Dispatch from Sew Expo

comments: 62

It was cool. It had been about five years, I think, since I'd been to it, but the Sewing and Stitchey Expo my mom and I went to yesterday was a really fun place to find out about some new stuff, and pick up some things I haven't seen anywhere else. You know how I was kind of bummed to be finishing my book soon? WHAT WAS MY PROBLEM. Seriously. I picked up stuff to start about four more projects, some of which I have never done before, and now I am so ready to be done so that I can start on them. (BTW, these photos and illustrations are all from the artist's web sites, not mine.)

SheperdessPillow My favorite, and something I've been wanting to learn forever, is this little Sheperdess rug punch pillow pattern  from Reets' Rags to Stitches. My mom bought this pattern for me and a beautiful Oxford punch needle, and the burlap. Such a nice mommy. I have wanted to make a rug for so long, but I didn't know anyone who did it to show me how. I bought supplies and a book from the fabric store one time but I got overwhelmed by the idea of cutting all those strips of fabric, and because I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't realize that you could use worsted weight wool, which I have bucketfuls of, more than I know what to do with. And you know what I don't have? RUGS. I desperately need rugs in my house. And chair cushions. Perfect. I need four chair cushions for my dining room. My new thing was going to be making a braided rug out of my fabric stash, but I wasn't looking forward to cutting and folding and stitching all those strips, etc. Though I do want to do that someday. But this rug punch is SO EASY. The lady showed me how to do it. And it's so fast. And you can use up your yarn stash = good. I can't wait. Can't wait can't wait. The only thing is, to make a rug, I think you have to have a big frame to hold it while you're working? Not sure if you can use a big but hand-held hoop and move it around. Anyone know?


Okay, next. Folkwear. Do you know about Folkwear? I don't even know where to start talking about Folkwear. The coolest pattern company ever. They've carried these patterns at Fabric Depot for a long time and I have looked at them a million times but never bought one (just got the Roumanian Blouse), mostly because I can never decide which one to get because they are all so beautiful. Yesterday at the show there was an entire wall of them, offered by Birch Street Clothing.


I have never seen the actual pattern packages and illustrations (by artist and jewelry designer Gretchen Schields, which are utterly amazing — I could just look at the illustrations for everything all day, actually) so big and up close like that. They're gorgeous. And the clothes are so unique and fantastic. I'm thinking either the Roumanian Blouse, the Afghan Nomad Dress, the Russian Settlers' Dress, or, naturally, the English Smock.


See, I can't decide. But something. I will order something because I love them and had kind of forgotten about them. And they have a TON of different styles, you just have to look.


What else. Okay, another pattern. The Birdie Big Blocks quilt pattern by Barbara Brandeburg. A 56" square easy applique quilt. They had a turquoise, brown, and melon-orange one made up and it was absolutely adorable. I am going to make this out of my stash, as well. This looks like a perfect stash quilt. I've never made a little quilt like this, or done anything fancier than tie a quilt. This had cool stitching all over it. I think it would be cute to just do simple running stitches by hand around the circles, too. But anyway, sweet. Mom got this one, too.


Next: pincushion. I love pincushions. I need one in every room of the house, hopefully to assuage my tendencies to leave needles in pillows in the bed. One of my special talents. But cute pincushions really do call to me. I thought this one, the English Garden Pin Cushion by Bird Brain Designs, was really cute. I got the kit for this. You can do the flowers however you want. They had beautiful dyed wools, too. The lady was making the most incredible needle-felted animals. I am a little bit afraid of that needle. But I think this pin cushion has just enough needle-felted (the centers of the flowers, and you can make stems and stuff, too) parts for me. This I'll do right away, and keep it on my nightstand.

Look at these incredible miniature cross-stitch historical gardens by Liz Turner Diehl. I got the Ruby Jeweled Garden pattern. I couldn't resist. So cool. I'm thinking of doing my own, of whatever garden we put together this year in our planned raised beds. Aren't those neat? You have to click on the links because the photos are really small.

Anyway, I think that's it. I am really excited about the rug punch. I just had to say that again. I gotta go so I can finish my book and start this, stat. Bye.


Thanks for sharing your finds. I'm thinking that I need to go to this next year.

What a beautiful gathering of crafty folks! As always, lovely photos.

Alicia, I've made the moroccan cape from Folkwear for both my girls and I've made the prairie dress AND the school marm dress. The patterns are all well designed and is to follow.

There is someone in the Portland area doing hooked/punched rugs. Check with the Oregon Historical Society Sauvie Island Festival committee--I met the lady there when we were both vendors at the festival.

Oh, I love needle felting. Once you get the hang of it, it is very relaxing. I think you will enjoy it.

Chris Howard says: February 27, 2009 at 09:46 AM

I'm so glad to see you worked up and excited over new projects and I can't wait to see where you go with them! Have you ever heard of punch needle? It's kind of like what you are doing with the rugs, but you do it on a smaller scale with linen and floss. I've never done it myself, but I can look up a few links if you are interested.

OK...so yesterday I posted with gushiness about "isn't it wonderful to be consumed by what you love???!!!"

And today I'm going to change my story, along with you, and say I totally understand wanting that consuming part done so you can move on. (For me, that means kinda wanting my Celtic harp concert for St. Patrick's Day done so I can KNIT!! And, like, maybe take a nap...)

All your new projects look wonderful. Have fun!

Folkwear Patterns are awesome. I have the Empire Dress pattern and it's so wonderful. Gave me lots of options too (historically correct v. modern).

check in the maaaaaaiiiiiillllll.

Oh, drool! :) I've seen Folkwear patterns here and there but I've never sat down and looked through them all. The variety of patterns is amazing and those black and white illustrations are fabulous! It's great to know that if I ever want to dress up as a cheese maker, there's a pattern out there for it. ;)

Oh Alicia, I'm so envious! We don't have anything like that here boo hoo. I did get to see Bird Brain Designs at a fiber expo thingy here and I just love them - I'd been drooling over them in mags and online and finally got to go nuts and buy stuff in person. Woohoo!

I've always wanted to make a Folkwear pattern and gosh I can remember them being around forever and I predate you teehee. I look forward to seeing which design you chose.

I so want the birdie quilt pattern, that is soooooooo cute. Love love love the shepherdess rug too.

Wishing you lots of creative fun!

I'm drooling over that pin cushion and have already boomarked the pattern site so I can go back and really have a good look at what they have.
Sounds like you had just the best time with the perfect companion!!

I love the pincushion. Just what you need for a pre-Spring pick me up! Have you thought about crocheting your rugs? I cleaned out the stash a couple of years ago and did just that and they hold up really well. Have a great weekend. Cheers.

I could barely contain my excitement while reading your post - I was right there with you - what a wonderful day you've had! I wish I could have come along!

I've always wanted to try rug punch work too, but haven't quite got round to it yet - so I'll be interested to see how you fare with your kit.
And those Folkwear designs - love them! I actually made the Kinsale Cloak in velvet once because somebody was taking me to the opera. It was perfect for that night out (very French Lieutenant's Woman...), but somehow I can't see myself galivanting about in it in my everyday life, standing at the end of the pier and all... so all the plans of adding further embellishments to it have been abandoned, along with the cloak, hanging all forlorn in the deepest darkest corner of my closet...

ACK! Thank you SO much for this post. Folkwear has patterns for Vietnamese Ao Dai's. I never had one made when adopting the twins and it has been something I regretted. Again, thank you so very much!

Folkwear patterns have been around since I was a "hippie" in the REAL hippie days in the '60s. Always loved the artwork. If only I could have looked like the women in the pictures after making one of the garments. Anyway, I think you should make the plain Roumanian blouse and embroider the sleeves with your own design. That's that I think!

You've probably already tried this, but my library (a system smaller than Portland's) had a DVD (well, VHS tape) of a woman who demonstrated the wool rug making. She did not use a hoop at all - it was a lap project.

I love that rug pattern! I have poked around with starting to learn rug making, but am always so bummed out by the available patterns (american flags, teddy bears, unicorns, bleh!)

i have your book, stitched in time, and i just made the nutcracker doll for my girls.they were so excited and loved the doll from the moment they saw it on your book.

now i am all excited
love those patterns and the pincushion- omg
thanks so much for sharing some of the goodness from your expo day

I love Folkwear! Some of the patterns are super easy, others are more challenging. I've found it really helpful to read reviews of their patterns here: www.gbacg.org/great-pattern-review/folkwear

Love that quilt patter. So beautiful!

I have some Folkwear patterns from about 15 years ago and some can really translate into great clothing! They're beautifully made.

What a great trip- I want to go one day!

Rughooking....hoops don't work ,you need something like this:
You'll get really frustrated with a hoop...trust me AND it's another road of hunting and gathering of stuff;) We do a lot of "hooking" here on the east coast.

Nice to know Folkwear is still around. Brings back hippie sewing days.

Needle felting is super easy, just do NOT do it while watching television. You really need to pay attention to the needle.

Just started rug hooking to beef up my rug collection and de-stash a serious amount of lopi chunky. I've been using a hoop and thinking that there has to be a better way - I'll be watching to see the responses you get!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.