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This is our team, a lot of smiling happy people

 

We're a team of enthusiastic, fun folks who love to sew, quilt, embroider, paint, knit, and other fabric crafts. At Hip Stitch we strive to create a fun atmosphere and enjoy building personal and lasting relationships with our customers.  We hope you'll come by our shop for a visit and some inspiration for your next project.



Suzanne Kelly

Suzanne, well, she’s the soul of Hip Stitch. Our stitching mama. THE founder. She and some friends started the shop in July 2008, to capitalize on the then-trend of sewing lounges, or community places where people could come together to sew. They started with about 50 bolts of fabric. Now, there are more than 3,000 bolts, including an unparalleled collection of Southwest and regional prints and fabrics, and our Lounge is packed with activity almost daily.

She most enjoys sewing quick-and-easy garments that she can wear the next day. (In fact, of anyone on staff, she has the biggest wardrobe of garments made with our fun fabrics. Can you say “walking billboard?) With two spare hours, she’d make a T-shirt or leggings using one of our luscious knits.

She has done just about everything at the shop, from helping customers, to teaching to recycling empty bolts to mopping up after roof leaks. (Retail is so glamorous.) She loves greeting customers, but most enjoys sewing samples for the shop, sharing her visions of how pattern and fabric can come together to make something wonderful.



Steve Hamlin Hip Stitch Quilt Shop

Steve Hamlin  

Except for the random button that falls off, Steve doesn’t sew. At all. Sewing machines are frightening to him. “A needle that plunges up and down at a rate of thousands of times a minute? No thanks! I’ve been scuba diving with sharks, and that seemed a whole lot safer,” he says. 

Steve has been co-owner of HIp Stitch for five years, and says no title can describe his shop duties, including cleaning bathrooms, as well as managing the overall business operations. (His MBA and entrepreneurial experience really help with those bathrooms!) If he had two free hours, he’d dive into a graphics project. Or make dinner. What he actually loves doing at the store is figuring out what/where we can expand and develop Hip Stitch.

“It’s somewhere between a movie studio or a publishing house, maybe most akin to Andy Warhol's factory. We are a creative collective mostly centering on the fiber arts. Herding cats comes to mind.”

Local flavor: Steve’s NM roots are strong. His mom’s brother--Uncle Don--served in the USAF at Kirtland Air Force Base, working on computerizing medical records in the 1970s. And his dad’s brother--Uncle Dave--is named for David Meriwether, a frontiersman who was both a prisoner and a territorial governor of the Roundhouse in Santa Fe (although not simultaneously). Curious? https://www.taosnews.com/stories/the-trials-and-triumphs-of-david-meriwether,59665

Bralia Mease
Bralia Mease
is our staffer with the longest tenure (10 years!), Bralia has been sewing on and off for 50+ years. She quilts, but most likes to sew bags, purses and tote bags. If there were two hours to spare, she’d spend them on finishing one of her purse UFOs. She does most anything at the store, but really enjoys cutting fabric for customers and visiting with them about their sewing journey.

Local flavor: Bralia’s great-great-great grandfather on her mother’s side was from Spain. He helped settle the Cuba, NM, area, and gave some of his land to settlers who came later.


Lisa Pinceloup
Lisa Pinceloup

Lisa is a relative newcomer to Hip Stitch, with a little more than a year on duty at our cutting counter. She’s been sewing for eight years, focusing mostly on garment projects. Lisa is also a talented knitter and has been pioneering knitting kits for Hip Stitch, using custom patterns by Hip Stitch knitting teacher Jen Berg. Lisa’s fave shop activity is cutting and folding fabric. (“It’s almost meditative.”) And if she had 2 spare hours, she’d be making pillows for Christmas.


Mandie Segura
Mandie Segura has almost 10 years on her sewing resume, and loves making clutches and zipper pouches. She’s been our staff photographer and social media manager, for the past 2 ½ years, documenting not only our fabrics and notions, but also the Hip Stitch activities, classes and events. She most enjoys styling and photographing new inventory to share with customers. Her two little girls, several chickens and other entrepreneurial activities have severely curtailed her sewing time lately, but if she had two spare hours, she’d work on a quilt she started years ago.

    

Ellen McMahon
Ellen McMahon

Another 50+ year stitcher, Ellen loves the creative evolution sewing has gone through in the past few years. She loves applique, hand and machine embroidery, and wool applique. She’s been with Hip Stitch about two years, and has helped grow the shop’s Kimberbell machine embroidery division. (Did we mention she formerly had a machine embroidery business?) She enjoys working the cutting table, teaching Kimberbell classes, and our annual summer Kids Camp. “Every day I learn from other staff and from customers. It is so much fun  to meet out-of-towners and introduce them to Hip Stitch.”


Melissa Thompson Maher
Melissa Thompson Maher
has been at Hip Stitch for about five years, and can remember when we wrote our receipts by (gasp!) hand. She helps organize events, retreats and visiting teacher workshops; works on marketing/publicity; writes for our blog and serves customers at the cutting counter. Her professional past includes editorial stints for Quilters Home magazine and the creation of Generation Q Magazine, a now-defunct but much-loved lifestyle magazine for quilters. She’s a lifelong stitcher (thank you, Mom and 4-H), and enjoys creating garments, quilts, smaller projects and hand embroidery. With two spare hours, she’d attack one of the prepped projects in a bin in her sewing room. Her fave thing at the shop? Helping traveling quilters find their take-home treats.


Khadijah Burke
Khadijah Burke
squeezes in sewing projects in between her Hip Stitch work and her class load as a student at the University of New Mexico. She’s  been sewing since she was six, with most of her work lately being small practical stuff, such as altering clothing. However, with two free hours, she’d love to make an outfit for her nephew. She’s been at Hip Stitch since mid-2016, and what she enjoys most is meeting all of the people who are new to the store, as well as seeing familiar returning faces. “I love learning about the projects people are working on and getting to see the finished products. It's so incredible to hear about each unique project because no two are exactly the same - everyone gets to add their own character to their work,” she says.

Catherine Silling

Catherine Silling 

Catherine has been sewing for 58 years, some years more than others, and began to learn to make quilts in 2000.  Her early years of sewing included making clothes for her Barbie doll (“It was new on the market...shows my age!), clothes for herself, including tailored, lined wool suits and velvet winter ball outfits as a teenager. She also made costumes for her children as they were growing up. (The wildest one was a 3D hot air balloon costume designed by her 10-year-old firstborn.) She’s also made American Girl doll clothes for her two granddaughters, and likes to sew almost anything, especially quilt tops. 

Her Hip Stitch tenure started as a volunteer gig when she retired six years ago, but we signed her up as a “real” employee a few months later. She directs our sample-making efforts, sewing plenty herself and finding others to help. And she logs time at the cutting/sales counter. She enjoys every shop activity, including straightening fabric bolts on the shelf and making kits and samples. Two spare hours would be spent on finishing a project something she’s already started.

 

Jeremi Chavez

Jeremi Chavez

Okay, here’s another non-sewer, but Jeremi is a key player at Hip Stitch. He’s a certified sewing machine mechanic, aka Machine Whisperer, with more than 15 years experience in sewing machine repair. Just wait ‘til you see all his certifications: Babylock technician, electrician, appliance technician and bio-medical electronics engineer. (And yeah, this wizard chooses to spend time at Hip Stitch!) He’s been working his magic at Hip Stitch about four years, repairing machines, sharpening scissors and refurbishing custom-painted Featherweights for our Featherweight division.

Jeremi enjoys the staff camaraderie at Hip Stitch, but most of all, enjoys helping customers solve their machine problems. 

In his off hours, he enjoys refurbishing old sewing machines to donate to those in need, both in the United States and worldwide. Hip Stitch recently sent a machine to Central America that Jeremi had converted to a hand-crank drive.

Local flavor: Jeremi grew up in northern New Mexico and California. He and his wife (Susan, a pediatric nurse) and two young daughters live in a slightly rural community outside Albuquerque.


Reut Ran
Reut Ran

The colorful ethnic clothing of the Bedouin people in her native Israel sparked Reut’s love of fabrics, colors, weaving and anthropology. Each year, they set up tents near her house on their way north with herds of sheep, goats and camels, giving her plenty of time to observe their textiles. Her mother was also a master knitter, and taught Reut everything she knew about knitting.

As a youth, she traveled to Europe, Lapland, Australia and South America studying and collecting ethnic fabrics. In 1980 she came to Albuquerque to study anthropology and soon became deeply involved in the arts of weaving and natural dyes. She has also sewn for 40+ years, making many of her own clothes using her woven fabrics.

For some years she was co-owner of Village Wools in Albuquerque, where she led the store’s weaving aspects. During that time, she also began to dye yarns for weavers and fabrics for quilters. Now, she is experimenting with various surface design techniques on fabric, and since joining our staff about 1 ½ years ago, she’s established a strong following for our fabric printing and dyeing classes. With two spare hours, she’d start an appliqué quilt with her hand-dyed fabrics.

Susan Fakhrai
Susan Fakhrai

Sixth grade summer school in 1966 is when Susan discovered sewing. Her fave thing to sew quickly became clothing, including her wedding dress and ski jackets and outerwear from Frostline kits. She stopped sewing in 1984 when her daughter arrived because, well, life. In 2014, when she retired from teaching, she took up the needle again. She fell in love with the people and fabrics at Hip Stitch and started to work there. Her ad hoc title is education director, and her focus is setting up the shop’s quarterly class schedules, ordering fabrics and working with the Point-of-Sale system. She also loves brainstorming new ideas for the shop. Her favorite sewing activity now is free-motion quilting. With two spare hours, she’d probably just sort through her stash. Or learn how to use her new serger. (We vote for the latter, Susan!)

Lorraine Hines

Lorraine Hines

An educator in her day job, Lorraine learned how to sew when she was a 10-year-old Girl Scout. (She’s not sharing how long ago that was.) She’s been at Hip Stitch a little over a year, and loves it. “This is my fun, happy place!” She enjoys petting fabric equally as much as helping customers and hearing about new ideas and projects. Sewing bags and totes is her favorite sewing activity, although she’s mastering the art of jelly roll bowls. What would she do with two spare hours? Sew a bag or a bowl, of course! Local flavor: Lorraine is a fifth-generation New Mexico native, with a long history of family educators (including a Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C.!).  Her family hails from small towns south of Albuquerque, specifically Las Nutritas, which means “the beavers” and La Joya, which means “jewel or gem”.

Cindy Bruner
Cindy Bruner

Home Ec is where it all started for Cindy, when she began sewing about 30 years ago. A few years later, she started quilting, which has completely taken over her stitching passion. A retired educator/principal, she values solid learning, even in craft. She became a certified Quilt in a Day instructor in 2017 and a certified Kimberbell machine embroidery instructor in 2018.   

She’s been on staff at Hip Stitch since 2017, when she retired from Albuquerque Public Schools. She serves on the fabric buying committee, teaches a variety of quilting and Kimberbell machine embroidery classes and is also the developer of Jerry’s Jelly Roll Jig, a custom tool that streamlines the sewing of Jelly Roll rugs and bowls.

“I consider myself a lean, mean, quilting machine and use my spare time to create quilts for shop samples and my family,” she says. With two spare hours, she’d be working on a quilt or a machine embroidery project, natch. 

Her fave things to do at Hip Stitch are to help customers select fabric for a quilting project and teach others to love quilting as much as she does.


Melissa Moore

Melissa Moore was almost lost to the sewing sisterhood when, as a younger person, she tried in vain to learn to sew. She just couldn’t quite get the whole tension phenomena, and her mom, Mel says, could not explain it. Mel eventually cracked the code as an adult, though, and her grandma walked her through making a skirt. 

An Albuquerque native, Mel has also lived in many exotic places, including Australia, Mexico and Florida, and seen many beautiful textiles. Get this, though: The first place she ever bought nice fabric was Hip Stitch! She’s been on staff here for a little more than two years, teaching Beginning Basics and other garment classes, working the cutting counter and lately, upping our merchandising game with amazing seasonal or topical displays in the entryway. (Let’s just say the Macy’s Christmas windows have nothing on Mel’s creations. Each new display is a must-see.)

She also enjoys helping customers with problem-solving, and making sure they are comfortable and confident with their project plans. And she loves making the occasional quilt, but her true favorite things to sew are bags and garments because she “likes the faster finish.”   

 

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