I got up early and sped from the hotel to the Lakeland Center for my last 2 classes. Crazy for Quilting with Kathy Stachowicz and Cathy Gandy had the class make a quilt top in 3 hours, using a Babylock serger. I didn’t finish in the three-hour session, but I sure learned a lot of amazing techniques. The Tossed Nine-Patch was an Eleanor Burns pattern. The pre-cut fabrics were from art gallery and were a jumble of very vibrant hues and patterns. One class member said to me out of the corner of her mouth, as we ironed our seam allowances flat, “I would have never put these colors together! Never!” I looked at mine and agreed. Here is a pic of the finished quilt top that was made with the same art gallery fabric squares in our kits.At the beginning of class, when they were trying to tape this quilt top to the partition wall so everyone could see what it was supposed to look like, I stopped to lend a hand, and they mistook me for a friend and fellow quilter, Kay Capps Cross of Cross Cuts Quilting. They even showed me this you tube pic of her–check it out and see my Sewing Personality doppelganger!
Did I mention this session was in the Babylock salon? I was laughing with my tablemate about something teacher Pam Crosby said in class the previous day, that no one ever unthreads their serger, and my neighbor said she’s got one of those Babylock sergers, and you don’t have to worry about threading it. “What?” I said. Here’s what the inside thread panel looks like:This machine also makes the exciting “wave” stitch I’d heard talked about in various classes. Ooooh, I’m telling you, it was sweet; I love to test-drive a great machine! At the end of class they offered the machines (not the wave-sewing ones, of which the class only had 4) to us for a classroom model discount, even though they were all brand-new out of the box, but alas, I didn’t have a deuce and a half thousand dollars! Actually by this point in the Expo I was getting pretty low on cash.
The 3-hour class ended with my assessment that I’ve still got a lot to do at home to get this thing finished, but it will be a breeze with the serger techniques they taught. In a couple more hours, it will be all done.
It was Saturday, and when I got out of class, lunch time, and lots more people had come. The faces in the crowd had morphed from predominantly wrinkled and gray to a younger, more buxom cohort, and the shopping venues were suffocatingly crammed with all manner of folks. I overhead one old man talking to another in the hallway, “Women, women, and more women! I’ve never seen so many women in one place!” I was wearing a jaunty scarf I’d bought the day before at a vendor booth, and I was getting compliments right and left!
I did see some yarn this year at the Expo. Some Art Fabric had a big rack of repurposed yarn (–the result of someone patiently unraveling sweaters?), which was beautiful, but didn’t seem to be selling like hotcakes. I love this store to the point of swooning! I also found lots of yarn at a vendor booth for the Sew & Quilt Shop in Bunnell. They were holding Make & Take workshops teaching how to knit ruffle scarves, and loads of people were standing around learning like mad. And they had piles of savory fabrics and a long-arm quilting machine in the booth. The proprietress explained to me the other day that when their local yarn shop went out of business, they took on the obligation of stocking yarn in the local area. I mean, “good” yarn, like Rosetti and Berocco, not the generic stuff like you see in JoAnn’s (which is still ok but not as plushy).
I had a fun time in the Vogue Fabrics booth, searching through buttons in the “1 Pound 5 Dollars” display. And I took advantage of the 6 blank hem-stitched hand towels for $20 special at All About Blanks. Heavenly linens, all ready to be embellished.
My last class was with Emma Seabrooke, Constructing Contemporary Knits. It was all theory, not a hands-on workshop, but was excellent. No power-point, no hand-outs, just face time with her and looking at her wonderful wardrobe items. I especially loved that she has her own line of stay tapes for sewing with knits. They are in different widths for seams and hems and necklines, and some are of knit and others of woven material. Seeing her stay tapes and learning how she applies them for different purposes, to magnificent effects, satisfies a searching feeling that I’ve always had. I know in my heart that seams and hems and necklines on knits need to be stabilized, but the commercial patterns don’t fill you in on any methods that seem to be satisfactory. Sure, you can buy Steam-a-Seam at the local fabric store, or order some Vilene from overseas, but they’ve been agonizing to apply. I’m so glad I went to this class and took notes. Seabrooke specializes in hard-to-fit patterns. She says that even though she is in the business of selling patterns, and she has 33 patterns, that you should only have one or two basic patterns that fit you, and you can make every garment as a variation of those specialized, fit-to-you patterns. She said that patterns fit to your shoulder dimensions, which you’ve had since you were about 16 years old.
Last year, I didn’t take any classes, stayed only a few hours, and just wandered around shopping and watching the crowd for trends. This Expo, I didn’t catch a single demonstration, although there were many scheduled. I signed up for seven classes, and allowed only a few hours in between for shopping. I had a good mix of hands-on classes and one-hour lectures. It was easy to see that in this Expo, big money changed hands! Business in the Sewing and Crafting universe is alive and well.