Spring is in the air and one of the surest signs of the season is the Quilt Shop Hop, marking its 10th year, now blooming across Maine.
Besty Dorr, owner of Quiltessentials in Auburn, is one of the organizers for this year’s Shop Hop.
“A lot of northern and eastern Maine quilters get out for the Hop, since there are not a lot of quilt shops in those areas,” she said. “For us, at our store, last year we had more than 600 Shop Hoppers in April. It’s both good exposure for the shop and gives the shopper a sense of what you have in your store as a source for the kind of fabric needed for a project.”
Seven new shops that have never participated in the Hop will take part this year, she said.
Amanda Campbell, owner of Mariner’s Compass in Bath, was the originator of the Shop Hop in 2003, which started with 28 shops. She said part of the reason she decided to create the event was because “no events like this was happening in my area or statewide; at that time Minnesota was the only state doing it.”
Another reason, she said, was to create springtime business in the lull before the tourist trade ramped up.
“But the biggest part was for our customers, to let them know that as quilt shop owners we are all in this together working for the customer’s benefit. We rely on our customers,” she said.
Because the Shop Hop has grown in scope and requires a lot of planning and organizing, Campbell works with a committee of other shop owners — Quiltessentials, Cotton Weeds in Freeport, Alewives in Nobleboro and Calico Basket Quilt Shop in Windham — to organize the event.
“We all have a job and we all work well together,” she said.
Her shop’s Challenge quilt will be an original design, as yet unnamed, created by Campbell’s mother, Wendy Ulmer.
“I’m expecting between five and six hundred [Shop Hoppers],” Campbell said.
The Shop Hop works like this: Fabric enthusiasts stop in at any store on the Shop Hop list to obtain a “passport” and visit as many of the 37 participating stores as possible through April 30. The intrepid shopper who visits all 37 shops will win the grand prize, a Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8900 QCP sewing machine donated by The Fabric Garden in Madison. Prizes for 31-36 shop visits, 21-30 shop visits and 10-20 shop visits include a sewing table, quilter’s gift baskets, an iron, a book by Kaffe Fassett, long-arm quilting service and even a portable design — and that’s to name only a few of the list of prizes donated by participating fabric shops.
Shop Hoppers have plenty of incentives to get them out and about. At each shop, they will receive a 5-inch square of the Shop Hop theme fabric. Hoppers also will have access to a free, downloadable pattern designed exclusively for the Shop Hop by Auntie’s Two in Portland.
Those doing the honors of chauffeuring Shop Hoppers from store to store can enter a drawing to win a $100 gas card.
Each shop participating in the event has created and will have on display a Challenge Quilt and Hoppers can vote for their favorite after they have visited 10 shops. Those quilts will be on display at the Maine Quilts 2013 show July 26-28 at the Augusta Civic Center.
“Our quilt is in black, white and orange, in a chevron pattern — fun, bright and cheery,” Dorr said. “And because this is an anniversary year each shop does a signature block to make an anniversary quilt that will hang with the Challenge quilts, at the [Maine Quilts] show [in Augusta].”
Got children? The Shop Hop welcomes children ages 7-17, who obtain their own Shop Hop passports.
This is the first year Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, which opened two years ago in Belfast, has participated in the Shop Hop, said owner Abby Gilchrist.
“It’s a great opportunity to get people excited about quilting,” she said.
Participating Shop Hop businesses are:
• Auburn: Quiltessentials Inc., 909 Minot Ave.
• Augusta: Cozy Cottage Fabrics and Alterations, 173 Water St.
• Bangor: Choppin’ Cotton Quilt and Creative Sewing, 17 High St.; Cotton Cupboard, 1213 Broadway.
• Bar Harbor: Fabricate, 64 Mount Desert St.
• Bath: Mariners Compass Quilt Shop, 190 Front St.
• Belfast: Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, 159 High St.; Nancy’s Sewing Center, 216 Belmont Ave.
• Berwick: Village Quilt Shop, 14 Wilson St.
• Biddeford: Tony’s Sewing Machines and Quilt Shop, 20 Edwards Ave.
• Cape Neddick: Knight’s Quilt Shop, 1901 U.S. Route 1.
• Farmington: Pins and Needles, 157 Main St.
• Freeport: Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop, 541 U.S. Route 1.
• Gardiner: Mystic Maine Quilts, 287 Water St.
• Greenville: Crazy Moose Fabrics, 16 Pritham Ave.
• Hallowell: Whippersnappers, 107 Water St.
• Jefferson: Country Creations Quilt Shop, 696 Waldoboro Road.
• Litchfield: Busy Thimble, 2046 Hallowell Road.
• Madison: Fabric Garden, 167 Lakewood Road.
• Newfield: Annie’s Teen Tiny Quilt Shop, 92 Staples Road.
• Nobleboro: Alewives Fabrics, 10 Main St.; Attic Heirlooms, 52 U.S. Highway 1; Maine-ly Sewing, 48 U.S. Route 1.
• Oxford: Oxford Mill End Store, 971 Main St.
• Portland: Sew Portland, 306 Warren Ave.
• Rangeley: Threads Galore Quilt Shop, 27 Pleasant St.
• Rockland: Quilt Divas, 607 Main St.
• Sanford: Kathie’s Quilt Shoppe, 41 Shaw’s Ridge Road; Sanford Sewing Machines, 1923 Main St.
• Skowhegan: Pinwheels Quilting, 95 West Front St.
• South Paris: Babbling Brook Quilt Shop, 4 Market Square.
• Southwest Harbor: Quilt “n” Fabric, 11 Seal Cove Road.
• Trenton: Sewing by the Sea, 11 Periwinkle Lane.
• Waterford: Kedar Quilts, 18 Valley Road.
• Waterville: Yardgoods Center, 60 West Concourse.
• Wilsons Mills: North Woods Quilting, 346 Wilson Mills Road.
• Windham: Calico Basket Quilt Shop, 31 Page Road.
For information, stop in at any one of these shops or go to maineshophop.com.
A beginner’s Wet Felting Workshop will be held 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Page Farm and Home Museum, University of Maine. A $30 per person fee will cover materials, including a take-home kit to complete a set of eight placemats and coasters. To register, call 581-4100.
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.