Sometimes I feel I don’t get out much anymore, at least not to quilt shops. But when our guild offered a day away to check out three shops I signed up and took my sister-in-law Kathy Wodrich along with me.
It had to be the darkest day of the year, and in fact it seemed like the sun never really rose or fell. The rain was pouring down and rivers were running high with days worth of mucky runoff. Despite that, there was a definite glow inside the bus. Being surrounded by happy quilters is enough to drive the gloom from the wettest, dimmest day.
The Hobby Horse Quilt Shoppe in Georgetown, Ontario
First stop was to a romantic glen just outside the town of Georgetown, Ontario, home of The Hobby Horse Quilt Shoppe. It was established in 1982 by Gail and Alf Spence on their horse farm, when Gail, a quilter, could not find quilting supplies locally.
Two of Alf and Gail’s kids eventually started QuiltSource Canada, a distribution company that supplies Canadian quilt shops, in Georgetown. Gail’s other daughter is also joining her business since husband Alf passed away in the spring. Gail is justifiably proud of her kids, who, with her, carry on this thriving and inviting business.
If there is a quilt shop in paradise it should be modeled on The Hobby Horse. Hundreds of samples fill the shop and every season is represented. There are clothing items, aprons, home décor projects, quilts and wall hangings artfully tucked throughout the shop.
There’s nothing like viewing a sample to get creative juices flowing. Gail offered a nice discount to the guild members, which led to a lot of activity at the cash register.
Mary Maxim in Paris, Ontario
With a plenty of ground to cover by bus, our group had brought along lunches to eat while driving. After a few detours on the back roads our group arrived at Mary Maxim in Paris, Ontario. Ah, to be in Paris in the rain!
Mary Maxim, if you’ve never been, is a craft and hobby store with quilting and knitting departments, along with a great selection of giftware, including kitchen ware, plush animals, stationery, puzzles, ladies accessories, candy and lots more. Mary Maxim also has a huge mail order service – or should I say a huge online sales department. Mary Maxim had mail order before online sales even existed and they still put out a mean catalog!
My purchases included two plush puppets for my new grandbabies. I also got a little kit to knit a hat and knitting needles. A bit of Christmas shopping was also accomplished – but that’s a secret!
I know several of the ladies at Mary Maxim from my conversations with them at CreativFestival. They carry a selection of my zippers and patterns in the shop and have a end display with my bag samples. (Thanks girls!). Mac and Carol were both working at the store during our visit. I hunted down Mac who was running a program in their spacious classroom.
Every Thursday Mac hosts a UFO day. For five dollars you can join this welcoming group. Mac runs around in her high tops helping out where required. The ladies also help each other out at the same time. There were an astounding 15-plus ladies in attendance. I got a chance to check out what everyone was doing – what a nice way to round out my visit to this vibrant shop.
Cherished Pieces Quilt Shop in Tillsonburg, Ontario
Our last stop of the day was at Cherished Pieces Quilt Shop in Tillsonburg, Ontario. I’d never actually been to Cynthia and Bill Hildebrand’s main street shop before, although we’ve met at events and spoken on the phone from time to time. Cynthia had just left to attend Quilt Market in Houston, TX and had left her capable staff in charge.
Their motto is ‘ Your Go To Place in South Western Ontario!” It’s true; if you can’t find what you are looking for at Cherished Pieces you likely won’t find it anywhere.
Group members mentioned how pleasant the staff was and how well lit the fabric merchandising areas were. I liked their big display windows and the skill with which they were decorated. It was also nice to see a sample of my Woolly, Woolly Bag on display.
After filling our shopping bags, it was time to return home. Now, if anybody asks me where I was last Thursday, I’ll tell them I was doing market research!
ABQ Sewing Studio
ABQ Sewing Studio is now open. We offer bag-making supplies and classes, plus sewing and quilting classes. Come visit us at 77 Thomas St. in Strathroy, Ontario.