I love March Madness, but not the same way that sports fans do. I have my own March Madness, every March I attend the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Atlanta. It is an expo just for sewing and quilting enthusiasts, where you can shop, take classes, watch fashion shows, view the beautiful quilt exhibit, and just absorb all the energy from all the friendly sewing people walking around. It is so much fun. If you don’t live near Altanta they also have the expo in many other states, just visit their website above to see their schedule.
The Expo offers a variety of classes and workshops, some years I take classes and some years I don’t. This year I decided to take four workshops spread out over three days. From past experiences I have learned to take a maximum of two workshops in a day, otherwise my brain gets tired and then I can’t truly enjoy the third workshop. I like to only take workshops where we are actually sewing, these are called “hands on”, because I am taking the class to have fun, if I learn at least one thing than that is an extra bonus. You don’t have to bring your own sewing machine, the sponsors supply them, so I got to sew on a Pfaff, a Viking and a Brother, which was great because I sew on a Bernina at home.
On Thursday, I went to an 8:30am workshop called Illusionary Bars designed and taught by Diane Gloystein. This was a great class and Diane was sooooo much fun, we hit it off as soon as we saw each other in the class. Diane is a National instructor for Sulky of America, was selected to be in the 2008 Bernina Fashion Show, and has another new book she coauthored, called Embellish Your Life with Sulky, to find out more about her, visit her web site Design On a Whim.
Diane did a lot of prep work for this workshop, which made it a whole lot easier on us and allowed us to actually finish a whole project, which very rarely ever happens in these workshops, so kudos to her. This is a picture of my project, the only thing I did not get done was the decorative stitching around the border, as you can see I still have not done it. LOL What you can’t really see is that this is made with several different pieces of fabric, appliquéd together, and then embellished with metallic thread sewn free style. It was a lot of fun to make and it looks really cool in person.
My class was over at 11:30am so that gave me plenty of time to walk the exhibit hall and to SHOP. I always stop by to see what is new at the Momo-Dini Embroidery Art booth. I love their embroidery designs, not only are they beautiful, with an Asian flare, they sew up easily without any issues, and they don’t have a lot of stitches so they work great on knits. The skirt I was wearing was embroidered with their Fashion Ladies designs. I will be doing an article on making this skirt soon.
My next usual stop is Color By Hand. They have beautiful cotton and cotton/silk blend fabrics. I always purchase my lining fabric from them every year, I use Radiance which is 45% silk and 55% cotton. It really isn’t made to be used as a lining, but that is how I use it. I love it because it is washable, it feels like silk to touch, but sews up like a cotton.
I always check to see what fabrics Cutting Lines have, I love their Japanese cottons and linens. This year I purchased a gorgeous floral linen, I’m not sure what I will be making with it, but whatever I decide it will be lined with the Radiance and will be washable. I have taken a workshop from Louise Cutting before, when the Atlanta Chapter of the American Sewing Guild brought her in for a workshop. It was a fun and very informative workshop, besides offering the beautiful fabrics she also has her own line of patterns.
I am a member of The American Sewing Guild and we always have a booth at the Expo to give everyone an opportunity to join us. Check out a chapter near you. We have fun monthly neighborhood group meetings, with programs and a lot of show n tells to inspire us. There are regular neighborhood groups, including all types of sewing, then there are specialty groups like Couture sewing, fashion sewing, embroidery, etc. We have workshops with incredible teachers from our own group and nationally known teachers, fashion shows, a national convention and many fun get togethers, plus discounts at many retail stores. It is fun being around other creative, inspirational people. (Do you recognize the prom dress?)
The quilts on display this year were incredible, but you aren’t allowed to take pictures so you will just have to picture some quilts in your mind.
On Friday, I went back for another 8:30am class. WhatchamaClutch with Kim Montagnese. This class was all about decorating your own fabric with paints and stamps, then making a clutch with the fabric. I was so out of my comfort zone in this class. I am not an artist with paint, mine turned out like something a kindergartener would have made, but thank goodness I don’t have to put it up on the refrigerator, but I did have a lot of fun. Kim was a very funny and fun instructor.
Here is a picture of my fabric I painted with colors that I don’t even like, but it was fun laughing at myself. I learned I am gifted with creating designs with fabric, but not with fabric paints. But that won’t stop me from trying to learn more and taking future classes.
Because my project was so bad, I took pictures of some of the other student’s work so you could see examples of what others did in the class.
The next class I took was the Vortex Quilt with Debby Kratovil. I don’t make quilts, but I love and appreciate the beauty of them, so that is why I think it is fun to take quilting classes. Plus I want to have the knowledge all ready for when I decide to start making quilts.
The Vortex quilt is a modern version that Debby designed based on a very unique and cool looking Vortex Quilt made in the early 1900’s. I am not including a picture of the original quilt because I’m not sure if I would be breaking a copyright law or not, but if you want to see it just do a search for the Vortex Quilt, it is red and white and it makes yours eyes twist. And keep in mind when looking at it, that this was all done by hand, no pattern, and no computer to help calculate the pattern. Amazing quilt!!
I had a lot of fun in this class too. Debby is a great teacher with wonderful step by step samples to help guide even the novice quilter. I highly recommend taking one of her classes.
We could choose our own fabric for our Vortex Quilt so I chose black and white, instead of the red and white. I did all this in the three hour class and I really like the look of it, so I hope I actually finish it.
On Saturday I only had one class, there again at 8:30am, now three days in a row. UGH! What you don’t know about me is I don’t like getting up at 5:30am, but you have to in order to get to the class on time because of Atlanta traffic. But taking these classes was well worth getting up that early.
This class was called Quilt-essential Quilt Starter with Cindy Losekamp. Cindy was another fun and informative teacher, the only negative is that her class was only 1 1/2 hours and it should have been 3 hours, because it was that much fun. Because the class was short, she and her husband had everything precut and the embroidery hoop ready to go, so that we could just come in and start sewing. Her embroidery designs are cute and can be used in quilts, for pillows or on clothing.
That was my experience this year at the Expo, I had fun, I learned new things, I met new friends and I am looking forward to March Madness – Sewing Style 2015.