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Meet Our Staff

Shop Owner Mary began hand embroidery projects at age 5, and made her first quilt at 12. She comes by it naturally, learning from her mother, Helen, who was an avid sewer, weaver, appliquer and bobbin-lace maker. Mary lives with her husband of 39 years, Buddy, at Lake Monticello outside of Charlottesville.

Dan has over 40 years of service and repair experience and has been with Cottonwood over 10 years. His vast knowledge allows him to service all makes of sewing machines, sergers, and industrial sewing machines. He is a long-term resident of Charlottesville.

Michelle grew up in Northern Albemarle where she now resides with her husband and three children.  She has a collection of antique and vintage sewing machines of all makes!  One of her favorite things about working at Cottonwood is meeting different customers and helping select fabric. 2021 brought new opportunities and Michelle has now completed the Tech program and is a part of our Tech team!

Sandra has been quilting, sewing, and knitting for40 years.  Small projects for family and friends are her specialty, keeping her creative during her husbands Army career that took them to Germany twice, Korea, and six different states!  She is the mother of five children, who are now grown, and grandmother of 4, including the newest addition in New Zealand!

Andrea began working in November 2021.  She is originally from Waynesboro but has lived in Charlottesville for the past 11 years.  She began sewing when she was 18 years old.  Andrea started quilting in 2020 and has now made many beautiful quilts.  When not working or quilting she enjoys gardening and playing with her dog and 4 cats.

Robin received her first sewing machine at the age of twelve and learned basic skills from her mother and grandmother.  This knowledge came in handy while raising her four children, doing special projects such as making curtains for the house, and creating Halloween costumes for the kids.  Robin bought her first Bernina 15 years ago and took classes to learn to quilt. She now owns four Berninas, teaches quilting and has worked at Cottonwood for over 12 years.

Yolanda became fascinated with the sewing machine at an early age, due to her mother’s occupation as a seamstress.  She enjoys creative activities of any kind and in 1986 she received a BS in Design from the University of Cincinnati.  Having recently joined the Cottonwood team and acquiring her first BERNINA sewing machine, she is excited to explore the myriad possibilities of quilt making.

William - As a 25-year-old male I stick out like a sore thumb in the sewing community. I am a California native that grew up in the bay area and went to college at San Jose State. In college I received a bachelor in fine arts with a specification in glass blowing and metal fabrication. Unfortunately, with Covid shutdowns there were no studios for me to continue this work, so I shifted my focus towards my sewing and embroidery machine. Since then I’ve been hyper focused on sewing, I specialize in custom embroidery through utilizing computer software to digitize things from scratch! Also, I teach all of the machine mastery classes and love all of the mechanics/features that appear in Bernina sewing machines. At the end of the day I love to talk so don’t be afraid to say hi if you see me in the shop!

Mallory - My sewing life started when I was seven years old.  As the devoted owner of a Vogue doll, I needed to upgrade her wardrobe.  My mother said “No”, to my entreaties for a $5.00 purchase of new clothes for her.  I started with a bathing suit which I cut out and stitched together right on her plastic body.  Thus began a long history of sewing.  At twelve I made myself a bathing suit which I wore only once on a sailing expedition.  As a debutant, I created a white satin dress and a pink Dior evening gown with a fabric rose at the waist.

My father gave me a clothing allowance, but my mother paid for any material.  For me fabric was “free”!  Perhaps that’s why I’ve collected so much of it over the years—making clothes for myself, my daughter, two sons, and four grandchildren.

In the early 2000’s I took a class to make a quilted backpack.  I was hooked and quickly became a “bag lady”.  I’ve made bags for my family, friends, and friends of the family.  Finally, over the last ten years I’ve added quilt making to my repertoire.

Working at Cottonwood has been a wonderful way to connect with others who are thrilled to put needle and thread to work making new and beautiful creations.

Nola has been quilting for 50+ years, having made her first quilt in college using scraps from her college wardrobe.  She occupies her time producing kits and samples for Cottonwood and keeping her husband, dog, horses and ill-tempered llama happy and well-fed.

Melinda has been sewing for almost 50 years.  Her mom taught her to sew, and her grandmother owned a pieced goods shop in WV.  Melinda has been quilting for over 20 years and has a passion for machine embroidery too.  She just joined the Cottonwood team and handles the website, social media and marketing for the shop.  Melinda is a proud owner of 5 BERNINA sewing/quilting and embroidery machines and is a fabric collector.  She’s very excited to bring even more digital engagement to Cottonwood.

Laura began sewing at 8 years old. Her first accomplishment was a “maxi skirt” to wear to school.  Along with many outfits, she sewed all her formal dresses for Cotillions and Proms.

In 1983, Laura became owner and manager of French Reweaving Company, a clothing repair and tailor shop established in 1946 in Norfolk, VA. Reweaving is the art of repairing moth eaten, torn, burned, and worn out clothing by reweaving damaged areas and threads using special needles and magnifying glasses, one thread at a time. Carrying on the war-time tradition, she specialized in the repair of knits and also became a master tailor.
In 2000, Laura opened a business called Boltz of Fabric, specializing in home decor, apparel, and costumes. 
After moving to Charlottesville, she began working at Cottonwood as the Purchasing and Receiving agent and is thrilled to be surrounded by all the beautiful fabric and colors.