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Archive for the ‘Road 2017’ Category

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt- Excellence in Hand Quilting

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Linda Roy won $1,500 for Aztec Sunset from Sponsor, World of Quilt Travel

Linda Roy’s quilting journey began in 1988 when her husband had a job transfer from Southern California to Conway, Arkansas.  Shortly after moving, Linda saw a program on television on vintage and newer quilts that introduced her to quilting. Then, a little while later, Linda met one of her new neighbors, Irma Gail Hatcher, who just happened to be an award-winning quilter. Irma invited Linda to join a small group that met monthly at her home and then to the Arkansas Quilt Guild. Linda said, “It was a pleasure to spend time with woman of all ages coming together for the pleasure of creating something beautiful.” Linda made her first quilt when her youngest son was three. She found that she could keep an eye on her son while he played and do her hand work at the same time.  She was hooked on hand quilting with that first original quilt and now hand quilting is her passion. The design and color for Aztec Sunset was inspired by Mayan Ruins. Linda designed her quilt using graph paper. Since Linda made this quilt for herself, she felt that she had total freedom to make it “outside the box.” Two of her favorite large tomato red scraps were utilized in the quilt along with other fabrics in her stash creating a four-block design with a spiraling border.  Each quadrant has different but similar fabrics. The tea dyed muslin and stripes are the unifying fabrics.  All the triangles are hand appliqued along with the bias bars.  Linda feels that the additional hand embroidery on the quilt gives a little more importance to the hand appliqued triangle shapes. Aztec Sunset took approximately one year to complete. A hoop was used for the hand quilting, working on one piece at a time.  Linda remarked that after deciding on the design and color, “hand quilting is my favorite part of the quilt… (it is) very relaxing.” Learning about her award, Linda said she “truly couldn’t believe I had won such a prestigious award.  Stunned would be a good word to describe how I felt and still feel.” She plans on using her prize money to replenish her fabric, thread, batting and various quilting needs not to mention that the “worn out chair I sit in to sew could use being replaced too!” Linda’s thoughts on her experience in creating a winning quilt is motivational for other quilters as well: “This award encourages me to follow my heart without fear of the quilting police.  Sometimes it can work out!”]]>

Quilting Time Can Be Quality Couple Time

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Married for 47 years, Les and Linda know the key to a happy marriage: they support each other with their hobbies. For Les, it is Classic Car Shows and Linda goes with him to Cruise Nights. For Linda, a quilter for over 40 years, it’s all about going together to quilt shows like Road to California. “Fair is fair,” remarked Les. While Linda has attended Road for the past 18 years, Les has only accompanied her for the last 10. They’ve even gone to a quilt show together when they were vacationing in Sydney, Australia (Linda said she knew nothing about it but Les swears “she planned it on me.”) Why does Linda enjoy coming to Road to California? To get inspired.  She says, “You see things that you never would have thought of. It gets you out of your box to try new things.”   And Les has learned another valuable marriage lesson: “I never ask her how much she spends on her stash and she never asks me what I spend on my car collection.” Even a wheelchair bound Stacie couldn’t keep her and husband Ed from Road 2017. Both Ed and Stacie are quilters from Indio, California. They began their quilt journey together over 5 years ago by taking a quilt class. At first, Ed went to the class to just spend time with Stacie but he ended up liking it and has stayed with it ever since. Says Stacie, “He does it more than I do. I never finish my quilts and Ed keeps on me.”   They bought their tickets for Road before Stacie fell playing with their dogs, putting her in the wheelchair. They didn’t want to miss out “looking at quilts and gadgets and finding new ideas to try.” A brand-new quilter, Sophia appreciates how her husband, Erik, helps her with design and color. Sophia is also a knitter and crocheter and felt quilting was a natural progression for her fiber arts interest. She is self-taught, having never sewed before until she started quilting. Her first project was a baby quilt that “turned out great.” Erik helped Sophia design a wedding quilt that now goes on their bed.  Road 2017 was their first time at the show. Sophia said she was “quite moved by the exhibits. They were amazing.” Erik thought he was just going to be seeing a lot of vendors (which he did) but he was also surprised by all the interesting exhibits.    ]]>

The Doctor Is In For Thread Advice

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Thread Therapy. Bob has proclaimed himself a Self-Certified Threadologist, qualified to make diagnoses, give advice, and solve problems regarding thread issues. [caption id="attachment_5057" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Photo by Brian Roberts Photography[/caption] Superior Threads began in 1998 as an at-home business by Bob and his wife, Heather, in their garage. Bob says that he needed to start the thread company in order to support Heather’s quilting addiction. Today, the business spans over a 25,000 sq./ft. facility in the red rocks of St. George, Utah. [caption id="attachment_5054" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Photo Courtesy of Superior Threads[/caption] The first product Superior Threads produced and carried was their Superior Metallic. They currently produce and sell over 40 different thread lines with more on the way. Superior Threads prides itself on seeking out the highest-quality raw materials and using the latest technology in processing to create threads for all types of sewing. The most important warning that Dr. Bob gives is “don’t expect stores to know about thread and needles.” A quilter needs to become familiar with all the different thread and needle types in order to create the best projects. [caption id="attachment_5058" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Photo by Brian Roberts Photography[/caption] Bob has found that most traditional quilters prefer using cotton thread but he stressed that there are so many other alternatives out there and he encouraged the audience to try new threads with their work. Metallic thread is very popular but it also can give the “biggest headache.” warned Bob. He shared a way on how to see if a particular metallic thread is good or bad: Cut off a piece about 3 feet long and let it hang down. If it twists, it is a bad thread. Good metallic thread will hang smoothly without tangling. Needles, Bob said, are the least appreciated and often ignored part of a sewing project. It is counterproductive to spend a lot of money on a sewing machine, fabric, and specialty threads and then use an old, worn, damaged or wrong needle. Bob suggested whenever beginning a new project, start with a new needle. Topstitch needles work best because it has a larger eye and a deeper groove. Needles have a two-number system: the higher number relates to a European metric system measuring the size of the needle shaft diameter in hundredths of a millimeter. The lower number is a U.S. designation that is an arbitrary number used to indicate relative needle shaft diameter. Either way, the lower the number on a needle, the finer the thread should be used:

#70/10 for finest threads

#80/12 for 50 wt. threads

#90/14 for medium weight threads

#100/16 for heavier threads

Final tips Bob offered when using specialty threads:
  • Use a high-quality thread on both the top and bottom
  • Make sure the machine is threaded correctly
  • Make sure there are no obstructions along the thread path
  • Properly adjust tensions for the desired application
  • Use the correct size and type of needle. Make sure it is inserted correctly
  • Make sure the bobbin case is in good working condition
  • Adjust sewing speed to compensate for other limitations [caption id="attachment_5056" align="aligncenter" width="478"] Photo by Brian Roberts Photography[/caption]  
At Superior Threads, the doctor is always in. Visit their website for helpful video tutorials and other valuable information.      ]]>

Meet The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Best known for its recreational opportunities like fishing, water sports, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, tours and winter sports, it also a haven for quilting. Big Bear Lake has two quilt guilds and two quilt shops in this small community!! It is also a popular destination for quilt retreats. The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild has around 50 members. They meet monthly the 2nd Wednesday of the month at Patchworks Quilt Shop. ”Patches of Love” is the name they give to their philanthropy work. Their members make quilts that are given to children who are picked up in police cars or fire trucks after a traumatic event. They also support military families with quilts. When a family has a new baby and their father is deployed, they present the new baby with a quilt. Their annual quilt show is being held this year August 4th and 5th at The Lodge at Big Bear Lake. They have invited vendors as well as showcasing quilts from the area. At Road 2017, the guild had their show’s opportunity quilt on display. What makes this quilt original is that there is a hidden bear in the design of the quilt. The guild enjoys asking contributors for this fund raiser to see if they can find the bear. It gives people the chance to see the quilt up close and is “lots of fun.”  Can you find the bear? Road to California loves supporting local quit guilds and their endeavors. Opportunities are given on a first come basis to showcase opportunity quilts. Participating guilds must provide 20 hours of white glove service to Road for each day your quilt is displayed. For more information, please visit our website.]]>

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Outstanding Traditional Quilt

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

From The Bride’s Trousseau made and quilted by Margaret Solomon Gunn won $5,000 from sponsor Janome for Outstanding Traditional Quilt at Road 2017

Margaret Solomon Gunn is a talented quilter. She won not one but two prizes at Road to California 2017!!!

Margaret won Best of Show for The Twisted Sister

and Outstanding Traditional Quilt for From The Bride’s Trousseau.  

What inspired Margaret to make this winning design? In 2011, she designed and quilted a 40” whole cloth.  This was her first attempt at the design process.  Of that experience, Margaret says, “To this day, it is unbound!”  The design for From the Bride’s Trousseau originated with this first quilt’s design.  It underwent at least a dozen modifications to reach the final form that was quilted for the 2015 finished quilt. The current design is larger, and more complicated.  From the Bride’s Trousseau is a 1/8 symmetrical whole cloth quilt, meaning that it was designed on a 22.5-degree wedge, then copied and mirrored to create the pattern.  It is quilted in silk threads.  Margaret’s favorite areas of the quilt are the Sashiko-inspired fills.  They are quilted with a marked grid and give the quilt a very traditional feeling. It took Margaret about a year to finish the quilt. What did she learn along the way? Says Margaret, “I have this ability to make simple tasks take WAY longer than they should!  This is mostly because I don’t just work on one quilt at a time.  I frequently have at least 3 quilts in various stages of construction, quilting or finishing at any given time. I learned that quilting with colored thread creates a beautiful effect, but it’s challenging.  I also learned that I appreciate taking the time to make a quilt double-sided (and it helps identify those pesky little areas that need fixing before a judge finds them!). Margaret was “surprised” to know that this quilt had also won a prestigious award at Road 2017.  She related that From the Bride’s Trousseau “had been out and to several shows the last 2 years.  Sometimes it does nothing, and other times, it surprises me.  During the quilting journey, I have just learned to appreciate when the quilts do win, as nothing is ever certain.  I do the best I can do, and then it is out of my hands.  It is wonderful when judges recognize my efforts.” After winning two awards, Margaret is certainly not resting on her accomplishments. She recently finished a book with AQS, along with two other self-published books. She teaches at select quilting shows and writes for Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  In her “spare time,” she even still quilts for clients (one of her client’s quilts was also entered in Road 2017). And of course, she is working on the coming year’s show quilts. All in all, Margaret says, “It’s a fun life!”]]>

Charity Quilt Hand-Off

Friday, June 30th, 2017

At Road 2017, Road to California sponsored its first Roadies Give Back charity quilt project to benefit cancer patients at the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center at Pomona Valley Hospital .

Before the show, Anita Grossman Solomon created a quilt block pattern just for this project and made it available for quilters around the country to sew the blocks that were going to be used for the project. [caption id="attachment_4662" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Anita is pictured along with Matt Reese and Matt’s mom, Shellee Reese, an administrator at the Cancer Care Center.[/caption] Then, on Saturday night of the show, quilters, some class teachers, and even a few vendors, got together in the Ontario Convention Center to sew the blocks together into lap size quilts as well as begin quilting the quilts.After the show, unfinished quilts were given to the Nite Owl Quilt Guild  to finish the quilting. In the end, 41 quilts  were completed. On June 29, 2017, Road to California owner, Matt Reese, along with his wife Jennifer, presented to the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center the Roadies Give Back quilts which will be given to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy at the center. Each unique quilt was folded into a Road to California reusable bag, accompanied with a card explaining the significance of the quilt and its care instructions. While they were there, Matt personally distributed quilts to five patients including: Joseph Derowen has been a patient at the center since December, 2016. He said that he “really appreciated” the gesture because 99.9% of the time, he is cold when he receives his treatment. He was looking forward to trading his “funky jacket” for the quilt to keep him warm. Joseph’s wife, Elaine, thought receiving the quilt was “very thoughtful” and was grateful that now her husband will be “wrapped in love.”   Joyce is battling Breast Cancer. She knew that the quilts were “a lot of work” and remarked how beautiful hers was. Joyce commented that it was “very generous for the quilters to donate their time and materials.” Petra de Leon has been battling Lymphoma since April. Petra replied in Spanish, “I am very happy to get this quilt. It is very pretty.” Ray Hardy told Matt, “No one has ever given me a quilt before. This is cool.” Road to California wishes to thank everyone who participated in this special project. They look forward to offering Roadies Give Back again in the future.]]>

Men At Road Is A Great Fit

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Quilting is a popular interest for women — and men –of all ages.

Donn and Allan liked seeing all the quilt designs and types of fabrics during their first visit to Road to California.  From Morro Bay, California, Allan grew up around sewing and quilting his whole life. It was Allan’s sister who taught Donn how to sew. Donn has been quilting for 4-5 years and considers himself a modern quilter. He quit a full time corporate job to work in a quilt store in Morro Bay, The Cotton Ball, and helps customers use the longarm machine at the store. “There’s so much to see” at Road, said Donn. “The quilts are beautiful and there is a wide variety of vendors.” John likes to come to Road and meet up with this three friends that he affectionately calls, the “Triplets of Bellville.“ The four met in Paris in 2008 in a study abroad, Art History class sponsored by the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California.  John was a team teacher with two other professors and took on the role of “bodyguard” for the three women during their one month stay in Paris. Since then, for the past seven years, the four have chosen Road to California as their annual meet up place since John resides in Southern California and Dashe, Carole, and Michelle live in Northern California. John says that Road is a “fun place to hang out with the triplets.” He also said he enjoys “the quilt competition the most.” He likes seeing the “creativity and detailed work with the quilting medium.” Bill lives in Westlake Village, California and has been to Road four times. “Once you attend, you get an email to remind you when the next show is being held.” His wife is a quilter but Bill says he comes to take pictures. “I view (the quilts) as art. Being at Road is like being at an art museum.” What was Bill’s favorite quilt at Road 2017? “Director’s Choice. It was head and shoulders above everything else; so life like.”  ]]>

Meet Road Vendor: Pineapple Fabrics

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Pineapple Fabrics is an e-commerce company that offers pre-packaged, pre-cut fabrics that can be used in over 60 different projects designed by the company. Rick Kimelman and his wife, Dot, are the driving force behind Pineapple Fabrics. It was Rick’s grandfather who, over 80 years ago, started the fabric swatching business, Swatchcraft. Over the years Swatchcraft has evolved into a full-service business offering graphics, imaging, printing, fabric sampling and shipping needs for their clients, other business owners. Realizing that there are “only so many companies to swatch with,” Rick wanted to reinvent the company with a focus on “making sewing fun.” [caption id="attachment_4966" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Photo by Brian Roberts Photography[/caption] Their first attempt at retail marketing was in 2012, putting together and selling pre-cut fabrics – jelly rolls, fat quarters, and layer cakes — from designers like Windham Fabrics, Andover, RJR Fabrics, Dear Stella, Michael Miller and others. Their first show was in March, 2015 at the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, Chicago. The feedback they got from customers was that they loved the idea of having packaged pre-cuts but they kept on asking, “What do you do with them?” So, after that show, the company began work on 3-4 pattern designs to complement the pre-cuts. [caption id="attachment_4962" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Photo by Brian Roberts Photography[/caption] In 2016, Pineapple Fabrics began organizing their fabric packs by girl’s names in an alpha order. First was Alice, then Bella, Carla, Diana, Ellie and their latest, Fran. Each Pineapple Pack has different sized fabric cuts in different amounts unique to that particular name. When a customer buys a pack, they then choose one of 10 patterns designed to use with it. [caption id="attachment_4964" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Photo by Brian Roberts Photography[/caption] Says Dot, “We do all the work of cutting and coordinating fabrics so all the customer has to do is sew. The Pineapple Packs are packaged so that if you can’t get to it right away, the pieces won’t be scattered.” In addition to the Pineapple Packs, Pineapple Quilts also offers Quilt Backs (precut backings that match quilt top fabrics) and their trademark, Bonus Quarter—21” X 21” squares that are found in every pack. In the future, they hope to offer swatching for their projects—bringing it back full circle to where the business originally started. Making sure their customers have a “happy, positive experience” is Pineapple Fabrics’ goal. That is why this internet based company comes out to trade shows like Road to California so that they can hear firsthand what customers are looking for and then implement their feedback, offering a wide range of colors and patterns. Road 2017 was Pineapple Fabrics second time at Road to California. They commented on how nice the show is and how everyone they meet are nice as well. [caption id="attachment_4963" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Photo by Brian Roberts Photography[/caption] Another way Pineapple Fabrics connects with its customer base is offering an “outlet sale” every two months at their warehouse in North Carolina. The sales last three days and are “a lot of fun,” with special pricing, demos, and food trucks. To learn more about Pineapple Fabrics and to order their Pineapple Packs and other products, please visit their website.  ]]>

Family Fun At Road

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Road to California is the perfect place for a family outing!!

[caption id="attachment_4957" align="aligncenter" width="466"] (l-r) Rebecca, Nicholas, Pearl, Cameron and Daniel[/caption] The Medina family from Moreno Valley, California says quilting and coming to Road is “a family affair.” Young Nicholas is a big fan of Eleanor Burns. He’s been watching her on TV since he was 5 years old. His grandma Pearl shops at Eleanor’s store in San Diego county. One time, she brought Nicholas with her when there was a sale going on. Nicholas marched right up to Eleanor and asked her if she had any cowboy fabric. They struck up a friendship and for the past 3 years, Nicholas and his family have come to Road to meet up with Eleanor and her son, Orion.  It was about that same time that Nicholas began sewing on his great-grandma’s machine. He says he prefers to sketch out his own patterns. Grandma Pearl has been coming to Road for 10 years. She has sewn since she was a little girl and has been quilting for the past 15-20 years. She is sharing her knowledge with her daughter, Rebecca, who started sewing twenty-one years ago when she was 7. Rebecca has joined her mom at Road for the past four years and says, “coming with my mom to Road is something we share together.” After attending Road for the past 2 years, Daniel Ganczak, Pearl’s son-in-law, became interested in quilting and bought his own sewing machine. He says he is “practicing for now,” getting ideas and fabric and relaxing during the show. In 2017, Daniel brought his son, Cameron, who said that he was so inspired by Road and his family, he wants to start quilting and join his cousin with the family hobby. [caption id="attachment_4958" align="aligncenter" width="391"] Cousins Cameron and Nicholas[/caption] Another family from Moreno Valley came to share a day together at Road. Meet Grandma Lydia, Grandpa Larry, Dad Jay, and his daughters, Lulu (age 9) and Scarlet (age 7). Jay says his mom has always sewed and has been a quilter for the past 20 years. Jay starting sewing as a young boy. He is an artist and says that sewing is “another way to express myself.” He is teaching the girls how to sew. Lulu and Jay have made a wall-hanging quilt together. [caption id="attachment_4959" align="aligncenter" width="422"] Back row: Larry, Jay, Lydia. Front row: Scarlet and Lulu[/caption] It was the first time coming to Road for Larry, Jay and the girls. Larry “didn’t realize how involved quilting was” and was “amazed” at seeing how detailed the quilts on display were. Jay couldn’t believe “how many different ways there are to quilt.” Scarlet was hoping to get some ideas to start her first quilt and Lulu was enjoying all the “free stuff’ that the vendors were handing out. A veteran of four Road to California’s, Lydia is another Eleanor Burns fan and “loves the whole show.” These two families show that the family that quilts together, stays together.]]>

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Outstanding Modern Quilt

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Z is for Zoey won Outstanding Modern Quilt at Road to California 2017. Sponsor Riley Blake Designs awarded $5,000 to maker, Mary Kerr and quilter, Karen McTavish.

Family and quilting goes hand in hand for Mary Kerr. She grew up in a family of quilters and her latest winning quilt, Z is for Zoey, was made for her granddaughter, Zoey Rose, Mary’s “very own mini-me.”

A Road 2016 faculty member and curator of the special exhibit, Quilt As Desired, Mary has a special affection for vintage designs. She wanted this piece to reflect the convergence of the past….her love of vintage with the excitement of the future….Zoey’s place in the modern world.

Z is for Zoey was inspired by a a single long strip from the 1930s. Tongues of fabric had been hand appliquéd with black thread on both sides of a muslin strip. It was never incorporated into a quilt and at one point someone even cut out one of the fabrics to reuse. The quilt married Mary’s “love of vintage textiles with the freshness of the Modern quilt aesthetic.”

Mary thought long and hard about the design. Once she decided how to create the “Z,” the top came together in just a couple of days. Then, according to Mary, Karen McTavish “added the perfect background with her distinctive lace quilting.”

While both Karen and Mary were “very pleased” that Z for Zoey won Outstanding Modern Quilt, Mary says, “My Zoey takes full credit for the win!”

For the near future, Mary plans to continue to teach, write books and hopefully inspire others to work with vintage fabrics.

You can learn more about Mary on her website.

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