The Sunday Geekery: On The Sewing Con

The Sunday Geekery: On The Sewing Con

Finally back home from the Raleigh NC Original Sewing and Quilt Expo and pretty much totally spent! I had a pretty fantastic three days and picked up all sorts of new ideas, learned about new products, and tried my hands and some fun little projects. Since this is the Sunday Geekery and we geeks love our cons, I thought this a good place for a little wrap up.

SewingCon2The facility was top notch. I’d not been to the Raleigh convention center since they renovated it and had no idea what I was in for. It’s HUGE, clean, modern, and has tons of art all over the place. I can’t even image how many people you could get in there. I’d far rather attend Dragon*Con at a place like this! Funny story, this big huge multimillion dollar beautiful facility had farting chairs. Every time someone sat down with even a tiny amount of force, they acted like little whoopie cushions. This made me giggle. every. time. I’m such a child!

This is just one “small” hallway, all of the spaces are open like this with giant ceilings and windows everywhere. I never had any reason to see the ballroom floor. I kind of regret not just going up there and looking anyway!


All of the rooms I attended were set up and ready to go. I didn’t experience any technical problems or issues with classes starting on time. Both hands on classes were set up with Pfaff’s. One in the $2000 price range, the other with a show special of $6500. Was I totally blown over and ready to do anything to own them? No, not really. They certainly have their conveniences, but none that made me want to impulsively bring one home.

I have been thinking about upgrading my machine though. I had kind of narrowed it down to a Janome and a Bernina so I was looking forward to trying them out at the show. Wouldn’t you know? Not one Janome or Bernina dealer at the show WITH machines. Seems like the long arms are the order of the day. That disappointed me a bit, but it is probably just as well. I need to spend lots of time with them at my LQS.


SewingCon4I attended six hands on classes and five lectures. I would say my satisfaction level is with the programs is around 60%. A few of them were fantastic, a few total duds, and everything else somewhere in the middle.

These are from Stacy Michell’s of Shades Textiles “Color Cups” class. It was by far my favorite class. Stacy is a good teacher full of anecdotes and knowledge. She certainly made my friend and I comfortable working with dye that we were both total newbs with. I had though the supply fee was a touch high when I signed up, but it turned out to be well worth it. You can see how much hand-dyed fabric we came home with and Stacy had thought of everything for packing and traveling.

Thanks Stacy!


This bag is from Hope Yoder’s Hipster Chick class. If you like it, you can find the pattern with videos on her site. The kit was complete and Hope came prepared with extra supplies like Steam-A-Seam 2 and Sewing Clappers. She showed us how how to add a zipper in a bag and I managed to actually keep up. Impressive, zippers have always stumped me!

I really do like this bag. Well, *THIS* one is a bit of a problem, I’m not sure who the strap measurement was made for, but it isn’t big tall me! I picked up the written pattern, pdf, and videos. I’ll try again in the future with a strap that fits. In addition, I think the front pocket is a great phone pocket, but I’d never put my phone in there with a button or clasp of some sort.ย  When I get to it on my never ending list – I’ll let you know how it goes!

Thanks Hope!


This was my introduction to Shiva Paintsticks on fabric from Helene Weber (sorry, can’t find a web presence for her!). The paint sticks are oil paints that can be set with heat. They work well on fabric because they are VERY thick and don’t bleed into the fibers.

I was quite torn on this class. I like to paint from time to time and as you can see, I’m not the worst painter ever. I managed to create nice soft image with a bit of depth from just the three primaries, but I didn’t love the process. The thickness, that makes the paintsticks appropriate for fabric, was driving me nuts. I just couldn’t manipulate it like I wanted to. I still have quite a bit of paint left, so I ‘ll try both painting again and using them to augment fabrics to see if they grow on me and they might.


Heh, this is me goofing off a bit in free motion class. Debby Kratovil teaches a nice class. She goes out of her way to make people comfortable trying out new things. I’m glad I took it and got a chance to learn some actual technical terms along with open practice.

The thing I walked away from this class with is there isn’t much more to “learn” right now. I just need to practice practice practice. I get the gist, I know what I need to do and now I need to work at it until I’m actually good at managing both the fabric and the needle. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!


Here’s the negative – Almost all of the lectures included a disclaimer like “this is not a sales pitch”, “I just want to show you some new techniques”, or “Let’s get inspired”. It seemed like they were “proving” it wasn’t a sales pitch by not selling anything during or right after the lecture. Here’s the elephant in the room – if your lecture includes “buy at my booth”, “come by my booth”, or “we have these patterns at the booth” every five to ten minutes over an hour – it *IS* a sales pitch. Can we just call it what it is please? Maybe even let them bring the products up. I’m obviously interested in buying them or I wouldn’t have PAID to attend a SALES PITCH. OK OK, I know, Silly Suedre. I’m all about transparency though, especially in sales, so I get annoyed when I fell like I’m being manipulated.

Negative aside – Most of the lectures were good. I picked up some good pointers about using stabilizers from Meg Covalt and will certainly put them to use. I also enjoyed a few apparel lectures, both from really loopy and fun instructors, Kathy Ruddy andย  Cynthia Guffey. We also checked out some bags and patterns from Linda Lee. I’ve never really considered making bags, but she had such fun and interesting textiles that I kind of want to try now! I didn’t take a class on Zentangle, but heard the word a lot. After looking it up – I might need to check that out too!

I saw some fantastic quilts, put my hands in different machines and project types, picked up two new patterns, met some amazing and interesting women, and was able to spend a little bit of quality time with my very best friend in the world. Pretty great weekend right? Now it is time to put my head down and start working with all my new skills and ideas!

I can’t wait to see what you all have been up to over the last week. I’ve missed following your updates – If you made something beautiful while I was away, be sure to link me so I don’t miss it!

Linking in with Anything Goesย @ Stitch by Stitch & Happy Day @ Not Done Growing


  1. Wow, what an amazing event! Nothing like that near where I live! Must be really good fun to get to try out so many new things – and never better than with a best friend.

    • It was really fun! I’m so glad I went. I probably wont do as much with it next year, but I’ll certainly check the class list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. First thing that comes to mind is: “Aw, man…. I wish I had gone!” Never mind I was out of town until Friday evening, Raleigh is only a 2 hour trip from me. I’ll have to see about going next year. There’s a Sewing and Quilting Expo here in Virginia, but it’s basically in the DC area which is 4 hours away.

    Glad you had a good time. Two other thoughts– FMQ, yep, once you’ve got the basics of it, it’s all about the practice, practice, practice! New machine? I like my Janomes. Good features, better value for the price. Though Bernina’s have much better support/education/manuals to go along with their premium prices. The Janome that has made me think of a new machine is the new 8200, not that I have any issues with my wonderful 6600. It has 11 inches of space to the right of the needle, but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of their other 11 inch machines. Supposedly, this gives it a “mid-range” price. So far I’ve resisted looking at it in person at my local dealer and the price isn’t listed on-line. Must be content with what I have!

    • Thanks for the advice Amy! I find this sewing machine purchase thing to be overwhelming! I’m trying really hard to pay attention to the specific features I want and ignore all the other noise. It’s tough though – those bells and whistles can be REALLY LOUD. One thing I did really like about the Pfaff I tried was the throat plate comes on and off without screws. I thought that was kind of cool and last night when I was unscrewing my throat plate I thought it was SUPER cool. I did see one of the Bernina manuals and it is far nice than Janome’s. I don’t know that more words are better though. Up until now, I’ve found everything I need in my tiny little black and white Janome manual. Something to consider for sure.

      Yes! You should come to Raleigh next year! I don’t plan on doing all three days next year. I noted – Thursday was much busier than Saturday. Unexpected, but true!

  3. Sounds like a good time all around. The car cover certainly is interesting. I liked seeing the pictures of your projects.

    • Thanks Jackie and thanks for stopping by! It was indeed a good time, I’m so glad I went. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You could always use some of that pretty fabric to make your poor old Madre a really cool bag!!!! Great idea, right? Sounds like it was well worth your time. When I win the lottery you can quilt to your heart’s content and B can play golf all day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It *is* a great idea. Hurry up and win that lottery already – I’ve got a TON of projects in the queue!!

  5. Sounds like a fun time. That car cover cracks me up! I don’t even want to know how she planned that one out.

    • It was a good time. I wish I had taken a better picture of them little old quilting women they had in the car. At first they startled me, then they made me giggle.

  6. Thanks for sharing, Susan. Love your post. And I feel the same way about transparency! Good points made there… Can’t wait to see what you come up with now that you’re all geared up!

    • If only I didnt have to work! Wait – I take that back. I dont want one of those genie three wishes situations on my hands. How about if only I didn’t have to sleep?? Looking forward to getting to work myself and catching up with all of you too.

  7. What a wonderful time—I think I should have snuck in your suitcase! Love the painting on the fabric…hope you can work with it better on your own. The hand dyed fabrics are beauties!

    • I wish you had snuck in my suitcase too! The more the merrier right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the painting and see potential so maybe, maybe indeed. I have no clue what I’m going to do with all this fabric. I love the multicolor bold ones and I’m sure I’ll think of something. Thanks for coming by!


What say you?