After two rewarding careers in management within large organizations, I decided to try to make a living at something I truly loved, quilting and basket making. I wanted to share my passion for making things, and to help others find and pursue their own creative outlet. Based on that idea of helping busy people find satisfaction in making things, Quiltessentials opened in 1994—with a selection of fabrics, quilting classes, and basket-making supplies and instruction. Our original location was in a small, formerly residential property on Minot Avenue in Auburn. In 2000, building on the shop’s success, our current location was purchased and renovated. Our cozy New England farmhouse is now home to our current store which now features quilting and sewing supplies, basketry supplies and a full service yarn shop.
Our eclectic, talented, and dedicated staff of seven (full-time owner Betsy Dorr and five part-time employees, along with a summer volunteer) are friendly, personable, enthusiastic, and have a great passion for quilting and knitting. Our goal is to make shopping here a positive, fun and productive experience. As a group, we take great pride in providing outstanding customer service and support.
Betsy’s 90-year old mother is an honorary member of the Quiltessentials staff, continuing to work on many sample quilts, while Betsy’s three quilting sisters also help out at various quilt shows and share their enthusiastic support with customers and staff alike.
Betsy Dorr, owner
There is a rich history of sewing and knitting in Betsy’s family. Betsy learned to sew and knit in junior high. She took up quilting and basket making in the early 80’s. Basket making, quilting and knitting continue to be hobbies of choice. Machine quilting has become one of her favorite tasks, along with passing along her passion for machine quilting to others in her classes.
Mary learned to knit and sew at a young age in 4H. She made her first quilt when she married in 1980. She has worked at Quiltessentials since 1998. Along with quilts, Mary loves making bags. Mary teaches our night time knitting class on Tuesday night. Mary is a prolific sewer, and has made many quilts for the shop and for friends and family. Mary is retired from a 37 year teaching career, mostly kindergarten. Mary is also an enthusiastic horsewoman in her spare time.
Kitsie learned to knit and sew in Home Economics in Jr. High. Her mom was a talented seamstress, and Kitsie was inspired by her love of making clothing and costumes. She has been quilting since the mid eighties. Kitsie is very much an improvisational quilter, and loves using lots of fabrics, playing with color and texture, and putting her own spin on designs. Kitsie has been working at Quiltessentials since 2013. She is relearning to knit since coming to work here, and has shared her talents as a photographer with us.
Cindy learned to knit and sew in Home Ec classes in Jr. High, and then went on to become a Home Ec teacher, she refers to herself as the Happy Home Economist. Cindy is a skilled and prolific knitter, with an incredible wardrobe of sweaters. Cindy has worked at Quiltessentials since 1998. She spent a couple of years with a basket-a-day weaving habit, and she does still make the occasional quilt. Cindy was instrumental in our becoming a full service yarn shop, and she teaches our daytime knitting classes.
Andrea learned to sew and knit as a child, from her grandmother (Nanny Bradley), and has actively made many quilts, wall hangings, shawls, scarves and mittens. She also makes baskets and enjoys embroidery. Andrea has an artistic eye in home decorating, gardening, painting and drawing as well. She is retired from a long and successful career in social services, and is enjoying the freedom to pursue her passion as a hand crafter. Andrea joined us in 2015.
Sue has been knitting for over 30 years, and is still a very active knitter. About 2 years ago she was bitten hard by the quilting bug, and has become a very prolific and skilled quilter. She does much of her own machine quilting and loves to play with color and pattern. She loves modern quilts and is very active in the Maine Modern Quilt Guid. Sue joined us in 2016.