Shopping With The Sewistas

I spent April fools day booth sitting at the Original Quilting and Sewing Expo held at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio. First, I gave out information about the October 22 Mutton Hill Quilt Show sponsored by the Summit County Historical Society, and finessed answers to questions about how to launder old woven coverlets.  I urged caution. Then, I moved to the SAQA booth to talk up the Celebrating Silver exhibit on display and SAQA membership.

While the expo had quilt exhibits and many classes, the meat of the event was shopping. I skipped all the machinery heavy and twee applique pattern booths to concentrate on unusual fabric displays. Vogue Fabrics had bolts of garment fabrics. I admired many, but didn’t partake. Another vendor featured garment woolens, something hard to find nowadays.

I was tempted by, but didn’t succumb to, unique garment patterns. Many were designed to cover figure flaws associated with over abundance of flesh. I thought those styles might overwhelm me, plus the prices started at $20. When raw materials and my time are factored in, the cost seemed too steep. It’s back to the consignment shops for me.

I parted with money for fabric scrap bags at SewBatik and Laura Murray. The latter had bags of kimono silk scraps that had been overdyed. While pawing through my booty I realized that I love scraps because the intimidation factor is gone with them. Give me 2 yards of pristine fabric and I’ll hold onto it for years for fear of “ruining” it. Scraps are leftovers and my thrifty upbringing impels me to use them for something.

Imagine yourself in a sea of determined women bent on the best bargains and the latest specialty rulers, watching demos of various arcane products. And not just sewing products. Vendors hawked jewelry, replacement windows (really,) lotions, and back pain relief. When classes let out the sea became a tidal wave, and lines to the bathroom wound around the escalators. For reasons that may lie in the building’s original incarnation as a Ford assembly plant, the most obvious ladies room had only three stalls, though there was room for three more. Tucked away in a back corner was a much more spacious, and empty, ladies room. You found it if you took the time to seek out the quilt displays around the perimeter of the sales floor.

Except for some modern quilts from the latest QuiltCon, the quilts were displayed away from the hubbub which was nice for viewing them. I see from the program there were 12 exhibits, but I recall only Along the Spice Route, Fall Leaves Quilt Challenge, Summit County Historical Society, Modern Quilt Guild, and Celebrating Silver. These exhibits were well worth seeking out.

Since I spent three hours looking at them, I’d like to share some of my faves from Celebrating Silver. First, here’s the Jennifer Day piece that garnered the most attention.

JenniferDaySAQAI admire the skill that went into this piece, but find the subject cloying. Now for some palate cleansers.

SAQA Celebrating Silver


These silver miners were formed with cheesecloth and many other materials.

Moonshine-300x291 Elena Stokes

This kimono-like piece by Elena Stokes is serene and minimalist.



Filed under Art quilts, Commentary

2 responses to “Shopping With The Sewistas

  1. I love your point about the intimidation factor–it’s so much the way I feel! Give me scraps any day.

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