Alex has hit the sky's again!  She is off to Auburn, Maine, on behalf of Bernina.  And this California Girl is excited to see the pride of the East Coast this time of year...the wonderful FALL COLORS!!  (We hope she gets a window seat on the plane!)  Where do you like to go to see nature's fall colors? 

Alex LOVES meeting YOU!  So if you are in the area, come see Alex in Maine!  And wear your TQS badge!  For details about Alex's visit on Wednesday, October 8th at the Hilton Garden Inn, click on the link below to read the newspaper article that appeared today in the Sun Journal.


There will be over $1500 in door prizes!  And did we mention, that two lucky people who go to see her will win a "Lobster Dinner for two with Alex"?!  WOW!!  But watch out Alex, we hear even the lobsters are pirates!




Around the last ribbon of my quilt, on the red, I have stitched my spirit people who appear regularly in my quilts as spirits of the land or reminders of people or civilizations past.  They are much like a continuous chain of paper dolls like the ones we cut from paper as kids.  Here I have stitched heavily around the spirit people images to make them raised.

Planning on some trapunto for the red spirit people ribbon and for the green emu ribbon so I added batting (wadding) under those areas.  I stitched around my spirit people and then cut away the excess.  The hope is that the little chain of people will stand up slightly proud.  With the green emu ribbon, I quilted around every emu quite heavily filling in the area, and then trimmed back to the edge of the ribbon.  My hope is that when it is sandwiched the emu ribbon will be raised compared to other areas.

Photo by Helen Godden

Now the snake in the middle, while he was sleeping I stitched down the centre of his body in a lovely variegated thread but it had a hot pink in amongst the colour range so after it was stitched I used my red fabric marker and colour over the hot pink turning the stitches red.  I also coloured over the purple to make it more aubergine (plum) in colour.  Because the body of the snake is black, if I missed with the marker...it didn't matter, it didn't show up.  I often work on black as I find it adds high contrast and a drama to the work.  When I am teaching students I tell them that at the end of a quilt, instead of going over it with "a fine tooth comb" (as the saying goes) looking for stray threads or missed stitches, I go over my quilt with a black fabric marker.  Any stitch in the wrong place on a black background can be made invisible with a black marker.  Now that's our little secret.  The snake has the same dot stitch running down his back gradually decreasing in size towards the tail.

Photo by Helen Godden

Towards the middle are four Lyre birds, another of Australia's unusual creatures.  The Lyre bird is a small bird, about the size of a skinny chicken, brown and dull in color but amazing range of vocals.  The name comes from his lyre shaped tail.  But also as he imitates all different birds, animal and noises from its environment to show off to his potential mates.  In this manner, he lies about his identity!  Such a bloke, showing off to lure a girl and not telling the truth about himself.

Back in June, I created a miniature 12 inch square for my state quilt guild show.  This was a mini Ricky Rhapsody with the Lyre bird as the central feature.  This piece was all applique, predominantly in reverse with the purple layer on top of the hand dyed gold/green.  I worked zig zag satin stitch in free motion making it easier to get around the curves and give the stitch a look of calligraphy;  changing from thick to thin back to thick as curves are followed.  On the bird tails I worked on my sewing machine with one hand on the stitch width dial, increasing the width of the satin stitch as I went along, varying from 2.5mm/1/8" to 8mm/1/2" at its widest, in metallic gold.  Looks good hey!  It is a good practice to have a go at an idea in a smaller version before launching into a huge piece...good advice if you can be so disciplined.

Helen Godden

Photo by Helen Godden



Ricky and our editor, Rick Mahal, have been working to improve our lead in to the new shows. I'm (Capt'n John) thrilled! Take a look.


Every year in mid November I host two back to back retreats in Livermore Ca. The original retreat got started because of my Internet friends. "We" had all met on my old message board (alexandersonquilts.com), and several people decided a retreat was in order. This original gathering has grown to 2 back to back retreats. This retreat is essentially a quilters gathering where you "do your own thing". If you want serious teaching, this is NOT for you - if you want to hang out with like minded folks and have a fun extended sewing time - this IS for you! Each year we have a theme - this year "scrap quilts"............in the end you do what ever you want to do. This year is full (although sometimes folks have to cancel at the last minute), so we are starting a list of folks who are interested for next year. Go here to learn more about the AAQ retreat, and perhaps we will see you next year.



Ok - you might have noticed we now have a new play area on the site - The TQS challenge page. Over the past few days we have tested the area to make sure it is sea worthy - and YES it is!!! So, you tell us - what should our first TQS challenge be? ARJJ will decide on a few finalists, then you will vote - In addition to spear heading the first TQS challenge the winner will also receive a single series subscription!




As the day drew to a close on Sunday I realized that I needed to make a mad dash through the nursery and get photos for all of you.  The local artist's work was fantastic and fun.  You will be able to see a quick sample of quilts and views as the sun was throwing shadows around the garden.  Click here

I hope you enjoyed the tour. I also hope that many of you are able to join us next year with featured guest, Laura Wasilowski. (Episode 303)


Photo by Gregory Case

Gregory Case (Photo Man) shares a wonderful sneak peek at upcoming Episode 308, featuring the award-winning quilt work of Gina Perkes. Gregory also captures priceless photos of unsuspecting crew and audience members as they "test drive" a Gammill long arm quilting machine. View all of the images in our Slide Show here. "Tune in for the complete episode when it airs on Monday, October 13, 2008.



...Melinda got a book, The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting, by Marguerite Ickis, 1949....

Read More, Click Here

See her Quilts at Quilting In The Garden

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Visit her website at www.melindabula.com



Melinda Bula

At 19 years old, Melinda was studying art in college and had her first job in a fabric store. It seemed a lot of customers were coming in for fabric for quilts. Why not make a quilt? Her great-grandmother was a quilter and she had been designing and working with fabric since she was 9, so it just fit. Melinda got a book (The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting, by Marguerite Ickis 1949), cut out cardboard templates and made her first quilt.

A few years later she was a stewardess for Western Airlines. There was a lot of downtime so what do you do? You make another quilt. How about a double wedding ring? She didn’t know it was hard, she just loved the curves. Waiting between flights she continued to make quilts totally by hand. On the side Melinda started designing wallpaper. Soon she had a full business and was shipping designs across the country. One of her designs ended up in the model penthouse of the Trump Tower in New York.

Melinda and her husband Joe decided that she needed to give herself fully to art. She wasn’t sure what that exactly meant yet, but they decided to sell the business, move to a new area and give her full attention to art. One day she found herself inside because the dog wouldn’t walk with her in the 108 degree weather. She was new to town and didn’t know anyone yet, so she turned on the TV. There she saw this woman talking to quilters. Every morning from then on she watched Alex Anderson on “Simply Quilts” and quickly made 5 new quilts. Melinda found herself at a woman’s luncheon and told someone about her quilting. The person mentioned that she should get into a guild. She had no idea that there was such a thing as a quilt guild.

Melinda advises, “Take all the classes you can. Even the ones you don’t think you'll like. You never know what you will learn.” Melinda soon began incorporating her design background into the quilts and then brought her love of painting to the process using thread instead of paint. Besides beautiful quilts, Melinda also designs wearable art.

Melinda is now an award-winning quilter. Her sense of color and design has won her numerous ribbons. Most recently she won Best of Show, 2008 at Road to California for Monterey at Dusk. This quilt also won 3rd place at IQA Houston 2007. She received 2nd place at the same show with her flower quilt Romance.

Melinda’s first book came out in 2007 called Cutting Garden Quilts, published by Martingale Press.

Visit her website, www.melindabula.com


So, how did Joen get into quilting?  The same way many of you did---

Click here to read more...  See her Quilts at Quilting in the Garden

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