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Staff


Alison and Pete Zacharkiw, Owners

Alison and Pete bought Capital Quilts April 1, 2012.

Alison is a long-time sewer and knitter and began quilting in 1999 when her youngest daughter’s fifth grade class needed to come up with a quilt for the school auction and none of the other moms would take on the challenge! While the kids designed their blocks, she frantically read up on how to make a quilt. In the end, the quilt was a big success, and Alison had so much fun doing it she continued making quilts. She joined the Capital Quilts crew in 2006.

Pete is a mechanical and systems engineer by training and a born entrepreneur. In 1983 he, with some help from Alison, started a computer business in their basement. The company was called Bohdan, and ten years later it was the #1 Compac dealer in the nation, with offices in four states and over 250 employees. He is currently starting up a new energy efficiency company called Cenergetix. Pete loves working with his hands and has done home renovations and furniture building; he has been instrumental in the renovations of the shop.

They have three children, all of them grown. Megan is assistant executive manager for Sofitel Hotels in Singapore. David is the Craft Beer Buyer for Total Wine and More and lives in Kensington. Katie is in Seattle working at her job in digital marketing.

Kelly Bauer

As a young mother, Kelly was interested in learning how to sew and quilt. She received her first sewing machine as a birthday present when she was in the hospital after the birth of her youngest daughter. After some basic home decorator courses, she took her first quilt class at Capital Quilts and fell in love. Kelly is a long-time customer and has made many close friends at the shop through 2nd Saturday Club and other classes over the years.

Kelly joined CQ in early 2018 and you will typically see her on evenings and weekends in the shop. She earned her degree as a RN and works full-time as a cardiac nurse. Kelly enjoys the comradery at the shop, helping customers pick out fabric and always feels inspired by their projects. “Quilting is therapeutic. I love making quilts as gifts for others and I have quite a long waitlist. One of these days I’m going to make one for myself. My goal this year is to spend more time learning to use the longarm and free motion quilt.”

Kelly enjoys spending time with her family and two daughters. Her oldest daughter graduated from college with a degree in interior architecture and design and is gainfully employed. And Kelly’s youngest daughter is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh studying business. Now that her daughters are out of the house, she took over the loft and created a large sewing space with room for her quilt group. When not quilting, Kelly enjoys playing golf and tennis.
Barbara Bean, Longarm Department

"My very first quilt was a log cabin quilt that I made at Stretch & Sew in the early 80's -- yes, you heard correctly -- Stretch & Sew. I still have the book, "Log Cabin Quilt in a Day" by a very young Eleanor Burns. Mine took several years! Did I mention I'm a bit of a procrastinator?

Capital Quilts became my favorite place to shop around 2002-03. I signed up for the Complete Course with Annette and Susan. I had just lost my dog Kayla and the quilting became therapeutic for me.
During the Complete Course series, I signed up for just about every class I could to learn more about this wonderful new hobby. I was hooked! A couple of years later I purchased the Pfaff Grand Quilter on a 10-foot frame. A couple of years after that I purchased my Handi Quilter Avante, and a couple of years after that I began quilting for others.
I retired from Montgomery College in December, 2012, and in December 2013, I began working part-time at Capital Quilts – just in time for inventory – woo hoo!! For the first few months I worked on the sales floor, but then I took over the Longarm Certification Classes and the Longarm Rentals. I currently provide longarm quilting for Capital Quilts customers and have recently upgraded to a Handi Quilter Amara.

It gives me great pleasure helping others finish their quilts on the longarm machine.

As much as I love quilting, what gives me the most pleasure is hanging out with my granddaughter, Sarah."
Pam Blodgett

"One of my favorite childhood memories is fabric shopping with my mom. While my brother and sister hated it I was having a blast touching all the fabric, soaking up the colors and dreaming of what my mom could make me. Well, she made me some great stuff but not as much as I was dreaming for, so I pestered her to teach me to sew. So at 10 years old my love for sewing was launched. I was eighteen when I started working at the first of many fabric stores. In fact I enjoyed the fabric business so much I changed my major from art to textiles. Over time what I would make morphed from garment sewing to some home dec, dabbling in knitting, to quilting. I love to see new people discovering the joy of making something with their hands. For me the common denominator in everything sewing related is all the opportunities to be creative and the ability to have fun with color!"
Liz Brodsky
Mary Lou Dungan

"I started quilting in 1998 after taking a quilting/Bible Study with a friend. My daughter, Christina, worked at Capital Quilts while she was in high school.  After she moved on, I was hired in late 2006. In 2010 I remarried (which I swore I would never do, but am totally delighted that I did) and gave up my work at CQ until 2012 when I retired from my full time job. In addition to fondling fabric to my heart's delight, I enjoy talking with all the customers and co-workers about our mutual love of quilting. There is always something new to learn, which can be challenging and exciting; even a little scary, but Capital Quilts is a fun and happy place to spend a few hours every week. There are always beautiful new fabrics to charm you and plenty of temptation for a fabric addict."
Nina Graves

Nina's mother and grandmother taught her many needlework skills and are the inspiration for much of her work. She favors patterns with curves of any kind, and her favorite tool is the simple self-threading needle. She uses it to bury threads and could not live without it. Nina is also a proponent of having the right sized ruler for the task at hand.

Although Nina officially retired in July 2014, she can still occasionally be found helping out at the shop if we're in a tight spot.
Lora Houck
Liz Jordan

Liz J. started working at Capital Quilts in June 2019. Her adventures with art began as a little girl creating outfits for her dolls with leftover fabric scraps from her Mom’s sewing table, learning basic stitching in Girl Scouts, and eventually teaching art at a few camps during her teens.

While pursuing a degree in Computer Science, Liz met Madame Morris, a French Professor who introduced her to the larger world of art -- paintings and sculptures, colors and lines, frenzy and form. One of Madame Morris’ favorite sayings was “Learn to know what you like, not just like what you know,” which resonates with Liz still and drives her desire to explore, experiment and learn.

Following graduation, Liz pursued a career as a systems’ engineer and then manager for Hewlett-Packard (HP). After 15 years at HP, Liz “retired” to raise her 3 children and help care for her ailing Mom. When her Mom passed, Liz inherited her Mom’s knitting needles. Something about receiving those needles rekindled her interest in fiber arts. Using YouTube, she taught herself to knit, then discovered felting from wool knits. This led to experimenting with wet felting, needle felting and rug hooking, finally settling into needlepoint after discovering the amazing array of threads and techniques which could be used to co-create work with canvas designers and artists.

And then came quilting! A few years ago, Liz wandered into a room full of wonderful women who were creating quilts. They welcomed her warmly, generously shared their enthusiasm and expertise with her, and have become a constant source of joy and inspiration. While she appreciates the many facets of quilting, her current area of exploration is art quilts … using textiles, threads and other media, along with both machine and hand stitching to interpret a song, a quote, a feeling, an experience, a picture.

When she’s not playing with fabric and fibers, Liz enjoys spending time with family and friends, adventure travel, hiking, her volunteer work, and learning about most everything!


Barbara Kascic, Machine Department

Likes – Working with the fabrics and likes our customers
Teaches – Make Friends With Your Serger
Sewing – Since 7th grade
Sews By – Machine
Started Sewing – With the help of my Mother
Favorite Tool – 6-inch ruler
When I Go To Heaven – My daughter will give my stash to friends
Betsy Kulamer

Betsy took up quilting as part of her retirement plan. She sewed a lot in her teens and 20s, until other life demands took over. She missed working with fabric, though, and took Annette’s Complete Course at Capital Quilts in 2014. She fell in love with quilts and quilting and has been an avid learner and doer ever since. After retiring from her career in 2018, she took up teaching and working in the shop. “I have so much fun working with color, and I’m a batik addict. I love the weight and drape of a quilt when it's all stitched and bound. I'm usually one of those people who gets a thrill from finishing things, but not so with quilting. I started a second project before I finished my first, my third and fourth projects before I quite finished the first two, and so on. Life is good when I have several quilts in various stages of completion.”
Kat Martinez

Kat has been working at Capital Quilts since 2005.  She started as part-time, but after corporate America laid her off twice within a year, Alison took pity on her and brought her on board full-time in 2012.  She maintains the website, runs a couple of clubs, and teaches from time to time. Kat's quilting interests tend to concentrate on the more "modern" side of things, although she is also an avid English Paper Piecing enthusiast.  She is a fan of saturated colors and fabrics that are or read solid.  Her favorite quilt patterns are bold and graphic, though she appreciates more intricate piecing, too.  She is also an active volunteer with Friends of Montgomery County Animals.
Erika Osborn

Erika has been working at Capital Quilts since about 2007, though she did take some time off to help care for her twin grandsons. Her favorite projects are kids’ quilts, and also quilts that use 2 ½” strips. It’s no surprise, then, that she has taught the Snuggly Flannel Quilt, and also Tea Time in Bali.
Carol Pacini

"I started working at Capital Quilts in September, 2011. During one of his hotdog-grilling events at the front of the shop, Gary suggested that I come to work for him and Susan, and I agreed. Six months later Alison and Pete became the new owners and kept me on. I'll always be grateful.

My first memory of sewing was when my great-grandmother showed me how to make a 9-patch block; I must have been in grade school. I sewed some squares right sides together and some squares wrong sides together. She laughed at me and my feelings were hurt. Such a sensitive child. I don't think I tried sewing again until junior high; I learned to use my mother's sewing machine and started making clothes to wear to school. I continued making clothes and craft projects and learned to cross-stitch. My interest in and love of quilts was most influenced by the wonderful woman who became my mother-in-law; she was always making a pillow or quilt for a gift, using cardboard templates, piecing and quilting by hand. My sister gave me my first rotary cutter and acrylic ruler and I started machine-piecing my own blocks and making quilt tops. My favorite tool is my 6" x 12" ruler. So many quilt tops, so few finished quilts! I love the look of hand-quilting, but it takes longer to do. My goal is to become more comfortable with machine quilting so that my stack of quilt tops becomes smaller while my pitifully small stack of completed quilts grows taller. Wish me luck."
Julie Taylor

Carol Willis, Machine Department

Carol W. joined our team in 2018, after a move from Coronado, California, where she was known for her T-Shirt quilts.  She has made quilts for fundraisers, graduations, military change of commands, and memorial quilts.  Carol is from a local family in Bethesda, and is one of 9 children.  Her mother Terry has been a member of the Bethesda Quilter's Guild for over 35 years. Carol has been inspired by her mother's knowledge of quilting, and has accepted the passing of the torch to the next generation.
Jan Wisor

Jan is a relative newcomer to the Capital Quilts Staff, but a longtime customer. She began her quilting life about 20 years ago when she bought the book Whimsies & Whatnots: A Playful Approach to Quiltmaking by Mary Lou Weidman. She soon realized she was in over her head and started to take classes, go to quilt shows and build a quilting group. To Jan, every quilt tells a story, whether it is in the design or in the making of a quilt. She often tells her students that every inch of her quilts has a history or lesson that was learned. Jan often starts out making a certain quilt but ends up with a totally different design and color. She like to bend the rules, make it her own, and inspire others to stretch. When not working, teaching or quilting, Jan enjoys swimming and cheering on her Washington Nationals.

HOURS

  • Daily 10 AM - 6 PM
  • Fridays until 9 PM
  • Sundays 12 PM - 5 PM
  • *Also open until 9 PM when evening classes are in session -- call to confirm

CONTACT US

  • Telp: 301-527-0598
  • 15926 Luanne Drive
  • Gaithersburg, MD 20877

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