One of my favorite annual crafty field trips is to the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo, held locally at the Cleveland I-X Center. Beside the fact that it’s held really close to my birthday each year, it gives me the opportunity to catch up with some sewing friends, check out trends, and maybe even try something new at a make-and-take or class.
First, here’s a bit about the Sewing and Quilting Expo:
We bring inspiration, motivation, education, shoppingÂ and personal satisfaction to everyone who enjoys sewing, quiltmaking, embroidery, embellishment and related needle arts. For three days once each year youâ€™ll have the opportunity to spend time with others who share your interests, learn from experts in the field, find new products, project ideas and techniques…enough for a yearâ€™s worth of creative fulfillment and the satisfaction these practical arts provide.
If you’ve never been to one before, you’ll want to be prepared. It’s a full-service consumer show with classes, vendors, and free events that are suitable for all ages. Wear your comfy shoes, and bring a small pack with water, notebook, a snack, and some cash. OK, you could bring a LOT of cash, because there are lots of amazing products to buy. But we’ll get to how I spend my birthday money in a minute!
I also have to apologize- many booths won’t let you take photos, and I wasn’t allow to take pictures of the quilt exhibits- there was a particularly compelling one dealing with racism that had marvelous quilts. But no photos allowed. Boo.
Since I was just taking a little day trip, I didn’t register for classes- although I have in the past.Â Mostly just watched some demos, like the one at the local sewing shop Pins and Needles was doing on the AccuQuilt die-cutting system.
You know I love my die-cutting machines, and these dies are specifically made for quilters. The lady doing the demo says that the dies are too wide to use with a Cuttlebug. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on an AccuQuilt GO! and some dies to do some tests.
So then I wandered over to the long-arm machines at the Innova Booth. WOW. Powertools for quilters! I test-drove one that is laser-guided for accuracy. It was bulky and challenging to get a smooth line as a newbie, but I was assured that you develop a muscle-memory and the lines get smoother.
I’m unlikely to ever find out, though- these machines retail for $8,000 and are geared to the “Pro-Sumer”- that is, quilters who are moving from the at-home level to the professional level. Certainly not me!
Then I wandered over to one of my most favorite vendors ever- Laura Murray designs. It was at her booth 8 years ago that I learned about using Shiva Paintstiks and foils on fabric. This year, she has new rubber stamping designs and a new book on making quilts usnig fusible web! It’s called “Star Builders” and is really stunning. I can’t wait to review the book for you! ; )
I also was drawn in to the Sew Artfully Yours booth, where I watched owner Cindy give a demo on using Lumieres with her silk screens on fabric. She uses shaving cream (!) to cut the viscosity of the paint. I made a little sample there, and then could help myself- I bought two silk-screen sheets to play with at home. AND she told me all about Grip-N-Grip… a product that will stabilize your fabrics while you stamp, screen, or draw on them. You’ll hear more about that here, too.
My last stop was at the Homestead Specialties booth, where I picked up a few patterns. I love the one for making neckties into purses, and I’ve been looking for a way to use those embroideredÂ pillowcases I inherited from my grandmother.
It was a brief visit (I did get to see some of my old friends from the NorthCoast Needlers Quilt Guild) and I missed having my best-quilting-friend sidekick (yes, I’m talking about YOU, Nicole!) But I’m working on something top-secret in conjunction with the S&Q Expo…so I just might be headed to the one in Pittsburgh next August.Â Make sure you check the website for a show in your neighborhood- I don’t think you’d be disappointed!
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