The Doctor Is In For Thread Advice

One of Road’s most popular $5.00 Lectures is the session with Bob Purcell, President of Superior Threads, where he talks about Thread Therapy. Bob has proclaimed himself a Self-Certified Threadologist, qualified to make diagnoses, give advice, and solve problems regarding thread issues.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Superior Threads began in 1998 as an at-home business by Bob and his wife, Heather, in their garage. Bob says that he needed to start the thread company in order to support Heather’s quilting addiction. Today, the business spans over a 25,000 sq./ft. facility in the red rocks of St. George, Utah.

Photo Courtesy of Superior Threads

The first product Superior Threads produced and carried was their Superior Metallic. They currently produce and sell over 40 different thread lines with more on the way. Superior Threads prides itself on seeking out the highest-quality raw materials and using the latest technology in processing to create threads for all types of sewing.

The most important warning that Dr. Bob gives is “don’t expect stores to know about thread and needles.” A quilter needs to become familiar with all the different thread and needle types in order to create the best projects.

Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

Bob has found that most traditional quilters prefer using cotton thread but he stressed that there are so many other alternatives out there and he encouraged the audience to try new threads with their work.

Metallic thread is very popular but it also can give the “biggest headache.” warned Bob. He shared a way on how to see if a particular metallic thread is good or bad: Cut off a piece about 3 feet long and let it hang down. If it twists, it is a bad thread. Good metallic thread will hang smoothly without tangling.

Needles, Bob said, are the least appreciated and often ignored part of a sewing project. It is counterproductive to spend a lot of money on a sewing machine, fabric, and specialty threads and then use an old, worn, damaged or wrong needle. Bob suggested whenever beginning a new project, start with a new needle. Topstitch needles work best because it has a larger eye and a deeper groove.

Needles have a two-number system: the higher number relates to a European metric system measuring the size of the needle shaft diameter in hundredths of a millimeter. The lower number is a U.S. designation that is an arbitrary number used to indicate relative needle shaft diameter. Either way, the lower the number on a needle, the finer the thread should be used:

#70/10 for finest threads

#80/12 for 50 wt. threads

#90/14 for medium weight threads

#100/16 for heavier threads

Final tips Bob offered when using specialty threads:

  • Use a high-quality thread on both the top and bottom
  • Make sure the machine is threaded correctly
  • Make sure there are no obstructions along the thread path
  • Properly adjust tensions for the desired application
  • Use the correct size and type of needle. Make sure it is inserted correctly
  • Make sure the bobbin case is in good working condition
  • Adjust sewing speed to compensate for other limitations

    Photo by Brian Roberts Photography

     

At Superior Threads, the doctor is always in. Visit their website for helpful video tutorials and other valuable information.

 

 

 

Meet The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild

Do you know the community of Big Bear Lake? It is a unique mountain resort community located 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. About 21,000 residents make their home here full-time.

Best known for its recreational opportunities like fishing, water sports, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, tours and winter sports, it also a haven for quilting. Big Bear Lake has two quilt guilds and two quilt shops in this small community!! It is also a popular destination for quilt retreats.

The Big Bear Lake Quilters Guild has around 50 members. They meet monthly the 2nd Wednesday of the month at Patchworks Quilt Shop. ”Patches of Love” is the name they give to their philanthropy work. Their members make quilts that are given to children who are picked up in police cars or fire trucks after a traumatic event. They also support military families with quilts. When a family has a new baby and their father is deployed, they present the new baby with a quilt.

Their annual quilt show is being held this year August 4th and 5th at The Lodge at Big Bear Lake. They have invited vendors as well as showcasing quilts from the area. At Road 2017, the guild had their show’s opportunity quilt on display. What makes this quilt original is that there is a hidden bear in the design of the quilt. The guild enjoys asking contributors for this fund raiser to see if they can find the bear. It gives people the chance to see the quilt up close and is “lots of fun.”  Can you find the bear? Road to California loves supporting local quit guilds and their endeavors. Opportunities are given on a first come basis to showcase opportunity quilts.

Participating guilds must provide 20 hours of white glove service to Road for each day your quilt is displayed. For more information, please visit our website.

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Outstanding Traditional Quilt

From The Bride’s Trousseau made and quilted by Margaret Solomon Gunn won $5,000 from sponsor Janome for Outstanding Traditional Quilt at Road 2017

Margaret Solomon Gunn is a talented quilter. She won not one but two prizes at Road to California 2017!!!

Margaret won Best of Show for The Twisted Sister

and Outstanding Traditional Quilt for From The Bride’s Trousseau.  

What inspired Margaret to make this winning design? In 2011, she designed and quilted a 40” whole cloth.  This was her first attempt at the design process.  Of that experience, Margaret says, “To this day, it is unbound!”  The design for From the Bride’s Trousseau originated with this first quilt’s design.  It underwent at least a dozen modifications to reach the final form that was quilted for the 2015 finished quilt.

The current design is larger, and more complicated.  From the Bride’s Trousseau is a 1/8 symmetrical whole cloth quilt, meaning that it was designed on a 22.5-degree wedge, then copied and mirrored to create the pattern.  It is quilted in silk threads.  Margaret’s favorite areas of the quilt are the Sashiko-inspired fills.  They are quilted with a marked grid and give the quilt a very traditional feeling.

It took Margaret about a year to finish the quilt. What did she learn along the way? Says Margaret, “I have this ability to make simple tasks take WAY longer than they should!  This is mostly because I don’t just work on one quilt at a time.  I frequently have at least 3 quilts in various stages of construction, quilting or finishing at any given time. I learned that quilting with colored thread creates a beautiful effect, but it’s challenging.  I also learned that I appreciate taking the time to make a quilt double-sided (and it helps identify those pesky little areas that need fixing before a judge finds them!).

Margaret was “surprised” to know that this quilt had also won a prestigious award at Road 2017.  She related that From the Bride’s Trousseau “had been out and to several shows the last 2 years.  Sometimes it does nothing, and other times, it surprises me.  During the quilting journey, I have just learned to appreciate when the quilts do win, as nothing is ever certain.  I do the best I can do, and then it is out of my hands.  It is wonderful when judges recognize my efforts.”

After winning two awards, Margaret is certainly not resting on her accomplishments. She recently finished a book with AQS, along with two other self-published books. She teaches at select quilting shows and writes for Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  In her “spare time,” she even still quilts for clients (one of her client’s quilts was also entered in Road 2017). And of course, she is working on the coming year’s show quilts. All in all, Margaret says, “It’s a fun life!”

Comic-Con Meets Road to California

Do you know Comic-Con?

Comic-Con International-San Diego is the premier convention dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art-forms. It celebrates the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture. Comic-Con began in 1970 when a group of comics, movie, and science fiction fans banded together to put on the first comic book convention—a one day affair in San Diego, California. Today, Comic-Con has grown to a four-day extravaganza, attracting over 140,000 visitors!!!

Photo Credit: Comic-Con

What does Comic-Con and Road to California have in common?

Creative artists interested in furthering their passion.

Four Comic-Con employees spent a day at Road 2017 getting inspiration. Leslie, Pam, Robin, and Mary are all sewists and met through their work with Comic-Con.

Comic-Con Friends (L to R) Mary, Robin, Pam, and Leslie.

They also share an interest in beading and making ball-jointed dolls.  

Robin who is Vice-President in Comic-Con’s Events Division, and herself a master level costumer, was attending a gem fair in San Diego in 2016 when a vendor there (who knew Robin sewed), suggested Robin would enjoy going to Road to California. Robin contacted Pam, Leslie and Mary and the four co-workers drove up from San Diego to spend the day at Road to California.

What did they think about Road 2017? “It’s been awesome,” said Robin. They all enjoyed looking at and purchasing sewing machines, sewing tables, fabric and notions.

The four women all commented how they liked the variety of vendors, especially those with their own fabric lines. Mary commented how she liked how there were “different styles in different booths.”

Pam shared her experience of the show: “I wasn’t sure what to expect.” She was most impressed with vendors selling “art, not simply retail.”

Many of Comic-Con’s visitors create their own costumes of their favorite comic book character ans wear them to the conventions.

Photo Credit: NASA

The women remarked how much their visitors would benefit from coming to Road to get ideas and supplies to make future costumes. They plan on spreading the word that comic book fans and quilt fans indeed have a lot in common.

 

Charity Quilt Hand-Off

At Road 2017, Road to California sponsored its first Roadies Give Back charity quilt project to benefit cancer patients at the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center at Pomona Valley Hospital .

Before the show, Anita Grossman Solomon created a quilt block pattern just for this project and made it available for quilters around the country to sew the blocks that were going to be used for the project.

Anita is pictured along with Matt Reese and Matt’s mom, Shellee Reese, an administrator at the Cancer Care Center.

Then, on Saturday night of the show, quilters, some class teachers, and even a few vendors, got together in the Ontario Convention Center to sew the blocks together into lap size quilts as well as begin quilting the quilts.After the show, unfinished quilts were given to the Nite Owl Quilt Guild  to finish the quilting. In the end, 41 quilts  were completed.

On June 29, 2017, Road to California owner, Matt Reese, along with his wife Jennifer, presented to the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center the Roadies Give Back quilts which will be given to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy at the center.

Each unique quilt was folded into a Road to California reusable bag, accompanied with a card explaining the significance of the quilt and its care instructions.

While they were there, Matt personally distributed quilts to five patients including:

Joseph Derowen has been a patient at the center since December, 2016. He said that he “really appreciated” the gesture because 99.9% of the time, he is cold when he receives his treatment. He was looking forward to trading his “funky jacket” for the quilt to keep him warm. Joseph’s wife, Elaine, thought receiving the quilt was “very thoughtful” and was grateful that now her husband will be “wrapped in love.”  

Joyce is battling Breast Cancer. She knew that the quilts were “a lot of work” and remarked how beautiful hers was. Joyce commented that it was “very generous for the quilters to donate their time and materials.”

Petra de Leon has been battling Lymphoma since April. Petra replied in Spanish, “I am very happy to get this quilt. It is very pretty.”

Ray Hardy told Matt, “No one has ever given me a quilt before. This is cool.”

Road to California wishes to thank everyone who participated in this special project. They look forward to offering Roadies Give Back again in the future.

We Have Just The Class For You

Classes for Road to California 2018 have recently been released. Priority Registration opens July 1st at 8:00 AM with public registration starting July 8th also at 8:00 AM, all Pacific time.

For 2018, we are offering over a hundred classes taught by a distinguished faculty that are geared to all levels of quilters. Our classes offer assistance with traditional to modern techniques, hand and machine quilting skills and the latest in surface-embellishment using paint, thread and embroidery. With so many choices, how do you know which class is right for you?

Skill Level

Based on teacher recommendations, we assign the following skill levels for our classes:

Beginner: New to sewing or it’s been awhile since you last sewn. A knowledge of basic sewing skills with some rotary cutting skills and a working knowledge of using a sewing machine is useful.

Beginner-Intermediate: Some basic sewing experience with confidence to move past beginner.

Intermediate: Knowledge and experience from sewing over time.

Advanced: Experienced quilters looking for a challenge.

All Levels: Assumes a knowledge of basic sewing skills, basic rotary cutting skills and basic quilting skills, either appliqué or piecing.

Expand your horizons

Take advantage of our varied classes and patient, expert faculty to explore new techniques that you’ve always wanted to try. Or enroll in a class that is not even machine sewing related. We offer several handwork classes like beading, watercolor on fabric, silk ribbon embroidery, and hand quilting, to name a few.

3063C Celtic Dance Bracelet Amy Loh-Kupser http://www.i-bead.com/

Equipment

Are you looking to purchase a new sewing machine? While many of our classes require you to bring your own sewing machine, there are others that have sewing machines provided, allowing you to “try before you buy.”

Have you always wanted to try longarm quilting but don’t have access to a longarm machine? We offer several classes that provide longarm machines for your use.

Do you want to try a sit-down longarm machine? There are several classes that include sit-down longarms like the Handi Quilter Sweet 16 and the Bernina Q20.  Students can learn the same skills as a quilter who uses a domestic machine; the machine is stationary and the quilter moves the quilt through the machine.

Perfect your techniques

Have you just begun to learn a new technique and need some practice? Utilize our classes to perfect your skills.

Learn from the best

Our 2018 faculty is top-notch. Many have taught not only throughout the U.S. but internationally as well. And several are published authors too. We bring the experts to you.

Don’t forget the Swag

All class attendees receive a badge for admission to classes, exhibits and vendors. In addition, they also get a show program plus entrance to Preview Night. Registrations prior to January 9th will also receive a special gift: a Road pin and/or year bar.

One last bonus item that all class participants receive is a tote bag. Last year we gave out small foldable grocery bags. Although many students enjoyed the bag due to California’s strict new single use plastic bag ban, many were not satisfied with our choice of bag. We sincerely apologize for 2017 class attendee bag.

When selecting our 2018 bag, last year’s comments and desires were taken into account. The 2018 tote bag is a canvas tote large enough to hold shopping goodies without getting too heavy. There will also be a very special surprise included with each bag which will be revealed later this year.

Road hopes you’ve found your reason to sign up for one of our many classes. To encourage early sign-ups, we will be giving away 5 Priority Registrations. To enter, comment below with the name of the class(es) you are interested in taking before midnight Pacific time on Thursday, June 29th.  Using Random Number Generator, 5 winners will be chosen and notified June 30th, in time for Priority Registration on July 1st. Remember, Priority Registration is non-transferable.

Good luck to all the entrants. We can’t wait to see the class registrations start coming in.

2018 Registration Information

A few different posts have been written on our blog about how to register online. If you want a comprehensive step by step guide, I recommend you read this post for the walk-through on registering for classes. Our software has largely remained the same since that post was written.

The purpose of this post is to give you some helpful hints and tips to work around some of the limitations of our system, as well as discuss some common problems our attendees encounter.

Registering a Friend?

The most common problem we see is when an attendee is attempting to register for a class for more than one person. Our system will only allow one Registration Fee per account. All classes (numbers starting from 1-7) require the registration fee. Even if you want a Wednesday class, and your friend wants a Thursday class, you must register under separate accounts as each individual who signs up for a class must pay the Registration fee. There is no way around this – you must register each individual under a separate account.

You may, however, purchase lecture or event seats in multiples. Class numbers starting in 8 and 9, do not require registration. When you drag the event into your schedule, click on 1 and select the number of seats you would like to purchase. Please note: if you want to include the registration fee with your lectures and events, you must register each person under their own account.

Class Full?

We routinely get questions about what to do if the class you really want is sold out. First, we highly recommend the waiting lists. We only charge you if you get into the class, which means the waiting list is free.

We get asked what the fill rate is off the waiting list. This question is a misnomer. The waiting list is used when either (1) someone cancels, or (2) we move classrooms to give a teacher more space.

We have also left a few spaces open in the schedule to repeat classes which have a long waiting list. If this is the case, you will be contacted about the new session prior to us opening the class to the public.

Please note: we do not permit an individual to be enrolled in a class and on a waiting list for a class occurring on the same day.

Problems During Registration

Although it is rare, sometimes problems do come up during online registration. Here are a few helpful hints to get you through the process:

  1. If you log on and do not get an error message, refresh your browser and start again. If you do not know how to refresh your browser, it is simple – for windows it is command – R and on Mac OS it is Command – R.
  2. If you clicked register and nothing happened, look to see whether you received a pop-up error message. We require your address with phone number and country (even if you’re in the USA). You may have to scroll up to see the error message.
  3. We will have someone monitoring the system and checking emails on Saturday morning between 8 AM and 10 AM. If you get into a jam – email is the best way to contact us. Just shoot an email to info@roadtocalifornia.com and someone will get back to you. We will not be answering the phones.
  4. Please do not use an iPad, iPhone, tablet or smart phone to register. Our system was not designed to the use of touch devices and may not work.
  5. Test your account login by going to https://online.roadtocalifornia.com to make sure your login works before registration starts.

One last thing – we heard a lot of your feedback regarding the choice of bag for 2017. We apologize to those of you who were not satisfied with the bag choice for our registered class attendees. For 2018 we will have a fresh, new canvas bag with a special surprise. This bag will be much larger – and will be able to contain all the goodies you buy at the vendor mall.

In summary – we are so excited for our class line up this year. We hope you are too! As always, if you have any questions, please send us an email at info@roadtocalifornia.com.

 

Photos by Brian Roberts.

White Glove Treatment

Hundreds of quilts are on display each year at Road to California. Some are viewed in special exhibits but many are the winning entries for Road’s quilt contest. Because Road has over 39,000 guests come to the show each year, special care needs to be taken to insure the safety and integrity of all the fabric art masterpieces. To help provide proper care and security for the quilts on display, Road enlists the help of individuals affectionately referred to as White Glove volunteers.

The role of White Glove volunteers is to greet visitors at the quilt displays, answer questions about the quilt(s) they are assigned to and show the backs of quilts, ensuring that visitors do not touch the quilts. White Glove volunteers are the only ones allowed to get up close and handle the quilts.

How do you know someone is a White Glove volunteer?  By the white gloves they wear, of course. White Glove volunteers are also asked to wear a black skirt or pants and a white blouse.

Linda has been a White Glove volunteer for six years. A member of the African American Quilters of Los Angeles quilt guild (“the best guild ever,” says Linda), she likes seeing the quilts up close and talking to the people. “The stories I hear are so interesting,” remarked Linda.

Aysheh and Valerie belong to the Inland Empire Quilt Guild and live in Riverside, California. They regularly sign up to work together as White Glove volunteers. They enjoy talking to the people, seeing the quilts up close, and the free show registration they receive for volunteering. Diane lives in San Pedro and participates with the South Bay Quilters. She has been a White Glove volunteer for 8 years. “I have a good experience every time,” says Diane. She always tries to find out about the people who made the quilts she is assigned to and what the quilts symbolize. “The first quilt I white gloved for was a Sharon Schamber’s quilt. After that show, I took a class from her.”

White Glove volunteers serve a minimum shift of 2 hours. If they work six or more hours during a show, they qualify for priority class registration for the following year. Hours available to work for Road 2018 are Wednesday, January 17, 2018 – 7 PM – 9 PM, Thursday – Saturday, January 18 – 20, 2018 – 8 AM – – 6:15 PM and Sunday, January 21, 2018 – 10 AM – 3:45 PM.

If you are interested in serving as a White Glove volunteer, please visit our website for further information on how to register.

2018 Bag Challenge: How Do You Use Your DIY Bags?

Making bags is a very popular sewing trend. How do you use the bags, totes, purses, and caddies you’ve made?

One great way to use your DIY bags is on a Road to California 2018 bus trip. Organized and led by The Traveling Quilters, Road is once again offering two unique, all-day bus trips to add to your Road to California experience. Bringing along your specially designed DIY bag is the perfect way to hold souvenirs, personal items and of course, fabric, picked up along the way on one of these excursions.

The Traveling Quilters’ experienced guides, Pam Overton and Lynn Crawford, have been in business for 27 years and have conducted over 200 quilt related tours. Experienced quilters since the 1980’s, Pam and Lynn have been familiar with Road to California every year since it started. Pam and Lynn handpick the locations they visit which include historical sites, delicious restaurants, and of course, quilt related shopping.

The bus trip on Wednesday, January 17th will include a stop at the headquarters of Robert Kaufman Fabrics where travelers will have the opportunity to hear firsthand about how Kaufman’s beautiful fabrics are conceived and manufactured. Robert Kaufman Fabrics offers an extensive supply of cotton prints, novelty fabrics, yarn-dyes and solids, covering a full assortment of woven fabric offerings such as poplin, twill, denim, corduroy, linen, canvas, crepe, voile, lawn, satin, georgette, flannel, organza, chenille, stretch woven’s, plaids, stripes, etc. Lunch will be on your own at the world-famous Original Farmer’s Market followed by stops at the Quilt Loft quilt store and at historic Graber Olive House, both located in Upland.

Then on Monday, January 22nd, the bus tour will be headed south of the Ontario Convention Center to Orange County and Hoffman California Fabrics. Guests will learn about the latest designing and distribution of Hoffman’s famous batiks and other lines of fabric as well as get a complete tour of their facility. This opportunity is especially significant as Hoffman does not allow individuals to come on their own to their site.

Following the Hoffman tour, the bus will continue on to the Mission San Juan Capistrano for a tour and lunch in town. Before heading back to the Convention Center, the bus will make one more stop at Quilter’s Cocoon in Riverside.

Registration for the bus tours begins with the regular Road 2018 class registration in early July.

Whether you’ve used your old DIY bags, totes, purses, and caddies you’ve made on tours, around town, or on a trip, we really hope your planning on making a new bag to enter in our 2018 Road to California Bag Challenge sponsored by Road to California and ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable®.

“On The Road Again” is intended to enlarge the circle of Road’s traditional quilt competition, offering a total of $1,200 in cash and merchandise prizes to the top winners. For complete rules and instructions, please visit our website.

Men At Road Is A Great Fit

Quilting is a popular interest for women — and men –of all ages.

Donn and Allan liked seeing all the quilt designs and types of fabrics during their first visit to Road to California.  From Morro Bay, California, Allan grew up around sewing and quilting his whole life. It was Allan’s sister who taught Donn how to sew. Donn has been quilting for 4-5 years and considers himself a modern quilter. He quit a full time corporate job to work in a quilt store in Morro Bay, The Cotton Ball, and helps customers use the longarm machine at the store. “There’s so much to see” at Road, said Donn. “The quilts are beautiful and there is a wide variety of vendors.”

John likes to come to Road and meet up with this three friends that he affectionately calls, the “Triplets of Bellville.“ The four met in Paris in 2008 in a study abroad, Art History class sponsored by the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California.  John was a team teacher with two other professors and took on the role of “bodyguard” for the three women during their one month stay in Paris. Since then, for the past seven years, the four have chosen Road to California as their annual meet up place since John resides in Southern California and Dashe, Carole, and Michelle live in Northern California. John says that Road is a “fun place to hang out with the triplets.” He also said he enjoys “the quilt competition the most.” He likes seeing the “creativity and detailed work with the quilting medium.”

Bill lives in Westlake Village, California and has been to Road four times. “Once you attend, you get an email to remind you when the next show is being held.” His wife is a quilter but Bill says he comes to take pictures. “I view (the quilts) as art. Being at Road is like being at an art museum.” What was Bill’s favorite quilt at Road 2017? “Director’s Choice. It was head and shoulders above everything else; so life like.”