adopt the little baby doll from the basket. When it was time to go, he kept saying “I have it. I have it.” We settled on giving the baby a kiss and a hug and leaving her in the basket for the next kids. Even when both kids were running circles, we didn’t get any stern looks. That’s kid friendly to me!
I had so much fun starting off the shop hop and I can’t wait to visit more Maine quilt shops during the rest of April! You can follow my hopping by following @nightquilter on Twitter #mainequiltshophop2014
What qualities do you look for in a quilt shop?
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed