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Annissa Essaibi George is the owner of Stitch House. At age 6 her mom stayed up late teaching her to sew her first project - a Barbie skirt! She never stopped sewing and you would find her late at night, throughout high school and college, sewing. As a teenager she was national finalist in a McCall’s Pattern Company sewing contest. In college her and her roommate would create an assembly line and sew hair scrunchies to sell in the dorms to fund take-out dinner or a night on the town. After college Annissa had a small line of custom, special occasion children’s clothing featured in several retail shops. Annissa made her own prom dress, wedding gown and all her bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dresses. She’s also made countless quilts and hand-crafted gifts for her friends and family. Although sewing is her passion she enjoys the portability of knitting and crocheting and always has several projects going at once.

 

Annissa was a teacher at East Boston High School for 13 years prior to being elected to the Boston City Council. She serves as an At-Large member, elected in 2015. Annissa is a mom to 4 great boys Douglas, Charlie, Kayden and Samir. Annissa and her husband Doug are both life-long residents of Dorchester. 

Stitch House Staff

I always say, my shop's success is due to the incredible staff that treat the Stitch House as their own business. They love this space and our customers. Each brings a little something special to what we do here. In no particular order...

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CARRIE WEINSTEIN, Manager/Buyer

Carrie learned to knit over 30 years ago while in Australia for a semester abroad.  She returned home with some knitting knowledge but let it languish until her friends started having babies in the early 2000's.  Since then, Carrie has knitted and gifted more items than she can count and has sold her knitwear at various venues over the years.  She never lets a day pass without knitting at least a few stitches in one of her works in progress which helps her stay calm and relatively sane.  She enjoys learning and teaching new stitches and techniques but her real love is color.  No neutrals for her, at least not without a pop of something bright and fun.

 

Carrie started teaching knitting at Stitch House in the spring of 2015 and moved into the buyer position in 2017.  In January, 2021, she took over as shop manager as Annissa stepped back to run for mayor of Boston.  She is thrilled and humbled to be trusted with the running of her favorite local yarn shop!  

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ROBYN BOOTH

Knitting Instructor

Retail Sales

Robyn comes from a family of talented women who are knitters, crocheters, sewers, and embroiderers. Her mother who is a sewer, a knitter and a crocheter taught her these skills when she was young. After college, knitting became special with the realization that you are creating your own pattern that ultimately becomes a wearable piece. Now, she always has at least two projects going at the same time and one is usually for charity.

 

When Robyn is not knitting she enjoys cooking, reading and watching sports.

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VALAREE HEMIGHAUS

Knitting instructor

Retail Sales

Office manager/in house therapist

"If you can remember anything about the sixties (or seventies), you weren't really there."  Well, it was the seventies for Valaree.  She had been crocheting in the 90's and after 9/11 she taught herself how to knit....or so she thought.  At that time she was unpacking from a somewhat recent move and found knitting supplies, patterns from the early 70's and 2 color work Christmas stockings in some pretty rough acrylic yarn....and it all came back to her!  While the 70's saw her knitting hippie shawls and crocheting hair bun covers and beanies, today Valaree's focus is knitting and shawls are still one of her favorite things to knit!   Of course, she also enjoys knitting socks and hats and sweaters and scarves and those cute baby sets and afghans....get the point?  While teaching Valaree does tend to put her whole body into it and tries her hardest to have students understand why they're doing what they're doing.

When Valaree's not knitting (wait, is she ever not knitting?), she enjoys being outdoors with friends whether it's biking, hiking, gardening or relaxing.

 

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SHELLEY LEAHEY

Knitting instructor

Retail sales

Holds record for fastest knitter

Shelley has been knitting and sewing since childhood. Taught by her grandmother, she also has a love affair with buttons. Many times the buttons are chosen first and the yarn or fabric will follow. Her motto is it's all about the buttons. A former owner of a quilting shop, Shelley now spends just about all her creative hours knitting. She is the organizer of Sheep Ahoy Knitters' Cruise. Shelley is an active member in the Greater Boston Knitting Guild and the MetroWest Knitting Guild. Aside from knitting for her 6 grandchildren, she loves to knit for charity. This years items went to Homemade for the Homeless in Boston.

CASSIE WHITE

Retail Sales

Tech Wizard/Social Media Guru

Cassie first learned to crochet as a young girl, making blankets for her dolls. It wasn't until college that her interest in crafting was re-ignited and she learned to knit from a friend. Cassie enjoys working with farm yarns and is drawn to patterns with lots of texture. 

 

Recently she has also regained interest in sewing, mostly making clothes for herself. She is one of our Get to Know Your Sewing Machine instructors. 

SUZANNE FILBEY

Knitting instructor

Window Display Diva

I was born with busy hands.

They have always had to be doing something.

I learned embroidery first, then crewel work, sewing, cross-stitch, crochet...

 

Oddly, I didn’t learn to knit until in my 40s. And only then, because I desperately wanted a Dale of Norway ski sweater. Once I took it up, though, I was thoroughly hooked! In a yarn shop, I was like a kid in a candy store.  I fell in love with the look, the feel, and all the things you could make with yarn. There was so much I wanted to try! I couldn’t knit fast enough. But, unfortunately, as a learner, I couldn’t knit fast. Once I got over “beginner frustration,” I settled down into the slower pace that knitting necessitates. I discovered a whole new community of  knitters. Weekly classes continued through months and then years. Not only had I found a new passion, but I had found a new home-away-from-home where I could learn, laugh, share, and at times even cry, as we sat and knitted our projects and our lives together. 

 

As I began finishing projects, I discovered the joy of giving something that I had knit, stitch by stitch, to someone special. After all those special people—including our dog—had a gift, and after I had more scarves that I could ever wear, I began knitting for those most in need. Here was another way that I could use my craft to offer comfort and caring to people who may not even have one hat, or one scarf to protect them from the cold. 

 

As I became more experienced, I wanted to share the joy that I had discovered with others.  I set up a knitting table at our weekly farmer’s market, and freely taught anyone who came up to learn. I would give my number to waitresses who would remark on my knitting and lament that they didn’t know how to knit, I taught kids at my son’s school, and, as a reading teacher for kids with dyslexia, I gave the gift of knitting to all willing students.

 

Finally, I felt knowledgeable enough to work in “candy land,” The Stitch House. To be surrounded by fibers and friends, to help people find just the right project, or colors that work together, or yarn that makes their heart sing, is a truly wonderful experience! And best of all, I get to combine my love of teaching with my love of knitting to bring the joy of knitting to all who want to learn.

 

I hope to see you in The Stitch House soon!