Dana MackenzieMy husband of 20 years, Dana Mackenzie.

Willie MackenzieOur dog of 15 years, Bertram Wilberforce Woofster Mackenzie III, aka Willie.

Pixel MackenzieThe Last of the Mohicans, Pixel, 19 years old and sleeping snugly in the closet with my old Bernina.

Chutney & Maikai MackenzieChutney and Maikai, our two kitty friends of 18 years, to whom we bid a furry farewell this year.

Kay's handsMy hands. I was thinking about this after the quilt show in Sacramento last weekend. Sometimes ladies come into my booth, look around, and say, “I used to appliqué but my hands don’t work any more.” That’s a sadness to me. So I’m thankful that I have my hands. Not many people know this, but I’m what I call a ‘closet arthritic.’ Two major bouts earlier in my life stiffened my joints and crimped up my toes but, very thankfully, spared my hands. I can appliqué.

Illustration from Easy Appliqué BlocksThe above photo is a staging shot that I sent to Martingale for their reference in creating an illustration. Here’s the corresponding figure from Easy Appliqué Blocks, showing how I pinch the turning allowance under ahead of my stitching.

Those are the really big things. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I got a note from Lynn Miller in Arizona.

“Wanted to mention the person who inspired me the most with applique, Laurene Sinema. She is in the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame. Laurene is no longer with us, but she is not forgotten. I hoped you might give her a mention sometime on your blog. She was a wonderful, kind, caring person.”

51EPPYSF0QL._SL160_I knew the name was familiar, but it wasn’t until I looked her up that I remembered Laurene is the author of the classic Appliqué! Appliqué!! Appliqué!!!

What a great title.

Laurene is also the author of Primitive Folk Art Designs From Antique Album Quilts as well as several more books on appliqué and redwork. She’s a co-author of the popular Hooked on Hankies.


The AQHF article tells of Laurene’s many important contributions to the quilting scene in Arizona and around the world. She opened the first quilt shop in Phoenix, founded the state-wide Arizona Quilters Guild, and served as president of the Arizona Quilt Project. She was instrumental in the redwork revival when she helped coordinate an exhibit one year at International Quilt Market.

On the Quilt History website, Laurene is remembered as “warm, upbeat, and sharing.” Her legacy lives on in her books, patterns, fabrics, and the memories that many quilters have of her talent, energy, and inspiration.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Full Disclosure Statement:

Cathy Perlmutter and I became fast friends a number of years ago over a bunch of commonalities that we just kept discovering: we’re both quilters, both writers, both working on illustrating, writing, and laying out books, both have scientists for husbands, both have papillon dogs (Wuli and Willie), and we both know the words to Tzena Tsena Tzena. (Okay, so Cathy’s Jewish and I’m of just about Puritan stock, but I did go to Israeli folk dance camp as a teenager and some things just stay with you.) When Cathy and I get together in person we’re like old shoes.

uncommon-yarmulkeCathy’s book is now out, and I have to say that my heart has been stolen away.
The Uncommon Yarmulke: Easy, Fun, and Spiritually-Loaded Little Jewish Hats is the most extraordinary book, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend. This is a gem.

Not only will you learn every single thing there is to know about making four-panel or six-panel yarmulkes from any kind of fabric there is, you will laugh out loud at Cathy’s excellent and completely thorough instructions filtered through her sense of humor. The section on fussy-cutting fabrics includes advice on how to avoid partial kittens, 4 ¾ Commandments, etc. She did regret slicing off the tails of some endangered manatees, “as if they hadn’t suffered enough.”

You needn’t be Jewish to appreciate this book. If you know anybody who would appreciate a personalized yarmulke, you would be doing such a mitzvah to sew them a kippah from a fabric that’s meaningful for them!

Besides that, the book contains a lot of valuable information about fabrics, templates, cutting, sewing, binding, and embellishment that any sewing enthusiast could benefit from. Or for that matter anybody who can thread a sewing machine, that’s how complete and thorough the information is, plus Cathy’s plentiful illustrations are out of this world. And, I learned some really interesting things about Judaism and Jewish culture along the way.

Cathy made a ‘barkmulke’ for Wuli, so of course I had to make one for Willie.


The hat's okay but did I really have to wake up out of a nap for this?

The hat's okay but did I really have to wake up out of a nap for this?

I also wanted to make an appliquéd and quilted kippah, so I made this one for Cathy, to show that I consider her a sewing star!


I used an idea that I’ve been playing with for a future project… magnets! I had these tiny spools that I picked up somewhere over the years, I had super-strong magnets, and I had a roll of sticky-backed magnetic tape. A super-strong magnet on either side of the hat and a little bit of sticky-backed magnetic tape applied to the spool and voila!



The hats are reversible, giving the maker another opportunity to carry out the theme. The magnetic hood ornament is easy to switch from side to side!


I had a ball making these. The Uncommon Yarmulke is available at Cathy’s website, Judaiquilt.com.

By Kay Mackenzie

The winner of a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks is Cathy of the 7:20 a.m. comment. Growing Hearts goes to 3:41 p.m. Barb. Congratulations to you both!

And my great appreciation to everyone who visited and left me warm, wonderful, amazing words. I hope you all enjoyed the blog tour and I know you will love the magazine.

Until next time,

By Kay Mackenzie

A heartfelt welcome to those who are visiting for the first time today courtesy of the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Blog Tour! So glad you came by! This blog is devoted to appliqué ~ any kind. You’ll find a wealth of information by exploring the Categories and the lists of links to designers and pattern companies. You can also search the archives by keyword if there’s something in particular you’re interested in.

I'm-featured-QM100-buttonToday I’m writing about my entry in 100 Blocks, a very special collector’s edition of Quiltmaker magazine that hits the newsstands November 17.

It’s part of a riproaring blog hop that takes you on a wild ride through cyberspace to find out more about the designers and what inspired them to create their blocks.

Back in May, when I received the invitation to submit a block, I jumped at the chance, and of course, since it’s me we’re talkin’ about, it had to be applique. After my book Easy Applique Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes came out, I immediately started on another batch of new block designs. I had a bunch of them piled up, awaiting their manifest destiny, so it was easy to pull one out, stitch it up, and send it in! Done, done, and fun!

puter-screenWatering Can design, still a vector drawing in Adobe Illustrator.


Here it is, months later, Block #8! It came out so cute.

The magazine includes a pull-out section of full-size templates so no worries about blowing up patterns. I already received my advance copy, and let me tell you, each block is more spectacular than the last, whether appliquéd, pieced, foundation-pieced, or mixed-technique. This truly is a treasure trove… you’ll want to save it for your future use again and again.

And, when you do, Quiltmaker has create a Flickr group where you can post photos of the projects you make from this issue.

Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour daily Nov. 9-13 at Quiltmaker’s blog Quilty Pleasures for inspiration, ideas and giveaways galore! Look for 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers in your local quilt shop, or purchase it at www.quiltmaker.com/100blocks.

Be sure to visit Quilty Pleasures, because there are prize drawings still going on.

I happen to have a couple of my own! I have a copy of the magazine to give away, and I’m throwing in my book Growing Hearts to Appliqué for another winner. So leave a comment before 9:00 p.m. California time on Friday, November 13, to enter the drawings! Thanks for visiting, come again soon!


By Kay Mackenzie

I came across this entry on longarm quilter Nancy Gambrel’s blog, where she shows off her customers’ quilts and the beautiful quilting she’s done on them.

Lo and behold, there’s an absolutely beautiful teapot quilt made by Pat Besenhofer, and I recognize it as being from my Teapots 2 to Appliqué.

Teapots 2 to applique by Kay Mackenzie

What an internet find! Pat and Nancy both graciously agreed to let me use the photos and put up a Show & Tell of my own.

Asian Teapot quilt made by Pat Besenhofer, quilted by Nancy Gambrel.

Asian Teapot quilt made by Pat Besenhofer, quilted by Nancy Gambrel.

Pat writes,

This is so cool. My quilt is indeed based on your book Teapots to Applique 2. I would be thrilled to have my quilt shown on your website. And to think it isn’t even bound yet! I’m glad that Nancy and I spent so much time exchanging ideas about the quilting, I think the frame she did works beautifully with the teapots and the corner diamonds.

I’ve been a tea person all of my life, and I get so tired of patterns featuring coffee, espresso’s and latte’s, etc., so I snatched up this book (as well as the first one) when I saw it at the all-the-quilt-books-in-the-world vendor at the Rosemont, Illinois, Quilt Festival a a year or two ago.

This is the first quilt I’ve made with a definite location in mind; it’s going to go in my kitchen. I’ve been second-guessing myself on the pattern, wondering if I should have placed one or more teapots going the other way, or adding a teacup in one spot for a bit of whimsy. I’m happy that you like it as is.

Pat told me that the quilt was done with fusible raw-edge applique. In order to get the teapots facing the ‘correct’ way, she copied the positive images, then flipped the paper to create a reverse image to draw on the fusible web. Pat, that’s just the way I do it. Nancy stitched down the edges of the fusible applique with clear thread.

A beautiful job, both Pat and Nancy!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

100 Blocks Blog Tour starts tomorrow

Filed Under Blog hops, Designers, Magazines, Patterns, Prizes | Comments Off on 100 Blocks Blog Tour starts tomorrow

That’s right, 100 new blocks for quilters! Quiltmaker magazine is publishing a special issue and it’s better than a candy store. I can attest, because I’ve already got an advance copy. How did I get ahold of that, you may ask? Because I have Block #8!


It all started during Spring Quilt Market in May. Through my publisher That Patchwork Place I was given the opportunity to submit a block for the collection. It couldn’t have been more up my alley, since designing blocks is what I’ve been doing for years. In fact I pulled out a new, unpublished one that I already had and stitched it up in the larger size required for sending it in. Done, done, and fun!

The issue hits newsstands November 17 (but could show up a little earlier). The publishers at Quiltmaker are organizing a blog tour next week, Monday through Friday, November 9-13. Start at the magazine’s blog, Quilty Pleasures, and hop to each designer’s story of their inspiration for their design. You will have the opportunity to win a copy of the magazine at each stop of the tour and I think the designers have some pretty special things in mind as well. Quilty Pleasures also has some great giveaways going on throughout the week, and at the end a lucky grand prize winner will receive a huge basket of goodies.

Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour daily Nov. 9-13 at Quilty Pleasures for inspiration, ideas and giveaways galore! Look for 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers in your local quilt shop, or purchase it at www.quiltmaker.com/100blocks.

My turn on the tour is lucky Friday, November 13. I’ll show you my block and, in addition to giving away a copy of this very special issue, I have something else up my sleeve, so be sure to click on by!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I have always loved folk-art-looking applique. When I try to draw it myself I never quite get there LOL! This classic book satisfies the attraction to the primitive look, with designs that are homespun, country, and antique in feeling.

The many projects were inspired by the authors’ love of primitive folk art and antique quilts. Rozan loves wool, Terry is passionate about quilting. Together they create wonderful projects in the primitive style. Basic steps are given for wool applique, which of course means no edges to turn under, and several stitching options are illustrated. Rozan’s favorite stitch is the whipstitch. Closeup photos of appliques show how nice it looks.

The book’s plentiful projects also include a hooked rug, a rustic embroidered ‘rule sheet,’ a country plaid house quilt with an applique border, a wall quilt with a curvy border that celebrates late summer, wonderful round coasters and a pincushion with needle-felted wool motifs, a nine-patch quilt inspired by the Civil War era, a classic country Hole in the Barn door quilt, and an appliquéd autumn table mat that’s too beautiful to set anything on.

Primitive Gatherings also presents the basics of quilt making, needle-turn hand applique, wool applique, antiquing your stitchery, primitive rug hooking, and needle felting. Quite a comprehensive resource for the vintage style!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Writer Dawn Goldsmith invited me to do a guest post on her blog, Subversive Stitchers: Women Armed with Needles.

sm-needlesOf course I wanted to do that! What a great name, and an admirable spirit! I’m not all that subversive actually, but I am totally armed with needles. I wrote a post about the three main sharp implements in my life, showing a few examples of what I’ve done with them.

Be sure to check out Subversive Stitchers, a blog about the abounding creativity of women who wield all sorts of needles.

Thank you, Dawn, one writer to another. What a treat for me.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Daily blogger Pat Sloan put up a post showing some of the antique appliqué quilts that were displayed during Festival in Houston. They are so amazing.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie