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Hundreds attend Original Sewing and Quilt Expo

Staff Photo: John Bohn Rhonda Hildreth, of Atlanta, tests a TinLizzie brand sit down quilting machine on Thursday, during the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo held at Gwinnett Center's Convention Center during March 7-9.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Rhonda Hildreth, of Atlanta, tests a TinLizzie brand sit down quilting machine on Thursday, during the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo held at Gwinnett Center's Convention Center during March 7-9.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Jane Donaldson prepares a display of thread for use in long arm quilting machines made by TinLizzie. The display is part of the trade show at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo held at Gwinnett Center's Convention Center on Thursday. The expo runs March 7-9.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Jane Wirsch, of Acworth, selects fabrics to purchase at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo on Thursday at Gwinnett Center's Convention Center. The expo is open March 7-9.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn John Baskin, age 14 months, rests while his mother Amanda Baskin, of Marietta, tours the trade show portion of the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo being held at Gwinnett Center's Convention Center on Thursday. The exdpo runs March 7-9.

IF YOU GO

What: Original Sewing and Quilt Expo

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Convention Center at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth

Cost: $10 for admission, classes are $19 per session

For more information: Visit www.sewingexpo.co...>

DULUTH -- Kay Day of Lawrenceville insists she wasn't playing hooky Thursday afternoon while shopping at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo at the Convention Center at Gwinnett Center.

"I'm legally off today because I worked the last three days this week," she said with a laugh. "I am a crafter by nature and I'm wanting to learn how to sew, since I'm semi-retired."

When Day heard about the expo, she made sure to sign up for classes on Thursday and Friday to learn the basics behind threading a needle.

Classes aren't limited to sewing. The subjects vary from Hand Embellishments from A to Z and Crinkle, Sparkle, Shine to Four Steps to Perfect Pants and Don't Forget to Copyright.

As a part-time librarian "by trade" at Berkmar High School of Lilburn, Day has been "addicted" to cross-stitch for the past 40 years. Now, she is eager to learn sewing.

"We try to tell the kids about how to be a good lifelong learner and that's what I'm doing," she said. "I'm still learning as a mature, intellectual lady."

Day was joined by hundreds of other fabric fanatics at the Convention Center at Gwinnett Center. Activities for the three-day convention include live demonstrations, make-it take-it projects, educational sessions and shopping in the exhibit hall.

The expo wasn't just for little old ladies -- women in their 20s and 30s also attended the event. Some people traveled a few hours to browse and shop. Just ask Kayley Hale and Christy Mattocks of Columbus.

"I found out about it in October, so I've been planning and I'm so excited," Hale said.

Mattocks added, "She told me about it and I was off Thursday. It was perfect."

The two friends had made their first round throughout the exhibit hall, not buying anything immediately.

"It's like we're in Disney World, that's how we feel," Mattocks said.

"But we had to do one round before we walk around again or we would of bought everything," Hale said.

More than 60 booths are scattered throughout the Convention Center with businesses selling sewing machines, quilts, cabinets, colorful threads, shea butter and sewing shears, just to name a few products. Pricier items, such as embroidery machines, are also for sale and available with hands-on demonstrations.

"I've been getting a lot of new ideas and I would love to buy an embroidery machine, but that may be a while," Mattocks said.

Jane Wirsch of Acworth also looked around for ideas for her embroidery machine, which she bought in 2005.

"I just wanted to see all the new stuff and what's going on," she said while digging through rolls of fabric. "My daughter is an infant photographer and she likes these stretchy things (with fabric) that she uses as wraps for the babies."

She also knits and crochets hats and blankets for the photo shoots. But for Thursday, her goal was to find new products and ideas.

"It's just like everything else, everything changes," Wirsch said. "We (crafters) like to keep up with the new technology and products."

The event ends Saturday afternoon.