Road to California, Ontario Convention Center Ontario California, USA

Life in the City – Copyright Sheila Frampton Cooper

Italiano (Italian)

It seems like yesterday, that I attended this quilt show for the very first time, in January 2011. This is actually the first show I ever entered, with the first art quilt I ever made, Life in the City.

In 2011, there was still another big Quilts Inc. show in Southern California, but now Road to California is the only one. It is for this reason that it now attracts a huge number of quilters. This last show had 40,000+ attendees!

I find that the show has changed a bit since I first started going.  Now there are a lot more vendors, and less quilts on display. It’s not an easy show to get juried into, for this reason.  However, it’s the vendors they keep these shows alive, and without them, and the thousands of quilters who attend, these big shows would not survive.

Another important factor for the survival of a big quilt show is adaptability, and the openness to embrace new things.  Road to California was one of the first big shows that created new categories to embrace the Modern Quilt Movement.

It’s been a few years since I attended this show, but this year, since I was in Southern California for some much-needed family time, I was able to attend. I also had a piece on display, Ruins of Roussillon. 

“Ruins of Roussillon”  Copyright Sheila Frampton Cooper

For this issue, I’d like to share a nice variety of quilts that caught my eye.

“Arches 7” Lou Ann Smith, USA

“I was inspired by the shape of arches and how they interact with each other.”

“Sewing Seeds” Maren Johnston, USA

“This quilt is another in my Grow Your Own series. It is a pure pleasure for a gardener to begin receiving seed catalogs during Winter months, in anticipation of Summer’s bounty. I find inspiration from my garden and orchard and use bold, graphic shapes to evoke a tribal feel”.

“2 Degrees Celsius” Leanne Chahley, Karen Foster, Felicity Ronaghan, trapuntato da Christine Perrigo (membri di Bee Sewcial) USA.

“Using the collective power of creation and cloth, each member of “Bee Sewcial” harnessed the power of the vibrating undercurrents of climate change and a winter palette to create an improv pieced block. Each block was curated into a cohesive story. The piecing is off-set by the rhythmic quilting, which is reminiscent of water and tides.”

“Colorful Dream” Lise Belanger, Canada

“I had a vision in a dream, and it is now passionately represented in this colorful quilt.”

“Loving Amsterdam”  Jan Soules USA

“This quilt is based on my photo of the canals in Amsterdam. I was enchanted by the idea of living on a houseboat. What an adventure that would be!”

“Seed Pods” Linda Fleschner USA

“This radial design was developed by drawing on 1/8 of a circle, then using mirrors to see how the whole design would look. It depicts seed pods, and other organic, natural forms in the Fall.”

Techniques: Edge turned hand appliqué, machine piecing, the border is paper foundation pieced and the quilting is hand guided using a long arm machine. I made sure to look at the detail shots because I am not impressed with quilting that is done using a computer when you enter a show. If you have a long arm business, and you are doing work for clients, this is a wonderful tool. However, there’s something rather sterile when I don’t feel the creators hand in the actual quilting.

“My Secret Garden” Margaret Solomon Gunn USA

“Peer through the large wrought iron gate. My secret garden blooms all year long, producing fragrant flowers in my favorite shades. These pink and orange blooms create a playground for the many whimsical butterflies. Join me in my land of perpetual summer.”

“Flying Thoughts” Antonia Hering, Paesi Bassi

“Flying home from Paducah to the Netherlands, I started to draw. Inspired by the stars, I decided to make a start with 10 points. That was not an easy task. Besides that, I wanted to challenge myself to make a lot of tiny points.”

“Painted Magnolia“Catherine Butterworth, Australia

“While traveling in the USA, I saw an exhibition of historic American woven coverlets. On display was “A Handweaver’s Source Book” c1950. One graph in particular caught my eye and was the inspiration for this quilt. I adapted part of the original two-toned graph in this quilt and ‘painting it’ with some of my favorite colours. I added a few circles just for fun.”

“Song of Summer” Bethanne Nemesh, USA

“Inspired by the Buddhist zen gardens of my childhood in Japan, this silk whole clothes features original flora and fauna, and Japanese inspired free motion background fills. The elaborate beading treatment is created with individually made gradation bead scallops accented with tiny seed beads.”

“Happy Easter”  Aki Sakai, Giappone

“I like miniature quilts very much. I like to make seasonal quilts. This is my first Easter quilt.”

“Small Happy Crazy Quilt” Aki Sakai, Giappone

“I like small and cute things very much. The designs are based on my favorite things and family memories.”

“Kaleidoscope Trees” Judith Phelps, USA

“This quilt was inspired from a sentence in the book “All the Light We Cannot See”. Marie-Laure last her eye sight at the age of 6, but in her imagination and dreams, everything has color. Trees in her imagination are shimmering Kaleidoscopes full of light. This quilt is thread painted.”

“Starburst” Peggy Marquardt, USA

“Starburst was created from the Classic LeMoyne Star block. It is my original design created to reflect a more modern spin on the classic block.”

It was also wonderful to see Latifah Saafir and her deliciously colorful booth!

I met Latifah in 2009 in a fabric store in Los Angeles, California. We started chatting, as we were both looking at the solid fabrics, and she told me she had started a little guild and invited me to attend. That guild turned out to be the very beginning of the Modern Quilt Guild. It started in Los Angeles, and quickly spread throughout the world.

While Latifah is no longer associated with the management of the guild, she has created several lines of fabric and numerous patterns. She also created a cool tool.

Her designs are fresh, and quite adorable!

To find out more about Latifah, visit

I consider myself a lone-wolf-type-of-gal. I usually go to these shows alone. And when I think about it, in my life, I’ve traveled alone, gone to restaurants alone, and and even night clubs (when I was young of course!). I find that often, when you are with friends, you only talk to your friends. However, when you go places alone, you can strike up a conversation with the person next to you and make lovely discoveries.

I was passing the time at the a hotel bar near the convention center and started chatting with a lady. She then invited me to her table with her friends. As we started talking, we knew a few of the same people. It was a really nice moment.

I hope the start of 2019 has been good to you all!

Ciao, Sheila

2 Comments on "Road to California, Ontario Convention Center Ontario California, USA"

  1. this is a wonderful article, and so like Sheila. Always generously sharing her space with others.

  2. Lynne Douglas | 10 February 2020 at 20:04 | Reply

    I really enjoyed your article. Didn’t get to Road this year and I felt you picked some of the most interesting quilts to share. Will you be at Tahoe this year? Would love to catch up with you if you are planning to be there.

    Lynne Douglas

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