Pins and needles

Sewing Expo comes to
Carrollton's Butler Park in April

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (April 2006) – Nationally known sewing expert Cindy Casciato finds the nostalgia of quilts appealing. Handed down from generation to generation, quilts often times outlive their maker.
Quilts “appeal to the heart,” said Casciato. While fabric is a key part of the process, “once you make a quilt, you’ve made a keepsake. There is so much history in a quilt.”
Casciato has been quilting and sewing for the last 28 years. “A garment is more temporary, but a quilt lasts longer.”
Sewing enthusiasts like Casciato are encouraged to get out their needle and thread and attend an insightful weekend event focusing on their favorite topic. District III of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is sponsoring a Sewing Expo, which will be held April 18-19 at the Conference Center at Gen. Butler State Resort Park.
The two-day expo will feature national, state and local sewing experts who will conduct classes, present seminars and conduct hands-on workshops. Sessions will present new sewing techniques and provide fresh ideas on ways to save money and time through home sewing.
Grace Angotti, Carroll County extension agent for family and consumer sciences, is a member of the planning team for this sewing expo. She had spoken to other extension agents about providing a program on sewing techniques, one that would provide information on sewing skills and sources.
The agents wanted “more training than a quilting class could provide,” said Angotti. And that is exactly what registrants can expect to gain from this sewing expo. Casciato is the keynote speaker for Tuesday, April 18, following a 6 p.m. dinner.
Participants who pay the $80 registration fee will have access to Casciato’s hands-on lecture entitled, “Color First.” Casciato will lecture on the fundamentals of color planning, such as choosing fabrics and making the best color selection for a particular project.
Casciato said the entire expo would be a fun, interactive experience. In addition to the lecture, Casciato will provide a trunk show of 25 quilts. “Each quilt represents a different color story,” she said. The quilts will be passed around so everyone can “get a close-up look.”
All participants will get a hexagon fabric color wheel. While there may not be time for sewing, participants can lie out the color wheel and have it ready to use at home for a project.
Terms and techniques will be discussed. The expo will consist of “a lot of information in a short period of time,” she said. To make things easy, Casciato will provide a three-page handout containing reference material. “I like to keep things simple, and break down the instructions,” for those who wish to go home and tackle a project.
Originally from Ravenna, Ohio, Casciato said her mother sewed and her grandmother quilted. When she was young, her maternal grandmother, Madge May Plunk, presented a quilt to each of her 16 grandchildren. The pattern was a Dutch girl with a parasol, a pattern she never forgot. Her love of stitching fabric stemmed from there.
She owns the treadle sewing machine that her grandmother purchased in 1914 for $21. All of her patterns were hand-drawn on brown paper, and she used only scraps left over from making clothes for her four children. Her grandmother made more than 250 quilts in her lifetime.
Casciato travels the country, lecturing about her favorite topic. “I enjoy speaking with groups and meeting new people,” she said. She also offers a special retreat once a year at Shawnee State Park in Ohio, with quite a few quilters form Kentucky attending. For the last 12 years, she has held “Quilt Escape” the first week of November.
“Block Explosion” is a quilting book Casciato has written which simplifies the process of quilting. It was released by Leisure Arts in the fall of 2004. She details how to enlarge a 12-inch block into a larger format, with a bigger print and motif.
Casciato enjoys the entire process of quilting. “It’s what I like to do,” she said. She delights in finding up-to-date ways of quilting, to eliminate the frustrations of traditional quilting.
She will have a second book out in May, “One Stitch Quilting.” This is a “completely new technique for beginners, which eliminates a lot of the basic steps in the normal process,” she said. She has partnered with folk artist Donna Dewberry to bring this technique to readers.
Her husband, Drew, has become involved with helping her conduct her plan and register quilters. Casciato founded the Calico Hearts Quilting Guild of Ravenna, served as chairperson of the North East Ohio Quilt Council, is a member of the National Quilting Association, The American Quilter’s Society, and Sewing Guild.

• For more information or to register, contact Grace Angotti at (502) 732-7030. Casciato’s website is www.cindycasciato.com.

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