Original Sewing & Quilt Expo was started in 1995. With long hours, a little sweat and much laughter, our first event (then Original Sewing and Craft Expo) opened on Friday, October 13th, 1995 in Reston, Virginia.
From the very beginning, Original Sewing & Quilt Expo has been committed to producing high quality events where participants feel welcomed and comfortable, and find inspiration and motivation to enhance the personal fulfillment and self-satisfaction pursuing their sewing interests yields. In response to quilters who wanted more, the name and composition of the show evolved to Original Sewing & Quilt Expo.
In the Expo's classrooms, classes and workshops are crafted to provide an atmosphere of exploration and creativity in all areas of sewing, quiltmaking, machine embroidery, embellishment and related arts. The Exhibit Hall is carefully constructed to offer special exhibits, stage shows and the widest range of supplies, equipment and tools possible, which are sold through retail vendors from the US, Canada and around the world.
The company's staff has evolved over the years, but still remains a small, closely knit and hard-working team. The makeup of its members mirrors a significant percentage of those who attend Original Sewing & Quilt Expo – in her sewing, quiltmaking, embellishment and/or machine embroidery interests, age, lifestyle and personality. We share your passions, your attitudes, your dreams and your frustrations, and build events that help with your ability to reach maximum satisfaction and creative harmony with your sewing.
Kari Eckel | Senior Registration Specialist
Kari is a Registration Specialist for Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, and has been sewing for many years. She graduated with a B.S. Degree in Fashion Merchandising and worked for several years in retail department stores. Kari sews dolls, stuffed animals, and clothes, and also enjoys weaving, cross-stitch, embroidery, scrapbooking, painting and drawing. She is involved with the local historical society and has been a girl scout leader for three years. Her other hobbies include riding horses, helping her daughter show her dog and rabbit, gardening, and playing games and cooking with her two children.
Debi Gurko | Registration Specialist
Mark J. Ingraham | Director
Mark Ingraham's career in the sewing and quilt industry began as a 6 year-old star attraction at his father's Singer store in Madison, WI. In this period Mark completed the world's longest buttonhole and later repaired sewing machines. Post high school Mark participated in various live events called Art Without Walls. After graduating from University of Pittsburgh, Mark worked with producers and directors to build audiences for Film Screenings, Off-Broadway and Broadway shows in New York City. On a break from his busy life in the city, Mark attended the newly established Expos in Reston, VA and Minneapolis, MN. Immediately, Mark recognized a place to share his talent, so he packed his suitcase and moved to Westlake, OH.
Mark soon added his unique and progressive vision to the Expo. For more than fifteen years Mark has assisted hundreds of businesses and thousands of enthusiasts reach new plateaus in their sewing lives. Mark has a refined aesthetic judgement and a contagious sense of enthusiasm. His organizational and management strengths continually move the Expos in new directions. Mark and his wife Tina are the proud parents of two enterprising daughters – Angelina and Amy. He enjoys all styles of music, working with his hands, playing golf, bowling and coaching youth soccer.
Darcy Nicholson | Event Manager
Heather Shaw | Sales & Retail Manager
Jenn Taylor | Director of Education
Jenn’s love of sewing began when she learned to sew on her Mother’s Pfaff 1222E when she was around the age of 8. Throughout her junior high and high school career, she continued to sew garments for herself, Halloween costumes, doll clothes, pillows and more. She went off to study Visual Communication Design at Kent State University, where she continued to sew for herself and some “hippie” friends making patchwork pants and matching bags out of thrift store finds.
Jenn was initially taught to sew by her mother but she “really” learned to sew when she started working for a local sewing machine dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. There she learned the ins and outs of all the presser feet, notions and gadgets available that make sewing a whole lot easier. It was also there that she began teaching sewing, embroidery, sergers and even software classes. She fell in love with the idea that she could inspire people to sew and began her journey to help them improve their skills and keep them motivated to sew by teaching tips and tricks that allow them to better enjoy their hobby.
After working for the local dealer for 10 years, Jenn took her knowledge and skills on the road when she became the Education Sales Manager for Original Sewing & Quilt Expo. Jenn has helped build relationships with our vendors and attendees and continues to inspire others to think outside of the box on a regular basis. After two years, she was promoted to Director of Education where she continues to bring new and exciting ideas to the Expo.
When Jenn is not working, she enjoys all types of creative hobbies including sewing, machine embroidery, making gifts for friends and family, cooking (vegan, of course!), refinishing furniture and more! Jenn is the proud single mom of one amazing daughter, Zoe. She has three cats, a bamboo shark and lots of saltwater fish tanks at home. She tries to spend as much time outdoors with her family by going to local festivals, camping, kayaking, or just spending time around the bonfire. She enjoys listening to all types of music, going to flea markets, working with her hands and her secret obsession is watching true crime tv shows.
Monica Vay | Director of Operations
Monica maintains the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo website, designs much of the Expo's collateral materials and coordinates many of the projects you see at the Expo. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, she received a B.S. degree in Visual Communication Technology and Marketing.
Jim Beckstrom | On-site Event Coordinator
Kathy McMakin | Classic Sewing Magazine editor-in-chief
Kathy is one of America’s foremost authorities in the field of heirloom sewing by machine and by serger. She teaches beginning and advanced sewers from every corner of the world, and inspires a new level of confidence in her students. Kathy directs sewing and serging events for Martha Pullen Company held across the United States, and is the director of Martha Pullen’s Teacher Licensing Program, both the live retreats and online formats. She is the leader of a team of outstanding faculty for all the Martha Pullen Licensings – Retreats, Express and Online. Kathy can also be found teaching at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo as well as the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion Boutique.
Kathy has been a celebrated guest instructor at events for every major sewing machine manufacturer in the world. She has authored several sewing and serging books, and has produced and appeared in numerous sewing and serging videos. Kathy lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband. She has two grown children and three absolutely precious grandchildren
Susan Mathes | On-site Registration Manager
Susan was a volunteer for the first Expo in Reston, VA in 1994, and now works as the On-site Registration Manager. She began sewing in 6th grade, and has enjoyed taking classes and becoming a certified instructor from well-known educators. She has made many garments for her three children who have given her eight grandchildren to sew for. Her sewing interests run the gamut from garments, quilts, and heirloom to collecting fabrics and machines. Her greatest achievement has been a beautiful Martha Pullen christening gown with lots of lace and machine embroidery. In addition to traveling with her husband to places like England, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, France and Hawaii, Susan works and teaches part time at her local Husqvarna Viking dealer, Tomorrow’s Treasures, in Crofton, MD.
Liz Pierson | On-site Registration Specialist