I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Day One with Gina Perkes, Road to California 2014

My first class at Road was with the delightful, Gina Perkes. Lorette and I had decided that we were going to focus most of our class time on overcoming our hesitation of quilting feathers and Gina’s class, “Fantabulous Feathers and Fill” seemed a great place to start! Gina has a very fun, pleasant personality and she made sure we all knew how loved we were with constant praise and adoration. Her mom, Debbie often travels with her and she was equally as charming. Gina brought along numerous samples and invited us to take as many pictures as we wanted of her work, as well to use her award winning quilts to cuddle in if we got cold! Really! She assured us she uses them for just that purpose at home. I don’t recall anyone taking her up on her offer to cuddle with them, although we all took lots of photos.

We were learning to quilt our feathers and fill on the Charm, a new Gammill sit down machine, but as much fun as it was, I still prefer my APQS longarm. I have quilted for years on a domestic and with carpal tunnel and neck issues, I find it tiring. But, that didn’t take away from all the great designs we learned! And Gina was very generous in sharing tips that could make our quilting smoother and easier. As well, she was very generous in her praise of our efforts, constantly moving around the room, engaging with every student over and over.

Even with all the excitement of actually being in this class, it was all I could do to stay indoors! The sun was streaming in the windows, I could see palm trees just a short distance away and I was in bare legs!! No talk of polar vortex here! Eating lunch outdoors outside the Convention Centre was lovely!! And every time you sat down, you got to meet more quilters because even on these first days before the show and merchants mall began, quilters were everywhere and they were all excited to be there, taking classes and learning new techniques.

There is a photo on Gina’s blog of our class at Road and if you look at the left hand side of the picture, you can see my bare legs underneath the table where I was sewing!! You can see a bit of my head and sweater as well, but I would be hard to identify conclusively based on this photo. However, Gina very graciously posed with me as proof I was there - just in case I had to pinch myself later on in disbelief! Fun loving person that she is, first we took a selfie..

Then mom Debbie took a posed shot..

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Road to California 2014

We have been weighing our bags and carefully calculating what needs to be distributed where in order to get it all home..I have been on the road for 4(!!) weeks and as always, am amazed that the time has gone this quickly and that it is indeed time to again face the realities of the Canadian winter. We are heading into storms, blizzards actually, and have no idea how long this part of our journey will take and what planes will be able to land where..

This blog has been an interesting avenue for me. I have made connections; I have met new people, found old friends and made new ones. One of my newer quilting friends, someone I met through my blog, issued an invitation for me to join her at Road to California this year. After a bit of hesitation, I accepted her offer and because of Lorette and this wonderful opportunity, a whole new world within quilting has opened up to me. My hesitation came partially from an inability to making that big a commitment to my interests, but also partially because I had a nagging feeling that afterwards I would be a changed person. And I don’t know if I was quite ready to face up to and deal with that new person.

Road was amazing. The instructors were absolutely the best. The show quilts were stunning. The merchants mall was everything I needed it to be. The weather was hands down the perfect antidote to the cold and freezing I left behind and I was thrilled to be in bare legs! I met so many wonderful people and we talked quilts and quilting for hours. Lorette and I talked quilting by the hour!!

My hubby joined me after Lorette and I had spent 7 glorious days taking classes and for the last 3 weeks he and I have travelled the southern and central coasts of California in our rented camper van. It has been more than wonderful and we are sad the time has come to leave. But, it is time to head home and start processing all that new knowledge, time to use the materials and supplies I was able to find, time to get back to my long arm. 

I am heading back with a renewed sense of my abilities. The teachers I took classes with made me realize that the power to create my own long arm designs is indeed within me and that the more I hone my skills, the wider the scope of work I will create. The freedom of my recent days has encouraged more creative thoughts than I will be able to complete ever. I made new BFF’s!! (Lorette chuckled I know when I told her I had to google BFF because I couldn’t remember that that second F was for..oh dear....) and I was fortunate to have so many share many wonderful stories with me.

It took this trip and this experience to me to solidify that things will be changing for me....soon.