Show & Tell!

There’s an outreach group within my quilt guild, The Allstar Quilters for Kids, who meet every two weeks and make cheery snuggle quilts for kids in need in our community. I’m sort of an honorary member; I don’t regularly attend the sew-ins, but I do try to support them however I can.

One of the members sent out a call for help making blocks for a quilt that will be used as a fundraiser for the group. I took a couple that had appliqué… because… well, you know :).

Here are my blocks, hot off the needle!



They’re part of the Spring Garden Sampler Quilt designed by Lydia Quigley, offered as a block-of-the-month by many quilt shops. Here’s one, Stitchin’ Heaven.

Can’t wait to see the whole quilt! It will most likely be part of the quilt auction that takes place during our guild’s annual quilt show in February.

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

October 5, 2016

Filed Under Show & Tell | 5 Comments 

No, I do not have a new quilting studio. Just the same cozy little one where I probably feel the most at home of anywhere in the world.

But, I did finish my new Studio banner. I’ve made several versions of this project and it’s always a fun and engaging process putting the scraps and strips together into patchwork compositions. I’ve now updated the pattern cover.


It’s available from my new Square shop, or Etsy if you prefer. The links to both are at the bottom of the post. Here’s a 10% off coupon if you’re interested: Use the code THANKS at checkout. (It’ll be good on your whole order.)

Oh, and if you already ordered this pattern recently I’ll be sending you a copy of the new cover.

Now that that’s done, I’ll be gearing up for the Pacific International Quilt Festival in about two weeks time. Monster show, love it!! There’s no football game at the nearby stadium this year so everything should be smooooth sailing.

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

October 1, 2016

Filed Under Patterns | 4 Comments 

I’m working on a new version of my Studio banner.


I absolutely love the black, white, and red version that was in Scrap-Appliqué Playground, but to be honest it looks better in person than it does reduced and printed on a pattern cover. The scraps with the white background seem to fall away and blend into the background too much at a small size.

This time I gravitated toward my beloved palette of red and blue with a touch of green. It’s gonna pop a lot more on the pattern cover!


I’ve got my scraps sewn together and the letters cut out. The rectangles will compose the border. Right now I’m just waiting on some fabric that I ordered for the background. You see, I’m slightly obsessed with polka dotted backgrounds, but when I dug through my stash I found out that I had used all the pieces until there wasn’t a hunk big enough! As soon as the fabric arrives, I’ll be ready to go.

In the meantime, my summer hiatus is over and I’m headed to Sonora, California, this weekend for the Sierra Quilt Guild’s show. I really enjoy this annual trip up to gold country.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

September 12, 2016

Filed Under Patched appliqué, Patterns | Leave a Comment 

Over on the Martingale blog, publisher Jennifer Keltner has put up a great article that includes some nifty tips for fusible machine appliqué.


Go take a look at Jennifer’s cute block “At Home Anywhere.”

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

August 25, 2016

Filed Under Fusible web, Machine appliqué | Leave a Comment 

Many thanks to those who enjoyed my musings on the holes in a button. If I get any more with fascinating hole configurations, I’ll be sure to share.

I’ve spent some time moving my “Author’s Gallery” from the old website over to the blog. Along the way I found some more projects and stuck them in there too. It was a fun trip down memory lane for me.


If you’d like to take a look at my personal projects, show quilts, and published quilts, please visit the new “Author’s Gallery” page here at All About Appliqué.

If you’re subscribed by email or on a blog reader, you’ll need to click over to the blog itself on the internet. The tab is in the navigation bar at the top. Or, here’s a direct link to the Gallery page.

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

August 10, 2016

Filed Under Show & Tell | 2 Comments 

Besides being a quilter, for the last couple years I’ve been seriously into buttons. Not the antique kind that you mount on cards and keep in a collection, but cute and colorful buttons that I use to make notecards, magnets, flowers, and whatever else I can think of.

Okay so sometimes it’s the little things in life… truth be told it’s a whole lot of fun to sit down and sort a newly acquired batch of buttons to see what you’ve got.

Sometimes there are some head-scratchers.

When you think of a button, usually it’s gonna have two holes or four holes, for sewing through to attach to a garment. Right? Well I’ve come across some pretty peculiar buttons in the way of holes, and have been tossing them in a box for further contemplation.

Let us begin.


That’s right, zero holes. All I can say is, hmmmm…. trying to think how can be attached…


Here we have the one-hole button. Especially fascinating is the one-hole off-center specimen. Again, how can the attachment occur?


Now we’re getting closer to a conventional button, but these buttonholes don’t seem to like one another.


No more Starbucks for you.


I can kind-of see how these might be attached, but it seems a bit of trouble.


Three holes off-center. These have got me stumped.


Four holes lined up like ducks in a row. That’s a hard shirt to button.


The purple one says, I make an M… cool right? So green… what’s your story.


Hope you weren’t planning on using button thread for these.





Round is so boring.


We love you just the way you are.


Wild child!


And last, my absolute favorite. Spoiled for choice of holes! Eight, count ’em, eight! Pick two, pick four, or sew through all of them if you truly enjoy attaching buttons. It’s a button-sewer’s paradise.

I enjoy my little collection of oddball buttons. And please, if you know the reasoning behind the various configurations of holes, enlighten us!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

July 31, 2016

Filed Under Buttons | 8 Comments 

This Sunday, I’m making my first foray into the world of the street fair!


Up until now I’ve resisted outdoor events, because I’m a very pale individual and have about zero tolerance for the sun before I fry like an egg. I also didn’t want to get into canopies with sandbags or umbrellas with 50 lb. bases. Oy vey! However, I found a nifty, small, lightweight item called a clamp-on umbrella, which I can attach to my chair and provide myself a little oasis of shade. So off I go to the streets with my little umbrella and lots of sunscreen.

Morgan Hill is a wonderful community that’s east of Santa Cruz and south of San Jose. In the summertime they have an downtown event on the fourth Sunday of the month called Indie Market. I’m bringing all of the stuff I’ve been making with buttons the last couple years. Magnet sets, notecards, flowers, gift tags, plus framed mini-quilts and a few other handmade goodies.


If you live in the area, I hope you’ll drop by the event. There should be lots of interesting stuff, all made by home-based artisans.

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

July 20, 2016

Filed Under Craft fairs | 2 Comments 

I’ve been enjoying the ‘black and white and red all over’ color scheme a lot lately. It’s the first thing I thought of when I started developing my new chicken pattern.

You may think of white chickens, or Rhode Island Reds, but I was inspired by a short story I once read about “Dominikers” or black-and-white Dominique chickens.



Here’s my new pattern, Cluck & Co. Four fancy chicks are stepping out in style!

I used raw-edge fusible machine appliqué for my version. For a refresher on that method, here’s a link to my Raw-Edge Fusible Demo. Of course you can always use your own method if you favor another one. It’s all good!

Another trick that I pulled out of the bag for this one was the double-layer strategy for the heads, to avoid shadow-through when putting light over dark. Just fuse two layers of light fabric together, then use this composed fabric just like the others in your project.

Hope you are enjoying your summer! I have a couple months off from shows and have been knee-deep in foster kittens!


Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

July 15, 2016

Filed Under Patterns, Photo tutorials | 3 Comments 

Well folks we were down for a little while there. I got a message from Google that the blog had been hacked.

Oh bother. As an admin that is not a word you want to hear. I looked into the “issue” and came to the swift conclusion that it was above my non-techie head to fix it. Instead of having a nervous breakdown, I decided to hire a professional.

I engaged the services of a web guy, who knew just what to do. He basically stripped the files and re-loaded fresh versions of them, removing discovered malware along the way. Everything is all neat and clean and given the good housekeeping seal from Google once again. Thank you Jordan Iversen for saving my sanity.

During the “hiatus,” I got press releases from C&T announcing new titles. Two of them are beyond-gorgeous appliqué. If you click on the images, it will pull up a pdf of the entire press release. I’ve also added them to my Amazon Appliqué Bookshop. Do they not look amazing???

Until next time,

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop




June 20, 2016

Filed Under Admin notes, Books | 1 Comment 

It’s nice to freshen things up once in awhile… fluff and plump and dust, simplify and rearrange. With that in mind, I recently challenged myself to give my website a complete overhaul.

The old site served me well, and I was proud of myself for rolling up my sleeves and learning how to code html, but the internet has come so far just in the last 12 years that it was time to change to something simpler.

It took awhile, but now it’s all done! The By Kay Mackenzie shop is now powered by Square. It’s much easier to navigate, and you can see everything for one item all together in one spot! That’s worth celebrating!

Celebrate the grand reopening with a coupon worth 10% off your entire order! Enter FRESH as a promo code during checkout. Normal shipping charges apply. Expires May 31, 2016.


Note: The url for my website stays the same. You’ll land on the home page, and from there you can click “Come on in the shop” and you’ll go to the new Square online store.

Happy dancing,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

May 14, 2016

Filed Under Quilt shops | Leave a Comment 

Congratulations go to Lori Butler! She came up the winner of a copy of 100 Blocks, Volume 13, courtesy of the editors at Quiltmaker!


If you still need to get your copy, you can look for it at your favorite newsstand, or order from They have hard copy and download.

Until next time, with some exciting news!
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

May 13, 2016

Filed Under Magazines | Leave a Comment 

Welcome to All About Appliqué on this third day of the 100 Blocks Blog Tour!

I’m Kay Mackenzie, a designer and author in Santa Cruz, California. My website is By Kay Mackenzie, which has all of my books and patterns on it, plus select notions for the appliqué enthusiast. If this is your first time visiting my blog, I’m so glad you’re here! You’ll find a wealth of information about all kinds of appliqué here, so take your time clicking around the categories, and use the keyword search as well.

My block was inspired by the famous and beloved quilt by Susan McCord, Trailing Vines, which is in the Henry Ford Museum. Here’s a closeup of her fantastical leaves (photo courtesy of the museum). I have passionately loved and admired the inclusion of red and blue.


I design my appliqué blocks in Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics program. Usually I do not use color to fill in the shapes, because what happens is that I become attached to those colors and drive myself crazy trying to match them in fabric.

Well guess what, that’s exactly what happened this time LOL. I started playing around with color, and it was all over. Here’s my digital mockup, seeing what the leaves would look like cut out of strip sets.


Predictably, I couldn’t rest until I replicated what I saw on my computer screen. Most of the colors I found with ease, but I tore my stash apart looking for that just-right light tan. Finally found it! Yay!


The background is a light misty gray hand-dyed fabric from Always Unique. It’s gonna give it somewhat of a moderny look.

Here’s my pile o’ strips.


Laid out into two different strip sets.


And here’s my finished block, Make Beleaf. I used raw-edge fusible machine appliqué.

I love combining patchwork with appliqué, so these stripped leaves are right up my alley. Of course you can use all sorts of different colors, and the leaves can be used in a million different ways. Templates and complete instructions are found in the magazine. Have fun making yours!

The editors of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks are sponsoring a giveaway of a copy of the magazine! If you’d like to enter to win, please leave a comment here on this post before 12:00 noon California time on Tuesday, May 10.

Good luck in the drawing, and remember that if you are subscribed to the blog by email, clicking “Reply” will not enter you in the drawing. Come to the blog on the internet (click on the title of the article) and leave your comment at the bottom of the post. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by on the blog hop!

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

May 4, 2016

Filed Under Blog hops, Magazines | 128 Comments 

After taking a break for a couple of issues, I have a block once again in the newest issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks.

A bunch of the designers are participating in a blog hop to celebrate this very lucky 13th issue!

My day is Wednesday, May 4, but you should follow the hop all week long! Beginning Monday, start each day at the Quiltmaker blog Quilty Pleasures for links to the designers and chances to win prizes all along the way.


See you next week,

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

April 29, 2016

Filed Under Magazines | 1 Comment 

In my booth at shows, one of the most universally popular and pattern-requested quilts has been “Studio.”


I always say that any sewing room or little nook can be a studio, if you only hang up a sign!

Studio was one of the projects from my book Scrap-Appliqué Playground. If you have that book, then you have this pattern. If not, and you’ve admired the quilt at shows, the pattern is finally here!


This is such a fun one. Putting scraps together and then cutting shapes out of them adds a little twinkle to appliqué. And, gentle quilter, you may just have scraps… I mean just possibly… I venture to say it’s not out of the realm of probability… but even if you want to use fabric that has never been cut into, it’s okay! You have permission!

The Studio pattern is available over on my website, or if you like, from my Etsy Shop.

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

April 27, 2016

Filed Under Patterns | 1 Comment 

Two of my books with Martingale have gone out of print. That’s bittersweet. Sad face, there aren’t any more copies of the books. Glad face, the rights have reverted to me and I can now develop and offer patterns using the designs! :)

The very first pattern that I worked on was the “Love” block from Easy Appliqué Blocks. It’s one of my favorite blocks from the book so it was an easy choice to go first.

Here’s the new pattern, Lovely Hearts.


It’s a 16 x 16 mini-quilt that can go up on any little wall space, proclaiming your affection for the world’s best emotion. I used raw-edge fusible machine appliqué, but of course you can use your own favorite method.

Until next time, with more!
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

April 20, 2016

Filed Under Patterns | Leave a Comment 

No, not that lamp that turns itself on or off when you clap your hands. This is a gadget that you probably know about, but somehow I didn’t, despite the fact that I have been sewing and pressing like mad as a quilter for 25 years.

The tailor’s clapper! It’s my new favorite thing!


A tailor’s clapper is a wooden implement that is unfinished on the bottom. “Clapping” it over a freshly steamed seam will give an extra press and also absorb the moisture, so that seam lies very flat and crisp.

After I first heard about it, I was making a label for a new quilt. I always add strips around the sides to make a frame, then turn under the edges so that I can easily blind-stitch the label to the backing. These turned-under edges do NOT want to stay. I looked around my studio to see if I had anything that I could pretend was a clapper, and spied a wooden pencil box. Sure enough, even though the wood was varnished, it worked! The edges of that label stayed turned!! So exciting! (Sometimes it’s the little things.)

I got on Etsy and looked for a real clapper. I found one easily at Jackson Woodworks and ordered the small one, in oak.

Then came the acid test… the label situation. I sewed up a couple of blank, pseudo-labels for the test.


Which one do you think is “with clapper” and which one “no clapper?”

That’s right, the upper one was pressed just the way I have always done it, no clapper. The lower one was clappered. Another question… which one do you think you’d like to work with more? :)

And BTW… no clapping required. I did not clap the clapper down, just pressed it down as soon as I removed the iron. Easy peasy! I am now probably addicted to using the clapper and won’t be able to press a seam without it.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

April 13, 2016

Filed Under Product demo | 5 Comments 

In my booth at shows, tons of quilters ask me if I have the kit for a certain pattern. I always reply that no, I’m a designer, I’m not a shop with bolts of fabric, and I work out of my own stash just like everybody else.

Earlier this year, however, I took the plunge, ordered bolts, and kitted my new pattern Rose Wreath Runner.


I put together complete fabric kits to make the runner, including the backing. The pattern comes included with the kit.


You have your choice of either a red print or a cream print for the backing. All of the fabrics are from Windham.

This may be my one foray into kitting, so that’s why I classify these babies as rare. :)

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

March 26, 2016

Filed Under Fabrics, Patterns | Leave a Comment 

Just got this press release from C&T Publishing, and thought I’d pass it along for those of you who live in northern California. Sounds like a very cool event for fans of the fabulous Laurel Burch.

ct-logoSave the Date – The Art of Laurel Burch Coloring Book Release Party: FREE Event Sponsored by C&T Publishing


Join the coloring book craze and experience firsthand the relaxation and creativity it can bring! The long-awaited coloring book by C&T Publishing with original drawings pulled straight from Laurel Burch’s sketchbook is here, and FLAX is hosting a coloring event with a hands-on demo and everything you need to color your own Laurel Burch illustration.

Learn more about Laurel Burch, a local San Francisco artist and get a glimpse into how the artist worked with featured items from her studio. Experience the vivid palette of her paintings by adding your own panache in the posthumously published The Art of Laurel Burch™ Coloring Book. Plus, meet Aarin Burch, Laurel’s daughter, and hear stories about Laurel making jewelry and selling her art on the streets of San Francisco. Giveaways of coloring books, Laurel Burch Studios items, and more!

Event Date: March 26, 2016

Time: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Location: FLAX Fort Mason Center
2 Marina Blvd, Bldg D
San Francisco

By Kay Mackenzie
Kays Etsy Shop

February 29, 2016

Filed Under Books | 2 Comments 

At Road to California I saw my vendor buddies Mindy and Larry with the product that they invented, Retro Clean.

Mindy! Larry was out and about.

Mindy! Larry was out and about.

Here are links to a couple of posts I wrote about using Retro Clean and the wonders it did for my auld family linens. I always keep a package on hand.


Retro Clean
Green Means Go

At the show, Mindy had her butterfly quilt hung up, it had been a WIP for quite awhile.


Here’s what the top looked like before Retro Clean.

Yeah, just sayin'.

Yeah, just sayin’.

You might be familiar with Retro Clean in the silver package. Mindy told me that the product now comes in a pretty white package, just so you know.


Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

February 19, 2016

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A year ago, I put up a post entitled, “Anybody want this block?”


It was my 100 Blocks reject, Ugly Christmas Sweater.

I am so grateful to those of you who stepped up and said you would be willing to give this poor orphan a home. The randomly drawn winner was Beverly Schueneman.

Recently I received the following message from Beverly:

Dear Kay,

I have not forgotten you and your cute sweater block.

I had planned to be finished for Xmas, but I had to have surgery on my right hand on Nov. 9. That was the end of sewing for me. I wore a cast until the day before Xmas eve.

As of today the Christmas quilt has been completely quilted. Each block is one of your creations from your book. I have added buttons and bears, so it is unique. Sort of scrappy. And of course, the sweater block takes up most of the space. You had signed my book, so I copied that and placed it under the quilt.

Well, I just wanted you to know I had not forgotten my promise to turn it into a quilt.

Beverly Schueneman

bev-mainHere’s Beverly’s creation!

How fun! I see designs from my book A Merry Little Christmas to Appliqué, and I even see a little doggy from another book of mine, Home.

In the Ugly Christmas Sweater tradition, Beverly has added embellishments to enhance each design.


And how very cool that she copied my signature and incorporated it into the quilt! That is just so sweet!


Thank you, Beverly, for giving this block a lasting life. Glad your hand is better, and may your family enjoy the quilt next Christmas and many more to come.

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

February 7, 2016

Filed Under Holiday, Show & Tell | Leave a Comment 

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