WILTON – Crafter’s Cave at 305 Main Street in Wilton has been open since February but is still unknown to many in the area.
“I would love to see more pedestrians downtown,” owner Cindy Dunham said Saturday morning, Oct. 1. “People don’t really know I’m here yet.”
Dunham, who also works at the Wilton town office, said she started making her own clothes for school, sewing since she was nine years old. “I then started making clothes for my children,” she says. “It wasn’t until I returned home in 1998 that I started patchwork with my neighbour.”
More than 100 fabric choices line parts of two walls in the space she shares with Mainely Scuba.
“The whole idea for the shop was from James Smith – the owner of Mainely Scuba,” Dunham said. “He asked me to quilt about six years ago, and then I gave him a present. His grandfather was a lighthouse keeper in Nova Scotia. I googled the lighthouse, took a photo of it, and made a stained glass quilted wall hanging of this lighthouse.
“He said you had to have your own shop. For two years he harassed me, he said, ‘I’ll rent you half my shop’, so here I am.”
Dunham offers a variety of courses including knitting, crocheting, tatting, binding techniques, bowl cover making, rope bowl making and sewing machine maintenance. Classes are very flexible depending on client needs – not everyone has a Saturday off, she said.
“I have a wide range of classes,” Dunham said. “I can learn to sew right out of the box with a sewing machine. I can show how to configure it. Maintenance of a sewing machine is essential. It should be cleaned at least after every project, sometimes during a project depending on what it is. Wires and other objects can get caught inside.
“I’m willing to teach anyone nine years and older, as long as they can sit down and listen to the instructions.”
Creating things – as she calls it “playing with fibers” – is something Dunham enjoys. “I do everything,” she said. “Thread, fabric, rope, whatever pleases me. Pinterest motivates me… a lot.
“It’s definitely something you have to take the time to do and have the time to do. I don’t watch TV, I like to do things to keep myself busy.
Tatting bookmarks and snowflakes for Christmas trees are other things Dunham does. “I’ll make them at home,” she said.
Dunham’s son, Evret Greer is his partner, runs the shop on Mondays and Tuesdays when his schedule permits and while Dunham is in the town office. “He sews, does quilting, cozies bowls, cross stitch, crochet,” she said. “He is good at combining fabrics, he loves to do it.”
Dunham now uses a trimming system when quilting. “I went from manual cutting to a rotary cutter to a cutting system,” she said. “It really changes what you do, speeds up the process dramatically. It saves my wrist, it’s an investment.
Currently working on an explosive heart pattern which Dunham says is “pretty intense”, she noted that she could cut out the pieces in a fraction of the time with a lot less wasted fabric.
There are plenty of books available in the store for those looking for a new or different crafting idea, Dunham said. She also takes shipments for the small craftsman who needs a place to display their work. “A lot of people do crafts at home and then wait for craft fairs,” she said.
Now that Imelda’s Fabric and Design in New Sharon has closed, Dunham is also making changes. “I haven’t come across anything yet that I haven’t been able to edit,” she replied when asked if there were limits to what she could edit.
“I meet a lot of people at the municipal office,” Dunham said. “I usually have something on the wall there that I’ve done. I love downtown Wilton, it’s a quaint little town. I’d like to get people to craft. There’s so much downtime for some people.
Crafter’s Cave is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The Facebook page can be found under Fibercrafter’s Cave [because Crafter’s Cave couldn’t be used, Dunham said]. The phone number is 207-320-9320.
Meet the creators
Several craft businesses have opened in Wilton in recent years. Calling themselves “The Village Makers of Wilton”, they plan special events on the second Saturday of the month for “Meet the Makers”. From 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 8, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10, demonstrations and light refreshments will be offered at The iron and the vine of Vera319 Main Street; Nicki Lynn, 327 Main Street; Crafter’s Cave, 305 Main Street and October Moon Creations, 20 High Street.
In 2019, Lisa Jansky reopened October Moon Creations – which opened in 2004 – after moving to Wilton. His shop is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays or by appointment. A unique collection of handcrafted gifts for the mind, body and spirit are offered, according to the Facebook page. “I do so many different things — wood signs, home decor, jewelry, bath and body,” Jansky said Wednesday.
In addition to Crafter’s Cave, Nicki Lynn’s opened and Vera’s Iron and Vine moved to the downtown “green block” this summer.
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