No, not that lamp that turns itself on or off when you clap your hands. This is a gadget that you probably know about, but somehow I didn’t, despite the fact that I have been sewing and pressing like mad as a quilter for 25 years.
The tailor’s clapper! It’s my new favorite thing!
A tailor’s clapper is a wooden implement that is unfinished on the bottom. “Clapping” it over a freshly steamed seam will give an extra press and also absorb the moisture, so that seam lies very flat and crisp.
After I first heard about it, I was making a label for a new quilt. I always add strips around the sides to make a frame, then turn under the edges so that I can easily blind-stitch the label to the backing. These turned-under edges do NOT want to stay. I looked around my studio to see if I had anything that I could pretend was a clapper, and spied a wooden pencil box. Sure enough, even though the wood was varnished, it worked! The edges of that label stayed turned!! So exciting! (Sometimes it’s the little things.)
I got on Etsy and looked for a real clapper. I found one easily at Jackson Woodworks and ordered the small one, in oak.
Then came the acid test… the label situation. I sewed up a couple of blank, pseudo-labels for the test.
Which one do you think is “with clapper” and which one “no clapper?”
That’s right, the upper one was pressed just the way I have always done it, no clapper. The lower one was clappered. Another question… which one do you think you’d like to work with more? :)
And BTW… no clapping required. I did not clap the clapper down, just pressed it down as soon as I removed the iron. Easy peasy! I am now probably addicted to using the clapper and won’t be able to press a seam without it.
In my booth at shows, tons of quilters ask me if I have the kit for a certain pattern. I always reply that no, I’m a designer, I’m not a shop with bolts of fabric, and I work out of my own stash just like everybody else.
Earlier this year, however, I took the plunge, ordered bolts, and kitted my new pattern Rose Wreath Runner.
I put together complete fabric kits to make the runner, including the backing. The pattern comes included with the kit.
You have your choice of either a red print or a cream print for the backing. All of the fabrics are from Windham.
This may be my one foray into kitting, so that’s why I classify these babies as rare. :)
Just got this press release from C&T Publishing, and thought I’d pass it along for those of you who live in northern California. Sounds like a very cool event for fans of the fabulous Laurel Burch.
Save the Date – The Art of Laurel Burch Coloring Book Release Party: FREE Event Sponsored by C&T Publishing
Join the coloring book craze and experience firsthand the relaxation and creativity it can bring! The long-awaited coloring book by C&T Publishing with original drawings pulled straight from Laurel Burch’s sketchbook is here, and FLAX is hosting a coloring event with a hands-on demo and everything you need to color your own Laurel Burch illustration.
Learn more about Laurel Burch, a local San Francisco artist and get a glimpse into how the artist worked with featured items from her studio. Experience the vivid palette of her paintings by adding your own panache in the posthumously published The Art of Laurel Burch™ Coloring Book. Plus, meet Aarin Burch, Laurel’s daughter, and hear stories about Laurel making jewelry and selling her art on the streets of San Francisco. Giveaways of coloring books, Laurel Burch Studios items, and more!
Event Date: March 26, 2016
Time: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Location: FLAX Fort Mason Center
2 Marina Blvd, Bldg D
At Road to California I saw my vendor buddies Mindy and Larry with the product that they invented, Retro Clean.
Here are links to a couple of posts I wrote about using Retro Clean and the wonders it did for my auld family linens. I always keep a package on hand.
At the show, Mindy had her butterfly quilt hung up, it had been a WIP for quite awhile.
Here’s what the top looked like before Retro Clean.
You might be familiar with Retro Clean in the silver package. Mindy told me that the product now comes in a pretty white package, just so you know.
Filed Under Product demo |
A year ago, I put up a post entitled, “Anybody want this block?”
It was my 100 Blocks reject, Ugly Christmas Sweater.
I am so grateful to those of you who stepped up and said you would be willing to give this poor orphan a home. The randomly drawn winner was Beverly Schueneman.
Recently I received the following message from Beverly:
I have not forgotten you and your cute sweater block.
I had planned to be finished for Xmas, but I had to have surgery on my right hand on Nov. 9. That was the end of sewing for me. I wore a cast until the day before Xmas eve.
As of today the Christmas quilt has been completely quilted. Each block is one of your creations from your book. I have added buttons and bears, so it is unique. Sort of scrappy. And of course, the sweater block takes up most of the space. You had signed my book, so I copied that and placed it under the quilt.
Well, I just wanted you to know I had not forgotten my promise to turn it into a quilt.
Here’s Beverly’s creation!
How fun! I see designs from my book A Merry Little Christmas to Appliqué, and I even see a little doggy from another book of mine, Home.
In the Ugly Christmas Sweater tradition, Beverly has added embellishments to enhance each design.
And how very cool that she copied my signature and incorporated it into the quilt! That is just so sweet!
Thank you, Beverly, for giving this block a lasting life. Glad your hand is better, and may your family enjoy the quilt next Christmas and many more to come.
While I was on the road to Road to California, I got an email from my longtime friend, fellow designer and publisher Darcy Ashton. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know how much I admire Darcy’s designs. In addition, for years and years she has been to me a boon companion, consultant, source of support and freely given information, in short a wonderful mentor.
Now I find out that Darcy will be at the show as well! I’m so surprised and delighted! Darcy hails from Oklahoma and this is her first trip west of the Rockies. She’s with the Anna’s Awesome Appliqué Designs booth. Anna digitizes designs so that you can stitch them in the hoop if you have one of those nifty embroidery machines.
I couldn’t wait to see Darcy in person!
Me ‘n Darcy.
It was thoroughly wonderful to get a chance to meet, greet, sit down, and chat in person. At a show like this, you have to steal the minutes, but we visited as much as we could, and I had a chance to look around Anna’s booth.
The quilt behind the two of us is “Owls With Attitude,” featuring designs from Darcy’s newest book, Outstanding Owls for Appliqué. I wrote about the book in September.
I also spied some of Darcy’s other animals, including her famous bunnies and the Darling Little Dogs.
Anna works with other designers to digitize their designs.
Fiesta de Talavera, designed by J. Michelle Watts based on Mexican hand-painted tiles.
The incredible Jacobean appliqué of the late great Pat Campbell.
I hope Darcy had a great time in California and comes back soon!!
It’s that time again! This year the quilt show season starts for me with the incredible Road to California.
If you and I usually see one another at this wonderful show, I’m in the same booth, 1304 in the Ballroom. If this will be your first time as a Roadie, you’re in for a treat! Be sure to pace yourself as there’s a lot to see and do, and please come by and say hey.
Daisy says, you not packing are you?
BRB in a week!
A very happy new year to you! Hope you’re warm and safe, wherever you may be.
I finished a new pattern!
Four appliqué Rose Wreath blocks, set on point, framed and sashed with the gorgeous prints of your choice. It’s a lovely table runner, or a banner!
I used fusible machine appliqué for the blocks. Here’s a link to a photo tutorial on the method.
Due to the acquisition of a new canine mascot, The Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors quite late in the season.
Daisy and her carrot. The carrot has, alas, now gone the way of all dog toys that are in any way destructible.
When playtime is over, this is one cuddly snuggle-pup.
It wasn’t until September that we brought home our first batch of foster kittens. The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from sometimes shy, teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy confident pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house.
Our first group of cute blue-eyed Snowshoe kitties were Lila, Lucinda, and Ellison.
Lila enjoys the patio.
Lucinda appreciates a comfy cat bed.
Ellison chases his sister’s tail.
It turns out that Daisy loves, LOVES kittens, in fact she was likely to love them to pieces, so close supervision was necessary at all times. These kitties weren’t the least bit shy, and didn’t bat a whisker at a pushy puppy licking their ears and chewing them up all over. In fact they purred and tussled back in a sort of very fun baby-animal Fight Club.
Lila was Daisy’s favorite tussle partner.
Ellison got his licks in too. :)
Kitten vending machine.
Everyone survived the foster period, these three went back to the shelter in fine fettle, and were snatched up by adopters at once.
The second batch consisted of three fuzzy tabby sisters: Mamie, Sadie, and Paisley.
She did it. (Mamie and Paisley.)
Sadie is shocked at the egregious mistake in the labeling.
Unlike the Siamese, these tabby girls weren’t so sure at first about the whole dog thing. They established boundaries that were a valuable part of Daisy’s education. After just a few days they got over it, the Fight Club resumed, and a splendid time was had by all.
In between rounds, Daisy and Sadie enjoy the afternoon sun on the front porch.
When they first came in, these girls were a tad bit shy. It didn’t take them long to figure out that humans, big cats, and dogs were okay, and to become friendly kitties. Mamie was the friendliest of them all, in fact I took to calling her “Mamie the Everpresent,” because she was just always there.
She liked to be upside down, and was Daisy’s favorite tabby tussle partner.
DH Dana calls this one “Kitty Nirvana.”
We have a drought in California, you know. To save water, we have our kittens wash our dishes.
The tabbies went back to the shelter for adoption and were snapped up in no time.
Since then, I’ve had a weather eye out for more kittens, but so far there haven’t been any that were in the appropriate age group for the foster program. Still checking daily!
Happy holidays to you and yours!
Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like that time of year! A very fun month full of nostalgic holiday music, scheming and shopping for our dear ones, and get-togethers that all seem to happen on the same day. This year it’s Saturday the 12th. You?
Here’s a little Christmas roundup from the blog.
A few years ago, genius designer Holly Mabutas put up the most darling free Santa pattern over on her blog. It’s still there, go check it out!
And here’s a photo tutorial of how I handled a large piece of white appliquéd over other fabrics, without shadow-through. The hard sauce on the Plum Pudding!
Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, or Shop Small Day. I like that, because I’ve always loved small things. Unlike my husband, who hauls out the biggest cutting board, knife, pan, or whatever tool he can find to do the tiniest job, I prefer things that feel petite. As well as little quilts, little dogs, little kittens, etc. My business is small, a one-woman outfit that I’ve built myself, and it fits just right.
If you’d like to visit on Shop Small Day, the holiday shopping special is still in effect at the Etsy Shop. Use the coupon code 20XMAS at checkout to save 20% storewide.
Speaking of small quilts, here’s a post that shows how I make my framed mini-quilts. Perfect for quilty holiday gifts!
Filed Under Framed mini-quilts |
I made a new version of Love My Stash!
It’s really is made 100% from my stash. Can you tell I love blue and red and ivory, florals and toiles and polka dots??
Speaking of the stash, here’s a blast from the past involving two big kittens and their midnight tippytoe excursion.
And, a Fabric Surprise filmed by the DH!
Admin note: This is the same post as last time; somehow in the strange badlands of code, there was a glitch that prevented the Comments from working. I *think* it’s fixed now (fingers crossed, toes as well). Just skip this if you read it before. Thanks!!!
When I started this blog years ago, I wanted it to become a resource center of information for those who celebrate appliqué or who are interested in learning more.
When I added the capability of subscribing to the blog by email, I found that quilters forgot it was a blog, and thought of it as a newsletter.
The thing about newsletters is, unless you save them all, you can’t refer back to the information that you may have found useful when they came across. That’s why blogs are so nifty! The articles stay there, everything’s indexed, and you can find the info any time using a variety of mechanisms… Categories, Keyword Search, Archives, they’re all right there in the sidebars.
But again, those who receive the contents of each post by email never see the blog itself on the internet unless they click over! (This is done simply by cliking the title of the article in the email you are reading.)
|The blog header.|
That’s why I’ve decided to start a Sunday drive down memory lane. I’ll be revisiting older articles that you may not have seen if you joined the blog after they were posted, or may have forgotten about if you’ve been around for awhile.
We’ll be looking back at the articles that are the very most helpful concerning appliqué. A bunch of different kinds of appliqué are covered. So relax, kick back, and enjoy the scenery!
Let’s go back to An Early Heart to see what Freezer Paper On The Back is all about.
A nip is in the air here in Santa Cruz. I was in Beverly’s yesterday and a bunch of the shelves were bare. (Bev’s is a fabulous sewing and craft store in case you don’t have one in your area.) I thought to myself, they’re starting to put up the Christmas stuff!! Then I swung by Target, and they already had their Christmas stuff out. Things are getting festive all over! A fun time of the year.
Okay, I thought, maybe it’s time for me to announce my own little Christmas corner. That’s right, over at Etsy, I’ve created a whole section devoted to the holiday.
Head on over to Etsy to check them out, along with all the other items. If something catches your fancy while you’re there, use the coupon code 20XMAS to save 20%! Good on anything in my Etsy Store.
I’m pretty excited that Pacific International Quilt Festival starts this week.
I’ve been prepping like mad, which is quite fun for me. On Wednesday we set up, then we’re open for a brief time on Wednesday night for showgoers who are registered for classes.
Then, on Thursday morning, the merry madness ensues!
Oh, what a great weekend. I see practically everyone I know, and meet a whole lot more. If you’re planning on attending this huge quilt show and conference, please stop by Booth #633 and say hello!
Special Sunday hours this year! Because Levi Stadium was recently built just across the way from the convention center, and there’s a 49ers game on Sunday this year, we’re opening an hour earlier at 9:00 a.m.
The organizers say, “The motto for Sunday this year is come early before the game & leave mid-afternoon during the game to avoid traffic snarls. The convention center campus has nearly 2,000 free parking spaces to accommodate PIQF attendees and free overflow parking with free shuttle buses.”
In other news, Martingale is having a 40% off sale on select eBooks this week, and one of them is my Scrap-Appliqué Playground!
If you’ve been considering adding this happy book to your collection, alternatively you’ve been eyeing that pile of scraps grow to small mountain size, then this is your chance for a great savings on the book.
Crazy Hearts from Scrap-Appliqué Playground
Last tidbit of news: You may or may not have heard that Amazon has launched their Handmade store.
It’s all handcrafted stuff! I was happy to be invited to join Handmade, and I’ve got my Artisan Shop all set up with a few items, more to come in the future.
Back to packing!
By Kay Mackenzie
When my first teapots book Teapots to Appliqué went out of print, I created a whole new set of designs and published Teapots 2 to Appliqué. T2 is now in its fifth printing! Yay!
I didn’t want those first 16 teapots to go away, so I put out a pattern pack that includes all the designs plus the sampler quilt pattern, but no additives, preservatives, or appliqué instructions… use your favorite method.
Going a step further, over the summer I produced individual downloadable versions of the first collection. They’re available over on Etsy!
Here’s an example of what they look like!
To see all the single-block downloadables, head on over to the Appliqué Block section of my Etsy shop. (You’ll also see the individual blocks from Baskets to Appliqué.)
To see the 16-block pattern packs that are printed on good ol’ paper, click over to the Quilting Patterns section at Etsy.
As I knew it would, Outstanding Owls for Appliqué received many comments from quilters eager to get started on owl projects!
Random.org has pronounced that the winner is… No. 42, Swooze! Congratulations! The owls are flying your way.
Myself I’ve had a bit of a hiatus this summer with no shows for almost 3 months. I did have a list of things to do as long as my arm, and now it’s all, all done! There was only one thing given up upon (deemed just too unwieldy) but everything else, check! I even had time to wrangle a batch of foster kittens!
They loved puppy Daisy immediately, and she loved, LOVED them too, in fact as an enthusiastic young pup she wanted to love them to pieces! But with careful oversight we managed to get everyone through the foster period in one piece.
Kitties are back at the shelter and up for adoption, and now it’s time to gear up for Quilt Show Season. Yippee! Here’s where I’ll be this month.
Pumpkin Patch of Quilts
Two years ago, this show, put on by the Los Banos Arts Council Quilters, was one of the most enjoyable and heartwarming vendor experiences I have had. There couldn’t be a nicer group of quilters, or a cuter decorated show. There are freshly harvested pumpkins everywhere, and they can be purchased to come home with you! Read all about it at losbanosarts.org.com.
Sierra Quilt Guild Show
This lovely show in historic gold country is one of my favorite destinations. Hope to see you there in Sonora, California! Read all about it at sierraquiltguild.com.
Harvest Quilt & Fiber Arts Show
It’ll be my first time at this event in nearby Morgan Hill, California. I’ve heard it’s a great show, and I’m looking forward to being there! The show is part of the Taste of Morgan Hill, an event for everyone in the family. All the info is at svqa.org.
Outstanding Owls For Appliqué is here!
Darcy Ashton has long been known for her incredible series of animal appliqué books. We’ve seen her Darling Little Dogs, Big Beautiful Dogs, Claire’s Cats, Grandma’s Bunnies, Butterfly Dance, and more! These popular classics are now joined by a bookful of the most amazing owls.
There are 20 of them in all, each one with its own expression and personality. Add that to the fact that you can easily create new variations by mixing up the different body shapes, heads, and features, and the owlish possibilities are endless!
This book couldn’t be more jam-packed. Just take a look at the Table of Contents!
In addition to the appliqué patterns, Darcy gives you tons of information on appliqué, both hand and machine, plus how to make those fetching eyes, plus how to enhance with quilting, plus a slew of different projects!
Not to mention embroidery. Swoon.
One of my favorite touches is the idea of giving the owls little flowers or quilt squares to hold. So darling.
Darcy sent me a copy to give away! Before I announce the drawing, let me reiterate how to enter. Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post. If you send me an email by repying to your email subscription feed, or if you leave your comment on a different blog post, you will not be able to be entered in the drawing. Sorry for the constant reminders, but there are always a few, still.
Now for the fun part! If you’d like to win a copy of Outstanding Owls For Appliqué, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Wednesday, September 9. Drawing open to U.S. mailing addresses only.
Best of luck!!
Thanks for reading All About Appliqué,
I’ve got a couple new patterns!
These were so much fun to work on. I used fusible appliqué to tell these little stories, but of course you can use whatever method you like. They’re are up on my website now, along with all the others, on the Patterns page.
Something wonderful coming soon to the blog from the inestimable Darcy Ashton!
Back when the spring issue of 100 Blocks came out, I promised that I would post a tutorial of the way that I made my block, Scroll Heart.
The magazine published instructions for fusible appliqué, but I had actually stitched the block by hand, using back-basting and a combination of regular and reverse appliqué. I’ll show you how I did it.
You might want to start by reviewing the tutorial on back-basting hand appliqué.
Now for our Scroll Heart. I hauled my original pattern out of its file folder. Because it’s a 12″ block, the pattern was folded.
I ironed it on low, under a pressing sheet, just to flatten it out a mite.
Notice my pencil notation at the top, “rev.” That means that this is the reversed version of the pattern. I’ve learned to mark this when I file things away. For back-basting, you need to start with a reversed pattern.
I pulled fabrics for the block.
Julie suggested,“I would love to see it tone on tone, with the scroll being a bit darker shade than the heart.” After selecting the fabrics, I decided to do it the other way around, with the lighter red print being revealed for the scroll.
In back-basting, you start by tracing the pattern onto the back of the background fabric. Typically this marking delineates the appliqué turning line. In this case, I’m going to use it for two purposes. It will mark the turning line for the outside of the heart, and it will mark the cutting line for the reverse appliqué scroll.
Usually I use a water-erasable marking pen. This time I used a pencil, because I’m working with dark red fabric for the appliqué. Dark. Red. Fabric. Just sayin’.
Now for the reveal layer, which will appear under the scroll. Using a light box with the pattern underneath, I drew a chalk mark on my insert fabric, in between the scroll and the heart. This will give me the shape to cut out, which will cover the scroll but miss the edge of the heart.
On the front, lay the reveal fabric, aka secret layer, on the background square, over the scroll area. You can use a light box or hold the fabrics up to the light to make sure it’s well placed. Pin from the back.
On the front, lay the heart fabric over the background and reveal fabric, making sure it covers the outside of the heart with a little bit to spare. The heart fabric can be any rough-cut hunk or chunk, as long as it covers. Remove the pins from the reveal layer and pin all three layers together from the back.
Now for the back-basting. Use a bright or contrasting thread that is thick or fuzzy, and a big honking needle. You want the basting to make larger holes, to give the appliqué fabric a memory of where it should turn later, when you’re stitching.
On the back, along the drawn lines, baste through all layers around the outside of the heart and along the scroll. Remove the pins.
On the front, trim the red fabric to the shape of the heart, leaving a turning allowance outside of the basting stitches of about 3/16″.
The outside line is going to be regular appliqué, making the heart cover up the background fabric.
The inside scroll lines are going to be reverse appliqué, revealing what’s underneath.
That’s the only difference between regular and reverse appliqué. Regular covers up, reverse reveals.
I’m going to stitch the outside of the heart first, so that I won’t ravel the raw edges while I’m working on the interior. Removing the basting a little at a time, I’m hand stitching using traditional needle turn.
The heart is finished, time to work on the scroll. To make sure I could clearly see the cutting line once the back-basting was removed, I went over the basting stitches with a white marking pencil on the front.
Stitching the scroll is going to resemble Hawaiian appliqué, or cutaway appliqué. I’m going to remove the basting a little at a time, cut the heart fabric only along the dotted line, and turn and stitch using traditional needle turn.
I’m turning under as little as possible, about 1/8″. The amount that you turn under doesn’t matter so much as that it’s consistent.
Once you’ve finished one side of the scroll, you’ll need to large-baste the other side, or else it’ll be flapping in the breeze.
Just keep removing the back-basting, cutting, and stitching your way around both sides of each scroll, a little at a time. I turned under such a small amount that I didn’t even have to clip any curves.
Keep on going around; it’ll be one continuous line until you come back to the beginning. So cool!!
Remove the large basting, press, and you’re done! Cute!
I hope this has been a helpful tutorial, and has shed some light on the mysterious subject of reverse appliqué.