Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coming soon to a mail box near you……..

The latest issue (Volume 30 #4) of SAGANews left the printers this week. If you want a sneak preview then visit the SAGA web site and visit the 'Member's Only' area.

While you are in the 'Member's Only' area, why not take the opportunity to renew you SAGA membership to ensure that you will continue to receive your copy of SAGANews plus the chance to win the drawing for 6 hours of classes at SAGA convention? Also please take the time to up-date your personal information.

So I wonder who will be the first to receive this issue in their mail box?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The SAGA(News) Continues……..

The next issue of SAGANews (Volume 30 #4) is with the graphic artist, which means it is being set up ready to go to the printer. So, it should be in the mail by the middle of November. This issue, the last of the year, will contain items from the National Convention in Indianapolis that those of you who weren't there will not have seen. Maybe even some of you who were there missed some of the events too. If you were in the Design Show or an Artisan Achiever present at convention your photo is in this issue. Photos of the Pearls, Perles, Purls contest and even the new SAGA board are included too. We have a design from young Canadian designer Claire Meldrum and the Textile Conservation articles conclude this issue.

Now that the next issue of SAGANews is almost complete, I plan to get the Convention Photo CD ready for sale. These CDs have been popular with convention attendees since their introduction two years ago. They contain lots of photos from posed to very candid. If you were at this year's convention then I am sure your photo is somewhere amongst the thousands I seem to be editing! This year the CD will include the competition entries. I know many chapters have purchased the bonnet CD's and used them for chapter programmes. Maybe a convention programme would be fun too? Visit the SAGA website every now and then to check when they become available.

Besides working on the Convention Photo CD I am also starting the next issue of SAGANews (Volume 31 #1). I know many of you especially look out for this issue as it contains the Convention brochure in the centre. Terry Campbell is already working on that so we are both ready when the deadline comes around!(Maybe you want to take the class shown in the photo taken at this years Convention?) I am also excited as I have a special interview for this issue. I will not say who it is with, but I will tease you with the fact I now have official press clearance with a national TV channel!

So although the SAGANews year is coming to an end with the last issue of the year, behind the scenes the work continues to bring you the next exciting issue ………….

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Convention over: Back to Normal

Nearly a week has passed since the 2009 SAGA National Convention in Indianapolis ended. So I hope all of those who attended have found their way back home safely and have now had time to unpack; do many loads of laundry; tidy up after the family; and finish their class projects? Of course, some of you have been able to do all of those afore mentioned items, but many of you, I know, will have projects left to complete weeks, days, months and dare I say it years from now? But didn't you have the best time acquiring those new Unfinished Objects?

The end of convention is always sad as we have to say good bye to our friends, our sisters-in-sewing and to the great teachers whose skills we are trying to learn, but then the excitement starts to build again as you get to plan the trip to the next SAGA convention, September 22-26 at the Marriott Waterside, Norfolk, Virginia. If this year was your fist time at a convention (and I did hear one lady say she had been a SAGA member for over 20 years and this was her first convention!) I hope that you have the bug. Many find that once they have made it through that first time (leaving the family, traveling alone, being away from more than one night) they just have to make it an annual event. I know I enjoy seeing familiar faces as I tour the classes each day.

So Banquet was one of the highlights of the convention and this is where the Artisans receive their certificates; the Best in Show for Design Show is recognized as is the People's Choice in both the Design Show and Show and Share. The winners of the Pearls, Purls, Perles contest were also recognized. The out-going president installs the new board and the in-coming president. Then in between all of these, the calling of the raffle basket winners takes place. Cheryl Cox makes this an event to remember and with her team of helpers (one to open the box of tickets, one to mix them, one to draw the winner and take it to Cheryl and a group of ladies to take the basket to the winner) they work hard to keep everyone happy, although I know I was sitting at the wrong table this year as I did not win a basket! This year we had 79 baskets and so lots of money has gone to help fund the SAGA grants for chapters hosting a workshop with a SAGA approved teacher. Oh, and another important item at banquet was the announcement of the location of SAGA Convention 2011 which will be in….. Anaheim, California.

Sunday was a day of saying good byes and getting out of class and the hotel room in time to get the shuttle to the airport or load the car for the drive home (and some of the cars I saw truly where loaded to the maximum). I was lucky enough to have the company of a SAGA friend to sit with at the airport which made the time pass quickly waiting for my flight. This friend and I meet many years ago at an airport waiting for a shuttle and as we rightly guessed we were heading to the same hotel for the start of a SAGA convention we shared the cost of the ride. I hope that those of you who attended this convention were lucky enough to make some new sewing friends as well as catch up with some of your 'old' ones?

Well, this Blog was started to lead up to and carry through SAGA Convention 2009, but it isn't going to end because convention ended. It is too good a tool to let go, so even though I won't be Blogging every day, please do look back frequently as I plan to Blog as often as time permits with items of interest and such.

Now I need to get busy with the next issue of SAGANews which will feature lots of photos of winners, achievers and events from Convention. So look for your copy coming to a mailbox near you sometime in November!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Already?

Where does the time go? I can't believe we are only a day and half away from the end of this convention. It has been a busy few days and what with classes and events, time just flies by.

Design Show and Show and Share were well attended. Maggie Bunch put on a beautiful display for both areas and the centre piece was the Best in Show, a beautiful dress made by Eunice Hayes of Ohio, which she called 'Belle'. Eunice kindly modeled the dress on Thursday evening as she is not able to be at banquet tonight. Many other items had ribbons and congratulations to all who entered. The Show and Share was fun to see as members shared their completed projects with the attendees. There were lots of lovely items from baby gowns, to doll dresses and everything in between. Show and Share is a great way to inspire everyone and the white glove ladies did a good job showing the items to all who wanted a closer look.

Wednesday also saw the Teacher Showcase where members could see the SAGA approved classes offered by the teachers in person. It was also possible to talk to them about how to invite them to teach at a local chapter. Many members went away with business cards, class lists and the idea to host their own seminar or workshop soon (don't forget to apply for a SAGA grant!).

Friday was a half day and a more relaxed feel to the classes as members prepared themselves to attend a Round Table or Focus Group during lunch before resting a little and attending the event of the day-Market. As usual the crowd grew outside the doors to Market and once they opened everyone rushed in to be the first at their favourite booth. Lines soon formed to pay for the goodies and I know several people who made more than one trip back to their rooms with things and then went back to shop some more! It is so nice to be able to see fabric and lace in person and also get to buy those hard-to-find items, plus maybe a special treat for yourself, like a set of Dovo scissors or a silver charm. I don't think anyone left Market without at least one purchase. Thanks to Kate Westlake, Business chair for setting up another great shopping opportunity!

Hospitality has been busy selling raffle tickets as baskets have been arriving daily and even if you have placed all your tickets, there are always more baskets that you decided you need to win, so you have to buy more tickets. Raffle basket money goes to a good cause-it is used for the SAGA grants to chapters hosting workshops. Tonight at Banquet will see everyone listening for their name to be called at least once if not twice and maybe even more times. The cheers and shouts are always fun to hear.

Today we had a buffet continental breakfast as an anniversary treat. It meant getting up a little earlier, but it was well attended. Tomorrow is an early start to classes-always hard after the excitement of Banquet the night before. It will also be hard as we will have to start saying goodbye to our friends old and new. Still, it will soon be time to plan for the next great Convention in Norfolk, Virginia in 2010.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The fun continues……

Yesterday saw the official start of the 30th Annual SAGA Convention and by afternoon everyone was settled into their classes and working hard learning or perfecting techniques both hand and machine. It was so good to see some familiar faces and lots of new ones too.

The lunchtime speaker this year was Regina Walter who talked about the history of christening gowns and showed us examples on a slide show and also had several present for us to view before and after lunch. It was interesting to hear the origins of these gowns that become family heirlooms.

Yesterday's important meetings after class were the region meetings and Artisan meeting. The Region meetings give members a chance to meet their region representative in person and also fellow region members. Various items are discussed but the important thing is choosing someone to be on the Nominating Committee that will choose the nominees for the 2010-2011 SAGA board. The Artisan meeting was well attended by those already in the program and some interested in joining it. Kim Gimblette, artisan chair gave out the pins for those members who had achieved their artisan level this year. She also answered questions regarding the program. It is also great to see the ladies that have achieved a level in one of the areas as they put so much effort into working on their projects. They will receive their certificates at banquet on Saturday.

This morning everyone is in a routine of getting to class; going to lunch and then getting back to class. Tonight we have the Design Show and Show and Share to enjoy. Maggie Bunch, Design Show chair spent yesterday with the three judges as they worked their way through the submitted items. Who will have the Best in Show this year? And who will win people's Choice?

Hospitality has been busier each time I have visited it and raffle tickets are selling fast for the baskets. There are lots of interesting ones and the Wee Care basket is getting full of those special blue tickets already. The Wee Care donations are mounting too and there are so many cute items. The local hospitals will be receiving lots of special things made by SAGA members. A representative from the St. Vincent Hospital was at luncheon today to receive a token donation from Robin Hart, Wee Care chair.

There are quite a few entries in the Purls, Perles, Pearls contest and the attendees are voting for their favourite. The winner will be announced at Banquet on Saturday.

Now I have to head back to take more photos, post this Blog, see how the classes have progressed since this morning and get ready for the evenings events.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SAGA’s 30th Anniversary Convention Begins

Convention started with the two pre-day classes, one with Sue Stewart (a machine class) and the other Regina Walter (handwork). Both classes were hard at work each time I popped in to take photos and although the projects won't be completed, the ladies will have a good grasp of the techniques being taught. It was so good to see lots of familiar faces and also some new ones.

I stopped for a while at the registration desk and saw a few attendees checking in. Karen Van Wert has been hard at work since registration for Convention opened in May taking the bookings and helping people pick the right classes. She was busy checking in the attendees as they arrived and has a smile for everyone. Karen has attended every Convention since they began, so has seen how things have changed over the years. She has many stories and memories to share. Karen has many of the table favours she has received over the years with her for me to photograph, so look out for a special article in SAGANews sometime soon. Maybe your chapter needs a table favour idea and one of these will inspire you. I am looking forward to see what favours we get this year. I know many chapters have been working hard to make them for us, and I am sure the pearl theme will be ever present.

Today as I visited each classroom in turn to drop off copies of the Convention Times I was greeted by even more friends from previous years which is a great thing. I attended the First Time Attendees meeting last night and there were many 'newbies' present. A lot had driven from areas around Indianapolis and this is why we hold the Conventions in as many areas as possible-it means members have a chance to attend one near to where they live. At the meeting each of the board members gave a short speech about the events at convention and the Region Representatives introduced themselves. Several committee chairs explained their area of SAGA and we hope that they all feel welcome.

The Welcome Reception was fun as everyone enjoyed some Mexican style appetizers and some socializing too. Joan Messinger (who was SAGA Historian for many years) gave a talk about the origins of SAGA and the very first convention in 1979. It was interesting to hear how the organization began and has grown over the years. Amy Schindler the current Historian, had some of the SAGA historical items on display at a table for members to look at. These items are stored in the achieves and were handed with white gloves. Some have their history attached to them, others have none, but they are all fascinating. Amy achieves copies of SAGANews each year too and the achieves have a copy of every issue of the SAGA newsletters from over the years.

Now back to work taking photos of the Pearls, Purls, Perles contest and Design Show entries as well as classroom shots! Is it lunchtime yet?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The fun is starting!

So Monday is nearly over and people started arriving and I have seen lots of familiar faces around in the hotel lobby as well as in the mall. Several of my personal friends arrived so it has been fun to catch up with them. It is amazing how many have driven here this year and the cars are loaded with everything but the kitchen sink it seems. It does make it easier to take classes that involve a sewing machine if you drive, but then again we have had the chance to rent machines for the last few years, which is a great idea, especially if there is only one machine class you want to take.

Registration was open this evening for a couple of hours to let those taking the pre-day classes pick up their registration packets and goodie filled tote bags. They also got their meal tickets for the days they are taking classes (don't forget these need your name on the back for the chance to win a door prize). Hospitality will open sometime tomorrow and that will be a great place to catch up with everyone. I know lots of boxes have been arriving, so I know there will be many great raffle baskets calling my name!

The hotel being attached to the mall makes it easy to get a snack, meal or just have a walk about. There is also Wi-Fi access in the mall as well as the hotel lobby areas. So for those that can't keep away from the computer and the Internet that is a good thing (especially for the SAGANews Blogger!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I’m in Indy!

I arrived in Indianapolis safely with both of my flights leaving and arriving on time. My luggage made it here intact too, so I was happy. The Indianapolis airport is very new and easy to navigate. I found baggage claim with no problems and then went to area at the bottom of the central escalator in baggage claim where the SAGA driver from Above and Beyond Limo service stood with my name on a board. I think the board will just say SAGA from tomorrow onwards. We walked through to the Ground Transportation area and got into his white van. The journey to the hotel took about 30 minutes, but it was a Sunday afternoon, so a weekday may take a little longer, although it is highway all the way until you come off for the hotel. The hotel has two towers, one regular rooms, the other suites. I have a suite and it is very comfortable and quite large. Everything is clean and I think my roommates will be happy when they arrive tomorrow afternoon.

I visited the mall attached to the hotel via a walkway on the second floor. It is quite large and boosts a Cheesecake factory really close to the escalators near the hotel entrance, as well as other eateries. As I wandered around I spotted a smocked lampshade in the window of Pottery Barn Kids and a smocked dress in the window of Janie and Jack. Do you think they know we are in town? I also found a cheese shop with a great supply of fresh cheeses from Europe and the US. It also sells wines, but these could not be purchased on Sundays (shame).

While you are in Indy, if you have time the Children's Museum has an exhibit on with relics from the tomb of King Tutankhamun. I think it would be worth the trip if you have time (Friday once you have been to market might work). The museum has free parking. The museum can be found at 3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208-4716 · 317-334-3322

Special Exhibit Hours for Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs
Now–October 25, 2009
Friday–Saturday: 9 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Sunday–Thursday: 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. (open on Mondays for School Groups only)
Final two weeks of the exhibit: (daily) 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
First and Third Thursday of each month: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

I look forward to seeing some of you soon and those I don't see here, I hope you enjoy visiting Convention via the Blog. Feel free to leave comments and let me know if you want me to mention anything in particular. I will try my best to accommodate you.


Leaving for Indianapolis

So it's early Sunday morning on the east coast and I am just about to go shower and dress ready to drive to the airport for my fight to Indianapolis, which I hope is on time as it is raining here and I have to change in Detroit so don't want to miss the connection!

My bag was packed on Friday afternoon as I had two birthday parties to attend Saturday a 5th and a 50th. Did not get to bed until midnight and then was up at 5:30 am, so I hope I catch up on lost sleep tonight as after that there will be no time to sleep!

I wish all of you who are attending a safe trip and see you soon at the SAGA 30th Anniversary Convention and those whoare unable to attend-watch this space!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Convention Countdown

So, this time next week those of you taking pre-day classes will be in class and having fun! The hotel will be starting to fill up with excited ladies meeting each other again after a few days, weeks, months and years of not seeing each other and getting ready to enjoy some serious sewing experiences (as well as a good few non-sewing ones too).

I met up with a friend from another state last week as she is driving to Indy and offered to take some things for me. Her car will be full with all the things she is taking-herself, another friend, luggage for two, sewing machines (she is taking another friends machine also), boxes of things for SAGANews and the Artisan chair, raffle items and bottles of water and those are only the thing I know about! Now to ask me if this friend is excited is a silly question-she can't wait. She says this is like when she was younger and went to summer camp and met up with the same friends year after year. Convention gets you like that. You get on a high being with other people who understand exactly what you are talking about –bullions is not referring to gold; roll and whip is not some form of torture (although some may beg to differ); three-step trellis has nothing to do with training garden plants and SAGA is not a) a type of blue cheese, b) a long story, c) an travel organization for senior citizens (that is for the people from the UK reading this).

I am sure that this week is a busy one for those of you who will be heading to Convention as you make sure that your family has everything they need to survive without you and you double check that list of sewing supplies required for classes as well as plan what to take in the way of clothing. Maybe you haven't been able to find an essential item for class but don't worry as someone is bound to have enough to share with you and the teacher will most likely have the hard-to-find item with her too. As long as you have most of the things you need and you remember to pack those, you will manage.

Remember too that Convention is your time to do something for you and you need to think about the great classes you are taking; the new techniques you will learn; the new friends you will make and plan to make the most of being amongst people who love smocking, heirloom sewing and embroidery as much as you do.

See you very soon, I hope and those who aren't able to join us this year, I will Blog as often as I can so you can enjoy a virtual Convention as you plan a way to attend a Convention another time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some Final Hints and Information for Convention Attendees

So, Convention draws ever closer and I am sure you are getting excited, worried or nervous depending on whether or not you have been to Convention before. Those of you who have been many times will have your own routines and I am sure some of you have started those little piles of things in the sewing or spare bedroom. You know the ones- 'I am going to need this, this and this for my classes' and 'that, that and that to wear'. And these piles grow and grow and then you have to pack and depending on whether you are driving-'hey it can all go including the kitchen sink' or flying-'heck how many pairs of shoes can I wear in a week?' Some of you will be writing and rewriting lists (and I come into that category) which is where the computer comes in handy as you can save the lists and change them as the mood takes you. Then you move onto making the piles from the lists and the 'hey' and 'heck' happens as things never look that much on the computer screen or a sheet of paper! So to start you off with a list, here is one you can add to as needed, but contains the things you might/will actually need:

Final reminder list

  • Personal items (clothing, wash bag, etc)
  • Phone (and charger unit)
  • Essential sewing supplies
  • Class requirements
  • Kit fees
  • Name tag (recycle one from a previous year or make one) First Time attendees will receive one.
  • Notebook and pens
  • Extension cord
  • Magnification device (glasses, clip on etc)
  • Portable light
  • Sewing Machine (with power cord, foot peddle, needles and presser feet)
  • Artisan card
  • Design Show entry
  • Show and Share pieces (up to 3)
  • Camera (and spare batteries; charger; memory cards)
  • Wee Care
  • Address labels
  • Chapter/business raffle basket
  • Proxy forms from chapter members not attending Convention
  • Shopping List for Market
  • Shopping Bag for Market
  • Plenty of energy!

To help with what clothing to pack, think that 90% of the time you will be indoors, either in the hotel, in the mall or in a restaurant. You will need to be comfortable while you are in class and sometimes the classes can be cool (especially if you are under the A/C vent). You might want to pack a sweater or pashmina to cover this eventuality. You will need comfortable shoes as you will have to walk between your room, the elevator and the classrooms, plus to the meal rooms and of course, around market for hours and hours! Then there is banquet which is a more dressy event and if you are going to be in the Design Show or Artisan Achiever's photo, you know you want to look your best. You may want to remember to pack your PJ's especially if you are sharing a room. The hotel has a pool, but will you find time to use it?

If you are flying to Indy, please take time to look at your airlines luggage policies regarding weight allowances and charges for baggage. So many are charging for the first bag these days and the weight limit is 50 lb. If you do on line check in, you might save yourself $5 by checking your bag at the same time. Remember that you need to allow for a heavier case going back as you will have the kits, handouts, purchases from market and all those raffle basket contents! Also please remember not to put valuable items in your checked luggage (camera, jewelry) and also no alkaline batteries. Then you also have to remember not to have your sewing scissors in your hand luggage. You can visit the TSA website ( for up-to-date lists of all the permitted/ banned items.

As name tag holders are not being provided this year (except to First Time Attendees), if you have any from previous SAGA Conventions that you are willing to part with, you could bring those with you and hand them in at Hospitality. They will be able to give them to anyone who needs one and you can feel good for being 'green' by recycling them.

In case you don't have anything to work on during the masses of free time you have during Convention(!), you can always pick up a Wee Care bonnet or blanket kit to stitch. These items will be available in Hospitality and the kit will contain all that is needed to complete the project. The kits are made by the members of the Delphi Forum Heirloom Sewing and Smocking Board ( Once completed, the item will get you another special Wee Care raffle ticket.

While at Convention you might also bump into the SAGANews
Editor, Julie Stilwell. She will be taking photos and talking to people all week getting items of interest to use in future issues of the magazine. Julie will also be producing a daily newsletter, The Convention Times that you will find in Hospitality and in each classroom. The newsletter will list the daily events, meals and items of interest. So if you see Julie (and I am absolutely positive you will) remember to say 'hello' and if you have something you would like to see in SAGANews or you have an article or project you want to share with your fellow SAGA members, let Julie know!

Some links you may find useful:

SAGA- for a copy of the Proxy form (SAGANews Vol 30 #3)

Indianapolis Visitor Information:

Indianapolis International Airport:

Indianapolis Sheraton Hotel and Suites:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September is National Sewing Month

As an aside to talk about Convention, did you know that September is National Sewing month? Well on September 21, 1982, at the request of the American Home Sewing & Craft Association, an industry and trade association supporting the sewing and craft industries, President Ronald Reagan, under Proclamation #4976, declared September as National Sewing Month "In recognition of the importance of
home sewing to our Nation." More proclamations were made in the following years, naming September as national Sewing Month. You can read the full documents on the American Presidency Project website at

You can also read more about National Sewing Month on this website:

And don't forget that SAGA says February is National Smocking Month. Maybe you could plan to have a public demonstration of smocking at your local library or arrange to have a display case featuring your chapter and smocking? I know most libraries have areas for public displays and it is free publicity. Time to start planning as before you know it, February will be here!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Events at Convention Part 4

Now we have reached Friday and the half day of classes begin as usual at 9:00 AM. Once these end at lunchtime, it is off to pick up the meal for the day which is a boxed lunch (you will be informed where to pick these up). Maybe you can enjoy this lunch outside in the fresh air with all your friends old and new before you head off to the Chapter Presidents Roundtable (if your chapter's president is not attending Convention, you may want to represent her at this meeting). Here various items are discussed such as Wee Care distribution, attracting new members, hosting a national teacher to name a few. Following the roundtable, there will be a SAGA Focus Group, the topic will be announced and if you want to join in the discussion, please do so, they usually prove to be lively events!
Once these meetings are over you may take some time to visit the Mall, work on a Wee Care bonnet or blanket (remember those extra special raffle tickets) or rest for the big event of the day-Market.
Market starts at 3:00 PM and runs through to 8:30 PM so you have plenty of time to rush through, buy all the bargains, go back to your room, have a show and share with your friends, and then head back to market to buy the things your friends bought and you missed! You may want to start making a list of things you need now so you have some plan of action once those doors open! Don't forget to bring a big bag for all those purchases!
The excitement of Market over, you now have time to relax a little and socialize with your friends, but don't forget to get some sleep as tomorrow is another busy day!
Saturday already? Where did time go? Off to classes again this morning for 9 AM and today when lunchtime comes, you are on your own-where will you go? The Mall is close by, maybe you need to go there to eat, walk about or buy that last minute accessory for your outfit for Banquet tonight? (You can see the stores that are in the Mall by following this link
Don't forget you need to be back in class for 2:00 PM. Oh! And lunchtime today is your last chance to buy or place any -the drawing is tonight at Banquet!
Once classes are over today, you have an hour or so to get yourself changed and ready for the Annual Banquet, which begins with a cash bar at 6:00 PM. I wonder what the table theme will be this year? Terry Campbell always does such a great job. Hopefully you can remember what table number you signed up for? Banquet starts at 7:00 PM and it is not just eating that takes place. Tonight we say good bye to some members of the board; we install the new 2009-2010 board and we have the Presidential Handover to name a few events. We get to see the Artisan Achievers who are present and congratulate them as well as the Design Show entrants and winners. And in between all of these events, Cheryl Cox will be calling the raffle basket winners and her team of helpers will find the winner and deliver the prize. Now, if you have never been to Convention and won a raffle basket, there is something you should know-you need to make yourself known so the basket can be given to you. How do you do that? You jump up and down and shout loudly and your friends all clap and shout too! Just sitting and quietly putting up your hand up won't work, we need to see and hear you!
Once all the business items and raffle baskets are drawn, Banquet comes to an end. If you are an Artisan Achiever or Design Show entrant you will need to remember to find Julie Stilwell, SAGANews Editor, as she needs to get you in the group photos that will be in the next issue of SAGANews.
Now it is off to your room to maybe get some packing done as tomorrow is the last day of Convention. Classes begin earlier on Sunday (8:30 AM) and you need to go to breakfast first, at 7:15 to see everyone for those last goodbyes as everyone is leaving the hotel at different times and you may not get to see them again today. Breakfast today is a lively buffet with everyone eating, hugging, crying and saying "See you at next year's Convention in Norfolk!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Events at Convention Part 3

Thursday arrives and if you have something for the Show and Share display, this morning you must have it ready to hand in before you head off to class. Entry forms for the Show and Share will be in Hospitality. You can complete these ahead of time. You are limited to three entries, but these items are not judged, nor is there an entry fee. This is purely a celebration of completed projects. Remember that your items must be clean, pressed and if appropriate on hangers ready to display.

Today you head off to class with a little more confidence as you know your way around the hotel and don’t feel quite so lost. So, same procedure as Wednesday, arrive early, pay the kit fees to the Teachers Angel and set up ready to start. Luncheon is only a few short hours away!

Thursday luncheon will probably be in the same room as Wednesdays’ luncheon and remember to have your Thursday meal ticket (with your name on the back) ready to hand in at the door as you rush to grab a table for you and your friends. Also, if you have any Proxy Voting forms from your chapter, please hand these in at the door also (these forms may be found on page 14 of SAGANews Volume 30 Issue 3 and may be copied, but must be signed to be valid. Please bring them for the members unable to attend). Once lunch is under way, the Annual Business Meeting will be convened. If you have something to say at this meeting, please follow the correct protocol, which will be read out by the Secretary.

Business Meeting over, the Wee Care presentation to representatives from local area hospitals will be made (sometimes this happens before the Business Meeting, depending on the schedule). It is so nice to see the gowns received and admired by the ladies from the hospitals. They are always amazed (and so am I) by the work that goes into many of these tiny items. The presentation at luncheon is just a token, as the Wee Care items continue to arrive all week and at the end of Convention are then divided up and delivered to the hospitals. The donated Wee Care items will all be on display in Hospitality.

Lunch over it is back to class, but not before designating someone to sign your name on a table for Banquet on Saturday. Yes, the Banquet sign-up sheet will be available after lunch today, so you need to have a plan of action to get the table you want with all of your friends. (I have to say this is usually my job and I have a list of names I have to remember-not an easy task).

After classes end the events that are planned for Thursday evening begin with the Design Show/Show and Share displays. If you signed up to be a White Glove Lady the Design Show Chair, Maggie Bunch will be there to give you the white gloves-the essential part of your uniform. Only you will be allowed to handle any of the items and help people view the inside of a garment or get a closer look at something. Who and what will have been judged the Best in Show this year? Will your Design Show entry have a ribbon-of course it will! Just look at all the creativity in one place. Who would have thought there was so much talent out there? Plus you get to vote for Viewers Choice, how do you decide? Then on to the Show and Share, who had the time to make and complete all those wonderful items? (One item to note here is that while you may take photos in the Show and Share area, you may not take photos under any circumstances in the Design Show area).

If this wasn’t enough, there is also the Teachers Showcase to view. Here you can see examples of the SAGA approved classes offered by the wonderful teachers and also get to see some new classes they are planning to offer. Now is your chance to get their contact information for that workshop your chapter plans to host soon (and don’t forget you might be able to get a SAGA grant to help defer the cost).

All that talent and inspiration in one area is overwhelming, but it is so good to see that smocking and the related needle arts are being kept alive.

The last thing to do Thursday evening before you head off to enjoy some free time (or bed), is to pick up your entries from both Design Show and Show and Share by 9:00PM.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Events at Convention Part 2

Now we move onto the real start of Convention, Wednesday and this morning bright and early is when you need to have your Design Show entry all finished, clean, pressed and ready to handover (the place and collection times will be in the on-site brochure). If you are taking a Design Show piece for someone else, please make sure you have a written note saying you are responsible for dropping it off and picking it up again.

Next it is off to your first class! The teachers and classroom locations will be in the on-site brochure and there will be signs outside each room indicating the teachers name and that days class. Couldn’t be easier, right? Please try and arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time of the class in order to get set up. Once in the classroom, you will need to find somewhere to sit and of course you want to be with your friends but remember, we are all friends at Convention. You need to locate the Teachers Angel to give her your kit fee (all ready in that labeled envelope) and she will give you your kit and any handouts. Then you just need to arrange yourself and your required sewing items comfortably and wait for class to begin!

As an aside here, please remember some classroom etiquette:
· Arrive early
· Have your kit fee ready –correct change or check made payable to the teacher.
· No eating/drinking
· No smoking
· Turn off your cell phone and put it on vibrate. If you receive a call, please leave the room to take it.
· No children or pets in the classrooms.
· Please be respectful of the teachers and your fellow class mates.
· Please refrain from wearing strong perfumes, as classrooms are small and many people suffer allergies.
· Please keep your neighborly chatter to a minimum.

You are so engrossed in your class that you are surprised to find out it is time for luncheon. This is when you need to have your Wednesday meal ticket with your name on the back ready to hand in at the lunch location. Tickets are usually collected by a Board member and these are your entry into the Door Prize Drawing for that day. The door prizes are called at various times throughout the meal and you must be present to collect it. A good reason not to leave the lunch too early! Door prizes can be anything from a pattern to a pair of scissors; from a collection of magazines to a collection of fabrics and fun to win whatever you get!

Tables in the lunch room usually seat between 8-10 people and of course, you want to sit with someone you know and seats do get saved, which is fine. If you are a First Time Attendee, you may not have friends to sit with, but don’t worry, there is usually a table especially marked for you so you can join other First Timers and make friends. If you are a First Timer but have friends you want to sit with, that is alright too. Where ever you sit you will be amongst friends.

(Again I will mention that if you have a food allergy or special diet requirement, please notify Terry Campbell as soon as possible so she can make sure you have something to eat-see the previous post).

Wednesday lunch also sees us enjoy a guest speaker and this year it will be Regina Madory Walter who is going to lecture on Christening Gowns, their history, styles and materials. It should be a great talk and I personally hope she has lots of pictures and samples to share.

Luncheon over and it is back to the classroom for more work on your projects before the next event of the day which will be the Region Meetings. Each SAGA Region Representative hosts a half hour meeting for members from her region. Here various issues are discussed, people in the same region get to meet each other and someone is nominated to represent the region on the Nominating Committee. This is an important job and to be nominated you must be a SAGA member and have served in some capacity on the board for your chapter. You will then be the person who co-ordinates the nominations from your region for the next SAGA board and you will liaise with the Nominating Committee Chair. Please think about volunteering to take on this essential job. You are helping SAGA in doing so.

Region Meetings over, it is on to the next meeting, that being the Artisan Meeting. If you are in the Artisan Programme, you should attend the meeting as Kim Gimblette, the Artisan chair will be discussing any changes to the programme as well as answering any general questions you may have. If you are not in the programme, but want to learn more about it, then attend the meeting. (You can find out more about the programme before Convention from the SAGA web site Kim will also be presenting this years Artisan Achievers with their award certificates and bars for their pins. Did you pass a level (or two) this year? Then you don’t want to miss this meeting. (If you have a very specific question concerning the programme, Kim will be available at the Artisan Help Desk held on Friday during Market).

Artisan meeting over and now time is your own to enjoy a meal with your friends or visit the Hospitality room to buy raffle tickets or just hang out. Don’t forget to try and get some sleep as you have another busy day ahead of you on Thursday!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Daily Events at Convention Part 1

Okay, so now we are even nearer to SAGA National Convention and hopefully you have started to gather the items suggested in the last Blog (or at least thought about it)? Maybe you are also starting to write down all those things the family at home must remember to do while you are away? It’s okay to leave them a list, but don’t worry if they don’t read it-they will survive quite happily without you. Things may not be done the way they would if you were there, but let it go and remember you are going to have a great time with your sewing friends-who cares what they are doing back home ( as long as the mess is cleaned up before you walk in the door)?

Besides attending classes what else happens at Convention? Well, lots of things happen. In fact it is hard to find time to do the things you want to do (work on the new stitch you just learned; finish your Design Show entry; grab a meal with your friends or even get some sleep). Every day there is something to see or do.

Convention starts officially on Wednesday, but are you taking a pre-day class on Tuesday? If so, you need to be there at least by Monday evening. Even if you are not taking a pre-day class, you may still want to arrive a day (or two) early to get the time to find your way around the hotel; hang out with your friends and generally relax a little before the main event begins.

Tuesday starts with the pre-day classes and lunch for those attending the classes. Many Convention attendees will arrive during the day and what fun it is to see friends that you only get to see once a year. Lots of hellos and hugs-the lobby is never quiet! Hospitality should be open sometime during the day for you to pick up your registration packets (remember no name tag holders this year, so bring your own!). Your registration packet will contain all of your meal tickets (if your name has not been printed on the back, please write it on as these are used for the door prize drawings); your class schedule and onsite Convention brochure. The onsite brochure will have classroom information and locations, as well as details of the events for each day.

A note here from Terry Campbell, Meetings Chair about meals. Terry says that if anyone is vegetarian or has a diet issue (for medical reasons only) like gluten free, allergic to peanuts, diabetic, etc. They should email her at Please put "SAGA special diet needs" in the subject line. The sooner Terry knows about this the better. Please don’t leave it until the first luncheon!

Hospitality is also a good place to arrange to meet friends as they arrive, or leave messages for them on the notice board. Once Convention really gets underway, Hospitality is open all day and you can get to see the SAGA Stitches programmes as well a buy SAGA items and the all important raffle tickets (don’t forget those address or name labels). You will get to see the raffle basket display and watch it grow daily as Cheryl Cox receives more baskets in the mail as well as those hand delivered to her. The Hospitality area is staffed by volunteers and if you checked that box on the Convention Registration form, you will receive a notice of the times you will be needed in your registration package.

Tuesday also sees the start of meetings and planned events the first of which is the Teachers Angel Meeting starting at 5 PM. Did you check the box on your registration form saying you would like to be a Teachers Angel? (You will have a reminder in your registration package if you have been chosen as angel). If you are a Teachers Angel, and are able to attend the meeting, please do so as you will learn what your duties will be. Teachers Angels are very important as they help with taking class attendance, taking kit fees and giving out the kits as well as running any urgent errands for missing supplies.

The next meeting follows fast on the heels of the Teacher Angel meeting and that is the First Time Attendees Meeting. If this is your first time at a SAGA Convention, then this is the meeting you must not miss. You will be given a brief overview of Convention events and what to expect as well as help on understanding raffle basket etiquette and door prizes. Plus you will get to meet some new friends who are First Timers also.

As if those two meetings were not enough the evening continues with the Welcome Reception. Here you get to meet even more friends old and new as well as the SAGA Board and Committee Chairs and the all important faculty. This is a good time to mingle and socialize.

Welcome reception over and you are free for the rest of the evening before Convention really begins with classes on Wednesday morning. This may be your last chance to get out of the hotel for a meal with your friends, unless of course, you still have to finish your Design Show entry so it is ready to hand in by 8:30 Wednesday morning……..

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Convention-Some Timely Tips

So, we are nearly into August and then it will be September and before we know it SAGA National Convention will be here-are you ready?

I just thought I would put some timely reminders and helpful hints your way in case you are a First Time Attendee or even a regular attendee. We all need reminders sometimes, right?

First things first and that is an up-coming deadline- August 1, 2009 is when your Design Show entry form and fee(s) should have been received . That doesn’t mean that your entries have to be completed (or even started) by that date, just that your intention to enter should be registered by way of submitting the entry form and fee(s). Once you have completed that task, then you can actually start the project and as long as it is completed in time to hand in on the morning of the entry collection at Convention, then you can be stitching the last bullion while waiting for the elevator.

Next of course the really important things to remember, after registering for SAGA National Convention 2009, are book your hotel room and make your return travel arrangements.

Now some little reminders to make life easier while you are at Convention:

1. This year SAGA will not be giving out name tag holders. So, either bring one you received at a previous Convention or alternatively make one to suit your needs (Robin Hart has created and donated a great pattern and it is available on the SAGA website

2. You might also want to bring a tote bag to carry everything in or a favourite sewing bag or even a bag on wheels (especially good for all those supplies you will be buying at market).

3. Wheels for your sewing machine are a good thing too- they are heavy to carry from your room to a classroom. If you are bringing your own machine, please remember to pack the power cord and foot pedal as well as spare needles your presser feet! Better yet, why not rent a machine? (See the SAGA web site for more information).

4. A couple of other items that make life easier are a power extension cord and magnification to use when sewing. Maybe a spare pair of reading glasses if you use them?

5. Bring address labels for all the raffle tickets you will buy-this saves so much time not having to write your name on them all, plus makes it easier for Cheryl Cox, our Raffle Basket Announcer to read (remember if you use ones with your husbands name on, that is the name Cheryl will call).

6. Talking of raffle baskets, don’t forget your chapter basket –it can’t be won if you forget to bring it (or arrange to have it mailed ahead of time. See the next issue of SAGANews Volume 30 #3 for the address to mail it to).

7. Consider making a folder and having some plastic page protectors in it. You can use these to keep the class handouts, Artisan card,small kits, kit fee envelopes and other items you want to keep safe, but handy.

8. Have your kit fees in an envelope, one for each class, labeled with the class name, teachers name and your name. This helps you as you will not need to receive change or have to use cash from your purse and also helps the Teachers Angel, as she will have the correct money and know who it is from. Most teachers accept checks, which you can also have ready and in your kit fee envelope if you prefer that method to pay for your kits.

9. A very important item if you are already enrolled in the Artisan Program, is your Artisan card. Of course you can get the teacher to sign and date each class handout, but it is far better to have them sign your actual Artisan card. If you are not in the Artisan Program, you will have the chance to sign up while you are at Convention and you will find temporary cards in each classroom to use until you receive your official card. (For more information on the Artisan Program and to sign up in advance of attending Convention, please visit the SAGA website

10. Make sure you have your Basic Sewing Supplies as well as any special class supplies required for each class (check the Convention Brochure) collected together. You may need to special
order something required, so best not to leave to until the last minute. You might also get to buy something you need on sale if you have made a list ahead of time and take it with you when visiting a local sewing store or on-line site. Any money saved is a good thing-more to spend at Market!

11. Also especially helpful is to check if any of your classes require some pre-class preparation, like pleating a piece of fabric with 24 rows and back smocking all of them before class!

12. Plan on making a Wee Care gown, cap, bonnet or blanket for donation to the collection at Convention. You get a special ticket to put into the drawing for the Wee Care basket and only tickets received for Wee Care donations can be entered into that drawing. The more Wee Care donations you make, the more special tickets you receive (which can also be used in the regular raffle baskets if you wish).

13. Don’t forget your 30th Anniversary Pearls, Perles, Purls Contest entry. This is anything smocked, fine hand or machine sewn or embroidered that will fit into one cubic foot of space (a box 12’’x12’’x12’’).
Last, but not least remember we are going to have great time and you don’t want to miss out! If you really can’t make it to Convention this year, SAGANewsBlogs will try and keep you posted as to the events as soon as it can-provided I am not having way too much fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SAGANews Blogs!

SAGANews has got a Blog!

We plan to use the Blog to keep you informed about events and happenings in the world of SAGA and SAGANews. So keep visiting to see what is going on, you don't want to miss out on anything.

We will also be Blogging from SAGA National Convention (September 30 to October 4 2009). Those Blogs will show some of the days events and photos to include everyone in the fun. No need to miss out because you can't be there. You can also get a taste of Convention if you have never been and hopefully you will like what you see and want to attend next year.

Watch this Blog for more information soon!