Monday, February 24, 2014


Rosanne, Ellen & Claudia in the RAIN

Many of you have seen the Facebook update I did Saturday, in which Ellen Benson, a Hip Stitch customer & dear friend, passed away.  She battled cancer on and off since February 2011, and dammit, it overtook her body.  I last saw Ellen 2 weeks ago, when I had the privilege and blessing to be able to help finish her sewing projects and visit with her.  When I left her, I hugged her and told her I loved her.  I had hoped at that time I could visit her, maybe once a week, and laugh with her, which is what we did much of together.  No one knew 2 weeks ago how fast the cancer was spreading.  I can only imagine the grief her husband is going through, and her 3 precious children.....what they understand and don't understand.  My heart aches.

If you don't mind, I'd like to share my memories of Ellen, and what she brought to Hip Stitch.....

I met her soon after our little store opened.  She came for sewing lessons, and brought her old, heavy Singer sewing machine, which if memory serves, was her grandmother's?  I taught her how to use her machine, and we struck up an instant friendship (which I'm confident everyone can say about Ellen).   She enjoyed sewing so much, she told her husband what she'd like for Christmas, and lo and behold, Walt came into the store before the holidays to ask me just which machine to buy for her.  Our friendship grew....she came in to sew when she could, being a busy mother to 2 and 1 on the way.  I learned she did photography, and approached her about taking some store pictures.  A memory I'll always cherish is of Ellen, about 8 months pregnant, climbing onto the cutting table/counter of the store to get just the right shot.  I stood below her, nervously saying "are you sure you should be doing this?"  She just casually said "psh" and kept shooting.  As her due date approached, I asked her to let me know about the arrival of the baby, not thinking I'd really be in the loop to get information of the baby's birth.  Another cherished memory:  coming in to the store and listening to messages:  her husband Walt's voice, leaving a message to let me know that baby Marek had been born, giving me the date, time, weight.

THAT was the moment:  when I realized Hip Stitch is so much more than a store.  When I realized that we'd been creating relationships, friendships, bonds, gathering the community in so many more ways than sewing.  Ellen was the force behind that moment.

So thank you for allowing me to share my memories, and shed some tears with you.   Because I know you all are ok with that.  Because you all, like Ellen, are Hip Stitch family.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

NOW she can have the baby!

Liz worked tirelessly this week in the lounge, quilting her Ombre Quilt....she pinned, quilted, serged, sewed the binding, and has only to hand sew the 2nd step of binding. (I told her she can do that in the hospital)  She's now ready for baby, due any day!

She opted to have only her belly in the picture....I, only the other hand, have no qualms about sticking my butt out and snuggling up to her belly; hence, looking like a fool!  :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

An Albuquerque outing

As many of you know, I'm married to a math teacher.  While there are some similarities between what I do and what he does (see the end of this post for more on that), we usually don't talk details of projects we're doing, classes we're teaching, etc.  To be honest, so much of what he teaches is waaaaay over my head!

Today, though, instead of staying home and sewing (or laundry, or grocery shopping, or cleaning...),  I agreed to go along with him on a expedition to find frieze patterns, of which he's currently teaching in his middle school classroom.  We took off with our cameras (me channeling my friend Ellen), and had a fun afternoon together:

First, Central Ave. by UNM:

Then, over to UNM:

Wow - Zimmerman Library is beautiful!  We explored the older wing:

(not frieze patterns, but I LOVED this old card catalog)

(and check out these study tables w/lights above them)

From there, we headed downtown:

And lastly, a swing by Old Town:

And as he taught me about frieze patterns, and translation symmetry, glide reflection, and much more that I didn't understand completely, 
my mind went to frieze patterns in fabric:

And lastly, as to how our work is similar:

Here is Ali Winston's new book!  Ali, who was a Hip Stitcher here before she moved to Atlanta, teaches math as well as is a fabulously creative quilter!  I just got my copy of her new book - can't wait to try out a pattern!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Block of the Month Party

This past Friday night, we hosted a party for the Block of the Month ladies who did the 2013 program.  Some of our new students came to see our finished quilts - was a fun and inspirational night for all!  Here are the beautiful quilts:

And a few other quilts made during the year by these fabulous gals:

Inspiring, no?