Category Archives: Road to California

Meet Road 2018 Vendor and Special Exhibit Curator Latifah Saafir

While Latifah Saafir Studios LLC is new to Road’s vendor floor, owner Latifah Saafir is not. This innovative Modern Quilter and founder of the Modern Quilt Guild, presented a Lecture and Trunk Show to kick off Road 2017. 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. 

How did Latifah Saafir Studios LLC begin? After Latifah was laid off from her technology job with a Fortune 500 company, she decided to “try my hand at doing something I truly loved.” Already having a ton of contacts in the modern quilt world, Latifah added the resources received from a Kickstarter campaign two years ago to help her launch her product line. Latifah remembers it was a whole lot of work but she wouldn’t have “given up for anything in the world.”

A Los Angeles resident, Latifah and her husband help take care of her 96 year old grandfather. Latifah spends most days building her quilting business. When she does have some free time, she likes to slip out to her guild meetings and hang out with her guild friends.

What does Latifah like about being a new business owner? Creativity. Latifah loves creating products that help people tap into their own beauty and creativity.

Meeting and seeing people is what Latifah is most looking forward to at Road 2018.

In her booth, new and classic Latifah Saafir Studios patterns will be featured as well as her Hoffman fabric line. Latifah will also be demonstrating her “Clammy templates,” showing guests how easy it is to cut and sew all kinds of curved shapes.

Latifah is also curating the Special Exhibit, Expanding Tradition, which will be located at 713/717 during Road 2018. As Latifah commented, being “surrounded by quilts and quilters for a whole weekend—what could be better than that?!”

To learn more about Latifah Saafir Studios LLC, please visit the website.

 

On The Road To A Baltic Cruise

Road to California is teaming up once again with World of Quilts Travel in sponsoring a 10 day Baltic Quilt Cruise, June 27 – July 7, 2018.  

This is the third quilting cruise Road to California has embarked on. Previous destinations were to the Panama Canal and a fall tour in New England and Eastern Canada. The Baltic Quilt Cruise promises to be our best one yet.

What is a quilting cruise? A quilting cruise combines traditional cruising (complete with all the amenities and activities you would expect) with quilting experiences taught by distinguished faculty. The Baltic Quilt Cruise will be sailing on Holland America’s Zuiderdam ship.

Quilt classes for this cruise will be offered on sea days by internationally known teachers Jen Kingwell (Australia), Stevii Graves (America), Christine Marie Flocard (France) and Gillian Travis (UK). To learn more about the specific classes, visit this link.

Is a quilting cruise just for quilters? Absolutely not. We are joining a regularly scheduled cruise which makes it perfect for family and friends to join along.

What makes the Baltic Region so special?  The Baltic is one of the most enchanting regions of the world, with spectacular scenery, charming villages, and fascinating imperial treasures. Each port has unique, stunning scenery and offers lots of opportunities to shop, experience the local cuisine and enjoy sightseeing adventures.  What ports will the cruise be visiting? The ship launches from Copenhagen, Denmark and includes visits to Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockhom, Sweden; and two stops in Germany– Warnemunde  (for Berlin) and Kiel (for Hamburg) before returning back to Copenhagen. Each stop is for one day except for St. Petersburg which is overnight.

What is included in the price of the cruise? All shipboard accommodations, meals and entertainment as well as all Road to California Events which includes the quilt classes and workshops; a Welcome Reception; Show and Tell Gathering; Special Prizes and Gifts. There is also an option to join private group shore tours.

Have we convinced you yet to join us on this exciting cruise? We hope you will set sail with us!! For complete information regarding this Baltic Quilt Cruise including pricing, please visit World of Quilts Travel’s site.     

 

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.

 

Meet Carolyn Reese: Former Owner and Chief Ghoul at Road to California

Road to California’s founder, Carolyn Reese, set the bar high for our unique, second largest quilt show in the United States. Under her leadership, Road to California has grown from a small event with just a few classes to our current week long premiere quilt show hosting over 39,000 visitors from all over the world. Carolyn provided the vision for our show that includes hundreds of quilts on display, awards over $92,000 in cash prizes, classes taught by experts in the quilt and fiber art world, and over 225 nationally and internationally known vendors.

Born on Halloween, Carolyn felt there were no tricks when it came to overseeing Road to California but there certainly were plenty of treats. A love for family, friends, and quilting, combined with a keen business sense, all came together for Carolyn one  special week in January each year.  

What do you know about Carolyn Reese?

Carolyn Head shot

Personal: Born on Halloween on her grandparents’ homestead in Oklahoma, Carolyn and her parents moved back and forth between Oklahoma and California twice before finally settling in Southern California in 1953. Carolyn’s Halloween memories revolve around trick or treating with her children when they were growing up. Since becoming involved in the quilting world, she has spent many Halloweens at trade shows. How does Carolyn know she’s getting a call on her cell phone? It rings a haunted house melody.Halloween witch

When did you learn to sew? I learned to sew on my Grandma Anderson’s treadle machine. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was making my own clothes. I worked in the yardage department of the May Company store in Lakewood when in college. We used machines to measure the fabric and then tore it off the bolt. Several years later, I sewed Barbie clothes and sold them at a local department store to make money for Christmas.

How did you get in to quilting? Raising a family of three sons and a daughter, I found myself a displaced homemaker after 27 years of marriage. My mother and I decided to open a fabric store, The Fabric Patch. We soon found that we were the last two women in the area still making their own clothes. I decided to take a quilting class taught by Blanche Young in 1981 and soon after, we changed the emphasis of the store to quilting. (I finally put the binding on that first quilt to finish it in 2011).

How did The Fabric Patch become a trendsetter in the quilting world in southern California? We were one of the first quilt shops to be a vendor at guild quilt shows, one of the first in the country to offer “Mystery Weekends,” and the first to offer fiction books about quilting. I was instrumental in the forming of the Southern California Association of Quilt Shop Owners and started the Quilters Run in Southern California. I sold the store ten years ago.newrdlogo

When did you get involved in Road? I purchased the Road to California brand when it was just a few classes, nothing more. I had a vision to turn it into something more: classes and a quilt show. Road was first held in Anaheim and as it grew, I moved it to Ontario, California, first in the Marriott Hotel. When I was able to add the quilt show, the Marriott could no longer accommodate us, so we moved to the Hilton hotel. The show was located in the atrium of the hotel. We continued to grow in scope and attendance and moved to our current location at the Ontario Convention Center where we are their largest client.  2018 will mark Road to California’s 23rd year.

What did you value most about Road? Seeing all the people walk around with a smile on their face, forgetting their problems and having a good time.        

Even though Carolyn retired last year from Road to California and her grandson Matt Reese is now the owner of the show, her heart is still with the show. Don’t be surprised if you see her at Road 2018 tooting along on her sit-down scooter, waving hello and encouraging a new generation of quilters. 

   

Innovative Winning Quilts

in·no·va·tive  (ˈinəˌvādiv/) adjective Featuring new methods; advanced and original.
These four quilt artists were each awarded First Place and $1,000  for their innovative fiber art skills at Road 2017:
Innovative, Large
The A-E-I-O Ewes by Janet Stone.

Sponsored by BERNINA of America, Janet says,  “I had to design this quilt after the title came to me first, while lying in bed one night. The color fabrics were all hand dyed by my very talented friend, Gilbert Muniz. It was originally going to be just a wall quilt, but it demanded to be bit larger. This is the 16th quilt in my alphabet quilt series.”

Innovative, Wall, Appliqué 

PROUD PEACOCK by Mrs. Antonia Hering

Antonia is a resident of The Netherlands. She came up with her original design because she always wanted to make a quilt with a peacock.  Antonia said, “The challenge was to use very tiny stitches. It had to be a special one, different from all I had seen. Another challenge was the hand-piecing of the tiny triangles in the spirals.The rest of the quilt is inspired by old catalogs from the 1800’s showing all kinds of long forgotten crafts.” Leo9 Textiles sponsored this winning quilt. 

Innovative, Wall, Other

Bailando en la Noche (Dancing in the Night) by Shelley Stokes

Kerry’s Kollectibles sponsored this winning quilt. Shelley describes her innovative design that “the colorful medallions evoke the swirling skirts of Mexican folk dancers under an exuberant night sky. Just as music and dance add delight to our lives, hand stitching breathes life into the painted images. The shapes in the medallions were painted on whole cloth black fabric with Shiva Artist’s Paintstiks. All surface stitching was done by hand with pearl cotton threads. It appears to be appliqué, but it’s not.”

  Innovative, Wall, Pieced 

Five Turns of the Wheel by Sandra F. Peterson

This quilt was designed using Sandra’s original “fractured wheels” because she was thinking about a design that fills in between circles.  For Sandra, “the idea of playing with colors that move through the circles with an imaginary turn of each wheel was intriguing. Clockwise, follow yellow starting with the lower left corner circle and watch it move through the circles and burst out and consume the center circle.” Thank you Primitive Gatherings for sponsoring Sandra’s winning entry.

What innovative designs are you working on?

 

 

 

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.

Art Critter First Place Winning Quilt

Have you ever tried to express your love of animals in a quilt design?

That’s exactly what Wendy Knight of San Diego, California did with her Road 2017 winning design, Here’s Lookin’ at You.

Wendy grew up with horses and they have always been an inspiration to her. Many of her quilts have horses in them but this was the first quilt which solely showcased the horse. Her intent was to create a white horse on a white background without using white fabrics, making it look like a watercolor painting, which wasn’t totally photo realistic. Says Wendy, “I always like to pose a challenge to myself, as I feel this is the most important part of what keeps me learning.”

A lifetime sewing lover, Wendy wasn’t exposed to quilting until a good friend, who Wendy played soccer with, decided it might be fun for the two of them to take a quilting class. They both had young children at the time and thought the class would be a great way to get some alone time. They signed up for a class at their local quilt shop, bought all the supplies and arrived on the evening of the first class.  As they stood at the door of the shop, they got second thoughts about taking the class. They reasoned that they were young women and figured that the others in the class were probably a bunch of older women that they would have nothing in common with. As Wendy remembered, “Being the silly girls that we were, we got in our car and left the building! Months later we decided to give it a go again.  Much to our surprise, the teacher and the students were a mix of ages, interests and backgrounds, and it turned out to be a turning point in my life.”

It took Wendy about a year and a half, working on it off and on, to complete Here’s Lookin’ at You. The quilt was designed to be appliquéd and Wendy quickly realized that that would never happen. She went back to the drafting to redesign the pattern in order to machine piece it together. Auditioning the eventual fabrics that were used in the quilt took the most time in the process because she had to get the shadows and highlights to work well with such a high key piece.

What did Wendy learn from making and quilting Here’s Lookin’ at you? “There are always so many things that I learn while creating every quilt. Most don’t smack me I the face, but gently nudge me into a new direction or force me to experiment with some new technique. I did learn that working in high key, or a very light range of values, came much more natural to me than I thought it would. Thank goodness for all the batiks I still had from 20 years ago. They were really the pieces that helped me pull it off.”

Wendy received $1,000 for 1st Place in the Art Critter category from sponsor Martelli Enterprises, Inc. She said she was “shocked and elated” to find out she had won and added, “It is a wonderful feeling when something you create touches someone else the way I intended it to. I actually had to read the email twice to my husband before it really soaked in.”

Wendy hasn’t decided what to do with her prize money yet. “I have tons of ideas and will be building a new studio addition which will offer many ways to use the prize money. The reality is, it will probably go to something special for the grandkids. Maybe a trip to Disneyland!”

What is in store for Wendy’s future quilting life? “Currently I’m working on a designing a series of historical, pictorial quilts of the Civil War, Revolutionary War etc., as well as continuing to design and piece my watercolor pictorial horses and other animals. My belief is that we can never learn enough, so I’ll continue to take classes and explore new techniques. I’ll retreat to my sewing room where, as I say, daydreaming and playing are always allowed.”

To learn more about Wendy, please visit her website.

 

 

Road 2017 Best Use of Color Winning Quilt

It took Andrea about 6 months to create Blue Anemone. One week to create the pattern, then one month to hand paint the whole cloth design and finally 4 1/2  months to quilt and finish. The quilting was done on her Innova Stationary Longarm and Janome Horizon 8200 Sewing machine.

The biggest challenge of this quilt for Andrea was creating the subtle nuances of the color changes with the lights and shadows within the flower.

What inspired Andrea’s winning design? “I always loved the deep colors of blue anemone poppies and I knew that one day I would create one in fabric. I was visiting my mom in Oregon and one day we went to one of her favorite nurseries. They had some of the most beautiful red, orange and blue anemones growing. This quilt is based on one of those photographs.”

Andrea has been sewing since she was a child and had created a number of other needle crafts projects over the years. Her quilting journey began when she moved to Texas and joined a stitching group as a way to meet people with similar interests. One of the women in the group was a quilter and she convinced everyone to make a round robin style picnic quilt.  After that project, Andrea wanted to make an applique quilt. She taught herself the technique from an applique book. When she finished that quilt,  Andrea felt she had officially “caught the quilting bug” and has been creating in fabric ever since.

Blue Anemone was awarded $1,500.00 for Best Use of Color by sponsor, Carriage Country Quilts. With her prize money, Andrea took her husband out to dinner, bought some fabric and put the rest in the bank.

Andrea hopes to continue her journey to create realistic botanical imagery with fabric, thread and paint. She says that “with each quilt I make, I try to challenge myself to hone my artistic voice.” Andrea also looks forward to teaching her techniques at quilt shows, retreat style workshops, and at local quilt guilds.

To learn more about Andrea, you can follow her on her personal and business Facebook Pages.

Another Double Winner at Road 2017

Joanne Baeth won two, prestigious $1,000 awards at Road to California 2017:

Sponsored by Brother International Corporation, Joanne received 1st Place: Art Naturescape for Country Roads 

and, Sponsored by Robert Kaufman Co., Inc, 1st Place: Art Pictorial for Summer Lake Sandhills

Joanne Baeth finds lots of inspiration to create her winning quilts from where she lives in South Eastern Oregon. “I am constantly inspired by the wildlife and landscapes surrounding me,” says Joanne.

A quilter since the 1980’s making mostly “traditional quilts,” when Joanne retired from teaching 14 years ago, she rediscovered her love for quilting and art quilting became her passion.

Joanne did extensive research and worked on both of her winning quilts over a one and half year period. Joanne got interested in tractors, the subject of Country Roads, when she and her husband attended a Country Fair in Arizona a few years ago. They were intrigued by a display of antique tractors. Then, for the next several years after that experience, they started taking lots of pictures of old tractors they came across along back country roads. Joanne said that they “even jumped a few fences to get a closer view.” At the same time, Joanne’s neighbor, Hank, got her on a tractor chat line where she was able to learn all kinds of interesting information about tractors.

The construction for Country Roads incorporated overpainted fabric for the different parts of the tractors.  The barn and house, which were inspired from old pictures of Joanne’s husband’s grandmother’s house in North Dakota, were assembled one board at a time.  Joanne’s “very detailed” design also includes fences with cotton cording barbed wire, thread painted bushes and grasses, and silk snippets for the leaves of the trees not to mention “extensive” machine quilting.

A wetland refuge called Summer Lake near where Joanne lives, was the inspiration for Summer Lake Sandhills. It has a ridge which rises to over 7000 feet called Winter Rim where hundreds of Sandhill Cranes migrate to early each spring. Joanne and her husband took many pictures of this area for the basis of her quilt.

Again, Joanne used unique techniques in creating Summer Lake Sandhills. The Winter Rim in the quilt was painted with acrylic paints and puff paints were heat distressed to add texture.  The feathers of the Sandhills were individually cut out, highlighted with inks, and fused one feather at a time.  Thread painted bushes and reflections were added prior to the extensive machine quilting.

Road to California is always a stopping place for Joanne and her husband as they travel all over the West. She says that she enjoys reconnecting with other quilters, viewing all of the beautiful quilts on display, and, “if I’m lucky enough, win a prize.” She also likes to purchase all kinds of products that she “absolutely needs” at the many vendors that are available.

You can learn more about Joanne and her fiber arts on her website.

 

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Excellence in Longarm Quilting

Bethanne Nemesh won $1,500.00 at Road to California 2017 from sponsor American Professional Quilting Systems for Into the Western Sun.

When Bethanne Nemesh began quilting, she “could not tolerate” the fabric choices being sold in stores which she described as “grandma” style calicos.” Then, in college, she met a well-known fiber artist who specialized in dying and using printmaking techniques to create her own fabric. This experience and the “batik revolution” opened Bethanne’s eyes to all the different fabric possibilities—and she was hooked.

Into the Western Sun, remembers Bethanne, was inspired by two things: First, a trip she took to the American Southwest and second, a family story. Bethanne says that she was deeply touched by the color and shape of the desert, and in awe of the many plants and animals that manage to live there despite the harsh environment.

The family story was of Bethanne’s “many times great grandmother, Cora, who immigrated in a Conestoga wagon from Tennessee to Kansas to homestead a farm.”  Her story made Bethanne think of the entire westward expansion and the many settlers who were unsuccessful in their efforts, perishing on the journey.  Perhaps, considered Bethanne, “If they had been more knowledgeable or respectful of the landscape they had hoped to cross or tame, they would have fared better.”  It was also Bethanne’s hope to make an environmental statement; to encourage people to live within their environment and not try to control or tame it.

It took approximately 700 hours to complete Into the Western Sun. Bethanne does a lot of environmental research on her quilts. She enjoyed learning many new things about the desert.  And, as always, she also learned a few new quilt construction pros and cons for her next quilt.

Winning Excellence in Longarm Quilting was a “deep honor” for Bethanne. She intends to use her prize money for a family vacation.

Where does Bethanne go from here? Besides having several new quilts in the works, she intends to continue to grow as an artist and as a teacher. Bethanne enjoys meeting and learning from her students as much as they learn from her.