Wendy Sheppard Domestic Machine Quilting

Meet Road 2019 Teacher Wendy Sheppard

Wendy Sheppard will be teaching FIVE dynamic quilt classes, first focusing on applique techniques and quilting on a domestic sewing machine then spending the rest of the week on free motion quilting skills utilizing longarm and domestic machines:

Monday and Tuesday: 1202C A Reprise: Baltimore Quilt BlockWendy Sheppard Domestic Machine Quilting

Wednesday: 3015C Rhyme and Reason from Simple to ComplexWendy Sheppard Domestic Machine Quilting

Thursday: 4019C De-mystifying Feather QuiltingWendy Sheppard Domestic Machine Quilting

Friday: 5016C Roundabout Feather Quilting: A SamplerWendy Sheppard Domestic Machine Quilting

Saturday: 6016C Ideas- What to Quilt?Wendy Sheppard Domestic Machine Quilting

Wendy Sheppard never intended to be a quilter. She only started quilting because a friend (who had been quilting for 30 years) encouraged Wendy to try it. Once Wendy experienced the thrill of incorporating multiple fabrics in a quilt, quilting just drew her in.  Wendy remembers, “As they say, the rest [is] history after my first quilt.” Wendy Sheppard Domestic Machine Quilting

Today, she enjoys all aspects of the quilting process. Her quilting space is a main-level office in her home located in northern Virginia, about 45 minutes from Mount Vernon, the estate of George Washington. Maybe that’s why if Wendy Sheppard isn’t quilting, she is pursuing her interest in Early American History.

What quilter has had an impact on Wendy and her quilting journey? “I always admire Diane Gaudynski.  She is my hero!  She inspires me to strive for more than adequate, but rather strive to be excellent in constructing and quilting my quilts.”

Wendy Sheppard has been teaching quilting classes on and off for about 9 years. She first taught at a local sewing center.  She stopped when her daughter was really young.  During those years, Wendy filmed online/video classes for Annie’s on domestic machine quilting.

What does Wendy like most about teaching quilt classes? “…The smiles on the faces when my students realize they CAN accomplish certain skill sets taught in class.” She hopes her students at Road “will gain confidence in the techniques I will be teaching in my classes.  I also hope that my students will make friends with the fellow attendees while we are working on projects in class.”

Sewing machines will be provided for all of Wendy’s classes. Husqvarna-Viking machines will be available for students in her Monday/Tuesday class. The rest of Wendy’s classes will feature half BERNINA Q20 sit down longarm machines and half BERNINA domestic machines. Students will split their time working on both machines.

Join Wendy to learn expert free motion quilting techniques while trying out quality Bernina sewing machines.

Meet The Citrus Belt Quilt Guild

Founded in 1981, the Citrus Belt Quilt Guild located in Redlands, California, boasts a membership of 200 members, 12 years and older. The quilt guild meets the last Friday of the month during the day and also sponsor a Moonlighters evening group, which meets the third Thursday of the month.Quilt Guild Opportunity Quilt

The Citrus Belt Quilt Guild participates with 15 different charities including Santa Claus, Inc., The Ronald McDonald House in nearby Loma Linda, and The Painted Turtle Camp, a year-round, life-changing environment, started by Paul Newman, for children with life-threatening diseases and their families that allows children to participate in an authentic camp experience by supporting their medical needs and offers their families care, education, and respite.

The quilt guild regularly makes Turtle Pillows for the Painted Turtle Camp, as well as pillowcases, Alzheimer’s Fidget Quilts, Pet Beds, Tote Bags for walkers, and wheelchair quilts to support their charities.

The guild was on hand at Road to California 2018 to share their popular Quilt Guild Opportunity Quilt, Autumn Amour.Quilt Guild Opportunity Quilt

Member Robin Grube designed and organized the construction of the quilt along with two other guild members. One floral fabric was chosen to cut into 6 strips and many sets of equilateral triangles were cut from the layers. Fifty members created fifty kaliedocopic hexagons. The shapes were then placed on top of a panel depicting a Parisian scene. Free motion quilting was done in multi-color threads on a domestic swing machine. It took the guild 3 months to complete.

Quilt Guild Opportunity Quilt

Autumn Amour

Tickets for the quilt are still being sold for $1.00 each. The winning ticket will be drawn on October 26, 2018. To purchase tickets, please contact the guild.

Does your guild have an Opportunity Quilt you want to showcase at Road to California? Limited tables are available each day of the show. If interested, please contact Road at info@roadtocalifornia.com.

Meet Road 2019 Teacher Mel Beach

Mel Beach will be teaching four classes at Road to California 2019:

3001C Magnificent MandalasMel Beach Quilt Teacher Quilt Class

4002C Slice of ImprovMel Beach Quilt Teacher Quilt Class

5002C Mod Molas & Bright BloomsMel Beach Quilt Teacher Quilt Class

6002C Mod MandalasMel Beach Quilt Teacher Quilt Class

Making a t-shirt quilt first introduced Mel Beach to quilting. In 2003, she had a stack of old          t-shirts from high school, college and summer camp that she assembled together into a t-shirt quilt. It traveled all over the country with Mel and served as a reminder as to how far she has come as a quilter.Mel Beach Quilt Teacher Quilt Class

Mel’s favorite part about quilting is to pull fabrics together for a new project and come up with a fun design.  She also loves transforming her quilt tops with beautiful, modern quilting designs.

The least favorite part of making a quilt for Mel is when the quilt isn’t speaking to her, usually when she’s trying to figure out a layout and/or determine the quilting. Using a design wall helps her explore different layouts and compositions.  A sheet of acrylic plastic and some dry erase markers also come in handy for auditioning different quilting motifs.

Where does Mel do her quilting? Her studio occupies her formal living room. Her partner is super handy and helped her to transform the room into a fabulous space for her to design and quilt. He converted an IKEA table into a sewing table by carving out a hole and setting Mel’s machine into a set-in shelf so that she had a large flat space for quilting. Her partner also built a custom wall unit to store all of Mel’s rulers and notions, as well as large benches that store batting, travel gear and make for great seating for Mel’s two pups to look out the window.Mel Beach Quilt Teacher Quilt Class

The two quilting tools that are always close are Mel’s camera to help her document her quilt making process and aide with design decisions and a trusty roll of blue painter’s tape which is super handy for accurate cutting, labeling blocks, mark-free quilting lines, and so much more!

When Mel isn’t quilting, she loves going for walks with her two rescue pups, Panda & Susie Q, and taking pictures along the way. For the past 2 years, she has been taking Comedy Improv classes and routinely performs in comedy improv shows (similar to Whose Line Is It Anyway). Mel shares, “Not only have these classes helped me be more comfortable with public speaking and teaching, they also help me to think quickly on my feet, explore new possibilities, and they are so much fun!!!”

Mel started teaching quilt making classes in 2015 when she was asked to lead a quilting demo for her guild. Mel said, “It was such a positive experience all around with lots of happy finishes.  Less than a year later, I started to promote myself to other guilds and soon joined the quilt teaching circuit.” Mel’s favorite part about teaching classes is that she loves “watching the transformation among participants as they learn new techniques. Some may come in feeling initially nervous yet leave feeling confident and excited about learning a new technique.  I also really enjoy watching quilters add their own fun twists to the technique and make it their very own!”

Mel Beach Quilt Teacher Quilt Class


What goals does Mel have for her Road students?  There are four:

  1. Have fun!
  2. Try something new and different!
  3. Be inspired!
  4. Make it your own!

While her quilts have ventured to Road several times, Road 2019 will be Mel’s first time being at the show. She will be traveling from San Jose, California and says that she is “thrilled to be teaching several modern workshops.  I am especially looking forward to seeing all the amazing quilts that will be on display and visiting the vendors.”


So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt? Best Domestic Machine Quilting Road 2018

Susan E. Stewart received $2,500 for Gilded Roses from Sponsor Baby LockGilded Roses Winning quilt

When you ask Susan Stewart how long she has been sewing, her reply is, “All my life.”

Susan spent many years doing heirloom sewing for a company in Alabama. She started her quilting path in 2004 and won a blue ribbon at Quilt Festival in Houston for her very first quilt. No wonder she exclaimed, “I was hooked!”

Gilded Roses was inspired by the lacy, watercolor-y rose machine embroidery design from Urban Threads. Susan said she could picture the roses done in a rainbow of different shades, adding a touch of variety to an all-white and gold quilt. She added some lacy, scroll-y gold swirl designs from OESD to pick up on the lacy designs in the rose motifs and then added some large lace designs. The lace designs are John Deer Adorable Designs are stitched on the fabric and are also done as free-standing work along the edges. The quilting was done to add interest and to highlight the embroidery.

It took Susan 2½ months to complete Gilded Roses, “the shortest time ever to finish a quilt!” She said that she had just finished another quilt and guessed that she “was on a roll!” What was Susan’s biggest takeaway from making Gilded Roses?  “I learned that it is very time-consuming to stitch the binding on entirely by hand!”

Susan said she had forgotten that she had entered Gilded Roses in Road’s 2018 quilt contest. When she received the notice that she had won, she was at home, recovering from some physical issues. Susan was thrilled and delighted to win Best Domestic Machine Quilting for Gilded Roses and exclaimed, “Woohoo! $2500!”

What was Susan going to do with her prize money? “Honestly, it will go toward bills.”

Susan isn’t sure what the next step will be in her quilting adventure. “I don’t know.  Recent events have thrown a big curve ball at me, and I don’t know where I’ll land. If I can continue making contest quilts, I will. If I can’t, then I’ll re-invent myself! Where will you see me next? Who knows!”

Congratulations Susan for winning Best Domestic Machine Quilting for Gilded Roses and best wishes for your future endeavors.

Road’s State Of Art Quilt Contest

Road to California’s Quilt Contest is one of the largest and most competitive quilt contests in the world. The annual competition receives over 500 entries from both the United States and multiple other countries, all vying for the $92,000 in prize money. Road’s Best of Show winners from our quilt contest are consistently shown in other national and international shows.

Quilt Contest

2018 Best of Show, “Fractal,” by Claudia Pfeil

Are you considering entering your quilt in our 2019 quilt contest? We are accepting entries through October 2, 2018. All upcoming entries must include the official entry form, two pictures (full view and close up) as well as the entry fee of $30. The entry fee is discounted $10 if the entry is submitted online.

Road’s new and updated enrollment system not only includes an area to enter your quilt information, but it also allows the entrant to submit return shipping information themselves, so as to not have to rely on Road Staff to enter and/or change shipping directions. Return information is also automatically verified with FedEx to ensure all quilts are directed to the proper destination.

Categories for submitted quilts to Road’s quilt contest have recently changed. The new categories include:

  1. Abstract – Quilts entered in this category should reflect principles of abstract design. Forms and compositions should emphasize color, line and design. Quilts should be abstract, cutting edge and non-literal.

    Quilt Contest Quilt Show

    2018 Best Abstract by Lou Ann Smith

  2. Animal – Quilts entered in this category should feature an animal or creature as the centerpiece of the quilt. Can include other sub-design elements, but the animal or creature must be the primary focus of the quilt.
  3. Fantasy – Quilts entered in this category should feature non-realistic animals, insects, people, places or things. Fairytale and cartoon type quilts belong in this category.
  4. Human Image – Quilts entered in this category should feature some recognizable aspect of the human form.
  5. Naturescape – Quilts entered in this category should illustrate an aspect of a natural scenery. Creatures and animals may be a component, but should not be the focus of the quilt.
  6. Pictorial – Quilts entered in this category should illustrate a recognizable image (Cityscape, Wildlife). Use this category if your quilt combines aspects of the other categories listed above.
  7. Miniature – Quilts entered in this category should have overall patterns that show reduced size and miniaturization. Miniature wholecloth quilts should be entered into this category. Quilts entered into this category must not meet the descriptions of Categories 1-6.
  8. Appliqué – Quilts entered in this category should reflect traditional principles but may deviate from tradition. The quilt should be composed at least 50% of appliqué, in any technique (fused, machine, hand, etc.)

    Quilt Contest Best Applique Quilt Show Winner

    2018 Best Applique by Katy Wylie

  9. Pieced – Quilts entered in this category should reflect traditional principles but may deviate from tradition. The quilt should be constructed by piecing, either hand or machine.

    Quilt Contest Winning quilt Best Piecing

    2018 Best Piecing by Catherine Butterworth

  10. Mixed – Quilts entered in this category should reflect traditional principles, but may deviate from tradition. Enter your quilt in this category if the predominate construction method is a mix of both piecing and appliqué.
  11. Other – Quilts in this category should reflect traditional principles but may deviate from tradition. Enter your quilt in this category if it includes one or more of the following construction techniques: whole cloth, crazy quilts, embroidery and fabric manipulation.

Contestants can submit to our quilt contest up to 3 entries, 2 per category of quilts made no earlier than 2016. The deadline for all entries is October 2, 2018 at 3:00 PM Pacific Time.

For more detailed information about Road to California’s 2019 Quilt Contest as well as Road’s Copyright Statement, please visit our website. Online entries can be submitted through our online registration site. And as always, if you have any questions, please email our staff at  info@roadtocalifornia.com

Good luck to all contestants of our 2019 quilt contest!!!


A Winner With A Big Heart

At this year’s Road to California, more than 250 contestants competed for over $36,000 in cash awards. We’ve introduced you to the “big” winners and shared with you their thoughts on winning $5,000 for Best of Show, $3,000 for Masterpiece, and $1,500 for the Director’s Award prizes.

Not long after the show, we received a charming thank you note from another winner, Rachel Wetzler, who won two of the other prizes that were offered this year. Rachel received $250 for first place in the Traditional Wall Applique category.10976

She also received  $50 for her third place finish in the Innovative Wall Mixed category. 10943

Wrote Rachel, “I am so pleased these quilts received awards. They were both fun and challenging to make!”

Rachel went on to say that she likes to designate a charity to give her prize money to. She reported that she passed on her $300 winnings to the organization, Wheels for the World. This wheelchair recycling program collects, restores, and distributes wheelchairs to disabled people in developing countries. Her contribution will provide two needy people with the gift of mobility– something they would not be able to otherwise afford. How cool is that?

Thank you Rachel for sharing your talents and inspiring story with Road to California. Quilting  provides warmth and comfort in so many ways.        


Seven Photo Tips For Quilters

Gregory Case was Road’s Official Photographer for 4 years. He often got requests for advice from quilt/textile/fiber artists who were trying to improve their photography of their design work. Gregory offered seven suggestions for photographing quilts:

1) Prepare for your photo shoot. Professional quilt photography is a combination of your quilt hung properly, a good digital camera, appropriate camera settings (including “white balance/color” settings), use of a tripod, even and consistent lighting, and the use of image-editing software. If you are not using all of these techniques, you are not helping your quilt photography succeed.

2) Allow the time necessary to take a great picture. More people will probably see the photograph of your quilt than they will see your quilt in person. Thus, take the same care you do with your photography as you do with your quilt design and choice of quilter. Plan at least an hour (or more realistically, two hours) per quilt for photography/image-editing.stitched paintings

Katie Pasquini Masopust

3) Photograph the “whole” quilt. The top four quilt photography problems are getting the color right, properly lighting your quilt, showing surface texture, and highlighting the details better. Take the time to learn how to be good at all four of these photography techniques.

4) The picture representing your work should be the best picture. More quilts are rejected from juried shows/magazines/books due to poor photography than any other reason! Remember, there is no asterisk (*) on your pattern, or on the juried show application, or the book proposal, for photo explanations like: “If it weren’t so sunny…,” If the wind wasn’t blowing so hard…,” “Please ignore my fingers and feet in the photo….,” “If only I had more time to take a better photo…,” or  “If I could just get the color right… ,” etc. The buying public, the quilt judges, and the magazine and book editors all assume that the quilt image you present to them is an accurate portrait of your quilt, shown in its best light. Your quilt image is being compared to other’s images who have taken the time to make their image perfect. Make sure that your image lives up to their expectations!Red Feathers

Best of Show 2013

5) Use available tools to edit your work. If you shoot with a digital camera, you really need to learn image-editing software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, and Lightroom). Some problems can only be solved with your digital camera and lighting, and some problems can only be solved with image-editing software—you need to employ both strategies.

6) Practice. Practice. Practice. So, how do you get to be a better quilt photographer? Practice—a lot. Don’t wait until a deadline to start improving your quilt photography. Start practicing today and then again tomorrow and so on. I’ve been photographing quilts, textiles, and fiber art for 11 years and I work daily on improving my photography and image-editing skills. Take a quilt photography class, perhaps on the upcoming Road to California Quilt Cruise Around The Panama Canal. I will be teaching quilt photography and Photoshop Elements!fandersonwhispering

7) If all else fails, use a professional. If you don’t have the interest, equipment, or time to photograph your own work, hire a photographer who has experience with photographing quilts/textiles/fiber art. As you would not ask a seamstress to quilt your quilt, don’t ask the portrait photographer down at the shopping mall to photograph your quilt. Yes, the seamstress has a sewing machine. And yes, the portrait photographer has a camera. But neither have the needed experience.

Which tip did you find most useful?

So You Want To make A Winning Quilt? Thoughts From Our 2013 Best of Quilt Winners

The best way to set out to win a quilt contest might be to learn from quilters who have done just that.  We’d like to introduce you to this past year’s big winners as they share their thoughts on what they did to achieve their high honors. Starting off with our Best of Show winners, meet maker Claudia Clark Myers from Duluth, Minnesota and quilter Marilyn Badger of St. George, Utah who teamed up to win $5,000 from Moore’s Sewing Center, for their quilt, Red Feathers.   

Claudia first got interested in quilting in 1991 when she attended the Minnesota Quilter’s annual show. She was amazed at the quilts she saw there and so she went out and purchased a rotary cutter, mat and Trudie Hughes’ book. Marilyn began quilting in the late ‘70’s when there was no such thing as a rotary cutter and mat. She marked, cut and pieced everything by hand.

The designer of Red Feathers was Claudia. She decided to use traditional patterns in a non-traditional way. Claudia commented, “I couldn’t see why a Mariner’s Compass couldn’t have feathered points, so I decided to draft it that way.”

The quilt was pieced and appliqued by Claudia in 2-1/2 months after which it was sent to Marilyn to quilt. That process took about five months to complete because Marilyn and her husband were building a house at the same time. When the quilting was finished, Claudia got the quilt back and spent another 3 weeks painting it.Red Feathers

What was their reaction when they won? They were both floored. They had been competing together on their quilts since 2002 and had never won this kind of prize before. According to Marilyn, “Best of Shows don’t come around very often and a Best of Show at Road to California is just the best of the best.”

When asked what they did with their prize money, both women spent it on things for their homes. Claudia said she and her husband are moving and wanted to change their decorating style from Victorian to Mid-Century Modern, so she used her share of the award to purchase new furniture.  Marilyn bought window coverings so she could “relate where the money came from.”  

Attaining “best of the best” is a hard act to follow. Where do they go from here?  For Marilyn, she needed to take the past six months off from quilting so that she could take care of her husband, who recently passed away. She hopes to get her enthusiasm back and spend lots of time in her sewing room again. As for Claudia, she will continue to paint her quilts which will be puzzles of some kind. She “loves to create quilts that bring a smile to people’s faces.”     

What was your reaction to Red Feathers?

Pair Up For A Quilting Adventure

Road to California is a great place for couples to experience a quilting adventure.Quilting Adventure Quilt Show

Linda and Steve from San Bernardino, California were the first people in line waiting to get in to Road 2018 for their quilting adventure. It was their second time at the quilt show. Linda does machine embroidery and Steve sews, doing a lot of sewing for special needs children. Linda said what she likes best about Road are the demonstrations by vendors. Steve looks forward to seeing new things that they haven’t seen before.  Besides being a sewist, Steve also just happens to be San Bernardino’s official Santa Claus!! He covers the entire city in 3 nights. He had just cut off his “Santa hair” right before Road.Quilting Adventure Quilt Show

Donna and Mark came for their second Road quilting adventure from Tempe, Arizona. Donna considers herself “a simple quilter” who has been quilting for 7 years. Mark, on the other hand, is a “computer genius,” setting up embroidery for quilts.  Whenever they travel, Mark finds different quilt shows for them to attend. This way, they get to different quilts from different angles. At Road, they both enjoy seeing the variety of vendors, especially those they have made friends with. At one show, Donna was having a hard time using Cuddle fabric. She went to the Shannon booth and made friends with Julie who gave her some great tips on how to sew with Cuddle. Quilting Adventure Quilt Show

Pat and Bud are also from Arizona–Tucson, Arizona to be exact. Bud is new to quilting and Pat has been quilting for 12 years. Bud’s interest in quilting began when they went to Houston. He got all excited seeing all the quilts and wanted to start right away creating art style quilts. They have also experienced a quilting adventure on a quilt cruise. Road 2018 was their first time at the quilt show. They came to support their daughter who had an entry in the fantasy category as well as find new quilt ideas and inspiration.

Cindy and Johnny’s Road 2018 quilting adventure included attending Jenny Doan’s trunk show. They split their time between two homes; 6 months they live in Big Bear, California and the other 6 months they live in Homer, Alaska. Quilting Adventure Quilt ShowCindy has been quilting since 1974 and Johnny since 2015. Johnny has entered a “men’s” quilt in the Kenai State Fair and won 3rd place. Cindy has attended Road’s quilting adventure 6 times. She comes to see the “Amazing vendors.” Road 2018 was Johnny’s first time at Road. He really enjoyed looking at all the quilts on display. They included seeing Jenny Doan on their quilting adventure because they love her YouTube videos.



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.