Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Report from the Worcester Sewing and Craft Expo

My friend Marion and I have been going to the Worcester Sewing and Craft Expo for quite a few years now. This year the date was in conflict with the Machine Quilters Expo in Providence, Rhode Island, so we had to make a choice. There were several classes that I found interesting, so we decided on Worcester. One of the things that I like about Worcester is that you can see a photo of the project online, as well as register online, so you
  1. Know what you will be making, and;
  2. Know immediately if you got into the class or not.
Unfortunately, it seems like the show is getting smaller each year. They also seem to re-run the classes from year to year and every year it seems like there are fewer vendors. On the plus side, it's easy to get to, there's a parking garage across the street and they offer discounts for multiple classes.

I have decided that this is the "Year of Machine Embroidery" and I want to take better advantage of my embroidery machine. This means using it for more than embroidering names on blankets. So, I took two machine embroidery classes with my favorite machine embroidery instructor, Cindy Losekamp. Note, that at this point I'd add a link to her website, but she's in the process of redesigning it and hopes that it will be up in the next couple of weeks. Her business name is Sew Artfully Yours (if you're interested). I met Cindy about 8 years ago at a machine embroidery conference in Las Vegas and have taken many classes over the years from her. Cindy's best quality is that she is unflappable. She's able to fix anything...and over the years, I've seen students manage to come up with everything you can imagine and more. Another thing I like about Cindy is that she gives you extremely detailed instructions and she sets you up for success. She's road-tested every project and guides you through each step.

Anyway, the first class I took was a machine embroidered crazy quilt purse that was both pieced and embroidered in the hoop. We even put the zipper in on the embroidery machine! It was a 3-hour class and when we left, the only thing remaining was to sew the side seams of the purse.

In my next class we did a stuffed applique on a pre-made baby blanket. This was a quick project that was completely finished in 2 hours. It came out really cute.

I was disappointed in my other two classes. They were both on garment-making and I felt sorry for anyone who took them without any garment-making experience. Although I felt that the instructor (deliberately un-named) had a wealth of experience (and was a very pleasant person), I didn't feel like she did a lot of teaching. While she provided all of the materials for both classes (which we did pay a materials fee for), we definitely didn't have the same taste in colors, so I was unhappy with the selections. Plus, I felt there was a bit of "bait and switch" going on. I signed up for a lovely vest that was pictured in a frenzy of wild prints and dupioni silk. There was about 1/2 yard of dupioni silk for the entire class to share, but plenty of very ugly quilting cottons. Suffice to say, while I liked the vest pattern (everyone wears a size small!),  it is designed to be "drapey" and quilting cotton just won't work. I finished it last night and it is called "the ugly vest". I don't plan to wear it, EVER. I will use it as a prototype. I need to get some rayon fabric and try it again.

On a positive note, I finished 3 out of my 4 class projects, so I only have one new UFO for my stash. The sweater coat needs some re-engineering with some more fabulous fabrics, but since it is a freakishly early 80 degrees outside, I'm putting in on the back burner for now.

Pugs and kisses, (I promise photos soon!)


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