With no closing ceremony, the quilt show melts away for another year.

The Bargain Garden

They came, they bagged their bargains, they left almost nothing behind.

They came, they bagged their bargains, they left almost nothing behind.

The Harvest Building

Tear-down time in merchant-land.

Tear-down time in merchant-land.

The Crosseti Building

Take-down underway.

Take-down underway.

Clean tarps to lay the quilts on.

Clean tarps to lay the quilts on.

Hard work going on by dedicated guild members, their kith, and their kin.

Hard work going on by dedicated guild members, their kith, and their kin.

The line for quilt pickup.

The line for quilt pickup.

Within an hour the building is clear.

Within an hour the building is clear.

…and the work on next year’s show starts… tomorrow.

But tonight, rest.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

The Bargain Garden

bargain

That's a lot of bargains.

That's a lot of bargains.

The Harvest Building

Auction quilts and vendors at the ready.

Auction quilts and vendors at the ready.

The Crosetti Building

The show, beautifully hung and decorated.

The show, beautifully hung and decorated.

Tin Can Alley. (This year's theme is Recycle, Reuse, Renew.)

Tin Can Alley. (This year's theme is Recycle, Reuse, Renew.)

Of course I had to zoom in on the tin can dog.

Of course I had to zoom in on the tin can dog.

My bright little spot.

My bright little spot.

Such a fun day.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

This weekend is my home guild’s 32nd annual quilt show. I look forward to it so much every year. I have a big smile on my face every minute of the weekend… can’t help it. This year I did my best to capture a photo essay of the stages, from nothing to everything to nothing again. It’s quite a miracle what happens. Well, if a miracle can be due to the hard work and step-uppitty-ness of a whole lot of quilters, their spouses, their kids, and their grandkids. What a community.

The PVQA Bargain Garden.

Laura, our BG coordinator, collects donations all year. She sells at every meeting but despite that, our storage locker was jam packed and so was Iris’s garage!

Before the first load arrived.

Before the first load arrived.

After we got things kinda sorta sorted from the garage, then the truck from the storage locker arrived. Holy cow.

After we got things kinda sorta sorted from the garage delivery, then the truck from the storage locker arrived. Holy cow.

The Harvest Building

Another building, where lunch, quilts, vendors, and the stage for the fashion show and live auction will be.

Another building at the fair grounds, where lunch, quilts, vendors, and the stage for the fashion show and live auction will be.

The Crosetti Building

The main exhibit hall, getting ready for intake and setup. My booth location is to the right side, near the front.

The main exhibit hall, getting ready for intake and setup. My booth location is to the right side, near the front.

The racks are up and the layout is mapped. The menfolk like to come and help because they get to climb on ladders and use power tools. Yes, that's right, these racks are assembled and disassembled every year.

The racks are up and the layout is mapped. The menfolk like to come and help because they get to climb on ladders and use power tools. Yes, that's right, these racks are assembled and disassembled every year.

This year the show chairs charged a special assessment to purchase backdrops for the show. Not sure yet how they're looking.

This year the show chairs charged a special assessment to purchase backdrops for the show. Not sure yet how they're looking.

It’s 6:00 in the morning and here I am blogging. (I often don’t sleep well due to the excitement.) I got my booth all set up yesterday so today it’ll be all bright and shiny when the doors open for the show at 10:00. Oops, except that it’s going to be rainy today. Oh well, what can you do. My spirits won’t be dampened. :)

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Kim Jamieson-Hirst of Chatterbox Quilts is a designer friend of mine in Calgary. Recently, she put out the most darling pattern called Hoot-mon!

Hoot-mon pattern by Kim Jamieson-Hirst

I love this perky little family of owls.

“Hoot-mon,” according to the urban dictionary, is Scottish for “Yo dude!” That makes me laugh. My grandmother was Scottish, however I don’t remember her using this expression. I guess she just wasn’t that hip. It does convey to me the sense of Canada being part of the Commonwealth.

And how’s this for cute?

Hootie stuffy front cover final

They’re stuffies!

We’re giving away a copy of Hoot-mon! to a lucky winner, so leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, February 22, to enter the draw. Tell us why you like owls!

Coming up on the blog… revisiting thread topics and a look at Tile Quilt Revival.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Even though this is the ninth time, it’s still so exciting when I get that call to come pick up cartons of new books, hot off the presses.

Dolls & Dresses to Appliqué
is officially in print!

Front cover of Dolls & Dresses to Applique by Kay Mackenzie

There are a dozen dolls and cute dresses, plus instructions for a sampler quilt to show off the entire collection.

Doll Shoppe by Kay Mackenzie

Doll Shoppe by Kay Mackenzie

Dolls & Dresses is available at By Kay Mackenzie. As my Valentine for you, gentle readers, I created a coupon just for readers of this blog and my newsletter (but feel free to tell your friends). If you’d like to appliqué some dolls, or order anything else from the website, put 2OFF in the coupon code area of the shopping cart and you’ll save $2 bucks off your next order! Coupon expires 12/31/10. Plus, the current company special is a free copy of Home: A Heartfelt Nap Quilt with any book order. Such a deal!

Oh yeah… as if pushing out a new book from my company and working on a new book for Martingale weren’t enough, I decided to put out a new pattern too. Meet Sweet!

Sweet! pattern by Kay Mackenzie

Available on the Patterns page at the website.

Until next time,
Doin’ the happy new-book dance,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Yesterday I had the chance to try out the Superior windfall.

This is an old block originally called Wandering Foot. That name was thought to bring on the wandering foot to youths who slept under it, so a new name was given to it… Turkey Tracks. Much more attractive, don’t you think? :) It’s also called Iris Leaf when it’s green on white.

Fused and unstitched.

Fused and unstitched.

After some investigation on the Superior website, I discovered that the Holy SuperBobs are Bottom Line, a line of thread developed by Libby Lehman. It’s 60-weight polyester. I perused the rainbow and picked out the color that matched the best.

iris-thread

Wow, you can hardly make it out! It really is whisper-fine.

I fired up my Bernina and adjusted the blanket stitch down a few ticks, reasoning that a very fine thread should be given a pretty small stitch. A few minutes later, and voila! The block was stitched, and looked great! My machine liked the thread, which I used in both the top and the bottom, and Mother Superior says it’s not linty like cotton.

stitched-iris

How’s that for blending in? From a short distance you can’t see the stitching at all. This thread might be a nice choice when you really want to mimic hand appliqué while still using your machine, or when using the turned-edge blind-hem stitch method of machine appliqué (which BTW I am not adept at).

stitched-detail

One thing I did note is that the edges of the appliqués feel a little “crispy” compared to when I use cotton thread.

On to MasterPiece. MasterPiece thread is 2-ply 50-weight cotton, favored by the Piece o’ Cake gals and by Alex Anderson.

A simple forget-me-not.

Fused and unstitched.

Fused and unstitched.

My choices from the rainbow.

forget-thread

I adjusted the blanket stitch to my usual setting, just a couple ticks down in width and length. Away I went!

forget-stitched

I like it, my machine likes it. I wound a bobbin for the green, but for the dabs of yellow and blue I used bobbins I already had wound with DMC. Worked great! They really are equivalent in weight so that’s a plus for me that I can mix and match at this stage of evolution in my thread stash.

forget-detail

Now on to hand appliqué. I just happened to have a block in the queue that I needed to stitch up twice, to use as an example in the new book I’m working on for Martingale.

Here are the threads I chose.

Poly on the left and cotton on the right.

Poly on the left and cotton on the right.

I started with the polyester first. I was really excited about trying out this thread for hand appliqué. In the past, when I’ve tried other brands of poly thread, it went around in circles, kinked up, and raveled at the end. I’m delighted to report that Bottom Line stays straight. It sinks right into the turned edge of the appliqué and hides itself really well, and I was not plagued with knots or kinks. Yay! The one thing I did notice is that since it’s more slippery than cotton thread, my thread tail kept shortening up on me and I lost the thread out of the needle a couple times. I guess this just takes getting used to coming from the fabric of our lives.

poly-dogwood

I was on a roll watching the chocolate challenges on Food Network, so I plunged on ahead to the second version, using MasterPiece cotton. Excellent on all counts.

cotton-dogwood

Can you tell the difference in the completed piece? Neither can I, so I’ve been keeping sticky notes on them :).

These pink dogwood blocks may seem kinda pale, and that’s on purpose. I’m going to embroider around the edges of one of them to illustrate how you can better define the edges of your appliqués when you want to use low-contrast fabrics.

Well, thanks guys! I got a lot done yesterday!

Chime in! I’d like to hear from others who use Bottom Line or MasterPiece. How do you use it, why do you like it?

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

This month’s book review is the brand-new title from Susan Taylor Propst, Another Season of Beautiful Blooms: Appliquéd Quilts and Cushions.

more-beautiful-blooms

Inspired by the gardens and countryside of England and Europe, this book brings fresh floral designs to appliqué enthusiasts. Each of nine flower designs includes a full-sized block pattern and instructions for both a pillow and a wall hanging—in two different colorways—providing 18 projects in all.

petunia

In the intro Susan says, “These designs are great for hand appliqué, but can also be done with fusible appliqué. One of the best things about appliqué, and flowers in particular, is that the result doesn’t have to look exactly like the pattern. Flowers are quite varied, so relax and enjoy the appliqué.” Here here!

This gorgeous book is filled with photos of the cultivated gardens and wild countryside that give the author inspiration. The front matter includes information on choosing appliqué fabrics, backgrounds, and borders, then moves to the appliqué process. Susan uses the overlay method for positioning, and uses freezer-paper templates on the back of the appliqué fabrics. Step-by-step instructions and illustrations take you through her process in detail. Unit appliqué and bias stems are also covered. Then there are some really great general instructions for making wall quilts and cushions.

On to the flowers! So beautiful. Petunias (as seen on the cover), Poinsettias, Black-Eyed Susans, Cherry Blossoms, Lilies, Tuplis, Bougainvillea, and more! Each one detailed and realistic, yet designed to avoid difficult stitching.

If you like floral appliqué, you will love this new book. Martingale and Company has provided a copy for a drawing, so leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5, to be eligible to win.

Beautiful-BloomsAnd guess what? I also have Susan’s first book in the series, Beautiful Blooms! The lucky winner will get both books! That’s a whole lotta floral appliqué.

U.S. and Canada only, unless you’d be willing to pay the shipping.

A note to those subscribed to the blog by email: To leave a comment, you’ll first need to click over to the blog itself. Scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the Comments link. Leave your comment there to enter the drawing.

Until next time (with some exciting news),
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie