Wool appliqué tutorial

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There’s a new photo tutorial on the Cottons n’ Wool blog about how the author, Anne, works with wool for appliqué. She takes you through it step-by-step, with lots of great photos. Thanks Anne!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Being the eighteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

lemonflower.gifAugust 28, 2008. According to the schedule, today’s the day that the first pages are supposed to arrive. It’s early afternoon and I just got an email from Robin, my tech editor at Martingale, saying that she looked them over and was surprised to see how colorful the design was, after imagining the blocks floating on a ground of white. Me too! I emailed her back… “but do you LIKE it.”

To my relief she replies that yes, she does. Brown has the package as “out for delivery” so I’m sure that I hear the truck every few seconds. I’m on at least pins if not needles too.

4:55 p.m. Brown came, and Brown went. The driver said he knew he was supposed to have something for me, but he couldn’t find it in the truck. “We’ll probably deliver it tomorrow,” he said, and drove away.


Stay tuned,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

The OP winner

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Congratulations to Kim B., who won my prize from Pat Sloan’s Orange Pile Challenge blog hop!

In addition to Growing Hearts to Appliqué, I’m throwing in a half-yard of that fun Pat Sloan fabric.

Thank you so much to all who hopped over from the OP. You left comments that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Many of you seemed to covet the book, so here’s what I’m doing…

For all you hoppers, through March 31, 2009, receive 25% off Growing Hearts over at quiltpuppy.com. Enter the coupon code ORANGE in the shopping cart.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Nuttin! Orange and silver are two words for which there is no exact rhyme in the English language. A fabric company should put out an orange fabric with metallic silver highlights and call it “Nothing Rhymes.”

Today I’m ruminating about the color orange as part of Pat Sloan’s Virtual Weekend Retreat and OP Challenge. What’s an OP you might ask? Orange Pile! Your pile of orange fabrics from your stash! There’s a blog hop going on with prize giveaways, a free block pattern, photos of work in progress, and a tutorial. Click the OP logo in the left-hand sidebar and you’ll find out all about it.

What’s orange in nature? Lots of things. Oranges. Tangerines. Papayas. Pumpkins. Carrots. All of these grow with green leaves, so it seems that green goes with orange. However, to me, an orange and green combo just always has a “food” connotation, like food-service industry.

California poppies. Chrysanthemums. Nasturtiums. Still with the green leaves, but commonly pictured against a blue sky. Orange and blue… a nice combination.

Ginger tabby cats. Parts of calico cats. Pomeranians. Monarch Butterflies.


My calico cat Maikai.

Orange and black, besides being two colors in the classic calico triad, just means Halloween. Orange and brown occur often together in the coats of animals. A touch of orange is fantastic for depicting critters. Go see the giraffes on the home page of appliqué artist Nancy Brown’s website.

I happen to like orange, and when I say that I mean in my stash and in my quilts. Supposedly I can’t wear true orange, me being a ‘classic winter’ and all. But when I really think about it, orangey-red is really one of my favorite colors! Witness the color scheme for this blog (which I designed myself). My car is ‘red-orange metallic.’ I’m far more drawn to the orange side of red than the purple side.

free-flowers.gifI try to pull a splash of orange into my appliqué whenever I can. Here’s my improvisational, scissor-cut wall quilt Free Flowers. It just wouldn’t be the same without the orange and the pink.

Basket block from Growing Hearts to Appliqué
When I pulled fabrics for the blocks in my book Growing Hearts to Appliqué, I mixed orange into the reds.

One of my very favorite color combinations is orangey-red and tealy blue. Can you see it in this quilt block? They’re opposite each other on the color wheel, so they’re complimentary, and they look fabulous together.

Last year I stopped by In Stitches, an exceedingly cute quilt shop in Red Buff, California. The owner, Erda Fleming, told me that they had a program whereby the first fabric purchased by a customer would become the Bolt of the Day. I was the first one in the door so I got to proclaim the Bolt of the Day. Here’s what I chose.


Pat Sloan fabric!

Note the orangey-red and tealy blue. No wonder it was my favorite!
When I designed the cover for Growing Hearts I used this color combo too.

Growing Hearts to Appliqué by Kay Mackenzie

Have you guessed it? This book is my giveaway for the OP Challenge! Leave a comment on this post to enter the drawing for Growing Hearts to Appliqué. The winner will be drawn this evening, California time.

Don’t forget to visit Pat Sloan’s blog for the rest of her virtual weekend retreat on all quilty things orange!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

The Baltimore Appliqué Society

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If you’re interested in Baltimore Album type appliqué, then you should visit the website of The Baltimore Appliqué Society. Check out each of the links on the left-hand side of their home page… they’ll take you to photos of exquisite quilts that have great historical significance, and patterns that members of the Society have made for them. Enjoy!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Fabulous quilt designer Pat Sloan has put forth an OP Challenge.

What’s an OP? Orange Pile! Your pile of orange fabric from your stash! How fun.

Pat has already started putting up some notes for quilters who are participating in the challenge. If you’d like to join in the fun and “orange along,” just click the OP logo in the sidebar for all the information.

As part of the OP Challenge, Pat is hosting a virtual weekend retreat from Friday, February 20, through Sunday, February 22. There’ll be a blog hop with prize giveaways, a free block pattern, photos of work in progress, and a tutorial. It should be great fun, as it seems Pat really knows how to throw a party! I’ll be one of the bloggers on the hop and I’m already planning my prize giveaway.

my-op.gifHere’s my Orange Pile. I like orange. This doesn’t even show the orangey-reds.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 17

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flowerbasket.gifBeing the seventeenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

When I sent in my proposal for Easy Appliqué Blocks I made sure they knew I didn’t know HOW to make the CD, just that there should be one. All along I had been envisioning a CD that would open up and show a bunch of folders that you would navigate through to find the pattern you wanted. Despite the fact that I write my own website in HTML and got under the hood in WordPress to change the look of my blog, I am soooo not a techie. ‘Folders’ was the extent of my imagination when it came to the organization of the CD.

Imagine my bewilderment when the preliminary CD site map came to me and it was talking about browsers and links. I didn’t quite get it at first. Robin took the time to walk me through it, and then, all of a sudden, the ol’ synapses fired up. This was suddenly so very cool! This CD is going to be incredible! It’s going to act very much like a website when you get into it, and it’s very easy to navigate to the pattern you want to print.

I did have some comments about the site map (aka flow chart) and over-achiever that I am, I recreated the whole thing, with boxes and arrows. This helped me get my mind around it. I sent my version back to Robin. After looking at it, she could tell that Adrienne (the book’s illustrator and the person developing the CD) and I were on the same page. Robin liked my added suggestions on how to organize the blocks. Some of my arrows were not needed, thankfully, as some pages can just be closed and you’ll be back where you were, instead of clicking back.

The next step (gulp) is to see the book one more time before it goes to press. Right now, during August 2008, the book designer is hard at work turning the Word document into a beautiful colorful book all laid out with the photos and illustrations where they’re supposed to be. When next I see it, it will be what they call “first pages” (sometimes called “galley proofs.”) Can’t wait! Stay tuned.

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

P.S. Mark your calendars for the Easy Appliqué Blocks blog Book-A-Round, March 27 through April 5! For more information, click the logo in the right-hand sidebar.

The Quilt Show posts Elly Sienkiewicz slides

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I’m a member of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, described by them as “The World’s First Interactive Video / Web Magazine and Worldwide Online Community for Quilters.” They send me email updates a couple time a week. Their latest one announces an upcoming program with venerated appliqué artist Elly Sienkiewicz.

Even if you’re not a member, you can click on the “Slideshows” tab at the top of the home page and view behind-the-scenes photos taken during taping by Photo Man Gregory Case. And you’ll enjoy some gorgeous Elly appliqué eye candy!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 16

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Being the sixteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

About a week after I sent the me-edited copy-edited manuscript back, there was one more round of edits by email. Not the whole manuscript… remember, we’re only circulating one copy on paper from now on… but Robin had a few more finishing touches to chew over with me and she just wrote them out in an email.

Here’s how she started out… “Kay, I have to say that you are an excellent writer. It is a joy to see how you craft your words.” Nice! By this time Robin and I have both discovered the same trait in each other… the attention to detail and the thought behind every word. She has told me how she appreciates that I look carefully at everything she sends. How could an author not?

The next step is to work on the CD site map. What does that mean you may ask. As did I. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Applique dominates Des Moines

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I was so happy to see in the January 2009 issue of American Quilter magazine that the top winners of the huge 2008 Des Moines Quilt Expo were gorgeous appliqué quilts!

Appliqué took Best of Show, Best Hand Workmanship, and Best Machine Workmanship. Appliqué was an ingredient in all three winners in the Bed Quilts-Traditional category, and in two of the three winners in Wall Quilts-Traditional.

I went to the AQS website to see if they had posted photos. Guess what… they’re already down! Hey guys, leave ’em up a little longer how ’bout it? But I found this cached page where you can still enjoy them.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A journey to a book ~ Part 15

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Being the fifteenth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

It’s June 2008. The manuscript for Easy Appliqué Blocks now leaves tech editor Robin’s hands and goes to the copy editor. The copy editor’s job is to look at everything in terms of grammar, spelling, consistency, logic, and the Martingale style guide. There will be no more editing by email. From this point on it’s all done on paper. (This avoids having too many versions floating around, and it sounds like they learned this the hard way :).

I received the copy-edited version by snail mail, settled in with a cup of tea, and gave it a thorough read. In a few places I stumbled over rough patches where added detail plus removal of commas made things seem to rush headlong. Some sentences weren’t what I’d like, and there were still some not-quite-right things about the illustrations. All normal at this point. I rolled up my sleeves and got to polishing!

There’s actually a lot of humorous stuff going on by now. For example, there’s the word “fine.” I started out talking about fine thread for appliqué. The question comes back, what is meant by fine thread? Thin? High quality? I change it to skinny. Skinny is not going to fly so it’s changed to fine, thin thread. Needles can’t be skinny either so the copy editor changes it to thin. I don’t like thin so I change it to slender. We’ll see what it ends up being!

The copy editor capitalizes sharps but I put that really cool slash through the S and make a note that it’s a type of needle, not a brand name. And then there’s the West Highland white terrier, which I give the ol’ triple underline treatment and explain that the West Highland White Terrier is a breed name. [Note: I lost on both counts, the first to the Martingale style manual and the second to the dictionary LOL. You’ll see the canine workaround in the book.]

The copy editor says that appliquér needs to be spelled appliquer, but that bothers me totally. That just looks like applikwer. Why is it that you can write appliquéing but not appliquér? I write a long impassioned plea on the manuscript to keep the accent. We’ll see.

heart-and-buds.gifI dug out my guidelines for proofreading marks and had a high old time of it marking up the paper manuscript. It took me back to my high-school journalism days, when I used to LOVE working on the Chapel Hill High newspaper. I even get to use ‘stet’ a few times.

That reminds me… Robin sent me a link to the Yarn Harlot’s blog where this very well-known knitting author wrote about the publishing process. Hilarious! For a good laugh about stetting, read her posts of January 24 and 25, 2008.

I put it off as long as I could. I had to take care of my author photo, as I’d received a nudge from the author liaison. I begged Gregory Case to take me in, and he gave me an appointment for a sitting. I drove “over the hill” to San Jose and emerged unscathed from the photo session, and with a pretty decent photo. See the first in this series if you haven’t already done so.

I sent the marked-up post-copy-edit paper manuscript back to Robin on July 2, 2008, a couple days before my deadline. Stay tuned!

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Quilting Gallery is hosting a month of guest bloggers! Tonight it’s my turn.

Guest Blogger on Quilting GalleryYou can read my guest post and posts from quilting bloggers from around the world all during the month of February. Fun!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

A couple days ago I drew a new pattern and set out to stitch it up.


When I was done, I held it up for DH Dana to see, as I often do. A strange look came over his face. I could tell he was underwhelmed.

I kept asking him what it was about this pattern that bothered him, and he couldn’t quite put it into words. He kept saying things like, “It’s her back,” and I kept saying, “Yes, it’s her back. There are plenty of traditional patterns that show the backs of figures… you know, like Overall Bill.” I even hauled Barbara Brackman’s Encylcopedia of Appliqué and showed him several old-timey patterns like Paper Doll, Dutch Boy, Cowboy, Indian Princess, where we see the back.

“Okay,” he allowed, but I could tell he still wasn’t sold. Finally he came out with it… “It looks like she’s been run over by a steam roller,” he pointed out.

I had to laugh at that, and we both remembered seeing the play “The Quilters” where there’s a whole monologue about “The Demise of Sunbonnet Sue” in which Sue meets a variety of creative and grisly ends.

Later that evening Dana and I were sitting on the sofa and I was talking about something else. When I finished what I was saying, he nodded. Then he pointed to the block and said, “Yeah, I think she would look really great with some tire tracks running over her.”

That sent me into peals of laughter. The next day I obliged him with a revised version.


Tire-Track Sue

Dana was so tickled by this that he actually put up an off-topic post on his chess blog about it! Go check it out if you’d like to read his version of the story. He also put up some great links about what other quilters have done to poor Sue.

Okay, this brings me to my need for consultation. Help me… is this pattern road kill?

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs