International Quilter A Big Winner

Hiroko Miyama creates beautiful, award winning quilts from her home in Tokyo, Japan.

She says that she was a “born handicraft maker.” When her younger son entered elementary school, Hiroko thought it was a good time to start something new. At that time, hand quilting was just getting popular in Japan and she thought, this was it! After she began hand quilting, she stopped doing her other handicrafts like knitting, dress making and embroidering.

Hiroko confesses that she has been “addicted to machine quilting for 8 years.” Most of Hiroko’s designs are her interpretations of beautiful scenery around Nagano, Japan, and of flowers and fairy tales. Recently, her husband Mosanobu Miyama, has collaborated on some of her designs.

At Road 2017, Hiroko won first place in the Art Human Image category for her quilt, Lily. Hiroko received $1,000 from sponsor, Maywood Studio/EE Schenck Company for her winning entry.

For this piece, Hiroko wanted to depict her granddaughter Natsumi as an elegant lady when she came to visit her cottage. Hiroko remarked that the resulting snow tanned face on Natsumi was not her original intention but that it didn’t hinder the results.

It took 4 months (or about 800 hours) for Hiroko to make and quilt Lily. This project challenged Hiroko to harmonize the quilt with her original machine embroidery. She designs, “punches,” (creates the embroidery data) and then does the actual embroidery. Hiroko reported that “300 hours were required for embroidery only.”

When she heard she had won, “I and my husband celebrated by drinking a couple of mug of beer.” They travelled from Japan to see the quilt at Road 2017. “I really enjoyed the show.”

What did Hiroko do with her prize money? “I bought fabrics and threads, of course!”

For the near future, Hiroko plans on having Lily displayed at AQS Quiltweek in Grand Rapid and then on to Fall Paducah.

Congratulations, Hiroko, on another winning design.

 

The Perfect Getaway Destination

Looking for time away from family, work; a place to go crazy, or just to “let it all hang out?” Then Road to California is the place for you!!!

Cathy and Lynn are sisters. Cathy lives in Oxnard, California and Lynn lives in Texas. They choose Road for the perfect sister retreat and to get away from family. Road 2017 was their 4th time to meet up at the show. Cathy has been quilting for five years; Lynn since the 1980’s. Going to Party Time is always on their schedule. They enjoy playing the games, “getting and winning stuff.”

Edith is a member of African American Quilters of Los Angeles. She and her friend Barbara (also a member of the guild and a tad camera shy) spent the night so they didn’t have to fight the LA traffic for two days. A quilter for 15 years, Barbara invited Edith to “her first quilt show ever.” Edith has been sewing clothes for years but has only been quilting for two years. A friend had invited her to a quilt guild meeting and she was “hooked” from there.   

These three friends, Amy, Laureen, and Judy originally met through quilting, going to retreats, in Palo Alto, California. Between them, they have 76 years of quilting experience!!  Judy now lives in the San Diego area and got the women to meet up at Road. They stay Wednesday through Saturday as “there is so much to see and visit.”  Meet Jeanie, Kendra (Jeanie’s daughter in law), Joyce (Kendra’s aunt from Iowa), and Mickie, a member of their quilting group. Joyce knew she wanted to come see her niece and she purposely planned her visit to coincide with Road. Jeanie has been hosting ten “quilting ladies” each month in her home. They look forward to taking their “field trip” each year to Road, seeing the vendors and the “beautiful” quilts.

(l-r) Kendra, Jeanie, Joyce, and Mickie

This group of friends are members of the “Quilters Gone Wild” Friendship Group of the El Camino Quilt Guild in North Orange County-San Diego area. Going to Party Time is a must. At Road 2017, they thought it would be fun to be “wild looking.”

Road to California is the perfect get away destination.

 

Meet Road 2018 Teacher Cindy Seitz-Krug

Cindy Seitz-Krug will be teaching 4013C  Gorgeous Gridded Quilting Level 1 on Thursday

and 5601C  Fabulous Trapunto Wallhanging on Friday and Saturday

Cindy Seitz-Krug specializes in using a home sewing machine for her heirloom quilting. She owes her love of quilting to her mother. When she was 28 years old, Cindy and her mom took a beginning quilting class, taught by Jenny Carr-Kinney, at the community college in Ventura, California. After that class, Cindy says, “I was completely hooked on quilting.” Unfortunately, today, Cindy’s mom suffers from Alzheimer’s and doesn’t remember that she “used to be quite the quilter.” Luckily for Cindy, both of her half-brothers’ wives quilt, so she is still able to quilt with some family.

An author and award-winning quilter, Cindy won $1,500.00 for Excellence In Machine Quilting at Road 2017 for her quilt, Blush. A wholecloth quilt, Cindy said that her biggest challenge was finding “just the right balance of larger motifs that will dazzle, and subtle but beautiful backgrounds to make the main motifs pop, and also make the viewer delight in the detail.”

Cindy says she gets inspiration for her quilts from quilt shows.  “Seeing all those amazing quilts gets my wheels churning and gets me excited to create something beautiful of my own,” shared Cindy. She has also taken quilt classes from three different instructors that have had an impact on her quilting technique: Diane Gaudynski for Machine Quilting; Sally Collins for Piecing; and Elly Sienkiewicz for Applique.

What is the one quilting tool that Cindy can’t live without? “Well, I’d have to say a small, sharp pair of scissors, and a thimble (two tools).  And of course, my BERNINA.”

Cindy’s best quilting tip is to persevere if you really want to be able to do something.  “When people tell me, ‘I could never quilt like that!’, I say, ‘Yes you can; it just depends on how badly you want to do it.  If you want it badly enough, you can!’

What does Cindy like best about teaching? “I love when my students tell me that my classes are the best they’ve ever taken!  And amazingly, I hear that a lot.  It makes me puff up with pride!”

Cindy hopes that after her students leave her classes that “they will feel empowered and confident in their ability to quilt their own quilts beautifully.”

In addition to her quilting, Cindy enjoys hunting and fishing in the Rocky Mountains. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in Environmental and Systematic Biology, with a concentration in Fisheries Biology. For more than 20 years, Cindy and her husband owned their own aquaculture facility in Bakersfield, CA, raising catfish for sale to grocers and restaurants. They recently sold their fish farms and relocated to the White Mountains of Arizona.

To learn more about Cindy, please visit her website, Quintessential Quilting.

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

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

Linda Roy’s quilting journey began in 1988 when her husband had a job transfer from Southern California to Conway, Arkansas.  Shortly after moving, Linda saw a program on television on vintage and newer quilts that introduced her to quilting. Then, a little while later, Linda met one of her new neighbors, Irma Gail Hatcher, who just happened to be an award-winning quilter. Irma invited Linda to join a small group that met monthly at her home and then to the Arkansas Quilt Guild. Linda said, “It was a pleasure to spend time with woman of all ages coming together for the pleasure of creating something beautiful.”

Linda made her first quilt when her youngest son was three. She found that she could keep an eye on her son while he played and do her hand work at the same time.  She was hooked on hand quilting with that first original quilt and now hand quilting is her passion.

The design and color for Aztec Sunset was inspired by Mayan Ruins. Linda designed her quilt using graph paper. Since Linda made this quilt for herself, she felt that she had total freedom to make it “outside the box.”

Two of her favorite large tomato red scraps were utilized in the quilt along with other fabrics in her stash creating a four-block design with a spiraling border.  Each quadrant has different but similar fabrics. The tea dyed muslin and stripes are the unifying fabrics. 

All the triangles are hand appliqued along with the bias bars.  Linda feels that the additional hand embroidery on the quilt gives a little more importance to the hand appliqued triangle shapes.

Aztec Sunset took approximately one year to complete. A hoop was used for the hand quilting, working on one piece at a time.  Linda remarked that after deciding on the design and color, “hand quilting is my favorite part of the quilt… (it is) very relaxing.”

Learning about her award, Linda said she “truly couldn’t believe I had won such a prestigious award.  Stunned would be a good word to describe how I felt and still feel.” She plans on using her prize money to replenish her fabric, thread, batting and various quilting needs not to mention that the “worn out chair I sit in to sew could use being replaced too!”

Linda’s thoughts on her experience in creating a winning quilt is motivational for other quilters as well: “This award encourages me to follow my heart without fear of the quilting police.  Sometimes it can work out!”

Quilting Time Can Be Quality Couple Time

Road to California is a great place to plan a couple outing – especially when both partners share an interest for quilting.

Marianne has been a quilter for 9 years, specializing in as she says, “usable quilts.” She is a traditional quilter making the “big stuff”—king size quilts. She has even made king size charity quilts for a West Coast Casualty Insurance event that was held at Disneyland. Marianne and her husband, Ed, are from Downey, California. They have gone to Road to California three times together, focusing on the new technology that the vendors offer. Marianne commented, “My grandma would have used the technology (for her quilts) if she had it.

Married for 47 years, Les and Linda know the key to a happy marriage: they support each other with their hobbies. For Les, it is Classic Car Shows and Linda goes with him to Cruise Nights. For Linda, a quilter for over 40 years, it’s all about going together to quilt shows like Road to California. “Fair is fair,” remarked Les. While Linda has attended Road for the past 18 years, Les has only accompanied her for the last 10. They’ve even gone to a quilt show together when they were vacationing in Sydney, Australia (Linda said she knew nothing about it but Les swears “she planned it on me.”) Why does Linda enjoy coming to Road to California? To get inspired.  She says, “You see things that you never would have thought of. It gets you out of your box to try new things.”   And Les has learned another valuable marriage lesson: “I never ask her how much she spends on her stash and she never asks me what I spend on my car collection.”

Even a wheelchair bound Stacie couldn’t keep her and husband Ed from Road 2017. Both Ed and Stacie are quilters from Indio, California. They began their quilt journey together over 5 years ago by taking a quilt class. At first, Ed went to the class to just spend time with Stacie but he ended up liking it and has stayed with it ever since. Says Stacie, “He does it more than I do. I never finish my quilts and Ed keeps on me.”   They bought their tickets for Road before Stacie fell playing with their dogs, putting her in the wheelchair. They didn’t want to miss out “looking at quilts and gadgets and finding new ideas to try.”

A brand-new quilter, Sophia appreciates how her husband, Erik, helps her with design and color. Sophia is also a knitter and crocheter and felt quilting was a natural progression for her fiber arts interest. She is self-taught, having never sewed before until she started quilting. Her first project was a baby quilt that “turned out great.” Erik helped Sophia design a wedding quilt that now goes on their bed.  Road 2017 was their first time at the show. Sophia said she was “quite moved by the exhibits. They were amazing.” Erik thought he was just going to be seeing a lot of vendors (which he did) but he was also surprised by all the interesting exhibits.

 

 

The Doctor Is In For Thread Advice

One of Road’s most popular $5.00 Lectures is the session with Bob Purcell, President of Superior Threads, where he talks about Thread Therapy. Bob has proclaimed himself a Self-Certified Threadologist, qualified to make diagnoses, give advice, and solve problems regarding thread issues.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Superior Threads began in 1998 as an at-home business by Bob and his wife, Heather, in their garage. Bob says that he needed to start the thread company in order to support Heather’s quilting addiction. Today, the business spans over a 25,000 sq./ft. facility in the red rocks of St. George, Utah.

Photo Courtesy of Superior Threads

The first product Superior Threads produced and carried was their Superior Metallic. They currently produce and sell over 40 different thread lines with more on the way. Superior Threads prides itself on seeking out the highest-quality raw materials and using the latest technology in processing to create threads for all types of sewing.

The most important warning that Dr. Bob gives is “don’t expect stores to know about thread and needles.” A quilter needs to become familiar with all the different thread and needle types in order to create the best projects.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Bob has found that most traditional quilters prefer using cotton thread but he stressed that there are so many other alternatives out there and he encouraged the audience to try new threads with their work.

Metallic thread is very popular but it also can give the “biggest headache.” warned Bob. He shared a way on how to see if a particular metallic thread is good or bad: Cut off a piece about 3 feet long and let it hang down. If it twists, it is a bad thread. Good metallic thread will hang smoothly without tangling.

Needles, Bob said, are the least appreciated and often ignored part of a sewing project. It is counterproductive to spend a lot of money on a sewing machine, fabric, and specialty threads and then use an old, worn, damaged or wrong needle. Bob suggested whenever beginning a new project, start with a new needle. Topstitch needles work best because it has a larger eye and a deeper groove.

Needles have a two-number system: the higher number relates to a European metric system measuring the size of the needle shaft diameter in hundredths of a millimeter. The lower number is a U.S. designation that is an arbitrary number used to indicate relative needle shaft diameter. Either way, the lower the number on a needle, the finer the thread should be used:

#70/10 for finest threads

#80/12 for 50 wt. threads

#90/14 for medium weight threads

#100/16 for heavier threads

Final tips Bob offered when using specialty threads:

  • Use a high-quality thread on both the top and bottom
  • Make sure the machine is threaded correctly
  • Make sure there are no obstructions along the thread path
  • Properly adjust tensions for the desired application
  • Use the correct size and type of needle. Make sure it is inserted correctly
  • Make sure the bobbin case is in good working condition
  • Adjust sewing speed to compensate for other limitations

    Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

     

At Superior Threads, the doctor is always in. Visit their website for helpful video tutorials and other valuable information.

 

 

 

Meet The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild

Do you know the community of Big Bear Lake? It is a unique mountain resort community located 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. About 21,000 residents make their home here full-time.

Best known for its recreational opportunities like fishing, water sports, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, tours and winter sports, it also a haven for quilting. Big Bear Lake has two quilt guilds and two quilt shops in this small community!! It is also a popular destination for quilt retreats.

The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild has around 50 members. They meet monthly the 2nd Wednesday of the month at Patchworks Quilt Shop. ”Patches of Love” is the name they give to their philanthropy work. Their members make quilts that are given to children who are picked up in police cars or fire trucks after a traumatic event. They also support military families with quilts. When a family has a new baby and their father is deployed, they present the new baby with a quilt.

Their annual quilt show is being held this year August 4th and 5th at The Lodge at Big Bear Lake. They have invited vendors as well as showcasing quilts from the area. At Road 2017, the guild had their show’s opportunity quilt on display. What makes this quilt original is that there is a hidden bear in the design of the quilt. The guild enjoys asking contributors for this fund raiser to see if they can find the bear. It gives people the chance to see the quilt up close and is “lots of fun.”  Can you find the bear? Road to California loves supporting local quit guilds and their endeavors. Opportunities are given on a first come basis to showcase opportunity quilts.

Participating guilds must provide 20 hours of white glove service to Road for each day your quilt is displayed. For more information, please visit our website.

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

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

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

Margaret won Best of Show for The Twisted Sister

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

What inspired Margaret to make this winning design? In 2011, she designed and quilted a 40” whole cloth.  This was her first attempt at the design process.  Of that experience, Margaret says, “To this day, it is unbound!”  The design for From the Bride’s Trousseau originated with this first quilt’s design.  It underwent at least a dozen modifications to reach the final form that was quilted for the 2015 finished quilt.

The current design is larger, and more complicated.  From the Bride’s Trousseau is a 1/8 symmetrical whole cloth quilt, meaning that it was designed on a 22.5-degree wedge, then copied and mirrored to create the pattern.  It is quilted in silk threads.  Margaret’s favorite areas of the quilt are the Sashiko-inspired fills.  They are quilted with a marked grid and give the quilt a very traditional feeling.

It took Margaret about a year to finish the quilt. What did she learn along the way? Says Margaret, “I have this ability to make simple tasks take WAY longer than they should!  This is mostly because I don’t just work on one quilt at a time.  I frequently have at least 3 quilts in various stages of construction, quilting or finishing at any given time. I learned that quilting with colored thread creates a beautiful effect, but it’s challenging.  I also learned that I appreciate taking the time to make a quilt double-sided (and it helps identify those pesky little areas that need fixing before a judge finds them!).

Margaret was “surprised” to know that this quilt had also won a prestigious award at Road 2017.  She related that From the Bride’s Trousseau “had been out and to several shows the last 2 years.  Sometimes it does nothing, and other times, it surprises me.  During the quilting journey, I have just learned to appreciate when the quilts do win, as nothing is ever certain.  I do the best I can do, and then it is out of my hands.  It is wonderful when judges recognize my efforts.”

After winning two awards, Margaret is certainly not resting on her accomplishments. She recently finished a book with AQS, along with two other self-published books. She teaches at select quilting shows and writes for Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  In her “spare time,” she even still quilts for clients (one of her client’s quilts was also entered in Road 2017). And of course, she is working on the coming year’s show quilts. All in all, Margaret says, “It’s a fun life!”

Comic-Con Meets Road to California

Do you know Comic-Con?

Comic-Con International-San Diego is the premier convention dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art-forms. It celebrates the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture. Comic-Con began in 1970 when a group of comics, movie, and science fiction fans banded together to put on the first comic book convention—a one day affair in San Diego, California. Today, Comic-Con has grown to a four-day extravaganza, attracting over 140,000 visitors!!!

Photo Credit: Comic-Con

What does Comic-Con and Road to California have in common?

Creative artists interested in furthering their passion.

Four Comic-Con employees spent a day at Road 2017 getting inspiration. Leslie, Pam, Robin, and Mary are all sewists and met through their work with Comic-Con.

Comic-Con Friends (L to R) Mary, Robin, Pam, and Leslie.

They also share an interest in beading and making ball-jointed dolls.  

Robin who is Vice-President in Comic-Con’s Events Division, and herself a master level costumer, was attending a gem fair in San Diego in 2016 when a vendor there (who knew Robin sewed), suggested Robin would enjoy going to Road to California. Robin contacted Pam, Leslie and Mary and the four co-workers drove up from San Diego to spend the day at Road to California.

What did they think about Road 2017? “It’s been awesome,” said Robin. They all enjoyed looking at and purchasing sewing machines, sewing tables, fabric and notions.

The four women all commented how they liked the variety of vendors, especially those with their own fabric lines. Mary commented how she liked how there were “different styles in different booths.”

Pam shared her experience of the show: “I wasn’t sure what to expect.” She was most impressed with vendors selling “art, not simply retail.”

Many of Comic-Con’s visitors create their own costumes of their favorite comic book character ans wear them to the conventions.

Photo Credit: NASA

The women remarked how much their visitors would benefit from coming to Road to get ideas and supplies to make future costumes. They plan on spreading the word that comic book fans and quilt fans indeed have a lot in common.

 

Charity Quilt Hand-Off

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

Before the show, Anita Grossman Solomon created a quilt block pattern just for this project and made it available for quilters around the country to sew the blocks that were going to be used for the project.

Anita is pictured along with Matt Reese and Matt’s mom, Shellee Reese, an administrator at the Cancer Care Center.

Then, on Saturday night of the show, quilters, some class teachers, and even a few vendors, got together in the Ontario Convention Center to sew the blocks together into lap size quilts as well as begin quilting the quilts.After the show, unfinished quilts were given to the Nite Owl Quilt Guild  to finish the quilting. In the end, 41 quilts  were completed.

On June 29, 2017, Road to California owner, Matt Reese, along with his wife Jennifer, presented to the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center the Roadies Give Back quilts which will be given to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy at the center.

Each unique quilt was folded into a Road to California reusable bag, accompanied with a card explaining the significance of the quilt and its care instructions.

While they were there, Matt personally distributed quilts to five patients including:

Joseph Derowen has been a patient at the center since December, 2016. He said that he “really appreciated” the gesture because 99.9% of the time, he is cold when he receives his treatment. He was looking forward to trading his “funky jacket” for the quilt to keep him warm. Joseph’s wife, Elaine, thought receiving the quilt was “very thoughtful” and was grateful that now her husband will be “wrapped in love.”  

Joyce is battling Breast Cancer. She knew that the quilts were “a lot of work” and remarked how beautiful hers was. Joyce commented that it was “very generous for the quilters to donate their time and materials.”

Petra de Leon has been battling Lymphoma since April. Petra replied in Spanish, “I am very happy to get this quilt. It is very pretty.”

Ray Hardy told Matt, “No one has ever given me a quilt before. This is cool.”

Road to California wishes to thank everyone who participated in this special project. They look forward to offering Roadies Give Back again in the future.