Category Archives: classes

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.

The Doctor Is In For Thread Advice

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

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

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

Photo Courtesy of Superior Threads

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

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

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

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

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

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

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

#70/10 for finest threads

#80/12 for 50 wt. threads

#90/14 for medium weight threads

#100/16 for heavier threads

Final tips Bob offered when using specialty threads:

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

    Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

     

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

 

 

 

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.