Before Christmas, I received a note from Maribeth Keane, Associate Editor of The Collectors Weekly. Maribeth describes this online publication, based in San Francisco, as a resource for anyone interested in antiques, vintage, and collecting.

Maribeth contacted me to let me know that The Collectors Weekly ran an interview with esteemed quilt historian Merikay Waldvogel.

Merikay is a friend of a friend of mine, as is Barbara Brackman, and Bets Ramsey is an old family friend of my husband’s stepmother! Barbara and Bets both figure in the article as well.

Being an internet publication lends the luxury of very comprehensive interviews, and this one (in two parts) is a fabulous in-depth journey into the history of American quiltmaking.

Part 1 (History)

Part 2 (Collecting)

The Collectors Weekly Quilt Page

Enjoy!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

At the Road to California show earlier this month, I was directly across the aisle from the Superior Threads booth. What a fantastic location!

I was on the lookout for The Thread Guy and Mother Superior, aka Bob and Heather Purcell. I was sure I would recognize them from their appearances on The Quilt Show.

When the opportunity presented itself, I approached Bob and said, “Mr. Bob Purcell?”

He looked at me with a little bit of that “deer in the headlights” look (like is this someone I’ve met and I can’t remember her?) but I quickly explained how his fame as The Thread Guy had preceded him. I told him about what an appliqué enthusiast I am (gesturing toward my booth as evidence) and that I had been using DMC 50-weight 2-ply cotton for years. I asked him whether Superior’s MasterPiece would be like an equivalent.

The answer was yes, and it’s long-staple Egyptian-grown cotton, which makes it, well, superior! I told him of my appliqué blog and how I liked to supply information to other appliqué enthusiasts, and he generously presented me with a fantastic goody! A rainbow of MasterPiece threads in a collection of prewound bobbins! Yippee! A little bit of 36 colors!

Later in the show, Heather came over and said, “I know you like Bob better.”

“Well,” I replied, “he gave me thread.”

“But I want you to try this,” she said, and handed me a rainbow of polyester threads in a collection of prewound bobbins. Wow!

“Now I know that you’ve only used cotton,” she went on. “But just try this poly thread and you will never go back. And then, you will like me better.”

superior-bobbinsCotton on the left and poly on the right. The “Frosted” part of the cotton name came about because Superior did a collection of threads for the Piece o’ Cake gals, and donut, kinda self-explanatory. I can only conjecture about how they came up with Holy SuperBobs.

What a thread windfall for an appliquér. All those luscious colors at my fingertips… I can’t wait to try out each kind, for hand and machine appliqué, and file a report!

thread-compThe cotton MasterPiece thread feels and looks very comparable to the DMC. The poly thread is even finer than the two cottons.

thread-comp-2

The Purcells are super-nice, down-to-earth people. I like ’em both. They care passionately about their product and they are very tuned-in to the needs and wants of the quilter. Just check the Education tab of the Superior website for gobs of information about the world of thread.

I also met quilter, designer, author, and sweetheart Cindy Needham, who was hanging out in the Superior booth helping shoppers with their questions about thread. I think I persuaded her to go a guest post for us about appliqué and her fabulous work with wholecloth linen quilts. Stay tuned!

More later,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

A couple of years ago I blogged about Sheril Drummond’s quilt Remembering Barbaro.

Last October at PIQF she had the most amazing, huge butterfly quilt called “Flights of Fancy.”

Flights of Fancy by Sheril Drummond

Flights of Fancy by Sheril Drummond

flights-closeup

I checked Sheril’s blog Serendipity and was delighted to learn that she is now offering patterns and on-line classes to help others achieve the stunning look of her quilts. While you’re there be sure to send virtual scritchies to the Cavalier King Charles spaniel :).

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Got home on Monday afternoon from Road to California, tired but happy. The show was beyond fabulous. I met many amazing folks, got some new products to try out, and will write about everything in the fullness of time.

horsing-around
In the meantime, head over to Darcy Ashton’s blog, where you’ll see all the projects from her new book of appliqué patterns Horsing Around, which is just about to come out!

Sigh. I love horses.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Easy Appliqué Blocks sightings!

To make a bday quilt for her little niece, Sarah Vee used designs and blocks she discovered by reading a variety of quilting blogs. For the bright and polka-dotty flowers in the quilt, she printed out the Daisy, Sunflowers, Posy Bunch, and Tulip Trio designs from Easy Appliqué Blocks. Such a fun and cheerful quilt! Lucky little girl.

Mary on Lake Pulaski used the Vase design for a charity fundraising project called Sis Boom Pow. The fabrics she used, by Jennifer Paganelli, are fresh, fun, and modern. Check it out on the Sis Boom blog. In the comments on her post, Mary puts up the URL for a tutorial on the starch method for turned-edge appliqué on Snippets of a Quilter.

Thanks a million, Sarah and Mary, for hauling out Easy Appliqué Blocks! It worked for you just the way I envisioned, as a library of appliqué blocks right at your fingertips.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

The winner of Machine Appliqué for the Terrified Quilter is Jeanne Harrington of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Congratulations Jeanne!

roseJust by coincidence (I promise) Jeanne and I had been corresponding about a tea and coffee themed quilt-along that she and some of her internet friends are starting up for 2010, using my teapot patterns among others. Jeanne describes it this way:

We are a tea/coffee sipping, applique stitching, fabric and craft swapping, can’t stop visiting long enough to get some quilting done, funny story telling, embellishing, cat/dog loving, inspiration/sharing, out-to-have-some-fun group. Phew! The main goal is to get to know your tea buddies while sewing a tea/coffee related craft. We also post all kinds of other pictures as we share our lives with each other. Anyone is welcome to join, only rule is to engage in topic discussions and post one tea/coffee related craft/block a month.

Here’s the link to the 2010 Tea/Coffee Quilt Along on Flickr, in case you’d like to join in or just enjoy the sights.

Jeanne asked if she and her buddies could also post pictures of their projects in my All About Appliqué Flickr group. Of course! When I upgraded my blog a few months ago, my Flickr sidebar logo went away and I hadn’t reconstructed it, but now it’s back. My Flickr group is for anyone who appliqués, or appreciates appliqué! Post pictures of your projects there and tell us a little something about them. Or, just enjoy the eye candy. Read all about this group in my earlier post.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Happy New Year appliqué enthusiasts!

Hey is anybody going to Road to California later this month? I got a call just a couple weeks ago offering me a spot as a vendor and I said yippee! If you’re going to be at this fabulous quilt show and conference in Ontario, California, in two weeks’ time, please come by and say hello! I’ll be in 806.

matqNow on to our January giveaway, sponsored by Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place. Sharon Pederson is a Canadian quilter whom I’ve met a couple times, most recently when she came to give a talk at my guild. If you ever get the chance, be sure to go to one of her lectures because it is a highly amusing experience. Sharon’s book Machine Appliqué for the Terrified Quilter is intended for quilters who (like Sharon in a former life) “refer to appliqué as the A word.”

Sharon says that her book is for those who are attracted to appliqué but feel that life is too short to do hand work. Learning that she could appliqué by machine was what it took to make her a total convert! I’ll throw in my 2¢ worth and add that even if you like hand work, it’s great to throw more techniques into your appliqué bag of tricks.

rose-quiltLots of introductory information is given about fabrics, threads, needles, sewing machines, and stitches. Then Sharon takes you step-by-step through two methods: invisible machine appliqué, where the edges of the appliqué are turned and the stitches are unseen, and fusible appliqué, where the edges are raw and the stitches are visible. Reverse appliqué is also covered.

Sharon gives lessons on a variety of machine stitches, including the satin stitch, narrow zigzag, and decorative stitches, plus how to manipulate them in interesting ways. Great closeup photos accompany this information.

stained-glassThe projects in the book are mostly small and manageable, because after all, “you might be just a little bit terrified about the prospect of machine appliqué, so why further terrorize yourself by trying a queen-size project first?”

If you’re more of a visual learner, you might be interested in the DVD, a separate item. A sample lesson from it is available for viewing on the Martingale website.

Whether you’re terrified or not, this is one great resource for those interested in machine appliqué! Leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Wednesday, January 6, to enter the drawing for the book. U.S. and Canada only, unless you’d be willing to pay the shipping.

eab-cdThe winner gets my book Easy Appliqué Blocks too, with its companion CD that lets you print 50 designs in 5 sizes!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie