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:
This morning, my friend Emily and I decided to tackle two more local quilt shops with our rambunctious two-year old sons. Little did we know, today was to be one of the most rambunctious days yet! Neither of the boys wanted to have anything to do with the quilt shops, so we did not get to look around and chat nearly as much as we would have liked to. I also apologize in advance for the somewhat blurry photos. Much of the time, I was wearing my son on my back in the Ergo, which does not contribute well to a steady arm. Both shops were gorgeous and filled with beautiful traditional fabrics with lots of blenders and tone on tone fabrics, so I’m sure to return. Perhaps I will bring a camera and try to do some retakes. For now, here’s my hop summary:
This shop is by far the largest, most thoroughly stocked shop I’ve visited to date. It is HUGE! And has everything!! The Cotton Cupboard Quilt Shop has a large selection of Bernina sewing machines, notions galore, cutting mats of all shapes and sizes–even the rotating mats!, buttons, an extensive variety of books and patterns, kits, and they have a Block of the Month Club and offer classes. And their fabric! Cotton Cupboard has a huge stock of traditional quilting fabric, MANY gorgeous arrays of blenders and tone on tone fabrics, nature-print fabrics (think stones, grass, leaves, etc), a selection of children’s fabric, the entire Downton Abbey fabric lineby Andover Fabrics (swoon!), and more. The one thing they don’t have is modern fabric. In talking to Evelyn, she said they’ve tried stocking modern fabric in the past but not enough folks were buying it to make it worth stocking.
Location? The Cotton Cupboard Quilt Shop is located right on Broadway in the Judson Heights Center (next to The Growing Place). While it’s not in the center of downtown, it is on a road full of shopping centers and other hot spots. For the ice cream lovers, it’s just a skip, hop, and a jump away from Giffords; that alone makes it worth the trek out Broadway to visit the quilt shop and get some ice cream! There is a parking lot with ample free parking, and the store is easy to find.
Sells? A large selection of traditional quilting fabric, notions, Bernina sewing machines, books and patterns, and offers classes and workshops. They are a Bernina dealer, with classes specifically tailored to learning to use your Bernina machine.
Modern or traditional? Traditional, since apparently the modern quilting world hasn’t made its way up to Bangor yet!
Swag? 5″ charm square of Shop Hop Theme fabric, free fat quarter, coupon, and a fun sized candy treat.
Kid friendly? Not really. This store is so large, it’s hard to keep an eye on your kids, at least when they are toddlers. Evelyn said they try to be kid friendly, and are open to kids in the shop, but she worries mostly about all the sharp objects. I agree; I worried that with the ubiquitous sewing machines and aisles and aisles of fabric that Max would bolt (pun intended! hah) and find his way to something he shouldn’t before I could catch him.
Choppin’ Cotton is an adorable quilt shop right in a lovely home. Since my son was especially squirmy in this shop, I didn’t get a chance to ask whose home it is. They sell a wide range of traditional quilting cottons, notions and quilting tools, patterns and books–including some modern quilting books!–and they offer workshops as well. I loved the ambiance of the shop, even if it wasn’t especially toddler friendly. I am eager to go back someday sans kids so that I can truly browse.
Here’s a look around the adorable shop:
The shop sported a homey quilting decor with many signs that made me smile, mostly related to never having too much fabric. “Your husband called; he said buy whatever you want.” “To quilt or not to quilt: What a silly question!” and similar signs. While looking around, I often would pause on a sign and have a good chuckle. I also appreciated the reminder behind the check out counter: “I have a difficult time remembering my Grandchildren’s name, so please remind me of yours.” Being in a home with the kitchen behind a curtain just beyond the entry, next to a staircase leading up to living quarters, paired with the homey signs and decor and friendly conversation made this shop especially relaxed and welcoming. I’m looking forward to going back the next time I have a free moment in Bangor.
Location? Located on High Street, right off of Hammond Street, Choppin’ Cotton is walkable from downtown Bangor as long as you aren’t afraid of a good hill. Since it’s in an actual home, it’s on a residential street with street parking. I did not notice whether there is additional parking, but there were plenty of free street parking spots.
Sells? Traditional quilting fabric, notions, books and patterns. According to their website, they specialize in Alto’s QuiltCut2 quilting tool systems.
Modern or traditional? Traditional, but with Modern Quilting books available.
Kid friendly? No. Because the shop is in a house, there is less open space, and multiple rooms into and out of which kids can run and dart to find trouble. Eloise was very friendly and understanding about our fussing kids, but I still felt that tell-tale rush of blood that triggers the fight-or-flight reaction when Max was especially fussy.
In writing these, especially on an wildly rambunctious day like today, I realize that bringing a toddler into a quilt shop is rarely a great idea. Sometimes, though, it is the only option. Having a “safe” corner with a pouf and a box of books and toys really makes or breaks a successful fabric shopping trip on those days. So who’s going to be the genius who opens a quilt shop with an attached playroom or ball pit?! That would be heaven!