Category Archives: classes

Author, Vendor, Teacher: Meet Jodi Barrows

Did you know Jodi Barrows has authored three quilt-themed novels and 26 quilt pattern books?

Her novels take place during the 1856-time period and is based on her own family. Since she enjoys the 1800’s, she likes to look at fabrics, clothing, museums, antiques, homes – just about everything that comes from that time period. She also spends a considerable amount of her professional time giving lectures on women and quilting.

In addition to being an author, Jodi’s quilts have appeared in numerous publications and she has been a guest on several television programs.

Did you know Jodi Barrows started her company Square in a Square® over 25 years ago as a way to promote her own quilt technique and tools?

Jodi says “that one tool does all triangle units and all of them can be done in any size.”

During Jodi’s early days of quilting, she felt that “cutting out templates one at a time and putting them back together always seemed like a big waste of time.  My grandmother always did multiple projects at the same time similar to today’s modern strip piecing techniques.  So it was natural for me to realize that there has to be a better way to produce triangle units without all of the hassle.  Doing, quilt biology, I was able to dissect the units in my head and it started my way of thinking that lead to the Square in a Square piecing technique.”

In her booth at Road 2018, Jodi will be featuring  Square in a Square® books, rulers, patterns, fabric, fabric kits and education.  In addition to everything Square in a Square® , she will also have her newest novel, Threads of Courage, to go along with her two others.  Plus, being a fabric designer, she will feature her latest fabric collection complete with quilts made from the new designs.

Did you know Jodi Barrows has been teaching quilting classes for over 24 years?

Jodi has a family history of quilting. She “really got in to piecing” at her local church attending an outreach class that combined bible study with quilting.

Jodi will be teaching 2 classes at Road 2018:

On Monday, 1001C  Square in a Square (Concentrating on Square)

and on Tuesday, 2001C  Square in a Square (Concentrating on Diamond)

What does Jodi enjoy most about teaching? The “thrill” of seeing “the student when that lightbulb moment” happens; when they first see “the unlimited possibilities” of her teaching.  Jodi says that she likes to inspire her students to realize that they can achieve projects that they never thought possible.

In her classes, Jodi likes to “teach knowledge” — something that the student can still have long after the class is over. Instead of taking home an unfinished project (UFO), Jodi refers that her students take home information and knowledge which provide motivation for the student to keep sewing and working on projects.

Did you know Jodi Barrow’s best quilting tip has to do with a sewing machine?

“When doing any sewing, including quilting, always keep a “runner” in your sewing machine.  Our sewing machines are happier when they have fabric in them, so always put your “runner” in before you clip off or take your project off of the machine.  I teach this in every class and it doesn’t take long to convince the student of its value.  Give it a try.”

To learn more about Jodi and her books, her company, and her teaching,  please visit her website.

 

 

 

 

 

Discover Your Inner Free Motion

Christa Watson will be guiding her students with their free motion quilting skills in four classes during Road to California 2017:

Monday: 1016C  Fun with Free-motion Swirls 

Tuesday: 2016C  Free-Motion: Designs with Lines

Wednesday: 3015C   Free Motion Improv 

Thursday: 4015C   Modern Free Motion Fillers

Machines provided for Christa’s classes are the Handi Quilter Sweet 16a sit-down longarm machine. The machine stays stationary while students learn to move their fabric. Skills taught in this class can be used on any domestic or sit down longarm machine where the quilter is moving the fabric through the machine.

Usually, if you ask a quilter who taught them to quilt, they will often reply, “My mother.” But in the case of Christa Watson, it was Christa who taught her mother to quilt!! Christa started quilting 24 years ago when a friend invited Christa to help tie quilts she was making for charity. Christa loved the tactile nature of touching cloth and thread so for her, “it was really love at first stitch!” 

Christa’s mother had always been a great seamstress but never made quilts. She tried to get Christa interested in sewing clothing, bags and other “3-D” items when she was younger but Christa just wasn’t interested. Once Christa took up quilting, her mom was her very first student and has been enjoying it ever since. Christa loves that quilting gives her and her mom something to do together.

Christa really likes utilizing modern, geometric designs in her quilts.  She is always on the lookout for interesting shapes found in nature and architecture, taking pictures and thinking about how what she is seeing would make a great quilt design.

Before Christa started teaching nationally, the first class that she ever took at a quilt show was at Road to California!! It was a thread painting class from Road award winning quilter, Nancy Prince. The class was taken during the time when Christa was trying to figure out what her “niche” was (hint – it’s machine quilting). Although Christa didn’t stick with thread painting, she still felt “it was the best class because I was able to observe what makes a good, successful teacher: someone who knows their subject, cares about their students, present their material in a fun and engaging way, and has so much passion for their work that it’s obvious with every stitch they take.” Christa hopes her students at Road 2018 will “walk away with the belief, that yes, it’s possible to quilt their own quilts and have a great time doing it!”

What does Christa like most about teaching? “Hands down, I love interacting with my students. I love that spark of excitement I see on their faces when they understand a concept I’m teaching. Their whole face lights up and they become much more relaxed and less nervous. I love being in a room full of enthusiastic, engaged students who are eager to learn.”

When asked what her best quilting tip was, of course it had to do with free motion quilting:  “When you want to learn a free-motion quilting design, practice quilting the design on a small practice square (about 10” x10”) every day for a week. After a few days, you’ll start to see a noticeable improvement.”

Christa shared with Road a touching experience that she once had while teaching: “I had a student once who was grieving the loss of a loved one. She told me that she hadn’t planned on coming to class but her family insisted she get out and do something to distract herself. She said she was so glad she came, because it really was therapeutic for her to stitch out her emotions in cloth. She said the friendship and camaraderie of the other students was just what she needed at that point it time. It was hard for me to hold back my own tears as she told me this, and I’m really glad I could be there for her that day.”

Road is proud to welcome Christa Watson to their teaching staff for 2018.

To learn more about Christa, please visit her website.

 

Creating Stained Glass Effects With Fabric

The 1,000 year old craft of stained or art glass, is often found in the windows of churches, mosques and other significant structures.  Stained glass is made from glass that has been colored by adding metallic salts. Small pieces of the glass is crafted to form patterns or pictures held together by strips of lead.

Iglesia Santa Barbara de Santa Rosalia, Designed by Gustave Eiffel,

Just as art glass requires the artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design and skills to engineer the piece, so does creating a stained glass effect with fabric. Road 2018 teacher Allie Aller has achieved just such a mastery and will be sharing her unique techniques in three classes. Allie will be teaching on Monday,

1017C  Intro to Stained Glass Quilting, Allie Style 

 on Tuesday, 2017C   Through a Gothic Window 

and on Wednesday, 3017C   Stained Glass Pillow 

Allie began quilting in 1971. As she puts it, she “stumbled through” her first quilt (made out of bandannas from the army surplus store) entirely on her own.  Her cousin was at that same time working in applique as a freelance illustrator. Allie credits her cousin as the one  who took her by the hand and sent Allie off in the right direction. 

Everything Allie does is “quilt related.” An avid gardener, Allie says she gets inspiration for her stained glass effect quilts “absolutely 100%” from her garden. The fabrics she uses reflect and express the colors and forms that she sees there.  “My quilts look like my garden and my garden looks like my quilts. The line is totally blurred…” confides Allie.

Allie also is an avid traveler. The farthest she has traveled was to Varanasi, India, where she bought the most beautiful jacquard silks in the world.  She is excited to be returning back to India this winter to study Indian quilts and handcrafts. 

Allie enjoys teaching, sharing with her students new concepts and skills, and watching them take off with what they are learning. While Allie will be sharing the various and wide interpretations of stained glass quilting, she hope her students will  leave her classes with smiles, great memories, and increased confidence and enthusiasm for their work. 

What is Allie’s best quilting tip? “Practice, practice, practice.  Think of your quilting the same way as playing a musical instrument.  There are skills to learn, craft techniques to perfect, ideas to jam with…. but the bottom line is, it takes practice to be able to do what you want to do.  Get it in your hands. Have discipline.  And play your heart out.”

To learn more about Allie, follow her on her blog.

Meet Road 2018 Teacher Lee Chappell Monroe

Because color and value are a huge part of making a successful quilt, Lee Chappell Monroe incorporates these principles in to every class she teaches. Says Lee, “I try to intersperse color, piecing and quilting tips throughout my classes. It’s not just about learning how to make that one project, but expanding their quilting skills.”  All of Lee’s classes are very hands on. She wants all her students to have an enjoyable day and leave her class with lots of new knowledge, as well as a project they’re excited to finish.

Lee Chappell Monroe will be teaching four classes at Road 2018:

On Wednesday, 3019C  Understanding the Rainbow

Thursday, 4017C  Lulee’s Garden Quilt Pattern 

Friday, 5016C  Precision Piecing All Squared Up 

And on Saturday, 6014C  Blooming Dresdens   

Quilts are a big part of Lee’s life in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She lives in a “cute little 1929 cottage” that she loves spending time renovating and filling with quilts. Her “main partner in crime” is her pup, Mack the Chihuahua. He’s a frequent user of Lee’s quilts, taking daily naps on giant piles of quilts that Lee calls “Mount Mack.” And every year, Lee makes a quilt for her one and only “awesome” older brother.

Lee’s mother taught Lee to sew at a young age. A master garment maker and of all things, Lee refers to her mom as “The Guru.”  Lee says her mother felt sewing was an important life skill that everyone needs to master. Before quilting, Lee only sewed if she needed something. When she was moving into her first apartment, Lee wanted a patchwork quilt. She asked her mom to make it but she wasn’t interested so that was how Lee ended up making her first quilt, using her mother’s stash!!

Where does Lee find inspiration for her quilts? “Everywhere! From a walk through the neighborhood to a cool tile floor, I find inspiration all over the place. I’m never without a sketchbook.”

A lifelong learner, Lee says she loves to “take classes that are out of my comfort zone.” Once, she took a map improv class with Timna Tarr. It definitely was totally out of her comfort zone, but she loved it. She learns something new in every class she has ever taken.

On her blog, Lee has a series called Terrific Tip Tuesdays where she passes along things she has learned that makes sewing and quilting easier. One of Lee’s best tips is to label your batting scraps right after you cut one. Lee says, “You’re way more likely to use them if you just have to look at the label and grab it! It’s so simple, but makes a huge difference.”

What does Lee like most about teaching? “Seeing all the different interpretations of my patterns. I love to see how different the projects look with different fabrics. Plus, I get to meet so many amazing quilters! Teaching is my favorite part of my job!!”

To learn more about Lee, please visit her website.

 

Learning To Sew With Cuddle Fabric

Cuddle fabric (sometimes referred to as Minky ) is a special type of plush fabric that is often used to make baby blankets, baby clothing and baby accessories. The high quality of Cuddle fabric prevents its colors from fading and its warmth from decreasing over time. Produced by Shannon Fabrics, Cuddle fabrics have become their signature collection.

While Cuddle fabric is a super soft and plush fabric, it can be very tricky to sew with until you are familiar with it. Road 2018 is offering three classes by a Cuddle expert, Sheila McKay, to help take the mystery of sewing with this type of fabric.

Along with her two daughters. Sheila owns McKay Manor Musers, a place for all things crafty. Their tagline is ‘Inspiration is everywhere … unleash your inner artisan’

The three classes Sheila will be teaching are:

Thursday Night 4063C  Fun With Painters Tape

Friday Night 5066C  Diagonal Sew and Flip

A quick and easy way to build a quilt right on the batting, and on

Sunday 7008C   Mixing Gauze, Knit and Cuddle

Tips and tricks to sewing with these notoriously difficult fabrics

Why does Sheila like to teach? Because she loves watching “the light bulbs come on.” Sheila shares that most people really don’t enjoy sewing with Cuddle fabric or with gauze and even knits. She is looking forward to giving enough tips and tricks so that most people can walk away with lots of new ways to make sewing on Cuddle and these other fabrics so much easier.

What is Sheila’s favorite sewing tool? “By far, it is the needle threader on my sewing machine!! I am lost when it doesn’t work. Apparently, I need to admit that I need glasses.”

Her favorite sewing tip is one she picked up from an instructor that taught a class at the Houston Quilt Festival. She showed her how to make a perfect mitered corner when you are doing binding by just using a sticky note folded in half to make a triangle.

In addition to teaching her classes, Sheila and McKay Manor Musers will have a vendor booth. Look for them to be selling all of their full-size patterns and template packs.  Sheila and her daughters have designed almost everything in their booth.  The template packs are appliques that can be put on the top of the quilts or anything else like purses, pillows or backpacks.  They also offer kits for many of the patterns so customers don’t have to go out and find their own fabrics.  Most of all, Sheila adds, “We offer a smile – stop by and see us.”

 

 

 

Twice The Fun Bernina Machine Quilting At Road 2018

Looking to begin or enhance your machine quilting skills?

Not sure if you want to use a domestic or longarm machine for your quilting?

Curious about the Bernina brand?

Road to California 2018 is offering three machine quilting classes taught by Sue NIckels where students get to experiment with both a Bernina domestic sewing machine and the Bernina Q-20, a sit down longarm machine.

Monday: 1011C     Machine Quilting Essentials 

Tuesday: 2011C   Freemotion Focus on Fillers  Wednesday: 3080C Masterclass on Feathers 

Sue Nickels will be traveling to Road to California from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has taught quilting on quilting cruise to Norway (which included a stop in the Arctic Circle!) and on a cruise that had stops in South Korea, China and Japan.  She has also taught classes for Quilts Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as well as in New Zealand and Australia. Sue and her sister, Pat Holly, are in their 4th year leading the annual Hollygirls Quilt Retreat each fall. They took over for Gwen Marston’s Beaver Island Quilt Retreats when she retired in 2013. Sue loves the history of quilts and quilting and is “very inspired” by antique quilts- especially the appliqué quilts of the 1800’s. She is also inspired by her international travels and textiles from around the world.

Of course, Sue’s favorite quilting tool is her Bernina sewing machine. She says, “Having a sewing machine that allows me to do the machine appliqué and machine quilting I love is essential. Her other favorite quilting tool is curved tip snips to clip threads. Why? “The curved tip snips make it easy to clip threads when machine quilting. Without them it would take much longer to do machine quilting.”

What does Sue like best about teaching? Sharing her enthusiasm for machine techniques and encouraging students to become relaxed and enjoy machine techniques. She also loves quilters and enjoys being with her students. Sue hopes every student in her Road classes, at the end of the day, will learn new skills, improve on skills they already have and most of all, enjoy the process of machine techniques.

You can learn more about Sue on her website.

 

Patriotism Runs Deep With This Road 2018 Teacher and Vendor

Deb Granger is all about patriotism and giving back.

She and her husband, Duane, own Freedom Star United, a quilt supply company featuring military and patriotic quilt fabric, kits, and patterns. They started their company in 2008 after she had lost her job. She knew she wanted her next venture to be something that “would make a difference.”

Why a military and patriotic theme? Because two of the Granger’s sons and one daughter-in-law have served in the Marines. In fact, Deb made her first quilt for one of her sons during his first deployment. Says Deb, “Our hearts are with the military.”

Michigan residents for the past 25 years, the Grangers are on the road most of the time, attending 30-35 quilt shows a year. “Road to California is our favorite,” said Deb. “The people are great.” Wherever they go, Deb and Duane are on the lookout for a veteran to give a patriotic quilt to. When they attended Road to California 2016, they resented a quilt to then 88-year-old Morrie Hegg from Apple Valley, California. The Grangers learned that Mr. Hegg was a World War II veteran, having served in the 11th Air Force Army Air Corp in Alaska. He came to Road 2016 with his wife and daughter who are both quilters.

Besides having a vendor booth, Deb will also be teaching a class on Monday:

1006C   Sewing Tool Caddy

One of Road 2018’s “non-quilting” classes.

Sewing machines for the class will be provided by Bernina.

Deb says she enjoys teaching and the “one on one time I spend with each of my students.” She believes her students will gain “confidence” if “they are willing to try.” Her word of sewing advice to her students? “Take your time.”

When Deb isn’t teaching or working in her vendor booth, she likes to spend time with her grandkids, bake, and run in half marathons. We hope our guests will run right over to Freedom Star United’s booth for an added boost of patriotism during Road 2018.

To learn more about Deb and Freedom Star United, please visit their website.

 

 

 

Artwork Classes That Enhance Your Quilting Skills

No sewing machines are required for these intermediate to advanced level artwork classes that will be taught by Esterita Austin at Road to California 2018:

Wednesday: 3001C  Luminous Painted Irises

Thursday (2 day class): 4501C Luminous Painted Illusions

Saturday (2 day class):  6701C  Animal Portraits

A resident of Port Jefferson New York, Esterita Austin has lived there for 40 years. Esterita has many master sewers in her family. Her grandfather was a master pattern maker in the garment industry of New York where today he would have been considered a designer. Esterita’s grandmother was a master seamstress and her aunt made all of her clothes and her family’s clothes and is the one who taught Esterita how to sew.

In 1980, Esterita began quilting by doing traditional bed quilts for her children. She discovered art quilting in the 1990’s and as she says, “it took over like a fever.” Lately, Esterita has been painting on parchment paper and transferring the image onto organza and then painting—the same technique she will be sharing in her classes.

When Esterita isn’t quilting, she is traveling. It is with her travels that she finds inspiration for her quilts, taking photographs of what interests her. Currently, she has a thing for old, rusted out cars. The furthest Esterita has traveled that is quilt related is Australia and New Zealand.

One of the things Esterita likes best about teaching is meeting other teachers on the road and sharing experiences. When she is in the classroom, Esterita loves seeing the lightbulb go off above her students’ heads. She has found that “people who say they can’t paint always seem delighted when they learn that they can.” One of the most satisfying things for Esterita to teach is value and value is used in all of her classes. She hopes her students learn how to use value successfully and that they gain confidence in their abilities.

Artwork by student, Sue Bianchi

What is Esterita’s her best quilting tip? “Take a dry, Mr. Clean sponge, apply Dritz iron-off to it and then rub on a hot iron to clean the soleplate. Always use in a well-ventilated area as this procedure will cause some smoke.”

To learn more about Esterita, please visit her website.

 

Meet Road 2018 Vendor And Teacher Lora Kennedy

“Life has a way of turning you upside down”

At least that ‘s what Lora Kennedy has experienced. At one point in her life, she found herself a single mom living 200 miles away from any family during a time that her father also passed away.  As time healed these wounds, Lora married again and her new husband brought her back home to Smithboro, Illinois, five miles from the home she grew up in and where her mom still lives.

Lora and her mother, Virginia

Lora had previously worked with her mom, Virginia, in her mother’s custom drapery business. When Lora returned to Illinois, her mother had opportunities come her way that led her to buy a Nolting long arm quilting machine and open a small fabric shop on her farm. Lora fell in love with long arm quilting and has been doing it since 2005.  After a couple of years, they outgrew the shed and moved their business, Farmland Quilting & Embroidery, to town.  It was there, during a class they were teaching, that their featured product, Stable Piecing™ was born.

That was 10 years ago.  Since that time,  Stable Piecing™ has grown “tremendously.”   Designing, making samples, writing patterns, doing shows & teaching has taken Lora and Virginia around another corner that has included moving the retail location and their work back to the farm.

The newest Stable Piecing™ release is due at the time of Road to California 2018 so their booth will be featuring this new product at the show.

In addition to working in her Farmland Quilting and Embroidery vendor booth, Lora is also scheduled to teach four evening classes at Road 2018:

Wednesday: 3062C  Twisted Log CabinThursday: 4062C   Pineapples Galore

Friday: 5065C   Drunkards Path

and on Saturday: 6063C   Storm at Sea

Lora loves to teach because she gets “to see the students get to that moment where they all of a sudden get the idea and then the creative ideas start rolling.  I want my students to learn a new skill, or revisit an old one in a new way and then be able to use that in whatever they want, however they want.”

What is Lora’s best quilting tip? “To take time to do something for yourself.  Take time to just play and not expect any sort of outcome.  Just be creative and see where it leads you.”

To learn more about Lora and her company, Farmland Quilting & Embroidery, visit their webiste and Facebook Page.

Meet Road 2018 Teacher Kristin Vierra

Kristin Vierra will be teaching two classes utilizing Gammill stand-up longarm machines on a stationary frame. These classes are on Monday 1014R   Fun Feathers that Fit Anywhere

and Tuesday: 2014R  Easy Background Fillers for Longarm Quilters

Kristin will also be teaching a class on Wednesday where Brother machines will be provided for each student’s use: 3016C  Easy English Paper Piecing by Machine 

Then, on Wednesday evening, Kristin will be teaching a design class (no machine necessary) 3068C  So I got it pieced, now what? 

A Lincoln, Nebraska native and former University of New Mexico nursing teacher, Kristin Vierra has also lived in California, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, D.C., Tennessee, and Louisiana before returning back to her roots in Lincoln about 10 years ago.

Kristin’s great-grandma taught her mom how to quilt and in turn, Kristin’s mom taught Kristin how to sew. As Kristin says, she has always sewn in one form or another, and even made an occasional baby blanket.  Kristin tried hand quilting but thought hers “never looked right; instead of nice even stitching, I had Morse code. You know, dot, dot, dash, dash, dash.”  She also felt that she never seemed “coordinated enough to quilt on a domestic.”  Plus, it always made her shoulders ache on big projects. When Kristin moved back to Lincoln, she “was lucky enough to find a used Gammill Longarm. That was when I really actually started quilting. My longarm and I just clicked and the rest as they say is history.”

Kristin finds inspiration for her quilting literally “everywhere.”   It drives her husband and kids nuts because she has been known to come out of a bathroom and ask for the camera because there was a particularly cool tile that she wanted to use as inspiration for a quilt.  Architecture, carpets, nature, designs on people’s clothes— all are fair game to Kristin when it comes to quilting. 

While she uses many quilting tools, Kristin’s favorite is her design board.  She had it custom made out of clear plexiglass with registration marks to help her divide up blocks.  Kristin places it on top of a quilt and draws on it with dry erase markers.  It makes it really easy to audition designs, without having to mark the quilt or even worse rip out stitches. She’ll be demonstrating this tool in her “So I got it pieced, now what?” class.

Her best quilting tip is “don’t be afraid to try.”  Kristin admits that “some of my coolest creations have come from my biggest mistakes.”

Kristin’s favorite aspect of teaching is “that moment when you can see the ‘light bulb’ go on in someone’s head.” All of a sudden, “some concept or technique they have been struggling with becomes clear and they get so excited.” For Kristin, that’s the absolute best feeling to be a part of.

What does Kristin hope her student get out of her classes? “I want them to go away inspired and excited about whatever project they are going to work on next.  It doesn’t matter if you are making cuddle quilts or the next BOS winner.  All that matters is that you are enjoying yourself and having fun.”

To learn more about Kristin, please visit her website.