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I made a quick stop in Winslow, Arizona, at the Standin' on the Corner Park en route from my home in Colorado to the Los Angeles area. Love that flatbed Ford.

Titling this blog post became a challenge. So many choices:

  • Take It Easy

  • Standin' on the Corner

  • Don't Even Try to Understand

  • Running Down the Road Tryin' to Loosen My Load

  • Don't Let the Sound of Your Own Wheels Drive You Crazy

So many iconic and thought provoking words from one song. The Eagles' "Take It Easy" is definitely my current earworm — a catchy and/or memorable piece of music or saying that continuously occupies a person's mind even after it is no longer being played or spoken about. Unlike some earworms, this was a welcome one as it accompanied me on the final legs of my drive from my home in Colorado to the LosAngeles area where I'm speaking and teaching this week. It's still running through my mind, and that's okay by me.

Heading out from my Colorado mountain home early in the morning.

Snow delayed my departure from home by two days squeezing a leisurely four-day drive to Anaheim, California, into a two-day marathon of driving endurance. Instead of heading west across Colorado, I went south into New Mexico and across Arizona, adding 100 miles to the trip but avoiding mountains in the snow. In re-routing, I had to find a new overnight stop. Winslow, Arizona, was about the right distance. Winslow, Arizona. Why did this sound so familiar? Pretty soon I was singing. It is surprising what is stored in our brains.

A Google search came up with 66 Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. As many of you likely know, I-40 parallels much of the path of historic Route 66. Holbrook is about 30 miles east of Winslow, a good stopping point for making for an early morning visit to Winslow the next day.

In Winslow, I met Canadian Louis "The Beamer," who was making yet another motorcycle trek down Route 66. He's been to Winslow so often they've honored him in a brick at the park. Meeting interesting people makes driving cross country fun. Soon a mother and daughter from Montreal showed up and insisted they take my picture with the red flatbed Ford. By the time I was heading out, the park was crowded.

A pocket park in Winslow, Arizona, draws hundreds of visitors who are entranced by the idea of taking it easy.

Back on the road, the Eagles' lyrics sustained me through several hours of navigating LA freeways with Emma, my 18-foot travel trailer, riding along behind.

Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds Meet the Teachers

Kudos to the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds (SCCQG) for another great Meet the Teachers virtual event this weekend. I'm in California this week to speak and teach because of this event a year ago. The council's members are guilds from throughout southern California plus a few from neighboring states. Each teacher is given three minutes to present her or his lecture and workshop offerings. When everyone has presented, each teacher has a breakout room. Guild reps stop by the breakout rooms to meet the teachers one on one. I had great conversations with guild program chairs and presidents and look forward to more gigs with the fun guilds from this part of the country.

I think this model of introducing guilds and speakers/teachers is excellent. The SCCQG leaders do a seamless job pf pulling off an event with many moving parts.

Emma Knows: This Camper Stops at Quilt Shops

I love a great notions wall, and Alamosa Quilt Company doesn't disappoint.

In my need to drive 600-plus miles a day to get to California in two days, I didn't plan any quilt shop stops. Emma had different plans. Seemingly on auto pilot, she steered me into a parking lot at a mall in Alamosa, Colorado, when I needed to stop to check my route. She had me park right outside Alamosa Quilt Company, a shop I've visited twice before. The selection of fabric and all things quilting is excellent, and the staff is warm and welcoming. Put this shop on your bucket list. It's not far from Great Sands Dune National Park.

Fabric and thread selections at Alamosa Quilt Company

A Few More Sites From the Road

The drive into Buena Vista is stunning. I caught my breath and reminded myself, this is where I live.

As a child, I was fascinated the first time my family traveled West and my father explained the Continental Divide. I remain fascinated by this phenomenon. Where I live, I look out at the mountains we refer to as the Divide View. Homes with this view are considered desirable real estate. I passed this marker in western Arizona.

Welcome to California. I thought the gas price in Colorado was steep. I did find gas here in Anaheim yesterday for $4.99 a gallon. Surprising when that seems a good deal.

I'll be sharing more from here in California as my time allows. So check back to my blog from time to time this week.

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Peace Cranes Over Hiroshima made by Sally Wright in Cherrywood Fabrics. Sally took my class at International Quilt Festival in Houston last fall.

I continue my week of unabashed self promotion with this about my open-enrollment Peace Cranes Over Hiroshima class.

After seeing my quilt design as made by Sally Wright featured for a month on a prominent Foundation Paper Piecing Facebook page, I decided it was time to offer another Zoom session of this class. Toward that end, I've scheduled two sessions in an effort to provide times for those who can do weekdays and those who need evenings because of work schedules.

Both sessions will meet Thursdays, April 27 and May 4. The first session will be from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. MDT (noon-3 p.m. EDT, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT, 9 a.m.-noon PDT). The second session will be from 4-7 p.m. MDT (6-9 p.m. EDT, 5-8 p.m. CDT, 3-6 p.m. PDT).

If you've always wanted to make this quilt, sign up now. You'll need to scroll down a bit to find this class. Hope to see you in class!

BTW: The pattern and a packet of resources to help you make this quilt are included in the registration, a savings of close to $20 when you add the postage to ship this to you.

This happy crowd at Everyday Quilting in Urbana, Illinois, shows off their work in the Peace Cranes Over Hiroshima class

More Illinois Road Trip Images.

A visit to Central Illinois means time with my "older" sister. She's all of 18 months my senior but that gives her wise sage status in my book. Her first love is gardening. The rich soil of Central Illinois makes this an enticing endeavor, and she's really good at growing things. I shared photos of her mid-summer flowers in a blog post last summer. Photos from this trip hint the promise of blooms galore to come. She has recently begun quilting, which I'm celebrating and encouraging.

At left and below, my sister's garden waking up

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Class sample for Stepping Beyond Drunkard's Path by Cheryl Phillips

Stepping Beyond Drunkard's Path Block of the Month Sew Along

I'm over the moon about this class. Everything is right about it, including how it came to be. Soon after I began quilting, I discovered Cheryl Phillips' amazing Cut A Round tool and method for cutting and insetting circles. I must own two dozen Cut A Rounds. It is still my favorite quilt tool bar none.

When I moved to Colorado and began working for Quilters Newsletter Magazine, I decided it was time to meet Cheryl, founder of Phillips Fiber Art. I live in the Colorado Rockies just up the hill from Golden and Boulder. Cheryl lives on the Western Slope on the other side of our state. The first time I headed west to Salt Lake City, I called Cheryl to see if we could meet for lunch when I passed through her neighborhood. Her gracious answer to meeting this stranger was yes, of course.

It was one of the best lunches ever. Not the food. I don't remember it. The conversation was the best ever. We connected at so many levels, all spurred by our love of all things quilting. That was about 10 years ago. We've stayed in touch and seen each other from time to time. Each time we've gotten together, we've talked about finding a way to work together.

Late last year, we got our act together and moved beyond talk. The result: Stepping Beyond Drunkard's Path Block of the Month Sew Along.

This class will make the best of each of our skill sets. Cheryl is a genius in seeing the math needed to create tools that make complicated-looking designs simple to execute and writing easy-to-follow books that explain her methods. I love to teach, including teaching folks to inset circles with the Cut A Round. This is a match made in heaven.

We spent several days together earlier this year brainstorming what we could do together then began work on the class sample. My contribution was minimal. I pulled fabric from Cheryl's extensive batik stash then added a few more from the local quilt shops. Then I assigned fabrics to blocks. Cheryl did the rest with her delightful and talented husband, Gary Phillips, doing the longarm quilting, and her daughter Brooke offered input into final color choices.

In true Cheryl style, she pieced the back using some the extra blocks created when piecing the front of the quilt. This is a two-for-one quilt for sure.

I've gotten wrapped up in the story of this class. I guess I'd better tell you specifics so you'll sign up. Each month, you'll learn one or more ways to use the Cut A Round tool to make Drunkard's Path blocks. You'll quickly master the Cut A Round tool as you discover it is the fastest and easiest way ever to inset circles and sew the curves needed to create the iconic Drunkard's Path look.

Back of class sample by Cheryl Phillips

The class will meet once a month for six months from June through November. Two class times are scheduled toward finding times for those who work outside the home as well as those who can do weekdays.

One session will meet from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. the third Mondays of each month. Classes will be June 19, July 15, August 21, September 18, October 16 and November 20.

The other session will meet from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. the third Saturdays of each month with one exception. Classes will be June 17, July 15, August 19, September 23 (this is the fourth Saturday), October 21 and November 18.

This is an open enrollment class. That means you can enroll from wherever you live. You just need Zoom access.

Come join us for fun stitching times as you make this gorgeous quilt. Register now. Just scroll down to find the sign ups for each of the sessions of this class. Can't wait to Sew Along with you as we Step Beyond to create a Drunkard's Path beauty.

"Circle of Friends" class at Everyday Quilting in Urbana, Illinois

Teaching at Everyday Quilting Company in Urbana, Illinois

Teaching at Everyday Quilting Company in Urbana, Illinois, was amazing, truly amazing. I rarely use this many adjectives but there's no exaggeration here. I taught three classes with each one more fun than the last. Shop owner Zeba Iman has created a space of joy for her customers. You feel you have come home from the time you walk in.

Block designed by Joyce Day in Demystifying Design for Foundation Paper Piecing class tiled

When on the Road

Being on the road usually means my Honda Pilot is packed to the roof with teaching supplies, kits, class samples, my sewing machine and table, quilting tools, several books to read, and, of course, clothes. Heading to Illinois was no exception to this. My car was full.

Often when traveling, I'm pulling my high-maintenance BFF Emma, my small trailer. With snow possible between Colorado and Illinois, March was not Emma's road season. She'll take her first 2023 trip when we head for "sunny?" California next week. I did encounter significant snow along Highway 36 in western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Emma would not have been a happy camper.

Hitting the road usually means an overfull car.

Being on the road without Emma means finding places to stay. My Air BnB in Urbana was lovely, bright and super clean. It was two doors down from a place I lived for a year when a student at the University of Illinois. It looked out on Illini Grove where I remember studying and picnicking. It may sound odd but I enjoy doing my laundry on a day off from teaching because you learn about the community from the folks you meet at the laundromat. Urbana was no exception.

At left, Portillo's was founded in 1963 in Villa Park, Illinois, as the Dog House. It is now a chain with numerous locations. Above, Hardee's in Urbana is my fav breakfast spot.

One last note: I pretty much ate my way through Illinois. Between meals out with family and friends, I had to grab a bite at two of my favorite Midwest fast-food restaurants: Portillo's and Hardee's. Love those hot dogs (Portillo's) and breakfast biscuits (Hardee's). Yes, I'm dieting this week.

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