Shop serves as hub for sewers seeking supplies, kindred spirits

Patty Rowley

BUCKSPORT — Some people love to do crosswords and jigsaw puzzles while others enjoy the challenge of creating ship models, elaborate model railways and other pursuits.

For Patty Rowley, sewing together pieces of colorful fabric in intricate patterns captured her imagination nearly two decades ago. Now, she is sharing her knowledge and providing the tools and material for other like-minded souls.

Last April, Rowley opened Bolt at 7 Third Street in downtown Bucksport. She had previously owned a quilt shop in the York County town of Cornish before she and her husband, Scott, moved to Bucksport to be closer to their first grandchild. Her present store space had belonged to a dear friend who died.

Originally from Denver, Rowley sewed as a child. She learned in Girl Scouts and earned her sewing badge in sixth grade. But it was an adult education quilting class that got it hooked.

“It was hand-piecing and hand-quilting and I loved it,” she said. “I was hooked.”

The shop, which Rowley’s husband designed and helped build, is located behind their home in a neighborhood off Main Street.

Natural light streams through large windows lining the front and side of the building, illuminating myriad bolts of solid and patterned fabric for sale.

“I like contemporary colors, but I have a real appreciation for historic quilts,” she said.

Rowley carries many fabrics in her shop, including the Kaffe Fasset line. Kaffe Fasset is an American-born artist who creates bright, whimsical patterns. Many feature flowers and plants.

Fassett’s website states that he has dedicated the last 50 years of his life to the world of knitting, needlework and patchwork, promoting crafts through his own work and encouraging others to find their own creativity. He partnered with Missoni in 1969 to design their knitwear. He tours internationally giving workshops, lectures and museum exhibitions.

Rowley, herself, teaches classes too at her shop. She mainly focuses on beginners and quick projects.

“There are lots of people that want to learn,” she said.

She just held an introductory quilting class earlier this month from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The cost was $25.

“Do you know how to sew but want to know about making quilts? Come learn the basics and see what all this cutting up big pieces of fabric and then sewing them back together is about?” the class’s description reads. “This is a one-session class to answer your questions and get you started on your own quilting journey.”

At recent class, quilters learned how to make a jelly roll rug.

Bolt has portable sewing machines that people can use for class if they don’t have one of their own.

In March, Rowley will teach how to make a standing tote bag while another class will focus on making a soft fabric backpack. Registration for classes is required as well as for the open sew afternoons. Another will teach newbies how to make a quilted rug.

If you’ve got quilting or sewing questions, you don’t have to wait to take a class.

“I’m always happy to help people,” she said. “You don’t have to wait for a class.”

Right now, Rowley is the only instructor, so classes tend to be on Sunday afternoons. However, that could expand if she finds other people to teach. “I’d be happy to have other teachers on other days.”

When there’s no Sunday afternoon class, Rowley holds an “open sew” at the shop. People bring projects to work on and share what they’re doing.

“They love to show and tell,” she said of quilters. “It’s fun to show what you’re making.”

The shopkeeper sells many of her sample projects, including aprons. She often has four or five projects going at one time.

Rowley also carries clothing patterns too.

“I always have,” she said.

Bolt is located at 7 Third St. To learn more, call 702-9469 and visit boltfabricsmaine.com.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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