Top Ten Tuesday: What I Learned at a Sewing Expo


This past weekend I spent two days at the fabulous Original Sewing and Quilting Expo. It was a four day affair, but end of term made my experience two days long. Also, knowing my limits (very important for me), I took precisely four classes. I know better than to do more than that or I would not have been able to keep it together at all. But I learned a ton of useful things, but there are ten things I’m particularly happy about/excited about/want to share.

1. I’ve learned how to make a tablecloth for a round table without having a seam running down the middle of it. This has been something that I have avoided doing because I just couldn’t see how to make it work, now I get it.

2. I learned that 1 yard of fabric will produce 4 reasonably sized napkins with an acceptable hem, and to go along with this I learned to use flannel to line placemats, not batting. Why? Batting makes it more unstable for glass ware.

3. I learned how to decorate based on a theme: be that theme a painting, a photograph, or a food. (These suggestions were from JoLee Tarbell; I’d link to her, but she doesn’t appear to have a website)

4. I learned to measure my quilt in three sections before putting borders on it. This helps to make sure the borders fit the whole quilt without making it pucker.

5. I learned that you can use unconventional items on art quilts and they will look beautiful, and that unconventional methods for putting things together work, too. I would never have thought to fuse a binding, but I learned that for the right quilt it could easily be done. I also learned not to be afraid of polyester thread.

6. I learned that there is a foot for my sewing machine that makes sewing curved seams a piece of cake. Meet the Curve Master. Boy, this is going to make a lot of things a lot easier. (I learned these points from Karen Pharr. She’s hugely engaging and inspiring; if you have an opportunity to see her, you absolutely must do it.)

7. I learned a lot about color theory and design principles. I now own a color wheel and I’m not afraid to use it. Look out world, here come some wild quilts!

8. I learned how to practice free motion quilting in a way that leads to something practical. You use two 1 yard pieces of fabric that you like, some light batting, and quilt it. Then use blanket binding to seal it up. This helps you practice your quilting and create something useful as well. I have two cute fabrics to try this with for Katie. (This was a really informative session done by M’Liss Rae Hawley.

9. I learned how to do embroidery without making knots or relying on the capture method to lock the end in place. I also learned how to separate the threads without creating knots in the threads.

10. Most importantly, for me? I learned how to make French knots. I have never been able to make one successfully, but now? I can and they look even and good. (This was a second session by JoLee Tarbell. She is an amazing teacher and I think I would really like to take more classes from her; unfortunately, she lives in Virginia).

So, that’s my Top Ten. To see other top ten posts, head on over to: Amanda’s place.. Lots of cool people with lots of interesting lists. You might even learn something . . . I know I do.