Wednesday, August 8, 2018

It’s Metro Quilt Stroll Time, Baby!

UPDATE: The earlier posted version of this gave incorrect dates for the Metro Shop Stroll. The event is Aug. 17 and 18. We apologize for being so excited that we mis-read the calendar. 

Where are the pumpkin spice lattes? Fall is right around the corner, yes?

Well, in New Mexico, it’s not exactly right around the corner. However, it’s close enough that we can all dream about falling leaves and sweaters with actual sleeves. And we can celebrate this upcoming delicious season with this weekend’s Metro Quilt Stroll, Aug. 17 and 18.

For the uninitiated, the annual Metro Quilt Stroll brings together five shops in Moriarty, Albuquerque and Corrales into one great event. Our fellow participating shops are The Quilt Works, Quilts Ole, Busy Bee Quilt Shop and Southwest Decoratives. Each shop creates a thematic block—this year, the theme is Autumn Harvest—and then each shop creates a quilt using all the shops' blocks. Got it? Our block was designed by Hip Stitch staffer Beth Trujillo, and it draws on two key colors in New Mexico’s autumn landscapes.

Hip Stitch's Metro Shop Stroll 2018 block, designed by Beth Trujillo
“My inspiration was when the leaves start turning in the fall in New Mexico. The mountain become a beautiful gold color from the aspens and the sky is still a crisp bright blue,” says Beth.

Beth’s aspen block becomes the centerpiece of our Metro Quilt Stroll quilt, which she also designed, surrounded by the blocks from the other participating shops: 
 
Hip Stitch's Metro Shop Stroll quilt, featuring blocks from all participating shops. Designed by
Beth Trujillo and quilted by Tisha Cavanaugh of Quilt Icing.
And you, too, can make our block and this quilt! In fact, you can make every shop’s block or quilt. Block kits and finishing kits for our creation will be available at Hip Stitch all weekend, beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, and you’ll find the other shops’ block kits at their stores.

But wait, there’s more! The Metro Quilt Stroll includes free patterns, demos and lots of door prizes at each shop. “Strollers” also have a chance to earn more loot. Get your “passport” stamped at each participating shop, and you’ll be entered for yet more prize drawings.

See you this weekend! (We’ll be the ones wearing sweaters….just kidding!)

P.S. Here’s our fave crockpot recipe for pumpkin spice lattes. You’re welcome!
Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes
8 tablespoons pumpkin puree
8 tablespoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 whole cinnamon sticks (or more cinnamon)
4 cups strongly brewed coffee
6 cups milk (at least 2%)
8 tablespoons sugar
Whipped cream (optional, but who passes this up??)

Combine the milk and coffee, and pour into the crockpot. Whip together the other ingredients (minus the cinnamon sticks and whipping cream) and pour into the crockpot. Mix together well. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Meanwhile, whip and lightly sweeten cream into soft peaks. Ladle coffee mixture into mugs. Generously dollop whipped cream on top, and add a cinnamon stick or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon for extra flavor.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Art Quilts Tell Fiber Art 'Stories'


Cottonwood by Gale Oppenheim is one of the art quilts that will be on
 exhibit Aug. 3 at Hip Stitch, as part of the ARTSCrawl program. 


Using color, shapes, textiles and surface treatments, art quilts express a diverse range of emotions, opinions and stories. See some of those art quilt “stories” in a display from 5 pm to 8 pm on Friday, Aug. 3, at Hip Stitch, 2320 Wisconsin NE, as part of the ARTSCrawl program. The art quilts were created by members of the local Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) chapter, and include selections from the recent SAQA show, Life Along the Rio Grande.

Bird land by Lynn  Welsch


Oasis by Ginny McVickar




Art quilts emerged from the chaotic 1960s and 70s, as young people rebelled against mainstream industrial culture. They share a connection with folk art quilts and modern art, using a wide range of visual arts techniques and media to explore ideas and visions. SAQA is a non-profit, worldwide organization founded in 1989 to be a source of information on art quilts and the artists who create them. Learn more at SAQA.com. Some works on display are available for sale. Refreshments will be served.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Last Chance! (Really!)



If you had daydreams about adding some great quilting fabric to your stash at summer clearance prices, then it’s time to WAKE UP! This weekend is your last chance to grab some premium Hip Stitch yardage, tools, patterns and books at 25%, 50% and even 75% off!

Final markdowns in our Semi-Annual Clearance Sale will be posted on Friday, July 27 (that’s tomorrow). If you shopped the sale earlier this month, you might want to take a second look. Fabrics are being added daily, and we’re deepening the discounts, so maybe this is your chance to pick up some backing fabric for, oh, next to nothing.

Can we name-drop a little? The clearance includes fabric by Art Gallery, Alexander Henry, Andover Blank, Cotton + Steel, Free Spirit, Ink & Arrow, Frond, Moda, Marcus, Quilting Treasures, Red Rooster, Studio E, Windham and more!

Here’s the main message, though: Buy the clearance fabric you love now. It may still be available later, such as some of our regional prints, but it won’t ever be at these prices again.

See ya soon!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Your. Lucky. Day.



Friday the 13th is no longer an unlucky day for the superstitious or a classic slasher movie. (Sorry, Jason!) It’s THE day we launch our Semi-Annual Clearance Sale at Hip Stitch!

Beginning July 13, selected fabrics, patterns, books and sewing machines are all on sale—from 25% to 75% off! It’s unprecedented and unmatched.

Now, there are sales and then there are SALES. Grunges, solids, batiks, designer fabrics from major names like Tula Pink, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Latifah Safir and more.

Why?

You count on Hip Stitch to bring you the freshest fabrics and latest designs. And we’ll do what it takes to deliver on that promise. That means we will not be undersold -- this inventory must be turned into cash to keep up our forward momentum and keep the best and newest fabrics coming in the door. 

We've hinted a couple of times already in our Hip Stitch newsletters about the amazing depth and variety of goods that are marked down. And in just a few hours, you can see the bounty for yourself. This is the sale to wait for.

See you Friday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hip Stitch Turns 10; Here’s the Backstory!

Never underestimate PTA moms.
Suzanne Kelly with her mother, Pat Kauffman, on opening day in 2008.

They can do just about anything. Such as open a sewing-related business that has weathered the marketplace storms over 10 years to become one of Albuquerque’s most popular spots for fabric, fiber art, sewing know-how and creative inspiration.

That’s how Hip Stitch happened. Ten years ago, the buzz phrase in the DIY world was “sewing lounge,” as in a place where (mostly young) people could come together and sew, use a machine and/or iron if they did not own one, maybe take a few classes. 

Albuquerque mom Suzanne Kelly and her friends Jen Dean and Heather Gordon—all PTA-ers—decided to capitalize on this groundswell of interest and open a sewing lounge/fabric store.

“I’ve always had a love of sewing,” says Suzanne. “I was a stay-at-home mom with two young daughters and wanted to work again, but use my creativity. We wanted to fill a void by opening a sewing lounge for Albuquerque.”

Opening day was July 7, 2008, and boy have things changed! Shelves were stocked with about 50 bolts of fabric that first day; now, Hip Stitch has about 3,000 bolts, including the area’s freshest, most fashionable fabrics for quilting and sewing. We're also the area's premier provider of Southwest and regional fabrics such as Frida Kahlo, Dia de los Muertos and Route 66 prints, and the ever-popular balloon and chile pepper prints. The shop also has the state’s largest collection of Grunge near-solids.

Heather and Jen each moved on to other 
The original Hip Stitch sewing lounge, circa 2008
business activities, and current co-partner Steve Hamlin joined the team in 2014. Fueled by a seven-day sales week, bigger inventory and an ever-growing customer community, Hip Stitch relocated in 2017 to its location at 2320 Wisconsin NE. It is a part of the local Shop Stroll each August, which attracts thousands of stitchers, and it’s a regular stop for families who flock to Albuquerque for local Native American ceremonial dances.
Designer Jen Fox, who lives in Albuquerque, shared her interior design skills to help develop ideas for the build-out at the 2320 Wisconsin NE location.

Suzanne, far left standing, and Steve Hamlin, center standing, gathered with Hip Stitch staff and friends to discuss plans  for the new location.
Co-owner Steve Hamlin and staffer Susan Fahkrai answer questions about construction plans.

The new digs seemed cavernous when Hip Stitch staffers met there in late 2016 to see the space and hear about build-out plans. Now, use of its 3,000 square feet of selling floor and class lounge is a crazy dance as the staff juggles multiple classes, events, meetings of community fiber arts groups and the various fabric collections, with more new prints coming in every week.  
Steve and Suzanne on opening day at the 2320 Wisconsin St NE location. (P.S. Those blades really cut!)

There are many unforgettable stories or people in Hip Stitch’s first 10 years.  Suzanne remembers one customer in particular.

“Tom was the most unlikely typical customer,” Suzanne recalls. “He had lived a hard life, battled heroin addiction, but he had the sweetest demeanor and wanted to learn to sew a hat.”

So she taught him.

“That grew into a friendship where he'd come to the lounge and sew a little, then sit in an armchair and fall asleep for a bit.  When I heard of his death, it was like I had lost a sibling.  I still have the funny homemade Christmas card he gave me one year, made out of a paper grocery sack,” she says.

There were more than a few challenges along the way, too! Such as the original location, where the rapidly expanding inventory gobbled up space.

In the old location, there was a wall that separated the lounge from the sales floor. When fabric bolts reached critical mass, that wall came tumbling down. It created much needed display space, but it meant classes—
and privacy—went on hiatus.

“There was no office space, no classroom, and towards the end of our time there—and before we found our current location--I would have some stressful days trying to get back-office work down with no back office!” Suzanne says.

At a time when quilt shops nationwide are frankly struggling to compete against on-line shops, shop owner retirement, changes in stitcher buying habits and changes in the fabric manufacturing economy that feeds inspiration and yard goods to the creative stitching world, Hip Stitch is bucking the trend. And community is the key.

Hip Stitch staffers--including Suzanne's daughters Jane and Claire, who have grown up working behind the shop counter--have played a huge part of building that community. All told, the staff and teachers have more than 300 years of sewing/quilting experience, but it's how they interact with the sewing public that has made the difference.

“Customer service has always been my number one priority - providing a warm, nurturing atmosphere to create,” says Suzanne.

“It's not about how many bolts we have, or how experienced we all are.  If we at Hip Stitch don't provide a great shopping experience, I've failed at what I set out to do. And nothing beats face-to-face service and a fun atmosphere where we gather as a community with our shared passion.”
It sounds trite, she continues, but there’s more that connects the Hip Stitch community than mere fabric or thread.

“I've cried with customers who've lost spouses, who've gone through divorces, who have battled life threatening illness.  I've cried happy tears with customers who have new babies in their lives, who've beat life-threatening illnesses, who've found love.  This has been a wonderful journey.”   


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Happy Birthday, Nancy!


By Melissa Thompson Maher

Nancy Zieman
Nancy Zieman, long-time host of PBS’s Sewing with Nancy and basically, America’s most beloved sewing teacher, would have turned 65 on June 21 this year, had she not lost her battle with cancer in late 2017. It’s not her passing, though, that we want to focus on. On this birthday anniversary, what we choose to celebrate is her legacy of sharing the love of sewing with hundreds of thousands of people through her show, her 40+ books and countless patterns, and through her notions company, Nancy’s Notions.  

In fact, it is rare to find a stitcher or quilter who does not know of Nancy Zieman. She started out in 1970 with Nancy's Notions, a direct mail company she founded to sell sewing notions, supplies and accessories. 

Then she took her sewing mission to the small screen--television! In September 1982, she debuted on Wisconsin Public Television with her decidedly not flashy, straightforward and congenial program, Sewing with Nancy. The show became the longest running sewing program on North American television with 910 episodes filmed. According to her autobiography, she says "in terms of years, only (David) Letterman had a longer run." (Visit https://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/  to see archived episodes, technique videos and blog posts featuring many of her show’s guests and techniques.)

She went on to write more than 40 books on machine sewing and quilting, designed scores of patterns (some we carry at Hip Stitch!) and appear at countless sewing and quilting events, where she taught or presented information about sewing.

In recent years, as her two oldest granddaughters reached ages where they could learn to sew, Nancy focused on reaching the next generation of sewing enthusiasts. She developed some notions specifically for beginning or young stitchers, and wrote a kids book, The Flying Sewing Machine.

Nancy's last book, The Flying Sewing Machine
The Flying Sewing Machine takes place in the village of Sewland, where every afternoon at a quarter to 2, a policeman blows a whistle, the town stops and everyone goes to sew. The book debuted at Fall International Quilt Market in Houston last November, just as Nancy was announcing her retirement and only a few weeks before she died. The book, published by Martingale, was given to a few interested companies and industry media, and people were encouraged to blow a whistle at 1:45, and read a short excerpt from the book. And then in homage to Nancy, they were asked to give away the book to someone who could help a young person learn to sew. 

So at 1:45 pm each day of Fall Market last year, you really could hear whistles across the show floor, as people honored Nancy’s legacy.

The very last episode of Sewing With Nancy was “I Sew For Fun,” a show on team sewing with kids ages 5-9. And it featured Nancy and her granddaughters. She wrote about this in her farewell blog post, saying “I marvel at this miracle.”  (You can find that last episode here: https://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/Video/i-sew-fun)

Join us at Hip Stitch Thursday, June 21 through Sunday, June 24, as we celebrate Nancy’s birthday and the sewing world she helped create. We’ll have specially packaged copies of her children’s book with a free fat quarter and selected notions will be on sale. And you just might hear a whistle at a quarter to two.



Monday, June 18, 2018

Row by Row 2018: Inspiration info from Block Designer Anita McSorley by Melissa Thompson Maher



What inspired you to create the design?

I was excited about “Sew Musical” with ideas coming easily. My first thoughts and designs incorporated the sock monkey (Hey! Hey! We’re the Monkees!) that Hip Stitch uses for advertising. But that is a generational thing that not all age groups would be able to relate to. I searched the internet for music titles and lyrics that might have a sewing/stitching connection, but there didn’t seem to be anything out there. Looking through a sketch pad I have, I found  quilt blocks I’d collected that were related to the southwest. The one I based the design on is called “Rocky Mountain High”. I don’t recall where I found the block to include in my sketch pad. Of course, I had to complicate the block by designing a rainbow behind the piano keys. The piano keys look difficult, but they are simple to paper piece.
what techniques does it include
When I showed sketches to Suzanne and Steve, they mentioned that some customers commented that most of the Row by Row blocks seemed to have a heavy use of appliqué. That why we decided to go with this one. The 18” x 18” block is comprised of 9 blocks set on point. Six of the blocks are paper pieced. Instructions are written for paper piecing but the maker can decide to cut out each piece with ¼” seam allowances and piece them that way. Three of the blocks at the base are to be machine appliquéd. They also can be hand appliquéd if the maker desires.



How many different shapes/fabrics?

The block uses 17 different fabrics and lots of pieces/shapes. Some of the 9 blocks have many pieces, some just a few. It’s too scary to count them!

I know this is your third block for Hip Stitch....how was it different to use the new configuration? (More flexible, harder?)

I love that we were given a choice of which shape/size we wanted to use this year. The object of this game being to collect many different blocks from many different shops allows the collector more flexibility in constructing a final product to showcase where they’ve been and what they collected. The 9” by 36” row was restrictive in what you could do with them after they were completed. I did look at the other sizes, but liked that the square was close in size to an album cover (not that everyone remembers what those were!)

How long have you been sewing? How long designing?

I learned to sew from my mother and grandmothers. I was 10 when I started making and designing doll clothes for my Miss Revlon doll. She was shorter than Barbie and better proportioned. I won ribbons at the county fair for several years until I moved on to sewing garments for myself. I made most of my clothes through junior high, high school and college. My first major at Eastern New Mexico University was Home Economics (when it was called that), with a second major in journalism. When I was in junior high, the mother of a friend was a seamstress who had a studio full of fabric and dress forms. Julie and I would spend hours draping our models and creating stories about where these ladies were going to wear our creations. That is such a wonderful memory.
I started quilting when my sons were young and I was a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been a fabric collector for a long time so there was never a lack of materials with which to play and experiment. I started designing my own quilts after moving to New Mexico in 1989. I’ve always loved quilts that other people design and make but always felt there was no point in remaking what someone else has done.

Anything else you'd like to say....?

I’ve really enjoyed the relationship I have with Suzanne and Steve at Hip Stitch. It’s exciting to see my Row by Row blocks in the store and to talk to quilters who have constructed what I created.