One class that I thoroughly enjoyed at the SewExpo was about sewing machine needles. It was very technical about the engineering reasoning and design of machine needles. Although the presenter, Nancy Goldsworthy, was representing a company, her "point" was that sewers should know what kind of needle to use for their particular project, not just the size of the needle.
Nancy, a 30 year veteran of the apparel industry and former Nike product developer turned entrepreneur quilter and teacher, has the experience behind what she was teaching. She described how the needle was designed from the butt of the shank, thru the shoulder, and on down the blade with it's grove to the eye, point and the tip. (Most of these parts are different on the various types of needle.) She discussed the properties of 16 different types of needles with their strengths and weaknesses, and that was not to mention the next set of needles (that she did not spend time on) that were double and triple needles for specialty applications. I won't go into all of these, but you can get tons of information at the Schmetz site that explains a lot of what Nancy presented. Suffice it to say, this class helped me understand a few problems that I was having; my sewing skills will be enhanced by all the information that she gave!
BTW, Nancy is the author of the book "Needles & Threads & Bobbins, Oh My!" which she did not even mention at the class! Look for it at your local quilt or fabric shop.
The other class that I enjoyed, "Turning Your Passion into Profit" I will discuss on Thursday--"Sew" stay tuned.