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Thimble fingers

Third annual sewing event
returns to Gen. Butler State Park

Sewing Expo to feature speakers, panels, demos

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(March 2008) – Local sewing enthusiast Jonee Brotz declares, “Sewing is a passion for me.” So much so that she has been invited to be a participant in the third annual “It’s Sew Fine: For Home & Family” Sewing Expo in Carrollton, Ky.
Brotz will be a panelist discussing, “Turning Your Hobby Into a Business.” She calls this a “great opportunity to share the experiences I’m going through in the process of opening a new business.”

General Butler sewing expo

Photos provided

Many people took part in last
year's Sewing Expo at Gen.
Butler State Resort Park.

General Butler sewing expo

Brotz moved from the Chicago area to Carrollton two years ago. She has sewn for herself for the last 40 years but said stepping out on a limb and beginning a business has been “kind of scary the first time.” She hopes to encourage others by speaking about her home-based custom sewing and embroidery business, “Designs by Jonee.”
The Sewing Expo will be held April 15-16 at Gen. Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton. Classes will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, with a 6:30 p.m. banquet meal and keynote speaker Annie Foerster. On Wednesday, classes will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A general registration fee of $80 will be charged. This amount includes the Tuesday lunch and evening banquet, lunch on Wednesday lunch and one Make-it and Take-it project.
“Sewing is making a big comeback nationwide,” said Grace Angotti, Carroll County Cooperative Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences with the University of Kentucky. The Expo will provide sewing enthusiasts with an avenue to learn new methods, improve techniques and learn about new products, she said.
National, state and local sewing experts will conduct classes, seminars and hands-on workshops during the Expo. A showcase of projects created by attendees of previous Sewing Expos will be presented. Angotti stressed that pre-registration before the March 21 deadline is necessary.
Brotz was one of those who attended workshops at last year’s Sewing Expo and was impressed by a lecture on using the Internet for business purposes. From this, she learned valuable information about “things to consider (such as tax ID information) when setting up for a business,” she said.
“I love to sew,” said Brotz. She is adept at alterations, home décor (draperies), and embroidering baby blankets. In the past, she has designed prom dresses and patterns.
Brotz has taken different classes to learn new techniques and finally decided to open her own business. She traveled to northern Wisconsin to attend Nancy’s Notions Sewing Weekend, held every May, by Nancy Zieman. Zieman’s program appears on Kentucky Educational Television.
Carrollton resident Brenda Price has attended the Expo each year since it began. “I love the Expo,” she said. One particular highlight is all of the new things she has learned.
In the past her handiwork had focused mostly on quilting. This year new intermediate and advanced classes have been added, which she finds challenging, now that her stitching skills have improved over last year.
Different vendors are set up in an exhibit hall, which will also provide a wealth of information for participants.
“The vendors are very good about talking to you about their products.” A large variety of such businesses are “something we don’t have in Carrollton,” she said.
“The vendors are very good about talking to you about their products.” A large variety of such businesses are “something we don’t have in Carrollton,” she said.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., Price tries to take such classes once a year to learn new techniques. The Expo offers such diverse classes as heirloom lace shaping, yo yo embellishment, fabric dyeing, subversive sewing and an antique quilt lecture by Dr. R.E. Wells.
“Even though this Sewing Expo is new, it’s well on its way to getting started,” Brotz said. Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents from the Louisville and Northern Kentucky area originally began the Expo in response to requests for more sewing-related programs.
It is hosted by the Cooperative Extension Services of the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University and Purdue University. Participants are drawn to the Expo from across Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.
Registration information is available from the University of Kentucky, Purdue University and the Ohio State University Cooperative Extension office. In the first two weeks of advertising, nearly 50 participants had pre-registered.
Persons unable to attend the entire Expo may visit exhibits only on Wednesday, April 16, for a $5 fee payable at the door. Additional class fees apply to most classes.

• Rooms have been reserved at Butler Park for participant lodging. Accommodation reservations may be made by calling the park lodge at (502) 732-4384. For more information contact Angotti at the Carroll County Cooperative Extension office at (502) 732-7030 or gangotti@uky.edu.

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