Saturday, September 18, 2021

Silver Linings in a Pandemic

 Fabulous customer:

2 this week: (both on the same day, to boot!)

*A private lesson with Sarah, who was absolutely riveting:  she shared her love of history, combined with her years of service in the U.S. Army.  and it made for a lovely interaction with her.  She taught me so much, and as I told her "it's so nice to get out of my bubble of running this store/fabric/quilting" and just open up to listening and learning something new.

*Phyllis came to me to to learn about our Eversewn Sparrow 20 machine.  She's 88 and has macular degeneration, so she needs a machine that she'll be able to easily use despite her vision challenges.  She is funny, optimistic and a pleasant human being to be around.  We jokingly shared of the perils of aging:  weakened eyes, stiff back, achy bones, but knowing the importance of seeing the glass as 1/2 full!

Thank you, ladies, for choosing to cross paths with me this week - you are silver linings.



This pattern:  (remember from last week?)

As I began some of the 'collaging' today:

I felt like I was a bit in the mind of Laura Heine, the pattern designer, as she created this.  I LOVE this process!  It's a shit-ton of work with the prep, but as I said in my previous post, that's part of the meditative process of creating, at least for me.  There are plenty of projects that I do that I just want to quickly get them done:  a mask, a pillow cover, a new set of curtains, an easy garment, for example.  But there's something about creating projects that force you to take your time and every step requires creativity:

I especially love that Laura Heine specifically says in the directions: "try to be a little messy when placing your strips...." - after all, perfection shouldn't really be the goal in the creative process.  Make something that your eyes see as lovely.

So, in about 2 hours, I finished this one:

Learned this week:

If you haven't read the latest Hip Stich newsletter, we told customers of the continuing fabric shipment delays and the stress on every level of the production and distribution of fabric.
I have tremendous respect and appreciation for those working on this.  I had conversations with sales reps and a company vice president.  They were apologetic and sincere.  It was important for me to tell them,  "I'm frustrated with the situation, not with you."  
What a world of difference that makes in our interactions with each other, no?

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Silver Linings in a Pandemic

 Fabulous customers:

Tomato Soup:

Add milk or water?  This was the conversation I found myself engaged in with 2 customers.  How we got to this?  I have no idea.  One minute we’re standing side by side in the store, looking at fabric and patterns, the next, debating over which is better - milk or water added to a can of tomato soup.  Then, of course, it must be combined with grilled cheese.  And so on, and so on.  These gals were in town for a National Guard conference, and, well, added to my growing list of “best things about my day”


This pattern:

Lots and lots of lots of ironing to Steam a Seam Lite & cutting with a wavy rotary blade, but I've grown to enjoy it - part of the meditative prep work for what's to come:

Learned this week:

Appreciation for customer's communication:

Jeremy cannot fix ALL sewing machines, whether it's due to access to parts (if we're not a dealer, sometimes parts cannot be acquired), warranty issues (again, dealership thing), or the time it would take him to fix it would exceed the value of the machine.  We've been working very hard to communicate clearly with customers about this, but sometimes, one avenue of communication is overlooked.  Suzanne came in last week with her Viking machine - we thought we had covered all the bases in letting folks know he does not service Viking machines, but she graciously pointed out that indeed, it did say he serviced them on a page on our website that has Jeremy's bio.  So, thank you Suzanne, for letting us know so we could edit that!
(Did you know......there's a Viking dealership in town!  Gathering Stitches, a great shop in Los Lunas, is the one!)

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Silver Linings in a Pandemic

Fabulous customers:


One of the cool things about having a shop that primarily has a female customer base is that it’s generally acceptable to have a girl crush on a customer. 

Like Carrie, who is not only a really nice human being, but also makes lovely quilts,  AND has gorgeous hair.  When I ooohed and aahed over it one day,  she told me about the Curly Girl Method, which I’m now reading up more on and trying out!  (I’m tired of straightening my hair but frustrated when I let it go natural, as it becomes a wavy fizzy mess)   So thanks, Carrie, for your gorgeous hair inspiration and your everyday sweet nature!

(wellll, not really going for this look!)


I started on a garment using fabric Reut hand-stamped:

She acquires her leaves from a variety of sources - ask her sometime about it!

Also, made this from the pallet that delivered the 24 Eversewn machines that were purchased by our customers to donate to Mexico:

Learned this week:

Did you know? 

Women’s buttons are sewn onto the left side of the garment. The reason for this is that buttons were very expensive and only wealthy women with domestic help could afford them. So to make it easier for the help to button up they were on the ‘wrong’ side.

Huh.  I'll remember that next time my ladies' maid buttons up my dress, and the convenience of it for her.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Silver Linings in a Pandemic

Fabulous customers:


She came to New Mexico to go antelope hunting with her fiance.  They met in a bowling league, became friends, were widowed and are now together.  They’re from Delaware, and this is her 1st visit to NM.  We talked about the drastic difference in the land, especially flying in!  She has a house on the beach in Delaware, is a quilter, (1st time) antelope hunter, bowler, and best of all, a wonderful sense of humor and a great outlook on the world.

Update: Geri called me when she got back home to Delaware - here she is with her prize antelope!  She loved the beauty of New Mexico:


I started the 100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 3 at Hip Stitch craft night Friday.  I love Sonya's patterns, but full confession - reading the word "caftan" in the description gave me pause, and a flashback to Mrs. Roper:

Here's what I made - just needs sleeve and bottom hemmed:

(think I'm going to love it!)

Learned this week:


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Silver Linings in a Pandemic

Fabulous customers:

Karen brought in her Eversewn 20 machine to learn some of its features.  Her last machine was an old Singer that did a straight stitch.  That’s all.  I LOVED the jaw dropping moments when she learned that her new machine:  could make a buttonhole to FIT the button due to being able to slide the button right onto the foot itself; that there was a ‘stop/start’ button so she can skip using the foot pedal; that the decorative stitches make beautiful designs just by selecting a stitch and pressing ‘start’.  That was priceless.  Sometimes, it’s just the little things that bring us happiness.


A continuation of the Mountain High Quilt - I'm about 1/2 way done with my paper pieced blocks:

Learned this week:

I went into the new mask mandate with some trepidation, not sure how accepting customers would be.  I learned to believe in the best of folks.  They usually show it!

Speaking of great humans, I met Dr. Eva Moya, who is a professor of social work at Univ. of Texas El Paso.  She gave a lovely and inspiring talk at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, all about her help with humanitaran efforts at the US/Mexico border.  

Our customers purchased 2 dozen Eversewn sewing machines - we'll be taking them to El Paso and Dr. Moya will be a point person to help get them across the border to help empower those in need.  Reut spearheaded this effort!

To my right is Dr. Moya, and to my left is Roxie with the Dignity Mission with the church.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Silver Linings in a Pandemic

Fabulous customers:

Tomato Soup:

Add milk or water?  This was the conversation I found myself engaged in with 2 customers.  How we got to this?  I have no idea.  One minute we’re standing side by side in the store, looking at fabric and patterns, the next, debating over which is better - milk or water added to a can of tomato soup.  Then, of course, this must be eaten with grilled cheese.  And so on, and so on.  These gals were in town with a National Guard conference, and, well, added to my list of “best things about my day”


My daughter sent me a text and a picture. The text:

"if we're gonna keep wearing masks, I decided I should finally get around to hanging them on hooks!"

The picture, in her tiny apartment:

That was the kick I needed to work on stop feeling so hopeless and sad about wearing masks again, and just do it.  ("embrace it" is a stretch.....)
She and I made a pact to each make some new ones.

I began the “Mountain High” quilt this week.  

The kit is from Stitch in Durango, and the owner LeeAnn is gracious and kind and has a wonderful shop (don’t believe me? - her shop was on the COVER of Quilt Sampler this past spring!)

I began it after a spell of no sewing.  Just not feeling it and riding out the "creative block"

Its foundation strip piecing, and I did all the ‘boring’ parts - cutting!  But for me, choosing which colors to group together and what pieces to pull out of each group to cut was so perfect to get me back in my groove.  I only just started on one block, but holy moley, this is fun!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Norma Rose: The Backstory


It's not often that hearing the backstory on a designer line of fabric can make your eyes misty, but that was definitely the case when we connected recently with Natalie Barnes, designer of the colorful new Norma Rose collection now available for pre-sales from Hip Stitch. 

Norma Rose by Natalie Barnes for Windham Fabrics 

Natalie's design business is Beyond The Reef, and Norma Rose is her latest collection for Windham. It was an easy collection to create because its namesake and inspiration was close to her heart: it's all about her mom. 

The signature print, shown above in two colorways, taps into her mom's love of roses. Wherever Natalie's parents lived, they always managed to plant a rose garden. And her mom always filled her kitchen with fragrant rose bouquets, Natalie recalls. 

Other prints in the collection (see below) literally carry her mom's mark, including the print set against a background of handwritten recipes from Norma Rose's own recipe box. And there are more geometrics, prints and blenders rounding out the full collection.

Don't just take our word for it, though. Listen to our interview with Natalie, and hear her tell the stories. (And get your order in now, because the yardage and Fat Quarter bundles are going fast!

Natalie Barnes of Beyond The Reef