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Welcome to the Road to California Blog

Roadies Give Back: Charity Quilts For Cancer Patients

October 22nd, 2019

Roadies Give Back is Road to California’s official philanthropy project. Held Saturday night of the show, quilters are given the opportunity to give back to Road’s local community by joining together to make charity quilts for cancer patients at the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center at Pomona Valley Hospital.

For 2020, Road’s 25th Anniversary Show, Roadies Give Back, will be happening Saturday, January 25th from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.   

This volunteer-led event, gives Road attendees a chance to meet other conference goers, participate in a worthwhile activity, and fill up an otherwise empty Saturday night. Everything that is needed for the quilters to work on the quilts – sewing machines, thread, batting, irons, and backing are all donated for the activity by some of Road’s vendors.

Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center

Why did Road choose cancer patients at the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Center for their official philanthropy? Because we have found that many quilters have been touched by cancer- either themselves or a loved one- including many of our Road to California workers. In addition, Road has a connection to the Center. Road’s owner, Matt Reese’s mother, Shellee, is the Administrative Director of the Cancer Program. She has been able to arrange for the finished charity quilts from Roadies Give Back to be delivered personally to cancer patients.  

Roadies Give Back

How You Can Be Involved

Road to California 2020-25th Anniversary Show will be the third time Roadies Give Back has been offered.  To date, almost 200 charity quilts have been donated to the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center.

There are many ways you can be involved:

Before the Show

Make Blocks.  Make as many blocks as you can and bring them to the show. Each block takes 4 Charm Squares to make. Please use a black background. We are also accepting finished quilt tops.

If you can’t attend Road to California 2020, you can also mail in your blocks to our office: 1160 N. Dewey Way – Suite A, Upland, CA 91786

Roadies Give Back

Register to Volunteer at Roadies Give Back #9600C. Two rooms will be dedicated to this charity quilt activity. Sewing machines for the event are being donated by one of Road’s Sponsors, Moore’s Sewing. Volunteers will be needed to arrange quilt squares, sew squares into rows and make quilt tops. Once quilt tops are completed, quilt sandwiches need to be put together.

During the Show

Turn in Finished Blocks and Quilt Tops. They will be collected at South Information Desk.

Roadies Give Back

Join in the Fun!! Volunteer to be one of the sorters, planners, or sewers. Many helping hands are required for Roadies Give Back!!!

Enjoy Some Swag. Our Road Volunteers are putting together awesome swag bags for participants as well as hosting giveaways throughout the night.

Meet New Charity Quilt Minded Friends. What better way to spend a Saturday night than with other quilters who share your passion of giving back.

Of all the special events planned for our 25th Anniversary Show, Road feels Roadies Give Back is the most important. Says Karen, one of our past volunteer coordinators, “It lets people with cancer know that a lot of people care about them, are rooting for them, are praying for them and are hoping that they get better.”

Road sincerely appreciates your consideration for this event. If you have any questions regarding Roadies Give Back, please reach out to our volunteer coordinators at  roadiesgiveback@gmail.com

Road 2020 Teacher Spotlight: Gyleen X. Fitzgerald

October 11th, 2019

Author, Publisher and Award-Winning Quilter, Gyleen X. Fitzgerald, will be teaching 4 classes at Road to California 2020-25th Anniversary Show:

On Thursday, January 23rd, 4012C – Mixology Shaken And Stirred

Gyleen X. Fitzgerald Road to California Quilt Show Teacher

Friday, January 24th, 5011C – Modern Free Wheeling Circles

Gyleen X. Fitzgerald Road to California Quilt Show Teacher

Saturday, January 25th, 6011C – Engaged

 Road to California Quilt Show Teacher

And Sunday, January 26th, 7011C – Trash To Treasure Pineapple

Road to California Quilt Show Teacher

All Quilter, All the Time

Gyleen Fitzgerald Road to California Quilt Show Teacher

Gyleen X. Fitzgerald makes quilts that blend color, pattern and texture to provide a contemporary essence in traditional quilting. She infuses engineering tools and innovative techniques to simplify visually complex geometric quilts. A quilter since 1981, she has been teaching quilting since 1995. When asked what other hobbies she has besides quilting, her reply was, “Say what? Is that allowed? Who has time? When not quilting, I’m usually thinking about quilts in some way.” Well, she does think about one other thing: her husband, Ray.

Creative Space

Gyleen’s home studio is the smallest bedroom in her house. She says that she is “most creative in small spaces.” When she requires assistance with some projects, she will move to a much larger annex studio in her basement.

What is Gyleen’s favorite quilting tool? Her polygon series tools (Polygon, Polygon2 and Polygon3). Gyleen says that she “can’t get enough of good geometry.”

Gyleen X. Fitzgerald loves piecing because when she is piecing, she is “executing her vision.”

The two quilters that have influenced her work the most are Jinny Beyer and the late, Gwen Marston because “they do it all.” Gyleen feels that they both “produce very graphic quilts and master the handwork. They are constant innovators.”

Road to California 2020

Traveling over 2,000 miles to get to Road to California (Gyleen lives on the East Coast), she is thrilled to be teaching. “I’ve only taught (at Road) once before and love it. Coming back and to be a part of a historic show is very exciting. I can’t wait to see the quilts, vendors and special events.”

With her classes, Gyleen X. Fitzgerald says what she likes most about teaching is “empowering students to create the vision within; I learn more from them. Their talent is amazing.” Because she is a technique teacher, she hopes that after they leave her classes, that her students will now able “to produce the quilts in their hearts with confidence and perfection. AND more importantly to have fun and enjoy the process. No one dies quilting.”

To learn more about this innovative and technique driven teacher, Gyleen X. Fitzgerald, please visit her website.

Charter a Bus Tour to Road 2020

October 10th, 2019

Hassle Free Transportation

If you are attending Road to California 2020 with a group of friends, a guild, or a travel organization, especially from out of state, we recommend arranging for a charter bus tour to the show.

Charter a Bus Tour to Road to California Quilt Show

What are the benefits of a Charter Bus Tour to the show?

You don’t have to stress out about traffic or directions maneuvering around the Los Angeles area;

Charter a Bus Tour to Road to California Quilt Show

Sharing the cost is economical—It saves you money!!! Tickets for bus trips of 30 or more are only $11.50, a savings of $4.50 per person. We also offer a further discount of 50 cents per ticket when paid via cash or check. The ticket is valid for all days of the show and includes Preview Night;

Charter a Bus Tour to Road to California Quilt Show

No need to find individual parking spots. Buses are allowed to drop off and pick up right outside the east entrance to the Convention Center. Parking passes for your bus, while you are in the show, can be purchased in advance for $40 per day.

And new for this year, quilt guilds who sponsor a bus tour can enter to win a $300 prize as part of our 3rd Annual Quilt Guild Challenge. More information about this exciting addition to this fun contest will be coming soon.

Official Charter Bus Tour Trip Form

In order to qualify for these charter bus tour trip perks, an official Road to California Bus Trip Form must be completed.

A deadline of January 3, 2020 has been imposed if your group would like to receive their Road to California tickets before the show. If a group can’t meet that deadline, Road will mail a letter, map and window sign for the bus window. At the Show, Road’s Bus Greeting Hostess will have the tickets requested on the form. Acceptable forms of payment when arriving at the show are correct change/cash or check only.

If you need help filling your bus from your area of departure, Road can assist you by advertising your trip on our website. Just let us know when you submit your bus trip form. 

For more information on chartering a bus and to get a copy of the official Road to California Bus Trip Form, visit our website.

Road 2020 Teacher Spotlight: Cheryl See

October 10th, 2019

Cheryl See will be teaching FIVE HANDWORK CLASSES at Road to California 2020- 25th Anniversary Show:

Monday, January 20th: 1015C – Hexie Daisy

Cheryl See Road to California Quilt Show

Tuesday, January 21st: 2013C – English Paper Piecing Techniques

Cheryl See Road to California Quilt Show

Wednesday, January 22nd: 3015C – Innovative Hand Quilting

Cheryl See Road to California Quilt Show

Thursday, January 23rd: 4016C – Hawaiian Needle Turn Appliqué

Cheryl See Road to California Quilt Show

Friday, January 24th: 5016C – Super Hexie Daisy

Cheryl See Road to California Quilt Show

Why Handwork?

Keeping handwork — especially hand quilting — alive is important to Cheryl See, especially with the newest generation of quilters. 

Cheryl has always done handwork and started quilting when her scraps of fabric were too small to make anything else. Paper Piecing has had the most influence on Cheryl’s quilting and she tends to hand piece every other quilt.  This always allows Cheryl to keep a project for on the go.

Cheryl See’s Home Studio

“When I downsized, I had just finished my basement with my dream quilt studio.  My area is smaller now and, in several rooms, but still works for me.

What is Cheryl’s favorite quilting tool? “I love my Clover clips.”

Teaching Quilt Classes

Cheryl See has been teaching for 7 years since her quilt, Star Struck, won Best Hand Quilting for a large quilt at Paducah and became a part of The National Quilt Museum collection.  People assumed that Cheryl taught classes, so she decided to devote one day a week to the business side of quilting to see if she liked it. As a teacher, she always hopes her students gain new skills as well as inspiration and encouragement.

Road to California 2020

Cheryl will be traveling from Winchester, Virginia to Road. The last time she came to Road, 3 years ago, a huge snowstorm hit the East Coast when it was time for her (and the rest of Road’s Eastern visitors) to return home. She was forced to stay in California an extra day so she decided to spend that extra day discovering Hollywood. Cheryl confides that she is secretly hoping that that weather episode happens again.

Besides teaching, Cheryl See has also entered a quilt in the Road to California 2020 Quilt Contest. Train To Nowhere recently won Best of Show at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza so she’s hoping for big things in Road’s contest.

Cheryl See Road to California Quilt Show

You can learn more about Cheryl See on her website.

Stitch Like An Egyptian

October 7th, 2019

25th Anniversary Spotlight

Road to California 2020 will be Road to California’s 25th Anniversary Show. In addition to providing guests access to exceptional classes and vendors, Road has planned several very special attractions during this very special show.

Tentmakers of Egypt

Road is bringing back the popular Tentmakers of Egypt. They first came to Road in 2015, demonstrating their exquisite applique work.

Stitch Like An Egyptian

In 2018, they returned and not only demonstrated their work in their Special Exhibit but shared their expertise with students in classes taught by Jenny Bowker.

Stitch Like An Egyptian

For Road’s 25th Anniversary Show, two new tentmakers to Road, Ekramy Hanafy & Ahmed Kamal, will be at the show. They plan on being available in two of Jenny Bowker’s 2020 classes, Egyptian Applique, taught on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, January 20th, 21st and 22nd. They will be available to assist students as they tackle how to Stitch Like An Egyptian during their once in a lifetime experience learning this age-old hand stitching art. During the show, they will again be stationed at the front of the Exhibition Hall, giving live demonstrations and selling applique work that they brought with them from Egypt.

Stitch Like An Egyptian

What is Egyptian Tentmaking?

The art of Egyptian tent making is an ancient, intricate craft. Centuries ago, Tentmakers of Cairo went to the Keswa of Mecca to make tents out of big pieces of fabric. Named, Tark, these tents were used to decorate weddings and funerals as their traditional colors easily adapted for both occasions. 

Today, this generational craft is found in Old Islamic Cairo. Citizens from childhood to adults are still involved in learning and studying tent making from family members and in specially designed schools as a means of preserving this ancient art. In recent years, tent making has been facing struggles, as machines try to replace hand-made items and unscrupulous businesses copy and sell their unique designs. By having Ekramy and Ahmed at Road, attention is given to this beautiful yet shrinking art of the few remaining tentmakers who continue to practice their trade.

Road and Stitch Like An Egyptian

How did Road’s association with the Tentmakers of Cairo first come about? Jenny Bowker first introduced the tentmakers to the world in 2007. She helped them sign a contract with the American Quilters Society in 2012 where the original tentmakers, Hosam AL Farouk and Tarek Al Safety, made 16 trips to the United States, including the two visits at Road to California.

Stitch Like An Egyptian

At Road 2020, Ekramy Hanafy & Ahmed Kamal, are looking forward to sharing many different designs of their traditional technique as well as meeting their “amazing Fans” as they demonstrate their skills and share their history and experience with everyone. It their hope that Road’s guests will be Stitching Like an Egyptian in no time!!!       

Road 2020 Class Spotlight: Upcycle Sewing

October 2nd, 2019

Not all classes at Road to California are quilting classes. We pride ourselves in offering a variety of classes related to trending fabric art design. That is why we have invited innovative upcycle sewing guru, Michelle Paganini, to teach her craft in two classes and one lecture during Road 2020.

Michelle Paganini Classes

1013G – Create The Perfect Recycled T-Shirt on Monday, January 20th

upcycle sewing

6065C – Cityscape Jeans on Saturday night, January 25th

upcycle sewing

8601C – Refashion, Upcycle, Re-Use: 3D Sewing Lecture on Saturday morning, January 25th

What is Upcycle Sewing?

Upcycle sewing uses sewing skills to turn something old into something new. For the past four years, Michelle Paganini has been teaching classes on how to take old, used articles of clothing and refashion and rework them to create new and usable fashion.

How did Michelle get interested in this fast-growing industry? “I heard that fashion is the 2nd largest polluting industry and was shocked.  I decided to forgo purchasing new fashion and buy only second hand or make it.” When she began modifying garments, “people loved them!  That led to developing new designs and a realization that others would like to make these designs.”

upcycle sewing

Upcycle Sewing Guru

Michelle finds inspiration for her upcycle sewing designs with Baby Boomers and curvy ladies. She believes that women can look great at any age and shape, but it can be hard for them to find flattering clothing. Paganoonoo designs are flattering for all figure types. It is easy to get a good fit by starting with a base garment that fits.

It’s no surprise that besides upcycle sewing, Michelle likes to go “thrifting.” She serves on the board of an independent thrift store. In her home office, she has a huge stash of secondhand garments, 3 dress forms, 3 machines, a big button selection, notions galore, and more.

What is the most unusual item Michelle has upcycled? “A dress (the Michelle) with inside-out sleeves for pockets.  The pockets can be super long – to your knees!”

The biggest challenge Michelle finds in the upcycle sewing industry is getting experienced sewists to realize that upcycle sewing is actually a different way of sewing — in 3D.  Providing an awareness and educating on how the process works, showing that it is easier than or equal to traditional garment sewing, is the basis of Michelle’s teaching.  Michelle says what she enjoys most about teaching is “seeing people gain skills they can use again and again. Seeing their faces light up in satisfaction at what they have created.” She hopes that students in her upcycle sewing classes get a “vision for how existing clothes are a terrific resource for sewists and easy to transform into flattering, beautiful clothing that is eco-friendly.”

Michelle Paganini and Paganoonoo

Road to California 2020 will be Michelle’s first time at the show. She will be traveling from San Jose, California to not only teach her classes but to jury for the show as well. Michelle commented that she is “thrilled” to be invited to Road 2020 because she has heard “wonderful things” about Road to California.

To learn more about Michelle Paganini and her business, Paganoonoo, please visit her website.

Winning Quilt: Best Domestic Machine Quilting

September 28th, 2019

Best Domestic Machine Quilting

Andrea Brokenshire won $2,500 from Sponsor, Baby Lock, for Dance of the Twirly Girls  

The 2019 Road to California winner for Best Domestic Machine Quilting was a quilt made and dedicated to Andrea Brokenshire’s two aunts,  Aunt Esther and Aunt Helen.  Andrea shared that both women “left there earthly bounds within a month of each other” a year ago in winter. Andrea said that she “needed to put my sadness somewhere so, I pulled out the fuchsia top that I had painted that previous summer and turned my sadness into joy.  These fuchsia blossoms were at least 4-5″ long and danced in the wind.  While stitching, I thought of my aunties twirling around in a joyous dance. They are the Twirly Girls.”

It took Andrea about one month to paint the quilt and four months to do the domestic machine quilting. Andrea always stitches her quilts using a stationary quilting machine. The hardest part for this accomplished and award winning quilter in making Dance of the Twirly Girls  was to reduce the effect of the weight of the quilt so that the quilt moved smoothly under the needle while stitching, especially in the center of the quilt.

When she received the email from Road telling her she had won Best Domestic Machine Quilting, Andrea said, “I was gobsmacked! Very, very happy. Especially because I know that the talent presented was phenomenal.”

Best Domestic Machine Quilting

Andrea has been sewing since she was a child and had created several other needle crafts projects over the years. Her quilting journey began when she moved to Texas and joined a stitching group to meet people with similar interests. One of the women in the group was a quilter and she convinced everyone to make a round robin style picnic quilt. After that project, Andrea wanted to make an applique quilt. She taught herself the technique from an applique book. When that quilt was finished, Andrea felt she had officially “caught the quilting bug” and has been creating in fabric ever since.

Winning Best Domestic Machine Quilting was not Andrea’s first quilting award from Road to California. In 2017, she won Best Use of Color for Blue Anemone.

What are Andrea’s future quilting plans? “I like to challenge myself with each quilt I create, and I plan to continue that practice. I also look forward to sharing my art as a quilt educator. I also have plans to exhibit my work museum exhibitions and various quilt shows.”

Congratulations Andrea for winning Best Domestic Machine Quilting at Road to California 2019. To learn more about Andrea and her work, follow her on her Facebook Account, AMB Fiber Art & Design.  

More Ways To See Eleanor Burns at Road 2020

September 24th, 2019

Eleanor Burns is a quilting legend with a huge fan base.

Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, Road to California Quilt Show

An innovative sewer since she was a young girl, Eleanor self-published her first “Quilt in a Day” book in 1978, igniting a quilting revolution. She introduced an incredibly rapid stitching system, applying the method of assembly line sewing to piecework. Her concise, step-by-step directions were easy to grasp, allowing anyone to be successful at making a quilt. Eleanor Burns is credited for giving quilt makers techniques that compacted months into merely a day, a quilt in a day.

Through her Quilt in a Day enterprise, Eleanor has become a prolific author (she has written over 80 books), a revered teacher trainer, popular television personality, and celebrated industry role model. In 1990, Eleanor pioneered the way people view quilt making with television. Her Quilt in a Day TV series began airing on PBS and is still broadcasting nationwide and abroad, even teaching in Japan. Adding to all of that, she has developed her own “Signature” fabric lines, several special edition sewing machines, and has received numerous awards and recognition for her lifetime of achievements. 

In 2019, Eleanor celebrated her 40th year in quilting at Road to California 2019 by headlining two stage shows, Forty Fabulous Years With Eleanor, and attending a special luncheon with Marianne Frasca-Troccoli who won the Grand Prize of our Road 2019 Contest.

Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, Road to California Quilt Show

At Road to California 2020-25th Anniversary Show, there will be more opportunities for Roadies to see Eleanor up close:

Road to California Bus Tours

Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, Road to California Quilt Show

The Traveling Quilters and Road to California are teaming up to offer two pre-show bus tours that will be going to the San Diego area. The first stop is Eleanor Burn’s Quilt in a Day campus in San Marcos. Guests will have time to shop before and after a taping of Eleanor’s show where they will be in the audience. Eleanor will be joining the tours for lunch catered by Panera. Guests will also get a behind-the-scenes tour at Quilters Paradise where Quilt in a Day’s pre-fused, laser cut kits are produced.

Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, Road to California Quilt Show

Also included in the bus tour is a stop in Temecula to visit one of Road to California’s Sponsors, Primitive Gatherings. Their shop features wool kits along with wool, primitive, reproduction, and a wide selection of bright, contemporary-to-modern fabrics.

Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, Road to California Quilt Show

New Added Classes Taught By Eleanor 

Eleanor will be teaching two classes at Road to California 2020 on Thursday and Friday night. Blended Braid is a three-hour class for beginning to intermediate levels utilizing cutting skills for creating with 2-1/2” strips.

Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, Road to California Quilt Show

Registration is now open for the Thursday Class, 4071C, and Friday Class, 5070C, on our registration site.

Road to California’s 25th Anniversary Show just keeps on getting better and better. See you there!!!

Meet Road 2020 Teacher Pat Delaney

September 20th, 2019

Quilting opened an entire new world for Pat Delaney. She has been fortunate to create, teach, travel, and be inspired by fabric and thread ever since she started quilting about 20 years ago.

Pat Delaney Road to California 2020

Beginning with doll clothes, Pat had made clothing ever since she was five years old. As a fashion design graduate of Massachusetts College of Art, Pat had plenty of sewing experience but somehow “missed the whole quilting world.” She began teaching classes in her home to friends within a year and a half after learning to quilt and then starting teaching at major shows shortly after that.

Colorful Quilts that are Quilted on Domestic Machines

Color is a main focus for Pat and most often a color plan is her quilt’s beginning. She is known for very bright, vibrant, color rich quilts. All of her quilts have been pieced and quilted on her home machine. Recently she purchased a sit-down long arm and it has been put to good use, but she still loves quilting on her regular machine. Pat says, “It thrills me to teach on a domestic machine and it is just wonderful to see a beginner light up when she realizes it’s possible to quilt the quilt herself! My classes are all about taking stress out of the process and enjoying the time spent creating a one-of-a-kind item for someone special.”

Pat’s Home Studio

Pat’s Studio is in the basement of her home in Massachusetts. There is only one tiny window, so she must pay special attention to providing lots of balanced lighting from color corrected bulbs that are perfect for matching fabrics, etc. She also has an adjacent room that she calls the “little kitchen.” It has cabinets, a sink, and a microwave for quick snacks during some “much-needed breaks and for projects that need water.”

Pat Delaney Road to California 2020

Her favorite parts of her studio are her collections. She has toy sewing machines, miniature working machines, and family tomato pin cushions. Even though she is not a hand sewer, she still enjoys collecting sewing tools such as thimbles, sweet grass items, and sewing kits. Having her “stash” out, color-coded, and visible is also enjoyable and inspiring for Pat.

Pat Delaney Road to California 2020

Quilting Inspiration

Where else does Pat get inspiration for her quilt designs? “Once I began quilting, I just wanted to devour all aspects of the process. Every magazine and book I came across was studied and opened a new world for me. Unlike many quilters, I had no family history to draw upon and gained most of my instruction and understanding from books. I was inspired by so many women and their quilts. Once the idea of attending quilt shows came onto my radar, I tried to take a class with each and every quilt celebrity I could find. Harriet Hargrave, Sharon Schamber, Dianne Gaudynski, Nancy Crow, and Sue Nickels were just a few of my heroes. Each of them had something new to teach me and for me to learn. I still love quilt classes.”

Pat at Road to California 2020

Road 2020 will be the first time Pat has attended Road to California. While she has never personally attended the show, a few of her quilts have!! They were juried into the show in the past and she has won some ribbons.  

She is “really excited to travel across the country and connect with a whole new group of quilters in California.” Pat will be teaching 4 classes at Road to California 2020-25th Anniversary Show:

4010C – Quilt The Mini on Thursday

Pat Delaney Road to California 2020

5023C – Fills, Fancies, And Feathers on Friday

Pat Delaney Road to California 2020

6009C – Ready, Set, Sew! On Saturday. In this class, Pat will share her knowledge and techniques of award-winning quilting

Pat Delaney Road to California 2020

And  7009C – Building A Visual Vocabulary which focuses on the design process of quilt making

Pat Delaney Road to California 2020

All of Pat’s classes will have Bernina Q20 and Bernina 700 sewing machines. Students will split their time on both machines.

To learn more about Pat Delaney, please visit her website, Crabtree Lane Studio.

A Winning Group Quilt

September 17th, 2019
winning best group quilt Road to California quilt show

The winning group quilt, Star Shower, was made by members of the Piecepatchers Bee and was quilted by Suzanne Irving. They received $1,000 from Sponsor, Yazzii International Pty Ltd.

Sometimes it is hard enough to individually work on a quilt let alone work on a design with lots of other quilters. In the case of Road to California 2019’s Best Group Quilt, Star Shower, it involved 16 quilters to make this winning group quilt!!

winning best group quilt Road to California quilt show

The Piecepatchers Bee has been in existence for about 25 years. The pattern for Star Shower was designed by Bee member, Evelyn George, as a fundraiser for Quilt For a Cause, Inc., a Tucson-based non-profit that sells and auctions donated quilts and patterns to help fight breast and gynecologic cancer.  It took the group nearly a year to complete this winning group quilt.

The Piecepatchers Bee has made several group quilts in the past. When they start out to make a group quilt, they make kits, and each member makes several of the blocks.  A few members will work together to assemble the top, and another member will do the binding and sleeve.  Working with the red fabrics was tricky. The group learned that even after prewashing all the reds 4 or 5 times, there was still one fabric that bled, and had to be replaced.

Although the group is made up of accomplished quilters, for the first time, they asked a prize-winning quilter, Suzanne Irving, to quilt their project because they felt “the quilting needed to be very special.”  And special it was as the quilt became a winning group quilt!!

Suzanne Irving and Evelyn George

In addition to being a quilter, Suzanne also serves on the Board for Quilt For a Cause, Inc.. She had previously offered to quilt any pattern samples, raffle quilts or vintage quilt tops that people wanted to donate.  When the quilt top for Star Shower was handed over to her to be quilted, she really wondered what “she had gotten herself into this time!!!” Suzanne shared, “I’m a very traditional quilter and have never done any type of quilting with all that negative space.  Since the 7 largest stars represent the Big Dipper, I knew there had to be a moon, sun, and shooting stars…. but there was still a whole lot of space to fill in!!  I didn’t panic, I just went right to Google for inspiration and made up a bunch of imaginary “space junk.”

The prize money for the winning group quilt, Star Showers, was donated to Quilt For a Cause, to help women facing cancer.  Nearly everyone in the group has lost a friend or family member to breast or gynecological cancer.  They felt inspired to donate some of their best work to this group because it is run by non-paid volunteers, and almost all the funds raised go directly to support their mission.

The next projects for the Piecepatchers Bee are a collectibles quilt, a kimono quilt and a flip flop quilt.  They are using a variety of pattern sources, and all of the quilts will first be entered in the Tucson Quilt Fiesta and then will be donated to Quilt For a Cause for their next auction.  The group will also be making quilts for other charities supported by the Tucson Quilters Guild, such as Habitat for Humanity.

As for Suzanne, she recently made her first “art quilt” and quilted a “modern quilt” for the Tucson Show last February.  Suzanne said, “This is about as far away from the traditional quilts that I love dearly. They will either be hilariously bad, or amazingly good!  My mantra last year was “low-key” and that seemed to work really great for me.  I’ve been struggling with the one for this year but it just came to me “Go With the Flow”….and keep laughing the entire way!”