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Archive for the ‘Uncategorised’ Category

2022 Quilt Challenges

Monday, 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

Monday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Friday, 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

Tuesday, 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!!

Free Motion for Today’s Quilters

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

There are many options for today’s quilters when it comes to free motion quilting. Adele Scott taught what some of these options are during her class at Road@Home May.

Meet Adele Scott

Adele Scott is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She began designing and sewing things when she was 9 years old.  Here first job was when she was in high school, working in the sewing machine department at Sears. It didn’t take her long to realize that sending a customer home after a five-minute threading lesson wasn’t really enough to help the customer get started with their new machine. So, she developed and began teaching her now signature, “Machine Know-how” classes.

Adele went on to work for the Singer Co., learning sales, machine repair and store management. She eventually opened her own shop, Stitched Unlimited, where she became known for her “exceptional” customer service. Adele is a “lifelong learner” when it comes to knowing about sewing machines, innovative techniques, and products. She finds joy in helping today’s quilters learn how to do things “easier and better.”

today's quilters

Adele told her students in her Road@Home May class, that she can do anything sewing and machine related – but not hand work. She welcomed them to “Ask Adele” any questions, any time, and shared, “You can always reach out to me.”

Fabric Preparation

Adele said that the biggest part for today’s quilters doing free motion quilting is the preparation which unfortunately, she noted, many quilters skip over.

The first area of preparation she touched on was whether to prewash fabrics before beginning a quilt. Because many quilters use pre-cuts, Adele said it is not necessary to prewash. If you are inclined to pre-wash, Adele recommended, Shout Color Catcher. Use several in a load and they can even be reused. Adele said just be sure to use at least one new one each time.

Batting Preparation

It’s important to know what kind of batting you are using. Each type of batting has its own care instructions as well as what distance is required when quilting. To help sort out all the different kinds of batting, Adele highlighted the book, Know Your Battings. Did you know that award winning quilts often have two layers of batting? One layer is cotton for “firmness” and the other layer is wool for ‘softness.”

today's quilters

Before quilting, Adele recommends that you let your batting relax a few days before assembling your quilt. If you are in a hurry, you could take a damp towel with the batting and toss it around in a dryer at medium temperature.

There is also the option to press your batting. A product Adele recommends for pressing batting is the Bo-Nash ironing mat. It allows steam to pass through and works with all fabrics, fusibles and stabilizers.

today's quilters

Basting Preparation

Adele suggested three ways for today’s quilters to prepare their quilt for free motion quilting: steam press, basting sprays, and fusible batting.

When steam pressing, press from the center out, front then back. Do a section at a time, quilt that area, then press again. Steam pressing helps to keep the quilt flat.

Adele warned to be light handed when using basting sprays. Spray just enough to keep the fabric from shifting.

Did you know you can make your own fusible batting? One way is to use a product called, Free Fuse, a powder from Quilter’s Select. This sprinkle-on powder is easy to use and is needle friendly. The purpose of the powder is to create a semi-permanent bond between most fabrics and battings.

Another way for today’s quilters to make their own fusible batting is to cut up scraps of any fusible product, sprinkle it on the batting like confetti, and press.   

Once you have prepared the fabric, batting and basting, you are ready to prepare to sew. In Road’s next blog post, we will review Adele Scott’s tips for free motion set up and quilting.

To learn more about Adele Scott, please visit her website.

Text in Textiles

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

Julie Silber presented a fascinating lecture during Road@Home May, Text in Textiles. She organized her lecture by quilt technique and theme, giving background on quilts that featured letters, text, and messages.

Who is Julie Silber?

Julie Silber was a unique presenter at a quilt conference because she is not a quilter or quilt maker. Rather, she is a collector and dealer of quilts.

Text in Textiles

Julie is one of the world’s most respected quilt experts. She has been selling antique quilts to museums, businesses, and individuals since 1968. Julie was the curator of the world-renowned Esprit Quilt Collection in San Francisco and is the co-author of the critically acclaimed books, Hearts and Hands and Amish: The Art of the Quilt. She has curated two of the most respected quilt exhibitions of modern times — those at The Oakland Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Finding Text in Textiles

Julie Silber’s specialty is buying, selling, and appraising antique quilts made between 1780 and 1950. Where has she found text in textiles during this date span?

Inscribed in Quilting

Pieced Letters

Text in Textiles

Religious Themes

Text in Textiles

Appliqued Letters

Text in Textiles

Printed or Woven in the Fabric

Text in Textiles


Text in Textiles

Song of Songs

Text in Textiles
Family History or Causes


Text in Textiles

Julie fascinated her class with her knowledge and unique examples. She offers to share her collections of quilts with guilds are as a special exhibit. To learn more about Julie, please visit her website.

Have you made or own a quilt that has text in textiles?

More Fabric Dyeing Tips

Friday, June 4th, 2021

Cheryl Lynch is a quilter, designer, author, teacher, and fabric designer. She taught a workshop at Road@Home May, sharing her fabric dyeing tips.

fabric dyeing tips

Cheryl spent a lot of time at the beginning of her workshop demonstrating how to prepare for the fabric dyeing process. That preparation was covered in a previous Road to California blog post. The following fabric dyeing tips are for when you are ready to begin the actual dyeing.

Dye Activator

Before the class, Cheryl had her students purchase a dye gradation kit of their choice from Pro Chem. Each kit came with three packages of dye, measuring about 10 grams each. In addition to the dye, students also had to purchase a dye activator. This product is what sets the dye by bonding the color to the fabric. It is a Ph changer. You can use it one of two ways: either use it when washing the fabric before dyeing or use it with the dyes as you are dyeing.

fabric dyeing tips

The type of dye activator Cheryl uses is called a synthrapol: “a special detergent used in pre-scouring fibers before dyeing, and in washing out fiber reactive dyes after dyeing. It is also sometimes used as a surfactant or wetting agent to improve dye penetration.

A synthrapol detergent contains long, thin molecules which each have one end that “likes” oily substances, and another end that “likes” water. Detergent molecules will completely surround a tiny particle of something too oily to be washed away by water alone, leaving just their water-loving ‘tails’ sticking out, to be easily swept away by the water. Water is the strongest of all solvents, but it requires detergents to wash away oily substances.”

Add ½ to 1 cup of dye activator to a gallon of water.

30 Dyes for 30 Fabrics

The three dyes were first mixed in juice bottles then transferred a little bit at a time into condiment squeeze bottles. Cheryl recommended labeling A, B, or C on the shoulder of the squeeze bottle so that you can see which color dye you are using. Refill the squeeze bottles during the mixing process.

Fabric dyeing tips

Starting with 3 ½ yards of fabric, cut the fabric into fat eighths. Label each piece 1 to 30 to correspond with the mixing cups or baggies. This helps you keep track of the color gradations. Put each piece of fabric in the corresponding cup or baggie.

Begin the dyeing process by adding two tablespoons of water to each fabric filled cup.

Cheryl shared that there are two ways to dye:

  1. Add dye to the fabric then add the dye activator. If you were to omit the activator, Cheryl commented that fabric would be pale in color.
  2. Soak the fabric first in the dye activator before you dye. This method is especially good for tie dyeing and is the method that Cheryl prefers. She told her students, “This works for me but we are all creative. If you have a better way – do it.”

Follow the color mixing using the formulas that come with the dye chart. The longer you let the fabric sit in the dye, the deeper the color will be. Cheryl said she likes to leave the fabric in the dye overnight to create the darkest, richest colors.    

Fabric dyeing tips

If you don’t do anything to the fabric after you add the dye, the end result will be a “mottled” color. Stirring or squishing the fabric changes what the result will look like.

Cheryl added these fabric dyeing tips before she let her students start creating: “Be sure to rinse and mark everything after each step so you don’t get mixed up in case you get distracted.” And finally, “Dyeing fabric takes time. Go slowly and take frequent breaks.

If you want to learn more about Cheryl Lynch, please visit her website.

Dye Your Own Fabric

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

Cheryl Lynch taught a class during Road@Home May on how you can dye your own fabric.

Why Learn How to Dye Your Own Fabric?

For one reason, Cheryl pointed out that purchasing hand dyed fabric is expensive. She also said that when you dye your own fabric, “You get a surprise every time!!”  

Dye your own fabric

Students in her class had their reasons why they wanted to learn how to dye their own fabric. Cathy, from Kentucky, always wanted to learn the process. Sally from Los Angeles and Sonja from New Mexico had both dyed fabric before but were interested in learning Cheryl’s techniques. And Janet, from Los Angeles County said she likes to “learn new things.”

Preparation for Dyeing

Cheryl was a chemist “in my previous life” so being around chemicals is nothing new for her. However, she knows that isn’t true for most fabric artists, so she spends a lot of time at the beginning of her classes demonstrating how to prepare for dyeing before actually doing the process.

One preparation tip when you dye your own fabric: Never use the same utensils you use for dyeing for eating food. A residue always stays behind and cloth dyes are poisonous.

Another tip: Don’t store leftover fabric dye in the refrigerator. Again, you wouldn’t want someone to accidentally mistake the fabric dye for a beverage.

Supplies you want on hand to mix the dyes: Either plastic cups or baggies. Plastic cups make it easy to mix up the dyes and put the fabric in. They aren’t recommended to use if you have children or cats that could knock them over.

Baggies work best if there is a chance for any disturbances. They also help to distribute the dye better when you dye your own fabric.

Dye your own fabric

There should be one baggie or cup for every fat quarter you are dyeing. For this class, students used cups and had 30 fat quarters to dye. Cups were numbered 1 – 30 with a Sharpie marker for each of the dye selections. Cheryl said to also use the Sharpie marker to mark 4 cups on a plastic pitcher, so you don’t have to measure the amount every time.

Another important supply is empty juice bottles. You will also need enough juice bottles depending on how many dyes you are working with. For this class, students had three different dyes. They marked their juice bottles A, B, and C for the three different dyes.

Dye your own fabric

A tablespoon measuring spoon and a plastic spoon for each cup or baggie rounds out your supplies.  

Mixing the Dyes

Cheryl recommends Pro Chem dyes when you dye your own fabric. They have lots of color palettes and come with instructions on how to mix the different color variants.

When mixing the dyes, wear gloves and an apron. If you get dye on your hands or clothes, it will stain. Cheryl said it takes several days for it to wash out of your hands.   

Dye your own fabric

There is a warning when you dye your own fabric: don’t breathe in the dye powder. Cheryl recommends wearing a mask or holding your breath. Once the dye is mixed in the water, it’s safe to breathe.    

Another tip for mixing the dye is to start with a little water in your juice bottles, add dye, shake and then fill with the rest of the 4 cups of water. Twist the cap on tight and give it a good shake.

In our next blog post, we’ll share Cheryl’s technique on how to apply the dye to fabric.    

Change Up Your Quilt Stitching

Thursday, May 27th, 2021

Catherine Redford taught the class, Walking Foot Quilting, at Road@Home May. After talking about how to prepare your quilt to do some Walking Foot Quilting, she introduced different ways to spruce up quilt stitching by going beyond simply “stitching in a ditch.”

quilt stitching

Pay attention to Pressed Seams

Traditional “stitch in a ditch” means you are stitching down the middle of a seam and are just stitching thread on thread. Catherine suggests stitching instead according to your pressed seam. If you pressed your seams open, quilt to either side of the seam which Catherine says is much more “prettier.” You can decide how far away you want to stitch from the middle. Catherine prefers stitching a quarter inch on either side.

If you pressed your seams to one side, always stitch to the lower side of the seam- the side that doesn’t have the bulk of the fabric pressed to it. Get as close to the seam line as possible.      

Either way, choose a thread color that disappears into the fabric.

Build on Straight Lines

The more straight lines you add to your quilting stitches, the more dimension your quilt will have.

Catherine’s favorite way to mark the original straight lines is to use painter’s tape. Because painter’s tape is very sticky and gum up your needle, Catherine recommends putting the edge of the pressure foot up against the edge of the tape. Remove the tape and then follow your original stitching line. Go back and forth stitching your lines starting in a different direction each time.

quilt stitching

Do your first go around of lines ½” apart. Then go back and do ¼”. Finally, go back and go 1/8” apart which is referred to as matchstick quilting. Catherine said not to worry if the lines aren’t exact. The more lines, the more texture.

A tip Catherine shared if your stitches start to pull and create tucks in your lines, reduce the pressure on the pressure foot.

Change Up Regular Stitches

Whatever stitch you use, try lengthening the stitch to 3 and widening the stitch to 5.

Instead of using a plain straight stitch, Catherine suggests quilting with one of your machine’s decorative stitches. Her go-to stitch is the serpentine. Using a serpentine stitch cuts down on the time it takes to quilt. Heavyweight thread is recommended and always play with the quilt stiching first. When making the next line, put the edge of the foot along the hills of the stitch. As always, it doesn’t matter if you are exact or not.

quilt stitching

Combine Different Stitches

Don’t just use the same stitch throughout the quilt. For each line, mix it up. For instance, start off stitching a line using a straight stitch, then zig zag for a few inches, then go back to straight stitching. Keep alternating until you get to the end of a row. Change directions and repeat.

quilt stitching

A warning that Catherine gave was when you go to change the stitch in a line, don’t have your needle down in your work. Keep it up to make sure your stitch stays firm.   

Creating Spirals

Spirals look intimidating but Catherine said they aren’t too complicated.

Divide the quilt into mini squares and create a grid in the background using a thread color that will disappear into the fabric. For the spiral, use a heavier weight thread and a number 10 topstitch needle.

quilt stitching

Start quilt stitching the spiral in the middle of your design by making just one stitch, holding both threads in your hand. Turn the fabric slightly and make two stitches. Turn slightly and make three stitches, turn, and continue. Go slow at first. The farther out you go, you can go faster with this quilt stitching.   

As Catherine Redford pointed out in her Road@Home May class, using different types of quilt stitching with your Walking Foot Quilting is fun and will add a unique texture to any quilt.