There’s an adorable appliqué pattern called “Summer Garden Basket” by Pat Thompson available for download at the website of the American Quilters Society: Click on American Quilter Magazine, then Patterns.

Full-size templates are given but you’ll need to blow the placement guide up 300%.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Candy Cane Lane: Quilts and More to Sweeten the Holidays
by Melinda Bula


Melinda Bula, author of Cutting Garden Quilts, is known for her stunning floral creations.

With her new book Candy Cane Lane, she departs from the art quilt to create sweet, whimsical holiday designs that can be used in a multitude of ways in addition to making the cute, cute quilt on the cover of the book.

stockings.jpgLook at these adorable felt stockings!

whims-tree.jpgI love this whimsical ‘Who down in Whoville’ tree. It’s sitting on the candy cane table runner and you can see the snowflake pillows in the background. There are several more projects as well.

Melinda encourages quilters to use non-traditional colors to spark up their holiday designs, and as you can see she does it quite effectively.

The book includes basic information on fusible-web and needle-turn appliqué, as well as full-size pull-out templates for all of the appliqué patterns. Sweet!

Visit the author’s blog, Melinda’s Cutting Garden.

Leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. West Coast time on Sunday, August 30, and you could take a trip down Candy Cane Lane! Many thanks to Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place for providing the book.

Only four months ’til Christmas!
By Kay Mackenzie

Or, “Another Languishing Magazine Article for your Perusal.”

Cat Hair in the Studio
by Kay Mackenzie

They came as a package deal, 18 years ago when we lived in Ohio. Three little stray kittens, presumably littermates, who followed us home and never left.


Then they were California kitties, growing old in the sunlight, lumping along and enjoying the climate.


So I’ve a lot of experience living with a triple load of cat hair. Over the years I’ve tried different strategies for coping with the issue of cat hair vs. the quilt. Here are my best recommendations for a happy medium (or, as in Pixel’s case, large and round).


Pixel and the Furminator.

    A. Keep the cats out of the sewing room. Yeah right. If you’re like me and have stuff stationed in front of the door so that it can’t ever close, go to Plans B, C, D, etc.

    B. Vacuum regularly. I had to say that. Now directly to Plans C, D, E, etc.

    C. Brush or comb the cats daily. This falls under the category of New Year’s Resolution. For the past eighteen years.

    D. Don’t throw your scraps into a box. This becomes a prime destination for cats, and when you’re going to a strip poker party and start rummaging for strips, you’ll be too embarrassed to throw them into the pot. Also, it’s a good way to sew a lot of cat hair into your scrap quilts.

    E. Do create the best place for a cat to be. Set up a special place for them under a sunny window, or the closest equivalent, so that when the cats do come into the studio, they head for their spot. This strategy keeps the cat hair concentrated in one place.

    F. Keep a box of Swiffers on hand at all times. That way, when the mood strikes you (or the sun strikes a cat hair-covered surface in brilliant illumination), you can readily wipe down whatever small areas are accessible amongst the quilting supplies.

    G. Buy industrial-sized lint roller refills by the dozen. Beware of non-refillable handles, and don’t fall for the rinseable lint rollers. What happens is, you get up a soupçon of cat hair, the roller is full, you rinse it, and… you’ve got a wet lint roller.

    H. Roller your quilts each and every time you take them out of the house. Even if they have been covered by a sheet the whole time. Cat hair finds a way. Fold them in quarters and roller each quarter, front and back. Pay special attention to the bindings. If you’re sending them to a show, do this compulsively several times, with your glasses on, in good light.

    I. If you’re taking a friend’s quilts to a show, make sure they are delivered to your house in a hermetically sealed plastic bag, and resist all temptation to take them out for a peek.

    J. If selling a quilt, provide a warning for those allergic to cats. Refer to the above truth, “cat hair finds a way.” Let’s just say, we don’t want to hear the words “quilt” and “anaphylactic shock” in the same sentence.

    K. Keep tweezers nearby. These are handy for removing individual cat hairs in mid-appliqué, either by hand or machine.

    L. When looking for dropped items, take advantage of the opportunity whilst down on your hand and knees to remove the cat-hair bunnies from around the legs of the sewing table. You’ll also find several seam rippers and half of your supply of pins.

    M. Hire a housekeeper! This heaven-sent person swoops in and removes a large percentage of the cat hair patina, as well as stray threads, fabric orts, and scraps of freezer paper.

Notice that nowhere does the advice appear to eighty-six the cats. My husband Dana once made up a little saying that goes something like this: “The next best thing to cats is quilts. The best thing next to quilts is cats.” Animals love comfort and texture. Make your cats (and dogs) their own quilt. Sew something together that’s quick and fun, and practice your machine quilting on it. I promise you they will consider it the most excellent of all quilts.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I recently received a beautiful flier from Arlene Lane of Quilted Comforts in Sandpoint, Idaho, featuring appliqué designs with an “ethnic peasant flair.”

Boy, does this appeal to me! I’ve always loved the look of tole painting, Pennsylvania Dutch, Scandinavian, and every look of that sort.

I asked Arlene to tell us a little more.

Arlene: My unique perspective on design comes from my Slovenian heritage. I have always been attracted to the folk art of many European cultures and this is reflected in my applique designs.


Slovenian Splendor by Arlene Lane.

In Slovenian, as with other European cultures, the women would embroider their costumes with bright colored flowers and shapes. I transposed some of these shapes into appliqué and arranged them into a pleasant layout and designed the quilting to fit the quilt.

Here’s a tip: When designing an applique piece, I usually incorporate a good number of small shapes or filler shapes as I call them. These smaller shapes offer me an opportunity to add a splash of color where needed and also fill in gaps between larger shapes.

Kay: Thanks Arlene! There are many more beautiful patterns at the Quilted Comforts website. Enjoy.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

ellen edith, a fellow Santa Cruz quilter and a fabulous fabric designer, just came out with a the cutest book ever. It’s called Mermaids Like Margaritas with Salt!


If you knew ellen, you would not think this an unusual title at all. ellen, who is possessed of the most wonderful spirit, tells hilarious stories about growing up in her wacky family, and she puts the stories in quilts! Mermaids, a little 7″ book, is crammed with 14 of ellen’s funny, colorful story quilts, complete with close-up details and tips. The book also includes step-by-step photos and instructions for you to use in creating a personal story quilt of your own.

On the ellen edith website, you can see a slideshow of images from inside the book. My favorite is “Why Should I Bake a Pie? They are Just Going to Eat it.”

You could win a copy of the book, plus one of ellen’s bookmarks and a magnet! Leave a comment telling a funny family story that you’d like to commemorate with a quilt, in 100 words or less. I’ll draw the winner at random on Friday at 7:00 p.m. California time. Can’t wait to read your stories.

Until then,
By Kay Mackenzie

On The Quilt Show website, there’s a link for a series of Bernina Educational Videos that are free for the watching… you don’t have to be logged in.

I found this one on invisible machine appliqué that shows the freezer-paper-template-and-glue method for doing turned-edge appliqué with the blind-hem stitch. The link starts up the video right away.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

American Quilt Study Group brochureThe AQSG is a scholarly organization devoted to preserving quilt heritage.

Every year they have a big seminar, where quilt enthusiasts, historians, researchers, collectors, authors, folklorists, curators, dealers, and traditional and contemporary quilt artists get together for a few intense days of engagement with quilt history, social context, and design.

The seminar travels, and this year it’s going to be held in San Jose, just ‘over the hill’ from here. Several of my friends are members and there’s some big excitement that the seminar is coming to northern California. I volunteered to help out so I might get to be a fly on the wall.

The seminar takes place October 1-4. For more information and registration forms, go to the AQSG website and click on Seminar.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

The winner for August among registered readers of the blog is Kathy Jones of Calhoun Falls, South Carolina. Congratulations Kathy!

The prize is sponsored by Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place.

In honor of the season, this month I chose Tea in the Garden: Quilts for a Summer Afternoon by Cynthia Tomaszewski.

tea-garden.jpgThis book is right up my alley. I drink tea every afternoon of my life! From my Scottish grandmother I grew up drinking it strong and sweet, with milk in it. I was so delighted to discover that Cynthia devotes an entire page to the proper way to make tea… including starting with cold, aerated water and pouring the boiling water over the tea instead of dunking a bag into a cup of hot water. Cynthia, you and I are ‘like this!’

And, how was I to know when I pulled the book that the author includes a bunch of muffin recipes, when I am just embarking on a personal muffin-top odyssey?

Tea and muffins aside, I have admired the author’s work ever since her book Garden Party came out. I just love the calm, womanly, lovely look of her quilt designs.

And, Cynthia is an appliqué advocate! Here’s a quote:

Have you ever been really excited about something you’ve tried? So excited you’re tingle happy? You love it, you want to keep doing it, and you want that feeling to stay with you. You’re so excited you want to tell the whole world about it, You want to stand on the tallest building and yell, “People, you have to try this! You will love it!” That how I feel about appliqué.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Tea in the Garden is quite a comprehensive book. Besides over a dozen quilt projects, each with its own muffin and extensive instructions, the book includes information on quiltmaking from soup to nuts. Easy button and beading embellishment, embroidery stitches, tools and techniques, and bias vines are covered, as well as four kinds of appliqué… fusible, freezer paper on top, freezer paper on the back, and traditional needleturn. There’s information on finishing and labeling too!

easy-applique-blocks-front.gifMartingale has also provided a copy of my book Easy Appliqué Blocks for the prize winner. Enjoy!

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

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

First of all, let me hasten to tell you that Willie is in fine fettle. Almost 15 years old, he’s healthy and vigorous, still runs in the park with Dana, and we cherish him every day. So the following information has nothing to do with the state of the Real Quilt Puppy.

This is me

In fact, Willie has started his own dogblog! He’d be very pleased to have you share in his rich times. Visit The Most Excellent Life and Times of Willie the Quilt Puppy.

Now back to the subject of change. I’ve been feeling for some while now that it’s time to step out from behind a cute name and be myself. To that end, my design and publishing company is now called By Kay Mackenzie.
Quilt Puppy Publications will remain a publishing imprint.

Visit my redesigned website! It still has all the same stuff on it, but it’s got a different look now.

Here’s where the reorganized URLs go: ~ By Kay Mackenzie website ~ By Kay Mackenzie website ~ Kay’s Show and Tell Center (or, go to and click on Show & Tell)

My new email address is kay at (You know the drill, use the @ sign and no spaces.)

Thanks for hanging in there with me during this exciting time. Sometimes a little change can make you feel fresh and new.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

For a long while I’ve been pondering ways in which to invite you readers to participate in the blog more. To that end, I started a Flickr group.

flickr_logo_gammav5989914.gifThis public group is for appliqué enthusiasts, to enjoy some eye candy and show off your projects! It’s called, naturally, All About Appliqué. I put in some entries just to get the ball rolling.

Please go and share photos of your appliqué projects there! Any stage of completion is great… don’t feel like you have to wait until every stitch is in. And please tell us a little bit about your project in the description. Be sure to put in the design source.

Here’s the link to the group: All About Appliqué Flickr Group

Note: I’m new to Flickr myself. Hopefully a lot of you are old hands at it!
It not, I have learned the following:

• Anyone can view and enjoy this group’s photos.

• Flickr is part of Yahoo. To post a photo you’ll need a Yahoo account.

• To add a photo to the group, you’ll need to join the group. Click “join” then log in with your Yahoo account.

• You’ll need to upload at least five photos before your new account will be reviewed and approved. Until then, your photos won’t show up in the group. Here’s the FAQ page at Flickr that explains that. If you just want to add one photo to the All About Appliqué group, then add four more random photos not in the group to your photostream to trigger the review process. Then it’ll be a couple days.

Can’t wait to see your projects!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs