Scrappy Quilts from Road to California 2020 • Road to California, Part II

Road to California had several special exhibits and the array of quilts in Sisterhood of Scraps reminded me of what the great architect Mies van der Rohe so exquisitely said: More is More.  Oh wait, did he say Less is More?  But I do know he did say “God is in the details,” and boy, do these scrappy quilts have some details.  Enjoy.

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And my favorite:

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Right after this I walked up the aisle and purchased a big stack of 5″ charm squares of shirting fabrics, inspired by this quilt.  If Primitive Gatherings had stocked orange 5″ squares, I would have bought them, too.  Now if I could only find them, but our house is a bit of a disaster, as we had five painters here for two weeks, scraping icky popcorn texture off our ceilings, and repainting nearly everything that didn’t move.

First they spray the ceiling with water, let it soak in, then start scraping.  Let it dry overnight, then “mud” or spackle all the divots, then spray on a light texture (I would have liked flat ceilings but that cost more).  I tried to sew in the kitchen the first week, but by Day 3, when I could draw a heart on the top of my Featherweight Sewing Machine case, I knew it was time to give up that idea.  So I gathered up some hand-sewing and  retreated to the garden, even though it was 65 degrees outside.  The lower left photo shows the progression of the mess in the front/living room by the end, and the the last photo on Day 11 shows them spraying my sewing desk in my bedroom, which by now looks a lot like the living room: a disaster.  My painter brought in a house cleaner for that last day, when they finished everything and took away all the plastic; I helped her get the initial cleaning finished, but I can tell I’ll be doing a lot more of it, as scraping the ceilings brings a LOT of dust.

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This is currently the sewing room.  Right.

I have to the let the paint cure for two weeks before I can put things on shelves, and of course, it’s appalling to see your fabric collection All At Once and in Boxes, so it become apparent that there will be some culling of the collection going on as I put things away.  I plan to be fully finished before we start on our kitchen remodel.

Oh, just kidding.

Heart Qult Goldsmith

Here’s your Valentine’s Day gift for today, found*here.*

Fabric Collage at Road

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books.  He painted representations of these objects on the canvas, arranging them in such a way that collection of objects formed a recognizable likeness of the portrait subject. (found online)

Azulejos at Road

Above, the main hallway, with quilts from our Inland Empire Modern Quilt guild.

I had my own turn at playing Arcimboldo this past Monday at Road to California, in a collage class taught by Laura Heine.

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We arrived at the hotel ballroom, purchased our kits, and started fusing fabric to Steam a Seam 2. But of course, only one iron worked.  Soon, Laura had rustled up irons from ballrooms that were vacant, so we were in business.

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Then we started cutting and cutting and cutting.  After lunch she showed us how to start laying out our cut pieces using the pattern shape to help keep us organized.  It was a challenge.  It made me think of Arcimboldo, but I also remembered when I was a teenager in Lima, Peru and the only way we could decorate our walls (big posters hadn’t really been invented yet, for teenagers’ rooms) was to lay out cut out pieces from fashion magazines onto a piece of newspaper, and carefully cover the newsprint to create some sort of art, one piece at a time.  My sister, Christine, excelled at this, but soon all four of us were creating collages, guided by her teaching.

Tokyo Face Collage

Here are two more collages that my husband and I glimpsed in a store window in the Ginza area of Tokyo a couple of years ago.

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Here it is, from the side.

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Slowly, the bears around the classroom started to take shape.

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This is Arcimboldo’s portrait titled “Flora,” a lovely lady made all of flowers…just like I was trying to do with my bear in a classroom at Road to California.

Arcimboldo Winter

His Four Seasons are some of his more well-known works; above is Winter.  I kept thinking of the version I’d seen in more recent memory: a giant sculpture in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  Arcimboldo in 3D, rendered by Philip Hass in pigmented and painted fiberglass.

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This is probably 20 feet tall.

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And here is my bear.  Arcimboldo would be proud of me.  However, I still have the backgrounds to do.

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Here’s the class sample.  It is evident I have a lot of work to do yet, but Heine’s artful versions of fabric collage are much more inticing that stacks of vegetables, or retail items.  It was a good but busy day; Heine was a lovely teacher who encourages her students onward.  

Monday marked the official opening of Road to California 2020.  I have two Jen Kingwell classes (Wednesday and Thursday) and Thursday is the day that the show opens, and I’ll be able to finally glimpse my three quilts hanging in the show this year!  Then Friday is the night I get to hear Jenny Doan in an evening lecture.  Lisa and three friends are coming in from Utah, Afton is arriving tomorrow from New Mexico, and I’ll get to meet up with lots of new and returning friends from around the area.

I love Road week!

Prepping the Quilts 2018

Road to California Logo

Thank you all for the lovely words of encouragement you wrote in response to my last post.  I’m making my way through them, and will answer them.  However, everything I have done lately…is done lately.

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These two lovelies were juried into Road to California 2019, and so I spent a morning prepping them to head off:

Prepping for Road_1

Now you see the bit of errant blue quilting thread…

Prepping for Road_2

…and now you don’t…Prepping for Road_3

…thanks to these trusty friends.  This is an old quilter’s trick, mentioned in several older books I have.

Names on labels are covered up. I also had to make sure my name and contact information are included on the quilt, and I do that in a label near the hanging sleeve, and that’s covered up, too.

Quilts into a clear plastic bag, into their box, and off to Road to California, not to be seen until January 2019, in the show!

Road to California 2018

Ready, set, go into a busy week:

Tuesday: Cynthia England’s class with Lisa, my pal, who has moved away to Utah.  That’s Cynthia’s class sample, above.  I loved taking a class with Cynthia as I was there in Houston the year her quilt won the Best of Show and launched her career.  Upshot? Here’s another UFO for my collection, but I’m glad I took the class and learned the technique.

Wednesday was a day off: I picked up my new glasses, blocked a quilt I’m working on for Paintbrush Studios’ booth for QuiltCon in a month, cleaned the house, and did the laundry.

Thursday: I went in early with Leisa, another pal, and killed time until the show opened, and when it did, made a beeline to find my two quilts.

Here’s Shine hanging in its cubby with a dazzler gem quilt, which quite overshadowed it.  (See below for the link to Instagram, where I did post a lot of the quilts and their names/makers.)  But the fun was being juried into Road!

Then to find the second quilt: Oh! Christmas Tree, hanging with its buddies.  Again, a real thrill to see it there.

Now to tackle the shopping.  The layout, above.

First stop, Pineapple Fabrics, where they stock my favorite solid fabric: Painter’s Palette Solids, by Paintbrush Studio.  Even though I learned about these solids by designing a quilt for Paintbrush Studio, I’m quite in love with their solid fabric and needed a few colors.  Pineapple Fabrics sells them at the best price of anyone out there.

After Pineapple, I started out in the “Pavillion” which is really just a monster-sized commercial tent with awkward lighting.  The first row facing the courtyard was well-lit (above, a Kaffe booth that has a great selection), but as soon as you round that corner, the booths are less well-lit.  Actually I found the lighting overall to be a problem in the main ballroom, too.  It was fine in the small ballroom.  Turn up the lights, Road!

I zipped over to see Dora Cary of OrangeDot Quilts, as I follow her on Instagram, and love her work.

For some reason, this show seems to attract the scooter/walker/cane crowd.  At the entrance they have about 40 of these scooters lined up to rent. Here are some scooters parked alongside a booth.    Will I stop coming to these when I hit this stage?  Who knows, but I am counting on the fact that the online presence will be so strong that I can stay home and hit the vendors that way.

Here is “saw-though-the-head” and “scissors-through-the-head.”  I also saw “hairbrush-through-the head.”  I suppose, as a vendor, you’ll do anything to make your booth stand out.

Fun to see a bee-mate’s quilt hanging up in the Ventura Quilt Guild’s booth.  It looks great, Joan!  And here’s the instructions and the place to send the blocks if you want to contribute to the Thomas Fire Relief Quilts.

I didn’t just shop or take classes (more coming up), but I also took time to look at the quilts.  The one made from a Wendy Williams pattern (above) caught my eye.  I have a lot of the quilts, plus the placards that tell about the quilts, up on my Instagram feed beginning here.  Use the right arrow to advance through them, and I apologize again if you follow me on IG and I blew up your feed.

I had many favorites and wrote about them on Instagram, but I also kept looking at the quilting, trying always to improve my FMQ.

Leisa finished her class with Gyleen Fitzgerald on Pineapple Quilts, and on the way home we stopped by Blaze Pizza for an early dinner (and to catch up with our non-quilt-show lives), because we had…

…Caitlin’s baby shower to attend that evening.  I was the gift scribe, and being the oldest of the bunch I needed a translation program that spanned several decades.  For example, I would write “squeaky toy” and Caitlin would say “Thanks for the teether.”  I would then line out “squeaky toy” and write down what she called the plastic giraffe.  This happened over and over, and left me certain that I was waaaaaay past the child-bearing years.  The language was so different, it was like a different world.  The favors were tiny succulents, the food was divine (I need to get the recipes) and we took a marker and wrote a message on the diapers in the wire basket, above — messages that Caitlin would read at those midnight diaper changes.

Okay, back to the show.

Friday: Lisa, Leisa and I took the Mystery Triangles Class from Jenny Doan.  Another class where I chose it for the person teaching it, as Jenny Doan is fabulous.  This was the most relaxed class, and I really enjoyed it.  The quilt above is all the techniques/options rolled into one quilt.

Lisa finished a baby quilt top, using Christa Watson’s new line of fabrics, that have a lot of wow-factor.  Cute!

We ate lunch every day upstairs overlooking the dramatic hallway with the hanging quilts, and I loved this quilter’s bag, made for her by her daughter, who asked her what were the four most important things in her life.  I agree, except I’d have to make room for my husband’s name on there.  (Maybe leave off gardening?)

We did some shopping, then headed over to El Torito. where our little quilt group gathered for our annual dinner.  Some years we’ve been fewer in number, and some years we’ve been higher in number; this time Lisa’s friend Margaret from Idaho joined us (in the red).  Then we all hightailed it back to the show, where we took in Jenny Doan’s Trunk Show that night.  It was fun and funny and good to be there with everyone.

Saturday: I walked all the vendors one more time, then about noon, Leisa and I left.

Sunday: I had to pick up my quilts at 4:30 so I went early.  My experience has taught me that the show is pretty emptied out near the end, and I could walk the quilts and look at them one more time, taking photographs without any people in them.

I re-visited the Cherrywood Fabrics booth with all the Van Gogh-inspired fabrics and snapped these two panorama shots (which distorts the photo–it’s really quite rectangular).  Next year the theme is Prince, with purple fabrics, if you want to jump in.  They’ve had three collections so far: Lion King, Wicked, and Van Gogh.  I have loved them all. Click to enlarge the above two photos.

The dates for next year’s Road to California are January 17-20, 2019.  Make plans now to come to a terrific quilt show!

Road to California Quilt Show, 2017

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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!

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks

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Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks
Pieced, Appliquéd and Quilted
57″ high by 53 1/2″ wide
No. 146 on my 200 Quilts List

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_1I went up to my university’s botanic garden to photograph these two quilts, loving the contrast of the rustic against the brightly colored blocks from my beemates in the Mid-Century Modern Bee.

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I put out a call for a variety of blocks in 6″ or 9″ or 12″ sizes, and then as they came in, placed them all up on my design wall to see how they played together.  I used some of the ideas from these friends to create a few more blocks, following Carla’s lead when she created hers.  Like Carla, I also worked in the small signature blocks as part of the design.

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One day I opened a card from Rhonda, another friend back east, and she’d made me a bird block to be added to my project, as she had read my blog and wanting to contribute to my modern sampler.  So that spurred me on to making a few more birds as well.

Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks_detailThen I had to try some flowery blocks, two different kinds to go with all the other flowers, and a Dresden block, and once I got started, I also added a Road to California block (made four times so it would be big enough to add variety).  It’s kind of fun to try making all different kinds of blocks.  Finally I had enough, and the right size of blocks and I was able to sew it together.  Happily so, thinking about my good friends.

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I saved some of the smaller blocks for the back.

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Two quilts with flowers

Happy Spring!  Spring into some quilting!