The Road to California --
Quilt Show, that is!

Lynn Schoeffler © 2006

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January 18, 2006 found me at Southern California's largest quilt show: The Road to California at the Ontario Convention Center. Armed with my new Christmas present (a ‘steady shot’ digital camera), list of exhibitors and a map of the market place, I was good to go.

Although there were many wonderful traditional quilts displayed; it turned out to be a day of good news and bad news for crazy quilters. The bad news: very few crazy quilts were displayed. The good news: the CQ items that were there were spectacular. And of course, all of the quilts of any type were absolutely gorgeous. Permission to use photos of these quilts was kindly granted by the artists. Thanks to Erika Reese at Road to California for her help in reaching the artists.

I did have the pleasure of meeting featured artist Juanita Swarts. Two of Juanita's quilts have won the Best of Show at the California State Fair, including her lovely “Bits and Pieces” crazy quilt made from the clothes of the artist and her children over the years.

The only other juried crazy quilt was “Pink & Green” by Cathie Hoover of Modesto, California. Cathie used prints of all types in this updated version of crazy quilting, unified by color and the use of rick-rack in every block. Also note the use of curved and straight seams in each block.  (For a look at more of Cathie's work, see her website at:*


One of the most memorable items in the Wearable Art category featured an outstanding crazy quilted piece by Karen Phillips-Shwallon. This heavily beaded “vestie” was embellished with vintage lace, silk ribbon and dimensional embroidery—it was magnificent!

The highlight of the show for me, however, was an antique crazy quilt displayed for sale. It was dated 1883, and probably made by Frances (Fanny) Rambaut from Wortendyke, New Jersey.

The written provenance states that “the quilt is 58” x 66”, and that it is made up of 25 lavishly embroidered blocks, with birds, flowers, wheat and fans of different styles and construction. The center block has a large and elaborate letter R.


Fabrics in the blocks are satins and velvets, and there is decorative embroidery in every block, some more elaborate than others, suggesting a contribution of blocks by friends.

The outer border is carefully constructed of isosceles triangles in light print or woven satins, alternating with “ice cream cones” of black satin, the seams between the pieces covered in blanket stitch in blue. The back fabric is a brown on beige floral print. On one outer corner is a basted paper that says “Mrs. Rambaut”. The quilt is in excellent condition, with very little shattering.”


Asking price for the quilt? $5,350.00.

Alas, I had only one day to see everything at the show—I could easily have spent a week! There were many, many glorious traditional and art quilts displayed. As trees are always a favorite theme for me, here are photos of two quilts that especially drew my attention. The first tree is titled "Ancient Pines, and was created by Jan Rashid of LaJolla, California. It was a winner in the Innovative Wall Mixed category. The other beautiful tree was done by Sharon Smaldone of Naples, Florida, and called "Forever Autumn". Both of these quilts were visually stunning and wonderfully executed.


With over 450 beautiful quilts exhibited, and a fabulous market place, The Road to California makes a terrific “first stop” in the year's quilt shows.

To view the Show Winners for 2006, and also previous show winners, see:

Resource: * Patterns for Cathie Hoover's Pink & Green quilt are available at her website.

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