Category Archives: Road to California

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.

 

Getting To Know The South Bay Quilters Guild

The South Bay Quilters Guild is very active in the Southern California area. Founded in 1979, their goal is to “further quilting excellence in the South Santa Monica Bay area of Southern California through educational meetings, travel, and friendship, and, at least once each year, to promote quilting in a philanthropic endeavor.” Based out of Torrance, California, with over 125 members, they meet the third Tuesday of the month.  

At Road to California 2017, the guild had on display their opportunity quilt that they gave away at their 2017 Quilt Show, “World of Color.”

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

In 2013, the South Bay Quilters provided the quilts for the atrium of the Ontario Convention Center during Road to California.

Active in the community, the South Bay Quilters Association participates with many philanthropy projects. They have donated over 1,000 lap quilts to local nursing homes and hospitals. The guild began a “Read Me A Quilt” program with CASA- Court Appointed Special Advocates. This group provides volunteers who advocate for children in foster care. The guild became aware of CASA from one of its members. For over 10 years, the guild has been providing quilts and books to toddlers through teenagers in the foster care system.

The South Bay Quilters Association is also active in the Wounded Warrior Project. One of their members had connections with field hospitals in Afghanistan which led to the guild’s participation. Their donated quilts are made to fit the size of a gurney and are mailed directly to the field hospitals. The quilts are given to soldiers and remain with the recipients throughout their hospital stay and their journeys home. The guild has been involved with this worthwhile endeavor for 10 years.

Past Presidents of the guild include Pam Overton and Lynn Crawford, founders of The Traveling Quilters. Lynn and Pam lead the bus trips that are offered during Road to California. At Road 2018, their trips will be going to “Robert Kaufman, the Farmer’s Market and then some!” on Wednesday, January 17th, and on Monday, January 22nd, they will take guests to Hoffman International and more in Orange County, California.

The guild is already preparing for its next quilt show to be held February 17-18, 2018 at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center where they will have over 150 quilts on display and featured quilter, Sue Glass, an extraordinary applique quilt artist.

 

Generations Of Quilters And Quilters To Be

Families of all ages and sizes find their way to Road to California to share their joint love of quilting.

Ben grew up watching his mom, Mary, make quilt for his bed and wall. He wanted to join his mom at Road 2017 to see what others were doing in the “quilting universe.” As Mary related, it is so “different” to see all the art quilts “in real life” than in a picture. A quilter for over 30 years, Mary had been to Road six previous times, always to be inspired. Ben was “blown away at the detail work and creativity” he found during his first visit to the show.

Kevin, Brenda, and Ashley (age 7) are from Simi Valley, California. Ashley had just received her first sewing machine the Christmas before Road 2017, a Bernina 330. She got interested in sewing from watching her mom sew. Ashley’s first project was going to be a quilt, of course, picking out the fabric and pattern with her mom. It was Ashley and Kevin’s first time to the show. Kevin found there were “lots of options for my girls.” Brenda has been quilting for two years and is self-taught. She had bought an embroidery machine because she wanted to make pillowcases. She quickly learned that in order to make the pillowcases, she had to sew in a straight line. Quilting has helped her to sew straight lines!!  Brenda’s first project was a king size quilt made of six-inch squares.

Jenna came to Road 2017 to model for her girls, Emma and Abby, how to “have fun and explore” new ideas to “make stuff.” The all loved looking at the quilts, fabrics, and different projects. Jenna has been sewing for five years. Her first quilt attempt was a baby blanket for Emma when she was born.

Married 41 years, Barry and Brenda McCutcheon have attended Road to California 10 times together and Party Time eight of those ten years. They come down from Northern California for “lots of beautiful quilts, cool ideas, and lots of fun.”

Will your family be joining you for lots of inspiration, creativity, and fun at Road 2018?

 

 

International Quilter A Big Winner

Hiroko Miyama creates beautiful, award winning quilts from her home in Tokyo, Japan.

She says that she was a “born handicraft maker.” When her younger son entered elementary school, Hiroko thought it was a good time to start something new. At that time, hand quilting was just getting popular in Japan and she thought, this was it! After she began hand quilting, she stopped doing her other handicrafts like knitting, dress making and embroidering.

Hiroko confesses that she has been “addicted to machine quilting for 8 years.” Most of Hiroko’s designs are her interpretations of beautiful scenery around Nagano, Japan, and of flowers and fairy tales. Recently, her husband Mosanobu Miyama, has collaborated on some of her designs.

At Road 2017, Hiroko won first place in the Art Human Image category for her quilt, Lily. Hiroko received $1,000 from sponsor, Maywood Studio/EE Schenck Company for her winning entry.

For this piece, Hiroko wanted to depict her granddaughter Natsumi as an elegant lady when she came to visit her cottage. Hiroko remarked that the resulting snow tanned face on Natsumi was not her original intention but that it didn’t hinder the results.

It took 4 months (or about 800 hours) for Hiroko to make and quilt Lily. This project challenged Hiroko to harmonize the quilt with her original machine embroidery. She designs, “punches,” (creates the embroidery data) and then does the actual embroidery. Hiroko reported that “300 hours were required for embroidery only.”

When she heard she had won, “I and my husband celebrated by drinking a couple of mug of beer.” They travelled from Japan to see the quilt at Road 2017. “I really enjoyed the show.”

What did Hiroko do with her prize money? “I bought fabrics and threads, of course!”

For the near future, Hiroko plans on having Lily displayed at AQS Quiltweek in Grand Rapid and then on to Fall Paducah.

Congratulations, Hiroko, on another winning design.

 

The Perfect Getaway Destination

Looking for time away from family, work; a place to go crazy, or just to “let it all hang out?” Then Road to California is the place for you!!!

Cathy and Lynn are sisters. Cathy lives in Oxnard, California and Lynn lives in Texas. They choose Road for the perfect sister retreat and to get away from family. Road 2017 was their 4th time to meet up at the show. Cathy has been quilting for five years; Lynn since the 1980’s. Going to Party Time is always on their schedule. They enjoy playing the games, “getting and winning stuff.”

Edith is a member of African American Quilters of Los Angeles. She and her friend Barbara (also a member of the guild and a tad camera shy) spent the night so they didn’t have to fight the LA traffic for two days. A quilter for 15 years, Barbara invited Edith to “her first quilt show ever.” Edith has been sewing clothes for years but has only been quilting for two years. A friend had invited her to a quilt guild meeting and she was “hooked” from there.   

These three friends, Amy, Laureen, and Judy originally met through quilting, going to retreats, in Palo Alto, California. Between them, they have 76 years of quilting experience!!  Judy now lives in the San Diego area and got the women to meet up at Road. They stay Wednesday through Saturday as “there is so much to see and visit.”  Meet Jeanie, Kendra (Jeanie’s daughter in law), Joyce (Kendra’s aunt from Iowa), and Mickie, a member of their quilting group. Joyce knew she wanted to come see her niece and she purposely planned her visit to coincide with Road. Jeanie has been hosting ten “quilting ladies” each month in her home. They look forward to taking their “field trip” each year to Road, seeing the vendors and the “beautiful” quilts.

(l-r) Kendra, Jeanie, Joyce, and Mickie

This group of friends are members of the “Quilters Gone Wild” Friendship Group of the El Camino Quilt Guild in North Orange County-San Diego area. Going to Party Time is a must. At Road 2017, they thought it would be fun to be “wild looking.”

Road to California is the perfect get away destination.

 

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt- Excellence in Hand Quilting

Linda Roy won $1,500 for Aztec Sunset from Sponsor, World of Quilt Travel

Linda Roy’s quilting journey began in 1988 when her husband had a job transfer from Southern California to Conway, Arkansas.  Shortly after moving, Linda saw a program on television on vintage and newer quilts that introduced her to quilting. Then, a little while later, Linda met one of her new neighbors, Irma Gail Hatcher, who just happened to be an award-winning quilter. Irma invited Linda to join a small group that met monthly at her home and then to the Arkansas Quilt Guild. Linda said, “It was a pleasure to spend time with woman of all ages coming together for the pleasure of creating something beautiful.”

Linda made her first quilt when her youngest son was three. She found that she could keep an eye on her son while he played and do her hand work at the same time.  She was hooked on hand quilting with that first original quilt and now hand quilting is her passion.

The design and color for Aztec Sunset was inspired by Mayan Ruins. Linda designed her quilt using graph paper. Since Linda made this quilt for herself, she felt that she had total freedom to make it “outside the box.”

Two of her favorite large tomato red scraps were utilized in the quilt along with other fabrics in her stash creating a four-block design with a spiraling border.  Each quadrant has different but similar fabrics. The tea dyed muslin and stripes are the unifying fabrics. 

All the triangles are hand appliqued along with the bias bars.  Linda feels that the additional hand embroidery on the quilt gives a little more importance to the hand appliqued triangle shapes.

Aztec Sunset took approximately one year to complete. A hoop was used for the hand quilting, working on one piece at a time.  Linda remarked that after deciding on the design and color, “hand quilting is my favorite part of the quilt… (it is) very relaxing.”

Learning about her award, Linda said she “truly couldn’t believe I had won such a prestigious award.  Stunned would be a good word to describe how I felt and still feel.” She plans on using her prize money to replenish her fabric, thread, batting and various quilting needs not to mention that the “worn out chair I sit in to sew could use being replaced too!”

Linda’s thoughts on her experience in creating a winning quilt is motivational for other quilters as well: “This award encourages me to follow my heart without fear of the quilting police.  Sometimes it can work out!”

Quilting Time Can Be Quality Couple Time

Road to California is a great place to plan a couple outing – especially when both partners share an interest for quilting.

Marianne has been a quilter for 9 years, specializing in as she says, “usable quilts.” She is a traditional quilter making the “big stuff”—king size quilts. She has even made king size charity quilts for a West Coast Casualty Insurance event that was held at Disneyland. Marianne and her husband, Ed, are from Downey, California. They have gone to Road to California three times together, focusing on the new technology that the vendors offer. Marianne commented, “My grandma would have used the technology (for her quilts) if she had it.

Married for 47 years, Les and Linda know the key to a happy marriage: they support each other with their hobbies. For Les, it is Classic Car Shows and Linda goes with him to Cruise Nights. For Linda, a quilter for over 40 years, it’s all about going together to quilt shows like Road to California. “Fair is fair,” remarked Les. While Linda has attended Road for the past 18 years, Les has only accompanied her for the last 10. They’ve even gone to a quilt show together when they were vacationing in Sydney, Australia (Linda said she knew nothing about it but Les swears “she planned it on me.”) Why does Linda enjoy coming to Road to California? To get inspired.  She says, “You see things that you never would have thought of. It gets you out of your box to try new things.”   And Les has learned another valuable marriage lesson: “I never ask her how much she spends on her stash and she never asks me what I spend on my car collection.”

Even a wheelchair bound Stacie couldn’t keep her and husband Ed from Road 2017. Both Ed and Stacie are quilters from Indio, California. They began their quilt journey together over 5 years ago by taking a quilt class. At first, Ed went to the class to just spend time with Stacie but he ended up liking it and has stayed with it ever since. Says Stacie, “He does it more than I do. I never finish my quilts and Ed keeps on me.”   They bought their tickets for Road before Stacie fell playing with their dogs, putting her in the wheelchair. They didn’t want to miss out “looking at quilts and gadgets and finding new ideas to try.”

A brand-new quilter, Sophia appreciates how her husband, Erik, helps her with design and color. Sophia is also a knitter and crocheter and felt quilting was a natural progression for her fiber arts interest. She is self-taught, having never sewed before until she started quilting. Her first project was a baby quilt that “turned out great.” Erik helped Sophia design a wedding quilt that now goes on their bed.  Road 2017 was their first time at the show. Sophia said she was “quite moved by the exhibits. They were amazing.” Erik thought he was just going to be seeing a lot of vendors (which he did) but he was also surprised by all the interesting exhibits.