Melinda Bula’s Zinnia

A lot of designers are in high dudgeon over Pinterest and what they perceive as a greater opportunity to rip off their patterns. I have found Pinterest to be a great source of inspiration and information, though it can be an amazing time waster! It was on someone’s board that I discovered Melinda Bula and I can’t understand how I have missed her quilts. Her flower designs are exquisite, with layers of shading and highlights that make them sing. I like her realism and longed to take a class with her – – –

– and my wish has been granted! I have just returned from the Fall Quilt Festival in Houston and two days of classes with her. Zinnias are a favorite flower of mine. They come in so many wonderful colors and when I grow them, they are the foundation of my summer flower arrangements. When I received the Houston show brochure, I hurriedly scanned the classes and saw that the zinnia class was being offered, once, and I got in. Here is a bouquet of three! Can you see why I was delighted to take this class?

A kit and fabrics are provided and though I normally dislike fabric packs, this was a good thing. I would have wasted time fretting over value choices. Melinda hand dyes the fabrics and because of her knowledge of the pattern, puts together some interesting combinations. First I needed to get fabric samples on the value chart as a reference.

After using Steam-a-Seam 2 to fuse the fabrics, the next task was to pin the pattern pieces on the fabrics. You can see there are about 10 values and many, many petals.

There was lots and lots and lots of cutting. I had two pairs of scissors and switched using them so I only got a hot spot and not a blister. There was a lot of cutting.

After lunch and a much-needed break, it was time to create the flower. Using one of the Steam a Seam papers to cover the pattern guide, I placed the petals according to the flower map. The petals are coded in several ways, which makes this step easier than you might think. It’s sort of like color by number but seriously more fun!

As I mentioned, we all had different fabric kits. This is my table mate with her middle done and her zinnia on her background fabric. She worked in her room during lunch so she got lots completed.

Melinda is a tireless teacher and was incredibly supportive and generous with information. She also told lots of funny stories while we diligently cut or placed.

It was a long but wonderful day. Thanks Melinda, I can’t wait to finish my zinnia!

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