Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Set Up DAY

HOLY COW...this is such a busy place!! I know you're worried about the weather (I'm speaking to my sewing sisters here) -- but let me assure you -- it is TYPICAL. It was cold this morning (but not freezing)...and there was some rain (but not enough for an umbrella)....then there was a little sun (not enough to get a tan)...

Janet is telling the crew at the fairgrounds which building must be opened in time for the early morning four-needle classes...

And Ann is all the way across the Fairgrounds, directing the 120 ladies who are taking theier four-needle classes in the Paulhamous building. (Peggy Sagers, Kathy Ruddy, Connie Crawford and Barbara Crawford are in these four classrooms...)

Many ladies went to the wrong building -- but to ease their pain -- we DID have the coffee/scone guy set up over there. And it was my job to demonstrate how delicious the scones are!!

Back in the Expo Hall -- the four-needle classes are going full tilt this morning. Cindy Rowell has a sold out "Machine beading & surface embellishment"in the Pfaff room....Candice Jewett also has a packed house for her popular serger workbook class in the Baby Lock room....

Janet Pray is full with her Double Green Shopping Bag in the Brother room...and

Libby Lehman in the Bernina room is teaching her "Pinatita Party"...

WHEW!! Of course, these intense four-needle classes are so popular, they are the first to sell out -- and we have ADDED classes -- so there may be a few tickets available for SUNDAY -- so if you're interested -- check out the complete schedule.

Page 31 of the Registration Brochure -- which is on the show website

INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW: There is FREE internet at the Fairgrounds. Just do a search on your tablet, laptop or phone...and you will be automatically logged on as a "Fairguest"...and you must "ACCEPT" the terms.


See you in Puyallup!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Baby Lock Presents Friday Night LIVE

If you are a regular Sew Expo fan -- you already know Steve Jeffery, President of Baby Lock. Most of the time -- you see him HERE -- on the Expo Runway, giving away a sewing machine. In this picture, he's standing with TWO winners at Eleanor Burns Quilter's Night Out...

Another winner -- happily learning how to create beautiful embroidery on her new top of the line Ellissimo embroidery sewing machine...

Last year, after Nancy's Friday Night LIVE -- yet another lucky winner...(are you sensing a theme here?)

We have a lot of wonderful vendors at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo. And everybody works hard to do this show. But I just wanted to give a little shout out to the President of Baby Lock -- for actually WORKING IN THE BOOTH...(lol)...

Honestly. It is so obvious that Steve really does enjoy meeting his Baby Lock customers -- and he is a wonderful friend to our show. Last year, when we had a "machine emergency" -- the first place we went was to the Baby Lock booth. Steve not only bailed us out -- he personally loaded up six sewing machines and did all the heavy lifting...

Thanks to Steve, Baby Lock has been a big supporter of a local after school sewing program "Threads for Life". Started by of our CTA's -- Connie Tkach -- these kids have been featured in the national media -- and Connie was even interviewed by Nancy Zieman -- go here to watch the video...

Baby Lock supports the program with wonderful reliable, easy to use sewing machines that are perfect for the beginner...(or, if you are experienced and need an extra machine for your RV or vacation home).
One of Steve Jeffery's FAVORITE THINGS TO DO is to give away Baby Lock sewing machines. Here he is, last year, checking out the bag with all the door prize tickets...right before he went on stage to make the big dramatic DRAWING THE NAME OF THE WINNER...

This year, at Friday Night Live, with Martha Pullen -- Steve will not only be UP ON STAGE WITH HER (he was once a singing dancing member of Up With People)...but he will be giving away -- FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME --



If you were lucky enough to get a ticket -- you could win the Anna -- or you could win the top-of-the-line Ellissimo -- or maybe something in between....

I HOPE YOU HAVE A TICKET for Friday Night LIVE. When I was working on this blog post, there were just a few tickets left. It's too late to purchase tickets online -- but when you get to the show -- you could check at the Ticket Booth. You might get lucky...

Steve Jeffery looked at the cost of the Goody Bags -- and realized that, instead of all that stuffing, packing, shipping, etc -- Baby Lock could, instead -- give away FIVE SEWING MACHINES.

Wow. FIVE SEWING MACHINES is a first for us. And we are delighted. THANK-YOU BABY LOCK. Thank you for being a part of one of the most exciting nights of entertainment in the sewing industry. Thank you for doing all you do to share our love of sewing. Thank you for being such a wonderful partner...and for bringing us Nancy Zieman, Eleanor Burns, Martha Pullen -- and STEVE JEFFERY...!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bernina Presents Quilter's Night OUT


Alex Anderson is bringing a very unique presentation for our Quilter’s Night Out – Saturday, March 3, at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $20 -- and you can buy them at the Ticket Booth (in the Showplex building)

She likes to call it, “How in the world did that woman get a television show?”. If you were a fan of her popular HGTV show, "Simply Quilts" -- you CANNOT MISS THIS EVENT.

AND -- we are delighted to announce that Bernina will be giving away AN ARTISTA 730E...!!

The artista 730E is a true sewing, quilting and embroidery artist with absolute top-level functions and features.

Let your creativity soar like never before! The most advanced Sewing and Embroidery System in the World with 9mm wide stitches, sideways motion stitching and the revolutionary BERNINA Stitch Regulator (with zigzag!) and fully rescalable artista embroidery, all included. If you can imagine it, you can create it, easier than ever before.

ALSO -- Alex will be presenting a special Two-Needle Class on Sunday morning. This is your only chance to actually ATTEND A SEMINAR presented by Alex Anderson at the Sew Expo. Considered one of the most influential people in the quilting world -- you should RUN, not walk -- to the Expo Runway on Sunday morning..!!

Alex Anderson, Bernina
Room A
Sun. (#2001D), 8:30 am–10:00 am ($20 -- you can pay at the door).
Stumped when it is time to “quilt as desired?” In this 1 ½ hour interactive lecture, Alex will explain the thought process, tips and tricks to choose and or design appropriate quilt designs. With her strong appreciation of Amish quilting design her information is the groundwork for all quilts. Whether traditional or contemporary these tricks will add to your personal tool belt when it comes to quilting designs.

Your handout will include Alex’s best tricks and tips for quilting design.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nooner Events

You know we have a full roster of PROFESSIONAL STYLE SHOWS up on the Expo Runway (upstairs in the Pavilion) every day. This year -- we have Suede with Simplicity, Sandra & Marcy, Pfaff, Pati Palmer for McCall's, Linda & Louise.

These Fashion Shows take a lot of work and time to prepare -- for months before the show. Our speakers work hard to bring the NEWEST AND LATEST to these shows -- and we hire professional models to make sure they are TOP NOTCH...

However, every day -- our professional models have to eat lunch...

Yes, in this picture, you can see five of our models sharing a plate of veggies...

SO -- during that time -- when OUR models are "allegedly eating lunch" -- we try to put something entertaining up on the Expo Runway. We like to call these our "Nooner Events"...

This year -- we've put together a KILLER ROSTER of Nooner events.

Expo Runway, 2nd Floor Pavilion
Thur., 12:30 - 1:15
--Bernadette Griffith, from Juki Sewing Machines will be presenting a BRAND NEW, NEVER BEFORE SEEN "Serger Fashions" style show. She's asked me to introduce her -- and I decided I had to make a NEW SERGER GARMENT for this special occasion.

It's wild. And I'll give you this hint -- it's VERY yellow.

Bernie doesn't know it yet -- but my wild serger garment will be a special door prize. THEN -- next year -- it's your job to either wear the garment to a sewing event or recycle it as something more interesting. The whole point, of course, is for you to SEND ME I can blog about it's journey...

Expo Runway, 2nd Floor Pavilion
Fri., 12:30–1:15
One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer and hats can help
them through this bump in the road. Bonnie Britten, a breast cancer survivor,
and her identical twin sister Barb Clark will present Hatzoff!—featuring
turbans, wraps, fedoras, etc. Their custom sewing business is called One of
a Kind by Two of a Kind.

We have two personal friends of mine. Bonnie Britten used to teach at my store in Clinton, Iowa. She was the first person I ever met who used to "name her outfits". I remember one very snazzy outfit called, "Dancing with Wolves". Bonnie is a Sorority Mom now for the University of Washington. But her twin sister, Barb Clark -- still lives in the midwest -- here's a picture of her home in Illinois -- where I joined them for lunch one beautiful summer day...

Bonnie put up a huge display of the pillowcase dresses she was making...Lillian nearly wore her's out!!

AND IT IS SO EXCITING that the two of them have put together a special show for the 2012 Sewing & Stitchery Expo -- and I can hardly wait to see what they're bringing!!

12:30 on the Expo Runway upstairs in the Pavilion

You must come see the Inspired2Sew duo. Jan Potter (on my right -- the birth mother of the Hey Rita tote) and Bonne Swett will be unveiling their Sew Expo CHALLENGES.
As a special surprise -- this year -- me and THREE OF MY SEWING SISTERS will be joining them on the stage.

And we're all bringing a different version of their BRAND NEW SIMPLICITY TOTEBAG PATTERN. We've taken it on as our own personal sewing challenge...

AND if that isn't enough excitement -- we will be GIVING AWAY Rita Farro's 2011 Sew Expo jackets at this event.

YES, THAT'S RIGHT -- my gorgeous, incredible, embroidered embellished 2011 jackets!! I'm going to send them off into the world -- and your job is to SEND THE PICTURES BACK TO ME.

It'll be fun to blog about where the jackets go, who got them, and what they did during the year 2012...

SUNDAY, March 4, 2012
12:30 on the Expo Runway


The FREE Fashion Show put on by the IPCA designers -- showing you the "fan favorites". YOU PICKED them -- by getting your Midnight Magic passport and voting during the show. Turn in your passport, and you'll be eligible for some fabulous door prizes.

WOW -- that is a VERY EXCITING roster of FREE Nooner events, don't you think?? I AM SO EXCITED...See you there!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Juki Helps Coats & Clark Celebrate 200 Years

There are so many layers of this event that are is a joy for me to write about our Pillowcase Patrol...

And the 2,860 pillowcases we collected last year for the children being treated at Mary Bridge Hospital
We were stunned by that number...and that huge supply of handmade pillowcases lasted for three months....

Barbara was a Sew Expo virgin -- and completely taken by surprise at your generosity and support...

Coats & Clark is a wonderful enthusiastic sponsor of this event -- and this year -- they will be giving a SPECIAL GIFT to the first 200 attendees of the Sunday morning event. To help celebrate their 200th Anniversary!!

AND Coats & Clark also give a spool of thread to everybody who donates a pillowcase --

AND Coats & Clark gives a Goody Bag to every participating rookie.

INSTEAD OF "goody bags" for the audience -- Coats & Clark is bringing a big DOOR PRIZE this year. (yes, I know it's hard to believe -- but we ALWAYS have some attendees who complain about goody bags -- so there won't be any this year.)


Juki Sewing Machine, a new vendor for 2012 -- has very generously donated THESE TWO MACHINES...which will be given away as door prizes at the Coats & Clark Charity Event.

HZL-27Z – Portable Mechanical Sewing Machine

22 build in stitches
Free arm
Just under 13 lbs
Needle threader
Great little portable machine

MO-734 4/3/2 thread overlock
Automatic Rolled Hem
Differential feed
Automatic Needle threader (both left and right needles)
MSRP: $1493.00

So please do plan to come. Sunday Morning -- 10:30 -- on the Expo Runway. You will be helping the children...every dime of your $10 donation goes directly to Mary Bridge. You will be able to pay cash at the door -- but -- if you want to use your credit card -- you can still get your ticket this week....

Simply go to the show website -- and click on the "Mary Bridge page". Here's the beauty part -- you can make your donation (using a credit card) -- and Mary Bridge will send you a receipt -- which you can print -- and it will serve as your ticket to the event!!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Last Day of Registration

If you just received the final e-newsletter -- I told you to come here for "late breaking news"...


The last day for online registration is Sunday, February 26 at midnight.

And, all orders placed from 2/20 through the 26th will be available to be picked up at the Fairgrounds Will Call window at the Gold Gate.

IPCA member -- Kathleen Cheetham

As we do the countdown -- the IPCA designers are still replying to some of my earlier questions.

Remember -- they're burning the candle from both ends -- getting ready for the 2012 Sew Expo! This year -- they're bringing their Midnight Magic design challenge to Sew Expo! You can pick up a Passport at any IPCA member booth (#135, 215, 406, 429, 523, 628, 637 and 835) and vote for your favorites.

Please attend their FREE FASHION SHOW -- SUNDAY -- AT 12:30 pm -- on the Expo Runway.

Here's a picture from last year's Coats & Clark Pro-Am Sewing Exhibition. Kathleen Cheetham, from Petite Plus Patterns, with her sewing "rookie" back stage before the show. THANKS, Kathleen, for playing our sewing game and being such a wonderful mentor.

Kathleen is always one of the first speakers to sign up for our Charity Event...and that makes our job SO MUCH EASIER!!

(Rita asked the questions in red -- Kathleen's response is in black..)

When did you start sewing?

Like many sewers of my age, I began sewing at my mother's knee - doll clothes of course, but my mother insisted I learn early to take care of my clothes -mending and sewing on buttons. She didn't have much patience with my sense of design though!

How long have you been coming to Expo?
My first year as a vendor was 2002, but I was an avid follower years before that.

How does sewing improve your life?
I can't imagine a life without sewing. It's a need I have to work with fabric and make something beautiful.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
Well I have many favorite parts - good thing too, because as a small business owner, there are many hats to wear. One of my most fulfilling jobs is the creation of instructions for guide sheets and classes. I really enjoy working out and documenting the best way for a sewer to approach fitting and constructing a garment.

What’s the BEST thing you ever sewed? For yourself?
There are a few pieces that stand out in my memory and they all seem to mark milestones. The first was a yellow linen sleeveless shift that I made at 15. Those were the days when we accessorized with matching pumps, purse and even gloves!

When I asked Kathleen to send a few pictures -- she sent this and said, "here's who's waiting for me to come home."
And -- THIS IS THE CABIN where Kathleen does her sewing when she's home!!

Something you made for somebody else?
In college, my costume "Salmon in Ocean Coat" reached the finals for a contest sponsored by Air France. The outfit was made up of a sleek nylon-lycra cat suit under a draped coat of shot silk. The coat's "waves" shimmered pink and blue like the sea at sunset. Very artsy and it was a thrill to create the "impractical" with some very beautiful fabrics.

What are you teaching at this year’s Expo?
This year, unfortunately, a health issue is keeping me at home and I will not be at Expo. Pendleton Woolen Mills has kindly agreed to host the Midnight Magic contest garments made from Petite Plus Patterns. Pendleton Woolen Mills booth is located at #406, 408, 410. I encourage everyone to stop in at Pendleton's booth, pick up a passport and vote for their favourite outfit.

Biography - Kathleen Cheetham
Kathleen Cheetham is an author, designer and pattern maker. She produces Petite Plus Patterns® and offers classes on fitting, design and sewing. In recent years Kathleen has added costume and puppet making to her design repertoire.

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, Kathleen. And I AM GREEN WITH ENVY about your actual "sewing cabin". wow. We'll miss you this year -- and look forward to having you back at the show in 2013!!

For more information about Kathleen's wonderful patterns -- please visit her website -- Petite Plus Patterns.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


On Saturday -- up on the Expo Runway -- I will be MC'ing the Inspired 2 Sew Challenge. Bonne and Jan are BRINGING their 2012 challenge -- and my two sisters -- Ronda and Deborah -- will be helping. To make it even more exciting -- the special door prizes for that event will be RITA FARRO'S 2011 SEW EXPO JACKETS!!

Because we had a special embroidery design that year -- my sister Deb embroidered FOUR FABULOUS JACKETS FOR ME...and here are some remind you how GORGEOUS THESE JACKETS WERE...

Who could forget my great Saturday jacket??
Maybe the Sunday jacket is my favorite...

The BACK of the Saturday jacket has the "Expo" design as reverse applique...

Yes -- this one could be my was sooo comfortable, and with all those colors -- it goes with ANYTHING!!
Although, the stunning black and white jacket was perfect for the Expo embroidery design...

And the perfect weight for those breezy Pacific Northwest spring days...
The Sunday jacket was SPECTACULAR...

Claire made a scarf to go with my well-known black & white theme...this was my Day One jacket..Claire has her own 2012 sewing challenge...which she will be sharing during the Nooner event on Saturday -- up on the Expo Runway (12:30)
I loved the long length of this jacket -- and the buttons are unique...

Deb put the design on the back HIP -- (Mary upstaged me with her fab skirt, eh?)

AND on the front as well...
Gee...Deb will get to see her crush -- SIMON -- at the show!!

So here's the deal. If you come to the Saturday Nooner "Inspired 2 Sew" event (which is totally FREE) -- at 12:30 -- you'll get a door prize ticket -- and we'll be giving away FOUR UNIQUE ONE-OF-A-KIND-EMBROIDERED-BY-DEBORAH Sew Expo Jackets....

AND you will promise to either wear it yourself to a sewing event -- or give it to a friend who will wear it to a sewing or quilting event...and you will SEND ME PICTURES so I can blog about it..

The jackets are size 2x -- so you can make it smaller-- alter it to fit YOU -- cut it up to make a totebag -- or give it to one of your deserving fat friends!!

THE WHOLE POINT is for me to blog about where the Sew Expo jackets GO FOR THE NEXT YEAR...

Just like the Hey Rita Tote -- we want to send these jackets off on their sewing travels...

SO -- come to the Saturday "Nooner" event -- at 12:30 -- up on the Expo Runway!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Good question, Diana

I'm having trouble viewing my "comments" and responding to them in the usual way...but (on the admin page) I read Diana's comment and she brings up a good point.

She wondered why we had to pay the teachers to teach the Two-Needle Classes.

Good question, Diana.

We decided to introduce the Two-Needle classes and PAY THE TEACHERS for two very important reasons.

First of all -- attendees say the One-Needle classes often feel like an "infomercial". The teachers MUST sell their products, new patterns, books, notions, etc. -- precisely BECAUSE WE DO NOT PAY THEM TO TEACH. Paying them would allow them to focus on teaching their subject and/or project -- because they wouldn't have to worry about "making sales".

Secondly -- we paid the teachers for the Two-Needle classes because they had to provide a "substantial hand-out" with the step-out information, designs, instructions or project they were teaching.

We hoped that if we paid the teachers, gave them TWICE as much time, equipped a special room with the newest and latest technology, and asked them to provide a detailed, in-depth hand-out -- these Two-Needle classes would be a good value for you. We wanted them to be a compromise between the One-Needle classes and the hands-on workshops.

It was a noble experiment.

But -- hey -- how does that adage go? 'If you don't fail sometimes -- you're not trying hard enough."So the good news know we are ALWAYS trying hard...


The show is a living, breathing thing. We strive to ALWAYS MAKE IT BETTER -- which means we try new things, and constantly assess what's working and what's not working.

One thing is for sure -- you LOVE the hands-on workshops. Of course, because these three-needle classes require sewing machines, they are limited to 30 students -- so there is no way we can accommodate everybody. They sell out quickly and many of you are very disappointed.

Two years ago -- we launched the two-needle class format. The purpose was to give more attendees the opportunity for more in-depth learning. Obviously, the One-Needle seminars, which are only 45 minutes long, can only cover a limited amount of information.

We took one Classroom -- Room F -- and FULLY EQUIPPED IT. It has a camera man, and television screens, and all the technology for the teachers to do more IN DEPTH teaching. The teachers have twice as much time -- and they were told to bring EXTENSIVE handouts...many of them choosing to put all the "how-to" information on CD's or DVD's. Because this classroom costs us way more money -- and each class is twice as long as the One-Needle classes -- the class fee was $20 because WE PAY THE TEACHERS to present these two-needle topics.

We KNOW you want a hands-on experience -- and the Two Needle class format was our compromise...

But ticket sales are sluggish -- the format is costing us too much money -- so we will not be offering two-needle seminars next year.

SO TAKE A GOOD LOOK -- 2012 is your LAST CHANCE...

The evaluations from attendees of the two-needle classes have been excellent. Our best teachers -- Connie Crawford, Pati Palmer, Eileen Roche, Sue Hausmann, Jan Bones, etc. -- have all worked hard to BRING IT.

They developed topics for their two-needle classes so they could BE MORE IN DEPTH...and then they produced fabulous, extensive class handouts.

I'm just saying -- go to the website and take another look. This is your last chance...Page 18 of the Registration's the link:

Here's the link to the Two Needle Grid in the Registration Brochure

Monday, February 13, 2012


I have this picture -- taken at the 2009 Sew Expo -- the MOMENT Jan Potter gave me the Hey Rita tote...

Since then -- if you follow my Rita's Sew Fun blog -- you have seen the Hey Rita tote traveling all over the world. She's gone with me to scores of events in cities like New York City, Las Vegas, Reno, Virginia, Florida, Memphis, Chicago, Seattle. She's carried my stuff on buses, subways, airplanes. Hey Rita has been a hard-working, useful traveling companion and she's brought a smile to people all over the country...

In just a few weeks -- at this year's show -- she's going to participate in our Facebook game...

We're going to set up the "Facebook Place" over by the ticket booth in the Showplex. Rhonda Pierce, from Schmetz Sewing Machine Needles, will be our Facebook hostess -- and she'll be roaming the show, taking pictures, doing interviews, and posting REAL TIME show information..

Throughout the day -- we'll place the Hey Rita tote in some likely (or UNlikely) place...and if you find her -- and return her to the Facebook Place -- you'll receive a gift from Schmetz...

She could be sitting on a bench....

Hanging on a fence...
You NEVER know where she might be laying around...
Or hanging on a hook in some random booth...
Of course you could find her in a coffee shop
Or visiting with some of her sewing friends...
Any chair -- in any class...

She is a celebrity magnet...(yes, that's Vicki from the Real Housewives of Orange County)...

She enjoys visiting New York City...

The biggest names in the sewing world have enjoyed playing the Hey Rita tote game....and now YOU GET TO PLAY...

SO -- to start off -- go to our Facebook page.

You have to "like" the page. THEN -- you'll be able to see what's happening at the show in REAL TIME. Rhonda will post updates and, using your smartphone or tablet -- you can play along with Facebook...

OR -- if you're home that day -- or in another part of the country (and why would that happen??) -- you can still see what's happening at the biggest sewing party in America!!