The Northwest Quilters’ Guild hosted teacher Melinda Bula at this past weekend’s quilt show. She taught two classes: Summer Rose, an appliqué class and Renegade Threadplay, a quilting class. I’ve taken two classes in the past from Melinda on the one and only quilting cruise I’ve ever done, which was through the Panama Canal. Melinda is a great instructor, because she knows her subject well and communicates it well. Plus, she’s a born story-teller and just plain fun. Although I’ve been free-motion quilting for many years and take very few classes, sometimes I want to take one. I always learn something new, and this class, Renegade Threadplay, was no exception. Melinda uses Sulky brand rayon thread for her free-motion quilting. I use Sulky a lot, and this past year, I had a real problem with tension when I was quilting with it on my latest quilt. A thorough class discussion with how Melinda uses Sulky helped me see what the problem had been and how to correct it. It boiled down to the bobbin thread I was using, a polyester. The two don’t play well, as the smoothness of the polyester slides right off the rayon, leading to major tension issues. Melinda uses Aurifil, a cotton thread, in her bobbin, which I’m going to try.
Melinda is well-known for her spectacular flower quilts. Here are a few below.
Prior to the class, Melinda had prepared fused, flower shapes. All we had to do was iron them onto our fabric then pin together a quilt sandwich. Great idea–we spent most of the day quilting rather than cutting and putting together a project. Here’s Melinda’s class sample. You can see we learned how she quilts different leaf and flower shapes.
In the rose petals above, you can see how the curved shaping of the petals begin. Then below, you can see how she completes them, filling in the top, bottom, then middle sections.