Monday, September 27, 2004

Expo time!

I didn't do any sewing over the weekend, but I did do some shopping. The Sew-Quilt-Embroidery Expo was in town! I looked forward to a few hours of seminars and shopping but was disappointed to see that they were charging for the seminars. Last spring when I went, the seminars were free. I only had a few hours and it was the last day of the show so I chose not to go to any seminars. I was interested in the 1:00 seminar on sewing lingerie, but I had just arrived and wanted to shop instead and I had just paid $7 parking and $6 entrance fee so another 10 bucks for a seminar I just heard about with someone I didn't know wasn't all that exciting. So I shopped.

My strategy for these kinds of vendor shows is to browse the whole thing first and then go back through more slowly and make purchases. The first time I went to a vendor show, it was the yarn and fiber show called Stitches. I was so overwhelmed by the amount of fiber in one place that I nearly hyperventilated! The show yesterday wasn't as fiber-rich but it still was a thrill for this fabric/notions/yarn shopaholic. Alas, there were no yarn vendors except for one who only brought a small inventory of fru-fru yarns for those who like embellish garments, not knit them. The show had a good turnout from sewing machine dealers, local quilt shops and some independent pattern makers like Birch Street, LJ Designs, and Unique Patterns. The Ott-light guy and the "miracle" ironing board cover vendors where also there. There were only a handful of non-sewing or quilting vendors selling scrapbook and stamping supplies and a large gift wrap and paper goods vendor who is always at the show. There were a few more jewelry sellers than last time (lots of costume jewelry bling bling), a nail polish vendor, and a few others that I forget because I passed them by. I don't think it was a great show but it was certainly better than past shows that seemed to be dominated by non-fiber crafty sellers.

So what did I buy? In past shows I tend to buy lots of fat quarters and quilt patterns I'll never get to. I did buy about 5 fat quarters for $1 each, a special foot to sew perfect tubes for my Fasturn tubes, some felted wool and a needle, and glass buttons from Czechoslovakia. But this time I also hit the big stuff. No, I didn't buy another sewing machine or serger (though I'm sure they have some good show-only deals). I bought this rolling case for my sewing machine at a pretty good deal and it came with a free bag for my serger:

Tutto bag (see Posted by Hello
Yes, mine is the cool lime green color too!

And, after much thinking and pacing, I bought this from a local sewing machine dealer:

They simply had a show special I couldn't pass up. I never see these thread chests on sale and they are even excluded from the online sales and coupons at Nancy's Notions or Joann's. By 4:30 I was still undecided about the thread chest and wandered back over to the booth to think about it. Lo and behold they dropped the price another $8 for a "show closing" special. I caved. Good thing I bought the rolling cart too because the chest is heavy. The cart comes with a bungie cord so I used it to secure the box to the top and I was effortlessly on my way.

So I left the show happy with my good deals and my new toys. I also learned some things. I saw how to work with felted wool - my mother-in-law bought me felted wool from New Zealand a few years ago and I didn't know what to do with it. I think she didn't know what she was buying and thought it was for my knitting. When I saw the felted wool booth I asked about it and was shown how to make figurines. Apparently teddy bears and dragons are big with felted wool artisans. Not for me. But I did see a cute sheep and thought that I could at least make one or two or a whole flock of those. My wool is pretty vibrant colored so I bought a small ball of black for the legs, head and ears. The needle is barbed so what you do is move it in and out of the wool, which draws the fibers together. You can make it as tightly or as loosely packed as you want.

The other lesson I learned is how to use my Fasturn tubes more effectively. I can count on one hand minus a few fingers the number of times I've used them and I think I've only made drawstrings. Someone told me how you can use it to make cording (you put the cord at the end of the tube and when you pull the fabric through the tube, it "sucks up" the cord). The demonstrator also showed how to make piping. Simple. You sew the bias strip with wrong sides together and the width of the piping cord (I'd make it a bit wider to allow for a tighter seam when you sew it in place). Use the Fasturn to turn it inside out. Then use the Fasturn again to turn it right sides out but this time, "sucking up" the cord. And there you have it! Piping. You can also use the Fasturn to stuff a flat piece with fiberfill - bast the fiberfill to the strip and turn inside out with the tube.

So all in all, the Expo was a success for me. I had a good day, learned some things and bought some things.

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