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!