“I was quilting for therapy,” says Kayleen Stingley about how she spent her free time when she worked as an accountant. Now, as the owner of Got 2 Sew, providing “therapy” for customers is one of Kayleen’s greatest joys.
As a matter of fact, that’s how Kayleen named her shop, which is located in Hobbs, New Mexico. When the stress of her job became too great she’d say “I can’t wait for a day off—I’ve got to sew!”
She’s not the only person who feels that way. Hobbs is located near the Texas-New Mexico border and customers come from near and far to enjoy Kayleen’s love of bright fabrics and cheery shop decor.
Old sewing machines and vintage mixers line the top of the fabric shelves and screen doors and an old tea cart serve as display pieces. Some of the items have special meaning—a customer who is now a dear friend brought two of the machines to Kayleen on the second day the shop was open. Near the cash register is a Singer that was a special gift from Kayleen’s husband’s Aunt Bessie. “It sat by our fireplace for decades,” says Kayleen, who adds that she was brought to tears when she realized it could have a place of pride in the shop.
Got 2 Sew’s fabric offerings include plenty of Moda lines. Nearby high school and junior high students love using Zen Chic fabrics for their sewing class projects. Customers scoop up Kota batiks, Moda Marbles and Concretes, and lines from Stacy Iest Hsu, Me and My Sister, and Sweetwater. Kayleen can’t say enough about Moda’s quality, and about the Moda sales reps she’s worked with. They’ve shared tips and tricks of the trade and she’s always able to trust them. Kayleen says of her current rep, Kelly Nielson: “She never oversells, there’s no pressure, and she’s cute and I love her personality!”
Though she didn’t anticipate opening a quilt shop (before she was an accountant she was a cosmetologist), Kayleen’s love of sewing started early. Her mother did alterations work for a dress shop near their Texas Panhandle home and taught her daughter to sew when she was just seven years old. (The dress she made, which includes a zipper (!), hangs in the shop’s display window.) Not long after she stitched her first quilt, a charity quilt, as part of a church group, the Missionettes. Her mother set up a quilt frame in the living room and taught Kayleen to hand quilt.
The tradition of teaching others to sew continues at Got 2 Sew. Learn to Quilt and tee-shirt quilt classes are some of the most popular offerings on the shop schedule. One employee, known as The Bag Lady, stitches and sells bags at the local Farmer’s Market. When customers see her bags and express interest in making their own, a bag class gets added to the calendar. “They always fill up quickly,” says Kayleen.
On a vintage ironing board in the shop’s classroom hangs a simple quilt, stitched from 6” squares. It’s one of many that Kayleen sewed for babies born to mothers of the children she cared for in the church nursery. (At one point she made 13 of these quilts in three months!) “It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come,” she says. That was also when she first realized how loved a quilt could be, and how much pleasure she took in making them, and it’s why owning a shop is perfect fit for Kayleen. “I just love people and I love to sew and the store gives me an avenue for both of those,” she says.
Got 2 Sew opened three years ago on April 27, Kayleen’s birthday. If you’re near Hobbs next week, stop in to share Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday wishes, and to wish Kayleen many more years of “quilting therapy.”