Category Archives: Road 2017

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.

 

 

 

Meet The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild

Do you know the community of Big Bear Lake? It is a unique mountain resort community located 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. About 21,000 residents make their home here full-time.

Best known for its recreational opportunities like fishing, water sports, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, tours and winter sports, it also a haven for quilting. Big Bear Lake has two quilt guilds and two quilt shops in this small community!! It is also a popular destination for quilt retreats.

The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild has around 50 members. They meet monthly the 2nd Wednesday of the month at Patchworks Quilt Shop. ”Patches of Love” is the name they give to their philanthropy work. Their members make quilts that are given to children who are picked up in police cars or fire trucks after a traumatic event. They also support military families with quilts. When a family has a new baby and their father is deployed, they present the new baby with a quilt.

Their annual quilt show is being held this year August 4th and 5th at The Lodge at Big Bear Lake. They have invited vendors as well as showcasing quilts from the area. At Road 2017, the guild had their show’s opportunity quilt on display. What makes this quilt original is that there is a hidden bear in the design of the quilt. The guild enjoys asking contributors for this fund raiser to see if they can find the bear. It gives people the chance to see the quilt up close and is “lots of fun.”  Can you find the bear? Road to California loves supporting local quit guilds and their endeavors. Opportunities are given on a first come basis to showcase opportunity quilts.

Participating guilds must provide 20 hours of white glove service to Road for each day your quilt is displayed. For more information, please visit our website.

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Outstanding Traditional Quilt

From The Bride’s Trousseau made and quilted by Margaret Solomon Gunn won $5,000 from sponsor Janome for Outstanding Traditional Quilt at Road 2017

Margaret Solomon Gunn is a talented quilter. She won not one but two prizes at Road to California 2017!!!

Margaret won Best of Show for The Twisted Sister

and Outstanding Traditional Quilt for From The Bride’s Trousseau.  

What inspired Margaret to make this winning design? In 2011, she designed and quilted a 40” whole cloth.  This was her first attempt at the design process.  Of that experience, Margaret says, “To this day, it is unbound!”  The design for From the Bride’s Trousseau originated with this first quilt’s design.  It underwent at least a dozen modifications to reach the final form that was quilted for the 2015 finished quilt.

The current design is larger, and more complicated.  From the Bride’s Trousseau is a 1/8 symmetrical whole cloth quilt, meaning that it was designed on a 22.5-degree wedge, then copied and mirrored to create the pattern.  It is quilted in silk threads.  Margaret’s favorite areas of the quilt are the Sashiko-inspired fills.  They are quilted with a marked grid and give the quilt a very traditional feeling.

It took Margaret about a year to finish the quilt. What did she learn along the way? Says Margaret, “I have this ability to make simple tasks take WAY longer than they should!  This is mostly because I don’t just work on one quilt at a time.  I frequently have at least 3 quilts in various stages of construction, quilting or finishing at any given time. I learned that quilting with colored thread creates a beautiful effect, but it’s challenging.  I also learned that I appreciate taking the time to make a quilt double-sided (and it helps identify those pesky little areas that need fixing before a judge finds them!).

Margaret was “surprised” to know that this quilt had also won a prestigious award at Road 2017.  She related that From the Bride’s Trousseau “had been out and to several shows the last 2 years.  Sometimes it does nothing, and other times, it surprises me.  During the quilting journey, I have just learned to appreciate when the quilts do win, as nothing is ever certain.  I do the best I can do, and then it is out of my hands.  It is wonderful when judges recognize my efforts.”

After winning two awards, Margaret is certainly not resting on her accomplishments. She recently finished a book with AQS, along with two other self-published books. She teaches at select quilting shows and writes for Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  In her “spare time,” she even still quilts for clients (one of her client’s quilts was also entered in Road 2017). And of course, she is working on the coming year’s show quilts. All in all, Margaret says, “It’s a fun life!”

Charity Quilt Hand-Off

At Road 2017, Road to California sponsored its first Roadies Give Back charity quilt project to benefit cancer patients at the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center at Pomona Valley Hospital .

Before the show, Anita Grossman Solomon created a quilt block pattern just for this project and made it available for quilters around the country to sew the blocks that were going to be used for the project.

Anita is pictured along with Matt Reese and Matt’s mom, Shellee Reese, an administrator at the Cancer Care Center.

Then, on Saturday night of the show, quilters, some class teachers, and even a few vendors, got together in the Ontario Convention Center to sew the blocks together into lap size quilts as well as begin quilting the quilts.After the show, unfinished quilts were given to the Nite Owl Quilt Guild  to finish the quilting. In the end, 41 quilts  were completed.

On June 29, 2017, Road to California owner, Matt Reese, along with his wife Jennifer, presented to the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center the Roadies Give Back quilts which will be given to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy at the center.

Each unique quilt was folded into a Road to California reusable bag, accompanied with a card explaining the significance of the quilt and its care instructions.

While they were there, Matt personally distributed quilts to five patients including:

Joseph Derowen has been a patient at the center since December, 2016. He said that he “really appreciated” the gesture because 99.9% of the time, he is cold when he receives his treatment. He was looking forward to trading his “funky jacket” for the quilt to keep him warm. Joseph’s wife, Elaine, thought receiving the quilt was “very thoughtful” and was grateful that now her husband will be “wrapped in love.”  

Joyce is battling Breast Cancer. She knew that the quilts were “a lot of work” and remarked how beautiful hers was. Joyce commented that it was “very generous for the quilters to donate their time and materials.”

Petra de Leon has been battling Lymphoma since April. Petra replied in Spanish, “I am very happy to get this quilt. It is very pretty.”

Ray Hardy told Matt, “No one has ever given me a quilt before. This is cool.”

Road to California wishes to thank everyone who participated in this special project. They look forward to offering Roadies Give Back again in the future.

Men At Road Is A Great Fit

Quilting is a popular interest for women — and men –of all ages.

Donn and Allan liked seeing all the quilt designs and types of fabrics during their first visit to Road to California.  From Morro Bay, California, Allan grew up around sewing and quilting his whole life. It was Allan’s sister who taught Donn how to sew. Donn has been quilting for 4-5 years and considers himself a modern quilter. He quit a full time corporate job to work in a quilt store in Morro Bay, The Cotton Ball, and helps customers use the longarm machine at the store. “There’s so much to see” at Road, said Donn. “The quilts are beautiful and there is a wide variety of vendors.”

John likes to come to Road and meet up with this three friends that he affectionately calls, the “Triplets of Bellville.“ The four met in Paris in 2008 in a study abroad, Art History class sponsored by the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California.  John was a team teacher with two other professors and took on the role of “bodyguard” for the three women during their one month stay in Paris. Since then, for the past seven years, the four have chosen Road to California as their annual meet up place since John resides in Southern California and Dashe, Carole, and Michelle live in Northern California. John says that Road is a “fun place to hang out with the triplets.” He also said he enjoys “the quilt competition the most.” He likes seeing the “creativity and detailed work with the quilting medium.”

Bill lives in Westlake Village, California and has been to Road four times. “Once you attend, you get an email to remind you when the next show is being held.” His wife is a quilter but Bill says he comes to take pictures. “I view (the quilts) as art. Being at Road is like being at an art museum.” What was Bill’s favorite quilt at Road 2017? “Director’s Choice. It was head and shoulders above everything else; so life like.”

 

Meet Road Vendor: Pineapple Fabrics

A family owned business, Pineapple Fabrics is an e-commerce company that offers pre-packaged, pre-cut fabrics that can be used in over 60 different projects designed by the company.

Rick Kimelman and his wife, Dot, are the driving force behind Pineapple Fabrics. It was Rick’s grandfather who, over 80 years ago, started the fabric swatching business, Swatchcraft. Over the years Swatchcraft has evolved into a full-service business offering graphics, imaging, printing, fabric sampling and shipping needs for their clients, other business owners. Realizing that there are “only so many companies to swatch with,” Rick wanted to reinvent the company with a focus on “making sewing fun.”

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Their first attempt at retail marketing was in 2012, putting together and selling pre-cut fabrics – jelly rolls, fat quarters, and layer cakes — from designers like Windham Fabrics, Andover, RJR Fabrics, Dear Stella, Michael Miller and others. Their first show was in March, 2015 at the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, Chicago. The feedback they got from customers was that they loved the idea of having packaged pre-cuts but they kept on asking, “What do you do with them?” So, after that show, the company began work on 3-4 pattern designs to complement the pre-cuts.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

In 2016, Pineapple Fabrics began organizing their fabric packs by girl’s names in an alpha order. First was Alice, then Bella, Carla, Diana, Ellie and their latest, Fran. Each Pineapple Pack has different sized fabric cuts in different amounts unique to that particular name. When a customer buys a pack, they then choose one of 10 patterns designed to use with it.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Says Dot, “We do all the work of cutting and coordinating fabrics so all the customer has to do is sew. The Pineapple Packs are packaged so that if you can’t get to it right away, the pieces won’t be scattered.”

In addition to the Pineapple Packs, Pineapple Quilts also offers Quilt Backs (precut backings that match quilt top fabrics) and their trademark, Bonus Quarter—21” X 21” squares that are found in every pack. In the future, they hope to offer swatching for their projects—bringing it back full circle to where the business originally started.

Making sure their customers have a “happy, positive experience” is Pineapple Fabrics’ goal. That is why this internet based company comes out to trade shows like Road to California so that they can hear firsthand what customers are looking for and then implement their feedback, offering a wide range of colors and patterns. Road 2017 was Pineapple Fabrics second time at Road to California. They commented on how nice the show is and how everyone they meet are nice as well.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Another way Pineapple Fabrics connects with its customer base is offering an “outlet sale” every two months at their warehouse in North Carolina. The sales last three days and are “a lot of fun,” with special pricing, demos, and food trucks.

To learn more about Pineapple Fabrics and to order their Pineapple Packs and other products, please visit their website.

 

Family Fun At Road

Road to California is the perfect place for a family outing!!

(l-r) Rebecca, Nicholas, Pearl, Cameron and Daniel

The Medina family from Moreno Valley, California says quilting and coming to Road is “a family affair.” Young Nicholas is a big fan of Eleanor Burns. He’s been watching her on TV since he was 5 years old. His grandma Pearl shops at Eleanor’s store in San Diego county. One time, she brought Nicholas with her when there was a sale going on. Nicholas marched right up to Eleanor and asked her if she had any cowboy fabric. They struck up a friendship and for the past 3 years, Nicholas and his family have come to Road to meet up with Eleanor and her son, Orion.  It was about that same time that Nicholas began sewing on his great-grandma’s machine. He says he prefers to sketch out his own patterns.

Grandma Pearl has been coming to Road for 10 years. She has sewn since she was a little girl and has been quilting for the past 15-20 years. She is sharing her knowledge with her daughter, Rebecca, who started sewing twenty-one years ago when she was 7. Rebecca has joined her mom at Road for the past four years and says, “coming with my mom to Road is something we share together.”

After attending Road for the past 2 years, Daniel Ganczak, Pearl’s son-in-law, became interested in quilting and bought his own sewing machine. He says he is “practicing for now,” getting ideas and fabric and relaxing during the show. In 2017, Daniel brought his son, Cameron, who said that he was so inspired by Road and his family, he wants to start quilting and join his cousin with the family hobby.

Cousins Cameron and Nicholas

Another family from Moreno Valley came to share a day together at Road. Meet Grandma Lydia, Grandpa Larry, Dad Jay, and his daughters, Lulu (age 9) and Scarlet (age 7). Jay says his mom has always sewed and has been a quilter for the past 20 years. Jay starting sewing as a young boy. He is an artist and says that sewing is “another way to express myself.” He is teaching the girls how to sew. Lulu and Jay have made a wall-hanging quilt together.

Back row: Larry, Jay, Lydia. Front row: Scarlet and Lulu

It was the first time coming to Road for Larry, Jay and the girls. Larry “didn’t realize how involved quilting was” and was “amazed” at seeing how detailed the quilts on display were. Jay couldn’t believe “how many different ways there are to quilt.” Scarlet was hoping to get some ideas to start her first quilt and Lulu was enjoying all the “free stuff’ that the vendors were handing out. A veteran of four Road to California’s, Lydia is another Eleanor Burns fan and “loves the whole show.”

These two families show that the family that quilts together, stays together.

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Outstanding Modern Quilt

Z is for Zoey won Outstanding Modern Quilt at Road to California 2017. Sponsor Riley Blake Designs awarded $5,000 to maker, Mary Kerr and quilter, Karen McTavish.

Family and quilting goes hand in hand for Mary Kerr. She grew up in a family of quilters and her latest winning quilt, Z is for Zoey, was made for her granddaughter, Zoey Rose, Mary’s “very own mini-me.”

A Road 2016 faculty member and curator of the special exhibit, Quilt As Desired, Mary has a special affection for vintage designs. She wanted this piece to reflect the convergence of the past….her love of vintage with the excitement of the future….Zoey’s place in the modern world.

Z is for Zoey was inspired by a a single long strip from the 1930s. Tongues of fabric had been hand appliquéd with black thread on both sides of a muslin strip. It was never incorporated into a quilt and at one point someone even cut out one of the fabrics to reuse. The quilt married Mary’s “love of vintage textiles with the freshness of the Modern quilt aesthetic.”

Mary thought long and hard about the design. Once she decided how to create the “Z,” the top came together in just a couple of days. Then, according to Mary, Karen McTavish “added the perfect background with her distinctive lace quilting.”

While both Karen and Mary were “very pleased” that Z for Zoey won Outstanding Modern Quilt, Mary says, “My Zoey takes full credit for the win!”

For the near future, Mary plans to continue to teach, write books and hopefully inspire others to work with vintage fabrics.

You can learn more about Mary on her website.

Meet The Simi Valley Quilt Guild

The Simi Valley Quilt Guild was started over 30 years ago. With approximately 150 members, they meet the 2nd Wednesday of every month at the Simi Valley Senior Center.

The guild’s main philanthropy group is called, “Quilts in Force.” It is always ‘in-force’ sewing for others. Originally, the group made quilts for the Simi Valley Police Department to use in incidents where children were involved.  The goal now is to provide warmth and comfort to anyone in need whether it be from illness, fire, lack of resources, loss of a loved one, or other cause.

On their website, they post a poem dedicated to their members who have passed away but who are not forgotten:

Our family is like a patchwork quilt,
With kindness gently sewn.
Each piece is an original
With beauty all its own.
With threads of warmth and happiness,
It’s lightly stitched together,
To last in love throughout the years,
Our Family is forever.

(author unknown)

Walking in the atrium on Friday of Road 2017, no one could miss Simi Valley Quilt Guild’s Opportunity Quilt on display. Member Beth Bastian said they “wanted something bright” and that was certainly what they created.

All members in the guild had a chance to work on the quilt, receiving packets to work on various blocks. When completed, it was sent to a non-member gentleman to quilt. The drawing for the quilt was held at their regular meeting on February 8th. Proceeds benefited Pets for Vets and the Samaritan Center of Simi Valley, a homeless support center.

Road to California appreciates their partnership in supporting local quilt guilds like the Simi Valley Quilt Guild.

Couples Have Double The Fun At Road

Road to California is a great destination for some fun couple time.

Road 2017 was the first time visiting the show for Mike and Joan. Joan heard about Road from some of her “Sit and Sew” friends. Joan is new to quilting. She started a year and a half ago making traditional quilts. Joan says she likes the idea of “creating something unique to you.” She was really interested to see what Road had to offer and found it to be “mindboggling.” Mike brought Joan to the show. He shared that he had no idea about all the award exhibits and that he found the quilts to be very “intricate.”

Paul and Kim came from Carlsbad, California. It was their third time at the show. Paul is an amateur photographer and enjoys taking pictures at the show with Kim in them. Kim has been a sewer “forever” and a quilter for “a couple years.” She is glad that they don’t live too far away so they can see up close all that Road has to offer. Besides taking pictures, Paul enjoys seeing the art quilts and other “unusual things.”

Both Pam and Tom are involved in quilting. Pam has been quilting since the early 1980’s while Tom has been doing longarm quilting since 2005. They have been long time fans of Road to California. Pam started coming Road’s very first year when it was in the hotel across the street from what is now the Ontario Convention Center, 22 years ago!! Tom has been accompanying Pam for the last 15 years. Pam won the Tin Lizzy contest a few years back. She likes coming back each year to “have a good time” and see “lots of innovations.” Besides his longarm work, Tom is also an artist who enjoys painting on fabric. In 2016, he had two of his quilts entered in the show!!