lma Mullet was an elderly Amish Woman who loved to quilt from her home. Her husband, Emanuel Mullet, grew tired of having quilts all over his living room and having no place to entertain any possible guests. In 1974, Emanuel suggested that Alma move her hobby into a recently vacated building of his and Alma's hobby soon became a business.
Alma was 58 years old and had raised nine children by the time her quilting shop came to life. In 1997, the public library next door was torn down and a new building was built to accommodate her growing business. Today, this remains the current location for The Helping Hands Quilt shop. In May 2011, Helping Hands was purchased by the Dennis Mullet family.
"Alma Mullet believed in helping people by the work of her own hands," said Viola Hershberger, manager of Helping Hands Quilt Shop. It was from this idea that the name for the shop may have originated.
Alma's friends would bring in their own quilts to sell in her shop and Alma was always excited when she could sell one of the quilts and bring her friends some income, explained Hershberger.
Helping Hands has become a quilt makers paradise with over 3,000 bolts of material in stock and all the notions (tools such as rulers, sewing supplies and other quilting tools) needed to build your perfect quilt. "People love to come in if they can find the right things," said Hershberger. Helping Hands is always taking customers thoughts and comments to make sure they can provide exactly what customers want.
"Fabrics are our staple," said Hershberger. "Every quilter loves fabric. Some people like to come in just to see and touch the fabrics. They just want their fabric fix of the day."
To some it may seem they are collecting random scraps of fabric, but quilters see it as gathering pieces that they may later turn into beautiful blocks of color as part of a rainy day project. "Quilters love to hoard fabric," said Hershberger.
As many flock to the Heartland during the fall months for the changing of the leaves and to get their fill on Amish shopping, Hershberger explains this to be her busiest time of year as well as other businesses in the area. Quilters and sewers alike visit her store to stock pile their fabric and notion collections so they are prepared when the cold weather hits and all there is to do is sit inside and sew beautiful works of art.
Helping Hands also provides a large selection of pre-made quilts. "We try to keep the local community involved by selling their products," said Hershberger. A group of Amish women also visit three times a month to work on a quilt that will either be sold in the store or is being custom built for a customer.
Maybe you have taken an interest in quilting yourself but are not sure how to get started. Helping hands offers quilting classes to get you on the right track. Even if you feel you can't patch a hole in a sock or have never attempted to use a needle and thread, professional quilters are prepared to answer any questions and make you an expert in the field.
Helping Hands has introduced some new quilting classes to accommodate a growing interest. Hershberger said they are always looking for suggestions on how to make their classes better and meet their students expectations.
The "scrapping" class serves as an interesting insight into early quilting practices, where students bring scraps of material of sentimental value and piece them together much the same way early Amish and even Englishers would have.
The block of the month class allows students to introduce a new block to their quilt each month and by the end of the year have a beautiful wall hanging or bedspread. Each class provides students with the basics of quilting and allows them to work from start to finish and create a work of art all their own.
Growing up in an Amish household, Hershberger said she has always loved the art of quilting. "It's exciting to see all the new patterns that come out," she said. With all the new techniques that have come into play in the quilting world, Helping Hands tries to combine the old with new while still keeping the old traditions alive.
Helping Hands quilt shop is a not for profit shop with profits being donated to local charities. You can find the quilt shop in the heart of Berlin located at 4818 SR 39. Winter hours are January and February, Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Regular hours are Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 330-893-2233 or visit www.helpinghandsquilts.com for more information.