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Portage Quilt House

October 1, 2008
The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Among the top ten quilt shops featured in Better Homes and Gardens fall edition of Quilt Sampler magazine is the Copper Country's very own Portage Quilt House.

"It's truly an honor," shop co-owner Judy Stallings said of their multi-page spread that includes photographs, a colorful shop profile and the exclusive quilt pattern she and owner Joanne Moros designed especially for the publication.

Since the magazine hit the newsstands, Stallings said they've had several local and out-of-town visitors drop in after having read the article.

Article Photos

"We just had a group of women in here that carpooled from Green Bay," she said.

What's interesting, Moros added, is the article includes a special section directing visitors to local dining and recreation hot spots, like Pilgrim River Steakhouse and Keweenaw Excursions boat tours, for example.

"It helps to feature the local area, too, by highlighting other businesses," she said. "We have plenty of copies of the magazine at the shop for people if they want to buy it."

On top of being featured in Quilt Sampler magazine, there's something else the ladies at Portage Quilt House are excited about.

"Our six-year anniversary of being in business is coming up October 14," Stallings announced.

Like any new business, Stallings said they started out small and grew into what is today, the Keweenaw's only full-service quilt shop.

Portage Quilt House is located off U.S. 41, just two miles south of Michigan Technological University, overlooking the scenic Portage Lake. The yellow farmhouse structure, with its wooden floors and stone fireplace, is the perfect fit for a quilt house. Customers are greeted by a warm, home sweet home atmosphere, where they can browse the many quilting supplies and gifts from room to room.

Occasionally, Stallings said, they keep a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen, along with a plate of homemade cookies set out for their customers.

This time of year is when quilting season is in full swing.

"When the snow begins to fly, that's when the winter projects come out," Stallings said. "We have a fall schedule of classes for anyone that's interested."

Fall class schedules can be picked up at Portage Quilt House or online at

Decorating the walls in the shop are colorful samples of finished quilts to inspire new and seasoned quilters alike.

"We're always trying to stay fresh with our fabrics, new techniques and designs," Stallings said. "Then, we sell the samples afterwards."

One corner of the shop is dedicated to baby items including blankets, clothing, blanket making kits among other items in delicate shades of pastel colors.

Stallings said they also do hand embroidery, wool applique and rug hooking.

You don't have to be a crafter or know how to sew in order to stop in Portage Quilt House. The shop carries specialty food items, home decor and locally crafted items for sale.

Stallings said they sell Janome brand sewing machines as a satellite dealer through Bissonette's Sew & Vac of Houghton.

"New sewers are welcome to test drive our sewing machines," she said. "That's the best way to find one that's good for you."

Each year, Portage Quilt House sponsors the quilt show held during the Chassell Strawberry Festival. All proceeds go to the Copper Country Humane Society.

Stallings said they also are in contact with a number of local quilting guilds.

"If anyone is interested in joining one of the groups, we can direct you to one," she said.

Kids are also encouraged to try their hand at quilting.

This summer, Portage Quilt House held a week-long Quilt Camp for Kids. Each day the group learned a new project.

"We're planning to do another camp during Christmas break," Stallings said.

Since the ladies opened the doors to Portage Quilt House nearly six years ago, they both agree that much has changed both inside and out for their hobby shop.

"When we look back at the old photos and how empty we were, we can really see how we've grown," Moros said. "What we're trying to do here is provide good service and help customers with any questions they have and that's what we do with every customer that comes in."

Stallings agreed.

"Stop in and see how we've changed over the years," she said.

Portage Quilt House is located two miles south of Michigan Technological University at 46509 U.S. 41 in Houghton. Business hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 487-5500 or visit

Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Portage Quilt House of Houghton. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.



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