A common thread

Friends bond over quilting, open Mabel & Ethel’s
Melissa Topey
Mar 3, 2014
Downtown Sandusky’s revitalization continues with a little ME time.

Mabel & Ethel’s (M&E) Quilt Shoppe opened about four weeks ago at 279 E. Market St., at the intersection of Market and Hancock streets.

Mabel and Ethel are actually Debbie Neill and Jackie Sennish.

The name came from a photograph that hangs on the shop’s wall. It is of two elderly women sitting in their chairs, side by side, holding hands.

“We fell in love with it. They look like us. That is what we will be; two old women, still friends, holding hands,” Neill said. “We just said they look like Mabel and Ethel, those are old-sounding names”

But quilting is no longer just an older person’s game.

“Younger people are getting into it” Sennish said.

The historic brick building that houses the quilt shop is beautiful with its new remodel. The exterior black trim helps generate notice and sets off the beautiful M&E Quilt Shoppe sign. Inside, the building’s walls and ceiling have been repainted a clean white that shows off the colors of the fabrics. Most of the interior decorative touches were created by Neill and Sennish, including the display ladders and lighting.

Mabel & Ethel’s Quilt Shoppe
WHERE: 279 E. Market St., Sandusky
PHONE: 419-502-9123
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; noon to 7 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

M&E Quilt Shoppe has it all: beautiful quilting fabrics in amazing colors and patterns, soft hand-dyed wools (today’s wool is no longer the old scratchy stuff), specialty notions (items like the pins and scissors quilters work with), as well as the newest patterns and books to help guide someone deep into that quilting project.

There are also pre-cuts, squares of quilting fabric that are already cut to save time and money when making a quilt. They have names like Jelly Rolls, Layer Cake, Candies and Honey Buns.

“Indulge without the calories,” Neill laughed.

All of this allows for one-stop shopping — a good thing because there is no other quilt shop in the area.

In the first week, by word alone to the area quilters guilds, people from Bowling Green, Wooster, Tiffin, Vermilion and other cities stopped in. Quilters will travel and plan road trips from one quilt shop to the next. There is a Quilters Travel Companion, a kind of map to all quilting shops. M&E will be in the next edition to be printed soon.

For those wanting some more ME time, classes will be held at the shop for both the quilting novice and the advanced quilter. Most quilters will already know to bring their sewing machines, the ladies said. But for the novice checking out whether quilting is something of interest, a call ahead to the shop could have a sewing machine held.

The ladies had good timing in opening up the shop, as March 15 is Worldwide Quilting Day. The ladies are holding a weeklong grand opening celebration from March 11 to March 15 in honor of their new venture in the second half of their lives.