Category Archives: Vendors

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.”

 

 

 

John Deer’s Adorable Ideas And The Art of Digitizing Embroidery

In order to get to know and fully appreciate Road 2018 vendor John Deer’s Adorable Ideas, you first need to know a little about the history of embroidery.

Did you know that embroidery began over 3000 years ago?

Hand embroidery began with the Ancient Egyptians. It became more prolific in the Middle Ages, and expanded to tapestries, laces, curtains, and bed covers during the Renaissance Period. The invention of the embroidery machine (replacing the work done by hand), came about in the 1800’s.

One of the best known of these embroidery machines was a Schiffli, created in 1873 by Isaac Groebli of Switzerland. This machine was based on the principals introduced by the newly invented sewing machine. Groebli’s machine utilized the combination of a continuously threaded needle and shuttle containing a bobbin of thread. The shuttle itself looked similar to the hull of a sailboat. “Schiffli” in the Swiss dialect of the German language, means “little boat”.

John Deer’s Adorable Ideas grew out of his grandparent’s commercial Schiffli loom embroidery factory started in the 1950’s. John tells the story of the history of his family and how embroidery machines eventually became digitized in this video:

John also adds, “To the best of my knowledge I’m one of two living Schiffli master digitizers who learned how to digitize before computers entered the embroidery industry. I attribute this as the main reason why I’ve been the most awarded digitizer in the world for over two decades now.”

What does John like best about his business? “Alongside the artistic merit involved & passing along the age-old theory to advance the beautiful art of digitizing, the fact that my eldest son is now within the family business. Working together and seeing him play and integral part in propelling our company forward has made the business exciting once again. No greater satisfaction is that of building a legacy which will continue for generations to come.”

At Road 2018, John Deer’s Adorable Ideas will highlight both sides of his business: Ultimate Stash.com, a treasure trove of award-winning embroidery designs and Digitizing Made Easy, a site dedicated to Embroidery Digitizing Education. The booth is featuring three unique products:

  1. The Ultimate Ladybug Club: Adorable Ideas has amassed a very large catalog of designs throughout the years, over 25000 to choose from and new releases every week. What differs is our “Netflix” model at our Ultimate Stash site, which gives our Club members incredible value and quality that can’t be matched.
  2. Hatch Software: As an official Wilcom Hatch reseller, we offer the world’s best embroidery software for every level of embroiderer. Providing both affordable pricing and educational resources to get the user quickly past the learn curve.
  3. Interactive Digitizing Lessons: Our Digitizing Made Easy site provides Interactive Streaming Education for 10 of the industry’s leading brands of Digitizing Software.

A native of Toronto, Canada and John and his wife Jennifer currently reside in Costa Rica. They have “three beautiful kids and a recent addition to the family our first grandchild. Other than being involve with a mission driven church here in Costa Rica, my business is my hobby which makes me a very blessed man.”

Road 2018 will be John’s first time at the show. About coming to Road to California, John says, “given the incredible reputation ‘Road’ has developed, I’m just looking forward to being part of one of the biggest and best shows in the industry!”

The embroidery industry has made huge developments in the past 3000 years and John Deer’s Adorable Ideas has played a major role in advancing this art with 21st century technology.

 

Patriotism Runs Deep With This Road 2018 Teacher and Vendor

Deb Granger is all about patriotism and giving back.

She and her husband, Duane, own Freedom Star United, a quilt supply company featuring military and patriotic quilt fabric, kits, and patterns. They started their company in 2008 after she had lost her job. She knew she wanted her next venture to be something that “would make a difference.”

Why a military and patriotic theme? Because two of the Granger’s sons and one daughter-in-law have served in the Marines. In fact, Deb made her first quilt for one of her sons during his first deployment. Says Deb, “Our hearts are with the military.”

Michigan residents for the past 25 years, the Grangers are on the road most of the time, attending 30-35 quilt shows a year. “Road to California is our favorite,” said Deb. “The people are great.” Wherever they go, Deb and Duane are on the lookout for a veteran to give a patriotic quilt to. When they attended Road to California 2016, they resented a quilt to then 88-year-old Morrie Hegg from Apple Valley, California. The Grangers learned that Mr. Hegg was a World War II veteran, having served in the 11th Air Force Army Air Corp in Alaska. He came to Road 2016 with his wife and daughter who are both quilters.

Besides having a vendor booth, Deb will also be teaching a class on Monday:

1006C   Sewing Tool Caddy

One of Road 2018’s “non-quilting” classes.

Sewing machines for the class will be provided by Bernina.

Deb says she enjoys teaching and the “one on one time I spend with each of my students.” She believes her students will gain “confidence” if “they are willing to try.” Her word of sewing advice to her students? “Take your time.”

When Deb isn’t teaching or working in her vendor booth, she likes to spend time with her grandkids, bake, and run in half marathons. We hope our guests will run right over to Freedom Star United’s booth for an added boost of patriotism during Road 2018.

To learn more about Deb and Freedom Star United, please visit their website.

 

 

 

Meet Road 2018 Vendor Orange Dot Quilts

 

Be Fearless

That’s the motto that drives and inspires Dora Cary, owner and creator of Orange Dot Quilts.

Dora was born in Romania and studied to become first, an engineer and then a graphic designer. She moved to the United States in 2001 and discovered quilts and quilting in 2006. In 2008, Dora became an American citizen and finished her first quilt. She wrote her first pattern and opened her Orange Dot Quilts Etsy shop in 2013. Three years later, she decided to make quilting her life and her living. Today, Dora lives on the Central Coast of California, in Paso Robles, with her husband and daughter, two dogs, three cats, and four sewing machines. Aside from quilting, Dora loves to travel, dance, read, and learn new languages. Since quilting has become a full-time business, Dora has taken up guitar as her new hobby.

Dora created a No Baste method for quilting fearlessly and free on a domestic sewing machine.   She started writing quilt patterns because she wanted to bring her own creative ideas to life. Being both an engineer and a designer prepared Dora well for both aspects of pattern design: the technical part and the art part. In her first year as a pattern designer, she created eight new patterns and placed them in her Etsy shop but Dora says her “real start in business happened when I participated in the 2016 Spring Quilt Market as a helper. Preparing for my presence at Market, I designed a beautiful brochure featuring my first eight patterns and, fearlessly, I approached all the distributors with the brochure in hand. Now my patterns are carried by all the main distributors in United States and one distributor in Canada. In addition, I decided to also represent my patterns at other quilt shows and festivals and also teach my quilting techniques and lecture.”

What does Dora like most about running her own business? “I like being my own boss, traveling, and meeting new people but what I LOVE the most about this business is creating new designs. I have several notebooks chock full of different quilt designs and new bag and garment concepts. I just need more time to bring them all to life.”

What can guests expect to find in the Orange Dot Quilts booth? Dora says that the booth will feature her patterns for quilts, bags and easy sewing garments. There will also be quilt and bag kits; quilting fabric precuts; medium weight cotton-linen blend Japanese fabric cuts in fun designs; her favorite fabric notions such as the African porcupine quills and The Strip Stick; Auriful thread in all shades of orange; hand knitted lace shawls; books; pincushion patterns, and more.

Road to California 2018 will be Dora’s first time at the show. She is looking forward to reaching a new audience, being inspired and also inspiring others. She said she has heard that “Road to California is a unique experience and I am looking forward to being a part of it.”

To learn more about Dora and Orange Dot Quilts, visit her Etsy Shop.

 

 

Meet Road 2018 Vendor And Teacher Lora Kennedy

“Life has a way of turning you upside down”

At least that ‘s what Lora Kennedy has experienced. At one point in her life, she found herself a single mom living 200 miles away from any family during a time that her father also passed away.  As time healed these wounds, Lora married again and her new husband brought her back home to Smithboro, Illinois, five miles from the home she grew up in and where her mom still lives.

Lora and her mother, Virginia

Lora had previously worked with her mom, Virginia, in her mother’s custom drapery business. When Lora returned to Illinois, her mother had opportunities come her way that led her to buy a Nolting long arm quilting machine and open a small fabric shop on her farm. Lora fell in love with long arm quilting and has been doing it since 2005.  After a couple of years, they outgrew the shed and moved their business, Farmland Quilting & Embroidery, to town.  It was there, during a class they were teaching, that their featured product, Stable Piecing™ was born.

That was 10 years ago.  Since that time,  Stable Piecing™ has grown “tremendously.”   Designing, making samples, writing patterns, doing shows & teaching has taken Lora and Virginia around another corner that has included moving the retail location and their work back to the farm.

The newest Stable Piecing™ release is due at the time of Road to California 2018 so their booth will be featuring this new product at the show.

In addition to working in her Farmland Quilting and Embroidery vendor booth, Lora is also scheduled to teach four evening classes at Road 2018:

Wednesday: 3062C  Twisted Log CabinThursday: 4062C   Pineapples Galore

Friday: 5065C   Drunkards Path

and on Saturday: 6063C   Storm at Sea

Lora loves to teach because she gets “to see the students get to that moment where they all of a sudden get the idea and then the creative ideas start rolling.  I want my students to learn a new skill, or revisit an old one in a new way and then be able to use that in whatever they want, however they want.”

What is Lora’s best quilting tip? “To take time to do something for yourself.  Take time to just play and not expect any sort of outcome.  Just be creative and see where it leads you.”

To learn more about Lora and her company, Farmland Quilting & Embroidery, visit their webiste and Facebook Page.

Meet Road 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.

 

Meet Road Vendor WonderFil Specialty Threads

WonderFil = Thread (and only thread)download

WonderFil Specialty Threads offers products that enhance both the quality and appearance of stitching results, as well as expanding embellishment possibilities. They have a diversity of thread weights, textures, finishes, and materials. A family run business based in Canada, their 17 specialty thread lines are distributed in 8 countries: Canada, USA, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

They carry several different lines, ranging from 8 – 100 weight, that can be used for any project. All of their cotton based threads  are made only from Egyptian Cotton which is lint free so it doesn’t gunk up their customer’s machines.  

Photo by Gregory Case Photography

Photo by Gregory Case Photography

One of their most popular products lines is InvisaFil, a 100 weight cottonized polyester thread. The number one seller in the United States, Invisafil is available in 60 colors and is a great alternative to fine silk thread. It’s unique texture is a result of combining preshrunk cotton with strong, colorfast polyester. It’s the perfect thread for all kinds of sewing, including free motion quilting.  

WonderFil prides itself in working with teachers, like Vikki Pignatelli, to create color palettes that coordinate with their projects.1-Invisafil3a

 

New in 2017 is Wonderfil’s partnership with Sue SpragoEllana is a wool fabric line combined with 28 weight wool thread that comes in 60 matching colors.

Another line, Efina, is a lighter weight thread designed for hand quilting .  

WonderFil is also committed to helping their customers learn how to use their threads. They call this Threaducation. On their website, they offer how-to videos for all their thread lines as well as share contact information for qualified teachers standing by to assist customers in Canada and the United States. 

Road to California 2017 appreciated Wonderfil’s employee, Joanne from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, supporting their philanthropy project, Roadies Give Back. Joanne is had a good friend pass away from Cancer in June, 2016 and appreciated the opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause. “It’s always fun whenever quilters get together,” remarked Joanne during the event.   

 

Meet Road Vendor: SewBatik

Nestled in the front, northeast corner of the exhibit hall, SewBatik has become a regular vendor at our show.

Started in 2004 by co-founders Diane and Bruce Magidson, the idea for SewBatik actually began the year before. In 2003, Diane was a management consultant and Bruce was the merchandiser for Blank Textiles. They had “the burn“ to make career changes, work together and “scratch an entrepreneurial itch.” Initially, they intended to become the “Tupperware of the textile industry;” creating and selling fabrics in a home-party environment. After their initial product lines were created, they decided to do a couple of shows to earn some revenue while they learned more about home party sales. But after working at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, they caught “a terminal case of quilt show fever” and have kept at it ever since.  Through the years, both Diane and Bruce have come to enjoy the independence and creative freedom that comes with owning their own business.  

SewBatik designs, sources and distributes exquisite batik and hand dyed fabrics.  Meant to be used in a variety of applications, SewBatik fabrics are made using the ancient Indonesian mastery of batik which are vivid and rich in color. SewBatik has the largest assortment of 108” wide stamped batik backings and hand dyed fabrics. In 2011, SewBatik introduced their exclusive collection of 106″ wide flannel batik, “the softest flannel you will ever feel!” The company also boasts offering the largest selection of coordinating fabrics in the industry.

SewBatik fabrics can only be found on their website, at local, regional and national quilt shows, and through their ever-growing relationships with professional longarm/machine quilters around the world. The office is based in North Dakota where Diane and Bruce live on a farm in Hillsboro.  Their house was the homestead of Diane’s great grandfather, Lars Bakkum, and was built in the 1860’s. Like other small business owners, most of Diane and Bruce’s time is spent on the road or in the SewBatik office. It’s a 24/7 endeavor. When time permits, Diane and Bruce will visit with Diane’s parents who live just four miles away. Diane is an avid sewer.  Bruce loves reading and listening to his beloved New York Yankees play baseball as often as possible. During the summer, Bruce and Diane can be found on their respective tractors, cutting the grass and caring for their yard.

Diane and Bruce love sharing their passion for SewBatik products with their customers and have fun explaining why the products are so special. Bruce relates that being at Road to California “really tests his organizational skills and is a great indicator about how SewBatik stacks up against other vendors who offer similar products.”

Their booth had everything from 110” SewWide batik backing, 100% Rayon Batik fabrics for apparel sewing, Nuance Gradation Batik, Coordinating 45” stamped batik, Pre-cut and pre-fused shapes along with hand-dyed fabrics, Project kits, 2.5” Strips, and fabric bundles. It was a busy corner during Road 2017.

It sure was a good move that SewBatik didn’t turn out to be a home-party endeavor!!

Meet Road 2017 Vendor: Pauline’s Quilters World

Australian Pauline Rogers has been teaching free motion quilting on a domestic machine all over Australia for over 30 years.

While she taught her classes, she also listened to her students. She would frequently hear the same common problems: “I can’t quilt a big quilt,” “I can’t free motion,” and “I can’t put on borders.” Pauline noted, “If I hear more than 50 people a year complaining of the same problem, I have a need to fix it.”

One way Pauline has set out to solve these problems is with writing her book, The Quilt As You Go Handbook.

The book is filled with color photos and instructions for learning Pauline’s Quilt As You Go techniques as well as share her tips on free motion quilting. She even spent two pages just focusing on tension which she calls the “Bible of her book.” Sized so that it can fit on a sewing table next to your machine, the book’s pages have plenty of space to take notes as you sew along. Her book has become so popular that she is currently writing a second edition.

Quilters often ask Pauline how she has been able to do so much free motion quilting without getting stressed or developing back and shoulder issues. She explains it is because of a system she has developed: sewing full speed with the machine pedal on the left side of the needle and propping up the machine with door wedges so the machine it tilted toward her.

Pauline has traveled all over Australia (she did 38 shows in 2016!!) and has just recently taken her vision to the United States. In her booth at Road 2017, Pauline worked along side her staff Gerry and Peggy.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Among the many products offered in the booth, they all demonstrated one of Pauline’s popular and innovative tools, her “Sasher Collection.”  Because she had “burned the heck out of my fingers” making sashing through the years, Pauline developed these tools to take care of all sashing needs, from small bias strips used for applique stems and decorating to larger width sashing. Made to be used by both left and right handed quilters, the tools all use the same technique of folding and running fabric through the tool for quick and perfect sashing every time.

Because she has an interest “to keep the quilting industry strong and healthy,” Pauline will continue to travel and teach, helping quilters of all levels perfect their craft. Currently, she and her husband of 45 years don’t plan to return home to Australia until December, 2017.  And while on the road, in between her classes and shows, Pauline intends to continue designing more tools to help the free motion quilter, applique quilters, and even garment sewers. “I am loving every minute,” says Pauline and it certainly shows!!!

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

To learn more about Pauline, her quilting methods, and her products, please visit her website.

 

 

 

Road 2017 Teacher and Vendor: Meet LauraJane White

LauraJane White will be teaching 2 evening classes on the Pleachét technique on Friday 5066C and Saturday 6061C 

Laura White crochets rugs at the Silver Dollar City National Harvest & Cowboy Festival.

Road to California 2017 is offering several “non-quilting” classes and one of those will be LauraJane White’s Pleachét  classes.  Pleachét is a technique used to build heirloom rugs from strips of old or new fabric. The fabric is loaded onto a needle — RugBeeRugNeedle TM and crocheted back off with carpet warp, leaving the material standing on edge to create plush rugs, chair pads and trivets.

The Pleachét process and the needle that is used, were designed by LauraJane’s grandmother, Laura Elizabeth Johnston. Her grandmother used it to carpet the family farmhouse, wall to wall, in Windsor, Missouri around the turn of the 19th Century.

LauraJane’s grandmother, Elizabeth Johnston, at a craft show in the early 30’s/40’s in the midwest

LauraJane remembers her grandmother dying her own wool strips and crocheting rugs, but is was LauraJane’s sister, Shirley Wood, who taught LauraJane the process. Shirley and LauraJane worked side-by-side for many years at the 1880’s themed craft park, “Silver Dollar City,” teaching and making their beautiful rugs.

The Pleachét Booth will be located at 2H in the Exhibit Hall and will feature the many styles of Pleachét from round, rectangle, and oval rugs to chair pads and trivets in both floral and geometric designs. Pleachét  tools will also be available. LauraJane enjoys interacting with her customers, sharing her family legacy and demonstrating a primitive craft that much of the world has never seen. 

In her classes, LauraJane will help her students create their own family heirlooms utilizing the Six Easy Steps of Pleachét:

*Choosing fabric and it’s preparation is key.

*Cutting appropriate width-size determining what your

 project will become.

*Proper loading of the fabric onto the rug needle to insure the

 neatness of your rug.

*Starting with the simplest of crochet stitches a chain stitch

 thus determining the shape of your project.

*Building the art work, one row at a time.

*Learning to finish your edges properly.

LauraJane hopes her students will learn “to embrace the importance of keeping the primitive arts alive in an all too disposable minded society” by discovering a new outlet to express their personal creativity in a one-of-a-kind, work of art.

This will be LauraJane’s first time at Road to California. She said she has heard that Road “is the creme de la creme of fiber art festivals” and that she is “so looking forward to this show.”

To learn more about LauraJane and the Pleachét technique, please visit her web site.