New on the website: a brand-new pattern, Flying Fan Kites.

As I was working on Scrap-Appliqué Playground, which whacks together scraps and cuts appliqués out of them, I jotted down ideas for taking the idea on a tangent and using traditional pieced blocks.

Flying Fan Kites is the first pattern from that list! You piece a fan and then cut a kite and kite-tails out of it! It’s fun! This is a little guy, 12″ x 16″.

The kites are paper-pieced. Do not groan. Do not fear the paper-piecing. I made it so systematic, so no-brainer, you will not get confused or sew a piece into place that won’t cover when flipped. The full-size foundations are included and ready to use.

Once the fans are pieced, I use paper-backed fusible web for the machine-appliquéd kites and kite-tails. I’ve now started to offer SoftFuse in the 10-pack, and that’s up on my website too, in the Notions section.

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

Today I am utterly delighted to turn the blog over to Iris Frank, contributing editor to American Quilter magazine, friend, and and current president of my home guild, PVQA.

Iris has a wonderful Show & Tell for us. Take it away Iris!

Marina Rosario was a member of our PVQA Small Quilt Group and is very accomplished appliquér. She was such a loss when she left the area and we still talk about how much we miss her and her inspiration. The year after she moved to Oregon, Marina sent me a quilt entitled Tea is for the Birds for entry in our local annual PVQA Quilt Show.

Tea is For the Birds by Marina Rosario

Tea is For the Birds by Marina Rosario

I’m an avid feeder of backyard birds and the minute I opened the box and saw the quilt, I fell in love with it! I emailed Marina to ask if she would consider selling it. Her reply was, “Oh, no, I spent over a year making that quilt.” After the show, I was asked if I thought Marina would consider letting the quilt stay in Santa Cruz for a couple of months so it could be used as a decoration for the upcoming UC-Santa Cruz Mother’s Day Tea, since it was so perfect. Marina agreed and I had the privilege of enjoying the quilt for the intervening time period.

After the tea, I emailed Marina to let her know I was packing it up to return to her and begged her again to sell it to me. To my delight, after explaining her cats would probably just use the quilt as their bed anyway since she didn’t have enough wall space to hang it, she guessed she would let me purchase it!! It’s currently decorating my living room wall and everyone who sees it has a positive comment about it…the design (a Marina original) is wonderful and the workmanship is absolutely exquisite! And I love it!!

I love it too! What a masterpiece. Good news! All nine block patterns are available in Marina’s Runs With Scizzors Etsy shop.

Here are a few closeups for your enjoyment.

Thanks Iris!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie has declared that the winner of Janet Pittman’s Appliqué: The Basics & Beyond is… Number 3, Melody!

Melody says that this book will be perfect since she is just learning how to do applique, and she’s very excited. Welcome to appliqué, Melody!

I must apologize for stating that the contest ended Friday, June 7. As they say on TV, I can explain! You see, I’m calendar-challenged. My whole life I have never been able to wrap my head around the fact that calendars split the weekend and put Sunday at the beginning. It’s a deep-seated conceptual thing that I’ve never overcome. So, just for the future, if my day and date don’t line up, go by the day, not the date LOL! I looked at the end of the week, which to me is Friday, and it said 7.

You remember during our recent Book-A-Round that Erin Russek was turning her darling appliqué design into a pattern? She named it Miss Kay and I feel very highly honored. You can check out Miss Kay in Erin’s Etsy shop. Thank you Erin! It’s not every day that one is immortalized in a gorgeous appliqué pattern.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Fran V. wrote:

I have found that there are a lot of assumptions made when it comes to actually stitching the pieces together and in what order. For some blocks it is rather obvious, but for others not so much, especially in more complicated blocks. Some direction here would be nice.

Fran, there are two ways of thinking about what a pattern should provide. Some patterns come with little numbers all over them indicating stitching order of the pieces. To me they look like they have the measles LOL. I’m in the other camp. You know that old expression, “If somebody’s hungry, you can give them a fish, or you can teach them to fish.”

numbered-roseRose block from Easy Appliqué Blocks.

The same process applies whether the pattern is simple and the order is obvious, or when the pattern is quite complicated and has many pieces and layers. Take charge! Just look and see which pieces are partially behind others, and start with them. Build from the back to the front. If it helps you, you can jot down your own measles on your master pattern. :)

Fran also wrote,

Also some hints on deep curves and points would be nice. Could you use your wavy blades to cut these out to eliminate the fray while you work with them?

We’re covered points, notches, and curves in previous posts. As for the wavy blades… wow! Now that’s a thought! A scary one! It’s a good thing Clover makes microserrated scissors with this very idea in mind. They’re like teeny tiny pinking shears. I carry them on my website in the 5″ hand-scissor size, in the Notions section.


Karen Kay Buckley also has her own brand in a larger and a smaller size on her website.

Miscroserrated scissors don’t exactly eliminate fraying. I don’t think anything can — it’s cut fabric after all — but they do make the cut edge less prone to fraying.

Hope this helps! Thanks for your question Fran! So glad you are enjoying the blog.
Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

This just in from my pal Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics:

I’m SO excited to announce a new project! I’ve teamed up with author Terri Thayer, actually she’s the one that approached me with the project over a year ago. She’s writing an 8 month series of stories called Tales of the Quilt Shop, and I’m creating an applique project to go along with it called Sugarplums.

You have GOT to go and take a look at the first block on Holly’s Blog Sprinkles of Thought. If there were anything cuter it wouldn’t be allowed by law. Way to go Holly! Not only that, Holly includes a link to her glue-stick turned-edge hand-appliqué tutorial.

Back soon,
By Kay Mackenzie

I got home from Phoenix yesterday, safe and sound. I was looking through the mail that had accumulated and what should I discover but the March/April issue of Quiltmaker magazine with my project in it!


I met the magazine’s editors while I was in Salt Lake City last May for Spring Market, and we’ve been working on getting a design of mine into the magazine ever since. It’s finally here!


This was made entirely out of one line of fabric, Memories of Provence by Monique Dillard for Maywood Studio. The fabric line was a pleasure to work with and gave me every single thing I needed to make the quilt. It’s hand appliquéd and machine quilted.

Update: the pattern, now called Climbing Vines, is available at my website.

Until then,
By Kay Mackenzie

In contemplating thankfulness, I’d like to shout out a great big Thank You to all of you who follow All About Appliqué. I thoroughly enjoy writing this blog, and it’s gratifying to know that someone is reading. No matter what form of quilting we employ, we all have one thing in common… we are appliqué enthusiasts! Yay!

Ready, Shop, Sew!

In appreciation, I’ve created a coupon for $5 off any order of $10 or more on my website, where all my stuff is. The coupon code is 5OFF and is good through December 10, 2011, for your holiday shopping pleasure. U.S. and Canada only, regular shipping charges apply.

Here are some great ways to take advantage of the coupon. Stocking stuffers for your quilty friends!

When you click on the links below, you’ll be taken to the page on the website where the item is found. If you don’t see it right away, just scroll down.

Vol 4-500Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Volume 4. Only $6.99.

A cute little pattern for your friend who would like to hang this in her sewing room. Just $6.


Magnetic Needleminder, $9.50. These look like beautiful cameos and make fantastic gifties. There are 10 different styles to choose from.


John James #10 Straw/Milliner needles, $3.00. My favorites for hand appliqué.


Clover 5″ miscroserrated scissors, fantastic for appliqué. They’re very grippy on the fabric and the cut edge is less prone to fraying. $23.50

The coupon is good on anything you’d like to order from By Kay Mackenzie, including all of my books, patterns and notions. Maybe you’d like to get a gift for yourself! Have you been looking at Sew the Perfect Gift, Inspired by Tradition, or Teapots 2 to Appliqué? Now’s the time!




Hope you had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I am in awe. The ingenious Darcy Ashton has done it again! You have got to go and see her fabulous new design for making an appliquéd clock!!!

Sewing Room Clocks

Who knew?

By Kay Mackenzie

In the recent Call for Topics, Marcia wrote, “Inspirational shapes… I see your wonderful designs, and the beautiful shapes you appliqué, and I am inspired to try to draw some designs myself (isn’t everyone). But then you begin to draw and you realize your shapes aren’t perfect… so you stop. Where do you come up with your perfect shapes? How do they become perfect? Do you have a collection of shapes? What is the process of drawing a design? Are you drawing by hand, computer… help us create new designs please!”

Christy chimed in as well. “I’d like to join Marcia in asking for more information on how/what you use to design your projects. There are so many appliqué quilts that I’ve tried to draft on my own and I get so frustrated with my lack of drawing ability.”

Marcia and Christy, thank you so much for your nice words about the appearance of my designs. You’re going to laugh when I tell you the honest truth… I can’t draw worth two cents!!!

With my HAND that is.

Several years ago I sent in a pattern for the newsletter of The Appliqué Society, and when the editor saw that I use the computer to render my designs, she asked me to write an article about it. I’m reprinting that article here. It’ll gives you some insight into how this particular designer goes about it.


Designing on the Computer
by Kay Mackenzie

I cannot draw. That’s the truth… put a piece of paper and a pencil in my hands and I can’t draw a stick figure as well as a first grader! Yet I’m an appliqué designer. How can this be?

Computer illustration came to my aid. Somehow, being able to use the drawing and modifying tools on the computer circumvents the hole in my brain where sketching ability is supposed to be. Computer illustration handed me a career.

edna-broke broke

You certainly don’t have to be a professional designer to use computer programs to draw appliqué patterns. Anybody who’s computer-friendly can give it a whirl!

Here are some of the things that I can do with ease on the computer.

• I can draw perfect circles, ovals, spirals, squares, rectangles, and triangles, and move them around. I can align shapes just right. I can make shapes bigger or smaller, with thicker lines or thinner lines, or tweak a shape any way I want to.

• I can play, experiment, mess around to my heart’s content until I’m satisfied. Thank goodness for the heavenly “undo” feature! If I don’t like something I’ve done, I can make it go away instantly.

• I can take my own photo and use it as a template.

• I can drag and drop, duplicate, rotate my shapes, or turn them mirror-image – even keep the original the way it is and make a copy that’s bigger or smaller, rotated or reflected.

• I can easily add text to a drawing.

• Once I get a block drawn, I can make it an 8” block, a 9” block, or any size block with just a couple of clicks.

• And, most importantly for appliqué, I can create graceful curved lines! This last feature is the key to appliqué design on the computer. With this ability I can render any curvy motif.

scotty little-scotty

If all this sounds fun and intriguing to you, then maybe you’d like to take up computer illustration too!

In considering a computer program to use for appliqué design, what you want to look for is one that includes vector drawing tools. Vector graphics create smooth controlled curved lines, which are what you want for appliqué. Another term that’s used in vector graphics is “Bézier curves”… that’s the name of the curves that the vectors are defining. The great thing about vector shapes is that they do not “pixelate” or become blurry, no matter how much bigger or smaller you make them.

The program I use is Adobe Illustrator®, a high-end professional program with a steep price and a steep learning curve. In Illustrator, the Bézier tool is called the pen tool. It’s the hardest but most important tool in the whole toolbox. The freehand drawing tool is called the pencil tool. That one gives you less graceful shapes right off the bat, but they can be edited.

There are several other programs that include vector drawing. CorelDraw is a very good program, and from what I understand, more affordable than Illustrator.

The quilting-dedicated programs Quilt-Pro and Electric Quilt also have vector drawing tools, equivalent to the ones I use in Illustrator. These programs designed for the quilter also have some handy features that a general illustration program doesn’t include.

I contacted Quilt-Pro to ask about appliqué features. Their answer gal Linda responded with the following information: “Quilt-Pro has both the freehand curve and the Bézier curve. Quilt-Pro also features the Patch Stamp tool, which has over 50 predesigned appliqué motifs including flowers, leaves, stems, flower pots, hearts, stars, fruit, grape & leaves, birds and butterflies. You can also add your own motifs to the patch stamp tool to use over again.

“The program comes with a manual and what we call the Quilt-Pro Assistant, a help tool built into the program. It’s very useful. We have a message board to pose questions, plus email support and phone support. “

During a Quilt Market trade show, I stopped by the Electric Quilt booth to chat about appliqué drawing. EQ has the same equivalent tools, and also a companion lesson book available called EQ6 Appliqué Drawing by Angie Padilla. Here’s a blurb from EQ advertising about the book: “No prior drawing experience required. Start a beginner – end up an expert! Learn to draw vines and leaves, invent appliqué folk art, import photos to trace… draw a wedding cake with flowers and so much more!”

All of the programs have built-in help functions that explain how each tool works.

I got my start in digital media classes at my local community college. That’s another great way to dip your toes into the exciting world of computer illustration! I didn’t even have to own a copy of the program in order to learn the basics of how to use it.

sm-r-basket little-rose-basket

However you get started in computer drawing, just remember that it takes three things to succeed: Lessons, Practice, and Determination. The lessons could be simply reading and following the print or on-line manual, or purchasing one of the many third-party tutorial books available. The practice part is true of anything new. The determination is something that I pass along to you from Sue Nickels, who gave this advice in a machine quilting class when we were struggling to achieve anything like her masterful work.

It could be that you already have one or more of these drawing programs on your computer. Or maybe now that you’ve read more about computer appliqué drawing, you’re ready to choose the program that’s right for you.

Whatever program you try, learn those vector tools! My best piece of wisdom is this: Strive for the smooth curve afforded by mastery of the pen tool.



Interesting and very geeky, no? I do have a weird combination of interests in my strange brain that makes computer illustration perfect for me. It’s not going to be for everyone, though. At this point I’d like to issue an invitation to anyone out there who draws their own original appliqué designs by hand. Come on down and do a guest post for us! Give us the flip side! Contact me at kay at kaymackenzie dot com.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who visited during the recent blog hop and left nice comments about my Party Frock. Several people suggested that the block would look nice done up in multiples, with different dresses. Great idea! That may just to be something that I need to revisit in the future!

A couple designing buddies of mine have just come out with new patterns that are extremely high on the cuteness scale.

Last fall I blogged about the Tokay Stitchers show, where I had the good fortune to be next-door-neighbors with Rita and Debbie of Lady Bug Lace.

The gals just put out a new pattern called No More Monkeys.

no-more-monkeys-quiltIs that fun or what??

Rita and Debbie told me that since some of the appliqué pieces in the pattern are large, they decided to print one large copy of the design, thinking this would be easier for the quilter than taping several smaller pieces together. The drawing can be taped up onto a sliding glass door or a large window to trace the appliqué pieces, and you can also use the whole drawing to place under the background fabric for placement of the appliqué pieces.

That is certainly an added convenience for the quilter! No More Monkeys is available from their Etsy store.

Neeext… Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics is at it again! She has just released a darling new quilt pattern called To The World.


This pattern started out life as a rubber stamp, like many of Holly’s do, and is now available for quilters. The very cool thing about Holly’s patterns (besides their adorability) is that Holy includes instructions for her freezer-paper-on-top-glue-to-the-back method of preparation for hand appliqué.

To The World is available over on the quilt pattern page at Eat Cake Graphics.

I’m off to Salt Lake City tomorrow for International Quilt Market, Spring Edition. My publisher has lined up a couple book signings for me, which are so much fun and quite a heady experience. See you after I get home!

Until then,
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


Last month I had the privilege of taking a class in Hawaiian appliqué from Maui resident Keri Duke.

Keri was here for Pacific International Quilt Festival and came a week early to give a workshop for our guild. She’s snorkeling buddies with our program chair Tracey Brookshier so yay for us!

It was a beautiful day and a great location for a workshop. We were making a traditional breadfruit (ulu) appliqué. As Keri told us, this is usually the first pattern made by a quilter because it is supposed to bring fruitfulness and good luck in life.


Cutting out the motif, folded in eighths.

Cutting out the motif, folded in eighths.


My big basting stitches. I was the first one done basting; some spent the whole morning just basting, using little bitty precise running stitches instead of big honking toenail catchers. Not necessary, gals. Just throw ’em in there.


Some of the class members chose other colors for their projects.


It looks good any which way you do it.

After the entire dark-green leaf motif was basted, we did traditional needle-turn hand appliqué. I’m a fast stitcher (well, you know, it isn’t my first rodeo) and I had my block all done for Show & Tell at quilt guild the next night. This type of Hawaiian appliqué is about the most fun, I think. Once you get it all prepped, you just sit and stitch and stitch to your heart’s content.

uluMy Ulu.

The following week was PIQF.


The crowd waiting to get in on Thursday morning.

Once I made it inside the doors, I chatted with Keri in her Keri Designs booth, and I was delighted to learn that she and another quilter had curated a special “Colors of Maui” exhibit for the show!


hibiscusThis hibiscus was my favorite entry, and come to find out, it was Keri’s!


If you’d like to go on a tropical tour of the Colors of Maui, there’s a lovely slideshow posted over at The Quilt Show. Enjoy!

By Kay Mackenzie

B1051 Rose of Sharon Block BookThis month’s featured book is The Rose of Sharon Block Book: Winning Designs from the EQ6 Challenge by Sharon Pederson.

A year ago, quilt designer, author, and teacher Sharon Pederson issued a challenge to appliquérs worldwide to design a block using a special fabric collection and just three shapes… the classic eight-lobed scalloped blossom, center circle, and symmetrical leaf that are found in traditional Rose of Sharon blocks. The challenge was a wonderful collaboration among companies: the book from That Patchwork Place, a DVD from Sharon’s company Nine Patch Media, project files and templates available on the Electric Quilt website for anyone who owns the program, shape-cutting dies from Accuquilt, a CD of embroidery designs from Oklahoma Embroidery, and the fabric collection from Island Batik. The very cool thing about this whole event is that it supports a truly worthy cause in the process… the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative.

Sharon received over 850 blocks, from which judges Alex Andersen and Ricky Tims selected 12 winners. Sharon designed a thirteenth block and assembled them into the beautiful quilt that is seen on the cover of the book.

In all, 83 blocks are included in the book for your appliqué pleasure. You can make the cover quilt or you can design your own as you please. You can also use any appliqué method. The author gives information on her own method of machine appliqué but invites quilters to use whatever they prefer. Sharon is known for her method of quilting and joining block-by-block to break the chore down into smaller, more manageable bites, and gives the information in a “Quilting 101” section, but again encourages quilters to use any method of finishing they like.

That Patchwork Place has also put out a boxed set of notecards featuring the winning designs. They just sent me a set!

Rose of Sharon NotecardsThese beautiful 5 x 5 note cards feature the top 12 designs from the challenge, each card showcasing a different block. They’re blank on the inside for adding a personal message and are coming along just in time for holiday stocking stuffers!

I’m really coveting these note cards for myself… but oookay, they’re going in with the book for the drawing. Leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Sunday, November 9, to enter the drawing. Those subscribed by email or feed reader, remember you’ll need to click over to the blog itself to leave a comment.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for the newsletter of the Appliqué Society and in the process contacted Electric Quilt to get some information about the appliqué features of the program. Here’s what I wrote:

During the Spring Quilt Market trade show, I stopped by the Electric Quilt booth to chat about appliqué drawing. EQ has the same equivalent drawing tools as Illustrator, and also a companion lesson book available called EQ6 Appliqué Drawing by Angie Padilla. Here’s a blurb from EQ advertising about the book: “No prior drawing experience required. Start a beginner – end up an expert! Learn to draw vines and leaves, invent appliqué folk art, import photos to trace… draw a wedding cake with flowers and so much more!”

Here are some links in case you’d like to follow up a little more.


Electric Quilt 6


Electric Quilt 7


The Electric Quilt Co. Quilt Design Wizard


EQ6 Appliqué Drawing
Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Like a Pro by Angie Padilla
EQ6 Companion Book


Sharon Pederson Presents Rose of Sharon: Winning Designs from the EQ6 Block Challenge

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

The Fall Into Fall Quilt Bloggers Giveaway is in full swing! If you haven’t checked it out yet, by all means do so. Winners will be drawn on October 15. Visit my giveaway here.

Now to today’s topic. I recently received the most amazing message from Rebecca Hoffmann of Plant City, Florida. It made my day and then some!!

I am a member of Feather Princess Appliqué Guild of Tampa, Florida. One of the sewing circles of the guild is “Sewrority Sisters Appliqué Sewciety.” We meet once a month for four hours of sewing and fun at one of the local libraries. We wanted to give something to the library for allowing us to use one of their rooms, so we decided to make a raffle quilt and donate all the proceeds to the Riverview Library.

I contacted you last year about using your basket patterns for a raffle quilt, and you gave us permission. My group has finally finished the quilt and I’m sending a photo of it.

Basket Quilt by the SSAS,  80 x 100

Basket Quilt by the SSAS, 80 x 100

Is this not a masterpiece of a quilt? I am totally blown away. This is a group of gals who are not afraid of appliqué! They enlarged the blocks, designed a new setting, and embellished many of the blocks in a most delightful fashion, I love it!

Rebecca continues:

Each person donated $10 towards the cost of fabric, batting, etc., for the quilt. Sixteen women volunteered to make blocks, one person did the piecing, another the quilting and another the binding. We used your 16 patterns from Baskets to Appliqué, and I designed four more to make a total of 20 blocks.

My friend Shari Gillis and I designed the sashing for setting the 12″ blocks. Some of the women added their own designs to the baskets and one person changed it completely. The quilt is finished, and we are now in the process of selling the raffle tickets. This is a beautiful quilt, I wish you could see it in person. Thank you so much for allowing us to use your patterns. We are hoping to make a large donation to the library.

Oh my goodness, I should think so! Huge thanks to you and your group, Rebecca, for choosing my basket designs for your quilt. I feel honored. You have elevated the designs and you’ve inspired me!

Here are some closeups of the blocks.



I’m so glad Rebecca sent me closeups so that I could see the delightful sewing doodads that were added to these blocks. How fun! My hat’s off!



rebeccas-blocksHere are the four blocks that Rebecca designed herself. As I told her, they’re so lovely and entirely to my taste. Do we see a new pattern designer emerging here?

Here are two labels for the quilt that Rebecca did up in EQ7.


label bask (2)Great job with the computer work!!

Now a word of news about Baskets to Appliqué. Gentle quilters, it’s very nearly out of print. That’s right, there are now exactly 14 copies left in captivity. But never fear, the designs will still be available once these copies are gone. I’ll be offering all 16 designs in a different format, an unbound pattern pack in a baggie. There won’t be any color photos or instructions, just the designs for your appliqué pleasure. The baskets will go on!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

A celebrity quilt

Filed Under History, Patterns, Quilt shows | Comments Off on A celebrity quilt

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,

I’ve long been an advocate of finding your own method of appliqué, one that’s right for you and gives you results you like. That’s not the same for everyone, and I believe there’s no right and no wrong way, only what pleases you. When quilters stop by my booth at shows and make faces at the “A” word, I tell them they just haven’t found their method.

So I was delighted to take note of a new book by Laurel Anderson called Appliqué Workshop: Mix and Match 10 Techniques to Unlock Your Creativity!


Here’s some information straight from the author herself.

Laurel Anderson:

I wrote this book with the idea that everyone has different design needs and different technique requirements.

The quilter who wants to occupy her time while on a fishing boat or in a doctor’s waiting room will be more interested in hand appliqué or cutting out fused shapes for three-dimensional or fused appliqué. The mother of four with limited time may be delighted with the speed of machine appliqué or the raw-edge technique. The artist who wants creative freedom may mix many methods into one piece of fiber art.

The techniques in the book are grouped into turned-edge, raw-edge and needle-turn appliqué. Each technique has a summery of its best uses. For instance: the Turned Edge with Starch or Glue makes very sharp points on leaves or petals. The 3D Broderie Perse method makes fast and easy daisy petal shapes for wall hangings. It is easier to be creative if you have your choice of many design tools.

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

The book offers ten appliqué methods, two edge-finishing facings, and several different template ideas. As a bonus, there’s a section on color and a chapter on dying fabric for flower quilts. The pullout section gives six full-size, ready-to-use patterns. The instructions teach several techniques for each pattern. If you make them all you will have tried all the techniques!

The book is available from Laurel’s website, Whisper Color. Laurel says to be sure to send her a message in an email telling her who to sign to book to. (There’s a Contact button on the website.) And while you’re on the site, check out the 100% bamboo batting and Laurel’s latest stand-alone pattern, Winter Amaryllis.

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Isn’t this gorgeous?

Thank you, Laurel, for telling us about your exciting new book. I’ll be directing those face-makers to it!!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Jennifer Rounds, co-author of A Dozen Roses (our featured book last month), was delighted to read the wonderful comments about the book. She sent me a premium to offer to one of my readers who already has the book (or who has definite plans to acquire it).


Her pattern “Rose Wreath” is a spinoff of the coverlet project from A Dozen Roses that we were all slavering over. The instructions in the book are the foundation for the pattern’s how-to’s so Jennifer says that it’s better to be familiar with the process in order to complete the project.

If you are already the proud owner of the book (and yes, Barbara you’re eligible :) ), leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Thursday, August 5, for a chance to win this beautiful pattern.

The pattern is available at Rosie Quilters.

Next time, a look at More Fabulous Flowers: Mini-Quilts in Dimensional Appliqué by Sharon Baker.

Until then,
By Kay Mackenzie

I’m delighted today to turn the blog over to appliqué author, designer, and teacher Cheryl Almgren Taylor.

Cheryl Almgren Taylor

Cheryl Almgren Taylor

Cheryl: I am excited to be a guest on Kay’s site today and want to thank her for the invitation to be a part of her blog.

I have loved quilts since I was a small child but never ventured into quilting until 2000. I had been sewing since I was 13 so I had some basic skills down. But I discovered, like many of us, that quilting is a whole new world.

I got into designing because of my grandson Michael and my love of storybooks. I spent 14 years teaching in the elementary grades and loved “read aloud” time with the kids. Several years ago I wanted to make Michael a quilt that would go with his favorite story Going On a Bear Hunt, and this led to the creation of a whole series of quilts that coordinate with childrens’ books. I was surprised and delighted when Martingale & Company (That Patchwork Place) chose to publish my designs in a pattern series entitled Storybook Snugglers.

There were six patterns in this original pattern series from 2007, with two quilt designs in each pattern–one easier version and one more detailed. There are still some patterns available from Martingale.

Monkey Business by Cheryl Almgren Taylor

Monkey Business by Cheryl Almgren Taylor


Last summer my first book Deck the Halls was published featuring a collection of Christmas quilts.

Editor’s note: If you haven’t seen it, check out the post from last November, when Deck the Halls was our featured appliqué book.

Although I love pieced quilts, I am especially drawn to appliqué. Applique enables us to make shapes that are just not possible with piecing, and you don’t have to worry about your quarter inch or matching points! I especially love using batiks and fussy cutting shapes so that the design has shading provided by the fabric. I also like to use a variety of fabrics in the same tonal range when repeating a shape, rather than making everything match. I think it gives more interest to the design. When I’m designing I am almost always telling a story (at least in my head) and my favorite technique is fusible-web appliqué finished with machine blanket stitching.

Wrapped Up in Love from Deck the Halls

Wrapped Up in Love from Deck the Halls

For those of you who have never ventured into the world of fusing, here is some advice I think you might find helpful.

First off, purchasing fusible web can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for. There is everything out there in fusible land, from fusible interfacing to fusible batting. If you have never ventured into this department before, you can become overwhelmed and confused. And depending upon where you are shopping, the store clerk may not know a piece of fusible web from a French fry. The item you want to purchase is paper-backed fusible web. Brands that may be familiar are Heat ‘n Bond, Wonder Under, and Steam a Seam (as well as many others) and I highly recommend a lightweight product.

When using fusible, remember that if your design is asymmetrical you must trace the pattern in reverse on the paper backing of the fusible product. Also remember to trace each piece separately. If you have a large pattern piece, cutting the center portion out of the fusible will create less stiffness in the finished design. My books and patterns all have a section that gives detailed information on this process.

Another important thing you should know about lightweight fusible web is, that it’s a temporary bond. It must be stitched down around the edges or it will eventually float away. This is not true for all fusible webs—only the lightweight type. However, using a heavier fusible makes a stiffer quilt and I don’t recommend using them.

And now we get to the fun part of fusing—finishing the edges! There is such a choice of fabulous threads out there in different weights, colors, and fibers. It’s awesome! So the first thing you have to decide is what element you want the threads to play in the finished product. Do you want them to recede into the background or pop out as a design element? Do you want them to add some pizzazz or blend in? This is an important design element in your quilt and you will be happier with the finished quilt if you decide how this element should look just the same as you select your color choices.

I have developed some personal choices that work for me, but please bear in mind that I don’t work for these companies, receive compensation from them, or guarantee their products. I’m just sharing my personal experiences with you. My “go-to” thread for finishing appliqué edges is Mettler 50 wt. Silk Finish cotton thread in a matching or coordinating color. The thread is thick enough to make it viewable, but it doesn’t distract from the design. If you want your thread to recede a little more, consider using a 60 wt. Mettler or a 50 wt. Aurifil, again in a matching color. Using YLI silk threads in a 50 wt. can give a beautiful, subtle sheen to edges but since the thread is a finer consistency, you may want to be selective in its usage. If you want your thread to pop out and become a design feature, try a slightly darker hue or be bold with a darker thread choice. Using a thicker 40 wt. thread will also make the stitching a dominant part of the design and some people even use a 25 wt. thread, which will be very thick. It will give you a primitive, country feel. Finally, when you want a little glitz, consider a Sulky rayon/polyester or metallic thread. These threads can bring glamour and pizzazz to your work.

I hope this advice is helpful and has inspired you to launch into a new appliqué project. I can only say that if you’ve been afraid to try fusible web before, give it a try. It’s a very user-friendly technique.

Happy quilting!

Kay: Thank you Cheryl! It was a treat learning more about you, and your appliqué wisdom is much appreciated. We’re “like this” in so many ways. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

“A woman is like a tea bag.”

Filed Under Articles, Patterns | Comments Off on “A woman is like a tea bag.”

That’s the way a fantastic tea-themed blog post starts out, over at Quilt Inspiration! Find out why Eleanor Roosevelt thought so in this comprehensive article all about tea, teapot quilts, and teapot fabrics.

Oriental Teapot by Verona Flint and Kay Mackenzie

Oriental Teapot by Verona Flint and Kay Mackenzie

Quilt Inspiration is written by Marina and Daryl, a team of quilt lovers and “idea collectors.” There are many other fascinating themed articles as well on their exceedingly nice blog, so fix a cup of tea and relax awhile.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I had a few blocks left over that weren’t right for my new book for That Patchwork Place. It’s fun to have a pile of untapped potential!

Meet my newest little pattern, Sew Crazy.


Yes that’s right, it’s our favorite little sewing machine kept company by easy crazy-patch borders in a 15 x 15 mini-quilt. I used fusible machine appliqué on this one, but of course you can use whatever method you like.

I’m giving one away, but there’s a condition… if you win you have to make one in the next 6 months and send me a picture for the blog! :) Leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, April 30, to enter the draw. U.S. and Canada only please.

Sew Crazy is available on the patterns page at By Kay Mackenzie.

until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

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