Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Little Shop in the Middle of Nowhere

Don't you just love discovering a new quilt shop in some remote spot in the vicinity and doing your part to help it succeed? I recently have been hearing about a tiny quilt shop which opened in a small community south of here called Cynthiana. Imagine, if you will, a wide spot in the road with about six houses. That would be Cynthiana. It's in Pike County, OH. We have a growing Amish and Mennonite community becoming established in that area, but this shop is not affiliated with either.

Rita, the owner, is just becoming established and has 3 or 4 rooms of this house open for customers. She and her husband are renovating other rooms and will open them as they finish. She seems to be quite content taking in quilts to quilt on her long-arm machine, teaching some classes, and giving back in the form of Valor quilts and other charities.

The name of her shop is Mendlebrights, and anyone who is a trivia fan of the old Andy Griffith Shows will recognize the name. Mrs. Mendlebright was Barney Fife's landlady who kicked him out for wasting electricity by using a 60-watt bulb in his lamp.

Here is the aforementioned quilting machine.

The main reason I wanted to visit this shop is that I'd heard she allows quilters to make use of her Go! Cutter. I'd never used one before, and I was curious about how they work, so I took some fabric with me to see if I could cut out some shapes. Rita is demonstrating in the photo above. I tried it, too, and came away with a few hexies and some circles.


Nearby, she has some hexies displayed for folks to see how the shapes can be sewn together.


Another area of this room which I would describe as a workroom, had these shelves with projects in progress lined up. The white bags on the top shelf are all labeled with names of people who come for weekly classes. They keep their supplies and projects there to work on next time.

Because she does so much charity work, she has become known in the area as someone who will take old pieces and salvage them, if possible. From things that need repaired to others that need finished, Rita seems willing to tackle just about any and all challenges.

This quilt was on her work table and she shared an interesting story about it. The woman, who'd never been taught anything about sewing or quilting, began making this by doing all the work by hand - even cutting individual squares from the old fabric. Rita showed her how to work the GO! Cutter and in no time at all they had several hundred squares cut and ready for use. Then after the quilt top was finished, the woman began zig-zag quilting it, with disappointing results. Rita has offered to remove the zig-zags and quilt it on her machine for the woman. Isn't that just the nicest thing?

There were several quilts and wall hangings on display that Rita had made. I took pictures of a couple.

A beautiful pastel pinwheel quilt in 30s prints. It was like getting a glimpse of springtime! So pretty.

Another bright, cheery quilt in similar prints. She says she has a "thing" for those 30s prints.

This little table topper - more 30s! - is one that she had been hand-quilting. Such fresh, happy prints for a gray wintry day!

She does have a limited supply of fabrics for sale, and several displays of items she has made both for sale and for inspiration. I will very likely take a quilt to her for quilting. Lord knows I have several dozen in the closet. And, I think it's only fitting that we do what we can to keep these small, independent shops going.

Thanks for the tour around your shop, Rita! Glad I found you!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

3 comments:

Terry said...

Quite an interesting story. I love finding new quilt shops too. This one seems very people friendly.

sewyouquilt2 said...

sounds like Rita will be successful in her endeavors. so cool to find a gem like that

Jen said...

Those little out of the way shops can sometimes be the best ones. They have good stories and each one is so unique. Thanks for sharing this one with us.