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Road Trip: Are You a MAINE-iac Quilter?

Early autumn sunset Camden, ME

I am! I’ve just spent the better part of a week enjoying Maine’s beautiful Atlantic coastline. Even though my roots are in New England, I’d never visited moose country. Believe me, I’ll be baaaaaack!

So, do you want the lowdown on some quilt stores? Or, perhaps, the inside track on a charming stop or doodad shop? Read on . . . okay, a tiny caveat before I launch:  my husband hates to browse so I didn’t actually get to stop at all the beguiling craft venues I saw on our drive. Let’s face it, village potters and local art galleries are better fodder for a girlfriends’ road trip. Just know that there are myriad options to satisfy the discerning shopper for handcrafted goods—I know, I waved to them as we passed. Sigh!

Portland, Maine was our first destination. Now I was prepared for a cosmopolitan flair after watching Anthony Bourdain’s recent No Reservations segment on Portland’s burgeoning food scene, but the abundance of cool stuff was a lot of fun to see. Plus the lobster rolls were tastier and better priced on Portland’s waterfront than in the other towns we visited.

Just across from the docks you’ll find Company C. One word:  Wow!  I fell in love with the showroom of this New Hampshire-based company. Hey I like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel as much as anyone, but Company C really offers more color-craving satisfaction.

Z Fabrics in Portland, ME is a tiny shop with a lovely selection of Amy Butler prints and other similar fabrics. Mary Zarate is the proprietor.

Marjorie Hallowell has 2 locations for her shop Mainely Sewing–Nobleboro, ME and Wiscasset, ME. Although she’s a thread fanatic, she also stocks a delicious and deep collection of Westminster Fabrics, including some Martha Negley prints I hadn’t seen yet. As she has booths at major East Coast quilt shows, you may already know about her shops.

Chances are you’ll hit Sewing by the Sea in Trenton, Me either on your way to or from Bar Harbor, ME and Acadia National Park. I didn’t realize it when I was in Portland, but there’s a sister shop called Sew Portland in that up-and-coming gourmet mecca.

Sewing by the Sea has a slew of lobster and seashore novelty prints for those looking for Maine fare. Check out the mosquito fabric to your right that, thankfully, lacks the buzz and sting of the real thing.

Fa-bri-cate in Bar Harbor, ME is another great spot for themed seashore and natural world prints. Housed in a repurposed bank building, the setting is surprisingly charming for a locale that has sale fabric housed in a vault. Nessa Reifsnyder and Erin Early-Ward are the owners. Their store is less than a year old and pulls heavy traffic from cruise ship tourists.

No, he is not my husband--mine would never wait as patiently as this kind man.

Imagine my surprise when I drove up to Knights Quilt Shop in Cape Neddick, ME (just south of Kennebunkport) and found a massing of quilters on the front step. Turns out Knights is a popular stop for quilting tourists. This group was an international tour of quilters from as far as Europe and South Africa. Who did I run into? Fellow Californians, of course!  Michelle Knight has a friendly, welcoming venue plus 4,000 bolts to browse. Doesn’t that sound promising?

Now isn't Knights a pretty shop?

Ultimately, Maine is a fantastic vacation spot, especially when the sun is shining and a lively breeze blows in from the ocean.  I consulted an expert:  She predicts a Maine trip in your future!  

Pack your bags, Maine is calling!

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