|I have wanted to attend this expo for 6 years. This December, I put all of my excuses aside and made reservations for the fabulous show. I had very high expectations, and the show exceeded them in every way.
There was online registration for the classes for the first time this year. I registered in the evening of the first day, and got all but one of the classes I requested. There was ample opportunity to register for another class, but I decided to allow for more shopping time.
I stayed in Tacoma, there were no rooms available in Pullyalup. It was an easy 10 minute taxi ride to the Expo.
I arrived at the Expo at 8:00 AM the first morning. There was a large group of excited women. I had an 8:30 class (Sewing a Blouse in Two Hours, by Marta Alta), so I had to bypass all the booths that were calling me by name and credit card number!
There were classes that ranged from a quick lecture/demo to hands on sewing. I was happy with the lecture classes, but longed for more information and time with the speakers.
The only way I can describe the vendor experience is this: Think about every favorite quilting, sewing, pattern and embellishment store you have ever thought of, read about, or lurked on the internet. Take all of these and put them in 3 buildings at one place. Add about 50 more places you never even dreamed about. Then, here is the best part - the booths are manned by all of the star celebrities themselves! You don't just get to gape at your favorite sewing personality on a stage. You get to see them at their booths and talk to them about their products! Call me star struck, but that was the best part of the whole experience.
Aside from taking classes from Marta Alta and Pati Palmer, I spent time in their booths talking to both of them. They just released a new video on sewing jeans. I took that class, also, and bought the video. I can't wait to try a pair of jeans with all of their fitting and sewing advise.
I am shopping for a new sewing machine, and every manufacturer was there. I test sewed on every machine that was out there. Where else can you do that? I did not buy a machine there, but I know which one I will get. I talked to Nancy Zieman and Eleanor Burns about my machine choices and got their advise.
Did you just notice I said I talked to Eleanor Burns? That was the most thrilling part of the Expo for me. I first saw here when I sat at a table to order a snack. There she was, AT THE NEXT table, eating her lunch. When she left, I ran for her booth. It was so exciting for me to talk to her. I bought some more of her books and she autographed them. I talked to her about the quilt class I am teaching. What a thrill!
Other star thrills - Sandra Betzina, Patty Clark and Ricky Tims. I was so surprised to see Ricky working his own booth by himself!
I did pretty good and stuck to my budget. I bought some fabulous rayon batiks, some Palmer and Pletsch DVD's, lots of patterns, and books from my favorite teachers.
Though it was very crowded, everybody was so nice. You couldn't turn around without bumping somebody, but everyone just smiled and laughed. There were no long waits - the Expo is so big that if one booth is crowded, just go to another and go back.
The Expo website gave some tips. One thing they said was very true. They said that if you see something you want to buy at a booth, don't put off getting it after you go scope out the other booths. They said that things sell out. I think that was very true. When I was on the way to my first class in the morning, I spied the rayon batiks. By the time I got back to that booth after lunch, the bolts were pretty low and I had much less choice of yardage.
This Expo was something I will remember for a long time. I hope I get to go back another year.