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I Missed It…again…

Last year, I sullenly sat at my desk during the first week of March wishing I was somewhere else. Not because I don’t like my job. Oh no, I love what I do I just wanted to do it in Puyallup, WA that week. You see, the first week of March heralds in Sewing & Stitchery Expo, the largest sewing and quilting expo in the USA. I was a regular vendor, speaker and just plain Expo junkie for a number of years but financial sense caught up with me and I opted to drop Expo from my travel schedule. Sounded like a wise decision in a meeting months prior to the event. But during that week – I was sad! Really sad that I was missing all the fun. I followed along as best I could on Rita Farro’s blog but she was too busy to post continuously throughout the show. Rita is in charge of public relations for Sewing & Stitchery Expo. So I survived.

Months followed, my teaching calendar got quite full and lo and behold, I scheduled a Stitching Sisters event for the first weekend in March, in California. Ugh – here we go again! I figured if that show meant so much to me, it probably meant just as much to others who weren’t able to attend. So instead of going myself, I sent two very able-bodied members of the Designs team, Amanda Griffin and Denise Holguin and asked them to bring the show to us.

And now, we have two more Expo junkies! See? It works, just give them a taste and they can’t wait to go back for more. But look what they brought us – photos, videos and the best of all – prizes from the Expo vendors! Of course, they’re not just any vendors, they’re also Designs in Machine Embroidery advertisers.

Be sure to visit our Facebook page to check out the videos and photos! 

Their first stop was at AllAboutBlanks. After waiting several minutes to get into the crammed both and say hello to owner Susan Mars, Denise and Amanda learned that AllAboutBlanks’ hot seller at the show was their luscious linen towels. Why? Well, those kitchen towels embroider like a dream and make the absolute best gifts – for anyone on an embroiderer’s gift list – including her own kitchen! This year they come in a ton of colors, different weaves and patterns.

Of course, it wasn’t all towels, there were children’s items, cosmetic bags, pillows, bags of lavender for filling sachets, luggage tags, oh the list goes on and on. Visit their website to view all of their offerings,

Tell us what is your favorite blank to embroider on and you’ll be entered to win a set of towels from  We have two sets so that means we’ll have two winners! 

Last week we asked what you thought about the large scale prints.  The winner of the Embroidery Tool Kit is….Annette Haney!

“I love the large prints if they don’t have too many colors in them. If they do they are too busy. I love the print and “almost” solid you used for the tunic. And the design was just right!”

Congrats, Annette!

Didn’t win the Embroidery Tool Kit?  No worries…everyone is a winner this week thanks to!

AllAboutBlanks has a great offer for Eileen’s Blog and Facebook readers!  They’re offering free shipping on US orders for purchases made at until March 31, 2011.  Simply enter the coupon code, Designs, upon checkout to take advantage of this great offer!  Thanks, AllAboutBlanks!  

Be sure to  mark your calendars for next year’s Sewing & Stitchery Expo, March 1-4, 2012. See you there!




  • Ginny Gaige

    Love love All About Blanks lavender filling and sachet blanks. These make great gifts for anyone – Just add embroidery with their initials and are soooo easy and fast to make.

  • Vee Race

    I love towels. I buy every set of designs I can find for embroidery on all kinds of towels. They are my favorite gifts to give at all times of year.

  • Toni Melton

    I love embroidering on almost anything, but lately I made a couple of dozen kitchen towels for people in my family. I haven’t tried towels yet at the craft shows, but I think they would sell well. I’ve been looking at various towels for that purpose, with the spring/summer craft shows coming up.

  • Vicki Spruill

    I enjoy embroidering on card stock to make cards. It is so easy and they turn out really nice….and they are definitely one of a kind.

  • Pat

    Now I feel sad. I had to miss this one as well.

    I too love going to these great events. Both Rita (Faro) and Susan (Mars) are terrific ladies who make the event more fun and interesting.

    I hope to hear about the event within blogs.


  • Enis

    I too am a kitchen towel embroidery fanatic! Everytime I go to the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI, I leave with several sets from AllAboutBlanks. I also love embroidering on baby bibs. Who can resist an adorably embroidered bibs on a cute little darling?!?

  • Peggy Schroeder

    I like to embroider on most anything, but I think my favorite is dish towels. They are fun, different, usually not too difficult, and everyone appreciates them. I add a little decorative trim, and it makes a great gift.

    I am signed up for your seminar in a couple of weeks in Santa Rosa, California, and hope it will be as informative as the one I went to last year in Sacramento. I am bringing a friend with me, and we wish we could go on your cruise!! I seem to want all your designs, books, and anything else that you embroider! You make things easy to understand, and do things that a person can actually use. I am saving up to get the lace designs on the tee shirts.

    • eileen

      Hi Peggy!
      Wow – thanks for joining us again for a Stitching Sisters event. We are really looking forward to Santa Rosa – I understand the facility is delightful and the dealer has been working very hard planning this event. See you soon!

      • Peggy Schroeder

        Hi Eileen,

        Yes, the dealer, Pam Cortese, in Santa Rosa is great, and has been working very hard to get everything ready for you. We are sure we will have a lot of fun, and it will be good to see you both again. I did manage to make one of your bags this week, and even tho it took me longer than it should, I love it.

        Last years seminar in Sacramento was good, and I think this one will be as good or better. I am really looking forward to it.

  • Barbara

    I love embroidering on lunch boxes !!! It makes mine so much easierto find in the refrigerator at work. My lunch doesn’t get lost in a sea of paper bags !!

    • eileen

      You should pop over to facebook and post a photo of lunchbags. We would love to see what you’ve been up to!

  • Sandra

    My favourite blanks are plain, soft and cosy baby blankets. I personalize them with the name of the baby, birth date, weight etc. and they become my gift to the new parents.

  • Janice Murry

    The kitchen towels are my favorite, so winning a set would be perfect for me.

  • Rita Dougherty

    My favorite is many although I do enjoy burp pads since I can be so creative and not get into trouble with costly mistakes. Rita

  • Pam Duxbury

    My favorite item to embroider on is kitchen towels. Of course, I am a little prejudicial as I have only ever done kitchen towels.

  • Karen Rilstone

    My favorite blanks are towels, whether for the kitchen, the bath or the beach. I love how you can personalize them to give a fantastic gift!

  • LeAnne

    My favorite blanks are towels. They’re so easy to give as gifts. I had to miss the Expo this year too. All I could think about all weekend was how much I wanted to be there.

    • eileen

      Maybe next year, right LeAnn?

  • Karin

    My favorite embroidery item is towels – any kind of towels. You can add trim strips & really dress them up or make them as personal as can be. They are so many choices at it’s hard to choose just one thing!

  • Beth

    My favorite blank is anything that I can do embroidery on! Towels are great, but I especially love to embroider on fabric that I am using to make something – kitchen curtains, a pillow, a Christmas stocking. Much of the time I’ll see a fabric that I like, and then find a design that would great either as a complement to the fabric or stitched directly on the fabric.

  • VickiT

    My favorite blank to embroider would be kitchen items, usually dish towels. Super quick gifts and everyone appreciates them.

  • Cindy McCord

    I love to embroider cloth napkins. I have given so many as gifts that I’ve lost count of how many I have embroidered!! Everyone loves them because they are personalized and I match them to everyone’s decor. I still have numerous sets in the closet waiting for me to embroider for my own home!! So much embroidery to do and so little time…….

    • eileen

      Hi Cindy! Napkins are a great gift – very elegant and well-received. My stitching sister, Marie, and I buy our napkins at Home Goods (a division of TJ Maxx). A steal at $14.99 for a dozen! We always looks for the ones with a generous 1″ hem.

  • Katrina H

    I love embroidering on just about anything but lately I’ve been playing a lot with felt. It’s colorful and fun.

    • eileen

      Katrina, felt is often over-looked as a canvas for embroidery and that’s a shame. It comes in so many different colors and fibers. Recently, I tried a bamboo felt – oh wow! It was wonderful with a soft hand and laundered beautifully. After washing, the fibers shriveled into a pebbled appearance – loved that! The pebbled texture irons right out if you don’t like it but I opted to keep it.

  • Clara Chandler

    I use terry towels to embroider monograms and seasonal designs with good results. The designs have been dense as well as very open. The towels have been gifts for grandkids and friends. They have been well-received.

    Thanks for your blogs, Eileen. I miss Sew Expo this year, also. The videos are great.

    • eileen

      Clara – glad to hear you’re enjoying the Expo videos – there’s more to come in the next week or so!

  • Donna G.

    My #1 favorite blank are towels, and #2 would have to be sweatshirts. There are so many great blanks available; I’ve even tried out some designs on underwear! I’ve never been to the WA Expo, but I enjoy the smaller shows and classes available locally. Maybe some time I’ll get to the “big one”!

  • Deborah Stephenson

    I love to embroider on almost anything but I think my favorite is fingertip towels. Every bridal shower I go to I give a dozen embroidered towels. One for each month of the year and celebrating a different holiday ending with their anniversary towel. Brides have ordered sets for their friends also. I bet I have made 100 sets of these towels.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    My favorite embroidery work is done on kitchen towels. I have digitized several designs that have proven to be popular at the craft fairs I go to. I also digitized one for me. It is Grandma hanging out of a tree and she is definitely upset with the reindeer.

  • Kathi Miller

    Oh, Eileen, you missed another wonderful Expo show. I went with two lady friends and we were bad, bad, bad!

    Of course we hit the All About Blanks’ booth too. My favorite is their towels followed as a close second by their table runners. I especially like the new “window-pane” runner that has nice sized boxes in which to put embroidery designs.

  • Bobbi Joyner

    My favorite to do machine embroidery on are the kitchen towels and baby burp cloths as they make wonderful gifts and always look so professional. I have given many of these checkered towels as gifts and the recipient’s are always thrilled. They are so fun to embroider! I bought some more at SewExpo from Susan and look forward to stitching them up. Sorry you missed SewExpo Eileen; you must mark your calender for 2012 to come!

  • Shirley R

    I, too enjoy embroidering on kitchen towels. I embroidered a couple of Thanksgiving-themed towels for one of our favorite waitresses at our local IHop, as well as a complete set of coffee-themed flour sack towels for a dear granddaughter who works at Starbucks. There are so many interesting ways to embellish the towels once you have embroidered them such as fabric borders that coordinate with the embroidered design. Such fun!

  • Edith

    I love the Dual Purpose Kitchen Towel for many reasons. I like having a plain white background that goes with everything and don’t need to know what the kitchen looks like. Also, they embroider like a dream and are more substantial than flour sack towels.

  • mary dickerson

    I have been having fun embroidering on golf towels for prizes for the ladies’ events at our golf club. I can personalize them for the event with the name of the club, date, and a design that reflects the theme of the day. They are very well received! I have also embroidered head covers for golf clubs with personalized designs. Lots of fun!!…Mary D.

  • Judy Inhoff

    I like embroidering on baby bibs and then give them for gift. Thanks for a chance to win this prize.

  • Lyn Blansett

    I love embroidering kitchen towels and baby burp cloths.
    Both make lovely personalized gifts, as well as being useful!
    I would love to go to Puyallup expo some day… but for now, I live vicariously through others’ postings and videos!
    What would we do without all this wonderful technology??? 🙂

  • Nonie Saunchegrow

    Even before embroidery I loved towels. When money was tight I could buy one to cheer me up. Now with my embroidery i can cheer myself up & my friends with towels designed by me. If I had these towels, think of the joy I could share!

  • Charlie Massey

    I LOVE everything that Susan has @ All About Blanks, but my favorite has to be the bibs and burp cloths. They make such a quick but impressive gift for a “Mom-to-be” Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Patty Happel

    I have been embroidering on felt lately. It’s quick and rewarding. Also love doing sweatshirts.

  • Linda Machado

    I love the kitchen towel blanks to embroider on the most because they are the most versitile. You can make placemats, purses, sew them together to make tablerunners or any number of things and just go crazy with them. They make great gifts for everyone!

  • Cindy Helm

    I’m just starting to embroider, I love making quilts and like to combine the two. I want to try to do towels – bath, kitchen whatever. It just looks so fun!!

  • Donna

    I enjoy working on towels, cause they are just fun to put holiday designs on or anything really and to have them hang up in your kitchen or bathrooms are really cool.

  • Darlene Warren

    I love making custom baby quilts with embroidery and doing a quilt label to match…such fun…and usually matches the decor of the baby’s room. Mom’s love them! I also love doing towels. My favorite is monogramed towels for bridal showers. Putting favorite recipes on towels is such a fun thing to do.

  • Beverly Miner

    I love embroidering on kitchen towels. They are so appreciated and loved as gifts.

  • Ruth-Marie Nizolak

    I too miss the Expo in Puyallup. I moved to VA from WA last summer and wish I was back in WA for the event. I miss my WA quilting friends!

  • Gena Allen

    My favorite blank to embroider on is the flour sack tea towel. You can take something simple and depending on how much stitching you want to do, make it into something really wonderful. They make terrific gifts for friends and co-workers since you can stitch ahead and personalize when you want. They are also about the easiest item to hoop!!
    Gena Allen

  • Becky

    My favorite blank is cloth diapers. I buy a dozen or so every year from All About Blanks when they come to the Martha Pullen Mkt in Arlington, TX. I love using them to make burp cloths. They stitch beautifully and are so easy to embellish with additional ribbons or printed fabrics.

  • Susan Weber

    I have enjoyed doing embroidery on dish towels. I made a set of Days of the Week towels for my Aunt and she changes them out every day and says this helps her to think of me each day! I love her so much!

    • eileen

      How sweet!

  • marsha nelson

    I really like to embroider on baby items like: bibs, onsies, blankets, dresses, etc. They just look so cute on the little ones. Of course towels too. Smile

  • dstitchgal

    I have embroidered several of their Linen Table Runners. Order in sample pack to save a little. Have given some as gifts and made some for each season for me. Love the quality. Also embroidered a lace tree skirt and some golf towels. Their quality is unsurpassed!

  • carroll

    I love to embroider on kitchen towels. They make wonderful gifts. I also like to embroider on blank baby items. Baby stuff is just fun.

  • Pam

    I love to embroider on anything blank that my sweet granddaughter will wear or use. Even at 2 1/2 she loves what I make for her.

  • Clem

    I too love to embroidery for the grandkids. I do shirts, shirts, and oh yes, I forgot, shirts. ;). I also do blankets for each of the kids when they outgrow their cribs. I embroider on each on per their interest. They all love it.

  • Connie

    I can’t choose just one. I love embroidering little girl and wedding hankies, towels, baby blankets, and table runners. I love doing the crocheted and embroidering miniature designs in the center of each flower (the runners that are all crocheted and don’t have cotton panels). They are quite unique. I love All About Blanks and have for years. Susan is one of the neatest ladies ever!!

  • Sharon Thomas

    I really enjoy doing guest bath towels the best. I give them to our 5 kids for their homes, my folks and friends. I do kitchen towels second. I did a bunch of burp pads for some of our grandchildren (we have 9). Right now, I am making hanger covers to go over clothes I don’t wear very often. But I will use anything as a blank!

    Although I live across the country from the Pallyup, WA show, I do attend the Sewing and Quilt Expo in Atlanta…where i was yesterday!

  • Paule-Marie

    I like towels and napkins. (yes there is an ulterior motive for them – I don’t have to worry about putting them in an embarrassing place!) I also like to use outlines and quilting designs to quilt my quilts.

    I’m a Santa Rosa native living in Arizona. Wish I had chosen my vacation better. I would be at the seminar there. They are the best people. I still call Pam when I have questions.

  • Beth Shelton

    I like to embroider on kitchen towels. I’m an avid gift giver and this size of towel is easy to embroidery something simple on, then folded to fit into a large envelope, include a card and you have a great gift for any time or reason!

  • Pat

    I love to embroider on clothing – t-shirts, jackets, polos, hats. Also, purses. For a quick gift for a man – a simple design on a button-up shirt, often just tone-on-tone. Of course, I always have dish towels on hand for a quick hostess gift!

    I am fortunate to live in the Seattle area and go to the Sewing Expo every year. We are very lucky to have such a renowned event right here! I love to meet all the vendors, and see all the latest and greatest ideas and supplies. It is so inspiring, and I keep adding to my “to do” list. I’ll NEVER be bored!


  • Gail Beam

    I love embroiderying on anything for my grandchildren. Their favorites are shirts, sweatshirts, beach towels , bath towels, and blankets. They can be personalized with the type of designs that they like and their names. They especially like their names embroidered on beach towels as they are involved with swim teams and this helps to keep their towels from getting mixed up with others who may have the same ones.

  • Rita DeCook

    I will embroider on just about anything not tied down. I’ve been embroidering wall hangings using themes; i.e., Valentine, St. Patrick, Easter., Christmas traditional and one with the 12 Days of Christmas…and one for my grandnephew…”Toy Story”.

    I also recently made a pillow for a friend of mine whose son is engaged to be married. It had 4 squares…wine glasses, linked rings, bride/groom silhouette, and sayings. Then I included their first names.

    I purchased the Embrilliance Thumbnailer. It has been a lifesaver. I used to have to open an embroidery software (i.e., sizer) in order to see the designs, not knowing for sure if it was the one I wanted. I had for a while thought to myself “why can’t someone come up with a software that would let me see my designs without going to another type software”. And lo and behold, Eileen has one on her site. Didn’t hesitate to purchase it, and glad I did. Love it! Love it! Love it!. Thank you Eileen.

  • Cyndy

    It’s so hard to pick a favorite. Totes, towels, diapers, blankets … it’s all fun! I just wish I had more time to do all the things that I create in my mind!

  • Kathy Schmidt

    My favorite “blank” to embroider on would have to be sweatshirts. I am lucky enough to have a small chain retailer (Fields) in my small town that has low prices & when they have “clearance sales” I always stock up on tshirts & sweatshirts. I was originally purchasing sweatshirts in ladies med. for me, but have figured out that a men’s small fits just as well and I get great deals as little as $1.50 cdn!!! But I now buy any & all sizes I find so I am not being selfish & do embroideries for my hubby, friends & relatives too.

    I even keep several large totes filled with assorted “things to embroider on”. I have so many that I need to buy more totes.

    I wished I had access to some of the sewing/craft expos there are around, but then again my wallet is probably the better for not being near them, lol. I usually find most of the stuff I am looking for on the internet and admit I am addicted to ebay.

    Love the site & the blogs, keep em comin!!

  • Sherry Poole

    I love embroidering on flour sacks but the towels from AllAboutBlanks are the best.

  • Jane

    I love embroidering on the tea towels. For Christmas I embroidered recipes on towels for my dearest friends. They loved them.
    Jane in Kansas

  • Alice McFarlane

    I love embroidering on t towels, they are the best gifts to embroidery recipes on, make in to aprons for family and friends. Have been reading about the expo, sounds like so much fun, wish it was closer.

  • Dee Dickerson

    I too love to embroider on towels, kitchen or bath room Instant gratification and personaization.just finished towels with matching TP for a relay for life auction ! Purchased great towels with pink trim for them from allabout blanks! The only place I could findtowels with pink, wish I had taken a picture of them.

  • Sophia

    I love to embroider on pillow cases–the ‘canvas’ is whatrever size I want it to be–a little embroidery on the hemmed edge, or a huge design or designs on the body of the case–either way, I get to play with colors and combos and I always have a wonderful, unique gift for every occasion—One cannot have TOO MANY pillow cases 🙂

  • jacqui

    I love to embroider on my off the rack blouses and jackets…makes them very snazzy! I am now adding purses and quilt blocks to my list…..

  • Doris Alvarez

    I love to embroider on clothing: sweatshirts, t-shirts,sweaters. I usually embroider for my grandkids and their parents. I sometimes fit in my husband. I recently did some embroidery for myself-something I rarely do. I sewed d Eileen’s sweatshirt into jacket project and I really like how it came out. Thanks, Eileen, for such good instructions. It was a breeze to do.

  • Milagros Cruz

    I think you have a wonderful and interested website I have bought several of you products via your site and enjoyed many of them plus your magazine.
    I’ve heard the expo’s are terrific. However, why is it that all of these conferences are all held in the West. New York City and New Jersey (in the East) have not seen a sewing expo in many, many years. It would be nice to also partake in such wonderful and informative one’s. I for one, cannot travel yet I would like to meet many of the people involved with the business and be personally inspired.

  • Lilac

    Hello I just want to share that I truly get a whole lot when I visit your online site. The content you are writing is comprehensive and incredibly straightforward. I truly treasured looking over this today. Thanks a lot for spending some time to produce a very complete blog post.
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  • salbakos/turkey towles

    What beautiful work you do.Love your cute towels! Great fabric variation .They are precious!