Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Road to California 2016

Inside the Ontario Convention Center at Road to California

I’m just back from teaching four days at Road to California. I had never been to this show, which is in Ontario, California (east of Los Angeles). It is such a beautiful area, and the venue (the Ontario Convention Center) is wonderful. Big, well-lit classrooms; lots of great vendors; interesting exhibits; and of course, really fabulous quilts!

View near the Ontario Convention Center
I had a professional headshot taken by Bonnie McCaffery, and snapped this selfie with her afterward.
Cathy Vandiford Wiggins with her leather quilts exhibition
$10,000 Best of Show went to “Silk Road Sampler” by Melissa Sobotka of Richardson, TX.
Inside the convention center
Mary Kerr’s curated exhibition, “Quilt as Desired,” paired less-than-$50 quilt tops,
many purchased on eBay, with longarm quilters’ artistry, with fabulous results!
$7,500 winner was Janet Stone of Overland Park, KS, with “Ewe Are My Sunshine”
Luba Dmytryk, who was in my class, won Viewers Choice!
Luba’s winning quilt

“Ode to Spring” (detail) by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME
“Cameo Rose” (detail) by Laurie Tigner of Rapid City, SD
I taught my Peacock Feather class on Thursday, and then my 3-Day Paint & Stitch class Friday-Saturday-Sunday. My students did some wonderful work. Most were still painting on the third day, especially if they chose complex subjects or were working big (24"x 36" or so). A few were accomplished artists, but most had little or no experience painting or painting on fabric. Here is some of their work (some still in progress): 

They did some amazing work! A few were experienced painters, but most were completely new to painting on fabric. My technique (which I developed to compensate for my lack of formal art training!) breaks this seemingly complex process down into simple steps, so that even beginners can get great results. Taking a three- or five-day class is a big investment of time and money, but it also gives you the opportunity to really get an in-depth learning experience. Some of my students painted all three days; others did smaller or less complex pieces and were able to threadsketch – and in two cases – quilt – their work!

I’m teaching this technique in three venues in 2016 and early 2017:

Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshops
Greenville, NY
Aug. 14-20, 2016
Five-day workshop: fusible appliqué, wholecloth painting, and thread sketching

Five-day workshop: Paint & Stitch: Create Original Work from Your Own Photos
Oct. 3-7, 2016
(sign up before Jan. 30, 2016 and get $100 off your lodging!)

Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar
Pacific Grove, CA
April 21-26, 2017
Five-day workshop: Wholecloth Painting and Thread Sketching (original work from your photos)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Catherine Redford’s new Quiting Arts Workshop – review and give-away

Catherine Redford, fiber artist, teacher and machine quilter extraordinaire, has a new Quilting Arts Workshop out on DVD and digital download. It’s called “Modern Machine Quilting: Free Motion Stipples, Swirls, Feathers and More!” It follows on the heels of her excellent first Workshop, “Modern Machine Quilting: Straight Lines, Spirals, Serpentines, and More!” that I reviewed in December 2015 here

Catherine is a co-founder of the Naperville (Illinois) Modern Quilt Guild, and she’s an award winning quilter. She’s been a guest on Quilting Arts TV several times, which is where I first met her.  

With Catherine on the set of QATV, Series 1400, in 2014
In this Workshop, Catherine starts out with the basics: how to choose batting, thread, needles and presser feet; how to press (she sometimes presses seams open to achieve a flatter look); and how to pin baste in preparation for quilting. 

Even though I’m an experienced free-motion quilter (I have my own recently released Quilting Arts Workshop on free-motion fillers), I learned a lot from Catherine by watching this Workshop.

She explains why she prefers an open-toe darning foot for her free-motion quilting (she says she can see better where she is going). I use a closed metal circle (Bernina foot #15). But if she has hand stitching or embroidery on a quilt, she uses a closed-toe foot so she won’t snag her stitching.  

She prefers a single-hole throat plate when she quilts, because it does not allow the fabric to be pulled down into the larger opening on a regular throat plate, which results in a nicer stitch.

While this Workshop focuses on free-motion stitches using a darning foot, Catherine often notes that she uses a combination of quilting lines made with her walking foot and motifs made using a free-motion darning foot in the same quilt. If it’s easier to get straight lines (or mildly curving lines) with the walking foot, then do it. These lines can provide the structure for the rest of the quilting. Then put on the darning foot and fill in between those lines.

She usually starts out by drawing or doodling her motifs on paper, before stitching them. She relies on “muscle memories” build during this drawing practice to help her when she starts quilting her quilt. I found her explanation of her stitches as she drew them on paper very illuminating. By both drawing and stitching the motifs, Catherine reinforces how to create the designs.   

During this 77-minute long Workshop, Catherine demonstrates 26 different motifs, including great patterns to define areas, fill white (empty) space, and highlight borders. There are some beautiful new-to-me motifs that I’ll be adding to my repertoire!  

Want to buy?
You can purchase the DVD ($24.99) or digital download ($19.99) on the Quilting Daily Shop.  

Join the hop! 
Thursday January 7th – Catherine Redford
Friday January 8th – Fresh Lemons Quilts

Saturday January 9th – Bonnie Hunter
Sunday January 10th – Svetlana Sotak
Monday January 11th – Kim Niedzwiecki (Aurifil)
Tuesday January 12th – Julia Wood
Wednesday January 13th – Susan Brubaker Knapp
Thursday January 14th – Jenny Lyon
Friday January 15th – Kathy Matthews
Saturday January 16th – Back to Catherine!

Win this Workshop on DVD!
For a chance to win Catherine’s DVD, head over to Catherine’s website and leave a comment there. At the end of the blog hop, she’ll pick two DVD winners, and one grand prize winner, who will receive a DVD and a Stella task lamp.

Really want to boost your free-motion skills? For an additional chance to win Catherine’s DVD, plus my new Workshop DVD, leave a comment on this post by noon (Eastern Time) Sunday, Jan. 17. (U.S. residents only, please). Tell me why you want to win. I’ll choose one winner at random. If your comment does not appear right away, don’t worry, and don’t leave additional comments, please. I have to moderate comments, because I was getting tons of Japanese porn spam, and I know you don't want to see that in the comments section! ;-)

UPDATE: We have a winner! Sewgirl has won my give-away. Thanks!

For a chance to win my Workshop DVD and Catherine’s, leave a comment on this blog post.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Get $100 off my class at Madeline Island School of the Arts!

Now through Jan. 31, 2016, you can get $100 off your on-site lodging when you register for my five-day workshop at Madeline Island School of the Arts! 

I’m super excited about this workshop, where students will work from their own photos (or one of mine if they don’t have a photo they love) to create original painted and thread-sketched work. MISA is a spectacular venue on an island in LaPointe, Wisconsin, and we will be there at a wonderful time of year. 

A 25% deposit is all that is needed to hold your place in my workshop.  To read more about my class and to register, click here, call MISA at 715.747.2054, or email 

To see more photos of the studio and student residences at MISA, check out my blog post here.