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Welcome to the Road to California Blog

Discovering So Cal On A Quilt Bus Tour

July 23rd, 2021

Road to California is offering two quilt bus tours during Road 2022. Each tour will be discovering So Cal through a quilter’s point of view:

On Monday, 9100C – San Diego Highlights and On Tuesday, 9200C – Fabric, Fabric, And More Fabric!

Quilting Tour Tradition

Road to California uses The Traveling Quilters, Lynn Crawford and Pam Overton, to take guests on quilting bus tours discovering So Cal. They have been offering a niche tour service for quilters for 31 years. Based in Southern California, the company’s philosophy is: “As long as we’re going to a quilt show, let’s take 40 friends along with us!”

The Traveling Quilters offer day trips to local quilt shows, quilting retreats in Temecula, California, and at least one “quilting adventure” a year. In October 2021, they will be “Exploring Washington.” The trip was originally scheduled for October 2020 but had to be postponed due to COVID. Stops will include Seattle, Leavenworth, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene. Idaho.

The Traveling Quilter’s relationship with Road to California began in 1998 when they sponsored bus trips from the San Diego area, bringing quilters to the show. Then, in 2013, Road asked them to oversee one-day quilting bus tours discovering So Cal during the show.

San Diego Highlights Tour

The first stop of the day will be at Quilt in a Day in San Marcos, the home base for Eleanor Burns. Guests will be in the audience of Eleanor’s show and have lunch with Eleanor catered by Panera. There will also be time for shopping before and after the show.

From San Marcos to Valley Center, guests will go to Inspirations Quilt Shop which offers a wide selection of fabrics, notions, and patterns.

Before returning to Ontario, the tour will stop in Temecula to visit Primitive Gatherings, known for their wool fabric and kits, primitive fabrics, reproductions, and a wide selection of bright, contemporary-to-modern fabrics.

Admission to the Eleanor Burns show, lunch and all gratuities are included in the price of the tour.

Fabric, Fabric, And More Fabric Tour

The first stop of the day will be at Hoffman California-International Fabrics. A family-owned company since 1924, they are known for their hundreds of colorful screen prints and Bali batiks they design each year. Guests will have an opportunity to learn more about designing and printing Batiks as part of the tour of the Hoffman facility.

Guests will enjoy a box lunch from Panera as part of the tour price as the group travels to the next stop, M&L Fabrics Discount Store. A fabric super store, they carry a wide variety of quality quilting and upholstery fabric, vinyls and sewing notions! Major brands including Kaufman, Hoffman, Moda, Timeless Treasures, Clothworks, Michael Miller, VIP, Quilting Treasures, Alexander Henry, Logantex, Shannon Fabrics, David Textiles, Andover Fabrics, A E Nathan, and many more are all sold at discount prices.

The last stop of the tour before returning to Ontario is at the Orange Quilt Bee with a wide selection of quilting fabric and supplies.

A quilt bus tour discovering So Cal with The Traveling Quilters is one of Road’s popular Special Events. If you like discovering new places plus learning about the Southern California area with its many quilt stores and fabric manufacturers, then planning to go on a quilt bus tour at Road 2022 is the right activity for you!!

Those attending these tours, please note that COVID safety precautions will be in effect: masks are required to be worn by everyone during the duration of each tour. 

Registration for Road to California 2022 begins August 14, 2021

Alaska Cruise with Road to California

July 20th, 2021

With traveling more accessible since the Pandemic, Road to California is pleased to announce its next vacation: an Alaska Cruise plus an optional land tour to Denali National Park. The dates are July 10 – 17, 2022 for just the cruise and the additional land tour will run July 18 – 20, 2022.

Previous Road Cruises

The 2022 Alaska Cruise will be Road’s fourth cruise.

The first cruise was a trip through the Panama Canal in 2014.

One year later in 2015, Road sailed on a New England Fall Foliage Quilt Cruise.

Road’s last trip was a Baltic Cruise in 2018.

All Road Cruises include quilt classes with fabulous teachers and port stops for sightseeing, with a quilt shop in most ports. It is a great combination of quilting and touring which makes it perfect for individuals, couples and even families.

Our Host, World of Quilts Travel

Once again, we have enlisted Deb Roberts of World of Quilts Travel to oversee our Alaska Cruise.

Deb’s first quilt tour was in 2004 when she took her group of fellow quilt appraisers to France. A few years later, she began booking cruises to add to her land tours.

Like the rest of the world, Deb’s business shut down for over a year due to Covid-19. World of Quilts Travel’s last trip before the shutdown was supposed to be a traditional Caribbean Cruise. But because most of the ports were not allowing ships to dock, the trip ended up being a “circling the Caribbean Cruise.” Deb said that even though they had to scrub their original itinerary, that cruise ended up being “still fun.”

World of Quilts Travel’s first quilt tour post-pandemic will be in the Fall of 2021 to include a trip to the Houston Quilt Festival.

Their first “quiltcation” for 2022 is entitled, “On The Road to California Tour,” January 14 – 22, 2022.  The tour begins in San Francisco and will work its way down the beautiful California Coast to our Show. Additional sites will include a visit to wine country, quilt shop stops, a scenic journey down US Highway 1, a tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and so much more.

Ultimate Alaska Cruise

The Road Alaska Cruise starts in Vancouver and ends in Anchorage. Port stops include Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. There will be lots of sightseeing and lots of quilt shops. Quilt teachers for the cruise will be Alaskan native, Dana Michelle, owner of Alaska Wildfire Designs, Bonnie Sullivan and Road to California’s Stevii Graves.   

Cruisers will have the option of continuing their journey to see America’s tallest peak at Denali National Park.  The extended tour will include 2 nights at the beautiful McKinley Chalet Resort, a tundra tour that goes into the heart of the Denali wilderness and finishes with a night in Anchorage.  

Personal safety will be a priority on our Holland America Ship. Vaccinations are required but masks are not mandated. There will be daily COVID testing, and cabins will be independently cleaned on a daily basis. Also, the ship will have two physicians on board who are trained in COVID treatment. Be advised that health directives will be evolving and changing regularly before the Alaska Cruise departure.

For complete details on Road’s Alaska Cruise, please visit the World of Quilts Travel website.

We hope you’ll join us July 10-20, 2022 for an Alaska Cruise to remember.

Meet Road 2022 Teacher: Sheila Frampton Cooper

July 17th, 2021

Sheila Frampton Cooper will be teaching 2 all day classes during in-person Road to California 2022:

On Thursday, 4501C – Appliqué + Piecing = New Possibilities

And on Saturday, 6015C – Lines & Curves

Do You Know Sheila Frampton Cooper?

Award winning artist and quilter, Sheila Frampton Cooper, has been quilting for over 12 years.  

Prior to quilting, Sheila had an extensive art background in oil, acrylic and watercolor painting, jewelry-making, and architectural photography. Her first foray in to quilting was in 2009 when she made quilts for Project Linus. Sheila began working on her first art quilt in January of 2010 and completed that project in October of the same year. Titled, “Life in the City,” it was her first entry in to any quilt show. And that first quilt show just happened to be Road to California 2011!

Sheila’s favorite quilting technique is taking piecing, using her hand dyed fabrics, and pushing the piecing to “the max” using engineering, thought, consideration, and forward thinking to see, “how far I can go to bring my vision to life.” Sheila describes her process as “free-form” that includes “surprising twists and turns” which leads to “a place of unfiltered originality.”

Sheila has won numerous awards at major quilt shows, including: IQA World of Beauty in Houston, AQS Show in Paducah and Road to California. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, France, Italy, England, China and Japan.

Sheila Frampton Cooper is a native of Los Angeles, California. She has spent the past five years living in France and just returned to residing in Southern California.

Previous Road Experiences

During Road to California 2013, Sheila Frampton Cooper curated the special exhibit, Perspectives: Fantasy and Reality, which showcased quilts that were inspired by maps, aerial views and topography of actual or imaginary places.

Two years later, Sheila Frampton Cooper was Road to California’s 2015 Featured Artist. To prepare for her Featured Artist Exhibit, Sheila began with her quilt, Life in the City, and then created seven new pieces just for the 2015 show.

Sheila was “grateful to be invited as the Featured Artist. “I enjoyed interacting with the show attendees, and was thrilled to see my work on the cover of the catalog.”

Sheila Frampton Cooper is thrilled to be involved once again at Road to California. Regarding her upcoming classes, Sheila noted, “It is a privilege for me to witness what my students accomplish! I am honored to hold the space and guide them as they discover the freedom, joy, and for some, the discomfort that comes from not knowing the outcome of their creations.”

To learn more about Sheila, please visit her website.

How to Enter the Quilt Contest and Quilt Challenges?

July 13th, 2021

Quilt Contest and Quilt Challenges are open for Registration until October 1st. This guide will walk you step by step on how to register.

To start you need to head over to the website www.road2ca.com we suggest registering on a computer over a phone or tablet. For a mobile device you should still look through the guide and at the end is how to find the pages on a mobile device.

In the photo above on a website you will find the Log In button in the upper right-hand corner. You also want to at this time to make sure you are in the correct conference which it will say Road to California Quilters Conference and Showcase 2022 at the top of the page. If it is not this, please use this link www.road2ca.com.

After Logging in when you hover over the My Account Tab it will say below Enter which is what you want to click to enter a quilt entry.

On the entry page you will fill this out with all your quilt information. QUILT CHALLENGES: In the Division section you will want to change it to Exhibit to submit for one of the three challenges.

If your quilt was made in 2018 you can submit please just enter the year as 2019 due to the systems coding we cannot change it.

After Submitting it will take you to the Quilt Tracker Page. On this Page there is a couple of important places. 

If you click your entry number (the one circled in blue) it will allow you to edit your entry information. 

The photo uploads (green circle) you only need to submit the Main and Detail. You will only be asked to submit the Back if we need more information otherwise it does not need to be submitted.

To pay for your quilt you click Pay Bill (red circle) this will take you to the payment page for your entries. Please Note: You should wait to pay until you enter all your quilt entries.

If you need to go back to the Quilt Tracker page you will want to go to My Home Page which is under the My Account Tab. Do Not Click My Entries that page will not work until after Quilt Jurying.

Once your quilt entry on the Quilt Tracker says Entry Received you are all set.

On a mobile phone instead of the drop down menus we have a list menu (three lines in the upper right) you will use this to navigate the pages as mentioned above. (You will also find the Login button in this list.)

The list will have near the bottom (Must be logged in for these options) You will still go to Enter and My Home Page.

Quilt Entries will continue to be accepted until October 1st. Please email us if you have any questions.

Hand Dying Fabric at Road 2022

July 11th, 2021

Lynn Koolish will be teaching 4 classes during the return to in-person Road to California 2022:

On Wednesday, 3068C – Ethnic Inspirations, from 6:00 – 9:00 PM

On Thursday, an all-day class, 4016C – All About Fabric Dyeing & Color Mixing

On Friday, another all-day class, 5015C – Paint & Stitch: Transform Your Stash With Paint

And on Saturday, 6018C – Paint & Stitch: Make A PickUP Sticks Quilt, from 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Baby Quilts to Improvisational Design

Lynn Koolish is a fiber artist, teacher, and author. She is most known for her bright colors and for her skills at hand dying fabric. She also creates mixed-media fiber art.

When Lynn Koolish’s friends began having babies, she started making baby quilts. A seamstress for years, she figured, “I have fabric,” “I know how to sew,” “No problem.”

The thing that made improvisational design and piecing click for Lynn Koolish (in terms of being able to make quilts that she really liked and was proud of) was understanding basic design principles. She then used those principles as she worked, and problem solved. Until she figured that out, Lynn felt her improv quilts were “very chaotic” and she never really liked them.

Through the years, Lynn has also become an expert at hand dying fabric. By creating her own fabrics, she has been able to expand her fiber art creations.

Teaching at Road to California 2022

A quilt teacher for the past 18 years, Lynn really likes being able to share what she knows with others. Her favorite part is seeing the “aha” moments when students understand something new like hand dying fabric. Lynn last taught at an in-person Road to California in 2018. She also taught at Road’s first online show, Road@Home.

Lynn Koolish is looking forward to meeting her students during the return to in-person classes at Road to California 2022. The most important thing Lynn hopes her students will gain from her classes is to be able to learn to trust their instincts and not worry about what other people think of what they are doing. She is hoping to provide a comfortable setting where her students will feel open to trying new things, like hand dying fabric, and not worry about their final outcome.

A special note: Lynn will be the first teacher Road has ever allowed to teach fabric dying at the Ontario Convention Center!!

To learn more about Lynn Koolish, please visit her website

2022 Quilt Challenges

July 5th, 2021

Road to California introduced three quilt challenges for their 2021 Quilt Show that was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Now that In Person Road to California is on track for January 19 – 22, 2022, Road has decided to bring back those same three challenges for the upcoming show.  The 2022 Quilt Challenges that will be offered at Road to California 2022 are:

Conspiracy Theory Quilt Challenge

2022 Quilt Challenges

Do you have a favorite Conspiracy Theory? Maybe it involves the loch ness monster or aliens in Area 51. What Conspiracy Theory could you turn in to a winning quilt for this entry of the 2022 Quilt Challenges?

The goal of this quilt challenge is to poke fun at conspiracy theories surrounding civilization. Political conspiracy theories should be treated lightly. Quilts must be appropriate for viewing by all ages and sensitives.

Entry Sizing and Construction:  30” x 30” with a 4” finished sleeve on the top back of the quilt, securely stitched on top and bottom edges.

Twins Quilt Challenge

2022 Quilt Challenges

In honor of Road to California’s owner, Matt Reese, and his wife, Jennifer, who had twin sons born to them during the pandemic on April 14, 2020, Road is celebrating this momentous occasion with a Twins Quilt Challenge.  The interpretation of this challenge is purposely being left wide open so makers and quilters can come up with their own creative ideas.

Entry Sizing and Construction: Quilts cannot be larger than 60” x 60”. Quilts may be two pieces, so long as they are joined to create a single piece by black fabric.

Road to California Souvenir Fabric Challenge

2022 Quilt Challenges

To celebrate Road’s 25th Anniversary at Road to California 2020, a special commemorative fabric was created. This challenge incorporates use of at least 50% or Road’s anniversary fabric in a quilt, bag or garment design.

If you didn’t get the fabric at our 25th Anniversary Show, it will be available on our website for purchase.

General Quilt Contest Rules Also Apply

In addition to the specific rules for a particular quilt challenge, all of Road to California’s quilt contest general rules also apply:  

Design Rules: Quilts cannot be made from a kit, however, commercial patterns can be used so long as they follow Road to California Inc.’s Statement of Copyright.

Entrant Requirements: Quilt for hire arrangements are acceptable for this challenge, given both parties are listed on the entry form. The person entering the quilt must have been a direct participant in creating the quilt. Entrants can submit an unlimited number of entries.

Photo/Image Permission: Entry into the exhibition automatically grants permission for the image of the quilt and/or all or part of the Artist’s Statement about the quilt to be used in articles, ads, promotions, catalogs, books, magazines, websites (including any webcast coverage), blogs, CDs, news coverage, television, online and/or multimedia productions for and about this exhibit, Road to California, Inc. and its subsequent shows, or for and about quilting and developing creativity. The quilt artist retains copyright to the quilt and will be credited in any usage. No compensation will be granted to the entrant and/or copyright holder for use of the quilts image on any promotional products.

Quilt Challenge Deadlines

Rules for all three 2022 Quilt Challenges were posted to our website on July 1, 2021.

Completed quilt contest submissions with photos must be received online by midnight, October 1, 2021.

Accepted entries for each challenge will be notified no later than November 30, 2021.

Good luck and have fun!!!

2022 Quilt Contest

July 5th, 2021

With In-Person Road returning January 19 – 22, 2022, that means Road to California’s traditional Quilt Contest will also be returning with cash prizes, show recognition, and special display space.

Past Road Quilt Contests

The first time Road to California offered a quilt contest was in 1996, when Road was just five years old. The show was held at The Ontario Airport Hilton, after being moved from the former Ontario Marriott Hotel (now the Gateway Hotel). The total amount given away for cash prizes at the first contest was $5,000.

Through the years, Road to California’s Quilt Contest has grown to be one of the premier quilt contests – both in the United States and internationally. With so many other quilt contests cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Road has tried hard to keep its 2022 Quilt Contest at the same standard of excellence as contests prior to the pandemic. That includes maintaining the same cash prize for the Best of Show Winner. Once again, Gammill has generously sponsored the Best of Show prize at Road $10,000. This one prize is double all the cash prize money given at our first contest!!

Best of Show 2020: Christmas in St. Andrews by Marilyn Badger

Changes for 2022

  1. Total Cash Prize Money: As of July 1, 2021, the total amount being offered for cash prizes will be at least $59,250 in Cash Non-Purchase Prizes! We are thankful for the continues support of our generous sponsors as they are the ones who contribute the dollars that go directly to the contestants. For a preliminary listing of our 2022 Quilt Contest award amounts, please visit our website. We do expect the award amounts to change as we get closer to the show.
  2. Quilt Display Location: The entire quilt display for the 2022 Quilt Contest will be housed in the Ballrooms at the Convention Center. This gallery approach will give guests a unique viewing opportunity to see the beauty of all the quilts in a relatively quiet environment.
  3. Preview Night: Preview Night for the 2022 Quilt Contest will be Tuesday, January 18. Both the Quilt Display and Vendor Hall will be open for business.
  4. International Shipping Protocols: Road is looking into giving entrants the option to use USPS or FedEx for return shipping for the 2022 Quilt Contest. International entrant feedback is welcomed as to which service they prefer and why.

Categories for 2022

The categories for the 2022 Quilt Contest are:



Human Image








Best Applique 2020- Balam (Jaguar) by Georgia Spalding Pierce

For an entry form as well as an overview of the complete category details, size restrictions, and other rules including our Copyright Policy, please visit our website.  

Entry Timeline

The Complete Entry Packet (Online or Mail In) must be received by Road to California by October 1, 2021

Entrant notification including, if accepted, shipping and return instructions will be sent by November 29, 2021. All information will be sent via email from info@roadtocalifornia.com

Accepted Entries must be received to Road’s office by November 29, 2021 – December 23, 2021.

Judge’s comments and Winner Notification will be sent by email January 18, 2022

Note: For those who entered a quilt for the 2021 cancelled contest, you can enter your quilt again in the 2020 Quilt Contest if it was completed after January 1, 2017 and if it has not been displayed at any previous Road to California contest.

Thank you for considering entering your special quilt in our 2022 Quilt Contest.

Returning to In-Person Road

June 30th, 2021
In-Person Road

Like many other small businesses, we were saddened to be required to shut down after our 2020-25th Anniversary Show. It meant that our 2021 In-Person Road Show had to be postponed. And it required us to look for new and different ways to keep our show relevant to our thousands of guests plus our hundreds of teachers and vendors.

While we appreciated the challenges and successes of our online quilt shows – Road@Home and Road@Home May, we were still anxiously waiting for the go-ahead to get back to what we do best: an In-Person Road.

Those guidelines began to come out from the State of California and the California Department of Health earlier this month. While they are sure to evolve and change right up to when the doors open for Road to California 2022, January 19-22, 2022, we can now safely project what our show will look like.

California State Guidelines

During the height of the pandemic, California was one of the most stringent States when it came to COVID-19 protocols. It has also been one of the last to release most of those guidelines. That is why it has taken Road so long to announce what a 2022 In-Person show will look like. We wanted to make sure we were given guidelines that would be manageable and safe for our guests, teachers, vendors, and employees.

On June 15, 2021, Road received its first set of opening guidelines for “Mega Events” like our show at the Ontario Convention Center. A lot has been discussed about these guidelines.

The most certain thing we can tell you is that whatever the policy is for today’s events, will be different by January.

The State has indicated that they will revisit these guidelines in September and make up-to-date recommendations at that time for Mega Events happening after October 1, 2021.

Whatever changes California may or may not make, you can rest assured that Road to California will be planning and working with the Ontario Convention Center on making sure that In-Person Road 2022 will be a safe and fun event for everyone.

In Person Road

What’s New, What’s The Same

One thing that won’t be different for In-Person Road 2022 is the same quality of teachers, classes, and vendors that our guests have come to expect. We started planning for In-Person Road using the framework for Road 2021, including allowing those who kept their class registrations from 2021 to attend their same choices whenever possible. Almost all our vendor booths are sold, which means excellent shopping opportunities for everyone.

Classes will still run Monday through Saturday during In-Person Road but the show days have changed. The show will run Wednesday through Saturday. The new hours for Road 2022 are Wednesday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. There will be no Saturday night or Sunday classes.  

In Person Road

Preview Night will be held Tuesday, January 18th. New for In-Person Road 2022 is that Preview Night will include the quilt gallery AND the vendor hall.  That means early shopping plus amazing show quilts!! VIP Entrance (for those who are attending classes) is from 5:00 – 6:00 PM. General Admission is from 6:00 – 8:30 PM.

Hotel Reservations for Road 2022 (as well as the new International Sewing Arts Festival) reopens July 1, 2021. The Ontario Convention Center staff reached out earlier to all attendees who had previously reserved rooms for Road 2021 through the Ontario Convention Visitors Bureau. For more information on hotel accommodations, please visit our website.

Our famous In-Person Road Quilt Contest is back. Entry information will be available starting July 1st on our website. In addition, the three quilt challenges intended for 2021, namely, The Twins Challenge, Conspiracy Challenge and 25th Anniversary Souvenir Fabric Challenge, will be sponsored in 2022.     

And as always, Road is still requesting volunteers to help with various aspects of the show as well as for Guilds to showcase their Opportunity Quilts.

We are thrilled to be able to offer In-Person Road 2022 and look forward to seeing everyone January 19-22, 2022. Will you be there too?

Vacation Sewing

June 25th, 2021

With the country opening, more and more people are starting to travel again. Dedicated quilters and sewists often take their projects on the road. Follow these proven vacation sewing tips to never miss a stitch.

vacation sewing

Planning is the Key

Visualizing your project and all the items you will need ahead of time can help you stay organized and not over or under pack.

Road’s Stevii Graves shared on a recent episode of It’s Sew Road, that her best vacation sewing friends are Zip Lock Bags. The gallon and quart sizes are perfect for keeping books, patterns, and templates all in one place. Cut out pieces of your quilt before you leave home and organize them in sandwich size baggies. And Stevii added, that snack size bags are perfect for storing thread, floss, and emergency snacks.

What kind of space will you have for your sewing?  Sew Daily suggests creating your own  “portable sewing room” on the road by bringing a small foldable cutting/ironing board combination for your vacation sewing. They say to “purchase one or make your own cutting board using a clean, dismantled cardboard box. Connect multiple boards with painter’s tape to make a larger board, if needed. Balance a fully opened, foldable cutting board atop two small, portable folding tables. These small folding tables can be packed in a vehicle or even in larger checked luggage if traveling commercially or obtained en route. Test for stability before use. Of course, a decent-sized bed and hotel room can accommodate many sewing needs. Just remember to protect all surfaces first. Iron and ironing boards are often available as well, but test the iron on scrap fabric before use to make sure it’s operating properly. Should you need to wash or dry fabric en route, many hotels and coin laundries are able to accommodate.”

Another factor to consider are your accommodations. Again, from Sew Daily, “With a little advance planning, many hotel conference rooms, parks, community and recreation centers, libraries, colleges, fraternal lodges, fabric/craft stores and even some bookstores may be available to use as one’s temporary sewing room for a few hours, days or even weeks; just check beforehand. If your destination has a craft or fabric store where classes are taught, they may have sewing machines open and available for use. There’s a host of unassuming “sewing rooms” waiting to be explored and discovered when traveling, located in accessible and even remote locations.”

Tips for Handling Sewing Supplies

During Road@Home in January, Lee Chappell Monroe encouraged those who do hand sewing during their vacation sewing to pre-thread their needles before they leave home. That way you don’t have to worry about the danger of threading a needle in a car or on a plane. She also added to keep track of your threaded needles by marking on Post It notes how many strands you have.  

So you don’t have to worry about blocks getting wrinkled on the road, lay the blocks on top of a square ruler and wrap in plastic wrap. Lee also warned that fabric needs to breathe so if you put fabric in plastic bags, snip a corner of the bag to let fresh air in.

Carrying a lot of rulers while vacation sewing? Poke holes in the rulers and slide a metal ring, some string or ribbon through the holes so the rulers don’t get lost.  

vacation sewing

Taking your sewing machine on the road? The smaller and lightweight the machine, the better. Lee suggested to belt in your sewing machine if you’re traveling by car. This protects you and your machine against sudden stops or if you get in an accident where your machine could launch and injure someone.  

vacation sewing

Did you know that if you are flying with your sewing machine for vacation sewing, you can take your machine on the plane as either checked or carry-on baggage? TSA suggests you check with your airline ahead of time to verify allowable dimensions.

Whether going on vacation, to a quilt retreat or even Road to California 2022, these tips can make vacation sewing easy and carefree.

More Free Motion Quilting Tips

June 22nd, 2021

Adele Scott, an accomplished sewer, sewing machine repairman, and teacher, presented a class on Free Motion quilting tips at Road@Home May. She spent the beginning of her class time discussing how to prepare for free motion quilting. Then she focused on tips when doing the actual free motion quilting.

free motion quilting

Sewing Machine Tips    

Adele stressed the importance of having the best machine you can afford. When doing free motion quilting, use a full-size machine—not a smaller, travel size machine.

Begin and end using the needle stop down feature. This assures that you have complete stitches.

Regulate your stitching by keeping the speed consistent. Strive for a medium or slower speed that occurs when your foot pedal is all the way down. That way, you only need to worry about what your hands are doing when they manipulate the fabric.

Add lighting to your work area. Adele likes to use a ViVilux light.

free motion quilting

Use free motion feet (especially when using quilting rulers) and a straight stitch throat plate, one that has just one hole for the needle to go through. You don’t want to use a plate that has a wider opening for zig zag stitching. Using a one-hole plate helps to prevent “eye lashing” – having your threads pulled.

Needle Tips

When doing free motion quilting, Adele suggests always using a 90-14 top stitch needle. The eye on a top stitch needle is twice the size of a regular needle. It is also thicker. A top stitch needle gives the thread a better place to “hide out” while you are figuring out where your free motion quilting is going. And most of all, a top stitch needle will help you avoid having your thread shred or break.  

Any good quality thread like Mettler’s all purpose, medium weight, polyester is a good choice shared Adele.

Always test your stitch with your thread before beginning. Different spools react differently. A smoothly wound spool helps you keep a uniform tension.    

Wearing gloves is always a good idea remarked Adele. Make sure you get gloves that fit your fingers. If your gloves are too loose, they will get caught under your needle or ruler.

Work Area Tips

Your posture matters warned Adele. You want to have your body higher than your quilt. Elbows should point downward. Keep elbows and shoulders relaxed. 

When doing free motion quilting, make sure your work area has as much flat area space as possible.  You want to be able to move your quit forward and backward and side to side.

Your work area should also be slippery. Ways to keep your work area slippery includes using a plastic tablecloth underneath your work and wearing an apron to keep your work from sticking to you or the table.

How to Handle a Bigger Quilt

Adele recognized that what keeps some people from trying free motion quilting is the size of their quilt to be quilted. The key to quilting a larger quilt is to plan ahead. Break down your quilt size into areas you can handle.

Other tips Adele shared for larger quilts included:

  1. Cut away excess batting from the section of the quilt you are working with. Before you cut, mark the area with a fabric marker and use a rotary cutter to cut away the batting.
  2. If your quilt is made up of blocks, quilt a couple of rows first, then add a couple more.
  3. Sashing is a great way to hide raw edges when joining quilted sections together.

With the great tips Adele Scott shared for free motion quilting, there is no excuse not to try it!!

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