By Sue Tiffin
As people walk into Allison Mallette’s shop on Bobcaygeon Road theyaudibly gasp. Some hold their hands to their chest as they look aroundwith mouths open. Others do a happy dance.
Why are they doing a giddy dance when they walk into Remember Me Quilts and More?
“It’s a quilt shop” one exclaims. “It’s a given. I think it’s the batiks that put me over.”
Mallette is thrilled each time it happens greeting each customerwith answers to their many questions about techniques andpossibilities.
“I get that reaction all the time” she said. “I think mostly peopleare happy that there’s a quilt store here and it’s amazing the numberof quilters that come. There’s not just the quilt guild. There’schurches that have their quilt groups. There’s all kinds of ladies thatjust get together. You talk to anybody they say I’m in this guild I’m in this guild some people are in multiple guilds.”
Just weeks after Mallette opened the downtown Minden store last month she was overjoyed with the response.
“Amazing” she said of the experience of opening. “The reception hasbeen so amazing. As you can see. The community as a whole has beengreat. Because people who aren’t just quilters have been coming in andgoing oh this is great I wanted to do fleece for a blanket or I dobaby blankets…”
Mallette learned how to sew as a student in home economics class.
“My mom sewed. She encouraged us to sew. She saw this bumper stickeronce and it said ‘she who dies with the most fabric wins’ and so shecouldn’t find it anywhere so she made this little sign. That’s alwaysstuck in my head this little sign she made in her little sewing room.Apple didn’t fall far from the tree here.”
A cottager since 2004 Mallette moved to the area full-time with herhusband in 2012 and encouraged by her neighbour soon tried quilting.
“She said sit down and watch this video” said Mallette. “I watchedit and thought ‘oh it looks so easy I could do that.’ We ordered allthe fabric online and when it finally came I did five quilt tops in oneweek.”
In 2018 Mallette’s beloved sister died.
“My husband said to me do what makes you happy. Do this entirely for you. Do something that would have made her happy for you.”
And so Mallette bought a long arm quilting machine deciding to do some work from her home for people.
“And then I started carrying some fabrics and then I startedcarrying more fabrics and I opened up my house as a store” she said.But many of her customers said her place was too difficult to find andthat they weren’t going to attempt the drive in the winter. Wanting tobeat the prices of out-of-town quilt shops and keep people buyinglocally she opened Remember Me Quilts and More at its new location.
“I know what fabric stores charge and I know what they bought itfor” she said. “I don’t want you to have a reason to go to Bracebridgeor wherever anymore. I want you to shop here I want you to shop local.It benefits everybody.”
Besides offering fabric and long arm quilting services and custommade quilts a huge draw to Mallette’s shop are her grief comfortquilts pillows and bears. Using a loved one’s favourite T-shirts orties she creates something for people to hold after their friends orfamily have passed away.
“When somebody passes it’s hard” she said. “You can never say theright thing because everyone is different. Everyone grieves and healsdifferently. But to be able to just sit and be quiet and hold something they still feel a comfort with that. And especially children becausethey don’t understand death totally they don’t have the adult mind toprocess it. As an adult it’s hard.”
Mallette puts much consideration into the details of these projectsensuring each one is individually designed with the person’s personality or habits or lifetime memories represented in some way.
“I get a great sense of happiness from the gratitude” she said.“Like every time you give someone their quilt they start crying. Butyou know it’s not sad they’re so thankful and so overwhelmed by howawesome it is.”
Mallette is community-minded and hopes to start classes to helpteach a younger generation or more men how to sew what they need. That is when she’s not working on making something for someone.
“Right now I’m working seven days a week and I don’t have a problemwith that” she said. “I’m still eager to get up and go to work in themorning. I’m loving it. I love the reactions – you get the dancers allthe time. You know you’re making people happy just by being here.”
Remember Me Quilts and More is located at 105 Bobcaygeon Road in Minden. For inquiries and orders contact Allison Mallette at remembermequiltsandmore@gmail.