Quilt Shows

Road to California Quilt Show, 2017


The Road to California Quilt Show was held this past weekend, and I think it was my 22nd year of going…or something like that.  The highlights for the first day are found on my Instagram Account ( as well as some found in #roadtocalifornia2017), but here are quilts that I didn’t post up.  road2ca_unknown2

This was the gallery for the Art Abstract quilts, and yes.  They were abstract.  Sometimes it’s helpful just to see how they are laid out.

I liked the collage effect of this one by Jean Impey, titled Ernestine Benito.  It was started in a class with Susan Carlson, using “Susan’s collage techniques as well as some ‘reckless and raw edge’ appliqué and India Inks.”road2ca2017_jeanimpey

Jean Impey also made Dance in the Wind, started in a class with another teacher who “taught me how to look at something and abstract it, to see things in different colors.”road2ca2017_hahn

Birth of a Storm is by Betty Hahn, who used the “color and movement of the Doppler radar forecasts of tropical storms” as her inspiration.road2ca2017_beach

Orange You Glad I Got the Blues? is by Mel Beach, representing the “influence of improvisation within Jazz music.road2ca2017_blairknight

The tape keeping people out was placed too far out this year, so the only way I could photograph these horses was side-by-side.  The one on the left is White Knight, by Patt Blair.  The one on the right is Wendy Knight’s Here’s Looking’ at You.  I was mesmerized by her quilting, shown in the next images.
road2ca2017_knight_1 road2ca2017_knight_2 road2ca2017_knight_3 road2ca2017_cynthiaengland

Cynthia England’s Reflections of Cape Town took a year to make and has about 8400 individual pattern pieces in it.  Detail of this is below.road2ca2017_england_2 road2ca2017_bianchi_1

This small quilt, probably 14″ by 18″ is loaded with buttons.  Beacon, by Susan Bianchi, represents her “impression of an antique lighthouse lens and prism.”road2ca2017_bianchi_2 road2ca2017_kona-yellow_1

Kona Fabrics had a series of small quilts (around 16″ square) using that bright lemony yellow from last year (above and below).  There was also a wonderful exhibit by Cherrywood Fabrics of Lion King, but I could never get a good shot at it as people were always looking at them all closely.road2ca2017_kona-yellow_2 sarahannsmith

Peony, by Sarah Ann Smith, is a stunning blossom interpreted in fabric.


But I couldn’t help constrasting it with the bluesy-purpled Blue Anemone, by Andrea Brokenshire, admiring its use of periwinkle, turquoise and other colors, and that exquisite quilting.

Overall impressions (including these and the images on Instagram): thankfully the use of sparkly bling has fallen to new lows, with the few quilts that did add crystals keeping them to appropriate usage.  Margaret Solomon Gunn’s quilts (here and here) are always exquisite, and I realize that I’m never going to measure up to her long-arm quilting skills.  In fact, I heard the moans of “I’m not good enough” over and over.  Aside from the usual don’t-compare-yourself-to-others cliches that I could offer, I say the only good remedy for that one is to go home and make a one-patch quilt and have something to show for your time, and that will allow you to realize that every quilt has a beauty all its own.  We have quilt shows to admire the best of the best, and the others and to use them to inspire us.

I was very happy to see my friend Simone’s quilts hanging in the show (here and here), as well as other people I know.  Those friendships are what tie us all together in our quilting community.

I didn’t choose a “Most Ugly” quilt this year, although there were several that might have qualified.  And I’ve decided to change that award to “Didn’t Live Up To Its Promise” so as not to offend.

I took two classes; one was awesome and the other — even though the teacher was so nice and knew her stuff–not worth it.  Why?  Because they sent a long-armer to do teaching about quilting on a domestic machine.  And because they made us use machines that were difficult to use, and we spent a ton of time re-threading them, fighting their built-in stitch regulators and waiting for the tech to come.  And because when we showed up, these complicated machines were not threaded or ready for sewing, so we spent nearly 90 minutes of class time getting them up to snuff.

One last gripe: the practice of teachers charging us Beaucoup Bucks for our “kits” of materials that we have at home, for supplies that we already own, and for threads that we don’t care to try.  Unless it’s some specialty item that we wouldn’t think to buy, I’d prefer a teacher include a detailed supply list for us to bring.  Yes, we will buy the teacher’s stuff in class if we forget ours, or hunt for it down on the vendor floor, but I now have another blue marking pen, two spools of thread that I probably won’t use again (I’m a Superior Thread fan) and a 18″ by 44″ marked quilt sandwich.  Those three things cost me $45 (!).

I like having such a high-quality show so close to me, and I enjoy seeing my “yearly” friends.  I heard lots of gripes about no printed showbooks, the cheezy Road to California bag, and no lanyard-style name tag holders (and no, I’m not buying their blue Road badge holder), but I think we were all happy to be there.

Until next year, Road!

9 thoughts on “Road to California Quilt Show, 2017

  1. Sounds overall like a very successful show with some amazing and inspiring quilts! Thanks for letting us experience it vicariously!

  2. Elizabeth, Thanks for your wonderful review and IG photos of the show.  But, more than that, thanks for your comments about the class machine issues, teacher’s kits, and lack of show brochure.    I didn’t take any classes this year because I got stung last year on a few.  One class had Bernina 570 machines and out of the 20-25 machines in the classroom, 8-9 didn’t work properly.  That included the machine I had.  It was an all day class and for the first half, I couldn’t figure out if it was me or the machine.  After lunch, the tech person showed up and told me that machine was out of time.  I had to wait until 2:30 when someone left early to use a machine.    And, those “kits”.  What a joke.  Last year, I paid $20 for 20 sheets of plain paper and a plastic ruler shaped like a row of clamshells.  We used the ruler to mark clamshells across each of the sheets of paper so we could design clamshell designs for quilting.  There were 3 of us who walked out of the class right about the 12th page of marking the rows of clamshells so the instructor could tell us what to add to them.  A huge waste of time.  She could have marked the 20 sheets herself and photo copied them.   By the time I use 1 or 2 of the blue marking pens I have, the other 4-5 will have dried out.  I’m a Superior Threads fan too so I know your issue with the random crappy spool of tan thread you are given to use on a black and white project.    And, the lack of a show brochure really pinches me.  Instead of using heavy gloss paper and fancy cover photo, they could put together a smaller brochure on more economical paper.  Or at least have a place for you to leave your brochure when you leave the show so it can be recycled.  I have the blue lanyard style badge holder.  I think they gave them away several years ago instead of a bag because I doubt I would have paid for it.  I use it for any show I attend so I guess I got my money’s worth there.   This year I only signed up for a bus tour and Party Time.  I thought I had to pay the $35 registration fee too, but when I got to the show, they didn’t show that I had.  I had to wait in line to pay the $16 for a wrist band, but I didn’t have to spend the extra for the crummy bag.   They seem to be able to cram more and more vendors into the show and fewer quilts.  I enjoy the vendors, but I really want to see beautiful quilts.    Hey, I started to reply to your previous email about Mom and not meeting up at RTC, but only got a long draft written.  I will go back and finish that.  I didn’t want you to think I fell off the earth.   Can we get a few days without rain please?   Janice

  3. Always like seeing the quilts from this show. Thanks for the heads up on the classes. If I ever get there, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t bother with any classes and just take my time looking at quilts and vendors. I really have to try and get there some year!!!

  4. Love the details and close-ups! What about those buttons?! That is one incredible piece of art! And the Reflections of Cape Town would look great hanging on anyone’s wall or above a fireplace!

  5. I’m so impressed with the variety of styles and approaches to quilting! Our local shows are much more traditional and sedate. But, mostly, I like your candor in stating some of the issues that have grown up around these shows!

  6. I so enjoyed the show through your photos. The quilts at Road never cease to amaze me. I would have loved to have seen them along with you. Maybe next year.

    I’ll be watching to see how you use what you learned in class.

    Good luck with today’s surgery.

  7. Thank you for sharing those quilts. I love the collage and the horses are exquisite. And as for the water in that boat quilt…amazing! Sorry to hear you had to pay so much for materials you don’t need and a lesson that wasn’t great though. It’s a shame that the love of quilts and learning should be exploited like that. Nevertheless, it’s wonderful to have such a show nearby 🙂

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