January 1, 2012

And we have a great book as our featured selection to start things off right!

Pennies From Heaven: Celebrated Quilt and Companion Projects by Gretchen Gibbons.


The title of the book and cover quilt comes from the old term “penny rug,” so called because of the circles, usually wool, that are blanket-stitched onto a base in decorative patterns. As Gretchen says, this style is “primitive, colorful, and funky all at the same time.”

Gretchen enjoys working with wool, and calls it the easiest appliqué technique, for several reasons:

• There are no edges to turn.
• There’s no right or wrong side, so you don’t have to reverse patterns.
• You don’t have to use fusible web (though you can if you want to).
• Cutting on the straight of grain or on the bias works equally well.
• The blanket stitching can be done by hand or machine.
• Hand-dyed wools come in yummy colors.

The book starts out with instructions for felting wool, which is the process that shrinks it, mats the fibers together, and eliminates raveling. Then there are complete instructions for wool appliqué, a color guide for the motifs used in the book’s projects, and information on needles, threads, and beads, and embroidery. There’s good advice on batting, mixing cottons and wools within a project, quilting considerations, and attaching a hanging sleeve.

Besides the cover quilt with its 10 beautiful blocks, there are instructions for eight more smaller projects, each one cuter than the last.

Enchanted Pennies

Enchanted Pennies

Joyful Pillow

Joyful Pillow

Pennies Window Valance

Pennies Window Valance

Circle of Life Table Mat

Circle of Life Table Mat

I just love their primitive, folksy look. If you admire it too, and would like a chance to win this book, please leave a comment here on this post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Thursday, January 5. Contest open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only, and remember to click over to the blog itself instead of replying to your email feed.

Thank you, That Patchwork Place, for providing the book!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie


54 Responses to “It’s a New Year!”

  1. Michele T on January 1st, 2012 7:04 am

    I am enchanted with woolen quilt creations and this book looks fabulous!! Thanks for the chance!

  2. CarolE on January 1st, 2012 7:11 am

    This looks like a great book — I love the projects that you’ve shared. Thanks for a chance to win it!

  3. Tracy on January 1st, 2012 8:12 am

    I have always wanted to try wool applique, however I am concerned it may develop into a “habit” . There is just not enough time in a day for me, I guess I could give up sleeping.

  4. Char on January 1st, 2012 8:20 am

    I have a friend who LOVES this style and I would love to make something for her for her birthday. This book looks fantastic! Thanks for the chance to win it.

  5. Lori Ginsberg on January 1st, 2012 8:49 am

    What a wonderful book! I have been wanting to try wool applique. Thank you for the opportunity to win. Happy New Year! I love spending time with you on your blog.

  6. Erin in MI on January 1st, 2012 9:09 am

    The designs in this book are lovely – I’d love a chance to win this! Thank you!

  7. Donna on January 1st, 2012 9:20 am

    I’ve always been tempted to learn to make a penny quilt–looks like the right book to start with!

  8. Deborah on January 1st, 2012 9:20 am

    Looks like a great book. I haven’t tried wool applique yet. Maybe in 2012.

  9. Sandra Davidson on January 1st, 2012 9:22 am

    Wool does come in yummy colors and the book looks very interesting. I haven’t done much with wool but would like to try more this year.

  10. Nan on January 1st, 2012 10:20 am

    I love wool! I love felt! I love applique! This book has my name all over it. And now that I’ve finally finished my girls’ baby quilts (they are 9 and 6, and this was their Christmas present this year), I need something new to work on.

    Thanks for offering a give-away.

  11. Sandy A in St. Louis on January 1st, 2012 10:26 am

    OOH! This looks wonderful! My guild is offering a wool class in February and I am thinking of taking it. Would love to have this book for my library!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Mary on January 1st, 2012 11:14 am

    Another addicting habit. I love the look–it’s very folk artsy. I want to look at the book too, but I have a friend who works with wool felt and this would make a great gift for her.

  13. Carolyn on January 1st, 2012 12:24 pm

    I just fell in love with the little table mat! This book looks beautiful, thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  14. Nancy Mathewson on January 1st, 2012 12:35 pm

    Perfect! I have a (small) stash of felted wool that’s been trying to find a project, and this book would do the trick.

  15. Glynis on January 1st, 2012 1:01 pm

    I’ve just completed a couple of projects with wool and I love doing the blanket stitch by hand while watching TV. I think that I will have to buy this book if I don’t win it. Thanks so much.

  16. Jennifer on January 1st, 2012 1:52 pm

    I just picked up a bunch of wool blazers at the thrift shot so that I could felt them for penny rugs. What a nifty book to have.

  17. Conny Brusselers on January 1st, 2012 3:45 pm

    Love, love, love the projects in this book. I would be thrilled to be able to thumb through and drool!

  18. Karen Buchs on January 1st, 2012 4:00 pm

    What a beautiful selection of projects! There is something comforting about working with wool. Thanks for giving us a chance to win this book.

  19. Eileen Keane on January 1st, 2012 5:17 pm

    I never knew why they were called penny rugs, so thanks for that. What adorable projects!

  20. Debbie St.Germain on January 1st, 2012 7:35 pm

    I love the quilt in this book, really beautiful designs for wool work. I have seen it and been tempted to buy it, but watching my pennies lately. I did start back on my wool piece, using designs from different books.


  21. Susan on January 1st, 2012 9:25 pm

    I have been looking at more and more projects that use wool and haven’t tried my hand at it….yet. Now that we’re into a new year, I am going to try some new things this year and one of the projects I would like to try is working with wool. This book would be the perfect book to get started with. Thanks for the opportunity.

  22. Vivian on January 2nd, 2012 3:29 am

    I have always admired the quilt on the cover and just started building a wool stash in the hopes of trying some projects so I’d love to win this one!

  23. Donna A on January 2nd, 2012 4:38 am

    What a cute idea for a window valance! Everything else I saw was good too, but the window valance……Woo Hoo!!!!! Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  24. Heather on January 2nd, 2012 6:12 am

    I’ve been toying with the idea for an appliqued window valance for about a year now. I think winning this book might be the perfect motivation to get it done! Happy New Year!

  25. Darcy on January 2nd, 2012 6:18 am

    What a charming book! I think I’ll have to experiment with adding wool pennies to my quilts. They are very fun to work with, I just haven’t made anything very large out of them. Thanks for the preview :-)

  26. Carrie P. on January 2nd, 2012 6:30 am

    Great way to start the new year. I have seen the inside of that book and have wanted to get it ever since I saw it. I love working with wool.Thanks for a chance to win the book.

  27. Diane R on January 2nd, 2012 6:44 am

    I love this book! I gave it to my best friend last year for Christmas but secretly wanted it all for myself! Happy new year and thanks for the giveaway!

  28. brenda on January 2nd, 2012 7:05 am

    I’ve never worked with wool before but this book looks very interesting.Thanks for the chance to win it.

  29. Susan on January 2nd, 2012 7:05 am

    I’ve made a few projects with wool and love it. These designs are great, can’t wait to try them. I’ll buy the book next week if I don’t win it!

  30. Joan Trautwein on January 2nd, 2012 7:36 am

    I have a few books with wool applique patterns in them and I made multiple small projects. If you like to applique, or want to try to applique, this would be a fun place to start and this book seems to grab your attention. I would very much like to have it. Happy New Year and continued success in 2012.

  31. Sandra Hampton on January 2nd, 2012 7:44 am

    Love your blog and tips. I’m still trying to master needle turn applique and that’s probably why wool is so enjoyable for me. I would love the chance to win this wonderful book. Happy New Year!!!

  32. Stephanie Matz on January 2nd, 2012 7:56 am

    I started wool applique just this fall, and really love it. I’d love a chance to branch out and learn more about it. Thanks for the opportunity, and for all you do to help me with applique!!

  33. Brenda on January 2nd, 2012 8:07 am

    The book is beautiful, and the house in the pictures – oh wow! Happy New Year and welcome to the new kitty.

  34. Becki Morrison on January 2nd, 2012 9:09 am

    I have tons (well a lot) of wool just waiting to become one of these beautiful designs. Her creations are so lovely and I can’t wait to get started.

  35. Judy Costales on January 2nd, 2012 9:41 am

    loving and learning to applique!

  36. ritainalaska on January 2nd, 2012 9:45 am

    what a book! love applique … but have not tried wool, so would love to win this book! thanx for the opportunity to do so.

  37. Lena Frost on January 2nd, 2012 10:19 am

    Nice patterns. This book would make a nice addition to anyone’s collection of applique patterns! Hope I’m the lucky one!

  38. Jean Imboden on January 2nd, 2012 10:22 am

    I am so excited. I have been drooling over this book for a while. I was hoping to get it for Christmas, but no such luck. Maybe I’ll be the lucky one!

  39. Donna on January 2nd, 2012 10:42 am

    What a great title! Wool applique is my favorite. There’s something about working with wool that’s really comforting.

  40. Kat on January 2nd, 2012 10:52 am

    I haven’t used wool yet but my bf got me a small kit for my December birthday. I am not sure yet if I like doing it or not…don’t think I have developed a rhythm yet..maybe I need some of the instructions in this great looking book.

  41. Connie on January 2nd, 2012 11:29 am

    What a wonderful book! I keep saying I want to try working with wool and this would be the perfect reason to start, wonderful giveaway!

  42. Janis Rink on January 2nd, 2012 1:37 pm

    Beautifully refreshing!

  43. Kathleen Connors on January 2nd, 2012 2:04 pm

    Oh, what beautiful work and wonderful colors! The photos make me want to switch to working with wool right now. The quilts and decorations are so warm and inviting. Thanks for the chance to win a very different book.

  44. Sandy O on January 2nd, 2012 5:35 pm

    Oh how lovely the quilts are in this book. I love to applique but,never have tried wool. Would love the opportunity to try it. Thank you for offering this book

  45. Jennifer J on January 2nd, 2012 5:45 pm

    I would love to win this book! The designs! The colors! The information! Looks like great fun. Thanks for the opportunity!

  46. SewLindaAnn on January 2nd, 2012 9:22 pm

    Looks fab! I’ve collected a bunch of wool and this book would be perfect to use it up.

  47. Linda Smith on January 3rd, 2012 9:05 am

    Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. I have done a little work with felted wool and love how it handles – and no turned edges! This book looks like it would offer some great patterns to try out. Thanks again.

  48. Mona Kuntz on January 3rd, 2012 9:12 am

    I would love to win this book. I’ve been meaning to try wool applique and I think this just might be the incentive to do so.

  49. BarbR on January 3rd, 2012 11:20 am

    This book has such lovely designs. I have never tried wool but would love to give it a try. Thanks for the opportunity. =!=

  50. Kate on January 3rd, 2012 12:05 pm

    Oh thats a great book! Would love to try some of those projects, thanks for the chance.

  51. Diane K. on January 3rd, 2012 7:30 pm

    Wool is such a yummy fabric to work with. So soft and easy to use. I would love to make some of these projects. Thanks for the chance to win the book.

  52. Susan Strumpf on January 3rd, 2012 8:15 pm

    I have admired this quilt since I first saw it – I would love to be able to start the new year with this project! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  53. Barb Colvin on January 4th, 2012 12:55 am

    Every time I see the cover quilt my eyes is drawn to the swirly flowers on the right–delightful. I also like the fancy leaves on Enchanted Pennies. Awesome!

  54. Joanne Schwartz on January 5th, 2012 12:02 pm

    Lovely book and lovely projects. I’d love a chance to try this new technique. Happy New Year to all!