Category Archives: classes

Machine Quilting On A Featherweight

They are small. They are light. They stitch a perfect straight stitch. And they can be used to machine quilt!!

The Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Model 221 was first introduced in 1934 at the Chicago World’s Fair. At the fair, the featherweight was considered a revolutionary machine due to its aluminum construction, small size, and a weight of only 11 pounds. The Featherweight machine was manufactured from 1933 – 1968 in just three basic colors: black, beige and white. Featherweight machines have stood the test time, built in an era that things were meant to last forever. Today, the machine has made a resurgence as a reliable sewing machine and as a collector’s item.
featherweight photo: View 8 MW150006.jpg

At Road 2017, Jennifer O’Brien from Sew Craft taught a $5.00 Lecture Class, Machine Quilting on your Featherweight. The first thing that the students learned was, yes, you can machine quilt using the small but mighty Featherweight. In fact, the principles are similar to any machine quilting project.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

In order to do free-motion machine quilting, there has to be free movement. Because the feed dogs on a Featherweight cannot be lowered, they need to be covered up so the fabric can move smoothly for quilting. Jennifer suggested using a Teflon pressing sheet cut the size of the arm of the Featherweight and secured to the machine using either masking tape or 404 adhesive spray. She also advised to cut a small triangle hole in the area where the needle goes in and out to avoid having the needle rub against the Teflon.

Another adjustment to the Featherweight for machine quilting is trading out the pressure foot for a machine quilting pressure foot. She recommends a “big foot” because it has an oversize, clear foot.

To start quilting on a Featherweight, start from the center of the project. With the pressure foot raised, put the material under the pressure foot then lower the needle down and up one time so that the bobbin thread just pops up. Pull the bobbin thread up to the top to prevent it from bunching up underneath the fabric. Once the thread has been secured on top, lower the pressure foot and begin gliding the material to free motion quilt the material.

Jennifer made a video to demonstrate these starting tips:

Because the sewing area of a Featherweight is limited, Jennifer cautioned that handling the fabric can be tedious. She recommended putting a table to the side of the sewing area to handle the weight of the fabric.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

As with all quilting, Jennifer said that Featherweight machine quilting takes practice, especially moving the fabric under the machine. She mentioned that quilting curves is easier than “stitch in a ditch” with a Featherweight. Jennifer suggested that the best way to practice is to make loops, L’s and C’s and even writing your name. Her final advice was to start small to encourage completing projects, pace yourself and don’t hurry.

 

Tips For Preserving Quilts

Larry Gonzalez, owner of Retro Clean, presented a $5.00 Lecture at Road to California 2017 on how to effectively care for and preserve quilts.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Retro Clean is a gentle soaking agent designed to safely remove yellow age stains (including mildew, wood oil, tea, coffee, blood, water damage and perspiration stains) from vintage quilts and all washable fabrics.

In testing and selling this product along with Retro Wash, an everyday, general cleaning product, Larry has learned a lot about what to do and not do when it comes to taking care of vintage fabrics and quilts. He shared some really good tips:

Laundering

When working with a large quilt, it’s best to line your bathtub with a bedsheet, then fill with water and a delicate cleaning agent (like Retro Wash). Wash and rinse the quilt (without twisting or wringing), then gently push the water out of the material. Using the sheet “sling”, lift the quilt out of the tub. Roll the quilt in towels to get out any excess moisture, then lay out to dry.

Never put a damp quilt in the dryer or especially on a line to dry, as you may disfigure it. Instead, lie it flat on a sheet on the grass in the sun. To protect from sun or bird damage, lay another sheet over the top of the quilt.

Hanging

An average quilt can hang for years if done properly. Never tack or nail a quilt to a wall. Some wood rods seep oil and acids which over time will stain the quilt. To avoid this, seal the wood rod with polyurethane varnish before hanging. Another alternative is to use invisible, magnetic quilt hangers or attach Velcro to a cotton sleeve basted across the back of the quilt.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Because hanging is not a natural position for quilts, Larry suggested taking them down quarterly and laying them flat so that they can breathe.

Storing

Acid-Free tissue paper or Tyvek (a synthetic, waterproof material) is essential to protect a quilt when being stored for a period of time.

While preparing quilts for storage, be sure to wash hands frequently to get rid of built any body oil and/or wear white cotton gloves.

Quilts need lots of space when being stored. Fold into thirds placing a sheet of acid-free tissue in-between each layer. Then roll up the quilt. Tyvek can be used to create a breathable, waterproof tube or bag for storage. Avoid storing in damp areas or areas that retain heat (like attics).

What are some common storage alternatives? The 99¢ Store sells water noodles (floating devices). They can be covered in cotton and used in folding to help avoid creasing or you can roll pieces of acid-free tissue into “cigars” to do the same. Acid-Free Boxes are not always completely acid-free. It’s always best to wrap the contents in acid free tissue, to be sure. Cedar Chests are common, but unfinished wood has inherent acids and oils that can leach into your fabric. Without losing the aroma of the cedar, you can line the inside of the box with sheets of acid-free tissue to avoid transfer. Plastic bags are not recommended because they they can lead to yellowing or mold on the textiles over time.

The best place to store a quilt says Larry is on a bed. It doesn’t get any fold lines and it is able to fully breathe. You can lay several quilts down on a guest bed and put a sheet over them to protect from dust.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

After all the time and care put in to making a quilt, don’t risk its lasting value by not taking care of it properly. These simple reminders will go a long way in protecting the quality of your quilt.

Learning A Vanishing Art

The Egyptian Tentmakers were once again a huge hit at Road 2017.

Not only were guests able to watch the tentmakers in action on the exhibit hall floor,

some guests were also able to learn and practice their vanishing art in several classes taught by Jenny Bowker and assisted by the tentmakers, Hosam Hanafy and Tarek Abdelhay.

Jenny explained to the students that in Egypt, it is mostly middle class men who have learned and replicate this ancient method of appliqueing. They gather in small groups in work rooms as a social activity. One man will work on one piece until it is completed. They don’t get paid until the piece is sold.

Because of cultural norms, it is difficult for women to learn this trade. Women and men are forbidden to congregate together in public so women cannot work in the shops alongside the men to learn and practice the appliqueing. And since men are the primary instructors, the only way for women to learn these skills, is if they have a husband, father, or brother teach them.

Women’s contributions are less public but their skills are just as much needed and appreciated. Women gather in groups in homes to sew. One such group of 10 women are hired by Hosam to help fill his orders. Hosam gives the women a monthly allowance to help them get by in providing for their families until their quilts are sold. Selling one quilt will feed these women and their families for up to 5 months.  That is why supporting these women is so important.

Maria Canela was one of the students in Jenny’s Tentmaker Applique classes. Maria is from Cuernavaca, Moielos, Mexico – a city about one hour from Mexico City. She came with four friends from Mexico to attend Road 2017 and take classes. Maria has been quilting for 15 years and participates in a weekly quilting group. She signed up for the class because she loves to sew and loves history. “The history of Egypt amazes me,” remarked Maria. She enjoyed not only learning this method of applique but also hearing Jenny, Tarek and Hosam share the history and current status of the tentmakers.

After the three days of classes, the tentmakers moved to the exhibit hall floor where they demonstrated their skills during the show, thanks to a sponsorship by Pollard’s Sew Creative, . In addition, guests were able to purchase some of their quilts.  Part of the money Hosam and Tarek received went back to Egypt to assist the women quilters there.

Road to California was pleased at the response of support by guests for the tentmakers and were honored to present such a unique opportunity to the worldwide community of quilters.

 

 

Meet Latifah Saafir And Modern Quilting

Starting off Road to California 2017’s Special Events was a Lecture and Trunk Show featuring Latifah Saafir, modern quilter, pattern designer, and founder of the Modern Quilt Guild.

Her special presentation was held Tuesday evening, January 17th at the Ontario Museum of History and Art in conjunction with the exhibit being held there, Modern Quilts Redesigning Traditions.  

The lecture began with Latifah giving a brief history on how the modern quilting movement began in 1998 when it became “cool” to use solid fabrics again. Quilters Gwen Marston and Nancy Crow

along with the Quilters of Gee’s Bend and Yoshiko Jinzenji,

were some of the artists that championed the return to using solid fabrics. The first modern quilt book was published by Weeks Ringle and her husband Bill Kerr also around 1998.

Latifah shared that she “always loved quilts.” While she learned how to quilt from her mother when she was 6 years old, when Latifah got her first sewing machine at age 10, she sewed mostly garments. At age 15, she checked out quilting books from the library. Their designs were basically the traditional, Amish quilt kind. In 2008, Latifah saw her first modern quilt and said to herself, “I can do this.”

About the same time Latifah made her first modern quilt, the modern quilting community was also getting started. First, an informal Flickr Group was formed in 2008 to share digital images of the work being created by modern quilters. It was an instant hit among younger quilters. Then, after the Long Beach Quilt Show in 2009, Latifah started the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild with 25 members.

Other areas around the world wanted to duplicate what the LAMQG started and today there are over 100 guilds worldwide.

It’s been almost 10 years since the modern quilting movement began. When asked where does Latifah see the future of modern quilting going, she replied, “Who knows–!!” One thing is for sure: the interest and skill level in modern quilting continues to increase.

Jan has been a modern quilter for 7 years and belongs to the Temecula Valley Modern Quilt Guild. She was attracted to modern quilting because it is “non-judgmental.”  She is self-taught, doesn’t use a pattern and just “figures things out.”

(ltor) Sharon and Jan

Sharon came from Los Angeles and has been quilting just 6 months. She takes classes with Jan. She started quilting after she retired from nursing and has made one baby quilt. She heard about the lecture through Road’s social media and was interested in learning more about modern quilting.

Debbie, Maria, and Pat all belong to the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild. The guild was started in September 2016 by a group of friends and now has 20 members. They came to the lecture and trunk show because they are big fans of Latifah.

Even long-time quilters are turning to modern quilting. Denise lives in Orange County, California and has been quilting for over 30 years. She considered herself a “traditional, Quilt-in-a-Day quilter” and fell into modern quilting because she wanted to do something “different, new, refreshing and colorful.”

Latifah’s signature “Glam Clam”– clam shells blown up.

Latifah hopes modern quilting will continue to inspire quilters to take ownership for their work and most of all, that it will inspire a new generation of young sewers.

Road 2017 Teacher and Vendor: Meet LauraJane White

LauraJane White will be teaching 2 evening classes on the Pleachét technique on Friday 5066C and Saturday 6061C 

Laura White crochets rugs at the Silver Dollar City National Harvest & Cowboy Festival.

Road to California 2017 is offering several “non-quilting” classes and one of those will be LauraJane White’s Pleachét  classes.  Pleachét is a technique used to build heirloom rugs from strips of old or new fabric. The fabric is loaded onto a needle — RugBeeRugNeedle TM and crocheted back off with carpet warp, leaving the material standing on edge to create plush rugs, chair pads and trivets.

The Pleachét process and the needle that is used, were designed by LauraJane’s grandmother, Laura Elizabeth Johnston. Her grandmother used it to carpet the family farmhouse, wall to wall, in Windsor, Missouri around the turn of the 19th Century.

LauraJane’s grandmother, Elizabeth Johnston, at a craft show in the early 30’s/40’s in the midwest

LauraJane remembers her grandmother dying her own wool strips and crocheting rugs, but is was LauraJane’s sister, Shirley Wood, who taught LauraJane the process. Shirley and LauraJane worked side-by-side for many years at the 1880’s themed craft park, “Silver Dollar City,” teaching and making their beautiful rugs.

The Pleachét Booth will be located at 2H in the Exhibit Hall and will feature the many styles of Pleachét from round, rectangle, and oval rugs to chair pads and trivets in both floral and geometric designs. Pleachét  tools will also be available. LauraJane enjoys interacting with her customers, sharing her family legacy and demonstrating a primitive craft that much of the world has never seen. 

In her classes, LauraJane will help her students create their own family heirlooms utilizing the Six Easy Steps of Pleachét:

*Choosing fabric and it’s preparation is key.

*Cutting appropriate width-size determining what your

 project will become.

*Proper loading of the fabric onto the rug needle to insure the

 neatness of your rug.

*Starting with the simplest of crochet stitches a chain stitch

 thus determining the shape of your project.

*Building the art work, one row at a time.

*Learning to finish your edges properly.

LauraJane hopes her students will learn “to embrace the importance of keeping the primitive arts alive in an all too disposable minded society” by discovering a new outlet to express their personal creativity in a one-of-a-kind, work of art.

This will be LauraJane’s first time at Road to California. She said she has heard that Road “is the creme de la creme of fiber art festivals” and that she is “so looking forward to this show.”

To learn more about LauraJane and the Pleachét technique, please visit her web site.

 

Road 2017 Faculty: Meet Linda Matteotti

Linda Matteotti will be  teaching two stand up, longarm classes :

Monday: 1015C  Begin with a Stencil 

Tuesday: 2016C  Simple but Amazing Projects on a Long Arm 

Four hands on, computer design classes:

Wednesday: 3007C  Mastering Electric Quilt Level 1  

Thursday: 4007C Mastering Electric Quilt Level 2

Friday: 5007C Electric Quilt – Foundation and Appliqué Patterns

Saturday: 6006C Art & Stitch for Longarm Digitizing  

And a half-morning drawing class:

Sunday: 7006C  Zentangle Drawing  

A  resident of Tempe, Arizona, Linda Matteotti is a versatile and qualified teacher. She is  a Handi Quilter Longarm Educator, an Art Stitch Certified Teacher, an Electric Quilt and EQStitch Instructor, and a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Besides Road to California, Linda has also taught as far away as Australia and South Africa.  When she’s not quilting, Linda does Zentangle drawing and book folding. 

How did Linda get started in longarm quilting? “I was not having much success with machine quilting on my domestic machine, so I decided to try free motion on a longarm. After achieving success on that, I am now able to quilt on a domestic machine or sit-down longarm with great results. After purchasing my Handi Quilter longarm in 2008, I became an Educator for them and have enjoyed teaching all over the world.”

Inspiration for Linda’s designs comes from “absolutely everywhere.” She thinks Pinterest is a “most amazing resource.” Some of her work has been quilting her mother’s beautiful embroidery creations.

What is the one quilting tool that Linda cannot live without?  “Electric Quilt (EQ7). I never make a quilt without it. Regardless of whether I’m piecing by machine or hand, applique or whole cloth. Every quilt I make begins it’s life as a layout in Electric Quilt.”

Linda’s favorite aspect of teaching is “watching the “lights go on” with her students, Her favorite moment is when she hears “that was worth the price of admission,” at the end of a class. Linda also hopes her students gain the ability to be independent with their quilting and designing. 

What is Linda’s best quilting tip?  “There are no “always” or “nevers” in your quilting journey. Explore different techniques and adopt the ones that work for you.”

You can learn more about Linda on her website.

 

Meet Road 2017 Vendor and Teacher: Janna Thomas

A Thanksgiving dinner in 2006 is what got Janna Thomas started with her business, Bloc Loc Rulers. Janna’s mom came with duct tape stuck to a ruler because she was tired of the rocking and slipping. Janna’s husband, Paul, being Mr. Fixit, took the ruler out to the garage and filed a groove in it. At this point the Thomas’ knew that they had to start their business. It took a couple of years to get their seed money to start things up and their company began selling rulers in 2009.

Janna and Paul live and run their business in Loveland, Colorado. Janna says that people might think that when she’s not running the business with Paul, there would be other things that she would like to be doing. But she insists that she “absolutely love(s) quilting and “ and isn’t interested in doing anything else. Janna keeps thinking “that when I’m an old woman I’ll try to take in some knitting and gardening, but honestly, I know there’s no room for that..quilting is too much of an obsession.”

What does Janna like most about her business? “I love seeing the happiness quilters have when they use our rulers because their projects turn out better than the way they’d hoped. The most wonderful thing is, they will come up to us at shows and show me photos and talk about how Bloc Loc has made their quilting an absolute joy.

The Bloc Loc Rulers vendor booth will be featuring a new ruler, the Pineapple Ruler. It gives the quilter two strip width options, any size center for the square in a square, any pineapple block size and rulers can be combined for special effects. The Pineapple Ruler is very easy to operate and making the block is very easy. Another new addition in their booth is Bloc Loc’s Traction Tape, a completely non-slip material that quilters can peel and apply to rulers they already own. The most wonderful aspect to Traction Tape is its ability to stay adhered to a ruler for a very long time and can turn up to 8 layers of fabric without a turning mat.

In addition to working the Bloc Loc Rulers booth, Janna will be teaching three classes that incorporate many of the company’s rulers. Janna will be teaching on Monday, 1010C Millefioiri

Tuesday, 2014C  Blooming Cogwheels

and on Wednesday,  3019C A Tarted Up Pineapple  Janna says that she loves “helping students learn in any way possible. Seeing them get excited about doing things they never thought they could do is extremely rewarding.” Janna feels it is important that her students  realize they can do anything in quilting; there’s always a way to achieve what they want to do and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Janna and Paul can’t wait to come to Road to California 2017.  They consider Road to be “theworld’s biggest and best quilting bee, filled with friendship, learning and magnificent shopping.’ Whether in the classroom or the demoing in their booth, Janna is always ready to teach how to pull off the best techniques at the right time, and how to set her customers up for success in every quilting situation

To learn more about Bloc Loc Rulers, please visit their web site.

 

Meet Road 2017 Faculty: Jacqueline Kunkel

Jacqueline Kunkel will be teaching on Wednesday, 3006C Proud Mary

Thursday, 4006C Seeing Spots

Friday, 5006C Island Breeze

and on Saturday, 6703C Vintage Compass

Jacqueline Kunkel, her husband, and her two “wonderful Quilt Inspector Kitties,” recently completed a cross country move from Connecticut to Mesa, Arizona. Why the move? Jacqueline had been coming to the valley since her grandparents moved there in 1970.  Jacqueline and her husband had been going to Arizona for about 30 years.  She has lots of family there (Mom and Dad, Cousins, Aunt and Uncle), so  they have developed a love for the desert and Arizona.

Jacqueline blames her husband for her start in quilting. When she was pregnant with their first child, he suggested that Jacqueline get a hobby.  At the time, she was a garment sewer and heavy into making baby clothes for their newborn.  She took a formal quilting class, at her husband’s urging, and hated it.  She says it was probably because of the format in which it was taught: cutting cardboard templates with scissors.  No rotary cutters, mats and rulers.  Eventually, Jacqueline took another class that had all those things and she” was hooked!!!”  That was in 1993 and it has been her hobby turned business ever since then.

When Jacqueline is not quilting, she and her husband “LOVE” to hike, walk, explore, and fly (Jacqueline’s husband has his own little plane).  They fly almost every day as the Arizona weather “is just sunny and gorgeous.”

What is the one quilting tool that Jacqueline can’t live without? Her glue pen.  Jacqueline says, “I use it essentially in place of pins.  It allows my fabric to lay flat and I can handle it with ease.  From paper piecing to appliqué, to binding, there really isn’t anything you can’t use it on.”

When it comes to teaching, Jacqueline absolutely adores “seeing my students creating and then seeing the finished projects.  I also love helping them through the process.  It is very rewarding.” She hopes that her students walk away with more than one new tip or technique” that they can apply to their quilting in general. 

Jacqueline’s best quilting tip is that she does not use steam in her iron. She always uses a dry iron as she has found over the years that steam will stretch the fabric which results in a block not fitting properly or not being square.

In September, 2015, Jacqueline published a new book, Splash of Color:  A Rainbow of Brilliant Black and White Quilts.

Jacqueline says that “It was born out of a desire to write about something that I love… black, white, and bright fabrics. These are fabrics that my stash is not lacking in any way shape or form.  I loved designing the quilts in this book, and better yet, thoroughly enjoy teaching them too.  I love the photos that my students and other quilters send me of their completed projects.  It is very satisfying and fulfilling… (The book) is fun, the designs are versatile, and black, white, and bright fabrics are timeless!!”

To learn more about Jacqueline Kunkel, please visit her website.

Egyptian Ancient Craft Is Returning To Road

Once again, Road to California will be hosting two Egyptian tentmakers, sharing their ancient craft and culture through demonstrations in classes and on the vendor floor.

Tarek Abdelhay and Hosam Hanafy first came to Road in 2015, presenting the exhibit Stitch Like An Egyptian. Guests were fascinated at watching the men demonstrate their version of appliqueing – a dying art form that has survived centuries of Egyptian history, being found in Pharaohs’ tombs. Originally, this type of artwork used to line tents or screens covered in appliqué that could decorate a whole street. The brilliantly colored appliqué are still used today for ceremonial purposes at weddings, funerals, henna parties, or Ramadan celebrations.Egyptian Exhibit

Hosam is a tentmaker through and through. An attorney by profession, Tarek is not practicing currently so that he can focus entirely on his tentmaker work. They will be in Ontario, California for the full week during Road 2017. In addition to their show duties, Tarek and Malik enjoy shopping at the Ontario Mills shopping mall and visiting a local Egyptian market and mosque. Most of all, they love interacting with Road’s guests.

Photo courtesy AQS

Photo courtesy AQS

At Road 2017, Hosam and Tarek will not only be demonstrating their ancient craft and culture on the vendor floor at the front of the main hall, but will also be assisting their good friend, interpreter and Road faculty member Jenny Bowker.  Students  will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn along side Tarek and Hosam  during Jenny’s three separate Tentmaker Appliqué classes that she is teaching on Monday ( 1001R), Tuesday (2001R), and Wednesday (3002R).egyptian-quilts

And exclusive to Road 2017 attendees, Hosam and Tarek will have available close to 100 pieces of their ancient artwork to purchase, ranging from $100 to $1,500.  egyptian-quilts2

Having these tentmakers at Road 2017 is one way to help preserve their ancient art and culture. This intricate craft has been facing struggles, as machines try to replace hand-made items and unscrupulous businesses copy and sell their unique designs. Road hopes to bring attention to the beautiful yet shrinking art of the few remaining tentmakers who continue to practice their trade.

 

 

Meet Road 2017 Faculty And Vendor: Jessica VanDenburgh

Jessica will be teaching on Thursday and Friday evening, 4561C  Stitch Sling Bagsling-bag

and on Saturday night, 6065C  Diva Walletprima-diva-clutch-wallet

This native New Yorker, Jessica VanDenburgh of Sew Many Creations, has always loved to sew and discovered quilting about 10 years ago.  She started making bags around the same time using her quilting fabric and tools.  Her friends and family loved the bags she made so much that she began selling them as a small side business.  Within a few years, the business grew so much that Jessica couldn’t keep up with the demand. She decided to try selling the patterns instead of the finished bags. According to Jessica, “it was a wonderful switch, much more rewarding and less stressful.”  A couple years later, she designed her first quilt pattern and the rest “as they say is history.”jessicavandenburghheadshot

What does Jessica like most about her business, Sew Many Creations? “The fabric!  I just can’t get enough!” Jessica is inspired to design more patterns because of the beautiful fabrics available.  She loves how fabric speaks to her and tells her what to make it into.

Jessica “absolutely” loves to teach. To her, “there’s no better feeling than to see someone accomplish something they didn’t think they could do and know that you helped them do it.”  Bags are Jessica’s favorite because they tend to have a reputation of being difficult but she breaks it down into easy steps. The Stella Sling bag is the perfect purse size with lots of pockets and includes Jessica’s favorite – a recessed zipper.  The Prima Diva wallet also has lots of pockets and a beautiful metal frame closure.

Jessica hopes her students learn that bags are not as hard as they might have thought.  They should be prepared: Jessica likes to have fun and laugh a lot during class.  And she gives lots of tips and tricks.

In addition to teaching her classes, Jessica and Sew Many Creations will have a vendor booth featuring lots of patterns, purse hardware, fat quarters, 1 yard cuts and bag kits.syracuse-2016

What is Jessica looking forward to when attending her first Road to California? “Meeting lots of new people.  That’s always the best part of being at a quilt show.” And to this New Yorker, coming to California in January “sounds pretty good too!”

To learn more about Jessica and Sew Many Creations, follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.