Quilt shop owner following her dreams
By Sue Tiffin
As people walk into Allison Mallette’s shop on Bobcaygeon Road, they audibly gasp. Some hold their hands to their chest as they look around with 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 customer with answers to their many questions about techniques and possibilities.
“I get that reaction all the time,” she said. “I think mostly people are happy that there’s a quilt store here, and it’s amazing the number of quilters that come. There’s not just the quilt guild. There’s churches that have their quilt groups. There’s all kinds of ladies that just 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 has been so amazing. As you can see. The community as a whole has been great. Because people who aren’t just quilters have been coming in and going, oh, this is great, I wanted to do fleece for a blanket or I do baby 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 sticker once, and it said, ‘she who dies with the most fabric wins,’ and so she couldn’t find it anywhere so she made this little sign. That’s always stuck 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 her husband in 2012 and encouraged by her neighbour, soon tried quilting.
“She said, sit down and watch this video,” said Mallette. “I watched it and thought, ‘oh, it looks so easy, I could do that.’ We ordered all the fabric online and when it finally came I did five quilt tops in one week.”
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 started carrying 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 and that they weren’t going to attempt the drive in the winter. Wanting to beat the prices of out-of-town quilt shops and keep people buying locally, she opened Remember Me Quilts and More at its new location.
“I know what fabric stores charge, and I know what they bought it for,” she said. “I don’t want you to have a reason to go to Bracebridge or 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 custom made quilts, a huge draw to Mallette’s shop are her grief comfort quilts, pillows and bears. Using a loved one’s favourite T-shirts or ties, she creates something for people to hold after their friends or family have passed away.
“When somebody passes it’s hard,” she said. “You can never say the right thing, because everyone is different. Everyone grieves and heals differently. But to be able to just sit and be quiet and hold something, they still feel a comfort with that. And especially children, because they don’t understand death, totally, they don’t have the adult mind to process it. As an adult it’s hard.”
Mallette puts much consideration into the details of these projects, ensuring 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. But you know it’s not sad, they’re so thankful and so overwhelmed by how awesome it is.”
Mallette is community-minded, and hopes to start classes to help teach 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 problem with that,” she said. “I’m still eager to get up and go to work in the morning. I’m loving it. I love the reactions – you get the dancers all the 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.