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Welcome to the Road to California Blog

The World of Precut Fabric

August 11th, 2020

When you don’t want to cut out fabric or when you want to play around with all the variations of a particular fabric, then precut fabric is what you need.

What is Precut Fabric?

Precut fabric is a bundle of fabric cut to a specific size shape. It is often sold as part of a collection so that all the designs work well. Precut fabric includes fat quarters, jelly roll strips, and squares in either 5” charm packs or 10” layer cakes.

Charm Packs are the most popular because they adapt well to quilt making. They are perfect for one- and four-patch blocks, half-square triangles, and lots of other smaller pieced designs.

Jelly Roll Strips are 2-1/2 inches wide and 42 inches long. They are very versatile as they can be used for quilts that specifically calls for strips, as part of strip-pieced blocks (like a rail fence or nine patch) or for sashing and bindings.

Measuring 18” x 22”, fat quarters are generally the most expensive of the precut fabrics, but they also yield the most pieces of fabric when they are cut. It’s important to iron them before cutting to get all the folds out.

Benefits of Using Precut Fabric

When Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. presented her trunk show at Road to California 2018, she shared that she was a huge fan of precut fabric for the following reasons:

They Save Time – Time in cutting out fabric and time in sewing. “It only takes 1-1/2 hours to make a quilt from a layer cake pack,” remarked Jenny.

They Make Matching Fabrics Simple – Jenny told the crowd that she doesn’t “do colors.” She continued, “Being good with fabric is a gift and a talent.” Jenny noted that not many people – including herself – have that talent. She would much rather trust the designers who put the precuts together then her own fabric matching ability.

They Cut Down On The Overwhelm Factor – It’s a lot easier to work with 10 fabric precuts that have been coordinated in to one collection than try to match on your own fabric from 40 different bolts of similar yardage.

Did You Buy Enough?

A problem with using precut fabric is that they are only cut and packaged once. Which means, if you didn’t purchase enough the first time, there probably won’t be any available if you need to go back for more. That’s why it is important to purchase the right amount for the size quilt you are making.

At Road 2018, Jenny introduced the crowd to a handy spiral bound pamphlet that Missouri Start Quilt Co. has published, the Quilter’s Precut Companion. It has everything you would want to know about making quilts using precuts including a chart that explains how many precuts are needed for popular size quilts.

Have you tried using precut fabric in a quilt?

The Quilters Version of Social Distancing

August 7th, 2020

Beginning in March 2020, quilters (and everyone else in the United States) were asked to social distance to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. What exactly does social distancing look like for quilters?  

Social distancing


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posting on July 22, 2020, “Social distancing is the practice of increasing the space between individuals and decreasing the frequency of contact to reduce the risk of spreading a disease (ideally to maintain at least 6 feet between all individuals, even those who are asymptomatic). Social distancing strategies can be applied on an individual level (e.g., avoiding physical contact), a group level (e.g., canceling group activities where individuals will be in close contact), and an operational level (e.g., rearranging chairs in the dining hall to increase distance between them).”

Quilters have been extremely creative in determining how far social distancing is when it comes to sewing:

Is could be two yardsticks

Social Distancing
The Voice of Road, Randy Graves,social distancing by yardstick

Or 11 Olfa rotary cutters lying end to end…

It could also be 7 average sized quilt books laid end to end…

Did you know that a bobbin is ¾” or that a number 11 appliqué needle is 1 1/8’ long? How many bobbins or needles would it take to reach the recommended 6 feet of social distancing?

social distancing

Quilting by Social Distancing

Many of our Road to California fans have reported that their quilt guilds have continued their meeting schedules by holding them on Zoom. Is yours one of them?

In March, The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts launched a collaborative art project meant to encourage artists staying at home to keep creating. This open call invited participants from throughout the world to submit a 12 x 12-inch quilt block documenting their individual and collective experiences of quarantine and keeping their social distancing. By mid-June, the museum had received over 300 very diverse blocks from artists throughout Wisconsin, as well as many other states, and as far away as the Netherlands and Israel. The museum began stitching them together and will be presenting a special exhibit, The Quarantine Quilt, beginning August 7th and running through November 15th.

The Quilter’s Guild of North Dakota was “grieving over the loss of our 2020 quilt show,” so they offered to their members to do their own version of the Wisconsin Museum quilt challenge, using the same rules. They hope to have their quilts ready to display for 2021 Metro Quilt Expo.

Quilt block by Colleen Anderson

Stevii Graves, Road’s director of classes, recently had a birthday. To celebrate, she came up with the perfect social distancing idea: “quilting outside on a beautiful day with beautiful friends.” Stevii reported that several “neighbors stopped by to say hello and to see why three women were sitting and laughing in the driveway! Life is good…. especially since cake was also involved!”

social distancing

Quilters have certainly proved that even during a pandemic, they can still be resourceful and creative while social distancing.

Best Group Quilt: Sew Eclectic

August 4th, 2020

The winning Best Group Quilt, Broken Shell Beach, won $1,000 from sponsor, Yazzii International Pty Ltd.

Sew Eclectic

Working on a quilt by yourself can be challenging; working on a quilt with ten friends can be even more taxing—but also a lot of fun!!!

Who is Sew Eclectic?

Sew Eclectic is an “Art Quilt Group.” They have been members of various local guilds and often congregated together outside of their respective guild meetings.  Several years ago, they saw a need for a smaller group focused on art quilting and critique.  At the time, “we were a rare breed,” but today, “there are many more art quilters creating beautiful art in both Tulare and Kings Counties.”

All of the members of Sew Eclectic have been regular participants in their regional, Best of the Valley Quilt Show, for several years.  Some of the group have entered quilts in national shows. But for many of Sew Eclectic, Road to California 2020 was the first time to have their work hang  at the show.

Sew Eclectic

Members of Sew Eclectic that worked on Broken Shell Beach included Alice Chitwood, Barbara Daniel, Kristin Eilers, DeAnn Farris, Suzanne Kistler, Charlotte Rogers, Barbara Sawyer, Beth Shaffer, Sharon Scholta, Debbie Van Fossen. While most of the group made one block for the finished project, Suzanne and Debbie each contributed two squares.

Inspiration for Broken Shell Beach

Each year, Sew Eclectic, issues a challenge to its members. For 2018, they chose a picture Suzanne had taken in Oceanside, California a few years before. Suzanne is a habitual shell seeker and on this particular trip, she took many walks along the beach.  Unfortunately, the only shells she found were all broken shells.  Despite their brokenness, the colors and textures were still enough to cause Suzanne to collect a bowl full.  She took a photo of the shells, enlarged it, and thought that the image would make a great quilt.

Sew Eclectic

The instructions were wide open: “using your favorite techniques, recreate your portion of the image in fabric.” Each member of the group had one year to complete their block. Many of the quilters waited until the last month or two to finish their contribution because they were “intimidated” by the project. It ended up being “the most difficult piece they have ever tackled.”

Sew Eclectic

It was a challenge to assemble the quilt as it was discovered that the finished blocks were different sizes.  The original idea had been to just whipstitch them together, but everyone thought “that would have just looked tacky.” A friend suggested using the fishing net, “which was genius.”  The group recalled that it was “not easy to get the quilts to hang well in position – a fish net has a mind of its own! – but eventually everything hung to our satisfaction.”  Everyone was surprised by how successful the project ended up being.

Road 2020

Suzanne was the first to learn their quilt had won Best Group Quilt. A friend was at Preview Night and sent a text to Suzanne accompanied by a photo of the quilt “wearing its beautiful rosette.”  The news and photo were quickly shared with the other members of the group.

Their prize money was used to cover the cost of entry fees and shipping to quilt shows around the country. Sew Eclectic wanted to make sure and thank the sponsor of their winning design, Yazzii International Pty Ltd, for the generous award, and the judges, for selecting our quilt as its recipient.

Road 2021 Class Registration

July 30th, 2020

We were thrilled to announce our Road to California 2021 quilt classes last month. The teachers are top notch and the classes offer a wide variety of techniques for all skill levels. The excitement continues as class registration to the general public begins Saturday, August 1st at 8:00 AM.

Tips for Success

Preparation is the key for having the best chance in registering for the classes of your choice. We have created these 8 Tips for Success for your class registration:  

Note: Tips 1 -4 should be done before you begin class registration

Tip #1: Log into your account on the Road to California website to verify your password and how-to login.

Class Registration

Tip #2:  Review the updated Cancellation Policy

Tip #3: Prioritize your list of classes from most important to the least important.

Tip #4: Review Road’s Registration Guide to be up to date with the latest process.

When you register:

Tip #5: Register for a popular class or teacher first.

Class Registration

Tip #6: If a class is full, get on the waitlist. All classes have been capped due to social distancing guidelines. As guidelines change, we hope to open more seats.

Tip #7: If you experience any problems with your class registration, please email us right away at info@roadtocalifornia.com. Our team will be working through the emails as quickly as possible. We suggest waiting 24 hours before reaching back out to us if we did not respond.

Tip #8: After registering, always check your email to make sure you received your confirmation and double check your class schedule.

Class Registration

COVID-19 Considerations

We are optimistic for an in-person event for 2021. However, we also understand that COVID-19 is unpredictable and can cause an abrupt cancellation/postponement. For these reasons, we have developed polices regarding a show cancellation or a show postponement.

If Road 2021 is cancelled in its entirety and nothing from Road 2021 will be offered at a future event, a full and complete refund of all fees paid will be given.

If Road 2021 can be postponed to 2022, and are able to offer the same classes, class registrations will be automatically transferred to the future dates. If a class is not available for future dates, refunds will be given for class payments. Guests may cancel their Road 2021 class registration outright within 7 days after an announced postponement. If there are no changes to a guest’s schedule, Road will offer a 75% refund and a 25% credit for the following year. In this situation, since we are offering guests the same experience, the registration fee is non-refundable. Complete details on our COVID-19 policy can be found on our website.

While Road to California 2021 will look different from our past shows, the quality and variety will never change for the Best in the West quilt show.

Road 2021 Vendor and Teacher: French European

July 28th, 2020

Did you visit French European at Road 2020? If so, you were shopping with a world renown company.

French European

What is French European?

French European started 45 years ago. It began as brothers doing scissor sharpening all over the United States and today it is a 3rd generation establishment that has added selling fashion and sewing supplies.

Three years ago, French European became known as the premier manufacturer of dress forms. They specialize in helping people with garment fitting issues all over the United States. The reason why the company is called, French European, is because the dress forms are made in Paris.

Owner, Joe Vecchiarelli

A Certified Fit Specialist, Joe Vecchiarelli has made a career in the garment industry, making dress forms so that when garments are constructed, they properly fit their owner. He is best known for his work with fitting television celebrities. He has helped create the body forms for outfits made for stars of the Seinfeld Show, Drew of Property Brothers and Dolly Parton (Joe said she was challenging. He felt a huge sense of accomplishment because he created a form that matched her body perfectly).

French European

Perhaps Joe’s most popular work has been with the hit television show, Dancing with the Stars. Before a season starts, Joe and his team create body forms for all the dancers. Then, the dancers and celebrities begin the arduous training for the show, dancing every day for weeks. As the season progresses, Joe is able to adjust the dress forms up or down to make the various costume changes work throughout the season. Some of his most memorable – and challenging — celebrity clients on Dancing with the Stars included Kristi Alley, Paula Deen, Candace Cameron Barre, Sean Spicer, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.    

Creating a Body Form

It took years of trial and error and modern technology to develop French European’s patented body forms. Each body form is unique to the individual. Their construction is based around weight: the weight of the individual at the time of the pre-cast and the projected weight if the person loses 10-20 pounds. A 3-D body scan is taken of the person with all of their clothes on and is kept in a data base. The body form can then be adjusted as the weight goes down.

Road 2021

Once again, French European will be a vendor at Road. And for the first time, Joe Vecchiarelli will be sharing his vast knowledge and expertise by teaching two, three hour evening lecture classes:

4066C – Commercial Notions For The Home Studio

French European

5068C – Fitting A Dress Form To You

French European

Road is excited to share an industry icon such as French European at the 2021 Show. To learn more about French European, please visit their website.

Best Use of Color Road 2020

July 24th, 2020

$1,000 was awarded to Terry Sargent Peart from Road Sponsor, Carriage Country Quilts, for her Best Use of Color winning quilt, Carolinas.

Best Use of Color Road to California 2020

Unconventional Quilter

Terry Sargent Peart “very rarely” follows a pattern. When she sees a quilt pattern that intrigues her, she will make it into her own, changing a thing here and a thing there, making it the size and colors she wants. This is as true today as it was in 1978 when she made her first quilt. At that time, Terry had seen a quilt kit advertised in a magazine and thought, “I don’t need to buy that, I can make it myself.  This was before rotary cutters and rulers.  I used cardboard templates and traced around them for every piece.  I thought I was so clever.  There weren’t many books available, so I would have to figure out the pattern and measurements myself.  Luckily, I like math and drafting.” Those developed talents proved themselves when she won Best Use of Color at Road 2020. 

Best Use of Color Road to California 2020

Quilt Show Regular Entrant

Terry has entered a quilt into the Washington State Fair every year for over the past 30 years. At first, she was “really thrilled just to get a Participant ribbon and free admission to the Fair.”  Over the years she has won a few ribbons at the Fair and eventually some bigger shows too. Road to California’s 2020 winner for Best Use of Color, Carolinas, was juried into Quiltcon 2019 in Nashville and in Quiltcon’s 2020 show, winning third place in Piecing.

Making Best Use of Color, Carolinas

Carolinas, was inspired by a trip Terry and her husband made through the Carolinas, spending a few days with relatives in Charleston.  They returned home on October 5th.  Terry thought about making this quilt to commemorate their trip.  In order to submit the quilt to Quiltcon, she had to have it done and photographed before November 30th.  She finished it with about a week to spare!!!

Photos and sketches of things Terry and her husband had seen and done on their trip served as the foundation for the quilt.  Terry transferred her sketches into simple drawings using Electric Quilt.  She recalled that by abstracting them, some of the sketches were barely recognizable.”  She printed each block out and then enlarged them to 15 inches. Next, Terry transferred the blocks onto freezer paper and used those as templates for each piece. 

Best Use of Color Road to California 2020

The blocks represent some of the things they saw, including capital buildings, a horse carriage ride, historical buildings and architecture and landscapes.  The color palette was unlike anything Terry had done previously.  The colors were representative of the bright sun, the colorful flowers and trees, and the sea of the Carolinas.  After Terry had made a few blocks, she realized the quilt was becoming too colorful so she went back and swapped out some of the colors for neutral greys which, she learned, “helped the colors to be more vibrant.” Terry shared that she didn’t have a set plan when she began this project; she just picked the colors as she made each block with concern about how it would look next to its neighbor color. 

Winning Quilter at Road 2020

Terry wasn’t able to attend Road 2020. She asked one of her friends, who was working in a vendor’s booth, to take a picture of Carolinas hanging in the show. The first picture Terry’s friend sent back was just of a description of Carolinas. Terry reached out again for another picture and the second time, her friend sentthe “real picture of my quilt and the fact that it had won ‘Best Use of Color.’  I was totally surprised to win such a great award.  I was just thrilled that the quilt had been juried into the show!”

Most of Terry’s winnings for her Best Use of Color quilt was used to attend Quiltcon in Austin, Texas.  Terry said that trip, “was a lot of fun.  I went a little crazy in the vendor mall.  We had to figure out a way to get all that extra stuff home in our luggage without going overweight!”

Moving On 

Terry related that she is currently working on a series of quilts based on the number Pi (3.14159…). She has made several iterations and has a few more in mind. After she exhausts her ideas on Pi, Terry is “Thinking about exploring artist, Bridget Riley’s work.  A lot of Riley’s paintings almost beg to be interpreted into a quilts.”

Congratulations, Terry Sargent Peart, for winning Best Use of Color at Road to California 2020. To read more about Terry, please visit her blog.

Why Did You Come to Road 2020?

July 17th, 2020

Attending as a group, where everyone had the same interest, was a great way to share the magic of Road to California 2020.

Seeing Famous Quilters

Because of Road’s reputation as the “Best in the West” quilt show, attendees have access to learn and receive inspiration from many famous quilters and quilt teachers.  

attending as a group

These nine women from Arizona were interested in attending as a group to Road 2020 because they all wanted to see Eleanor Burns. They signed up to take a Road bus trip so they could travel together to Quilt for a Day. The leader of their group, Sandy, organized this group of experienced Road attendees as well as a few who had never been to the show before. Those ladies had Road to California as one of their bucket list items and coming as a group made that dream a reality. Another friend in the group owns a quilt shop and she wanted everyone to see the quilt show from the perspective of a shop owner.  They shared the cost of lodging and transportation, so they had more money to get lots of “goodies.” Eleanor will once again be teaching classes at Road 2021.

attending as a group

Seeing Jenny Doan in person at her Jenny on the Road trunk show, was the driving force for these six women to be attending as a group. They ended up sitting on the front row of Jenny’s Friday night presentation at Road 2020. They belong to Sew Blessed Quilters, formed in 2004 because they knew people need prayer and quilts to lift their spirits when going through problems. After they present their quilts, the group loves hearing back from the recipients who share what the quilt means to them.

Guild Togetherness

Coming to Road to California as a group from a quilt guild is a natural extension of the hobby that brought everyone together in the first place.  

attending as a group

Meet a few of the members of The Quilt Squad, who were attending as a group from their 55+ community in Indio, California. “These are the best quilters you’ve ever imagined,” commented one of quilters in the group. This group makes coming to Road an annual way to be together. The first couple of years they came, they rented a limousine to bring them to Ontario, a round trip of 185 miles!!! They always enjoyed champagne and hors d’oeuvres on the way home from a day of inspiration and fun.

Diversity and Expertise

Road to California has something to offer groups of all ages and quilting levels.

attending as a group

Attending as a group from San Diego, NP Quilting first started meeting together to make quilts for their children as they left for college. From there, they began making prayer quilts for people in need as well as for people participating in various celebrations of life. One member in their group was a quilt teacher from Taiwan who was visiting the United States for 2 months and had wanted to go to Road. This group found coming together to the show, they were all able to experience lots of diversity and expertise at many skill levels. “It’s like a candy store.”

Road 2021 Group Considerations

Whatever the reason you might share with your favorite group, coming to Road to California 2021, will still be a great way to enjoy being together in sharing classes, connecting with famous quilters, and learning from the diverse skills and expertise that the show has to offer — all while observing social distancing and the latest health and safety recommendations from our State and Local governments.

Please Note: Normally at this time of year, we would also be advertising and promoting our groups to arrive together on a bus to help us preserve the parking spots at the Ontario Convention Center. With the COVID-19 pandemic we would advise all our attendees to take adequate caution when traveling to Road to California.

2021 Class Registration Guide

July 14th, 2020

We are excited to showcase our new integration for Registration. No longer will you have to travel to a separate website from the class list. While it is a similar process there are key changes.

In the photo above you can see our main website at www.road2ca.com which now has a login button and a My Account tab.

Here is the log in page where you can log into your account. You can also reset your password if you forgot it.

This is the reset password page where you can reset your password. 

If you have never taken classes before you can create a new account. Please note: accounts must have a unique email address. If your friend wants to take a class with you, they need their own account to register for a class.

If you are trying to register on a mobile device or your computer screen is smaller you will not have the login button or the tabs at the top, but instead three bars in the right hand corner.

You will want to click on the three bars and you will receive a drop down menu where you can login.

Now that you are logged into your account you will use the My Account Tab to enter the Registration process by clicking Register.

The Registration system is similar to how the old system is. You will click Add to Cart to add a class to your schedule and use the drop-down menu to travel between days. You can click the title of a class to go straight to that classes specific information page. Also, you will find a separate page for Volunteer Opportunities.

All of your classes and volunteer shifts will end up in your schedule as shown above with your Events/Classes to be Purchased below. The Registration Fee is only charged once and is added to your cart automatically.

The last section is the payment section which will then lead into the Registration Confirmation section.

When you click the Register Button please only click it once and do not click the reload or back button on your browser, wait for the system to take you to the next step. By clicking it multiple times you are causing the system to record multiple error payments. 

On the first day of general registration at 8 am we always suggest having the list of classes you want to take written down and that you prioritize registering for the class you want the most. Sadly, some classes can sell out quickly, but you can always add to the waitlist in case of an opening later.

If you have any questions about classes or the cancellation policy you can find them at https://www.road2ca.com/class-info.php#Cancellation

Meet the Tehachapi Mountain Quilters

July 10th, 2020

Where is Tehachapi?

The city of Tehachapi, California is located off Highway 58, north of Mojave and south of Bakersfield. The Tehachapi Mountain Quilters has 100 members that meet the first Monday of every month.

Tehachapi Mountain Quilters

The Guild’s Opportunity Quilt was on display at Road 2020. The quilt was supposed to be featured at the Guild’s Annual Show on August 15-16, 2020, but the show has been canceled.

Famous Tehachapi Mountain Quilters

One of Tehachapi Mountain Quilters famous members is Molly Hamilton – McNally. Molly credits the guild for not only teaching her how to quilt but helping her learn English.

Molly arrived in the United States in 1996 from China. When Molly’s husband tragically died in 2020, Molly was left with no income, no children, no relatives, and no way to effectively communicate in English. She had recently visited the Tehachapi Mountain Quilters’ quilt show and thought that quilting would be an interesting hobby to look in to. Molly had no background in quilting; there are no quilts in China. But she did love art and could see where her interest in art could benefit her in this hobby. She decided to join the Tehachapi Mountain Quilters to find out what quilting was all about.  She remembers that the first meeting she went to was difficult because she didn’t know English. Molly learned how to quilt not by following verbal directions but by carefully watching the demonstrations.  Over and over again, she diligently watched the steps repeated and repeated until she was able to basically self-teach herself.   Over time, the friends she made at the guild not only showed her how to quilt, but also helped her to learn English. Molly credits the guild and its members for saving her life.

Molly is a familiar winner at Road to California. She won Best of Show in 2012, Outstanding Innovative Quilt in 2017, and at road 2020, she won Outstanding Large Quilt.  

Another famous Tehachapi Mountain Quilters member is Gina Siembieda, a Handi Quilter Educator. Gina started sewing when she was 12 years old. In 1985, Gina’s love of quilting started when bought her first, hand-quilted Amish quilt in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Soon after, she joined a quilt guild, learned to quilt herself, and began teaching others. Gina started longarm quilting in 2003. She has made over twenty million stitches!!!  She presently quilts with an HQ Infinity® with Pro-Stitcher®. Gina has also entered quilts in Road to California shows.


The Tehachapi Mountain Quilters have the distinction of being the only quilt guild in California who donates quilts to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Earlier this year, the guild had donated 140 quilts to the hospital. They also donate quilts to the Madera Children’s Hospital.

The guild contributes quilts to local veterans’ groups as well as bereavement quilts to community members—all by word of mouth.

Money received during their annual Christmas party is donated to Links for Life, an organization in Bakersfield, that pays for mammograms for underprivileged women.

To learn more about the Tehachapi Mountain Quilters, please visit their Facebook Page.  

Most Humorous Road 2020

July 7th, 2020

Road 2020 Most Humorous went to Kathryn Bernstein (along with Cindy Brauntmann who did the Embroidery). Kathryn received $1,000 from Sponsor, BlocLoc Rulers – USAUS INC, for  A Tale of The Salem Witches Quilt Guild – Those Pesky Goblins!

Most Humorous

A Sense of Humor leads to winning Most Humorous.

When Kathryn Bernstein’s grandmother passed away, her grandfather sent to Kathryn one of her grandmother’s homemade quilts, a flour sack utilitarian quilt. Kathryn washed it and started using it for her television quilt.  It didn’t take long for her husband to take possession of using the quilt. As Katherine recalled, “Finally, I said, ‘If I make you a quilt will you please stop touching my grandmother’s quilt?’” She went out and bought a book and some fabric and made him the “ugliest first quilt on record.” Over the years, Kathryn has invested in “fifty plastic bins of fabric and four sewing machines” and she feels like she’s “just getting started!”

Most Humorous

Kathryn started entering quilts in competitions after she made her third and fourth quilts. She entered them in the Santa Monica Quilt Show, “which, thank goodness, was not a juried show.”  Kathryn ended up showing her sixth quilt, “Jumping Off the Cliff With Freddie” at Road to California and the Quilters Guild of Dallas.  It won a ribbon in its category in Dallas, which qualified it for submission to Houston.  It was also displayed in Houston in the Texas Guilds exhibit.

Inspiration for Most Humorous Winner

The whimsy of Crabapple Hill designs has always appealed to Kathryn. She had been working on her family tree when she came across the Salem Witches Quilt Guild pattern at the Paducah show.  “Two of my great grandmothers were accused in the Salem witch trials.  While those trials are a horrifying episode in American history, the fact that there are two accused witches in my family explains a lot about the women in my family and the qualities I look for in my friends!  The notion that goblins love attending guild meetings and meddling in the stitching took hold in my imagination, so I sketched drawings of them to hover in the background.  The limerick for the label of the quilt just popped into my head, “There once was a coven of Witches who couldn’t master their stitches.  For a wee taste of gin, the goblins stepped in and stitched in all of their Ditches.”

most humorous

The quilt took several years to make. Each witch figure took a day to color.  Kathryn discovered that microwaving a white crayon to soften it up, permitted her to quickly lay down a thicker, smoother white base, which in turn allowed for better shading and highlighting of the figures.  She quickly realized that she needed help completing the embroidery, so she enlisted her friend, Cindy Brautmann. 

It took months to settle on the setting blocks and fabrics when Katherine decided, “What could be more appropriate than Spider’s Web?” Katherine approached several long arm quilters about how to incorporate the goblin drawings. Susan Corbett of Fort Worth, Texas, “is such a talented quilter and she was so excited about executing the drawings that she was the natural choice.”

What Was Learned Along the Way?

Kathryn said that while making this Most Humorous quilt, she “learned to never give up on completing a complicated quilt.  Rely on your friends and listen to their encouragement and advice, trust your talent and instincts to develop new techniques and be willing to permit other talented people to shine as well.  Last but not least, when its 2:00 AM, it is time to stop adding hot fix crystals and always, always let the goblins help!”

most humorous

A Winning Design

Kathryn was sick with a cold and couldn’t make it out to Road 2020. Susan Corbett called Kathryn to tell her that a friend had posted A Tale of The Salem Witches Quilt Guild – Those Pesky Goblins! on Instagram as a winner.  A  member of Katherine’s beloved quilt group, the YaYas, also called to tell Kathryn that one of her friends had spotted the ribbon. 

Of winning Most Humorous, Kathryn commented, “Winning a ribbon is always such a joy because it validates the time, money and effort spent pursing excellence.  It also allows me to wave the ribbon at my husband to justify my credit card bill!”

Kathryn shared her prize money with both Susan and Cindy “because they worked so hard on the quilt too

What’s Next?

Kathryn hopes to spend 2020 completing the applique baby quilt that she started when her first grandbaby was announced.  “Catalina turned six on February 27, 2020, so maybe it will be finished before she goes to college!”

Congratulations, Kathryn Bernstein, for winning Most Humorous at Road 2020.