Unique African Fabrics And Baskets

Started over 25 years ago by Mary Ogwel, Maendeleo African Imports enlists the help of village women from Kenya and Tanzania to create their unique African fabrics. The mission of Maendeleo African Imports is to empower each female entrepreneur that they work with by creating an environment that fosters opportunity, progress and growth. When a customer purchases any of their items, they are directly supporting each and every woman Maendeleo African Imports works with to feed, clothe, shelter & educate these women and their families. Maendeleo African Imports has a strong sense of social responsibility and works year round to ensure that they are creating lasting opportunities for participating village women. All together, Maendeleo African Imports works with 111 groups of women to create their unique African fabric.Hand Dyed African Fabric

Mary began Maendeleo African Imports  as a request from her mother to start a business in Kenya where women could come together to make things by hand. It is a community event each time a group of women meet– everyone comes out to set up tables and offer support as the money earned helps the entire village. Women work in organized groups that manage the bookkeeping as well as the  production of African fabrics.African Fabric Hand Dyed

Working in Tanzania began when Mary met a woman selling papaya.  That woman said that she didn’t want to sell papaya any more and asked Mary if she could help her do something else like make fabrics. Mary started out 17 years ago with that one woman and today, there are 100 women in Tanzania dying African fabric. The original woman has been able to buy her own small hut home with her earnings. 

All African fabric Maendeleo African Imports sells is “unique, handmade, and hand dyed by happy ladies.” The fabric mostly focuses on safari themes as that is what the women are most familiar with. Mary says that  special designs can be requested like the horse patterns she sells. Cuts of fabric are made that fit the specific sizes that quilters need and use.African Fabric Hand Dyed

Recently, Maendeleo African Imports expanded to Ghana and hired women to make hand woven and beaded traditional baskets to sell. Each basket s made from recycled material and takes about 10 hours to make.African Fabric Hand Dyed

Maendeleo African Imports have been at Road to California for over 15 years and will be returning in 2019. To learn more about this innovative and life-altering company, please visit their Facebook Page. 


Quilting Tips From Road 2018 Teachers

Great takeaways and quilting tips from some of Road 2018’s popular Classes and $5.00 Lecture Series

Jenny Doan– Missouri Star

Quilting Tips: Take classes to learn new techniques. Use the ugliest fabric in your stash to practice what you are learning because you will make mistakes. Mistakes are essential to learning.Quilting Tips Quilt Show

Michelle Flores-Hoffman Fabrics

Quilting Tips: Online retailers that carry a wide variety of Hoffman Fabrics: eQuilter, Batik Plus, Hancock of Paducah, and Nancy’s Notions.  Quilting Tips Quilt Show

Hobbs Batting-

Quilting Tips: How to avoid Bearding (batting that pulls up through holes in the fabric): Use a high thread count fabric; Check thread tension to make sure thread isn’t too tight; Use a new needle; and Make sure the batting is good quality.Quilting Tips Quilt Show

Pat Simon-Quilting with Templates

Quilting Tips: Rulers are for measuring; Templates are for quilting. Do not use free motion, darning or other thin feet as they will slip under the template. Instead use high shank feet. Practice, Practice, Practice with a fabric sandwich and moving the fabric around while seated. Start out with smaller templates to get control.   Quilting Tips Quilt Show

Joyce Teng-Painting on Fabric

Quilting Tips: Kona Cotton and Tsukineko Ink are the perfect combination for the best results. Play around with the ink. Mix it with different mediums to create different effects. Use different tools to get the ink on the fabric. Experiment with different patterns.Quilting Tips Quilt Show

Annie Unrein-Zippers

Quilting Tips: Always use zippers 2-3 inches longer than called for. Shorter than that is so much harder to work with. Use “Wonder Clips” to hold all the layers together. Flat on the bottom so they don’t catch on machine; They won’t poke you; They won’t make holes in vinyl; and They hold everything tight.Quilting Tips Quilt Show

Jamie Wallen– Long Arm Quilting

Quilting Tips: Don’t wait until you’re ready to quilt to start learning quilting techniques. Print “contour line quilt blocks” from the Internet and come up with 3 different ways to quilt it yourself.  Practice every day 30-45 minutes with a pencil to build muscle memory. Anything a pencil can do, a longarm can do.    Quilting Tips Quilt Show

What is your favorite quilting tip you learned in a quilting class?

So You Want to Make A Winning Quilt: Best Applique

Kathy K. Wylie won $1,500, from Sponsor, Pink Sand Beach, for Best Applique on her quilt, For Such a Time as ThisBest Applique Quilt Show Winner

Kathy K. Wylie started quilting in the spring of 1994. A friend asked Kathy if she would join her in taking a beginner sampler quilting class. Kathy had just resigned from her job at IBM to stay at home with her two young sons and thought she could use a few nights out. Kathy had sewn since she was a child and enjoyed all kinds of different needle arts, so she agreed to take the class. Little did Kathy know how that decision would change her life!Best Applique Quilt Show Winner

For Such a Time as This is Kathy’s original design focusing on “time.” The first thing Kathy considered when embarking on this quilt was, “What does a quilt about time look like?” She brainstormed lots of ideas such as clocks, calendars, seasons, and celebrations. One shape that kept recurring in her mind was a circle. Kathy considered that “a clock is a circle divided in twelve. Twelve hours in a day; twelve months in a year. I began with a medallion divided into twelve equal sections. From there, I added birth flowers and birth stones around my “clock” to depict the months of the year.”Best Applique Quilt Show Winner

How did the circle clock idea evolve? Kathy said, “When a medallion is placed on a square background, it leaves a lot of blank space in the corners. I decided to use those areas to depict the seasons by the changing color of the leaves on the branches.” Kathy incorporated several machine quilting motifs to complement the original time theme: “The hours on the clock; ogees, that form the shape of an hour glass; the phases of the moon; and the symbol for infinity. This shape is echoed around the outside edge by quilting half scallops and then hand tying them with black embroidery floss.”

It took Kathy three and a half years to make her Best Applique quilt, For Such a Time as This.  She began the quilt in November 2013, working on the initial clock design. The hand appliqué was done from January 2014 to November 2016.Best Applique Quilt Show Winner

Kathy then spent almost 200 hours of machine quilting her Best Applique design which she finished in April 2017. All the finishing steps were completed in May 2017.Best Applique Quilt Show Winner

What techniques did Kathy learn along the way for her Best Applique quilt?  “All the shapes on the quilt are turned-edge appliqué and sewn by hand. My favorite method is needle-turn appliqué and approximately 75% of the quilt was done this way. But the very small shapes, like the tiny circles that connect the birthstones, and the very detailed shapes, like the lily of the valley blossoms, were done with a new method I learned called Apliquick. Using stainless steel rods for surgical precision, these shapes were turned and prepared in advance before stitching.

What is Kathy’s next project? She is working on a series of block designs featuring the birth flowers from For Such a Time as This and hopes to release those patterns later in 2018. Kathy also will continue to teach workshops. Her next quilt is taking shape in her mind; she wants to get the blocks done before she starts in on it because “otherwise they won’t get done.”

Congratulations Kathy on your Best Applique winning design. For more information about For Such a Time as This and other patterns developed by Kathy, please visit her website or Facebook Page.

What To Expect When Taking A Quilt Class

At Road to California’s 2019 Quilt Show, over 100 classes are being offered for all levels of quilters and all types of techniques. Quilt classes begin Monday, January 21st and run through Sunday, January 27th. There are half-day classes, full day classes, and two-day classes all taught by experts in the quilting field.

Have you taken a class at Road before? Many newbies to Road are curious about what to expect when attending a quilt class and want their questions answered before they register. Last year, Road’s Social Media Consultant, Caryn Payzant, a novice quilter, signed up for her first ever Road quilting class so she could learn firsthand what it’s like to take a quilting class at Road. “I had no idea what I was getting in to and figured other quilters have the same apprehensions. Taking a class helped me to better understand the process while I was in the class and for future classes I might take.” Here are some tips and insights that Caryn offers from her experience:

  • So Many Classes—How do I pick? Just like any other learning experience, you want to choose a quilt class either based on what you want to learn or what you want to improve on. Also, the day and time you are available helps narrow down your choices. While you might also want to choose based on a particular teacher, don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them before because all of Road’s teachers are experienced in their area of expertise. In other words, you can’t go wrong with whatever teacher is facilitating the class.

For me, day and time was most important. My social media work for Road begins on Wednesday, so I knew whatever class I chose, it had to be on either Monday or Tuesday. Also, being a new quilter, I knew I needed a class geared towards beginners. Kate Flynn Nichols’s  54-40 or Fly quilt class met all my requirements.Quilt Class Road to California Quilt Show

  • Bring All Supplies To Class. Once you have registered, the instructor will send you a detailed supply list of what you need to bring to class. Some items are obvious (thread, rotary cutter, pins, etc.) Even if some of the items seem mundane, still bring them so you won’t be caught off guard. Be sure to find out if a fabric kit is included with the class and what pre-work needs to be done so you don’t waste precious class time. Also, if sewing machines are provided. My class had a precut kit which really made starting out the design easier. Also, Bernina sewing machines were available to use and test out.Quilt Class Road to California Quilt Show
  • What do you want to achieve during your class? The teacher will tell you up front what to expect to learn during your time together. Kate has been a quilter since she was 8 years old. Precision is her passion so her techniques were geared toward having this particular class quilt last many years through good construction, theme management, and design. As an added benefit, Kate said she was going to share her special technique on spinning inner sections so that points are flat and sharp. I had no idea what that meant but I knew it would be valuable.Quilt Class Road to California Quilt Show
  • Listen Carefully, Take Notes, and Ask Questions. The teachers have a process they have developed in teaching their quilt class. It makes total sense to them. They will always demonstrate first what they expect you to complete. Watch their demonstration and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take notes on your pattern so that you will have reminders when you are on your own. I had a lot of questions on technique and Kate was very patient with even my simplest questions. I knew I could trust her to help me.http://www.road2ca.com/class-info.html
  • Make Friends And Draw On Their Experience. Even though my class was geared to beginning/intermediate quilters, there were students at all levels with all kinds of quilting experience. It was invaluable to me to watch how they were working on the same project and hear their take on the instructions.Quilt Class Road to California Quilt Show

Cindy was from Escondido, California. She has been quilting since 1989 and has been attending Road since the beginning. She takes 5-6 classes every year!!! She signed up for 54-40 of Fly so she could just sit and sew on a calm day. She always looks for new tips when she takes a class. Kate’s piecing tip for using leaders and tails when chain sewing was valuable to Cindy.Quilt Class Road to California Quilt ShowCanadian Lynne has been quilting for 24 years. 2018 was her first time at Road. She signed up for 3 classes. As a “traditional” quilter, she liked learning the precision techniques and trying out the Bernina sewing machines.   Quilt Class Road to California Quilt ShowA quilter for over 30 years, Marilyn has been attending Road for 28 years. She took this class because it was offered on Tuesday and because she likes Kate. She thought the kit was fun .

  • Don’t Expect Perfection. I was reminded by several students that classes are meant to practice new skills and that practice does not mean immediate perfection.Quilt Class Road to California Quilt Show
  • Don’t Expect To Finish. I thought everyone finishes their projects during classes. Not so. Because everyone is at different levels, they are also at different speeds as far as working on the project goes. I barely finished (of which I was relieved) but several of my classmates inherited a new UFO!! And that’s OK.

Taking a quilt class at Road to California is a great way to expand your quilting skills, meet new people, and get to know an expert quilter up close and personal. While several quilt classes have already filled up for Road 2019, there are still lots of quilt classes available. Please visit our website to see which classes are still open and for instructions on how to register.

What quilt class(es) are you going to take at Road 2019?


Everything You Wanted To Know About Singer Featherweight Machines

Lloyd Askew and Aspire is a popular vendor at Road to California. His knowledge about and access to selling Singer Featherweight Sewing Machines is incredible. For the past 25 years, Lloyd has been selling, repairing, and offering clinics to owners and quilt guilds on Singer Featherweight machines.Singer Featherweight

How did he become such an authority on Singer Featherweight machines? By accident of course.

Twenty-five years ago, Lloyd’s wife just wanted a Singer treadle machine for “decoration” for their home. As they hunted for the machine, Lloyd became “hooked” on the history and background of the industrial revolution and the early Singer machines. His interest than evolved in to a business which he started while still working in the corporate world. He has since retired from his corporate job but continues to maintain his Aspire business that includes a Featherweight Museum in his home in Anaheim, California. He has on display over 100 machines dating back to the 1850’s (pre-Civil War) as well as antique cabinets and other early Singer products.  Singer Featherweight Singer Featherweight Singer Featherweight

Lloyd enjoys sharing the history of early sewing machines. He related how in the early 1850’s, there were four sewing machine manufacturers: Wheeler and Wilson, Grover and Baker, Howe, and Singer. They were all fighting over patent rights for their machines and ultimately joined forces to form a “patent pool,” creating a monopoly on sewing machine manufacturing. Ultimately, Singer rose to the top and after 1860, they had blown the competition out of the water by not only offering superior machines (they developed an assembly line process before Ford) but also new business concepts like trade-ins and payment plans. Lloyd said, “Their marketing was “incredible.”   Singer Featherweight

The first Singer Featherweight machine was offered on October 3, 1933 during the Great Depression. It weighed 11 pounds and cost $125. Singer Featherweights were produced from 1933 until the late 1960’s.

Lloyd often plans his vacations around getting Singer Featherweight “stuff.” He has travelled internationally to Paris, England, and Germany. In the States, he has the best luck in the New England States.

Lloyd does not advertise his business nor does he have a website. Customers find out about him by word of mouth or when he has vendor booths at quilt shows like at Road to California. Because Lloyd doesn’t want “to leave my customers without service,” he currently has 2 apprentices that he is training including his grandson-in-law and his neighbor, Mario Ceballos aka “Mr. Featherweight.”

He also works with a painter who helps Lloyd customize Singer Featherweights to customers’ specifications like this beauty:

Singer Featherweight


Singer Featherweight

Tiny stitches on the flag

Singer Featherweight

Even the Declaration of Independence!!

For collectors or anyone else interested in learning more about Singer Featherweight machines, Lloyd refers people to the International Sewing Machine Collectors Society, of which he is a member. He also likes to refer Featherweightshop.com in Idaho, a family owned business that is very knowledgeable.

Two publications that Lloyd has found that have invaluable information are A Capitalist Romance: Singer and the Sewing MachineFeatherweight Machine

And, Featherweight 221- The Perfect Portable and Its Stitches Across HistoryFeatherweight Machine

Of course, Lloyd also welcomes customers to contact him personally at laskew9243@gmail.com

Lloyd says he “enjoys immensely” his fascination and business with Singer Featherweights, helping customers find and maintain this incredible machine that has the “perfect straight stitch” ever made. If you’re interested in Singer Featherweight machines, be sure to visit Lloyd in his Aspire booth at Road 2019.



What Happened on Registration Day?!?

We have received a lot of feedback (both negative and positive) about our online registration system. The new system that we rolled out in 2018 was far from perfect – and we knew that. Good computer software takes time to build and in order to remain “good” requires constant attention.new online registration system for Road to California quilt show

Of all the comments we have received regarding our new online registration system, there was one reoccurring remark that I wanted to directly address. It was one that generally followed along these lines: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Because we saw it many times, it told us that there were several users who did not understand why we would replace an online registration system that on its face has served us well for many years.

Why did we feel the need to change out the old online registration system?

  • Security– We take the security of your data very seriously. When I purchased Road, I hired a team of highly qualified IT/Programming and Security professionals to implement some security patches on the software. They told me, at that point in time, that the old system was secure, but that they recommended designing a new system to meet our long-term goals and flexibility regarding ongoing and ever-changing security patches.
  •  User Interface (Experience) – We had received multiple complaints in the past from our attendees saying that the old system did not work on touch devices. Given that the web traffic on our standard website (road2ca.com) is over 40% mobile devices, we needed to create a system that would be touch-interface friendly.new online registration system for Road to California quilt show

The old online registration system was an industry leader for many years and served us well. We were the first Quilt Show in the United States to have automated class registration, quilt jurying online and a dedicated application for return quilt shipping. For all its greatness – the old online registration system required some necessary updates that would have had to be addressed sooner rather than later.

So, now you know the “why” we switched. Here’s the “what happened” to our new online registrataion system on Saturday morning, July 14th, and why it wasn’t really all that uncommon of an experience considering today’s technological world:

Road’s software is hosted in a world class server farm. Our hosting package is one that  grows with our demand. On Saturday morning, the server was not even close to capacity, yet as many of you experienced, it acted like it was.

What we discovered was that  there is one tiny setting in the web server that limits the number of active sessions that the server will allow. The web server was receiving over 500 requests per second – way more than the default setting on the server. We had over 2,000 eager quilters at the SAME TIME trying to register for their favorite class, causing the congestion that some of you and us in the office to experience.new online registration system for Road to California quilt show

In other words, think of trying to merge onto a crowded freeway that is at a standstill. You can’t go anywhere and you’re extremely frustrated but once the flow of traffic improves, you are able to navigate to your final destination. What happened that Saturday morning was similar to a crowded freeway, except the server was taking who clicked first at that particular point in time, not who was first in line like on a busy freeway.

To put our situation in perspective, Amazon also experienced this kind of problem on their Prime Day. It’snot an excuse, but if a multi-billion dollar company like Amazon can have these issues – anyone (like Road) can too.new online registration system for Road to California quilt show

We learned a lot through this experience. Ever since, our developer has been inserting additional code into the new online registraton system to speed it up and make the process smoother. We also have appreciated the additional suggestions we’ve been receiving from our users and are attempting to include many of them in future releases of the software.

The bottom line is, our new online registration system is better than ever before to serve you. More positive changes are planned in other areas to continue to enhance your Road experience. We are grateful for all our valued customers and their enthusiasm for Road 2019. It’s going to be an amazing show.new online registration system for Road to California quilt show

Matt Reese


Road to California

Best Piecing Winning Quilt – Road 2018

From The Inside Out won Best Piecing at Road to California 2018. It was made and quilted by Catherine Butterworth who received $1,500 from Sponsor, American Professional Quilting Systems.Winning quilt Best Piecing

Catherine Butterworth is “addicted to fussy cutting fabric motifs.” She just knew that the Feathered Star block was the perfect way to showcase the centre cream design and surrounding pink floral of her original quilt design, From The Inside Out.Winning quilt Best PiecingCatherine comes from a family of seamstresses and quilt makers. She became interested in quilting over 30 years ago when patchwork fabrics were introduced into the family business. Up until then, the business only carried ladies’ dress fabric. Born and raised in Ohio, Catherine has made her home in Sydney, Australia for the past 44 years.

The fabric is what inspired Catherine to make From The Inside Out. Says Catherine, “It’s all about the fabric! I fell in love with an Alexander Henry design and fussy cut the center cream motif just because ‘I had to.’ I rather like Feathered Stars so that seemed a logical plan for the beginning of this medallion quilt. As the quilt name suggests, I worked from the inside out.  At every stage it was the fabric motifs that dictated the design.”Winning quilt Best Piecing

It took Catherine over 2 years to make this Best Piecing quilt which included 8 months of solid work. As each border was added, Catherine not only looked at her color choices but also critically analyzed the overall tonal balance within the quilt. Touches of machine couching, hand applique, Suffolk Puffs, 3 dimensional triangles and the odd French Knot were added for fun and extra interest. The quilt was machine pieced and machine quilted on a stationary machine.

Catherine received the news that she had won Best Piecing while on her family’s annual summer holiday on the mid central coast of New South Wales in Australia. Her reaction? “I let out a rather loud scream despite the fact that I was alone at the time catching up on email correspondence.”Winning quilt Best Piecing

What does Catherine plan to do with her prize money? The money will “cover my international postage bill” and “perhaps a plane ticket back to the United States for a visit.”

What is in Catherine’s quilting future? “I would like to take my machine quilting up a notch or two.”

To learn more about Catherine and her patchwork expertise, please visit her website.

How to Register Using Road to California Online System v2.0!

As you may have seen, our new website is a true upgrade from our previous system. In sticking to our theme of improving our online presence – we have completely re-written our Online Registration Portal! We took some of the good things from the old system, modernized them and re-wrote them completely!

Now I know change is sometimes difficult – however our team has spent a great deal of time and energy to make this registration change as seamless as possible. First – your account data from our prior system TRANSFERRED, meaning that your same login email address and password is used on the new system!

Now is a great time to check your account credentials! Go to https://online.roadtocalifornia.com to check your email address and password. If you’re concerned that your email address or password doesn’t work, please email us at info@roadtocalifornia.com.

If you forgot your password, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! Click on Reset your Password. Fill out the required information. Don’t forget – we’ve included helpful requirements on your password.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see a Welcome Message, ROAD2019 and some other items on the top bar. Your bar won’t look exactly like mine, but you get the picture. Go to ROAD2019 – and register. Click on Register to get taken to the Class Registration.

Look kind of familiar? Yes – we thought so too! Although it looks familiar – let me guarantee you – it operates completely differently. Rather than using an outdated Drag and Drop system that does not work on smart phones or tablets, we’ve re-imagined the registration page to work well on mobile devices. Once you find a class you want, click on Add to Cart.

Just like you’re used to, the registration automatically shows up when you’ve added a class to your cart. Under Select a Date to View Class Schedule, you’ll be able to change the date. Once you’ve added a class to your cart, only classes that do not conflict will appear on the schedule.

One note – if the class you’re trying to add is full, the form will say ADD TO WAIT LIST. There is no charge for the wait list, however, you cannot be on a wait list and registered in a class on the same date.

Change your mind about a class? Before you complete your payment, you can click Remove, and the class will be removed from your shopping cart. Simple as that! Once you’ve made your choices, enter your credit card and billing information and Click Register!

You’ll receive an email from us once you have successfully registered. Like our last system, this one is automated, meaning when you click REGISTER, you are automatically registered.

Registration starts on July 14 at 8 AM. We will be in the office during this time to provide email support only.

– Matt

Plan Your Next Family Outing To Be A Family Quilt Outing

It’s fun to hang out with the family—especially when quilting is involved. These quilters were anxious to share with their family their quilting passion on a family quilting outing:quilt family outing quilt show

Chino Hills, California resident, Tina, has been applique quilting for the past five years. She took her two sons, Yehyicheng (age 7) and Joey (age 4) out of school so they could all enjoy a family quilt outing day at Road to California 2018. They all liked hanging out together and seeing all the quilts on display.quilt family outing quilt show

Brothers Patrick and Dennis, Sister Vicki, and Dennis’ wife Mabel planned a family get together at Road 2018. Mabel and Dennis live in Loma Linda, California; Vicki and Patrick live in the San Diego area. Vicki has gone to Road for nine years and thought her brothers and sister-in-law would like attending for their first time. Patrick commented, “Vicki supports us with fun things, so we all decided to support her this time” on a family quilting outing. Dennis enjoyed seeing the Hawaiian quilts; Mabel thought all the quilts were beautiful; Patrick remarked that the creativity was “awesome;” and Vicki said she appreciated all the hard work.quilt family outing quilt show

This family was local to the show; they all reside in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Meet Joan (in blue) and her two daughters, Joan and Heidi, Joan’s husband, Dave, and Joan’s Sister-in-law, Darlene. Joan and Darlene have attended Road for several years and wanted to bring more of their family on a family quilting outing to the show they love so much. Joan has been quilting for 40 years, Darlene for 20 years, and daughter Joan is new to quilting. As Joan related, “Those who quilt, quilt together. The others enjoy our quilting.” This family of artists were impressed by all the art quilts on display. The Van Gogh Special Exhibit was another favorite.quilt family outing quilt show

Savannah (12) and Miranda (9) came to Road 2018 with their Great-Aunt Judy (who is camera shy). The girls’ mom doesn’t sew so Judy decided she would teach them. Savannah has been sewing for four years and Miranda for two. They visit Judy every six weeks and sew at her home in Bakersfield, California, using Judy’s Bernina machine, including trying some machine embroidery. They have made blankets and pillowcases. Judy says she “loves teaching a new generation” because it is a skill that transcends other handwork. They are accomplishing something every time.” It was Savannah and Miranda’s first time at Road on their family quilting outing. Savannah said it was “really fun” and that she got “lots of great ideas.” Miranda thought it was “very fun to see all the quilts.” Judy has been to Road to California many times and loves the inspiration. “It’s a great place for family time.”

Jenny Doan’s Heartwarming Trunk Show

Probably the biggest highlight of Road to California 2018 was Missouri Star Quilt Company’s own Jenny Doan presenting her Trunk Show at the Doubletree Hotel on Saturday night. Over 1,000 guests came to learn and be inspired by Jenny and her marvelous quilts.Jenny Doan quilt trunk show

While Jenny has given her Trunk Show many, many times, each presentation is unique. Before going on stage, Jenny ponders on what message of hope, creativity and support she wants to leave with the audience.Jenny Doan quilt trunk show

Jenny shared that she learned to sew as a young girl in 4-H. She appreciated the women who were patient and kind and taught her a skill that her own mother couldn’t. Years later, their example instilled in Jenny one of her core values:

“Share the knowledge you have with someone or else it will die with you.”

Missouri Star Quilt Company began 10 years ago with Jenny doing long arm quilting for clients. The machine was too big for her house, so she bought a building to house the business. She had a dozen quilt patterns in her repertoire and thought that was enough to keep her busy and fund her retirement. But her son had more in store for her: YouTube videos.

Jenny’s YouTube quilting tutorial videos began when YouTube was in its infancy. She broke her leg just prior to her first episode so in the first few tutorials, Jenny was filmed in a wheelchair, heavily medicated. “It was just terrible,” she recalled. Today, she has done over 500 tutorials, with a new one coming out every Friday.

After one early episode, a woman called and inquired about the fabric used in the video and asked where she could get it. Jenny couldn’t help her because it was some random fabric she had in her stash. But that phone call gave Jenny the idea that maybe Missouri Star should start selling fabric lines. At first, they would purchase 60-100 lines of fabric every 4 months. Each line had 20-30 bolts and it was becoming cost and space prohibitive to continue. Then Moda came out with pre-cuts and Jenny discovered a more economical way to store and use fabric.

Jenny shared that 99% of her work today is done from pre-cuts. “They have taught me so much.” Why are pre-cuts so popular with Jenny? First of all, they are precut– saving time and effort. Second, she is not a color matcher. She prefers to trust talented and gifted fabric designers to do the fabric matching. And third, using pre-cuts takes away the “overwhelm factor” because you know exactly how much yardage is in a charm pack, a jelly roll or a layer cake.Adding to the fun of the Trunk Show was having Jenny’s husband, Ron, on stage with her, helping to show the quilts and tell their stories. Ron is a quilter too. He enjoys the technical and detailed aspect of quilting.  “We quilt differently,” said Jenny, “But we do it together.”

Jenny referred to herself as a utilitarian quilter; she wants her quilts to be used and worn out. To Jenny, a quilt represents love, hope, warmth, ownership and kindness. “No other hobby can offer all this.”

At the end of the Trunk Show, Jenny left her audience with this message of encouragement: “The stitches you take by yourself in your sewing room is changing the world. Never before have we needed your gift than we need it now.”

Thank you, Jenny Doan, for sharing your quilting journey with your Trunk Show at Road 2018.