Here are some great “little something” suggestions for your dear quilting friends this year.

Magnetic Needle Minders


These Needle Minders look just like beautiful cameo brooches. A magnet in the back keeps them in place so you can wear it on your clothing, or you can set it down beside you. No more needles in the arm of the sofa or stuck through your shirt! You’ll always know where your needle is.

Makes a great gift for someone who likes to sew, or for yourself. Available in a range of colors and styles, these may just be the ultimate stocking stuffer. They’re on my website at


Quilting books and patterns

Also on my website, you’ll find the books and patterns that I publish. They’re all economically priced, with low shipping, because that’s what I believe in. You might find the perfect stocking stuffer for your quilting friend there.



pretty.jpgHave you discovered Etsy yet? It’s a crafter’s paradise. You’ll find a bazillion things to drool over and gift your friends with (and probably keep some for yourself). I have an Etsy store where you’ll see my books and patterns listed, plus a bunch of stuff that I make with buttons.


Okay, that’s my roundup of gift-giving suggestions this holiday season. Now I better get started on my own list!

Happy holidays,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

My booth at the Tokay Stitch ‘n Quilt Guild’s show the first weekend in November was situated so that I had a lovely view of a Baltimore Album quilt, just down the aisle a bit. Of course I was drawn to it with strong magnetic force. I was so tickled and touched when I read Thelma Welch’s description:

“To me appliqué has always been the most intriguing part of the quilting craft. When a Baltimore Album class was offered in 1992 I signed on. All 20 blocks were completed years ago and put together with sashing from Smithsonian Baltimore Album 1850 reproduction fabric. Due to indecision about what border to use, as well as some burnout and a desire to do other projects, it was put away for many years. Finally, at the urging of my daughter, I designed a border and began hand quilting in January, finishing in July 2008.”

I’ll let you look at the quilt now and then tell you the final sentence. :)


“Since reaching the age of 83 I like to say it was on my Bucket List.”

OMG! The woman was 67 when she signed up for a BA class and 83 when she designed the beautiful border and hand quilted the whole thing! You go girl!

I flagged down the president of the Tokay guild and asked her to send Thelma my way if she was at the show that day. A little while later, Thelma showed up, dressed in a fetching black and white outfit with pearls (as all the guild members in honor of their 25th anniversary) and some really cool tennies, proud as punch of her quilt, and when I made my request she seemed very pleased at the prospect of having her quilt up on a blog, especially since now her friends and relatives back east would be able to see it.

The blocks are “mostly Elly” with a few Thelma touches thrown in. For instance, a cow in one of the blocks was swapped out for a cat. She changed flowers here and added a bird there. The cutest thing Thelma pointed out was the variation in the peacock’s tail… “It was before we had the shaded fabric,” she told me with a chuckle, “so that’s the Clorox.”

Here are a couple of the gorgeous blocks. Whew, I sure hope I’m as spry, gracious, and productive as Thelma when I’m 83!




Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 7

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Being the seventh in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Cardinal block by Kay MackenzieSince I had met my first deadline deadline early, it was actually on deadline day, December 7, 2007, that I received the feedback about my writing sample. I was happy to hear that I had done a good job with the coding. And, Karen said she found my writing style to be “very easy to read and straightforward, which is a good thing!” and that I looked to be in excellent shape. Whew! The first time around with these things, you never know, do you?

The main thing I did wrong was to use stacked heads… in other words, a heading and then a subheading with nuttin’ between them. There has to be some text after the main heading. I fixed those up and made sure I didn’t do that again!

The next deadline for Martingale was to submit the entire manuscript, illustration list, and photo list by March 7, 2008.

Along with all of this, plus the holidays, I managed to get Teapots 2 to Appliqué done and to the printers in time to have it for my home guild’s quilt show at the end of February 2008. As soon was the show was over I was hard at work on another little pattern booklet, Home: A Heartfelt Nap Quilt.

Stay tuned!
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Before Elly’s lecture began (see the November 6 post), I was looking around the shop when I heard my name called. I turned around and, happy day! it was the podcaster extraordinaire Annie Smith, whom I hardly ever get to see due to her incredibly active traveling, teaching, and speaking schedule.

Annie was teaching a class next door to our lecture and had just a minute before her class was going to start. “Did you see my coat at PIQF?” she asked me with excitement. I had to confess that although I had admired the garments, I missed entirely the fact that one of them was hers and also that the special exhibit “Off the Bed — On the Back” had been curated by one of my own guild members, Rachel Clark.

Annie sent me pictures of the coat and the accompanying quilt, along with the story of how they were made (which reads a little like The Perils of Pauline). Here’s the sometimes harrowing account:

“Rachel asked me to be a part of the exhibit when she saw my West of Baltimore quilt.

Each of the pieces in the exhibit was to be a specific technique of quilt making, (i.e.: log cabin, paper piecing, Hawaiian quilting, Baltimore appliqué — which was mine).


My quilter, Melodee Wade, quilted each of the coat pieces first, then the appliqué was designed and stitched to the coat. The hard part was that I was working like crazy to get the coat finished and Rachel asked me what the name of my quilt was.


Oh yeah, I remember now… after a conversation LAST October…. little quilts, the quilt design is put on the coat… yeah, right. So I stopped working on the coat design — I was having quilter’s block anyway after being seized with ultimate stress of doing a quilt too — and began the quilt. The vase in the center of the quilt is on the back of the coat, and then I wanted to do some simple vines for the border. Or at least, what I thought was simple. I have to remember that the quilt will always tell you what it wants, and the quilt just grew on my design wall. I knew when to stop and that it was perfect — when I added all of the little yellow dots as detail.

My friend Aneda Phillips, who made the West of Baltimore pattern cover quilt, stitched all of the appliqué while I went back to finishing the coat. When she returned the pieces of the quilt so I could assemble it, I mis-cut the center [Ed. note: GASP] and had to make another one from scratch and do all of the stitching on it, as Aneda was finishing up her quilts for her Market booth.


Then back to the coat. It had to be done in panels, appliqué then sew the seams together, then connect the design. The hardest part was the two flowers that are on the side seams of the coat. At that point, the coat was wearing me while I stitched them down! I do fusible, fine machine appliqué where I use a tiny blanket stitch and match all of the threads to the appliqué fabrics. There is some hand embroidery on the quilt and coat. I even made covered buttons with little appliqué flowers on them.

The name of the quilt is “Midnight in the Garden” and the coat is “A Rose Tree in a Baltimore Garden”. A Rose Tree is a traditional Baltimore appliqué pattern which I used for the shawl collar of the coat.


The appliqué fabrics and coat lining were generously donated by Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I used Peggy Toole’s “Florentine II” fabric as the lining and focus fabric for all of the appliqué. You can a little bit of the gorgeous lining fabric in the front collar picture. The fabric is amazing.

All in all, I worked on the quilt and coat for three weeks, 12 to 18 hours a day to get it done in time for PIQF. And then, I didn’t even get to attend the show, as I was teaching in Canada!

Melodee is an incredible quilter. I just gave her the pieces and let her do her thing. She did some neat swirled feathers in places that aren’t covered by appliqué — and that’s the thing, she had no idea where the appliqué was going. She just quilted as if they were separate whole cloth quilts. I was amazed when I sewed the panels together — the quilting from one dovetailed into the other and in some places it’s hard to see the seam line. I know that it was totally random, but I love when magic happens like that.

I use Melodee exclusively to do the quilting for me. She always enhances everything I do, making my pieces better. Mel does it all free-motion on a non-computerized Gammill.”

Kay here… I’ll add that in addition to her quilting talents, Melodee is one of the nicest, most gracious people you could ever hope to meet. Her contact is if you’re interested in contacting her for your longarm quilting needs.

On her latest podcast,(11/10/08), Annie tells more about the creation of the coat and jacket, describing how they grew on her design wall and what a wonderful experience it was for her to let go and let that happen. Go give a listen, and you’ll also hear a hilarious story of how dedicated a quilter can be when it comes to acquiring an industrial Bernina for $100.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

I met Elly!

Last night, fellow appliqué fan Brenda and I drove ‘over the hill’ to Sunnyvale to Eddie’s Quilting Bee for a slide lecture by Elly Sienkiewicz. The title was “What’s This Fascination with Baltimore Album Quilts?”

We got there a mite early, with just enough time to do a little shopping at Eddie’s, then it was upstairs to the meeting room to sup on a tasty light dinner and sip some wine. At 7:15, Eddie introduced Elly, who turned on the slide projector, and POP! the bulb broke. The replacement bulb didn’t fit, so…. no slides. Elly didn’t miss a beat, and just started talking to us about the BA era, about 1843 to 1856, and her research into the many symbols that recur both in the blocks and, curiously, on gravestones. She told us that the women of the time were fluent in the language of symbols, something that has slipped away from us in present times. There were many associations with Methodism, the Masons, and the Oddfellows.

kayelly.gifThough we missed seeing her slides, the subject was fascinating and it was just so cool to finally meet this grande dame of appliqué.

She is one of the nicest ladies you could hope to meet, and has done so much for us quilters in the realm of qppliqué.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

My 6th Grade Shoes by Penelope Tucker and Ronda K. Beyer was another one of my favorite quilts at PIQF. That’s putting it mildly. Actually I had a little “moment” when I saw it.


See, what you don’t know is that this design is one of my all-time most worshipped. The blocks are from Fairmeadow by Jeana Kimball, a quilt that completely captivated me as an early quilter. Here’s my Fairmeadow book from like 15 years ago, long out of print, battered, scuffed, and much loved.

Fairmeadow by Jeana Kimball

I made my own Fairmeadow back then, slavishly collecting fabrics that replicated Jeana’s as closely as possible, and enjoyed every minute of the appliqué.

I heard a couple of years ago that my friend Pam Crooks was working on Fairmeadow in a hand appliqué class taught by her bud Penny, and now I finally got to see Penny’s version. According to the show description, “Penny was inspired by her beloved 6th grade shoes — lime green and turquoise — while selecting fabrics for this quilt. It reminded her of hot summer days in California in the 1960s. Excited to begin quilting, Ronda added her own design elements with her longarm machine.”

And guess what… this quilt won the PIQF 2008 award for Best Machine Workmanship! Congratulations Ronda! And thank you, Penny, for making this delightful rendition of the the blocks. Here are just a couple, and you can see the incredible quilting.


Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs