Road 2017 Special Exhibit: The Lion King Cherrywood Challenge 2016

At Road to California 2015 – The 20th Anniversary Show, Cherrywood Fabrics presented their popular The WICKED Cherrywood Challenge special exhibit.Wicked logo

Road 2017 will be hosting Cherrywood’s second in their series of quilt challenges, The Lion King Cherrywood Challenge 2016. Explains Karla Overland, owner of Cherrywood Fabrics, “The Lion King was a natural progression after doing “WICKED” for our first challenge. The resources we had for that first challenge led me to the Lion King and it happens to be their 20th Anniversary in 2017. They will be showing off some of the quilts at the Minskoff Theatre in November of 2017.”Cherrywood Lion King

The exhibit is made up of 120 small art quilts that were submitted for The Cherrywood Challenge 2016. When displayed together, they create a dramatic (jaw-dropping) visual experience that covers 80 feet. The cohesive color, size, theme and texture of the Cherrywood fabric makes it easy for the viewer to see the entire exhibit as a whole. The excitement of discovering all the details of each little work of art makes this collection unforgettable.Cherrywood1

All entrants started with the same four hand-dyed Cherrywood fabrics (golds and black) and designed their own original quilts within a 20-inch square. Accent colors had to be Cherrywood as well, but techniques were wide open. Karla said that they “saw many examples of thread painting, coloring with pencils and pens, Zen tangle drawing, intricate piecing, all kinds of appliqué methods, and even tatting. Images of the final squares were uploaded to ArtCall, a website designed for the jury process. A panel of three jurors was enlisted to select the final quilts for the exhibit using a point system. It was an extremely difficult process considering there were over 300 quilts entered from 41 states and 9 countries. After the 120 finalists were sent to Cherrywood, three prize winners were chosen as well as a “Cherrywood Choice” and 20 “Disney’s Choice” quilts – they could not decide on just one!

Compared to the WICKED exhibit, The Lion King Challenge is slightly larger than WICKED which had 114 quilts. Since there were so many more submissions for The Lion King Challenge, Cherrywood was able to get the cream of the crop and select exactly what they wanted for the traveling collection. It was interesting to Cherrywood to see the wide variety of interpretations, skill level and workmanship.

The exhibit made its debut at AQS QuiltWeek Grand Rapids in August 2016. After traveling with AQS in the fall, it will be shown at International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, Texas. The 2017 season kicks off with Road to California. After Road 2017, the exhibit will continue on to 13 other locations, ending up at the Minskoff Theater in New York City.Cherrywood Exhibit.left

Cherrywood has been able to already meet several of the artists who worked on the exhibit. While each quilt has an artist statements that adds to the quilt, Karla remarked, that hearing “them tell their stories in person is the best part of this adventure. We did get submissions from well-known quilt artists, and yet several people said they had never tried a challenge, or had never shown their work in public, and some had just started quilting!” Karla was able to meet the first place winner, Jill Cranford, and her family. Karla said that Jill “was a young woman who had sewn her whole life and was quietly teaching herself quilting on her own. I was so impressed with her workmanship from the design concept which has many layers, to the perfect stitching, both machine and hand. It is good to see up-and-comers in the quilting world.”


First place winner Jill Cranford and her mother.

As with any quilt challenge, the intent of this project was to allow people to push themselves beyond what they are used to; try working with colors and fabrics they normally would not have chosen; and grow creatively. As Karla observed, “It is not easy to put yourself out there.” A photo book of the exhibit has been created to give the artists a chance to have their work published and be part of a timeless collection.

What will be Cherrywood Fabrics next quilt challenge? They will be announcing the new theme at Quilt Festival in Houston. Stay tuned…



Le Projet Fou or “Crazy Project”

What do you do when your museum has a huge blank wall that sticks out like a sore thumb? Well, if you are Bohin France, you cover it with a gigantic handmade quilt of course!!!Giant Quilt from France Patchwork7

Bohin, France’s last needle maker, has been a popular vendor at Road to California the past few years. President Didier Vrac and Marketing Manager, Jerome Doussard, have become familiar faces to Road’s guests who never tire asking these two gentlemen questions about their needles and scissors, just to hear their French accents.

At the Bohin Factory in Normandy, France, they recently opened a beautiful museum. While the museum is “amazing,” the entrance outside was just a “very big white wall,” noted Catherine Bonte, president of the French quilt guild, Association French Patchwork, an organization with over 12,000 members!! Catherine was very close to the museum project for several years and let it be known that she was not very fond of the huge blank entrance. So, Didier told Catherine to do something to improve it.Giant Quilt from France Patchwork6

Catherine invited all the members of France Patchwork to work on a “nice block with curves,” using the colors of their guild’s logo—white, black and beige — and the color red for Bohin. At the guild’s office in Paris, near the Eifeel Tower, more than 3,500 blocks were sent in!! A team from the guild assembled the blocks to cover the wall. In fact, they could have covered 6 walls with all the blocks they received!!Giant Quilt from France Patchwork3

In addition to the quilt blocks, the group also  pieced together a portrait of Benjamin Bohin and put it in the center of the giant quilt. Benjamin is the founder of the Bohin factory and they wanted to honor him that way.

“Le Projet Fou” was turned over to Didier Vrac on May 21, 2016 and work began immediately to get the quilt up on the wall. People have come from all over France to see it.Giant Quilt from France Patchwork

Catherine and her guild know that the giant quilt will not be there on the factory wall forever. But for the time being, all of the visitors to the museum have “completely” fallen in love with it.Giant Quilt from France Patchwork2

Meet Road 2017 Teacher Gudrun Erla

Gudrun Erla will be teaching 4013C Scandinavian Style on Thursday; 5013C Stripology Squared on Friday; 6011C Mastering Quilt as you go on Saturday; and 7009C Strip Your Stash on Sunday.Gudrun Erla

Gudrun Erla  is fond of the cold country. She was born and raised in Iceland and currently lives in Minnesota with her family: Atli (23), Gisli (16), Svana (15) and a puppy Koby. When Gudrun isn’t quilting, she likes to cook, enjoy outdoor activities, run and exercise or just relax with friends.Gudrun Erla3

Gudrun got into quilting by happening to take a class.  She gets inspired for her quilting from just about everywhere. She says she never knows what will spark an idea; she is open to anything.

Her Stripology Ruler is her favorite  quilting tool. It saves her so much time cutting anything and makes everything so accurate and easy.Gudrun Erla

Gudrun has taught quilt classes as far away as her native Iceland and in Alberta, Canada. She likes teaching because she likes to get to know her students and share in their success in class She can adapt quickly to any class situation, One time when she was teaching, Gudrun was doing a lecture on Stripology and had planned to show all the quilts out of her newest Stripology book. The only problem was, she left the bag with all the quilts at home so she had to quick-like reorganize her lecture around the quilts she did have with her.

She is hoping that all her students at Road to California 2017 will have a fun day of sewing with her, meeting new people and learning a few things in the process. Gudrun wants everyone to go home confident in continuing and finishing the projects they started in class.Gudrun Erla4

What is Gudrun’s favorite quilting tip? Relax and enjoy the journey. Practice does make perfect but she adds that you should always have fun while you are practicing, because nothing is ever perfect.

To learn more about Gudrun, please visit her website.



Meet Road 2017 Teacher: Jenifer Dick

Jenifer Dick is a small town girl. She has lived most of her life in Harrisonville, Missouri. Jenifer and her husband, Ray, have three children. Their two sons, Abe and Nate, go to The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas and daughter Eleanor is a senior in high school this year. They also have 6 cats – 2  inside and 4 outside. While quilting is a big part of Jenifer’s life, she and her husband like to cook — a lot!! Jenifer is also a big reader and likes to binge watch TV shows on Netflix.JeniferDick

Jenifer began quilting  on a whim. She was a cross stitcher in college and was checking out a new shop in Kansas City for supplies when she noticed that half the shop was fabric. By this time, she was getting bored with cross stitching because she felt constrained by the lack of freedom in recreating the charts. Jenifer noticed that the quilt girls could pick their own fabric and put it together however they liked. That kind of freedom really intrigued her. There was a sign-up for a beginning quilting class and she signed up on the spot. This was in 1993. The rest, as they say, is history; Jenifer never cross stitched again!jennifer Dick EaglesWingsWatermark

Jenifer says when it comes to quilting, “I am kind of schizophrenic.  I am equal parts bold and graphic, and equally organic!  I have a graphic design background so simple shapes and bright colors have always caught my eye. And the art of the early 20th century has always attracted me. Contrastingly, I live in the country in the woods and love my trees and birds! They often show up in my applique designs.”Jennifer Dick ExplodingWatermarked

When asked what her favorite quilting took was, Jenifer replied, “I keep my tools really simple – machine, scissors, rotary cutter, mat, rulers. I find you can do 99% of what you need to do with those simple tools. I do have one tool I use that isn’t a quilting tool at all that I like! It’s an orange stick, used for manicures. It can be a stiletto, a third hand, it helps cleaning out nooks and crannies in my machine, and it helps in applique. Quite versatile for a small piece of balsa wood!”

The best quilting tip Jenifer has to offer is to spend the money on a really good quality iron. Why? Because “You can’t imagine how big a difference a good iron makes! It glides over the fabric better, helps reduce fatigue, and the heavier weight helps with pressing open seams without making them wobbly.”  Though Jenifer also recommends having “a cheap iron with a non-stick sole plate on hand for gooky jobs – working with fusible, lots of starch, etc.”Jennifer Dick Birds with Watermark

The best part about teaching for Jenifer is meeting the quilters and getting to know them. She says that she has found that her quilting students come to her classes with tons of knowledge and that she always learns something from the students at every workshop she teaches.

Since Jenifer mostly teaches locally in Missouri, she is really looking forward to coming to Road to California and meeting her students. She hopes that they learn something new and have a lot of fun. Jenifer shared that in her classes, they laugh a lot and she gives out fun prizes throughout the day. But most importantly, she strives to teach something new – no matter how small – to even the most experienced quilter.

To learn more about Jenifer, visit her website.


So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt? 2016 Excellence In Hand Quilting

Elegance was made and quilted by Elsie M. Campbell. She received $1,500 from sponsor, World of Quilts Travel.Elegance-Excellance in Hand Quilting

“Quite pleased,” was Elsie’s reaction when she found out she had won the prize for Excellence in Hand Quilting.

Elsie Campbell’s love for quilting is in her genes; from her mother, grandmothers, aunts…… and even back several more generations.

Inspiration for Elegance came when her son took Elsie in September, 2007 to an exhibit of antique quilts from the Henry duPont collection at Winterthur, duPont’s childhood home. The collection had been opened to the public more than 60 years ago as a museum. There were some exquisite boutis (trapunto or stuffed work) quilts that fascinated Elsie. She decided that if women from the 18th and 19th century could do this form of quilting, “I surely could, too.”

Work on Elegance began soon after Elsie returned from the exhibit and continued until September of 2015 – a total of 8 years to complete. During those 8 years, Elsie also made 50+ other quilts AND wrote 2 books ALONG with her traveling schedule, teaching quilt making techniques to others across the nation. Elsie said she never doubted that she would complete Elegance. She would stitch when  she had a few moments here and there, usually in hotel rooms while she was on the road and at other odd times. Says Elsie, “A little bit of time here and there really will allow you to accomplish something significant. Just keep at it. If you enjoy the process (and I do!) it doesn’t matter how long it takes to make something of lasting beauty.”

Close up of Elsie's work

Close up of Elsie’s work

Elsie also makes heirloom machine quilted quilts, quilting them on a domestic sewing machine. While she loves to do all kinds of quilt making techniques, she started off quilting everything by hand and still loves taking the time to hand quilt.

What is Elsie working on next?   Elsie is a new instructor. Her online workshop is based on another award-winning quilt, Aunt MiMi’s Flower Garden quilt. The first version of that quilt won the Judge’s Special Merit at Road to California in 2009, and the second version won Best Traditional Quilt in 2014, and several top awards at the AQS Shows.

Aunt Mimi's Flower Garden II - 2014

Aunt Mimi’s Flower Garden II – 2014

The workshop features 7 online lessons, complete with patterns and professionally produced instructional videos.  Elsie still travels to teach quilting to guilds and at quilt shops and national quilt shows across the USA, delivering programs, and workshops, and generally enjoying herself. She sums it up by saying, “I love it ALL!”

To learn more about Elsie, please visit her website.


Reese Granddaughters Are Making A Difference

Road to California is family owned and operated by the Reese family. Matriarch Carolyn Reese started the conference almost 22 years ago. Her three sons and their families all play an important part in running the show. At one time or another, most of Carolyn’s grandchildren have had responsibilities with the show as they were growing up. Today, grandson Matt Reese, is the Show Director of Road.

This past summer has been a productive summer for three of Carolyn’s granddaughters. All three were born and raised in Southern California and have had their turn at helping with the behind the scenes of Road. All college graduates, this summer has seen interesting changes in the girls’ lives as they have gone out on their own around the country.

Rachel Reese, daughter of Carolyn’s youngest son Darrell, moved to Chicago in 2014 to be the manager for a music store. This summer, she was promoted to District Manager of retail stores in Illinois and Missouri for Music and Arts. She will be supervising six stores and traveling regularly between the two states. Music and Arts is a national band and orchestral retailer servicing over a million lessons a year and fulfilling the instrumental needs of many musicians.

Mary Beth, Rachel, and Erika in Washington, DC

Mary Beth, Rachel, and Erika in Washington, DC

On the Fourth of July, Rachel reconnected with cousins Erika Reese of Virginia and Mary Beth Reese of California, in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the nation’s birthday. It rained throughout the day but it eventually cleared up so they could dance on the Capitol lawn to the PBS, A Capitol Fourth Concert. The out-of-towners stayed with Carie Ruiz, Erika and Mary Beth’s sister, at her home in Virginia.

Carie Ruiz is the middle daughter of Carolyn’s middle son, Dave. She and her husband Kevin and their 3 children have lived in Virginia the past few years. Carie is a stay-at-home parent who still finds time for sewing projects. She has been busy hosting relatives all summer: the cousins for July Fourth, her dad and step-mom for Erika’s graduation, and her mom and Grandma Carolyn for her two boys’ birthday celebrations.

Carolyn with great granddaughter

Carolyn with Great Granddaughter Laura

Erika Reese, Dave’s oldest daughter, graduated this summer from the National Institutes of Health Specialist in Blood Bank Technology Program.  It was an intensive 12-month training program offered by the Department of Transfusion Medicine in the NIH Clinical Center.  During the past year, Erika has juggled working 32 hours per week as a Medical Technologist in the Transfusion Service Laboratory; 8 hours per week of didactic lectures and exams in advanced immunohematology topics; outside rotations at participating facilities; and completion of a research project. After graduation, Erika was eligible to sit for the national exam offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathology and on July 18, 2016, she passed her exam and is now certified as a Specialist in Blood Bank (SBB).

L to R, Kimberly Levy (fellow SBB student), Karen Byrne (DTM/SBB Education Coordinator), and Erika

L to R, Kimberly Levy (fellow SBB student), Karen Byrne (DTM/SBB Education Coordinator), and Erika

Erika recently moved out on her own to an “adorable” rowhouse rental in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore.  Erika has accepted a job as the Quality Assurance Specialist for the Blood Bank at the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore.  This job is off the bench and involves reviewing systems from the blood bank to maintain and enhance the quality and safety of transfusion and tissue transplantation. She is also working with her mentors to get her research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.  Erika really enjoys doing research and looks forward to opportunities for future projects within UMMC and collaborating with professionals at other institutions.

Road to California is proud of these three Reese granddaughters. What a summer indeed!!

Meet Road 2017 Featured Artist: Marilyn Badger

Marilyn Badger is not a stranger to Road to California. Recently, the quilt, Red Feathers, where she did the quilting on, won Best of Show in 2013.

Red Feathers - Best of Show Road to California 2013. Made by Claudia Clark Myers. Quilted by Marilyn Badger.

Red Feathers – Best of Show Road to California 2013. Made by Claudia Clark Myers. Quilted by Marilyn Badger.

And at Road 2016, Marilyn won 1st Place for Traditional, Large Pieced for her quilt, Arandano. Arandano by Marilyn Badger

Arandano was a therapy project for Marilyn.  After making quilts for competition for so many years, this was her first quilt she made just for herself. She never intended to enter it in a show.  However, as she approached the end of the project, she decided that maybe Arandano was good enough to enter into competition.  When she made the decision to enter it, Marilyn had to go back and correct a lot of flaws to make it competitive.  It took her 1-1/2 years to complete from piecing to hand beading.  Marilyn says she learned a lot about hand embroidery and beading and she really loved adding those touches to Arandano.

Quilting Treasures sponsored the Traditional, Large, Pieced category and awarded Marilyn $1,000 for her first place win. Of winning this prize, Marilyn remarked, “It is always wonderful to have a quilt you have put so much work on win it’s first time out in the competitive world.  I was thrilled and even more so at Paducah where it won the $20,000 Best of Show award and became a permanent part of the collection of the National Quilt Museum.  It just doesn’t get any better than that!”

What did Marilyn think when she was asked to be the Featured Artist for Road to California 2017? “Totally shocked!  Road to California is one of my favorite shows and I have attended either as a teacher, vendor or student for as many years as I can remember.  To have my quilts on display there will be awesome and I can’t wait to meet and talk with all the quilters who stop by to see my exhibit.”

Exuberance by Marilyn Badger

Exuberance by Marilyn Badger

In her role as featured artist, Marilyn hopes to encourage more quilters to enter competitions, as well as inspire the younger generation of quilters to continue the art form.  “It has been such a passion of mine for over 30 years and I want to see the industry continue to grow, ” shared Marilyn. In her booth near the front of the show floor, Marilyn will have on display as many of her award winning quilts that can fit into the area.  APQS will be furnishing a machine for her use during the show. Marilyn will be quilting some of her own small quilts and demonstrating how she accomplishes her quilting techniques.

Photo by APQS

Photo by APQS

Marilyn lives in St. George, Utah. Besides being Road’s featured artist, what else does she hope to do while she is in California?  “Enjoy the nice weather and perhaps go do a little car racing with my friends.” Be sure to stop by Marilyn’s booth and ask her about that car racing!!

To learn more about Marilyn, please visit her Facebook Page.


So You Want to Make A Winning Quilt? Road 2016 Best Use Of Color

Technicolor Deco was made and quilted by Shirley Gisi of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Shirley received $1,500.00 from sponsor, Primitive Gatherings.Technicolor Deco by Shirley Gisi

Shirley Gisi has sewn most of her life, primarily with garments and home decoration.  Quilting was just a natural progression for her. IMG_0162 (3)

In creating, Technicolor Deco, Shirley used designs both from traditional quilting and stained glass.  She noted that the elements have a somewhat art-deco feel.  Shirley had recently taken a trip to Cancun, Mexico, and used some designs from an Aztec museum there for her quilting. Shirley said that she spent nearly every day for two to three months working on the quilt.

How did Shirley react when she found out she had won Best Use of Color at Road 2016? “I love color and so this particular award really speaks to me.  I like to use bright warm colors and gradated fabrics which I believe intensifies the piece.”

How did she spend her prize money? “We were doing some kitchen remodeling so I applied the award money to the project.”

What is Shirley working on next? She is continuing to try new things and work on new techniques.

To see more of Shirley’s work, please visit this Pinterest account.


Meet 2016/2017 Vendor: Pollard’s Sew Creative

A family owned business for over 20 years, Pollard’s Sew Creative began from a passion for sewing and has grown to become a creative sewing center as well as an authorized dealer for Pfaff, Husqvarna, and Viking sewing machines.7b6ef5bf-b11f-4c84-ae43-75d15f2c71a6

Founders Bill and Marcia Pollard, along with their daughter, Jennifer Noble, each bring their own area of expertise to the business. Bill repairs the machines brought into their stores. Marcia is the “creative juice” behind the company. It was from her observations 20 years ago that there wasn’t much sewing education available for the consumer that led the Pollard’s to provide a source where they could show “everything that can be done with a stitch.” Marcia is also known for her digitized machine embroidery exclusive collection for Elegance Threads and Designs.169

Jenny joined the business 14 years ago. With a background in technology (she has 2 degrees in technology and is the former head of the Ed Tech Department at the University of LaVerne), it was the recent technological developments with sewing machines that brought her to the business. Today, she oversees Pollard’s Sew Creative business operations. Jenny is also credited with involving their company with Anime Expo, an American anime convention held in Los Angeles, California the first weekend in July and organized by the non-profit Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA). Pollard’s providing sewing machines at the event to encourage youth to sew their own Anime costumes for the convention.    images

Pollard’s first store was opened in Glendora, California and they have just added another location in Arcadia, California. Each store offers daily classes and carries products to “sew on and sew with.” They are leaders in an evolving industry, combining computer technology with sewing machines. Their “full package” includes not only selling one-of-a-kind products, fabric, and notions but also offering sewing classes. In addition, they give computer classes on the Dell laptop computers they sell, bringing together computer programs and sewing machines.

Why do the Pollards like coming to Road to California? Says Jenny, “We like to connect with the people and tell them about all the options there are available to inspire.” As the industry continues to change, Pollard’s Sew Creative will “keep pushing outside the box.”

To learn more about Pollard’s Sew Creative, visit their website.


Traveling The Globe To Get To Road

These guests at Road 2016 traveled half way around the world to come to the show:


Mary Allum and Catherine Dodd

Catherine Dodd came from the Isle of Harris in Scotland. Her hometown is famous for producing Harris Tweed. Catherine journeyed 30 hours to get to Road to California. Her trip began from her home where she drove a half hour to get to the port where she boarded a ferry for a 2 hour sail.  When she got to the mainland, she next drove 14 hours to Heathrow Airport in London for her 11-1/2 flight to Los Angeles. After arriving in Southern California, she drove 1-1/2 hours to Mission Viejo to stay with her sister. Catherine was in California for 2 weeks, which included she and her sister attending Road to California. Catherine’s sister, Mary, is the sewer in the family and has lived in the United States just one year. She heard about Road to California from Mel’s Sewing and Fabric Center. Their first stop at Road was to take the bus tour that included going to Hoffman California Fabrics. Mary was looking forward to going to Hoffman and Catherine was interested in seeing all the fabric on their bus tour.


Jenny Bacon and Margaret McDonald

Quilters Margaret McDonald and Jenny Bacon came to Road from Australia. Both friends spent 10 days in the Southern California area. Jenny is not a stranger at Road. She has attended the show for the past five years and helps with the quilt contest judging. After 3 days of judging, Jenny was looking forward to getting out and seeing the show. It was Margaret’s first time at Road. She was looking forward to all the new experiences that Road had to offer, including going on a bus tour.

Road 2017 is already set to welcome more international visitors. Teacher Jenny Bowker will be coming from Australia to teach her classes along with the Tentmakers of Cairo who will be showing their quilts as well as teaching classes with Jenny.

No matter where you live, getting to Road is easy. We have suggestions for your travel arrangements on our web site.

How far will you be traveling to Road to California 2017?