Last weekend I was at the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association’s biannual show. My booth was right up front and I was delighted to find out that I was directly across from the featured quilters, one of whom was Bobbi Finley!

I first met Bobbi, who’s friends with a number of friends of mine, in 2010 at Road to California. In the years since then she’s popped by my booth at various shows to say hello. It was great having a chance to be neighbors for the weekend.

Bobbi is co-author with Carol Gilham Jones of the wonderful book Tile Quilt Revival, previously featured here on the blog. She had beautiful samples of tile quilts hung up, as well as some quilts from her new book with Carol, Fresh Perspectives.

Subtitled “Reinventing 18 Classic Quilts from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum,” this very cool book shows fresh, new updated versions side by side with the classic quilts that inspired them.

The cover quilt.

New houses!

There were some incredible appliqué quilts in the show.

Baltimore & Bali by Charlotte Scholberg

Olive Roses by Ratnes Siva

Penny Tucker is good buddies with my buddy Pam and is a fabulous appliqué teacher. Whiffle Tree is since closed, and Penny now teaches at Prairie Queens in San Jose, California.

Summer by Kathy McComas

Brenda's Wooly Garden by Brenda Croak

Kaye Moore is a buddy of mine in quilt-show land, and does the most incredible work with wool appliqué. If you haven’t seen Kaye’s article here on the blog, you should check it out!

And then there were a couple of old-timey quilts… okay, when I read their descriptions I kind of choked up. You’ll see what I mean.

Prairie Sunflowers by Karen Friedrichs

Sunbonnet Sue by Renee Rankin

Gulp. Quilts are mighty powerful things, aren’t they?

In other news:

This weekend I’m off to San Luis Obispo for the Seven Sisters Quilt Show. If you’re in that neighborhood, I hope to see you there!

Mark your calendars for the 100 Blocks Volume 7 blog tour! It’s April 29-May 3. Start each day at the Quilmaker blog, Quilty Pleasures. From there you’ll be sent off each day to blogs written by the designers who have a block in the issue. There are lots of great creative ideas along the way, not to mention giveaways, so don’t miss the tour. My day is Tuesday, April 30.

See you then!
By Kay Mackenzie

I have two fabulous books to show you this month, both hearkening back to the cute, cute fabrics and quilts of the 1930s.

As promised, I got my hands on a copy of Quilting Those Flirty '30s by Cynthia Tomaszewski. Thank you, That Patchwork Place!


“Quilting is steeped in history,” says Cynthia. “I still remember the first time I saw a 1930s quilt…. the prints reminded me of a roll of Necco candy wafers. Each fabric was cute in its own right, but gathered together like a floral bouquet, the effect was charming and heartwarming.”

I know what she means! All those ’30s repro prints just always seem to work together. It’s like they all have the same amount of gray in them or something.

“The designs you’ll discover in this book will be tomorrow’s traditions. They’re firmly rooted in the past with the use of the reproduction prints, but the designs are distinctive, open, and carefree to fit comfortably with your sense of today.”

In case it’s not enough to give us designs and instructions for very cute projects, Cynthia give us recipes for delicious cookies too! Butterscotch Oatmeal, Gingersnaps, and Peanut Blossoms are just a few of the old-fashioned confections sprinkled throughout the book.

To being with, quiltmaking basics are covered, including information on fabric, tools and supplies, rotary cutting, machine piecing, adding borders, and all the way through layering and basting, quilting, and binding. Then there’s a fabulous Introduction to Appliqué that gives Cynthia’s three favorite methods: fusible, freezer-paper-underneath, and traditional needleturn with a marked line. The author says, “Try them all so you have the ability to use the technique that’s best for your project.” And, you can mix them together for more variety and texture.

The follows the section of projects. Sooo cute, every one! Here are just a couple.

Sweet Pea's Garden

Sweet Pea's Garden

Tea cozy and pot holders

Tea cozy and pot holders

If you’re a ’30s fan, you’ll love Cynthia’s family stories, cookie recipes, and fresh quilty take on the decade. And be sure to go and read her interview over on the Martingale blog. This is quite the adventuresome woman!

Continuing the blast from the past, we have Treasures from the ’30s: Cheerful Quilts with Vintage Appeal by Nancy Mahoney.

cover B1047.indd

Full disclosure statement: Nancy is a longtime Martingale author with about nine books to her credit, and she also does editing for the company. At Spring Market, I found out that Nancy is going to be the technical editor for my next book! I’m very thrilled to have such a veteran author on my team.

Treasures from the ’30s is fun for every quilter. Nancy says, “The projects on these pages are scrappy in style, constructed with 1930s reproduction fabrics, but they make use of updated appliqué and piecing techniques. Some are a bit more challenging, but you’ll also find projects for the confident beginner. If you’re a less-experienced quilter, dive in and try something new! The designs may look complicated, but they really aren’t.”

Never fear, Nancy starts with a whole section on quiltmaking basics, taking you through rotary cutting and on into several different methods of preparing and stitching your appliqué. You’ll find information on starch appliqué, hand appliqué, invisible machine appliqué, fusible appliqué, even embellishment!

Then Nancy presents eight of her favorite 1930s quilt designs.

Bride's Quilt

Bride's Quilt

Bell Flowers

Bell Flowers

All of the quilts are darling, and so reminiscent of an earlier time. While working on this book, the author became fascinated with the rich history of the decade, which included not only hard and depressing times but some wonderful, amazing things that she shares throughout the pages.

I have one copy of each book to give away, thanks to the publisher. If you’d like to enter the drawing, just leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Wednesday, July 6. Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Also, be sure to leave your comment on THIS post. Sometimes readers poke around a little bit and end up leaving their entry comment somewhere else.

The first winner will receive Quilting Those Flirty '30s, the second winner will receive Treasures From the '30s. Good luck, and have a fabulous holiday weekend!!

Until then,
By Kay Mackenzie

Red and green just look right

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In the December/January 2011 issue of Quilters Newsletter, I enjoyed a three-page Reader’s Quilt Show of 19th century red-and-green appliqué quilts from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

The article gave a link to the magazine’s website to learn more about why so many red and green appliqué quilts were made in that era.

After reading this on-line sidebar, I thought the topic could also be phrased, “why so many of that era’s quilts were red and green.” Very interesting!!

Quilters Newsletter Magazine Web Extra

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Last night Brown came and delivered the most beautiful book. I’m holding it in my hands, I see my name on the cover, and I can hardly believe it’s mine!


It’s been just over a year since I was given the green light from That Patchwork Place for this new book. I’ve blogged about the process a little bit from time to time. (If you look at the Categories in the left-hand sidebar you can click on ‘A story of another book’ to read those posts if you like.)

Inspired by Tradition: 50 Appliqué Blocks in 5 Sizes is presented in the same format as Easy Appliqué Blocks, my first book from TPP… 50 blocks shown in a thumbnail library so you can choose your block, and a CD that you stick into your computer, choose any one of 5 sizes, and print right at home! No figuring of percentages or folding, copying, and matching back up crooked sections! We even give reversed versions of each pattern, since you need that for some forms of appliqué.

The designs in this new book are all vintage and old-timey in look and feel, hence the name Inspired by Tradition. The publishers did an amazing job on the pages within… graceful, colorful, and pretty, and so well suited for showing off these blocks with traditional appeal. I couldn’t be happier with how it looks.

In addition to the blocks, there’s a Little Gallery of Ideas to get you thinking. We’ve included the dimensions of all the blocks, sashing, borders, etc. in case you’d like to make something similar. There are also extensive illustrated instructions for back-basting hand appliqué and raw-edge fusible machine appliqué, and a section of appliqué questions and answers compiled from what quilters talk about when they come into my booth at shows.

What I have right now is my advance copy. The book ships to quilt shops March 7. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now, and at a great price too. And, if you go look at it on Amazon and click on ‘see all product images,’ you can see all 50 of the blocks! That’s right, the publisher uploaded beautiful images of all 50 blocks, stitched by moi!

If you’d like to wait for a copy signed by me, I’ll have it on my website March 7 as well.

Thank you for taking a look at my new baby. I’m just a little bit excited. :)

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Congratulations to Kathleen Connors, the winner of Flowers All Around! Kathleen, enjoy the book! My thanks to everyone who entered the drawing. I appreciate you reading my blog and being a fellow appliqué enthusiast.

Over at The Quilt Show‘s Daily Blog, they’ve posted a slide show of a beautiful Baltimore Album exhibit that was displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last fall.

The exhibit was entitled “Baltimore Album Review II: Baltimore’s Daughters — Friends Stitch Past to Future.” According to the blog post, the quilts are “some of the finest examples of the Baltimore Album Quilt revivalist movement and include many from the collection of Baltimore expert/artist/curator Elly Sienkiewicz.”

The slide show is available for viewing to all… you don’t have to be a member of The Quilt Show. The link is below. Enjoy!

Baltimore Album Review II

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I got an email newsletter from Hancock’s of Paducah that had a link to a fabric line called Baltimore Album by Mary Koval. Of course I had to go and check that out!

This is a beautiful set of fabrics for the appliqué enthusiast! There’s a gorgeous printed panel and a whole range of fabrics that are perfect for this type of project.

wf31662xOn the Hancock’s of Paducah website, if you click on the panel fabric, there’s a free download pattern by Mary Koval. Very cool!

Until next time,
(patchy project nearing completion),
By Kay Mackenzie

A celebrity quilt

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My pal Pam Crooks is a pal of Penny Tucker, who writes a delightful blog that you’ll be interested in, The Dedicated Appliquist.

At one of our Nite Needler meetings, Pam told me about a quilt that was making the rounds of the internet, having achieved celebrity status after its debut at the Spring International Quilt Festival earlier this year.

I was fascinated with this concept of celebrity quilts, so of course I had to check out the quilt known as 19th Century Folk Art by Maker Unknown or The English Medallion Quilt.

First glance and small photos do not do this piece justice. Once you see some of the closeups, you’ll be delighted with this forgotten appliqué artist’s sense of design.

Penny’s blog post from May pulls together lots of links about the quilt and about some reproductions of it. Pam sent me one more from Threadbare in Australia.

What are some other celebrity quilts that have “gone viral?”

Until next time,

Interview with the Winterthur

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Collectors Weekly recently published an in-depth interview with Linda Eaton, textiles curator at the Winterthur museum in Delaware.

The interview includes lots of information about the museum and about quilt history, and shows some beautiful examples of appliquéd quilts from the past. Linda explains what quilts from the 18th and 19th centuries tell us about the lives of the American women who made them.

Do you have old quilts? Collectors Weekly also wanted me to let you know that they’ve started a Quilt Show & Tell page for collectors to share pictures and stories of items in their collections.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Great info on vintage quilts

Filed Under Articles, History | Comments Off on Great info on vintage quilts

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


Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Cupcakes by Kay MackenzieOkay, so they didn’t know my birthday was coming up on the 17th, but I’ll take it anyway!
I just heard from Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place that it’s a go for another book! Yippee!

My working title for this one is Easy Appliqué Blocks: Inspired by Tradition. I’m just a little excited. :)

I have another really cool thing cooking for my birthday, so stay tuned!!

Doin’ the happy dance,
By Kay Mackenzie

Have I got a good one to show you this time! It’s Mimi Dietrich’s classic, Baltimore Basics: Album Quilts from Start to Finish.

baltimore-basicsWhat a delight for the appliqué enthusiast! Mimi, a Baltimore native and lifelong resident, is an authority on this amazing quilt form that has hooked so many of us on appliqué.

Mimi begins by presenting food for thought in planning your quilt, considering options, making decisions, and getting organized. This is not your quick-and-easy type o’ deal. These are more like thoughtful, measured, long-range projects that you should enjoy all along the way.

Next comes a great idea — printed layout mockups! You can photocopy the block thumbnails, cut them apart, and try them out in several pre-printed arrangements to see what you like best. Very cool.

Then there’s a whole beautiful section giving fabric yardage and cutting instructions for a wide variety of sizes and settings. Mimi really helps you design your own quilt.

After giving information on fabrics and supplies, Mimi takes you step-by-step through several methods of preparation for hand appliqué. She encourages you to try them all to see which is your favorite. Then comes detailed information on hand stitching, plus sections on the stems, circles, baskets, and bows that we see so commonly in Baltimore Album. Since Mimi also knows dimensional appliqué, she throws in folded rosebuds and ruched flowers.

Then, of course, there are the 12 beautiful block patterns reminiscent of old, each one accompanied by a color photo of the stitched design.


The book ends with how to sew your blocks together, how to make appliquéd borders, and quilting and finishing your big or little masterpiece.


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

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

When Froncie Quinn moved to Vermont she discovered the Shelburne Museum and its collection of antique quilts. She approached the museum about patterning the quilts so that modern quilters could reproduce and enjoy them more fully. The Shelburne agreed and now Froncie offers several collections of museum-licensed patterns featuring the designs of yesteryear.

Check out her website, Hoopla Patterns. There are many great patterns, links to historical articles written by Froncie, and reproduction fabrics based on the old quilts that she has studied in the museums. A fantastic homage to our quilting heritage.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

American Quilt Study Group seminar

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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

I’m delighted to present this guest post from Barbara Brackman, esteemed quilt historian and author. Barbara has some news to share that is of great interest and excitement to the appliqué enthusiast!

Barbara Brackman

This just in from quilt scholar
Barbara Brackman

Encyclopedia of Applique, first editionTwenty years ago I published my Encyclopedia of Appliqué, which indexed all the appliqué designs I could find before 1970. It’s been out of print for years.

This month, C&T Publishing is bringing out a revised edition. The index will be the same but the introduction is updated.


Applique artists will love having the inspiration that the 1,800 black-and-white drawings provide. Born organizers like me will enjoy seeing all that exuberant design classified and numbered.

Page from Encyclopedia of Applique by Barbara Brackman

Here’s a scan of one of the pages on Reel quilts (they are all numbered 17). I’ve been having fun lately by finding block designs from online auction quilts and making myself digital files with color pictures of actual quilts like the page here. (I am a born organizer so that’s my idea of fun.)

The reel is one of the oldest appliquéd block designs, with examples dated in the early 1830s. It remains popular today. Here are a few quilts made by me and my friends using variations of the pattern.

app-finley.gifOak Leaf and Orange Peel (Bowden Family Quilt) by Bobbi Finley, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2003-2005.

Hip Hop Hickory Leaf by Carol Gilham Jones.gif
Hip Hop Hickory Leaf by Carol Gilham Jones, Lawrence, Kansas, 2007.

Hickory Leaf by Barbara Brackman
Hickory Leaf by Barbara Brackman, Lawrence, Kansas, 2003. Quilted by Lori Kukuk.

Kaw Valley Quilters Guild Opportunity Quilt.gif
Kaw Valley Quilters Guild Opportunity Quilt
by Georgann Eglinski and Roseanne Smith, Lawrence, Kansas 2009. Quilted by Lori Kukuk.

Thank you so much Barbara for sharing this sneak peak with us! The new edition of the Encyclopedia means that not only is it in print again, there’s an updated introduction about the history of appliqué, plus it has color pictures accompanying the black-and-white reference drawings, and, five quilt projects!

You can pre-order your copy at Here’s the link: Encyclopedia of Appliqué on Amazon.

If you have an interest in quilt history and fabric dating, you’ll definitely want to read Barbara’s blog, Material Culture: Information from a Quilt Historian About Quilt Fabric Past and Present.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Pubications & Designs

One of my appliqué idols, Jeana Kimball, has written a very thoughtful piece on traditional hand appliqué in today’s quilt-show climate. Jeana’s website is Jeana Kimball’s Foxglove Cottage (be sure to check out her books and patterns) and here’s the link to the article on her Sewing Room blog.

I met Elly!

Last night, fellow appliqué fan Brenda and I drove ‘over the hill’ to Sunnyvale to Eddie’s Quilting Bee for a slide lecture by Elly Sienkiewicz. The title was “What’s This Fascination with Baltimore Album Quilts?”

We got there a mite early, with just enough time to do a little shopping at Eddie’s, then it was upstairs to the meeting room to sup on a tasty light dinner and sip some wine. At 7:15, Eddie introduced Elly, who turned on the slide projector, and POP! the bulb broke. The replacement bulb didn’t fit, so…. no slides. Elly didn’t miss a beat, and just started talking to us about the BA era, about 1843 to 1856, and her research into the many symbols that recur both in the blocks and, curiously, on gravestones. She told us that the women of the time were fluent in the language of symbols, something that has slipped away from us in present times. There were many associations with Methodism, the Masons, and the Oddfellows.

kayelly.gifThough we missed seeing her slides, the subject was fascinating and it was just so cool to finally meet this grande dame of appliqué.

She is one of the nicest ladies you could hope to meet, and has done so much for us quilters in the realm of qppliqué.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

The Appliqué Society shares

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The Appliqué Society has a page on their website called Just Appliqué that offers really fun, useful, and interesting things for appliqué fans.

There are articles on international appliqué, there’s a resizing calculator, there’s a Show and Share section, free patterns, and a wonderful series of articles on the basic appliqué stitch, how to put together an appliqué sewing kit, and some information about the history of appliqué.

These resources are there for you to enjoy whether you’re a member of the Society or not. Thanks TAS!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Great article on Baltimore Album history

Filed Under Articles, Baltimore Album, Designers, Hand appliqué, History, Needleturn | Comments Off on Great article on Baltimore Album history

The International Quilt Association puts out a quarterly journal for its members. In the latest issue there’s a fabulous article by Rhianna White called Quilting 101: Baltimore Album Quilts.

It’s a great lesson in the origin and history of the popular appliqué art form, and if you’re interested in the history of appliqué you’ll love this article. Renowned experts Elly Sienkiewicz and Mimi Dietrich contribute to the information.

Very generously, the IQA puts this journal up on its website in pdf form for all to download and enjoy. Go to, click to enter, then look in the left sidebar for “IQA Journal.”

Until next time,

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

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