Category Archives: classes

Jamie Wallen And The Art Of Longarm Quilting

For one week at the Azure Hotel, students learned how to improve their longarm skills on Innova machines under the tutelage of Jamie Wallen.

Prior to becoming a long arm quilter, Jamie was a Registered Nurse for over 20 years. Burn out with the profession settled in after working 18-hour days, 7 days a week for so long. One day, in the mid-90’s, Jamie went to a friend’s house to help him put up a fence. His friend’s wife was a piecer and had a quilting magazine laying around. Jamie picked it up, thumbed through it, and saw an ad for a longarm quilting machine. He bought the machine 2 days later!! Right from the beginning, it was never about the piecing for Jamie; he was all about the longarm quilting.  He recalled, “I saw the potential for ‘painting on a canvas of what was finished.’”

For two years, Jamie did nursing and quilting was his hobby. In those days, there was no support for longarm quilters so “you had to make it up as you went,” shared Jamie. He did a lot of practicing on bed sheets to come up with ideas. Soon, the quilting industry began to boom—and so did his business. How many quilts has he quilted? He stopped counting three years ago when his total reached 6,500!!  

A resident of Michigan City, Indiana, he and his partner, Rich, travel extensively with their business, Quilters Apothecary. In 2017, they spent 34 weeks traveling over 60,000 miles driving and flying, including a one-month stint in Australia teaching in five different cities.   

Jamie got in to teaching as a way to be a mentor for friends who made a big investment in their longarm machines but didn’t know what to do with them.  Today, he values teaching as a way to be a caretaker for the industry.

Jamie teaches at Road approximately every other year (he previously taught in 2013 and 2016), and his classes sell out fast. Being from the East, he enjoys coming to Ontario during the winter. He appreciates the creative energy found at the show and all the inspiration that it has. Jamie says his students are always “happy and ready to learn.”

During his classes, Jamie demonstrated drawing and quilting different designs as he shared personal stories of what it like to be a longarm quilter. One thing Jamie stressed with his students was the necessity of putting aside time each day for practicing.  With drawing, practicing at least a half hour to 45 minutes will help build muscle memory which eventually translates over to working on the machine. “Drawing designs is addictive. Anything a pencil can do, a longarm does,” Jamie said. He recommended keeping a TV tray, a folding chair, and some drawing tablets in the family room and use them when watching television.  

With quilting, Jamie said that the biggest problem is waiting until you have a quilt before you start quilting. “You need to practice a lot before you lay down a quilt on the machine.” He added, “Every new quilt design is like learning cursive. It will look ugly at first,” but over time, “repetition brings rhythm.”   Looking for new longarm quilting ideas? Jamie recommends going online. “Search for contour line quilt blocks. There are 100’s of quilt blocks to print off and practice.” He also said to look for popular quilts, print a picture of them, and come up with three ways to quilt it.    

What are the biggest changes Jamie has seen with longarm quilting since he started?  For one, it has become more of an industry than merely a hobby. People recognize its value and are willing to pay appropriately. Another change is how quilts are looked at in general. No longer are they just functional fabric items. They have evolved into family heirlooms where quilters preserve lasting legacies.  Jamie shared that the current biggest trend is photo quilts—4×4 inch photos on fabric.

To learn more about Jamie Wallen and his quilting tools, please visit his website.

 

 

 

So You Think You Know Jenny Doan of Missouri Star?

One of the highlights for Road to California 2018 is having Jenny Doan, founder and face of the Missouri Star Quilt Company, teach a couple of quilt classes during the week and offer her popular Trunk Show on Friday Night.

Are you familiar with Jenny Doan? Superfans of Jenny’s might think they know everything about her. But we asked Jenny some unique and unusual questions that you might be surprised to learn her answers.

What do you like best about living in a small town (Hamilton, Missouri – Population 1,724)  I love that there is no traffic! Also it is so nice to live in a town where everyone knows your name and watches out for each other. You also can’t beat the friendliness of our town!

Missouri Star is made up of several themed buildings. Which one is Jenny’s favorite? I would have to say Penneys. It is our most colorful shop with all the solid fabric you could ever want! I love color!

It’s all about family at Missouri Star, a family owned and run business. Jenny’s children and their spouses play major roles with Missouri Star. What about the next generation?  The Doans currently have 21 grandchildren, ages 7-20 years old with one on the way, a baby boy coming this May.

Jenny is a You Tube star!!

What is the hardest part of filming her show? To be honest, the hardest thing about filming is to only share 1 idea. I can see countless ideas in each tutorial I film. I see it doing so many things. Has she had an embarrassing moment when filming? I feel like my calling in life is to do something to embarrass my children. lol But that aside, I would say one of those moments was when the puff foam part of my microphone popped off and I couldn’t find it anywhere! Luckily, I learned long ago to laugh and just go with it! 

Missouri Star Quilt Company sells lots of quilting and sewing supplies. What is Jenny’s favorite sewing tool? The Splash rotary cutter. I love that you can use it with either hand and it has a quick blade release. I don’t like cutter with scissors.

As a classroom teacher, what does Jenny want for her students? I will be teaching them to ask themselves… WHAT HAPPENS IF…​ I want them to try to think out of the box and start having fun creating. 

Road 2018 will be Jenny’s first time at the show. What is she most looking forward to? Sunshine 

What can Missouri Star fans be looking forward to in 2018? We will be opening 2 NEW SHOPS in Hamilton!! 

At the end of the day, what is Jenny’s favorite treat? I have 2 favorite treats. The first is frozen grapes. I love to pluck them off, pop them in the freezer and have them ready to pull out and eat. The second would be almost a daily favorite that my husband makes for me. Sugar Free Cook and Serve chocolate pudding! 

Tickets are going fast for Jenny’s Trunk Show. Remaining tickets are available at the Registration Desk at the Ontario Convention Center or at the door of the event.

 

 

A New Class To Help You With Your New Year’s Resolution

Do you have any projects that you weren’t able to finish in 2017? 2016? 2000? Were you hoping to start the New Year off by finally completing those projects that keep hanging around? We have just the class for you to help you realize your New Year goals.

ADIOS UFO- BIENVENIDO NEW PROJECTS, Class #6066C, is being offered Saturday night from 7:00 – 10:00 PM and will be overseen by Pat Yamin of Come Quilt With Me and expert quilter, Stevii Graves.  Both are excellent teachers and problem solvers that are anxious to help students make it past the finish line with their lonely UFO’s. This unique class is also a great way to meet old friends, make new friends, and enjoy projects made in a Road 2018 class. Sewing machines will be provided, so there really are no excuses not to start the New Year off right.

Pat has been talking about offering this type of class to show promoters for years. She has found that many students want to take a completed project home from a workshop or conference. But after the class has ended and their project needs just a little more time to complete, students find there is not a place for them to sit, sew and maybe even get some additional help. Also, Pat has had customers stop by her vendor booth to show her their class projects and often they say, “I wish the class had been a little longer, so I could have finished it,” or “I know when I get home it will remain in that plastic bag since I have lost interest and I will have no help.” (Does that sound familiar?!!)

And did we mention that the class will also be a lot of fun? There will be door prizes and special surprises for all of the students.

Anyone and everyone is encouraged to come to this class. It will be especially useful to the gal or guy who doesn’t live near a quilt shop or belong to a guild to offer them additional support. Stevii and Pat plan to circulate around the room and oversee the projects that are brought to class from home or learned at a class at the show.

Both Pat and Stevii have been associated with Road to California for many years and both will be coming from the east coast for the event. Pat lives in New York and Stevii lives in Virginia. They both know that there is never just one way to do something. They appreciate the many talented teachers that are out there and will never criticize someone else’s techniques.

Besides teaching this class, Stevii is on the Road to California staff. One of her many responsibilities is overseeing the judging of the contest quilts.

Pat will be teaching another class on Wednesday, 3013C  Mark-Baste-Quilt, learning how to get designs using stencils onto cloth and doing some hand quilting that can also be applied with machine quilting.

In addition to her vendor booth and her classes, Pat will also be presenting a Special Exhibit, Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles and Quilts! featuring over 14 of her antique quilts from her collection.

Whether you bring a project from home or one that you worked on during Road, let Stevii and Pat help you start the New Year right!!

Meet Road 2018 Teacher Cheryl Lynch

Cheryl Lynch will be teaching four classes at Road to California 2018:

On Thursday, 4010C   Silk Curvalicious Skinny Quilt 

On Friday, 5011C  Beachalicious

On Saturday, 6009C  Funky Town 

And on Sunday, a handwork class, 7007C  Mini Mosaics

Cheryl Lynch is an East Coast girl. Born and raised in New York, she has lived the past 25 years outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She says, “It’s the perfect location, halfway between New York City and Washington, DC and not far from all the quilt shops in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.”

If Cheryl’s not quilting, she is traveling to find inspiration for her next quilt. Cheryl commented, “I find inspiration in the world around me. It can be as close as next door or halfway around the world.” The farthest she has traveled that was quilt related was Bali. It was amazing to her to see how batiks are made.

Cheryl’s favorite quilting tool is a rotary cutter because of its impact on how quilting is done. “I can’t imagine making lots of blocks and cutting them out by hand.”

When it comes to teaching her classes, Cheryl loves sharing the knowledge and techniques she has developed. She hopes her students gain confidence and enjoyment in her classes.

What is Cheryl’s best quilting tip?   “Finished is better than perfect. Relax and enjoy the process. You’ll get better over time and you’ll be able to see how much you’ve improved.”

You can learn more about Cheryl on her website.

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.