Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eleanor Burns video

Thanks for coming to the Sewing & Stitchery Expo blog! This is my interview with Eleanor Burns when we were both in Houston for the recent Quilt Market. From now on, I'll be posting here once a week -- on Tuesdays. Everything on this blog will be about Expo and our vendors.

But, DON'T WORRY -- if you need a daily fix, I'll continue to post every day on the Rita's Sew Fun blog. And, yes, the "Imagine" video showing many of the quilts from the Houston Quilt Festival (including the John Lennon quilt) is posted over on the rita blog. You have to scroll down and click on "older posts" to see the quilt show video...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jenny Haskins Quilt Market video

Thanks for checking in for the Tuesday Show Post. Because I attended the recent Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, Texas -- I had the opportunity to interview many EXPO vendors who were at that show. And I'll be posting some of those videos over the coming weeks. You'll recognize Jenny Haskins in this video. For pictures of Simon and the Jenny Haskins booth in Houston -- be sure to check out the rita blog. This week I'll be posting some pictures of the show AS IT GETS BUILT...the BEFORE and AFTER pictures are pretty amazing...

Thank you Jenny for the great interview in Houston! We're looking forward to seeing Simon in Puyallup...

And, thank you --blog visitors -- for coming here and playing my blogging game. I'll post something here about Expo vendors every Tuesday. (Yes, I do write on the ritassewfun blog every single day...)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Mary Mulari in the Pacific Fabrics booth last year.

Dear Pacific Fabric Customers,

HEY -- did the Pacific Fabrics newsletter bring you here? I hope you can open the video in the next post-- it was an interview I did with the Pacific Fabrics crew at Quilt Market last week.

Please visit the -- where I write a new post every day. Today I posted my BEST SLIDE SHOW is my tribute to the most creative people in the world -- sewers. In this case, quilters. I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT...and I hope you like it, too.

There will be a new post on this blog every Tuesday. So please keep coming back!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

VIDEO DAY (Pacific Fabrics)

For the next couple of months, I'm declaring Tuesday VIDEO DAY here on the show blog. Honestly, I took SOOO MANY VIDEOS during my time in Houston. Sadly -- not all of them turned out -- I'm still learning how to use my camera, y'know. But I got some pretty fun stuff!!
So -- TUNE IN every Tuesday to see my "guest video blogger" will be somebody who is coming to the 2010 Sewing & Stitchery EXPO...

Last week, my first video was of Superior Threads -- and Jan & Bonne WANT TO BUY THAT STUFF, BOB!! (he's traveling, girls -- be patient).

Today, please help me welcome the crew from Pacific Fabrics...

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Jan Here totebag

Okay. Last week, I was having a very busy day in Houston at the International Quilt Market. Imagine my surprise and delight when I received this picture on my Blackberry. Oh, yeah -- I am ENJOYING TECHNOLOGY...

Apparently, while I'm in Houston, Jan & Bonne are at a sewing event in California. They sent me this pic of YET ANOTHER TOTEBAG...these two just don't't it beautiful? It's called the "Jan here"...bag. It looked pretty cool plopped in the garden, don't you think?

And now I'm back in Iowa and the girls are probably back in Washington. It's a very small world we live in, isn't it??

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random Quilt Market photos

First of all -- I have to say blogging is absolutely NO FUN from a hotel. My internet was so slow, and I can't actually SEE the pictures that are loading...then, if it ended up being the wrong picture, it would take another hour to REDO THE UPLOAD...ugh...

Okay. Enough whining. I just want to say that I ended up downloading RANDOM photos -- and then writing a bit of text to go with the pictures. My thinking was -- hey -- if I took the picture in the first place, I must have thought there was something interesting about it, eh??

I'm delighted to have some pictures of the outside of the George R. Brown convention center in Houston. This is a HUGE, HUGE PLACE...I'm standing on the street -- looking to the south....

Then, from the same position, this picture is looking to the north...

Hey -- this is a great shot of our Schmetz Booth at Quilt Market. After Rhonda got it all set up. An excellent corner location. Beautiful!!

One of my favorite things to do (besides taking pictures of the Hey Rita tote) is taking a picture of my FOOT on a thing that says where I am or what I'm doing. It was interesting in New York City...maybe it doesn't play as well

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quilt Market Superior Threads Demo

THIS IS SOOO EXCITING!! I figured out how to post a video!! Which is great news because I did LOTS OF VIDEOS at the Quilt Market and Festival in Houston. It was such a great opportunity -- as many of our most popular vendors were at that show. Hopefully, if I stick with this blogging thing -- I'll have lots to show you in the next few months about who's bringing what to the 2010 EXPO!!

Although I had some trouble (and it may not be over yet!) -- I really do appreciate the fact that six of you took the time and energy to email me tips and advice!! Sewers are the BEST, y'know?? Thanks for sticking with me...and I hope this little video makes sense...

Friday, October 16, 2009

She's also a Lumberjack??

hey rita! Well, the "hey rita" bag is leading somewhat of a charmed life I'd say, but my recycled jeans jacket "pocket change" leads a rather hard work life! Just check out a few of the many jobs I do every day in my jacket - no pretty dining rooms, quilt shows or fancy bathrooms here - just hard rugged WORK! I finally got my load of logs out - had to promise the crew chocolate cake as a reward for taking the pics!!! Back to work at the sawmill now, to get these logs into lumber - its all in a days work, logger babe jan

THANKS for sharing, Jan!! I had NO IDEA you were a lumberjack!! You and your jacket seem to be having a fine time. I'm quite sure you take the prize for "most interesting lumberjack jacket in the entire Pacific Northwest."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jan & Bonne At Quilt Market??!!

They're everywhere, they're everywhere!! I was doing a little Quilt Market "interview" with Linda McGehee -- and, of course, I took a picture of her with my "HEY RITA" bag. (I cannot find the pic -- so you'll just have to take my word for it..) Linda said, "follow me, Rita" -- and she walked me over to the P&B booth -- where I saw these great samples of totebags -- one of her new patterns, I assume...

Imagine my surprise when she said, "Look inside"...

Do you recognize the designer signature?? I SURE DID...

That's right -- Jan Potter!! The designer of my favorite HEY RITA BAG....I felt like we had found our long-lost little sister!! CONGRATS, GIRLS...on your new pattern line!! I AM SOO PROUD...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quilt Market Headlines

WELCOME PACIFIC FABRICS customers! I don't know why you ended up on this particular page of the Sew Expo Blog...there are actually some updates available.

Be sure to visit my Rita's Sew Fun blog (

I just put up a wonderful slide show with some of my favorite QUILTS from Quilt Festival in Houston. I write on the Rita's Sew Fun blog every single day -- and posts will go up on this show blog once a week (usually on Tuesdays).

THANKS for coming!!

On set-up day, I took about 50 pictures of booths that were being built. One of my "funny shots" was of this cardboard cutout of Mark Lipinski in the Northcott fabric booth. I made a mental note to look him up during Market, and hopefully get an interview with him...

Imagine my surprise and DISAPPOINTMENT when I heard Mark had resigned from his magazine!! Last night, I went on to the hotel computer to confirm that story -- and on his website he announced that he not only quit his magazine, but he was no longer associated with Quilt Out Loud or QNN TV. Hey -- that was all news to me -- so I'm pretty sure it's news to you, too!! BUT -- I'm pretty sure Mark has some bigger and better things in the works, so I'll keep you posted.

The next picture is a candid moment with the Pacific Fabrics crew...there they are, eating a gigantic baked potato with Amy Barackman. What were they talking about?? OF COURSE -- THE SEWING AND STITCHERY EXPO...I have an interview with Amy -- so you'll be hearing lots more about what she's bringing to Puyallup in future posts!!

P.S. Of course, they all coveted my bag...I had to keep a good eye on Amy to make sure she didn't hijack Hey Rita...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quilt Market VIDEO DEMOS

There are a million interesting things to see at Quilt Market. This is the show that is exclusively for Quilt BUSINESSES. Store owners from all over the world come to Houston once a year to see what's new in the quilting world. Fabric, patterns, thread, rotary cutters, products, notions, books -- YIKES!! There are hundreds -- no -- I'm sure -- THOUSANDS of booths full of everything under the sun. I decided it would be fun to track down a few of the vendors who also do the Sewing & Stitchery Expo to see what they might be bringing to Puyallup. My first attempt at a "video" demonstration was in the Superior Threads booth. Annie did a great job...I hope this video "uplinks"...

Bummer...the video did not work. That's me pushing my luck, eh? After spending over an hour getting a few simple pictures -- I couldn't just be happy with that...Oh NOOOOOO....I had to try to upload a darn video... Hey -- trust me -- it's a VERY INTERESTING DEMO -- and I actually ended up getting great video from Linda McGehee, Jenny Haskins, Luveta Nickels -- an Olfa cutter demonstration -- some other products that were new to me.
I promise to keep trying until I get it figured out!!
More from the show the meantime -- the only picture I could manage to "upload" was of some plywood boxes. I'm telling you -- THERE MUST BE A MILLION OF THEM on the first day of the's like building a temporary city...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quilt Market Day Two

In one of the pre-show set-up pictures, I showed an electrical cord gaggle of cords that -- believe it or not -- turned into this beautiful booth:

Sure enough, on the very first day of the show -- here's Luveta Nickels in her booth with bells on her toes. (and recycled jeans everywhere else..)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

ART & Inspiration

During our recent visit to Chicago -- my friend Marion & I ended up in the gift shop of the Art Institute. (surprise!) Although I'm quire sure you are NEVER supposed to take a picture in a gift shop -- I actually WAS paying $75.00 for this beautiful necklace.

It's various lengths of silk...teal and black...can you see? The silk is so delicate -- and the affect is very lightweight and soft. I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. Now I have to make an outfit to go with the necklace.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quilt Market PICTURES

Okay -- it took very long time -- but here are a few pics...
The first one is of a big machine display area -- the Janome advance team was setting up this electrical octopus when I strolled by their booth. You will be amazed at the "after" shot...

This is what the typical booth areas look like on the pre-show day. Every aisle is full of huge wooden crates with merchandise...people could live inside these things...

Yes, I do know the pictures suck. And I have a hundred better ones...but, hey -- this is what came up. I knew you'd like to see 'em...

Hopefully, tonight, I'll be able to post pics of Linda McGehee, or maybe Nancy Zieman. (we're having dinner together tonight!!)

I can't wait!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Quilt Market

Okay -- I've tried six different times to upload some of my GREAT PICTURES from Quilt Market. But, alas, hotel online hook-ups are just like any other form of temporary real life start off very optimistic -- but at the end of the day -- you just know it's not working...

SO -- I'm wondering how I can tell the Quilt Market story with NO pictures??

Today was Schoolhouse. This is an entire day of mini-classes for quilt shop owners. Some 15 minute sessions, others 30 minutes. Manufacturers, designers, pattern companies -- they all have some new product or fabric to pitch. The "Schoolhouse Listing" booklet is available at 8:00 in the morning -- and the line-up is about a mile long. Then, for the next two hours, all the attendees sit on steps, chairs, the floor -- all over the big George R. Brown convention center -- circling the sessions they want to attend.

There are no advance sign-ups (each room seats about 100) -- so some classes have standing room only with people spilling out into the halls.

For example -- Eleanor Burns had two rooms completely jam packed. I AM SO EXCITED to have her coming to Puyallup next year! Tomorrow, I hope to interview her for the next newsletter (due out in 2 weeks).

Linda McGehee did a schoolhouse session about her new zippers. And I think I got a FABULOUS PHOTO of Linda & me...(you'll just have to take my word for it, eh??)...

Mostly, I got a lot of great shots of the show floor going together. It really is amazing how much work is involved in building a big show like this. Many thousands of man/woman hours, that's for sure. When I get home, maybe I can put all the pictures into a slide show for you to see.

A LOT of your favorite vendors are down here in Houston this week. Believe me -- these are some of the hardest working women in America...and I am sooo glad they do what they hat is off to them!!

Arriving at Quilt Market

I had to get up at 3:30 AM to get on my plane from Moline to Memphis then to Houston. This woman got on the plane in Moline -- and she was at the gate in memphis ACTUALLY QUILTING. SO, of course, I had to sit down and find out what her story is...there is a very interesting story behind that quilt she's working on. But I have to wait a coupla days before I "go public". But I promise -- YOU'LL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW.
And here I am, having a visit with Elvis...

As I was walking down a long corridor of the Memphis airport, a woman came up behind me and said, "Hey, Rita!" I turned to say hello -- and was pretty sure I'd never seen her before. She laughed and said, "well, that's what your bag says"...

More about Quilt Market tomorrow. I took a few pictures of the booths BEFORE they get all beautified...

It's just not possible to understand HOW MUCH WORK IT IS to set up a big show...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chautauqua shots.

Hey -- I know yesterday's post really did suck!! Sorry, people. They can't ALL be winners!! Things will get a lot more interesting next week when I'm in Houston for Quilt Market...I PROMISE...

From Millcreek Sewing -- the hostesses of the event -- the dynamic and creative duo of Judy and Kate. (they sat in these rockers for exactly 15 seconds...)

I, on the other hand, spent about 20 minutes in MY rocker...

This is a picture of Judy, Kate and me in my recycled JEANS right before our Saturday Night ya ya show...

Outside the auditorium -- just before sundown -- I heard "clop-clop-clop" -- and got there just in time to take this picture of the horse-drawn "Newlywed" buggy...

I'm tellin' ya -- Chautauqua is like stepping back in time...I seriously want to go back to that wonderful place...

Anybody looking for a caretaker??

HEY -- tomorrow, if all goes well, I'm gonna actually LINK YOU UP with some veeerrrry interesting video!! Keep your fingers crossed...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rita's Go RED Wrap

Judy thought she was taking a PICTURE of me and my "go red" wrap -- which I have never had a chance to wear -- but, alas, my camera was on the "video" setting -- so instead, you get a glimpse of me moving to put the wrap on...maybe...I think it's sideways...great job, Judy...ugh...

But, maybe you can see that it has some fabulous zebra stripes on the non-sequins side. Of course, there are t-shirt fringes as well...

Never mind...I'll take a picture next time I wear it. You've GOT to read the "message"...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thrift Store Shopping

On our recent trip to Pennsylvania, I was able to spend one entire day with my friend Kathy Keefer. And what did we choose to do? THRIFT STORE SHOPPING, OF COURSE!!
We begin at the wonderful Country Fare restaurant in Myerstown, Pennsylvania. Every woman in America knows that a "girls day out" must start with a RESTAURANT BREAKFAST!!

Yes -- that is scrapple you see on my plate. I could not resist taking a picture. Because the waitress actually said these words, "would you like that deep fried?" REALLY?? THAT'S AN OPTION?? I said, YES, PLEASE!!

Although I don't know what it might "morph" into -- I loved the large graphic of this pink flower on the black skirt. Isn't it beautiful? Even though it's a size 6 -- I could not resist!

Hummm...maybe it'll morph into part of my pink & red outfit for the Sunday Morning chairty event? You just NEVER know what you're going to find at a thrift store! And isn't that the fun of it??

(No -- I didn't buy the skirt -- but I was tempted!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

We Ya Ya in Chautauqua

At our morning program -- Mary and I decided to wear our "Go Red" outfits from last year's style show. Remember them? My shirt says, "It's only funny until somebody gets hurt -- then it's freaking hilarious".
Oh, yeah -- I seriously LOVE THESE OUTFITS...Be sure to check out the new slide show at the bottom of the blog page. This totebag has had a VERY BUSY MONTH!!

AND -- hey -- how about this wonderful jeans recycle project? The picture isn't great -- that's my fault -- but the skirt itself was wonderful!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Okay -- another first for my blogging life. Starting on October 9, I'll be in Houston for Quilt Market -- and I hope to send LIVE POSTS. Well, nearly live. More like the Late Show with David Letterman. Y'know -- maybe a 3-hour delay. lol..
(Note: Because I was traveling, I scheduled this post in advance -- and wouldn't you know I make a reference to David Letterman and THAT'S THE VERY DAY he admits to having multiple affairs with co-workers. Wow...that felt like quite a coincidence...)
I hope to take some pictures of vendors who will be coming to Sew Expo -- and maybe they'll give me some advance scoop about what they're bringing to the 2010 show!

Although I'll only be at Quilt Festival for one day -- if you'll be at the George R. Brown -- EMAIL ME and we'll get together for a cup of coffee!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Email about Jeans Challenge

Hi Rita -
My husband and I have been traveling all summer in our motor home. We've been home a couple of weeks and I am trying to catch up on all the news on the internet. I see where you had a jeans recycle challenge. I just thought I would send you what I did with some old jeans that I have saved over the years. I took the back leg of the jeans as they are less worned than the front leg. I just entered it in ASG's National Sewing Month contest. I thought you might like to see also. I love coming to the Sewing Expo every year. I used to live in the state of Washington so it was easy for me to come. I now live in Green Valley, AZ but I still come for a girl's 5-night vacation. Keep up the good work.

Rita says -- Hey, Sue -- THANKS SO MUCH for taking the time to write. And I LOVE your jacket. I promise you -- I will recognize it in Puyallup if you wear it. Maybe we should make one day a denim- recycle-challenge-day. Think about it, ladies...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Project Runway Week #7 Recap

My complete recap of Episode 7 (October 1)is on my Rita's Sew Fun blog...

My Jeans Details

This is, for me, considered a close-up of my butt....

When I decided the back pocket needed some decoration -- the problem is always the same. It's a lot of work to actually REMOVE the pocket. Or -- I could just decorate the pocket through all the thicknesses -- thus, losing it as a pocket. Hummm. THEN I decided to compromise. In this picture -- you can see I just cut down two sides of the pocket, leaving it attached at the bottom.

After I added a layer of zebra stripe fabric, I restitched the two side seams then cut a design out of the denim.

Also -- I confused some of you with my early photos. Originally, the jeans I was recycling had red and blue calico reverse applque.

But, obviously, at some point, I decided it HAD TO BE ZEBRA STRIPE. So, yes, I cut away all the red and blue and placed a big piece of zebra stripe knit behind the denim. I loved it so much, I cut out some extra designs...fringed the sides...well, you know the rest...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

A recent email:

Dear Rita:

I had to let you know how much I love your blog! It is now part of my day. I found it through reading about the WSU expo because that is on my list of “things to do someday.” As sewing and fabrics are the great love of my life, I enjoy hearing about the things you and your buddies are doing. It inspires me to be more creative and more productive. I relate to what you write about—home, family, cooking, as well as the sewing, and besides, it IS just fun.

Mary Hartman
Flagstaff, Arizona

Rita says:

THANKS SO MUCH, Mary, for taking the time to write! I am De-lighted to hear that I have a regular reader in Flagstaff, Arizona. And we certainly hope the show moves UP YOUR LIST of 'things to do someday". y'know -- in 2010, Mary Mulari and I will be doing our "Midwest Ya ya Sister" show on Friday night. MAYBE THIS IS THE YEAR YOU SHOULD COME TO THE SHOW! What can we do to get you there??

Remember -- we have free parking!!