Road to California 2023

Last week I went to Road to California in Ontario, CA. I try to go every year and for the most part I make it for a day or two. The last several years (except 2021 due to the lockdown) I was lucky enough to stay close by and take a class here and there. This year was my longest yet. I stayed Tuesday- Saturday and took 3 classes.

On Tuesday my girlfriend, Julie, and I took a Sashiko class with Carol Zioga of Kimonomomo. This is a new thing we’ve slowly been getting into. It’s definitely it’s own craft but in the hand sewing part of my brain. However they have different fabrics, different threads, and slightly different tools- a special needle and thimble. We had bought a kit at last years Road and did not touch it all year. But we will try to add this new craft somewhere on our already busy crafty schedule. It will need to occupy its own space in my brain because hand sewing space already has been filled with mountain mist and wool applique.

Sashiko project

Here is what I created and it’s not done. Basically I plan to fill it with different stitches until I think it’s done. I hand pieced the fabrics together and when it filled the backing I attached the backing to the bottom. I didn’t do all four sides. And then started stitching. You will be able to see my stitches in the back but you don’t knot the thread just do a couple of back stitches to secure it and it looks so pretty – front and back.

I enjoy hand work and learning new things so I had a fun time at the class. I felt it could have used more direction early on but it was fine in the end. I also would love to learn more about Carol Zioga and her experiences in the crafty world. I think she would make a great guild speaker.

Julie decided to head home after class but I was staying at Ontario. She was invited to stay with me but decided she wanted the comfort of her own bed when it made sense. Since I was staying I was lucky enough to head to the first preview night on Tuesday night. I wasted no time- got in line and went through all the aisles in the vendor room and went through the quilt room to enjoy the quilts.

long lines to get in to preview night

My initial thoughts –

1. Only a few people were wearing masks. I did because I have had covid and don’t want to get it again. I also got sick with a common cold after Christmas and if a mask will help me not get sick again, I prefer to wear a mask. But not so many felt the same and there were a lot of coughing and sniffling around me that made me cringe and hope I don’t catch anything despite the protection. Wearing a mask sucks and I don’t like it either. But getting sick sucks worse in my opinion.

On the last day… exhausted but happy

2. There were more people than last year (2022) but not as many as BC (Before Covid). Very sad but true and yet the vendors seemed to be doing very good. At least a few of them if not all.

3. There were not as many vendors and quilts. In the main convention center, there were some quilt exhibits: Sue Spargo, the best of show, The Graffitti Cherrywood fabric challenge, and a few quilts. But mostly there were vendors in the main convention room. Then there were the quilts in the ballroom to the side of the convention center. In past years, the vendors spilled over into a tent area. This year, we didn’t have that. We didn’t have By Annie, Block Loc and the Olfa booths. Those are the booths I was looking for that I didn’t see. There was an Aurifil booth when last year they were conspicuously missing but they didn’t have a lot of stuff. BC, they actually didn’t sell a ton of product but I was looking for 50w cones, which they had at $50/cone.

On Wednesday, I worked in the morning and Julie came back around 2. She brought me lunch and we ate in the hotel room, we trekked to the lobby and got her a parking pass and then trekked back to the show. We walked around the vendors and the show and hit up all the booths on her list. She works the show similar to me on both the vendor side and the quilt side…. go through each aisle quickly and making mental notes of any vendors or items we may want to buy, or quilts that strike our fancy. Then after going over quickly, we walk back slowly through each aisle making purchases of the items we decided we wanted to spend money on or perusing quilts that we wanted to stand in front of and let the artists work take over our senses. Julie is my kindred spirit.

Then we headed over to our Wednesday evening class, wool applique with Catherine Redford.

wool applique project – unfinished and I’m not going to finish

This class was too basic for us since it was an intro class. But we enjoy Catherine’s classes. It’s our third class with her. We always learn something new! This year it was a different way of threading our needles that Catherine called Kathy’s way as the lady who showed Catherine was named Kathy. You lay the thread over your finger and take the needle to it, with the eye on top of the thread you push the needle back and forth. The thread magically goes into the eye. You slowly pull the thread out. I find it’s easier to do this with larger eye needles. But the smaller the eye this doesn’t work.

We had dinner at Denny’s and this time Julie stayed the night. The class ended at 9:30 so the idea of driving back when she could stay over appealed. I slept well. Julie – not so much but she had her audio book and phone to keep her company while I conked out.

On Thursday, we had no classes but I worked in the morning while Julie went to the show. I finished up around 1 and trekked over to join her. Our friends Sandy and Ronnie came by and I had fun with them while they did the show. They do shows a bit differently than me but they came late and didn’t have several days to peruse like me. So they were a bit more specific with the booths they visited and the quilts they looked at. It was fun bringing them to the booths Julie and I enjoyed and thought they would enjoy as well. Julie left to have some introvert time and sleep in her own bed. I went back to the hotel, ate my leftovers for dinner and finished up some work stuff that I wouldn’t have time to do on Friday.

On Friday, I had an all day class with Sue Spargo. This was the class that I wanted to take this year and it was super fun. We learned how to use her spoke easy template and her loop template.

first flower
half flower

I had a lot of fun. But even though the class was listed as an intermediate class the lady next to me claimed to be a beginner and didn’t have all her supplies. I was a bit annoyed. She kept talking to herself and I could feel her frustration. I tried to help her but she didn’t always listen to my suggestions so I stopped offering. But she complained and complained.

Despite my neighbor I learned a lot and now I want to make sure to have some fancy hand embroidery time in my already busy crafty schedule. I also want more 3w and 5w threads as they create different looks than thinner thread. I bought some at the Wonderfil booth and the Global artisan booth.

Julie came back Friday evening with our friend Liz, who had to work all week. We went to dinner at Spires which had great reviews on Yelp. I don’t know why because it was not that good. I think it deserves 3 stars for being ok. Not the 4.5 stars it has.

Saturday was the final day of the show and Liz and Robin was with Julie and I. Later Sandy and Ronnie came back for round 2. By Saturday I was tuckered out and I did not need anything else. But we found some adorable Japanese fabric that we should not have bought but did at the Orange Dot (Dora Carey) booth and decided they would be perfect for the H bag patterns that we had bought when she was at our guild last year. I also showed her pics from my phone of Arabesque as that is her pattern and was a product from her workshop. She is a nice sweet lady.

Then we all went home. We are making plans as a group to get together to show what we bought. It’s all nice and dandy as a thought but when I get home I like to clean out my bags and put things in their homes right away. That way things aren’t so cluttered. But they are in bags in my office/craft room waiting and it’s driving me a bit crazy.

I’ll post pictures of quilts in the next few days.

Now I just need to use what I bought before next years Road!

Always Crafting,


3 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing your Road2CA trip. I thought about attending this year, I haven’t gone in about 5 years. I remember some years where I had missed seeing some quilts and vendors, because there were so many rooms full. Glad you had a good time and learned a few new things.

    • hi Tracy, If you can go, please do. It is an experience. It’s definitely smaller than past years but that’s to be expected since Covid. I hope it will get back to what it was as we learn to live in this new environment.

  2. Thanks for the heads up! I came right over to vicariously enjoy yor show. It is years since I got to go, but if I move back to AZ, maybe it will happen again. The dhow has changed so much since the 90s! I liked the Sue Spargo stitching especially. My best friend always took her classes and did beautiful work. I can see applications of this for my crazy quilting projects,, too. Thank you for sharing!

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