Teach & Travel Adventures with the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild

Last week I drove up to Santa Rosa to lecture and teach for the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild.  The Santa Rosa community was hit hard by the wildfires of Fall 2017 which destroyed entire neighborhoods.  Even after hearing news reports and speaking firsthand to some of the quilters who lost their homes, I was still unprepared by the views as we drove through some of the neighborhoods that were hit hardest by the fires. Their upcoming quilt challenge is titled "Sonoma Strong: Wildfires, Resilience, and Recovery" and members are invited to create a quilt of any size/shape related to any aspect of the October wildfires.  After seeing the resilience of this community and witnessing the talents of their quilters, I am confident this will be a powerful quilt exhibit.

I just loved the energy of their guild meeting!!  The quilting fun and inspiration continued after the guild meeting, as we headed to the Rincon Valley Regional Library to see a display of quilts made by the Pointless Sisters, a small Art Quilt Group.  What a great venue for display members' quilts up along the rafters!!  Out in the lobby, there was a display of quilted postcards made in honor of one of The Pointless Sisters co-founder's 90th birthday.
Quilts On Display at the Local Library

After the library, we visited Bolt Shop which had an amazing selection of quilting fabrics...several of which just had to come home with me.  Plus, there were some yummy jellybeans at the check out counter.  We also checked out some boutiques and vineyards, with lots of beautiful sights to be enjoyed.
Nature's Beauty

Sonoma County is also known for its beautiful wineries, including Francis Ford Coppola's winery.  While I did not partake in any wine tasting, I really enjoyed walking around the grounds and viewing some of the movie props and costumes from his movies in the Movie Gallery.  I especially loved seeing the colorful wine labels in rainbow order!!
Views of Francis Coppola's Winery

We also had a chance to check out some fabulous outdoor art as part of the Sculpture Trail along Highway 101.  I had seen some of these off the side of the highway and was curious.  So when we drove past again, we had the chance to explore them up close.
Outdoor Art from Sculpture Trail and Cloverdale

Did you notice the artwork in the top left photo?  It's a mandala!!  What a fun segue into the next day's Magnificent Mandalas workshop!  I arrived to the workshop venue and was impressed by how large and spacious it was.  Lots of room for each individual quilter, as well as lots of room for me to demonstrate up front.  At the start of the workshop, I outline some mantras for the day: embrace imperfection, have fun, and enjoy the relaxing Zen nature of mandalas.  These mantras proved to invaluable to the workshop's success given what happened next.  Another party arrived and was visibly upset to find us there, as they were expecting nearly 200 people for a memorial service.  It appears the venue was double booked!!!  The workshop chair came over and explained that we would need to pack up and go.  Go where?!?

Quilters are the most resourceful group I know.  As we were packing everything up, several of the members were calling around to find an alternate venue for a group of 16 quilters and their sewing machines.  The most promising venue would be opening for business in 30 minutes, so we all drove over and waited for them to open.  Upon arrival, we explained our predicament and pleaded for use of their classroom.  Two small quilt groups were already scheduled for the day, but the staff was able to do some creative maneuvering and rearranging to accommodate us on such short notice.  Many thanks to the Santa Rosa Village Sewing Center for saving the day and making it possible for the workshop to resume!   
Thank You Village Sewing Center!!

What an exercise in staying calm and relaxed!!  Less than an hour later, we were settled into the new classroom space, found our Zen once again and dove into some doodle exercises. 
Zen and Now...

After lunch, the sewing machines were set back up and we were ready to start creating some wholecloth mandala designs.
Stress-Free Quilting Zone

Here are some of the emerging mandala designs...
Emerging Magnificent Mandalas

Here are a few more magnificent mandalas and their makers...
Gorgeous in Green

Love of Mandalas

Mini Mandala

As always, it is always lovely seeing some familiar faces in my workshops.  Joy came over from the Mt. Tam Quilt Guild to participate in Magnificent Mandalas.  She brought two exquisite star quilts that she had embellished with free-motion quilting designs of her own--both of which were very mandala-like!  What fun to watch her Southwest Emerald Mandala grow over the course of the workshop and to receive pictures via email once she transformed her mandala design with more quilted embellishments and cutwork reveals!! Isn't it absolutely stunning!?!
Joy's Southwest Emerald Mandala and More!

Many thanks to each and every Mandala maker for all their positive energy and making the best of a challenging situation.  Kudos to Rhonda and Phyllis for their resourcefulness in securing an alternate venue.  Thanks again to the Santa Rosa Village Sewing Center for accommodating us on such short notice.  And special thanks to my host and tour guide extraordinaire, Genelle, for 2.5 fun-filled days of exploring Santa Rosa/Sonoma County!!


  1. Thank you so much for your amazing class & stress-free classroom. I have a lot less quilting experience than many there, but you had all levels captivated & learning new things. I sat next to a very talented quilter & she loved the creativity in the class too. I learned so much in such a short time! I hope to get the chance to take more classes from you soon.

    1. Thank you Ann! I am delighted to hear you enjoyed the Zen of free motion quilting mandala designs. I appreciate your positive feedback about my teaching style and so happy I was successful in inspiring quilters of all levels of experience. I hope to see you in future workshops and will be back your way teaching Free Motion "Pebble & Play" for Craft Napa in January 2019!


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