For years I’ve been encouraging my wonderful friend Cathy Perlmutter, author of The Uncommon Yarmulke, to think about blogging. She’s a quilter, she’s a writer, and she’s funnier than all get-out. At long last her new blog is up and running! It’s not all that often that we get to follow a blog from its infancy, so I urge you to go see GefilteQuilt: a mish-mosh.

Start from the first post and catch up to the present. Cathy’s projects are wildly creative, vibrant, and (as you might tell from the title) eclectic. Her stories and generally the things that come out of her brains are humorous and easy to identify with.

Hope you enjoy GefilteQuilt as much as I do.

By Kay Mackenzie

I’m working on a new appliqué book! The design work is mostly done and in a couple days I’ll be ready to start the stitching.

With any book project, there are parts that are delicious fun and other parts that, well, just need to be done. I try not to do all the fun parts first, making myself do some of the grunt work along the way. I did already indulge, however, in one of the delicious-fun parts.

Let’s just say that this new collection of designs presents opportunities for using tiny trims, buttons and bows, frills and lace, beads and embroidery, etc. I went to Beverly’s, a fabric and craft store, and walked the aisles collecting those items that caught my fancy the most. I also spent a good hour plundering my studio for anything I had squirreled away in various nooks and crannies at earlier points in my quilting career. That was jolly good fun.


All of it went into a project box to await its destiny. The trims are optional, and probably only a fraction of them will end up on blocks, but it was good vicarious fun for me, this rummaging and collecting and feeling excited about the possibilities.

As a kid, I was not a girly girl. My sister and I ran all over our semi-rural neighborhood and my mother would just ring the supper bell when she wanted us to come home.


Momma wrote on the back of this, “Anne (near), Kay (far) fishing.” I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand. I can remember that neighborhood lake and sitting on the bank waiting for the cork to bob like it was yesterday.

lunchbox.gifLunch break!

tomboy.gifMy favorite striped tee shirt, with a plaid shirt… and… are those patches on the knees? Can you say tomboy? My dad took us to the barbershop for cereal-bowl haircuts, which may have added to the general effect.

But the following picture serves up proof that I did own a dress, and I had a doll. There’s your clue to the theme of the new design collection.


Check out that groovy 50s sofa fabric. I seem to remember the swirls were orange and brown. And those great legs! What happened?

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

It’s a sad and reflective time in the Mackenzie household. In February we lost our pretty kitty Chutney, and just a few days ago, her sister calico Maikai joined her. They were 18 years old.

bye-bye-kitties.gifChutney (left) and Maikai (right) a couple years ago.

Dana put up a very sweet post on his blog about Maikai, who was “his” cat, if you’d like to go and see it.

What does this have to do with appliqué? Nothing much, except that I’m moved to share that this snap of Maikai sitting in the kitchen windowsill served as the basis for my “Cat” block in Easy Appliqué Blocks.


Bye-ye calicoes. It’s a lot quieter in the house now after all these years, with only your third sister Pixel and, of course, Willie the quilt puppy. We miss you.

XO Kay

I’m home for one day. Today is actually my 20th wedding anniversary. I should show you a picture of me and the DH Dana but actually right now I look like something the cat dragged in. Got home from Pittsburgh last night at midnight and today is my one day to do the laundry and pack again for our anniversary trip to Kauai tomorrow!


I had THE most fabulous time at Spring Market and I do have a few pictures to share when I get home and my head stops spinning. In the meantime, here’s a typical market story. On Saturday, I’m in the ladies’ room when another gal eyes me, yells “Kay!’ and charges forward. I get a look at her just in time to recognize Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Studio and reply, “It’s a miracle!” before we were able to give each other a big hug. Kathy has been an internet pal and she participated in my Book-A-Round, but this is the first time we had met in person.

We left the ladies room and started chatting in the lobby. We were just saying, “Now how are we going to find Susan?” when Susan Brubaker Knapp herself of Blue Moon River, another Book-A-Round blogger, approached. Kathy and Susan had met up the year before but this was my first chance to meet either one of them. It was just one of those kismet things, and such a happy occurrence. We were so excited, we chattered like magpies.

So when I say ‘Let Susan do it,” I mean go to her Blue Moon River blog and read her fabulous posts about Quilt Market. She’s already got a wonderful one done with lots of pictures, including one of the three of us!

Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill also has fabulous and funny Market posts.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Quilting Gallery is hosting a month of guest bloggers! Tonight it’s my turn.

Guest Blogger on Quilting GalleryYou can read my guest post and posts from quilting bloggers from around the world all during the month of February. Fun!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Before I got married at the tender age of 36, I never really had a hobby. I was too busy getting through college, then working one or two jobs supporting myself. After I married Dana and we headed off to Gambier (a tiny academic village in the middle of nowhere, Ohio), I finally had the luxury of not having to scrabble, and I cast around for a hobby.

The first thing I took up was folk-art painting. There was a series of classes at a (this is funny) quilt shop in Columbus so I made the 50-mile drive each way and really enjoyed it. I absolutely LOVE that tole painting, Pennsylvania-Dutch whatever the correct term is, look. After that, I spent a lot of solitary hours in the extra bedroom painting on a variety of wooden objects. I never could get any good at the scrollwork, though… instead of graceful and elegant, my scrolls always looked lumpy and drunken.

Somewhere along the way I was having lunch with a friend and another friend of hers. This other friend mentioned the quilt shop in the next town over, and how they had beginning quilting classes, and even taught appliqué. To this day I remember how my eyes got all round and I thought, ‘ooooh, appliqué.’

I made my way over to that shop and signed on for a beginning quilting class in the evenings. (My thinking was, my new husband leaves me alone to go back to his office in the evenings, this will be my revenge :). But, I was the only student so we switched the class to daytimes so that the teacher, who was also the owner, could mind the store at the same time. So I had a private lesson.

Okay, I’m coming to the moral of the story. A lady from Gambier whom I had previously met saw me at the quilt shop and announced that she was taking me to the next guild meeting. I didn’t know which end was up but it was nice, and I got a ticket to go see Georgia Bonesteel speak. Then, the next month, I got a phone call from somebody who said they were coming by to give me a ride. I hung up the phone and said to Dana, ‘Well, somebody’s coming to pick me up. I don’t know who it is, but if a car stops outside the house I’m going to get in.’

You can see where this is going. Instead of sitting alone painting on wood, I was becoming introduced to the vibrant, social world of quilting. It was just what I needed as a newlywed in a new town. Though I absolutely love the way it looks, folk-art painting didn’t stick with me. Quilting stuck.

Here’s a wall plaque of mine from my “folk art period,” from Tole Red Two by Annie Richardson.

Pattern from Tole Red Two by Annie Richardson

Painted plaque by Kay Mackenzie

Little Folk wall quilt by Kay Mackenzie
Here’s a fabric rendition I made years later. I call it Little Folk.

Thanks for listening,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Kay Mackenzie

This is me. I’ m quite happy with this photo and plan to use it for the next 40 years at least. My eyes are open, and I don’t have that slightly crazed look that I do in most pictures. The reason for the success in taming my wayward face is that this photo was taken by Most Fantastic Photographer Gregory Case with his partner Elena Morera.

Gregory is renowned in the quilt world for his fabulous quilt photos. He did the photography for my last two books. He also does people, so when I needed a professional shot, I begged him to squeeze me in.

Getting a picture of myself is usually an agonizing, tortuous process, replete with much cursing, but this time it was almost pleasant. I felt like a rock star! Elena advised me on hair, wardrobe, and makeup. They sat me on a stool and adjusted the big lights, told me to turn my knees this way, my head that way, tilt it a little bit, a little more, and Elena kept darting in to tug my blouse into position. We tried different positions and camera angles, and kept going until we got one we were all happy with. (The joys of digital photography.)

And why did I need a really good professional picture of my mug? Okay, here goes. Deep breath… I’m doing a book for Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place! I needed an author photo to go in the back of the book.

I can hardly believe that I’m writing this as fact, and you’re hearing it here first. My book is called Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes, and it’s due out in March 2009.

As you may know, I’ve published little books for quilters myself. Ever since I began my career as a designer and writer, I also had the goal of being traditionally published. I’m so excited that this flip-side goal is coming true!

This is the first of a series of articles on my experience, from concept to print. If you’ve been thinking of writing a book yourself, you may find the series of interest to you. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

I’ve been tagged!

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My goodness! I’ve been tagged by none other than the president of QNNtv, Jodie Davis.

“All right, Mackenzie,” I said to myself. “Crash course time. What’s it all about?”

Jodie tagged me amongst the ranks of some pretty nice quilting notables, so I’m taking it as a big compliment! Jodie’s post explained it all pretty well. This game of tag-you’re-it (not like tagging a blog post) is going around the blogosphere. Now I’m supposed to post 7 things about myself and tag 7 other blogs, and on it goes.

Okay, 7 things you never knew about me:

1. You know I have a dog, Willie.
What you may not know is that Willie converted both me and my husband into total dog people. We both volunteer at the animal shelter. Dana walks dogs and I assist the staff with adoptions.

2. Despite that I’m a dog person, I have 3 cats!
2-cats1.jpgmaikai.jpgThey came as a package deal, 3 little stray kittens who followed us home. That was 17 years ago! They’re all still here.

3. My DH Dana is a writer too, a freelance science journalist. He wrote a book about the origin of the moon called The Big Splat. You can see it on his website. We’ve been married almost 19 years.

4. I grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I went to college in Boulder, Colorado. I’ve also lived in the Los Angeles area and Gambier, Ohio, before settling in Santa Cruz. We love it here.

5. You know those paddle balls you get when you’re a kid? The wooden paddle with the rubber ball attached with an elastic string? I can totally do that. I can hit that ball a few hundred times in a row. Ah, the useful skills acquired in childhood.

6. I have “presbyopia” or over-forty eyes. I wear contacts to get through the day… love ’em. When I want to do some stitching, I put on reading glasses over the contacts. So, I go from two eyes to four eyes to six eyes.

7. In addition to being a devoted quilter, I’m a digital media nerd. I love nothing more than a good rousing discussion about typography. Words, writing, typefaces, computer illustration, page layout… my idea of a high old time. No wonder publishing — and blogging — are such good things for me!

Here are my 7 tags:

1. Annie Smith’s Quilting Stash Podcast. Annie’s probably been tagged so many times she’s got sticky notes all over her. If you haven’t before, go listen to her podcasts for quilters.

2. Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics. Her “Sprinkles of Thought” blog has quilting and dogs… what could be better?

3. Susan Brubaker Knapp of Blue Moon River. Susan posts a new appliqué tip monthly, very cool. Plus she lives in North Carolina, my home state.

4. Darcy Ashton of Ashton Publications. Darcy just started blogging recently. She’s quite the photographer in addition to being a fabulous designer.

5. Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Studio. I think the very brainy Kathy’s got a few tags going already too.

6. Gina Halladay’s QuiltersBuzz. Gina’s just so “in the know” about the quilting industry. When you read this blog, you feel like you’re on the inside track.

7. Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods. Celine has a very cool blog with lots of information. She was just tagged. It’s really going around.

8. Here’s my extra, nothing to do with quilting: i can has cheezburger. It’s about… well… it can’t be explained. Go look at this if you like cats (or maybe even if you dont :-).

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Admin note: The Giveaway for Kids has drawn to a close. All of the books have gone to good homes. Since the giveaway began, I’ve heard from quilters in about every state in this country. Each one has a heartfelt story to tell of the wonderful warming efforts that they and their groups put forth. It makes me know the depth of caring among quilters. We are a wonderful bunch and I’m happy to be a member of the community.

Due to a printing glitch and subsequent reprinting, I ended up with way more copies of In a Twinkle: Youthful Quilt Designs than I needed. It’s time for them to move away from home!

If you’re a member of a group that makes and donates quilts for kids in need, email me at “kay at kaymackenzie dot com” and tell me about your group. Include your address. I’ll send you 6 copies (as many as I can stuff in a bubble mailer) by the “slow boat to China,” Media Mail. If you feel like paying me back for the postage, you can PayPal a couple bucks to the same address.

If you’re not a member of such a group but you know somebody who is, feel free to spread the word.

frontcoveriat.jpgThis book includes step-by-step. illustrated instructions for five easy quilts and a comfy cozy flannel blankie, plus detailed instructions on the fusible-interfacing method for machine-appliquéing big, simple shapes.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Teapots 2 coming along

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It’s a very cool day! I was summoned to the printers at 1:00 to conduct a press check of the color pages in Teapots 2 to Appliqué.

Everything looked great, so I signed off and did a little happy dance. Such a fun time, when a new “baby” is about to come home. But at the same time it’s a nail-biting period, until you actually have a book in your hand.

This is my seventh book, all with the same wonderful local printing outfit, Community Printers of Santa Cruz, California. They are so knowledgeable, friendly, and supportive — they’ve helped me a ton over the years.

Stay tuned! I’ll let you know when T2 is out. If the crick don’t rise, it should be available at on March 1.

Here’s another sneak peek.


Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

New teapots are dog-approved

Filed Under Books, Introduction | Comments Off on New teapots are dog-approved

Willie helps me a lot in the studio.

Willie-on-teapot quilt.gif

Yes, those are teapots… sixteen new ones to be exact. I’m working on my new book, Teapots 2 to Appliqué, and it’s coming right along. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Kay and Willie
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

This is a mite off-topic, but it occurred to me after I wrote the post about Free Flowers that it might seem a bit odd that I talk about keeping the dog from walking over my project.

Maybe you were picturing a big wiggly golden retriever clambering up on my sewing table? No, Willie the real quilt puppy is a papillon, who weighs 7 pounds and is about the size of a cat. He is very nimble and a great jumper. He leaps up onto the chair and thence to the table with lightning speed. From there his destination is the windowsill, where he looks out over his domain (the neighborhood courtyard).

Willie is 13 years old now. Here’s picture of him taken when he was 12. His head has gone gray but the sable coloration on his back is still vivid red-brown and black.

You have treat for me??

Here’s Willie approving the cover quilt for my first book, Dog Cabin.

Willie at a younger age, helping me unpack after a workshop with Caryl Bryer Fallert.

So that’s the quilt puppy, who walks over my projects and the extension table of my sewing machine, lies on my quilts while I’m trying to quilt them. sleeps in a tub of fabric by the window, and otherwise offers dog help and boon companionship.

Until next time,

Deep breath. Here goes.

I created this blog to explore, celebrate, discuss, and generally delve into the wonderful world of quilting appliqué. I love appliqué. I do it all the time, and I create designs for it. This does not tempt me to proclaim myself an expert. I can happily claim that I am impassioned about the subject. I’ll write about what I know, and a lot of other entries will serve to point appliqué fans toward something interesting.

For more on me and my designs, please visit the “About” pages.

Until next time,