At the recent Glendale guild show, a quilter told me that she had made one of the projects from Scrap-Appliqué Playground. I’m always thrilled to learn these things!


My version of Studio. You can make any sewing room or nook into a studio if you hang up a sign!

Marilyn said, “I made my own version of the black, white and red studio quilt. This wall hanging was made for Cindy, a friend of mine who tried quilting, but decided she prefers making clothing. Nuts, in my opinion, hence the name Crazy Couture.”

Crazy Couture
Marilyn Robinson
Hawthorne, CA
Size: 18 x 12

I love it! Very Project Runway, don’t you think?

When I told Marilyn that it means so much to me when other quilters take my designs and personalize them, she said, “I am trying to develop my creativity now, instead of just copying what others do. This is my first baby step. :-)”

I’d call it a giant step. Thanks for the Show & Tell Marilyn!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Seasons Greetings!

Admin note: the previous drawing for a year’s subscription to the new Quilt Pattern Magazine in still underway. The winner will be chosen the first week of January.

Now on to today’s post. Last year at this time I did a special double giveaway to celebrate my birthday on the 17th (not to mention the other holidays). It was so much fun and made me feel like my birthday lasted for a week! So we’re doing it again this year.

When the nephews were kids, Dana and I used to travel to Minneapolis for Christmas. Now that the boys are all tall and college-y, we stay home and enjoy the comforts of our own living room at Christmastime. Much as I loved seeing the boys dive through their presents, now I love our quiet celebration at home.

And so, in keeping with that theme, I’ve selected two titles that play on the theme of Comfort.

First we have ‘Tis the Season: Quilts and Other Comforts.

Tis-the-Season-B1030

As the authors Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks say, “Adding just a few accents to a room can change the feel of that space from everyday to holiday.” In that spirit, the book offers simple and charming quilts and projects to “keep your home well dressed for winter!”

Screen shot 2010-12-14 at 9.21.40 AM

Jeanne and Shelley should be experts in the field, since they live in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Brrr!

The book starts out with basic information on fabric selection and preparation, then moves on the the authors’ favorite special techniques. Included here are fusible-web appliqué, fusible-interfacing appliqué, working with wool, hand-embroidering, making vines, and finishing basics.

Then, on to the projects! There are detailed instructions for very cute pillows and wall quilts to welcome Santa and the season (you can see one on the cover), cozy lap quilts, cheery welcoming table toppers, a whimsical primitive wool runner, and tons of inspirational decorating ideas.

joy-pillow

wool-runner

What I really like about these projects is all the words! Plus, the templates given in the book are full-size and already reversed for your ease of use in fusible-web appliqué.

Our second offering is Country Comforts: Quilts for Casual Living.

B1038-Country-Comforts

Country Comforts by Cheryl Wall is full of that comfy old-fashioned primitive style that I appreciate so well.

The author’s introduction is an inspiration unto itself. “I’m drawn to the primitive style of quilting and crafting because of the freedom it allows me to make projects that are less than perfect but still beautiful,” says Cheryl. “I believe that the creative process should be fun and soul satisfying.” Right on sister! Worrying about stuff only robs us of the enjoyment of quiltmaking.

The books starts out with the basics of quiltmaking, including supplies you’ll need and some info on the types of fabrics that work well for this style, also rotary cutting, chain piecing, pressing, freezer-paper-on-top hand appliqué, wool appliqué, and hand-embroidery stitches. Finishing your quilt is covered too.

Most of the warm and inviting projects in the book are a combination of patchwork and appliqué, a combo platter that just always works. You’ll find quilts for laps, beds, tables, walls, or just plain draping over something. All of them will lend your home that air of casual comfort and relaxation.

mountains-meadows

baskets-blooms

If you’d like to enter the drawing to win these two titles courtesy of That Patchwork Place, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, December 18.

Those subscribed by email or feed reader, remember that you’re not actually on the blog when you read the posts. You’ll need to click the title of the post to be taken to All About Appliqué on the internet, where you’ll be able to leave a comment at the bottom of the post and enter the drawing. U.S. and Canada only due to the cost of shipping.

Good luck everyone and I hope you are having a happy holiday season!

Until next time,
Kay, Dana, and Willie!
By Kay Mackenzie

willie-mys-val2

One of the most amazing women I know is fellow Santa Cruz quilter and fabric designer ellen edith. She makes story quilts about the many wacky and also meaningful things that have happened in her life. These quilts are so full of color, life, verve, and a million other energetic words. It’s a style I greatly admire.

Recently ellen sent out photos of her latest quilt, First Date.


ellen:

I just finished a new story quilt celebrating the day I met Larry. I want to share the finished quilt, story and a few close-up details with you:

butterfly-quilt-1

My first date with Larry was bicycling to the monarch butterfly preserve. He was so cute & I was so nervous I was yacking away. He finally said “If you would lie down & be quiet the butterflies might land on you!” Right then I knew I could relax & be myself around him. We have had 15 wonderful years.

butterfly-detail1

I painted his favorite shirt with dog paw prints & the motto “Down Boy Down!”

butterfly-detailellen

I used some of my own butterfly fabric, dressed myself in bright colors & added a vintage pin as a hair ornament.


Santa Cruz is in the migratory path of the Monarch Butterfly. Each fall we look forward to their visit. I can just picture this lovely scene at Natural Bridges State Park.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

whimsiesMary Lou Weidman is one of my most favorite admired quiltmakers and authors. Her Whimsies & Whynots: A Playful Approach to Quiltmaking has been on my bookshelf for years.

And so it was with great pleasure that I received a copy of Mary Lou’s latest book Out of the Box: Unleash Your Creativity Through Quilts from Martingale & Company as our featured appliqué book for this month.

out-of-the-box

Mary Lou’s quiltmaking style is one of riotous, colorful fun, personal meaning, and brave and fearless fabric choices. (It was through her that I first noticed and learned to appreciate the color “cheddar.”) This book is an inspiration to anyone who is willing to be inspired, and Mary Lou writes at length about the process of discovering your inner artist, inviting play and discovery, and listening to yourself instead of to your friends and/or critics.

Every day you have at your disposal the ability to think big, think colorful, think happy, think with large imaginative images, think clever, think expressive, think funny, think lofty, think about the past, think about the future, and think things that no one but you can think of. You have the ability to think ‘out of the box’ and to share your wonderful thoughts and your imagination with others in the form of art, in this case, quilts.

How different is that from the quilting rut of choosing colors and fabrics that “go” with our living rooms, of fretting over “perfect” precise blocks, of fearing the quilt police so that our childlike creative voices are stifled?
contents

What is out of the box? “Push the lid open and jump out!” says Mary Lou, and she gives us a checklist of 24 sample items to test our position in relation to the box. After administering this self-test I discovered that I am not quite out LOL, but I can peep over the lid.

This book holds quite a bit of wisdom, more reading and thoughtiness that your average quilting book I’d say. It’s a process book rather than a product book. I really appreciate that approach. When I’m in my booth at quilt shows, I’m often asked, “How long did it take you to make that?” or, “How long would it take to learn to do that?” Wow, that’s a really product-oriented type of thinking. I want to reply, “Does it matter, if you’re enjoying yourself?”

gmas-kitchen

Mary Lou emphasizes the need to think and daydream, and this struck a chord with me as well. Often, what happens to me during shows is that when I have some down time… slow periods on the show floor, or upon waking up too early in the morning… I seize a pen and paper and write down long list of thoughts that flood into my brain. The inspiration and energy that comes from being at a quilt show turns on a tap for me and I love it when the daydreaming flow of creativity starts. Mary Lou says we need to set aside time for this every day to doodle, think, and imagine.
(Yes, you really can find a half an hour each day.)

testers

There’s a list of creativity stoppers to watch out for (like, ‘there is only one right answer’), pages and pages of inspiration exercises and sources found in our everyday lives, how the author shops for fabric, a section on words in quilts, and lots of information on color. How about being shown the eight styles of fabric! This was an eye-opener for me and something I especially enjoyed.

Then there’s an extensive gallery of the author’s quilts and short-story quilts made by her friends and students. Martingale has done their usual fantastic job on the photography… kudos Brent Kane!!! The quilts burst from the pages. Mary Lou finishes up the book by talking about the making of short-story quilts and how you can derive them from your own life. She shares “secrets” of scale, theme, focus, design elements, drawing, creating patterns, and also shares her own methods of appliqué. Borders, quilting, finishing, and embellishing (‘the icing on the cake’) are also included.

Out of the Box is quite a pep talk and an energizing boost! If you’d like to win a copy, leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Tuesday, April 6, 2010. (U.S. and Canada only.) Tell us why you need this book in your quiltmaking life!

The winner will also receive a copy of my book Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes. Thank you Martingale!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

When I started a blog about appliqué, I said to myself, “You outghta be a member of The Appliqué Society.” So I joined up. I’ve received three newsletters so far, which have given me some sense of what the organization is all about. This from the TAS website:

    “The Appliqué Society’s mission is To Promote, to Teach, and to Encourage the Love of All Types of Appliqué in Quilting. We work to educate and promote public interest in the world of appliqué, as well as encourage and inspire creativity. The Appliqué Society (TAS) and its members want to ensure that the art of appliqué will continue through the generations.”
The ABCs of Words on Quilts, Pamela Humphries, author of Award-Winning Appliqué Birds, and Ricky Tims, author of Rhapsody Quilts. Within each interview there’s always a question or two about the designers’ techniques, which I’ve found truly illuminating in each case.

There are free patterns, as I said in many cases lovingly hand-drawn, features on specific topics in appliqué, product reviews, etc. In three issues I’ve picked up at least six tips! I’ll share just one of them, to give you an example. Member Jan Walter from central Illinois contributed a darling Santa pattern, and gives advice about the white beard and mustache: “For iron-on appliqué, back your whites by ironing a medium-weight interfacing on the back before ironing on the fusible web.” Thank you, Jan! We’ve all struggled with what do do about shadow-through with white appliqué pieces.

TAS has many noted professional members among its midst, who do a lot to support the organization by contributing patterns and articles. TAS membership also gives you the opportunity to join or start a local chapter, and stitch with like-minded quilters.

You might enjoy belonging to the Society as well. Visit the TAS website.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

My little dog Willie loves to go places, and loves to come back. He’s a good traveler, but I think he’s the very happiest when all of his pack are at home.

As you know, he helps me in the studio and is my boon companion while I’m working on all of my “stuff.” Here he is checking out my latest project, Home.

willie-on-home.jpg

Yes, that’s right, the ink was hardly dry on Teapots 2 to Appliqué when I was already hard at work on another quilt design. I’ve been in a phase of doing things I haven’t done before, and it’s great! Home is more primitive and folksy than what I’ve done before, and I love it.

I knew the word “Home” would be front and center, and didn’t worry about how I was going to get it on there until I was ready to do it. After all, I co-wrote an article about words in quilts, which appeared in American Quilter. I knew I had some tricks up my sleeve! But when it came to it, I ended up doing… guess what… something I hadn’t done before.

home-word.jpgOkay, so I’ve made plenty of bias tape in my life with my trusty green gadget (see the post on stems and skinny stems) but I’ve usually stitched both sides, either by hand or machine. This time I just zig-zagged down the center of each strip with black thread. Then I made a trip to the store to get some fresh Fray Chek (the bottle in my drawer was ancient, probably came with me from Ohio 11 years ago). I used a tiny bit of this seam sealant on the raw ends of the letters to prevent fraying. I ended up with the folksy look I was after for this project.

Home‘s going to be a booklet with full-size patterns printed in it. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Here’s another block from Growing Hearts to Appliqué. A fun one, yes?

seed-packet.jpgWhen brainstorming on a theme,”growing hearts” or whatever, it’s so wonderful to let your imagination roam free and think up all sorts of notions about how to portray your ideas.

For this crazy design, I used freezer-paper templates on top, and I hand-embroidered the letters. The little black heart seeds are inked on with a permanent fabric marker.

And don’t faint, but maybe you can see that this quilt is hand-quilted. It still happens now and again.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

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

This cutie was also made for the “Ways With Words” article (see previous post). In the article there are some notes about using Ultrasuede™ for making letters, but there wasn’t room for a photo example, so the quilt didn’t make it into the article.

It’s called “Peek A Boo” (as distinguished from my “Peekaboo” quilt pattern, which was named for a traditional quilt block).


The shy bear was needle-turned and then hand-buttonhole-stitched around the edges. For the letters in his sign, I used fusible web, being careful not to smash down the texture of the ultrasuede when fusing.


Ultrasuede is a slightly fluffy synthetic material that doesn’t ravel, so you don’t have to finish the edges. I used some embroidery floss in a running stitch to embellish the letters and to hold them in place permanently.

The frame and post of the sign are also ultrasuede, which I machine-buttonhole-stitched.

So, quite a mixture of techniques from my appliqué bag of tricks for this little quilt!

Until next time,
Kay

P.S. I got the ultrasuede scraps inexpensively on ebay.

P.P.S. If you’d like to see the other Peekaboo, you are invited to visit my patterns page at Quilt Puppy.

I conspired with my friend ellen edith on an article in the latest issue of American Quilter Magazine (Projects 2007). I called the article “Ways With Words.” It ended up being “The Write Stuff: Ways With Words.” As you might be able to tell, the article talks about several different ways of including words in quilts. Appliqué is of course a natural choice.

For the article, I made a little quilt called “Time 4 Tea.” It’s 24″x 18″, and in the magazine is living large on about a half a page!

The letters, the large curly 4, the clock frame, and the teapot are fused and machine blanket-stitched. The clockface numerals are inked on with a permanent fabric pen.

Over at the Quilt Puppy Show & Tell Center, there’s a beautiful quilt (also tea-themed) with words on it that were exquisitely hand-appliquéd by Cheryl Booton. Go see Tea Time For Good Friends.