OK, so recently I got my annual sewing “fix” at SEWEXPO in Puyallup, Washington (just southeast of Seattle).  As I work in the sewing industry in Canada, it is not really possible for me to be the “customer” at shows in Canada as I am usually working. I go to Sewexpo to see what’s new; what’s hot, what’s not so hot anymore, attend seminars to refresh my sewing memory + learn new skills; to get new ideas; recharge my sewing battery…… you get the picture…….. it all adds up to sewing education + bliss!

This year I was super pumped and hardly able to contain my excitement as there was to be a BLOGGERS BOOTCAMP planned for 2 days during the 5 day show. I signed up almost immediately as I was SO keen to discover more about blogging to grow & improve our janomelife and elnalife blogs.  However, apparently not many folk were as pumped as me because they had to cancel due to low # of sign-ups. I was very disappointed. However, I did not let it get me down for long and I headed south to do as much as I could to gather info to share with you folk on this blog.  Even though the first day of the bootcamp was cancelled, we still received our passes to attend seminars on the second day – which I did!  Actually, I left no time for eating or bathroom breaks……silly me….I was just so keen to go to a  seminar at every session from 8.30am – 5.15pm. I managed it by sneaking a few rice crackers (you are not allowed to eat in class….. a bit like being back at school several decades ago?!) + my bottle of iced tea……Yes, I know it was not great nutrition but who needs food when you can sew!

Schmetz 1

Thank you, Rhonda Pierce from Schmetz Needles for all you did to try to make this BLOGGERS BOOTCAMP happen and also thanks to you & the sponsors for our wonderful goodie bags.

We were asked to write up some product reviews of the contents of our goodie bags & beyond.  So here goes for the first in a series of posts about what was in my goodie bag + what I discovered at SEWEXPO this year:

GRABBIT were most generous. We got a number of great items in our bag from this well known sewing notion leader:


needle mat

Oh boy…..this is just too cool. We all KNOW we have to replace our needles often (every 8 hours or certainly with every new project) but what happens when we only use a needle for a little bit? Do you put it back into your needle pack? Do you remember what you put into the machine in the first place? Don’t know about you, but I sure could do with some help with this…….enter  a real nifty sewing notion:  Sort of like a mouse pad with a grid of needle types & sizes printed on the mat. You use the flower pin (included) to mark what is currently in your machine & then you simply pin your needle that is still usable into the applicable slot when not being currently used.  There is a patent pending…..should be as this is a clever tool which I will 100% definitely be using in my sewing room.


pressitThis is a remarkable viscose fabric which soaks up 10x its weight in liquid but when you squeeze it, it is almost dry. So you have a super intelligent pressing cloth where you get to choose how much moisture you require for all your specific pressing tasks. Does not drip all over your project and yet does not need to be re-wet as often as you would have to do with a regular press cloth.   It also is great for picking up dust & lint in your sewing room. (like after you cut that minkee fabric which is almost worse than my cat for leaving “fluff” all over everything !!)


Handy dandy tools.  Most of us have needle threaders but can you find one when you need one? These ones have little magnets on the back which adhere to metal surfaces so you can pop it close by ready to use it when you need to thread that impossibly tiny eye. There is also a thread cutter on the side which makes things super easy – especially if you need to cut threads on a plane journey….fret no more….the Grabbit magnetic needle threader does double duty.


spool spindle

OK, so do you find the same as me: you wind a bobbin for a specific project in a specific colour & when done, you toss it into your bobbin box & the spool of thread, back where you keep your threads?? Then when you want to sew with that colour again, you have the hassle & waste of time to find the matching bobbin? Well, hassle no more! This spindle lets you store the spool of thread together with the bobbin in same colour thread. Too clever!


wrist magnet

So we all know the benefits of magnetic pincushions. Only time I use a little pin box or tin  is when I have to pack things up to sew away from home. Rest of the time I use my magnetic pincushions (which are also a Grabbit product). However, I currently have 4 in my sewing room as I can’t be bothered to constantly look for where my magnetic pincushion is – so I have one next to various machines + one on my ironing board. Now that I have the wrist pincushion, it will travel around the sewing room with me and I won’t have to have so many pincushions! Why did I not think if this before now?!

I will be doing more blog posts on other stuff I acquired + things I learned in the many classes I attended. KEEP WATCHING THIS BLOG……Sign up for email alerts & send us comments if you have anything to add or have queries.

About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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  1. Jean says:

    it was a fun show. Crowded, too! Lots to see and do! And generous sponsors rock!
    I learn so much at these show. While I limit my floor time, they’re the perfect venues for taking unique classes. I know that you enjoyed not working on this one.


    • lizafrica says:

      Thanks for your comments. I was pretty much working as everything I discover & learn is used in the course of my work one way or another. This year I focussed on Blog research & new techniques & trends to share with our Canadian sewers.


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