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2016 Road to California Round-Up (aka Jim and Rod’s Excellent Adventure)
teri • February 03, 2016 • No Comments

Mere days ago, Q-bies Jim Carnevale and Rod Daniel of Placitas, New Mexico, “hit the road” for the Road to California Quilters’ Conference and Showcase. Here’s their report:

By Jim Carnevale and Rod Daniel

Rumor has it that Road to California is the country’s second largest quilt show and exhibition, falling behind only Houston. Well, rumors are probably fact.  This year, “Road”–held annually in Ontario, California–filled the entire Ontario Convention Center, and expanded into two large adjacent tents, and even further in to an adjoining hotel. The expo filled the entire convention center exhibit hall, an adjacent ballroom, and a large outdoor tented pavilion. And there were definitely quilters to fill all this floor space, with Thursday especially being one of those shoulder-to-shoulder days!

The 2016 edition of Road was Jan.18 – 24, beginning with a full week of classes and expert teachers providing instruction in all aspects of quilting. The exhibition of quilts and vendors was Thursday – Sunday.

This was our first visit to Road. When it comes to fabric, notions and sewing machines, if you could not find it at the Road exhibition, you probably don’t need it. Vendors represented every facet of quilting, and credit cards (including ours’) were getting a serious work out. A local Boy Scout troop even provided sitting services for purchases that were too heavy to carry around.

The best way to describe the experience of the vendor expo was visual overload, sore feet, aching legs, arms weighted down with packages and a depleted checking account. We purchased enough threads and fabric to make even the most avid stash builder jealous. Jim was pleased to see all of his old favorites there, including Superior Threads, Starr Designs, Cherrywood, The Sampler (all Kaffe Fassett designs), Jordan Fabrics and Kai Scissors. Rod was particularly excited about the latest Cherrywood challenge, using primarily four pre-selected Cherrywood fabrics. (To learn more about the 2016 challenge, King of the Jungle, go here.)

Silk Road Sampler

Melissa Sobotka’s Silk Road Sampler, Best of Show at the 2016 Road to California show.

If the vendor mall was a exercise in shopping gluttony, then the quilt exhibit was a visual feast! Silk Road Sampler, a quilt based on an image taken in an Istanbul spice bazaar, was the grand prize winner of $10,000 and took Best of Show honors. After visually devouring this quilt, we have no disagreement at all with the judges’ decision. This quilt was made and quilted by Melissa Sobotka, of Richardson, Texas. Ms. Sobotka successfully worked with colors, values and perspective to create an image that looked incredibly three-dimensional. We overhead many show-goers saying they were surprised to discover the quilt was in fact a two-dimensional piece of art.

Other personal favorites and winners include the following:

Oh So Blue by Michelle Jackson of Albuquerque, New Mexico, which earned Second Place in the Art of Human Image category…

Oh, So Blue

Spanish Arches by Lenore Crawford from Midland, Michigan, which took First Place in the Art Pictorial category…

Spanish Arches

Enchanted Encounter by Cindy Oneal,  Bend Oregon, which scored honors in the Most Humorous category…

Enchanted Encounter

Technicolor Deco by Shirley Gisi of Colorado Springs, Colorado, which won for Best Use of Color…

Technicolor Deco

You can view all of the award winning quilts on the Road to California website.

Included in the overall quilt exhibit, was separate exhibit of 160 quilts depicting all the U.S. National Parks in multiple and creative ways. These quilts will actually comprise a book, Inspired by the National Parks: Their Landscapes and Wildlife in Fabric Perspectives by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto to be released in late June.

Another big attraction at Road is the variety of classes that encompass every aspect of quilting. The classes vary from half-day to full-day classes (and even a few that span multiple days). Jim chose to work on his quilting skills with “Walking Foot Quilting Beyond the Ditch” with Catherine Redford, which focused on modern quilting techniques using a home machine and a walking foot. His second class was “Heirloom Feathers and Backgrounds” with Cindy Needham. Both classes to be very enjoyable and valuable.

Rod’s picks? He chose “Thread Sketching” with Shannon Shirley and “Enhancing a Photograph through Thread Sketching” with Nancy Prince. After two days of intense thread sketching exercise, Rod is ready to reproduce images of the family cats in thread.

So much Road, so little time! Can’t wait until next year!


Thanks, Jim and Rod, for your on-the-spot report!

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.

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