There’s a new photo tutorial on the Cottons n’ Wool blog about how the author, Anne, works with wool for appliqué. She takes you through it step-by-step, with lots of great photos. Thanks Anne!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

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

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

lemonflower.gifAugust 28, 2008. According to the schedule, today’s the day that the first pages are supposed to arrive. It’s early afternoon and I just got an email from Robin, my tech editor at Martingale, saying that she looked them over and was surprised to see how colorful the design was, after imagining the blocks floating on a ground of white. Me too! I emailed her back… “but do you LIKE it.”

To my relief she replies that yes, she does. Brown has the package as “out for delivery” so I’m sure that I hear the truck every few seconds. I’m on at least pins if not needles too.

4:55 p.m. Brown came, and Brown went. The driver said he knew he was supposed to have something for me, but he couldn’t find it in the truck. “We’ll probably deliver it tomorrow,” he said, and drove away.


Stay tuned,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Congratulations to Kim B., who won my prize from Pat Sloan’s Orange Pile Challenge blog hop!

In addition to Growing Hearts to Appliqué, I’m throwing in a half-yard of that fun Pat Sloan fabric.

Thank you so much to all who hopped over from the OP. You left comments that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Many of you seemed to covet the book, so here’s what I’m doing…

For all you hoppers, through March 31, 2009, receive 25% off Growing Hearts over at Enter the coupon code ORANGE in the shopping cart.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Nuttin! Orange and silver are two words for which there is no exact rhyme in the English language. A fabric company should put out an orange fabric with metallic silver highlights and call it “Nothing Rhymes.”

Today I’m ruminating about the color orange as part of Pat Sloan’s Virtual Weekend Retreat and OP Challenge. What’s an OP you might ask? Orange Pile! Your pile of orange fabrics from your stash! There’s a blog hop going on with prize giveaways, a free block pattern, photos of work in progress, and a tutorial. Click the OP logo in the left-hand sidebar and you’ll find out all about it.

What’s orange in nature? Lots of things. Oranges. Tangerines. Papayas. Pumpkins. Carrots. All of these grow with green leaves, so it seems that green goes with orange. However, to me, an orange and green combo just always has a “food” connotation, like food-service industry.

California poppies. Chrysanthemums. Nasturtiums. Still with the green leaves, but commonly pictured against a blue sky. Orange and blue… a nice combination.

Ginger tabby cats. Parts of calico cats. Pomeranians. Monarch Butterflies.


My calico cat Maikai.

Orange and black, besides being two colors in the classic calico triad, just means Halloween. Orange and brown occur often together in the coats of animals. A touch of orange is fantastic for depicting critters. Go see the giraffes on the home page of appliqué artist Nancy Brown’s website.

I happen to like orange, and when I say that I mean in my stash and in my quilts. Supposedly I can’t wear true orange, me being a ‘classic winter’ and all. But when I really think about it, orangey-red is really one of my favorite colors! Witness the color scheme for this blog (which I designed myself). My car is ‘red-orange metallic.’ I’m far more drawn to the orange side of red than the purple side.

free-flowers.gifI try to pull a splash of orange into my appliqué whenever I can. Here’s my improvisational, scissor-cut wall quilt Free Flowers. It just wouldn’t be the same without the orange and the pink.

Basket block from Growing Hearts to Appliqué
When I pulled fabrics for the blocks in my book Growing Hearts to Appliqué, I mixed orange into the reds.

One of my very favorite color combinations is orangey-red and tealy blue. Can you see it in this quilt block? They’re opposite each other on the color wheel, so they’re complimentary, and they look fabulous together.

Last year I stopped by In Stitches, an exceedingly cute quilt shop in Red Buff, California. The owner, Erda Fleming, told me that they had a program whereby the first fabric purchased by a customer would become the Bolt of the Day. I was the first one in the door so I got to proclaim the Bolt of the Day. Here’s what I chose.


Pat Sloan fabric!

Note the orangey-red and tealy blue. No wonder it was my favorite!
When I designed the cover for Growing Hearts I used this color combo too.

Growing Hearts to Appliqué by Kay Mackenzie

Have you guessed it? This book is my giveaway for the OP Challenge! Leave a comment on this post to enter the drawing for Growing Hearts to Appliqué. The winner will be drawn this evening, California time.

Don’t forget to visit Pat Sloan’s blog for the rest of her virtual weekend retreat on all quilty things orange!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

If you’re interested in Baltimore Album type appliqué, then you should visit the website of The Baltimore Appliqué Society. Check out each of the links on the left-hand side of their home page… they’ll take you to photos of exquisite quilts that have great historical significance, and patterns that members of the Society have made for them. Enjoy!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Fabulous quilt designer Pat Sloan has put forth an OP Challenge.

What’s an OP? Orange Pile! Your pile of orange fabric from your stash! How fun.

Pat has already started putting up some notes for quilters who are participating in the challenge. If you’d like to join in the fun and “orange along,” just click the OP logo in the sidebar for all the information.

As part of the OP Challenge, Pat is hosting a virtual weekend retreat from Friday, February 20, through Sunday, February 22. There’ll be a blog hop with prize giveaways, a free block pattern, photos of work in progress, and a tutorial. It should be great fun, as it seems Pat really knows how to throw a party! I’ll be one of the bloggers on the hop and I’m already planning my prize giveaway.

my-op.gifHere’s my Orange Pile. I like orange. This doesn’t even show the orangey-reds.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

flowerbasket.gifBeing the seventeenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

When I sent in my proposal for Easy Appliqué Blocks I made sure they knew I didn’t know HOW to make the CD, just that there should be one. All along I had been envisioning a CD that would open up and show a bunch of folders that you would navigate through to find the pattern you wanted. Despite the fact that I write my own website in HTML and got under the hood in WordPress to change the look of my blog, I am soooo not a techie. ‘Folders’ was the extent of my imagination when it came to the organization of the CD.

Imagine my bewilderment when the preliminary CD site map came to me and it was talking about browsers and links. I didn’t quite get it at first. Robin took the time to walk me through it, and then, all of a sudden, the ol’ synapses fired up. This was suddenly so very cool! This CD is going to be incredible! It’s going to act very much like a website when you get into it, and it’s very easy to navigate to the pattern you want to print.

I did have some comments about the site map (aka flow chart) and over-achiever that I am, I recreated the whole thing, with boxes and arrows. This helped me get my mind around it. I sent my version back to Robin. After looking at it, she could tell that Adrienne (the book’s illustrator and the person developing the CD) and I were on the same page. Robin liked my added suggestions on how to organize the blocks. Some of my arrows were not needed, thankfully, as some pages can just be closed and you’ll be back where you were, instead of clicking back.

The next step (gulp) is to see the book one more time before it goes to press. Right now, during August 2008, the book designer is hard at work turning the Word document into a beautiful colorful book all laid out with the photos and illustrations where they’re supposed to be. When next I see it, it will be what they call “first pages” (sometimes called “galley proofs.”) Can’t wait! Stay tuned.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

P.S. Mark your calendars for the Easy Appliqué Blocks blog Book-A-Round, March 27 through April 5! For more information, click the logo in the right-hand sidebar.

I’m a member of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, described by them as “The World’s First Interactive Video / Web Magazine and Worldwide Online Community for Quilters.” They send me email updates a couple time a week. Their latest one announces an upcoming program with venerated appliqué artist Elly Sienkiewicz.

Even if you’re not a member, you can click on the “Slideshows” tab at the top of the home page and view behind-the-scenes photos taken during taping by Photo Man Gregory Case. And you’ll enjoy some gorgeous Elly appliqué eye candy!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

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

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

About a week after I sent the me-edited copy-edited manuscript back, there was one more round of edits by email. Not the whole manuscript… remember, we’re only circulating one copy on paper from now on… but Robin had a few more finishing touches to chew over with me and she just wrote them out in an email.

Here’s how she started out… “Kay, I have to say that you are an excellent writer. It is a joy to see how you craft your words.” Nice! By this time Robin and I have both discovered the same trait in each other… the attention to detail and the thought behind every word. She has told me how she appreciates that I look carefully at everything she sends. How could an author not?

The next step is to work on the CD site map. What does that mean you may ask. As did I. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

blog-tour.jpgWelcome to my stop on the Color Mastery blog tour! I’m Kay Mackenzie, an appliqué enthusiast and writer, and this is my blog devoted to appliqué — any kind! I’m privileged today to publish this interview with Maria Peagler, author of the new book for quilters, Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts.

Kay: Maria, we met by email through our mutual photographer Gregory Case. Then, amongst the throngs of people at Spring Quilt Market 2008, fortune put us shoulder-to-shoulder not once but twice. I so enjoyed our conversations, and marveled at your calm self-assurance at this huge project of putting out a book about color for quilters. Please tell us about the experiences in your life, both artistic and professional, that prepared you for this journey.

Maria: Color Mastery is my eighth book, and the second I’ve published independently. Because I’m a veteran at writing and publishing, the whole idea of giving birth to this wonderful book for quilters on color was thrilling, and I couldn’t wait to get started. My expertise in writing was instructional design and curriculum development for computer training companies, which basically means I developed classes for highly technical subjects, and made them easy to understand. So you’d come to my class and after one day, go back to work with skills you needed. I’ve taken the same approach to color: one day with me and you’ll really see color differently.

Art has been a part of my life from childhood. My mother was an artist and a musician, and I loved watching her hands with a paintbrush and playing the keys of a piano. I’ve always expressed myself with words and images, and really see them as connected.

Kay: From that background, how did you get started as a quilter?

Maria: I was quite fortunate to have a good friend, Debbie Gerbers, invite me to her quilting guild. Debbie and I both sewed and were newlyweds in our twenties, but I really had no interest in quilting. What I didn’t know is that Debbie belonged to the East Cobb Quilters’ Guild, a nationally-known quilt guild whose members’ quilts have been in Spike Lee films, the Atlanta Olympic Games, and is home to many professional quilters. So when I attended the first meeting with Debbie, I was shocked to see women who were artists. I remember thinking during the guild’s show and tell: I’m in. Whatever it takes to learn how to do this, I’m in.

Kay: That is so cool. I can tell that you found “it” that day. How was it that you became especially interested in color in quiltmaking?

Maria: For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved color. When I was a young girl growing up in the psychedelic 70’s, I loved all the colorful images around me, and I adored drawing and painting, and wanted to be an artist. My parents encouraged me to do something more practical, so I followed my other love of books and writing. When I became a quilter, it was really the color and gorgeous fabrics that appealed to me. I delighted in selecting fabrics and colors for my quilts, but was frustrated by my results. I would sit in my quilt guild meetings and be really disappointed that I couldn’t get the same outstanding results I saw from other, more accomplished, quilters. And so I tried to learn color theory and the color wheel, but I just didn’t get it. It was only once I became a watercolor painter that I understood color theory and how differently it applied to fabric and quilts.

Color Mastery by Maria Peagler

Kay: How did all this come together to inspire you to write a book for quilters about color?

Maria: I was teaching machine quilting in a local shop in Dawsonville, Georgia, called Sew Memorable. Dawsonville is a gorgeous town near the base of the Appalachian Trail, and has many artists and crafters. The shop owner, whose favorite color is brown, was getting a lot of requests from quilters for a color class, and asked me to develop it. I wanted quilters to see color results in one day, without having to wade through a lot of color theory that doesn’t apply to us. I developed an entirely new kind of color class for quilters that was quick, immediately hands-on, fun, and at the end of the day quilters would have a finished quilt top.

And it worked! Quilters who were previously intimidated by color theory were having so much fun and finally understanding how color relationships work in quilts, they forgot all about being frustrated with color theory. I developed my own exercises and projects, but found I was spending a small fortune in paper, ink, and materials. So I decided it was time to put it all in a book. I knew I had something unique in the Color Mastery premise.

Kay: Can you describe what it has been like for you writing this book and marshaling it through the publishing process? How long from concept to print?

Maria: I published Color Mastery through my own “indie” publishing company, and was able to develop a really unique quilting book because I had no limitations on what I wanted to do. First, I didn’t self-publish; many self-publishers do everything themselves, and from experience, I know what I do and don’t do well. So I hired a photographer, book designer, illustrator, and two editors to be on my creative team. Second, I developed a series of exercises that allow quilters to use their own stash to really “see” colors in fabric the way artists do, and show them how to use that new color knowledge to design their own color palettes. Third, I designed quilts that really extended the book’s color exercises, but the projects don’t look like exercise quilts: they’re lap quilts, table runners, wall quilts, and doll quilts. All practical, and in a range of styles from funky, to feminine, to masculine. Fourth, I acted as the book’s sales and marketing team, getting the word out to the quilt industry about this new concept in teaching color to quilters.

The entire process took about 1-1/2 to 2 years, from concept to the book being in quilt shops.

Kay: How do your current publishing efforts fit in with family life?

I have two school-aged sons, and being a mother has been the greatest joy of my life. I don’t want to miss a single moment of their growing up, so I work around their school schedules. Sometimes when I’m gearing up for a big promotion or a deadline I end up working at night after they’re in bed, but my husband owns his own business and understands the life of an entrepreneur.

I’m also aware of being a role model, for not only my own sons, but other students in this area as well, as an author. I live in a rural county where most families live within severely limited means and college is a luxury. I never imagined when I was a child of being a writer: I didn’t know anyone who was a writer, and I’m the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. I visit the area schools and talk to students about being a writer and getting published, and encourage them to follow their dreams. (Some parents attended these too – I think it’s the great American dream to write a book!)

Kay: You sent me an advance copy and asked if I would like to write a blurb. I was delighted to do so. Here’s what wrote itself, from the right side of my brain, without effort: “I’ve attended several lectures on the color wheel, but none of them made me start thinking about color the way that Maria Peagler’s Color Mastery did. All of a sudden I had fresh eyes, and looked at everything around me with greater understanding. This book is an instant classic.” I’ve been tickled pink to see my blurb appear on your Color Mastery blog and indeed on the detail page for the book! Tell us a little bit about why your book takes us beyond the standard color wheel lecture.

Maria: Most color wheel lectures left me cold, with too much emphasis on rules and limitations of using the color wheel. I wanted to show quilters what I had discovered about using the color wheel, that it’s really a launching pad for unlimited color options and innovative color palettes. I stress how important it is for quilters to keep a color journal, where they start collecting images and ideas for color palettes they love (and those they don’t). Without knowing your own color style, color theory ends up making formulaic quilts. The most common observation I hear from my students is this: “I was making the same quilt over and over again. I didn’t realize what a color rut I was in!” Once you combine your own color vision with color theory, you’ve unlocked the door to endless color options.

I do spend a lot of time on teaching the parts of color theory that are essential to quilters, but I do it in a way that gets quilters working with their fabrics right away, so they can visualize color palettes with their own fabrics. I also stress using the color wheel as a tool: it’s not the focus of my quilts, nor am I a slave to it. I make the color wheel and color theory work for me in my style of quilts.

Kay: I have to tell you that one startling revelation in your book changed my fabric choices forever… for the better! My jaw dropped when I read that the Impressionist painters did not use black, brown, or gray in themselves. After that, I was making a wall quilt, and when I would have reached for gray (because that’s the true color of what I was depicting), I reached for blue-gray instead. It looked fabulous! Would you expound a little more on this topic?

Maria: Some of my favorite parts of the book are the artist’s secrets, where I show quilters how to use color in their quilts the way great masters throughout time have. While I love using black in my quilts, I never realized how much more colorful a quilt would be by using a darker color in its place, like dark blue. It really does work, and gives a quilt far more vibrancy than if you use a simple black. It’s also a great example of how you can use value to increase the color potential of your quilts. Most quilters think of value only in terms of light vs. dark, but it can have a far greater impact on the color in your palettes.

And if you dye or paint your own fabric, you can make a much more colorful version of black by combining dark red, dark green, and dark blue. While I don’t dye my fabrics, I use this technique often in my paintings and sketches, with gorgeous results.

Kay: It strikes me that Color Mastery is coming along just when we quilters need it more than ever! In light of our current ‘economic downturn,” your book helps quilters understand how to wring every last bit of color from, of their stashes. In addition, the exercises reveal what’s needed in the stash, so that the quilter can shop for fabrics wisely and judiciously.

Maria: The emphasis on our fabric stash in Color Mastery really resulted from a need. I wanted to convince quilters that outstanding color results were possible with everyday fabrics, and so I turned to my stash to prove it. I made all the quilts in the book from my limited stash, knowing that if I could develop innovative color palettes for gorgeous quilts using only fabrics I had on hand, any quilter could read the book and go into a quilt store and select fabrics with ease. And, I knew from my classes that using your own fabrics for color exercises helps quilters to better understand color, as they’re using the fabrics that have meaning for them. Looking at a mock-up block that uses someone else’s fabrics teaches little about color.

Kay: Maria has made a sample chapter from her book available for download! (One of the perks of having one’s own publishing company.) :)


Maria: Thanks Kay, for hosting me at your All About Appliqué blog on my Color Mastery blog tour! I so admire you and other women authors for the creative work they do. And I can’t imagine a better business than quilting in which to write and be an entrepreneur! I love the whole notion of quilts being an art form you can wrap up in and share with loved ones.

Kay: It’s been my pleasure. Readers, ask for Color Mastery at your favorite quilt shop, or order from Maria’s secure distributor AtlasBooks or from Amazon.

Also, be sure to also check out the guest post that Maria did here last October on “Color and Appliqué.”

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

I was so happy to see in the January 2009 issue of American Quilter magazine that the top winners of the huge 2008 Des Moines Quilt Expo were gorgeous appliqué quilts!

Appliqué took Best of Show, Best Hand Workmanship, and Best Machine Workmanship. Appliqué was an ingredient in all three winners in the Bed Quilts-Traditional category, and in two of the three winners in Wall Quilts-Traditional.

I went to the AQS website to see if they had posted photos. Guess what… they’re already down! Hey guys, leave ’em up a little longer how ’bout it? But I found this cached page where you can still enjoy them.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

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

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

It’s June 2008. The manuscript for Easy Appliqué Blocks now leaves tech editor Robin’s hands and goes to the copy editor. The copy editor’s job is to look at everything in terms of grammar, spelling, consistency, logic, and the Martingale style guide. There will be no more editing by email. From this point on it’s all done on paper. (This avoids having too many versions floating around, and it sounds like they learned this the hard way :).

I received the copy-edited version by snail mail, settled in with a cup of tea, and gave it a thorough read. In a few places I stumbled over rough patches where added detail plus removal of commas made things seem to rush headlong. Some sentences weren’t what I’d like, and there were still some not-quite-right things about the illustrations. All normal at this point. I rolled up my sleeves and got to polishing!

There’s actually a lot of humorous stuff going on by now. For example, there’s the word “fine.” I started out talking about fine thread for appliqué. The question comes back, what is meant by fine thread? Thin? High quality? I change it to skinny. Skinny is not going to fly so it’s changed to fine, thin thread. Needles can’t be skinny either so the copy editor changes it to thin. I don’t like thin so I change it to slender. We’ll see what it ends up being!

The copy editor capitalizes sharps but I put that really cool slash through the S and make a note that it’s a type of needle, not a brand name. And then there’s the West Highland white terrier, which I give the ol’ triple underline treatment and explain that the West Highland White Terrier is a breed name. [Note: I lost on both counts, the first to the Martingale style manual and the second to the dictionary LOL. You’ll see the canine workaround in the book.]

The copy editor says that appliquér needs to be spelled appliquer, but that bothers me totally. That just looks like applikwer. Why is it that you can write appliquéing but not appliquér? I write a long impassioned plea on the manuscript to keep the accent. We’ll see.

heart-and-buds.gifI dug out my guidelines for proofreading marks and had a high old time of it marking up the paper manuscript. It took me back to my high-school journalism days, when I used to LOVE working on the Chapel Hill High newspaper. I even get to use ‘stet’ a few times.

That reminds me… Robin sent me a link to the Yarn Harlot’s blog where this very well-known knitting author wrote about the publishing process. Hilarious! For a good laugh about stetting, read her posts of January 24 and 25, 2008.

I put it off as long as I could. I had to take care of my author photo, as I’d received a nudge from the author liaison. I begged Gregory Case to take me in, and he gave me an appointment for a sitting. I drove “over the hill” to San Jose and emerged unscathed from the photo session, and with a pretty decent photo. See the first in this series if you haven’t already done so.

I sent the marked-up post-copy-edit paper manuscript back to Robin on July 2, 2008, a couple days before my deadline. Stay tuned!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Quilting Gallery is hosting a month of guest bloggers! Tonight it’s my turn.

Guest Blogger on Quilting GalleryYou can read my guest post and posts from quilting bloggers from around the world all during the month of February. Fun!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A couple days ago I drew a new pattern and set out to stitch it up.


When I was done, I held it up for DH Dana to see, as I often do. A strange look came over his face. I could tell he was underwhelmed.

I kept asking him what it was about this pattern that bothered him, and he couldn’t quite put it into words. He kept saying things like, “It’s her back,” and I kept saying, “Yes, it’s her back. There are plenty of traditional patterns that show the backs of figures… you know, like Overall Bill.” I even hauled Barbara Brackman’s Encylcopedia of Appliqué and showed him several old-timey patterns like Paper Doll, Dutch Boy, Cowboy, Indian Princess, where we see the back.

“Okay,” he allowed, but I could tell he still wasn’t sold. Finally he came out with it… “It looks like she’s been run over by a steam roller,” he pointed out.

I had to laugh at that, and we both remembered seeing the play “The Quilters” where there’s a whole monologue about “The Demise of Sunbonnet Sue” in which Sue meets a variety of creative and grisly ends.

Later that evening Dana and I were sitting on the sofa and I was talking about something else. When I finished what I was saying, he nodded. Then he pointed to the block and said, “Yeah, I think she would look really great with some tire tracks running over her.”

That sent me into peals of laughter. The next day I obliged him with a revised version.


Tire-Track Sue

Dana was so tickled by this that he actually put up an off-topic post on his chess blog about it! Go check it out if you’d like to read his version of the story. He also put up some great links about what other quilters have done to poor Sue.

Okay, this brings me to my need for consultation. Help me… is this pattern road kill?

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Cheryl O’Connor of Ticonderoga, New, York, is the winner for February among registered readers of the blog. Congratulations Cheryl!

Cheryl has won a copy of my book Home: A Heartfelt Nap Quilt and one of my patterns, California Sunflower.

Home: A Heartfelt Nap Quilt by Kay Mackenzie
California Sunflower by Kay Mackenzie

These were apt choices for Cheryl, who writes that she loves appliqué and is tickled pink to be receiving the prize. Enjoy!

If you register you can be eligible for the monthly prize drawings too. See the right-hand sidebar.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs