This is where I spent the past two days – at Atlanta’s Original Sewing & Quilt Expo at the Gwinnett Center.
It’s been a busy week for the Moore household – I took a few days off to attend the Sewing Expo, plus James and I have been preparing for a friend’s bridal shower this Sunday. I’m helping to organize it, and James offered to cater lunch to all of the ladies.
The expo was three days, but I only signed up for classes on Friday and Saturday. That turned out to be a good move, because we had to take a monster shopping trip to Sam’s Club on Thursday.
This was a familiar room to me, as I took a free motion quilting class last year at Quilting Live! It’s the Handi Quilter sponsored sewing studio filled with Sweet Sixteen sit down longarm quilting machines. On Friday afternoon I took a class dedicated to using rulers with the Sweet Sixteen machines taught by educator Mary Beth Krapil.
Mary Beth brought in these marvelous teaching samples with examples of different kinds of ruler work. While they appear rather daunting, she was great at explaining each one. By the end of the class I went from having zero ruler experience to being able to make several patterns that didn’t look half bad!
Last year at the Handi Quilter FMQ class, I was partnered at a machine with a more veteran sewist – Susan (pictured right). Susan is a teacher from South Carolina – we had a great time talking and playing around with the stencils at the previous class. She offered me lots of tips and advice, since I was very new to sewing at the time.
What a surprise when Susan ended up being in my class in the same studio for a second time! Of course – we had to be partners again! Both of us really enjoyed trying out the rulers and we’ve made plans to meet up at QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah, GA – we might be roomies!
After my only course on Friday, I had take off to get home and make desserts and gather supplies for the shower, and do a couple loads of laundry. Traffic was typical Atlanta style – taking about two hours to get home.
Of course after not going to bed until after 1 a.m., I had to wake up at 6 a.m. to get to an 8:30 class for beginners on serging. We used this Cadillac of the serging world – a Baby Lock Ovation. The instructor was the super energetic Kathy McMakin, who works for Martha Pullen Company.
For my first time ever using a serger, what a machine to learn on! There’s no way I can afford it – as it retails for nearly $6,000 and as a show special it was just under $3,000. Yeah, I might have to wait a while before even considering a higher end serger like this one.
Sigh. It is beautiful though. It has the signature air threading system, and wasn’t too difficult to understand its operation. We practiced serging fabric samples – everything from corners to doing lettuce edge hems. Toward the end we all made zippered pouches, which was an extremely quick sew. It was fun making the project, even though I prefer making items that are lined. While serged, the inside seams of this pouch are still a raw edge. I’d rather go through the trouble to construct a lining.
Next up – a class on embroidery – also for beginners. I used a Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale sewing and embroidery machine. Until this experience, I had never used this brand of machine before.
What I liked about this class was that we learned how to embroider and applique by doing two fairly quick projects. The instructor, Peggy, would show us how to do several steps and then we would do them on our own.
We embroidered a tea towel with an on board daffodil design using four different thread colors. To applique, I was able to add two black silk stars to a cashmere scarf. (Both the items were classroom materials provided by All About Blanks)
Working on such a high end machine made both applications relatively simple. The functions are all computerized and were easy to understand on the Ruby’s large, color touchscreen.
Embroidery in action while making the daffodil design.
Here’s a look at the applique process during the satin stitch.
How it works:
- You choose a design or grouped designs
- If you have an oddly textured material (like a fuzzy scarf), you can baste the material over the hoop
- The machine marks out the design
- You place your applique material so that it covers the design area completely
- The design is stitched out again, this time *over* the applique
- You trim the applique material as close to the stitch line as possible
- Finally, the machine satin stitches over the entire design – covering the raw edge of the fabric
One hiccup I did run into with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale, was that it kept falsely warning me of a low or empty bobbin. Apparently it has issues if you use pre-wound bobbins. That problem took about 10 to 15 minutes to resolve, and I had to get help to recalibrate the embroidery unit’s arm for whatever reason.
Although I didn’t have a ton of time to walk around in the exhibit hall, I did quickly check out the booths and the Quilt Walk.
This yellow, gray, and white quilt sample was in the Handi Quilter booth. Love the curved piecing and custom quilting.
The rest of these quilts were featured on the Quilt Walk:
Last but not least, I wanted to share a glimpse into how Gato Cat is spending her weekend…