Alex's was a HIT in Maine!!  More than 200 people from the Northeast came out to see Alex in Auburn, Maine yesterday.  (And Alex thanks each and every one of you!)  The local paper, the Sun Journal came for the fun, too, and featured the following article about 'Alex's journey in quilting' in today's edition of the newspaper, as well as on their website.  We thought you would like to read it.  Click the link below to read the article.


And if you missed it, here is the link for the article that ran in the Sun Journal on Tuesday.


Keep watching here in the Daily Blog for Alex's next scheduled appearance.  You never know when she will show up in your own backyard!!



 “I Want You to Quilt” Former Home & Graden TV Host Fires Up Faithful in Auburn

By Daniel Hartill , Staff Writer  Thursday, October 9, 2008


AUBURN - More than 200 women from around Maine and New Hampshire gathered Wednesday to listen to Alex Anderson - a quilting show impresario - talk about the nimble-fingered "sport of quilting."

"I don't know where you are in your journey," said Anderson, who hosted "Simply Quilting" on cable's Home & Garden TV for 11 years. "I just want you to quilt."

Most of the participants, who paid $55 each to attend, were already converts to the world of patchwork, running stitches and tacking. They weren't there to learn the basics. Rather, they fed on Anderson's energy. For more than an hour, the Livermore, Calif., woman described the books and TV shows that created her niche of fame.

She talked about awkwardly beginning the two professions, writing her first how-to book over a weekend and starting her TV show after a few guest appearances on a crafter's cable program.

"Let me tell you, that's the first time my kids even cared what I do for a living," Anderson said of the offer to create her own show. "Simply Quilting" thrived for 493 episodes.

When it was canceled, angry quilters sent pleas to the network on swatches. Anderson said she was hurt by the cancellation but she adjusted. So must the quilters.

"I have some other news for you," she quipped. "'Gilligan's Island' is over."

Anderson has since gone online with a Webcast titled "The Quilt Show."

Throughout her talk, Anderson showed slides of some of her quilts and talked about techniques, from hand- stitching to working with the most modern machines.

She also showed off the work of friends, praising them with, "I love, love, love this one!"

Her enthusiasm, not her practical advice, was what brought Donna Kassa of Auburn to the event.

"She's very, very passionate," said Kassa, who has been making quilts since she was a girl.

Geraldine Thompson of Poland hoped to energize herself to share the craft, which Anderson called "passing the thimble."

The visit was sponsored in part by an Auburn shop, Cote's Sewing and Fabric Center. Most of the attendees are regulars at the store, president Ron Blake said.

The stop was also sponsored by Swiss sewing machine manufacturer Bernina. There, too, Anderson made her pitch with gusto, describing the first time she used the hand-assembled machine.

"It was like that first great kiss you get as a freshman in high school," she said.


OK gang..............now I call this a LOBSTER!!!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I know that THIS is how REAL QUILTERS  eat Lobster - SOOOOOO good! To top it off we had apple crisp for dessert. Does your area have a food that it is known for? If so, where do you live and what is it................?



Today I spent a delightful morning and early afternoon with a bunch of quilters!!!! Hey it is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Before flying to Maine I received various emails from TQS member Teri - teasing me with a surprise. At first I thought she was going to the event, but then I realized she wasn't. So, now I was REALLY puzzled - hhhmmm. WELL - I was surprised, because although Teri could not make it, her quilt did!!!! TERI - it was awesome!!!! Also, check out the ribbon on the corner - it was well deserved. Off for lobster - YUMMMMM. (Photo courtesy of TQS member Neen) I LOVE MAINE!




Be the first to know about the all new AccuQuilt.  This TQS Site Sponsor has a new name and a whole lot of new machines and dies to show you coming this fall and winter.  But it is still the same great quality company you have come to love!  (Did you catch them featured in Episode 212 - The TQS Road Trip Part 1?) Click on their banner to the left (www.accuquilt.com) to see their preview video of the new AccuQuiltGo.  Stop by and see all of the new AccuQuilt products in Houston at Market and Festival. And be sure to tell them you are a TQS member!


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!


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