Not that long ago, American Patchwork & Quilting magazine launched a companion website called AllPeopleQuilt … APQ, get it? I was intrigued by a mention in the latest print magazine about quilting classes on-line, so I surfed on over to check it out.

Two appliqué classes head up their list of offerings. Linda Hohag is demonstrating a starch technique, and Pat Sloan is showing how to she does fusible appliqué. It looks like these are on-demand videos.

On the site, there’s also an area called “Try Techniques.” Click on the Appliqué section for gobs of free tips and tricks for a variety of methods.

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

Designer Susan Brubaker Knapp has posted a wonderful photo tutorial on her blog about how to use Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles™ templates to make prepared-edge circles for hand appliqué.

I have a set of KKB’s templates tucked away in my appliqué bag of tricks. The circle templates come in a whole lot of different sizes and they come with a ring so you can keep them all corraled.

Be sure to visit Susan’s website also, Blue Moon River. Susan has some beautiful patterns there, including stunning block-of-the-month appliqué patterns.

Thanks Susan!

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

When it comes to stems or vines, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (Just an expression, I’ve had three cats for seventeen years and haven’t skinned any of them yet :) .)

Here’s a photo tutorial on stems and skinny stems, two ways each. That’s four stems! In all cases this is hand appliqué, however, they can be adapted to be sewn on the machine.

Here’s how I was first taught to do stems.

Cut a bias strip 1″ wide or wider and press it in half, wrong sides together, lengthwise. Mark the stem or vine on the front of the background fabric.

Sorry if you can’t see the pencil mark too well… there’s a big storm in California today and there’s no good natural light.

Place the folded bias strip over the marked line, kind of averaging its position. Fold over the raw edges to where they fall short of the other side and crease to give yourself an idea of the stitching line.

Stitch the vine to the background fabric using a small running stitch (left side of picture). Then roll the folded edge over the stitching, covering the raw edges of the other side. Appliqué the fold down (right side of picture). Disregard the position of the needle in this picture; I laid it down in haste.

To make a skinny stem the same way, just stitch much closer to the fold.

Trim away the excess, very close to the stitches. Roll and sew the same as before.

A pretty good skinny stem.

Now, on to the method I use most of the time now, with my trusty green gadget, the Clover® ¼” bias tape maker. Cut a bias strip that is 5/8″ wide. Yes, just 5/8″! Cut the top so that it angles upwards to the left — it seems to feed through better this way.

Poke the strip right-side-up into the wider end of the gadget until you can see the fabric in the slot at the top. Use the tip of a pin to pull the strip through the slot until it sticks out the narrow end. Pin the strip to the ironing board. Use a glass-head pin, so you don’t have to worry about melting a plastic pin.


Using a hot iron and plenty of steam, pull the gadget along the strip in one smooth, fairly rapid motion, following it closely with the iron. Don’t stop part-way through, or try to back up. Smoothness is key.

Important: Hold your iron so that the steam vents are not directed at your fingers.


You can make bias strips fusible by applying thin strips of paper-backed fusible web. I do this as a second step. I actually cut the strip of fusible in half lengthwise to make a very thin strip, which I find is enough. The product comes on a roll and is found alongside the bias tape makers.

Using a dry iron, press the fusible strip to the back of the bias strip. Remove the paper backing and steam-press the stem over the marked line. Then it’ll be ready to stitch.

To make a skinny stem this way, make another bias strip with the gadget, and press one side out flat again. Trim along the crease.

Get out your glue stick and run it along the wrong side of the strip. Pick up the strip and pinch the raw edge back over to the center. It should stick with cheerful obedience. It if doesn’t, use a little more glue or make sure the glue stick is fresh.

If you prefer to skip the gluing, you can use a hybrid method! Appliqué the folded edge first, then tuck under the raw edge on the other side as you stitch.

All four, placed improvisationally on the background and, for some strange reason, from bottom to top!

I hope this has helped you if you were looking for information on how to make stems or skinny stems. There are other methods too… remember those cats I mentioned?

Over at the Quilter’s Newsletter website, I did a quick search and came up with several tutorials on how to make skinny stems. Check them out as well!

Until next time,
Kay

My appliqué friend Pam Crooks is a member of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG), a national organization devoted to quilt-related studies, especially the history of quilts, the women and men who made them, and the fabrics they used.

A couple of nights ago, Pam spread her AQSG study quilt out on the floor for show and tell. Oooh!


photo tutorial), and hand-appliquéd them in place.


The completed study quilts tour for two years to various quilt shows and museums. For more information on the AQSG, please visit their site.


Pam is an appliqué artiste extraordinaire, oui?

Until next time,
Kay

One more quilt from “the article” (see previous two posts). This one had its own sidebar!

I made this quilted sign to hang in my sewing room, thereby elevating its status to a “studio.” If you make a sign for your sewing room it can be a studio too!


To form the letters, I made bias tape with my trusty green gadget, the original Clover® ¼” bias tape maker.

Then I used the fusible strip that comes on a roll, except I cut it in half lengthwise to make a very thin strip applied to the center of the bias tape only. That keeps things more flexible.

A fat eighth of fabric formed the backdrop as I played with the arrangement of the letters, sticking pins straight down into them to hold them until I was happy with how they looked. Then I fused them in place. I put tearaway stabilizer behind, and topstitched the letters on both sides. After removing the stabilizer, I added the strippy borders and machine-quilted the sign. Then I got into my button box and tied buttons through the quilt over all of the raw edges of the letters, and now it looks like a quirky typeface!

Bias tape letters are informal, folksy, and fun. Save this technique for a project where the letters are meant to be tall and skinny, because the wider the strips the less flexible they are.

Until next time,
Kay

Designer Anna Maria Horner posted a great photo tutorial showing an ingenious way to make prepared-edge circles using aluminum foil! Visit her blog.

Upon graduation from my beginning quilting class (think 1992), I took off like a rocket on my own. I made a big sampler quilt, hand-pieced and hand-quilted, and loved every minute of it.

An early heartHere’s one of the blocks I made using a freezer paper template on the back. This is a good method for a beginner, and lots of appliquérs prefer to appliqué this way.



Step 1For this method, trace the shape on the paper side of the freezer paper.

If the design is asymmetrical, you’ll need to reverse the pattern first.

Step 2Cut out the template on the drawn line and iron it to the wrong side of the appliqué fabric.

Tip: Ironing on top of a piece of cardboard creates a better bond.
Step 3Cut out the fabric, leaving about ¼” beyond the template.
Step 4Turn the fabric over the template, basting the margin to the freezer paper as you go. Clip any notches almost to the template, and sparingly clip any inside curves. (This heart doesn’t have any inside curves.)

Here it is, partially basted.

Step 5All basted-ed.

This is a method of prepared-edge appliqué, as the edge is turned before you start to stitch. However, it’s only roughly turned, and there will be bumps (aka “pokies”) along the edge that you will need to work out as you go.

Step 6
Back view.

Step 7
Baste the motif in place on the background fabric.

Now there are two rows of basting.

Step 8Appliqué the motif, using the needle to smooth and refine the turned edge as you go.

Here it is, all stitched.

Step 9There are three ways of removing the freezer paper. As seen here, you can completely stitch the motif, remove all basting stitches, slit the background fabric, and pull out the template. Here the template has already been pulled out.

Step 10Instead of just slitting the background fabric, you can cut it away, leaving about ¼” inside the stitching.

Or, to preserve the back, you can remove the basting and pull out the template before you have quite finished stitching the block, finishing up the stitching with no template inside.

All doneAll done!


BENEFITS
• Edge is turned for you
• Easier to place motif accurately, since edge is turned
• Freezer paper template provides a crisp, well-defined sewing line
• Accurate results

TRADEOFFS
• More prep time (double basting)
• Freezer paper feels stiff and crackles while working
• Sometimes you sew through the paper
• Extraordinary measures must be used to remove template

Every quilter weighs the benefits and tradeoffs of any particular method, and it is up to you to decide which way the balance swings. The “right” method is the one that’s right for you.

Making this heart was a nice trip down memory lane for me. Since I made the sampler quilt I’ve learned a few other appliqué methods. And, let’s just say I’ve also learned the benefits of more quilting in a quilt!

Let’s hear from you appliqué fans about this method. Is this your favorite? Any tips? Did I leave something out? Chime in!

Until next time,
Kay

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