Well folks we were down for a little while there. I got a message from Google that the blog had been hacked.
Oh bother. As an admin that is not a word you want to hear. I looked into the “issue” and came to the swift conclusion that it was above my non-techie head to fix it. Instead of having a nervous breakdown, I decided to hire a professional.
I engaged the services of a web guy, who knew just what to do. He basically stripped the files and re-loaded fresh versions of them, removing discovered malware along the way. Everything is all neat and clean and given the good housekeeping seal from Google once again. Thank you Jordan Iversen for saving my sanity.
During the “hiatus,” I got press releases from C&T announcing new titles. Two of them are beyond-gorgeous appliqué. If you click on the images, it will pull up a pdf of the entire press release. I’ve also added them to my Amazon Appliqué Bookshop. Do they not look amazing???
Until next time,
Just got this press release from C&T Publishing, and thought I’d pass it along for those of you who live in northern California. Sounds like a very cool event for fans of the fabulous Laurel Burch.
Save the Date – The Art of Laurel Burch Coloring Book Release Party: FREE Event Sponsored by C&T Publishing
Join the coloring book craze and experience firsthand the relaxation and creativity it can bring! The long-awaited coloring book by C&T Publishing with original drawings pulled straight from Laurel Burch’s sketchbook is here, and FLAX is hosting a coloring event with a hands-on demo and everything you need to color your own Laurel Burch illustration.
Learn more about Laurel Burch, a local San Francisco artist and get a glimpse into how the artist worked with featured items from her studio. Experience the vivid palette of her paintings by adding your own panache in the posthumously published The Art of Laurel Burch™ Coloring Book. Plus, meet Aarin Burch, Laurel’s daughter, and hear stories about Laurel making jewelry and selling her art on the streets of San Francisco. Giveaways of coloring books, Laurel Burch Studios items, and more!
Event Date: March 26, 2016
Time: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Location: FLAX Fort Mason Center
2 Marina Blvd, Bldg D
I’m pretty excited that Pacific International Quilt Festival starts this week.
I’ve been prepping like mad, which is quite fun for me. On Wednesday we set up, then we’re open for a brief time on Wednesday night for showgoers who are registered for classes.
Then, on Thursday morning, the merry madness ensues!
Oh, what a great weekend. I see practically everyone I know, and meet a whole lot more. If you’re planning on attending this huge quilt show and conference, please stop by Booth #633 and say hello!
Special Sunday hours this year! Because Levi Stadium was recently built just across the way from the convention center, and there’s a 49ers game on Sunday this year, we’re opening an hour earlier at 9:00 a.m.
The organizers say, “The motto for Sunday this year is come early before the game & leave mid-afternoon during the game to avoid traffic snarls. The convention center campus has nearly 2,000 free parking spaces to accommodate PIQF attendees and free overflow parking with free shuttle buses.”
In other news, Martingale is having a 40% off sale on select eBooks this week, and one of them is my Scrap-Appliqué Playground!
If you’ve been considering adding this happy book to your collection, alternatively you’ve been eyeing that pile of scraps grow to small mountain size, then this is your chance for a great savings on the book.
Crazy Hearts from Scrap-Appliqué Playground
Last tidbit of news: You may or may not have heard that Amazon has launched their Handmade store.
It’s all handcrafted stuff! I was happy to be invited to join Handmade, and I’ve got my Artisan Shop all set up with a few items, more to come in the future.
Back to packing!
By Kay Mackenzie
As I knew it would, Outstanding Owls for Appliqué received many comments from quilters eager to get started on owl projects!
Random.org has pronounced that the winner is… No. 42, Swooze! Congratulations! The owls are flying your way.
Myself I’ve had a bit of a hiatus this summer with no shows for almost 3 months. I did have a list of things to do as long as my arm, and now it’s all, all done! There was only one thing given up upon (deemed just too unwieldy) but everything else, check! I even had time to wrangle a batch of foster kittens!
They loved puppy Daisy immediately, and she loved, LOVED them too, in fact as an enthusiastic young pup she wanted to love them to pieces! But with careful oversight we managed to get everyone through the foster period in one piece.
Kitties are back at the shelter and up for adoption, and now it’s time to gear up for Quilt Show Season. Yippee! Here’s where I’ll be this month.
Pumpkin Patch of Quilts
Two years ago, this show, put on by the Los Banos Arts Council Quilters, was one of the most enjoyable and heartwarming vendor experiences I have had. There couldn’t be a nicer group of quilters, or a cuter decorated show. There are freshly harvested pumpkins everywhere, and they can be purchased to come home with you! Read all about it at losbanosarts.org.com.
Sierra Quilt Guild Show
This lovely show in historic gold country is one of my favorite destinations. Hope to see you there in Sonora, California! Read all about it at sierraquiltguild.com.
Harvest Quilt & Fiber Arts Show
It’ll be my first time at this event in nearby Morgan Hill, California. I’ve heard it’s a great show, and I’m looking forward to being there! The show is part of the Taste of Morgan Hill, an event for everyone in the family. All the info is at svqa.org.
Outstanding Owls For Appliqué is here!
Darcy Ashton has long been known for her incredible series of animal appliqué books. We’ve seen her Darling Little Dogs, Big Beautiful Dogs, Claire’s Cats, Grandma’s Bunnies, Butterfly Dance, and more! These popular classics are now joined by a bookful of the most amazing owls.
There are 20 of them in all, each one with its own expression and personality. Add that to the fact that you can easily create new variations by mixing up the different body shapes, heads, and features, and the owlish possibilities are endless!
This book couldn’t be more jam-packed. Just take a look at the Table of Contents!
In addition to the appliqué patterns, Darcy gives you tons of information on appliqué, both hand and machine, plus how to make those fetching eyes, plus how to enhance with quilting, plus a slew of different projects!
Not to mention embroidery. Swoon.
One of my favorite touches is the idea of giving the owls little flowers or quilt squares to hold. So darling.
Darcy sent me a copy to give away! Before I announce the drawing, let me reiterate how to enter. Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post. If you send me an email by repying to your email subscription feed, or if you leave your comment on a different blog post, you will not be able to be entered in the drawing. Sorry for the constant reminders, but there are always a few, still.
Now for the fun part! If you’d like to win a copy of Outstanding Owls For Appliqué, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Wednesday, September 9. Drawing open to U.S. mailing addresses only.
Best of luck!!
Thanks for reading All About Appliqué,
The wonderful Betty Kisbey of Lincoln, California, is a quilter I’ve known for some years now. I first became acquainted with her when I heard she was teaching appliqué using my Baskets to Appliqué. It doesn’t get any better than that for an author. :)
Over the years I would see Betty at various shows, and she would tell me about the progress on a project of hers, which was to publish her own book. We conferred about a lot of publishing stuff. (It’s so great to talk with like-minded quilters. Most of my friends’ eyes start to cross if I try to talk about things like typography or page layout. Candy for me but less than fascinating to them LOL.)
When I saw Betty earlier this year, she said the book was close, and then I got a post card saying it was out! I immediately ordered my copy.
Introducing Charming Houses Dressed For Show!
Betty’s house journey began as the result of her students asking for something original to work on during their classes. Betty rose to the challenge, creating original patterns for many different types of houses, all of which can be individualized. No two will turn out alike!
From the baker’s dozen patterns, you can create fantasy houses or something that looks just like your house. Bird House, Boat House, Gingerbread House, Haunted House, just to name a few! The patterns have many uses, from memory quilts to housewarming gifts to group challenges to block-of-the-months programs for shops. So many possibilities!
The book includes colorful examples of sampler house quilts made by Betty, her students, and friends.
Betty’s long experience as a teacher shines through in the book. There’s tons of information on supplies and equipment, fabric, and embellishment (the fun part that makes each block individual and unique), and detailed instructions for making each block. All templates are full-size.
Congratulations Betty on your Charming Houses!!
I’m giving away a copy! If you’d like to become eligible to win, please leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, August 7. Contest is open to U.S. mailing address only, and remember, if you’re subscribed by email you cannot click “reply” to enter the drawing. Come on over to the blog itself on the internet and leave your comment at the bottom of the post.
There are some new appliqué books coming out that look fantastic.
Wool looks big over at C&T Publishing.
Plus a new Baltimore Album themed book!
Martingale continues the delightful Kim Diehl series.
I’ve added all of these to the Appliqué Bookshop.
Over on the Martingale blog Stitch This!, they’ve put up a fantastic article explaining the various digital formats that books can come in these days.
Each format has its own set of benefits! Something for whatever electronic gidget or gadget you have in your toy box, what the differences are, and how you can do nifty things with each.
Have a nice edifying read (I did). Thanks Martingale!
I hope you all had a turkey-stuffed Thanksgiving and are still enjoying leftovers. We are… happily! It’s always just the hubby and me, but I cook the full dinner anyway.
I took some time today to update the Appliqué Booksstore with the latest scrumptious-looking appliqué titles. This virtual store is a very good gift resource for all your appliqué friends.
If you live in my area, you probably know the annual Heritage Holiday Craft and Gift Fair held at the Fairgrounds in Watsonville. It’s this coming weekend, and this year I’ll have a booth! It’s my first sort-of craft fair (as opposed to quilt show) and I’m excited because I’ve been into making finished goods lately, like those framed mini-quilts I blogged about not long ago. I’ll have my petite clutches, button magnets, button bouquets, and more. I’m also going to be offering quite a few wall quilts that I don’t need any more. Great opportunities for holiday shopping, for your loved ones or for yourself!
Here’s the poster for the fair.
Hope to see you if you’re from Santa Cruz County or thereabouts!
By Kay Mackenzie
This month, courtesy of AQS Publishing, we have Rebecca L. Campbell’s charming book Plant Your Own Garden.
This little book features a dozen original flower blocks that you can use to plant an appliqué garden. Each design can stand alone in a project of your own creation, or join the others in a sampler quilt.
Rebecca shares with us what inspired her to become an appliqué enthusiast and to develop her own system for pleasing results. Take it away, Rebecca!
I belong to a quilt guild, Quintessential Quilters in Columbus, Ohio. I thank that organization for the opportunity to take classes from an amazing list of famous quilters. Those teachers inspired me in a so many ways. I wanted be a part of the quilting business. but what was I going to offer? A seed was planted and I was searching for my way to inspire.
I fell in love with an appliqué pattern and became determined to learn turned-edge appliqué, but my results left a lot to be desired. I wanted perfect shapes right off the bat and didn’t want to spend time tracing or ripping freezer paper out. I matched up products that accomplished those tasks. I eliminated tracing by using a copier to create a placement guide (June Tailor’s Perfect Piecing) and templates (C. Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets). If I ironed the freezer paper to the right side of the fabric it could be pulled off once the piece is in place. Print n Fuse ironed to batting enabled me to create trapunto without stuffing.
Now I had a method that worked well for me. Teaching classes was a test to see if it worked for others. Beginners were excited with their results and experienced appliquérs found it increased their accuracy and productivity.
I had a proven method that I titled Innovative Appliqué. Someone suggested I should create an original pattern to teach from. Sixty-one patterns and more in the works are available. All individual patterns are full size.
Designing, teaching, vending and trade shows lead to connecting with America Quilter’s Society to publish a booklet, Plant Your Own Garden. Twelve flower patterns, quilt construction, and Innovative Appliqué instructions are all included. I like to provide lots of pictures to show what I am explaining. The booklet patterns do need to be enlarged 111%. That is something I hope to avoid the next go round.
I hang a sign at shows that says Appliqué is not a four letter word. I think that is so funny.
At a recent Checker Distributors open house, Rebecca filmed a video presentation showing her appliqué techniques.
If you’d like to win this booket, please leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, October 6. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only.
Good luck everyone!
By Kay Mackenzie
This month, with many thanks to Martingale, we have Cheri Leffler’s Animal Parade.
The subtitle of this charmer is “Adorable Appliqué Quilt Patterns for Babies.” I’d say, anyone young at heart would also qualify!
Cheri begins by presenting instructions for her favorite method of needle-turn appliqué using an overlay for placement. For those who prefer machine work, she also gives a quick overview of fusible appliqué. A little lexicon of embroidery stitches rounds out the method section.
In this book you’ll find quilts featuring cheerful frogs, floating duckies, happy monkeys, wise owls, rollicking foxes, playful penguins, swimming sea creatures, tree-hugging koala bears, long-necked giraffes, and fluffy lambs! A whole menagerie of cuteness! Each quilt design features the animals set against a sweet and simple pieced background.
You can see the koalas peeking out at the foxes.
The appliqué patterns are printed full size and… bonus… the book includes a pullout section for the designs that are too large to fit on a page. Excellent!
If you’d like a chance to win this delightful book of youthful quilts, please leave a comment here on this post by 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, September 5.
Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, and please resist the temptation to click “reply” to your email feed. To enter the drawing, come to the blog on the internet and leave your comment at the bottom of the post.
Good luck everyone!
See you then,
By Kay Mackenzie
Our featured book this month, courtesy of C&T Publishing, is Wendy Williams’ Wild Blooms & Colorful Creatures.
I’m wild about these colorful blooms and creatures!
This book is all about combining our traditional cotton prints with wool and linen, to add a new dimension. Wendy starts out with a section on appliqué basics that gives information on wool, wool felt, threads, templates, and her style of needle-turn that uses a running stitch close to the turned edge. There’s also a whole page of illustrated embroidery stitches for adding special touches.
Then on to the projects! There are wall quilts, runners, pillows, bags, and sewing notions galore. All of the appliqué templates are printed at full size, and there’s even a pull-out section for the larger designs. Always a bonus!
Aren’t the designs wonderful? Such a fearless sense of color and whimsy.
If you’d like to win this book in a random drawing, please leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Tuesday, August 5.
Notice how I said “leave a comment”…? This is not the same as replying to your email feed. You’ll need to get out of your email program by clicking on the title of the post, which will bring you to the blog itself on the internet, and leave your comment there.
Open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck all!!
I’m embarking on a new kind of project! That’s always pretty exciting. In the past, I’ve made some mini-quilts, put them in frames, and given them to dear friends as a gift. Here’s the one I made for Suzanne years ago.
I got the urge to play around with this idea some more, so I went to the thrift shop and found quite a few cute frames. I went to the cashier with my stack, and AGAIN I scored a half-price sale, with eight minutes to spare! I did not know, just got lucky.
Here’s my first project, all organized, with frame selected, fabrics pulled, pattern correctly sized, and reversed pattern printed and ready to trace some SoftFuse templates.
I’ll be working on this today, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
By Kay Mackenzie
I’ve admired the Jillily booth many times at shows. Jill Finley has been designing quilt patterns for over 15 years and is known for her fresh style and beautiful color combinations.
This month, with many thanks to Martingale, we have Jill’s book Home Sweet Quilt.
Need a gift or something for yourself? The book includes a dozen patterns for the whole house, from table runners to dish towels to pillows to quilts of all sizes. They’re all so fresh and pretty! Jill says in the introduction, “… My goal was to create and share fresh quilt designs… They’re much more than blankets or bed coverings. They’re the pop of color, the unexpected texture, or the softening element of each room.”
The book begins with a few basics, such as working with wool, attaching borders and bindings, and Jill’s favorite stitching supplies. There’s a whole chapter on “Appliqué the Jillily Way,” which involves starching the edges of the motifs over freezer-paper templates. You can stitch them in place either by hand or by machine.
If you’d like to win this very appealing book, please leave a comment here on the blog post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Thursday, June 5. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck!!
Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Elegant Cotton • Wool • Silk Quilts is an exciting departure from the books I usually have the privilege of featuring. Quoting from the preface, “The designs here put special emphasis on the ancient cultures of Korea. …This book will serve as an introduction to and a window into ‘The Land of Morning Calm.’ …Though many of the designs are actually more than a few thousand years old, this will be the first glimpse through the eyes of the Western viewer.”
It was exciting to turn the pages of this book and discover shapes and designs I’d never seen before.
How about these Asian interpretations of flowers, leaves, clouds, and mountains done up penny-rug style… gorgeous!
I was captivated by the section on Chopkey — a Korean folding technique. Rami give step-by-step instructions for making a traditional costume coat.
As the titles implies, there are projects done in cotton, wool, and silk, and you can certainly use any of these materials for the design of your choice.
The books jumps right into the projects, so basic skills in hand blanket-stitch embroidery will be needed. Also, the designs need to be enlarged 200%.
If you’d like a chance to win this book that translates Korean architectural elements into American quilts, please leave a comment here on the blog by 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, May 9.
Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, and remember… don’t try to enter by email. If you’re reading this in an email, you’ll need to click over to the blog itself on the internet.
Best of luck!!
By Kay Mackenzie
Cathy Perlmutter is my special friend that I visit with whenever I’m in her area for a quilt show. She writes the fabulous blog Gefiltequilt about her wondrously creative projects. When I took a look at this month’s featured book, I knew that it was right up Cathy’s alley. Yay, she agreed to write a guest post!!
Take it away, Cathy!
How lucky am I that Kay Mackenzie loaned me a copy of Cheryl Lynch’s new book, Sew Embellished! Artistic Little Quilts, Personalized with Easy Techniques, published by Martingale in 2012.
This book is a delight, and packed with useful information. For everyone who would like to start embellishing, or be inspired by new ideas, this book is a must-have.
The book starts out as an embellishment encyclopedia. Cheryl shows how to attach a wide variety of beads, buttons, and miscellaneous hardware – anything, as she says, that has a hole in it. She shows how she uses trims as whimsical border treatments. There’s an explanation of how to make custom buttons and beads from polymer clay. She takes us through a wide variety of threads and yarns, and graphs the main embroidery stitches that quilters need.
Cheryl also offers a variety of ways to add words–whether applique, computer printing, embroidery, polymer clay plates, and more. She has a lot of really interesting binding and edging techniques, including folded shapes.
All that alone would be worth the price of admission, but we’re not even halfway through the book yet! Cheryl’s projects, which involve both piecing and applique, celebrate family, pets, nature and love. She turns unfinished blocks into works of art. My favorite are her brooches with shrink-plastic photos stitched on; a stunning appliqued “tranquility tree”, and her accordion-fold heart & home standing book.
I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning embellishment techniques or acquiring more; and who would like a reference and inspiration for personalized and unique art quilt gifts. I am buying myself a copy. It is a keeper that I will refer to again and again!
Kay here… thank you Cathy! Cathy has to get her own copy because we’re giving this one away! If you’d like to enter the drawing, please leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, April 7.
It is with a sorrowful sigh that I must say that these drawings are now open to U.S. mailing addresses only. I found out with a shock that one of the changes in our recent USPS postal rate increase is that the cost to Canada has more than tripled. Apologies to my quilting neighbors to the north. :(.
I’ve got a lot of fun stuff to mention today!
First off, Martingale is commemorating Worldwide Quilting Day, March 15, with several suggestions for things to do. One of them is, “Start a spark—make just one block!” To support this notion they’ve got some of their favorite block eBooks on sale. And my Easy Appliqué Blocks is one of them!
Golly, it’s good to see those EAB blocks again.
I might just have to cook up something myself this Saturday to celebrate what is both Worldwide Quilting Day and National Quilting Day. Got my thinking cap on…
While I’m thinking, you have got to go and see what the phenomenal Darcy Ashton is working on now.
The gorgeous Miss Mermaid.
My next show is the Glendale Quilt Guild, March 21-22, newly held at the Pasadena Convention Center. After many years in Burbank, they’re moving to this new venue where the entire show can be in one giant happy room. Can’t wait, especially since I’ll get to see my special pal Cathy, she of GefiilteQuilt. Note that this is a Friday-Saturday show.
Got a lot to do to get ready! I’m also working on yet another new pattern. Stay tuned!
By Kay Mackenzie
Commenter No. 16, Karen Pastoor, came up the winner of The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop. Congratulations Karen! I know you will enjoy this fabulous new book.
And don’t forget that Kevin Kosbab is holding a blog tour later this week to celebrate the book’s release! It’ll go February 20-28 over at Kevin’s blog, Feed Dog Designs.
In other news, I’m gearing up for my own guild’s quilt show this weekend! We’re the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association, with members from Santa Cruz County and beyond.
The show is held at the County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. It’s a great location, we have all three buildings and there are lots of fun features and activities during the show. I’ll be in the Harvest Building this year, the same building where lunch is served and the quilt auction and fashion show are held. Hope to see you there this weekend! Saturday, February 22, 10-5, and Sunday, February 23, 10-4.
I mentioned that I was working on a new pattern. Here it is, Sunday Dress.
Originally I called it “Easter Dress,” but after thinking about it some more, I changed it to Sunday Dress so that it wouldn’t seem so seasonal. Those of you who got it at the Folsom show (thank you), I guess you could say you have a collector’s item! :)
Back on the 1st with another great appliqué book! See you then!
Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
I’m subscribed to the appliqué book feed on Amazon, and as soon as I saw the announcement of a new book that was coming out, I was intrigued and followed the link right away.
The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop by Kevin Kosbab, from Interweave/F+W Media.
I pulled up the “Look Inside” on Amazon, started reading the section on “Give Appliqué a Chance,”, and honestly, I got chills. Kevin and I could have one brain on the subject of appliqué hesitation. As you know I had just been working on The Appliqué Self-Help Brochure!
I contacted Interweave to see if they would be willing to send a review copy. Not only were they quite gracious about doing so, they set up an interview with Kevin! I’m so happy to share our email conversation, a little later in the post.
The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop combines traditional methods with a fresh design eye. Kevin gently introduces and thoroughly explains several methods of hand and machine appliqué, including raw-edge, prepared-edge, and needle-turn, all presented with striking projects that fall toward the modern aesthetic. The old and the new… what a great combo platter!
Here’s what Kevin and I talked about.
• Kay: I love the front matter in your book… “Give Appliqué a Chance.” You and I both have heard what you aptly call “the old chestnuts,” such as “I don’t have the patience.” Me, in my booth at shows… how about you?
• Kevin: There’s a healthy die-hard appliqué contingent at my local quilt guild, but other members are more hesitant to approach the “A-word”. Just attending quilt shows gives ample opportunity to overhear similar sentiments as people browse the vendors and displays. The most puzzling thing I’ve heard is, “I don’t appliqué, but I do fusible”–which, as you point out in your flier, IS appliqué!
• Kay: You and I think alike when it comes to appliqué method. There are so many ways to go about it, and there’s no one correct way! I really like how you present this concept, both in the section called “Choosing a Method” and as each is introduced. Most books just announce the method, and plow right into it! You start out by asking “Why?” and then delivering an explanation of why one might choose that particular method. Is that the way your mind works?
• Kevin: Definitely! High school calculus baffled me because nobody would (or could) explain the “why” of the processes, so I wanted to lay out actual reasons why one appliqué method might be beneficial in certain circumstances. Projects in the book like Eccentric Concentrics and the All Seasons Pillows take advantage of the freeform nature of needle-turn, while the crisp shapes of the Pineapple Rings and Counterbalance quilts make more sense as prepared-edge projects. And to define edges with decorative stitching or contrasting thread, you can’t beat raw-edge fusible appliqué. I really believe there’s no one-size-fits-all method, and each offers unique opportunities and challenges.
• Kay: The subtitle of the book is “Timeless Techniques for Modern Designs.” Its seems to act as a bridge between what’s time-honored and what’s coming up new and fresh in quilting today. Was that your thinking going into the project?
• Kevin: It was definitely one of the thoughts floating around in my head–in a wider sense, that’s how I like to approach quilting and needlework in general, learning from the experience of people before me while applying those skills to a newer aesthetic. I love digging through old needlework books and figuring out how to extract the basic techniques from the often dated examples.
• Kay: The book gives information on very precise ways to achieve results, and also more freeform strategies. I appreciate the way you encourage imprecision and improvisation in appliqué.
• Kevin: I’m so glad to hear that. I think concentration on precision is one of the biggest barriers to enjoyment of appliqué, so I wanted to counter that with a different perspective. There’s been lots of interest in improvisational piecing over the last several years, and it felt to me that improvisation was an even more natural component of appliqué, even though it’s not an aspect I often see associated with appliqué (or encouraged). Historical quilts are rarely absolutely precise, but they have a vitality that’s lost when we try too hard to emulate computer-aided perfection. Improvisation shouldn’t be about shoddy craftsmanship, but about embracing the handmade nature of the things we are taking the time to make by hand.
• Kay: The sidebar on “Quilt Police, Appliqué Division” had me cracking up! I’ll just quote the first couple of sentences. “Every branch of quilting has its share of self-appointed authoritarians on a mission to ensure compliance with their version of The Right Way To Do Things. Appliqué seems to attract an especially large police force, but as in real law enforcement, their statutes vary by jurisdiction.” Well said!
• Kevin: Thanks, I had fun writing it! Writing pages and pages of detailed technical instructions can provoke occasional outbursts like that. ;-) And besides, who said quilting had to be all serious business?
• Kay: You talk about how when you first became interested in appliqué, there were calls to mom. Can you describe how those calls went?
• Kevin: Well, to start with, my mom was quite surprised that I was considering quilting, since I’d been insistent she not make me a quilt when I went away to college (“Mo-om, it’ll be embarrassing!”). But she offered to quilt my first (pieced) quilt top, and quite fortuitously left the binding for me to do. I told her I found hand-sewing the binding strangely enjoyable, to which she said, “You know, if you like sewing the binding, you’d probably like appliqué.”
She’s an expert appliquér, so since she was my main point of quilting contact then, she didn’t instill any of the fear many quilters feel about appliqué. She encouraged me to try a freezer paper and starch-turned method to start with and gave me a basic run-down of how it worked, and I set off to do a large-scale appliqué across the better part of a full-size bed quilt–not how I’d recommend starting, but it got me hooked. After I’d done a couple quilts that way, I lamented to my mom how the starching and ironing started to feel tedious, a feeling she shared (neither of us get our kicks from ironing laundry), so she promised to show me needle-turn applique the next time we got together in person.
The rest of my family couldn’t believe the sight of the two of us messing about with fabric and needles, but since then my younger brother’s also become a costume designer, so my father and other brother (both engineers) really wonder what happened.
My mom also gave lots of advice on tools and supplies, though what I had available at the time was pretty much limited to what was available on foot in downtown Philadelphia (which meant hand-quilting thread for appliqué–again, not what I’d recommend for a beginner!). We still compare notes on new supplies, techniques, and ideas. Though our quilts look totally different, our attitudes about quilting are pretty close, so she’s been very generous in helping me out with pattern samples. Call me a mamma’s boy if you must, but we do live thousands miles apart!
• Kay: The book has full-size patterns in a plastic bag attached to the inside back cover! Excellent! Was that your concept?
• Kevin: The publisher decided the ultimate format, but I felt strongly that the patterns should be printed full size. It’s so frustrating when a book requires patterns to be enlarged–it always seems to take a huge amount of trial and error to get the photocopies to come out right. If people have bought the book, they shouldn’t have to pay a copy shop too.
That said, I did have to work out an enlargement percentage for the Eccentric Concentrics Quilt in the book because the pattern is the size of the entire quilt, but I hope people will prefer to sketch out their own interpretation.
• Kay: How did you and Interweave get together?
• Kevin: I’ve been designing sewing projects for Stitch, one of Interweave’s magazines, since their second issue, so that’s how their books division found me. The acquisitions editor asked if I’d thought about writing a book, to which I replied, “As a matter of fact, yes!” I’d worked as a book editor myself, so a quilting book had been knocking around in my head for a while.
• Kay: When, why, and how did you become interested in quilting and appliqué? Do you teach classes? How do we pronounce your last name?
• Kevin: Still with neither of us thinking I’d get into quilting, my mom bought me my first sewing machine when I started talking about making curtains for my first apartment. That apartment never had its curtains finished, though, because I soon got distracted with quilting: I made a really simple quilt for my bed from Denyse Schmidt‘s first book, then another bed quilt from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr‘s book shortly after, and then I started designing my own patterns. I actually picked up appliqué shortly after those first two quilts, encouraged by my enjoyment of binding. I’d never planned to get into quilting, but it gave a medium to my lifelong interest in graphic design–appliqué was the last piece of the puzzle, opening up infinite possibilities in designing quilts.
I do teach classes, including some new ones based on the improvisational approaches in my book. Confirmed teaching engagements are posted on my website on the Class Schedule page.
My last name has been mispronounced in lots of ways over the years, but per the U.S. Air Force it’s KOZ-bab, just like it’s spelled but with a Z sound instead of an S. It previously had a more Germanic pronunciation, but my grandfather decided his name was whatever his superiors called him, so that’s what we’ve been running with since.
Thanks for your kind words and thoughtful questions. It’s hugely rewarding to hear that someone “gets it” after all the work of putting the book together.
• Kay: I get it! Been going there and doing that! You did a great job.
Kevin on Facebook.
Kevin’s putting together a blog tour to celebrate the upcoming release of his book! It’ll be going on February 20-28 over on Kevin’s blog, Feed Dog Designs. Be sure to mark your calendars!
In the meantime, I have a copy of The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop to give away here! If you’d like to enter my drawing, leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 17.
Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. And remember, step away from the “reply” button if you’re getting this by email. Come to the blog itself to leave your comment.
Thanks Kevin for taking the time to share some inside info with us!
Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
A very happy New Year to you all!
Susan Taylor Propst is the author of a series of wonderful books on floral appliqué. Here on the blog, we previously featured her titles Beautiful Blooms and Another Season of Beautiful Blooms.
Subtitled “Pretty and Practical Projects,” this book gives instructions for a variety of different things you can appliqué and sew, from table runners to place mats to tote bags to zippered cases.
Also blooming in the designs are irises, daffodils, dahlias, and ivy. Add in Susan’s instructions for her methods of needleturn hand appliqué, prepared-edge hand appliqué, and fusible appliqué, and this is one fantastic resource!
If you’d like to enter the drawing for Nature’s Beauty in Appliqué, please leave a comment below by 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, January 5.
Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Heads up! If you get this in an email, do not reply… it will not enter you in the drawing. Leave your comment on the blog, on the internet. To get there, click on the title of the post in your email feed.
See you Saturday!
By Kay Mackenzie