Houston Quilt Festival 2015

I am always on pins and needles this time of year and that’s kind of funny since I’m talking about the Houston Quilt Festival!  If you have never attended this EVENT in Houston – it is quite amazing and gargantuan and full of eye candy and inspiration for those that love fabric.  Its not just for quilters!  I have sewn quilts but I am not an avid quilter – don’t laugh but I get flustered at the thought of cutting fabric into small pieces just to sew it all back together and make one big piece of fabric.  I’m not into the process to do myself, but HOLY SMOKES am I into appreciating the talent of those that have a true gift for creating gorgeous art using fabric.

So you’re probably thinking “if she doesn’t quilt what does she do there?”  First, I already mentioned all the eye candy – and I’m not just talking about the exhibition area which I have yet to see everything that is there each year!  The vendor area is HUGE – the George R Brown Convention center is like the size of 8 football fields and there are over 22 rows of vendor booths.  This is THE show to go to and see new products, gizmos, materials, related to the sewing industry.  And we’re not just talking about threads, needles and stabilizers – this is where I got to see the Silhouette, Brother ScanNCut and Sizzix fabric cutter machines!  Crystals, buttons and embellishments!  Printed patterns and actual samples sew of those patterns “in real life”.  Sure Instagram and Facebook are great but WOW to see the items come alive and sometimes you can even talk to the designer to get their tips and tricks!  All the home machine brands will be there and of course they have their embroidery models!  And if you are looking for a deal on a new machine – the class room machines are usually available for a great discount after being checked out and reboxed

So I mentioned class room machines….yes, that’s what I’m doing there 🙂  I am teaching two classes this year on Wednesday before the show officially opens (#356 & #384).  Those that take classes on Wednesday can go to preview night with the vendors where you won’t be completely mobbed by those that love to sew.  Since I am not working a booth this year at Festival, I plan to use Preview night to make my plan of attack for the next two days.  Yes, I am normally working a booth during Festival so I never get to walk the show.  This year I have free time to see more than the booths on the way to the ladies room AND I might even sign up to take a class!

Since I’m working on my class notes and streamlining the projects I’m teaching now – always need to start early so I’m not stressing last minute – you may get some sneak peaks of step outs and work in process 🙂  I teach hands on machine embroidery with the Silk Experience- we’re doing in the hoop silk flowers and an embroidered silk scarf this year – two classes back to back for someone that just wants to hang out with me all day 🙂  The students will learn all about how to stabilize, choose designs, needles and materials, and get to use silk thread and fabric to embroider these scrumptious materials.  You can find a link to Wednesday’s classes here.  If you have never embroidered silk OR you are afraid of embroidering it because it’s so darn expensive and you don’t want to muck it up – this is a perfect way to test the waters and see if it is something you want to do more of.  No need to invest in any fancy materials – the kit fee includes everything you need.  Plus you may get to use a different brand or model of machine AND get instructions tips and tricks for threading hooping, sewing, etc

So if you live in the Houston area and have never been to the Quilt Festival – think about making a day trip and checking it out.  And if you’re not from the Houston area – you will NOT be alone!  Over 60,000 sewists from around the world attend this event every year and it is growing thanks to organizations such as the Modern Quilt Guild and The BadAss Quilter’s Society.  I love to meet up with the groups that come in from Australia each year – YES they plan their holiday around this event that’s how fantastic it is for anyone that appreciates fabric.  I’m not making this up!  Check out the Quilts website and Facebook page – and who knows!  Maybe I will see you there!


Sewing Summit 2013

So I’m here in Salt Lake City at the Sewing Summit! So very excited to be around such a diverse group of energetic women! I have to mention energetic because we had an open sewing session until 1am and here we are again in class sharing our enthusiasm for sewing.

So last night I was in the open sew to make another folder over zipper clutch using the embroidered fabric I brought with me. In Alessandra Gutierrez’s class earlier in the day, I created my “prototype” clutch….with fabric I knew would sew easily and the correct size zipper. Not that I don’t follow directions LOL, but I thought it was best that I try the project as it was intended :-). It went together so easily in class, I knew I could make another with the challenging to me fabric I had brought.

A little about the fabric I chose to base the clutch on….it was a 12 year old polyester slippery brocade from my stash that I bought 100% because of the color. It was well aged in my stash and when I saw Alessandra’s sample…I had to literally dig for it in the closet! Oh yeah…it was one of those fabrics that was always passed over for projects because it would be a bit “daunting” to sew…I knew it would come with “colorful metaphors” during the sewing process. But it was so pretty so it was in my stash and now it was going to have a purpose!

So I now needed coordinating fabric….I had black satin….black goes with everything….and it was JUST as lovely to sew so I knew it would be a challenge :-). To create a coordinating fabric from the basic black, I used Essentials to create the montage of outline style designs that I got from Embroidery Library to fit the 11″ x 8″ design area of the fold over portion. Too much fun playing with designs on the screen! I interfaced the satin with DecorBond so no stabilizer was necessary. I did use a water soluable topping. Stitched both pieces with bright colors to match the brocade, found an awesome zipper in my stash from Ghees.com, packed my suitcase and headed to the airport!



So here are photos of the finished clutch last night! Took less than 2 hours to sew up….including an awesome demo of the Bernina 780 machine I was sewing on and chatting with some of the others who were working on all sorts of projects in the room! So much eye candy!

Can’t wait to see what is in store for us today! Until next time ~ happy stitching and may you have zero thread nests!

SewExpo 2013

What a great show again at SewExpo – they sure know how to put on a good time! Loved seeing so many inspiring outfits and people! Had to take a picture of Jeannie at the Wild Ginger software booth. You may know her from the new design collection she has available combining machine embroidery with printed kaleidscopes – STUNNING! Now just imagine what could happen if she started using the Wild Ginger pattern software? Yes I encouraged her to check it out — hey! from one software geekette to another….its not like I had to twist her arm or anything 😀 But isn’t that design on the back of her jacket cool?

Probably the BEST part of the event was getting to meet and talk to the kids from the Threads for Life program at Meeker middle school (I think it’s middle school – we talked about sewing not school!) BIG KUDOs goes out to my friend Connie who runs the program and to all the kids who participate. WOW talk about inspiring. Babylock provides them with machines to use in this afterschool program and to see the excitement in these young sewist just hit me. It was awesome! Hearing about the projects they have done, and are working on, and want to work on next — holy smokes! I just loved their enthusiasm and can’t wait to keep up with them the rest of the year on FB!

So now I’m home and guess I need to finish unpacking and do the laundry…. but I think I may just have to take a day and play in the dungeon 🙂 Too inspired from SewExpo 2013 and need to take advantage of that! Looking forward to next year in Puyallup!

SewExpo 2008

I have just returned from another inspiring SewExpo in Puyallup, WA.  I love going to these shows to see what is new and exciting in the sewing world and to meet so many wonderful people and witness their creativity.

One of the things that I noted of interest was the new Lava thread by Superior threads.  It’s a varigated thread with a very short repeat.  I just had to try it when I got home and it is nice and strong and runs at high speed in my embroidery machines.  It was designed for quilters on long arm machines, but it creates a lovely result on outline style designs done on the embroidery machine.  You can check it out at www.superiorthreads.com.

With the arrival of my first grandson, you can imagine that my attention is easily drawn to fun baby items.  They had the most adorable knit sweater patterns at www.sweaterkits.com as well as the most lucious yarn made of silk in these great varigated colors.  I guess I’ll have to learn how to knit in my free time 🙂 

 I did find some very cute and easy to understand patterns at the SewBaby booth (www.sewbaby.com).  I’ve made the diaper covers and diaper bag so I felt comfortable with purchasing their alphabet applique soft fabric book pattern.  My good friend Jeannine Twigg (also the author of the Embroidery Machine Essentials books) was demo-ing her wonderful Snap Source snap setting gizmo.  Before Charles, I had no use for snaps even though I thought the gizmo was kind of cool 🙂  Now, I can understand why it’s such a popular item (www.snapsource.com) – I like tools that make the job at hand easier!

I’m teaching two hands-on classes in the next month – one at the Sewing Room in Frisco TX (waiting list) and another at Jenny’s Sewing Studio in MD (a few spots still available). More information can be found under the schedule link on my website if you are interested.

Until the next time!