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Deb Yedziniak
(315) 682-8814

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News 2008

I can't believe that it is almost Halloween! Did you know that this is the busiest sewing season of the year? Even people who do not regularly sew, take out the sewing machine to put together Halloween costumes. It doesn't feel like Halloween as we have had the mildest weather for September and October. I have enjoyed this weather because living in Syracuse, New York, I know that the first snow is not far away!

I would like to introduce you to my newsletter. My job as a sewing instructor takes me to a lot of interesting places. Since I am often asked about where I have been and what's new in the wide world of sewing, I have decided to share some of my travel experiences with you via this newsletter.

Just to give you some background, I teach a variety of classes for Husqvarna Viking dealers and sewing shops as well as local sewing clubs. I also teach for organizations such as the American Sewing Guild, the Smocking guild (SAGA), the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion and on occasion give private lessons. I also want to introduce you to Jody Hooker, a sewing instructor and designer, who is my teaching partner for the Heirloom Schools; Christine LaFlamme, my personal assistant and artistic consultant; and last but not least, Marie Laurence, a Bleuette doll and travel companion who adds a bit of whimsy to my sewing. I will tell you more about my Bleuette doll later.

This year of 2007 started off quietly enough with my usual winter sewing hibernation. I spent time organizing classes for the year and getting ready for the Viking sewing convention, the first big event in the spring. This is where we meet with the sewing machine dealers, vendors, designers and teachers and find out what is the newest and latest and greatest in sewing equipment and notions. It was held in Nashville, Tennessee. A bonus was to get to visit Children's Corner which is located in Nashville. I have used their patterns for years, so it was a treat to visit the shop. After looking at a catalogue it was wonderful to be able to look at and touch all the fabrics and see the beautiful samples.

When spring came, we were off to California to teach an Heirloom school. Jody and I were joined by Gail Kellogg, the educator for the Viking Distribution Company out of Medford Oregon. Gail is the person from whom Jody and I adopted our Bleuette dolls. She is the godmother of our dolls! Gail not only belongs to doll clubs but also attends many doll conventions each year. She is very enthusiastic about her dolls. She told us to bring along the 'girls' and we would fit in a little time in the evening to create a new outfit for them. So we spent one evening cutting out patterns. Gail was determined to learn how to use a smocking pleater, so the next evening we sewed smocked dresses for the dolls. It was a first attempt at adding smocking to a dress pattern. The dresses are adorable and a successful first attempt at a smocked doll dress. I am inspired and I am drafting a new smocked dress pattern. As soon as I have it perfected, I will make it available on my website.

Next came along came the opportunity to take my niece, Nicole, on an overdue graduation trip to Paris. And due to her French heritage, Marie Laurence had to go along. It was the first trans -Atlantic flight for both Nicole and Marie-Laurence. And this was Nicole's first flight ever! Nicole had not met Marie Laurence, so it was a surprise meeting once we got on the plane.

Although this trip had nothing to do with sewing in particular, I travel to Paris on a yearly basis. A few years ago I put together an itinerary for a textile trip to Paris. Due to a lack of interest, I cancelled the trip. However, I may be tempted to plan another trip in the future. If a textile trip interests you please let me know. And of course we would also see some of the famous sites. Who could go to Paris and not see the Eiffel tower?!

April in Paris! The trip was at the end of April into early May. A beautiful time to be in the 'city of light'. Nicole did her homework and had a list of things she wanted to see. Marie-Laurence was easy to please, because she didn't care where she went as long as she went along. We did a lot of walking (no wonder French women don't get fat), and made use of the metro and the train. We visited the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame cathedral and attended a Vivaldi concert at St. Chappelle. We climbed up the hill to visit Montmartre and Sacre Coeur and explore the Salvatore Dali museum. We had afternoon tea at a lovely tea salon where it was difficult to choose which was the most delicious pastry.

The week passed quickly. We managed to see the splendor of the palace of Versailles where Marie- Laurence had her photo taken in King Louis XIV's bedroom! However, the rain kept us from exploring the fantastic gardens and Marie Antoinette's famous hamlet...so we will just have to have a return visit.

Of course I had to drag Nicole off to the fabulous flea market- one of my personal favorite places to look for vintage textiles- although with the decline in the value if the dollar there were no bargains to be found. But it is always fun to explore, especially in the clothing and textile stalls. We visited the Marais area and the Pompidou center and walked along the Seine where it was fun to look at the trash and treasures in the wall boxes of the bouquinistes. I found an old pattern book and asked the vendor if she knew of or had any thing for Bleuette… she said, "Oui, Madame, but I have my own Bleutte doll that I inherited from my grandmother so I am keeping all the books and patterns for her." However, after introducing her to Marie -Laurence, she gave me some information about a woman who collects dolls and may have some things that she might be interested in selling… so that is certainly some one I will contact on my next trip to Paris. Nicole and I squeezed in lots of window shopping looking at luxurious items we could not afford. We did mange to buy a few souvenirs and even managed to buy postcards and get them written and mailed. And then, all too soon it was time to return home and back to work.

Jody and I went off to teach in Maryland at Wilson's Your Favorite Quilt Shop. If you are ever in this area, this is a definite stop. Gorgeous quilting cottons and the most helpful staff and all kinds of classes… this shop make me want to make a quilt. Oh, for more 'spare' time! Then off to Louisiana to teach for Brambleberry Lane, an heirloom shop. We were welcomed with southern hospitality, learned about Cajun cooking and Bourdreau and Thibideau!

In June it was time to go to the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa to tape a segment for Martha's Sewing Room with Martha Pullen. Marie Laurence is still a little upset with me because I did not take her along on this trip. And she will not let me forget that she missed out on the opportunity of meeting both Martha and Sue Hausmann! My sewing segment consisted of using the smocking pleater to make ruching, ruffles and puffing to embellish clothing. I actually gathered some of Martha's new cotton knit fabric to make ruffles on a little girls' nightgown. The result was fabulous! This was my third TV taping experience with Martha, and learning how a television studio works has been fascinating.

Summer came along and so did some unexpected time at home due to a class cancellation. So I finally sat down and sewed a new heirloom serger quilt using some beautiful blue and white toile. And my vision of a perfect pleater ruffled pillow became a reality in soft pink and cream silk. I call it the Marie Antoinette pillow due to all the ruching and ruffles. If you have not seen Sophia Cappola's movie on Marie Antoinette, it is worth seeing just to look at the beautiful costuming. I would have loved to have been a seamstress in the costume department. What a delight it must have been to work with all those luscious silk fabrics. Also the movie won the Academy award for best costume design.

Then a family get- together with my sister and a cousin and her family took us to Charlotte, North Carolina. If you ever go there you must make a side trip to Mary Jo's Cloth store in Gastonia. Be prepared to spend some time drooling over fabric. If you want to buy fabric it will help to have a specific project in mind. Otherwise you could be there forever and not be able to make up your mind about what to buy! There is such a variety of fabrics that you won't know where to look first. This is a definite stop for all fabric collectors! Marie Laurence had a fun time with a couple of the sales ladies who understood completely that she needed to have her photo taken at Mary Jo's. They were most helpful in setting up this photo opportunity.

July brought us a summer heat wave and a trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia to one of our favorite places to teach. I can hardly believe that we have taught there 4 years in a row and the ladies want us to come back again next year! And then back home again… however, after nursing an aching knee after an unexpected trip and fall in my kitchen, I went to the doctor and found out I had a torn meniscus. Who knew what a meniscus was! I had surgery a week later and a few weeks of recuperation followed by physical therapy…I had to cancel some classes and one of them was at the Kid's School at the School of Art Fashion in Huntsville. And I was so looking forward to working with the kids. Luckily, I was able to get Kathy Farmer, a Viking educator to fill in for me. Because she has done classes for kids and taught her grand daughter how to quilt, I knew the kids were in good hands… I only wish I could have been there too.

I did my best to be a model patient and do everything the doctor and the physical therapist told me to do as I was anxious to get back to work as soon as possible. Not only to get back into teaching my sewing classes, but also because I had planned to participate in the Sewing Star trip to Sweden with Sue Hausmann, and I didn't want to miss my first trip to Scandinavia and the opportunity to visit the Husqvarna Factory and Museum… I will tell you all the details in my next newsletter!

 

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Deb Yedziniak ~ (315) 682-8814 ~ SmockinDeb@aol.com