Thursday, December 6, 2018

Enchanted Knitting: Artistry in Yarn

Vibrant fingerless gloves by Dagmar Beinenz-Byrd, this
month's featured ARTSCrawl fiber artist at Hip Stitch.

 When a custom yarn dyer/knitter tells you she is inspired by the New Mexican landscape as she chooses palettes for her hand-dyed yarns, well, believe her! Especially if that artist is Dagmar Beinenz-Byrd, who will be showcased Friday night, Dec. 7, in our final 2018 installment of Albuquerque's First Friday ARTSCrawl. Dagmar and her knitting artistry--and her luscious Zia Woolz hand-dyed yarns--will be on display from 5 pm to 8 pm in the Lounge at Hip Stitch.
Hand-dyed yarns by Dagmar. See more at ZiaWoolz.

"Knitting is my passion and I knit almost every day," says Dagmar, in describing her connection to knitting. "I dye yarns and spinning fibers in small batches, mainly for local New Mexican fiber artists. I also spin and try to source local fibers."

Her knitted pieces are visually vibrant with color or with textures and motifs, and her pieces include shawls, sweaters, purses and her fingerless mittens, an original design. For Dagmar, it's all about a visual connection to New Mexico. And she's modest when you ask her what makes her work unique.
Original shawl by Dagmar Beinenz-Byrd.

"There are many other equally talented fiber artists out there! However I’m passionate about capturing the spirit of our beautiful New Mexico in my yarns and I hope to capture a little bit of enchantment in the knits I create!

In addition to displaying her creations (some available for sale) tonight, Dagmar's custom-dyed yarns will also be available for purchase. And the knitting artist herself will be on hand to talk about her work. Refreshments will be served. Join us from 5 pm to 8 pm!

We asked Dagmar to share a little about her knitting journey, and here is what she had to say:

When did you learn to knit? What was your first project?
I learned when I was about 7, and was taught by my mom and in school (in Germany). My first project was a hideous stuffed doll which now hangs from the ceiling in my dye studio (the garage) to remind me of my humble beginnings.

What 'hooked' you about knitting?
I'm both a project as well as a product knitter. I love the creative process of making wearable art, and I love having the finished objects to actually use, especially shawls and sweaters. I like my hands to be busy with beautiful materials, and I'm very much inspired by colors and our fantastic New Mexico light.

What knitting challenges are you taking on lately?
I'm just starting to knit a lace shawl with very fine yarn, and find that quite challenging. Knitting is a journey. You most likely will never stop learning as long as you are open to it. I'd also like to continue to design knitting patterns and practic writing them up for publishing--that's another challenge, because of course a pattern has to make sense for everyone, not just you!

Any tips for newbie knitters?
Just keep knitting! Every stitch will make you better! And use beautiful yarn. That brings you joy.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Got Jelly Rolls? Get Stitching!

Somehow, quilters have a reputation for loving sweet treats (especially chocolate) so it’s probably not surprising that many quilty pre-cuts are named for baked goods, such as layer cakes, turnovers and the well-known jelly rolls. And because Saturday, Sept. 15 is National Sew a Jelly Roll Day, well, we thought you might enjoy knowing the back story.

Jelly Roll Fun Facts
Jelly rolls are a creation of Moda Fabrics, and were “born” in September 2006 in Dallas. This roll of 2 ½” x 45” strips usually contains 40 prints from a single fabric collection, and many say it launched the pre-cut revolution in quilting. Jelly rolls are just one of many pre-cut “sweets” Moda offers; the others include 10” square layer cakes, and 2 ½” square “candy.”  Most fabric manufacturers have followed suit, and have their own line of named pre-cuts, but Jelly Roll is a registered trademark of Moda. Here are a few more facts and tips: 
  • There are about 140 feet of fabric in one jelly roll.
  •  38 jelly rolls end-to-end measure nearly one mile.
  • Leftover jelly roll strips are perfect for English Paper Piecing, string quilts and bindings.
  • Pre-washing is definitely not recommended.
  • Use a sticky lint roller over the raw edge sides of a jelly roll before unrolling it to minimize lint
  •  Pressing with steam and spray starch can help realign fibers in the strips and get them sew-ready.
Sounds like an ideal pre-cut, right? Here’s the thing, though: People often treat jelly rolls as jewels and they sit on a shelf, their strips tightly furled, because people can’t bear to open them. Just. Too. Cute. So Moda decreed National Sew A Jelly Roll Day would be on the third Saturday in September every year, and give people a reason to be brave, untie that jelly roll, and just make something already!
Get Ready to Rumble!
Hip Stitch is participating in all the jelly roll frivolity with a Jelly Roll Race class taught by Bralia Mease at 1:30 pm on Saturday, Sept. 15. (Sign up HERE.) Everybody should do this, at least once! In a timed sewing session, you’ll sew the strips end-to-end, and then lengthwise to eventually form a quickie quilt top that usually takes about 2 ½ hours to stitch. Rumor has it Bralia is bringing real jelly roll treats , plus a prize for the first one to finish.

Of course there are tons of other jelly-roll “recipes” for fun quilts and projects, including in many books and magazines on sale at Hip Stitch. Moda Bake Shop is a website dedicated to free patterns and project ideas for using pre-cuts of any size/shape. And we can’t forget the latest Jelly Roll project craze--Jelly Roll rugs! We’ve had several classes on these and more are planned.(For details, go HERE.) Hip Stitch teacher Cindy Bruner calls these uber-popular rugs the “Cabbage Patch Dolls” of the quilting world. 

So, whether you join in the group Jelly Roll Race fun this Saturday, or choose another project, just unroll one of these babies and let the creative fun begin!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Defining 'Modern Southwest'

How do you define “modern southwest?”

It can be a line of fabrics, reworked traditional motifs, timeless-yet- fresh color palettes…and so much more. At Hip Stitch, we define “modern southwest” in many ways, including our shelves full of fabric with kitschy and cutting-edge Southwest, Native American and Dia de Los Muertos prints. (Did you know we have the biggest collection of Dia de Los Muertos prints in Albuquerque? Yep. We love our little sugar skulls...)

At Hip Stitch, "modern southwest" is also about connecting with the natural world in New Mexico, with our local mix of traditions and cultures, with bright colors and bold designs. And it’s about the satisfaction of working creatively and helping others tap into their inner artist. Today, we’re sharing the first in an occasional series of mini profiles about our Hip Stitch staff, the real jewels in our modern southwest collection.  

modern southwest: Claudia Reyes   

Claudia has been in the U.S. more than 25 years, but she was born in Mexico and lived there the first half of her life. She is a lifelong creative, doing “all kinds of artsy fartsy stuff,” she says, including ceramics, silk printing and stained glass. She earned her B.A. in Visual Arts and had the rare privilege of working for a time at the Museum of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. It was a one-year professional development requirement for her degree, but it was thrilling! She and other students catalogued photographs and other works by Rivera, Kahlo and other surrealist painters and photographers of the time, and assembled archives.  (“I touched photos and paintings that had not been on exhibition before,” she marvels.) After earning her degree, she owned a stained glass shop and studio in Mexico City, designing and making stained glass and etched glass creations. Quilting, in fact, reminds her of stained glass because you cut and assemble pieces, choosing colors that will pop, but not really quite knowing what the final composition will really look like until you’re finished.
profession: 4th/5th grade bilingual teacher in Albuquerque Public Schools
hobbies: quilting, sewing and cooking. (“Cooking is number 1! I love to eat food…that’s my hobby!”)
fave fabric style/color: modern prints, Kaffe Fassett
local food love: “Definitely I love green chile! I’m a foodie.”
known for: Her brutal honesty and sense of humor.
Hip Stitch claim to fame: Claudia loves helping teach the kids’ summer sewing camps. During the school year, she works the front counter on various Saturdays. and Sundays.
life goal: To have a big sewing room with lots of windows! And a mid-arm.

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 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.


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!