I was in Sacramento for three days for the Quilt, Craft, & Sewing Festival. I had so much animal company!

The show was at Cal Expo, a great big huge events and State Fair grounds. As soon as I got there I knew there had to be some horses around and I was craning my neck for stables or any other sign of equine presence. The next morning I saw the harness racers breezing around the track!


This one had his stablemate along for the jog. Either that or they were both warming up, I don’t know, but when I was a kid I read every Black Stallion book there was and sometimes the horses had friends.


I kept thinking about The Black Stallion’s Sulky Colt and it really took me back to childhood.

sulky-coltNow bear with me, I’m gonna get this to tie into quilting.

My first quilt teacher used to say, “A man on a fast horse would think it looked pretty good.” Now these men weren’t exactly on the horse, but they would still think that all of our quilts looked great!

As soon as you came in the door to the show you were treated to this sight.

scissors-headThat’s Rochelle herself from Rochelle’s Fine Fabric and Quilting, who came all the way from Port Orchard, Washington, with scissors in her head. And she didn’t even have a headache. What a gal.

My booth was directly across from The Rabbit Hole Quilt Shop from Chico, California. They had a trunk show from the Big Fork Bay Cotton Company. Look at all these splendid animals that kept me company during the show!




Little Sacramento dogs get to go with their humans lots of places. During the show, I saw a cockapoo in a European shoulder bag, a Yorkie in a sling, a poodle in a purse, but the only one I got a picture of was the pom in a pram.


Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Over at Kay’s Show & Tell Center, I received a submission from a faraway land!

First of all, I need to tell you that this project is not made based on your design (not one of your books is available here in Indonesia, too bad), but I love to show you one of the blankets I made, it’s 97% hand-made.

I snagged this right over to All About Appliqué.

Blanket for Baby Dev by Nana of Depok, West Java, Indonesia

Blanket for Baby Dev by Nana of Depok, West Java, Indonesia

Sometimes I am desperate to find some new simple pattern that inspire me to make things, but other times the idea just popped up. This is my original idea. It just came up and I put it in paper and voila….

Dev is one of my grandkids. He was 3 months old at that time. We went on a weekend holiday. And one very early morning, Dev’s frantical cry woke me up. His mother told me that he couldn’t stand the chilly whether. That inspired me to make something to keep him warm, and one month later, I saw him sleeping like a rock tugged in the blanket I made. His mother appreciate me a lot for this. It gives me terrific feelings when people appreciate my projects.


I’m sure his mother did appreciate you a lot for this darling, original, one-of-a-kind quilt! And Baby Dev too!

I always finished the project I made with something I call ‘personal touch’ on which I wrote the name of the person who will have my project, date and what this person call me. For example as picture I attached, my personal touch says: made by dadong for Dev Oct 2009 (‘dadong’ is what Dev calls me, means grandma).


Nan would love to hear feedback about her project of love.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Believe it or not, this is gonna be a book.


I’m not doing a whole “Journey to a book” series like I did last time, but I thought you might like to hear a little bit about this one as it goes along.

My eyes have been rolling in different directions as I get everything together for an April 2 deadline. That’s the day that things are due for my second book with That Patchwork Place.

Here we have a manuscript, a photo list, an illustration list, author guidelines, my first book to refer back to, my upcoming schedule, suggestions for book design, cover design, and title, and a blurb. These are just some of the materials, not including, say, the blocks themselves.

Coordinating the manuscript, the photo list, and the illustration list seems like it would be easy, but what’s easy is getting off track when things are in three different places and tied together only by numbers. Heaven forbid you should change your mind and move a photo or an illustration to a different part of the manuscript, Then you have to renumber it and everything else that comes after it. Right now, some things are held in place on the lists with repositionable sticky tape, just in case!

I’m trying to get everything ready to go a few days early, because I’m off to another event the weekend after this, the Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Expo in San Mateo oops, Sacramento. Hope to see you there, if you’re in the neighborhood!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

My cousin Emily is the fastest needle in the East! She’s a fellow quilter so I sent her a copy of Dolls & Dresses to Appliqué. Not one day after she received the book, she sent me the following email:

“I scanned Violet into my Bernina embroidery software, digitized her face, neck, hands, legs, and shoes, and then did the auto appliqué feature. I’ll go back and “tweak” the design – I’ll probably alter the stitch angle on at least one hand, and on her neck…and I’ll add the facial features. She was fun to work with!”

Now I hope that tracks for most of you. I have only a vague understanding of computerized machine embroidery, enough to be mighty impressed by those who do it.

Before I knew it, Emily was back in my in-box with Violet, all done!


Wow! Who knew? The legs, shoes, hands, feet, and face are all machine embroidered, and I think the edges of the dress too? That is just so very cool! Thank you Cousin Emily!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

An Appliqué-tion Vacation

Filed Under Classes | Comments Off on An Appliqué-tion Vacation

Just got a note from Teri Leigh Baird, Events Planner with Jaspers Events, who wrote to let me know about an upcoming appliqué retreat in Branson, Missouri. Does this sound like fun or what?


* June 3-7, 2010
* 3 full days of quilting classes
* Award-winning instructors: Kathy Kansier, Connie Sue Haidle, Linda Carlson
* Quilting “room” with ironing stations, large cutting mats, rulers and design walls
* Includes 4 nights lodging at Howard Johnson Branson with Private Room
* Breakfast & lunch each day
* Wine and cheese welcome reception
* Trunk show
* Door prizes and Goody Bags

Visit the Jaspers Events web page for full information.

And, if you click on the Events tab at the top of their website you’ll see the many intriguing vacations they have planned, including several more quilting retreats.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

At the Road to California show in January, I had the excellent fortune to sit at the breakfast table with Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley. Several friends of mine were staying at the hotel, and they were also friends of Carol and Bobbi, so introductions were made–on a first-name basis–and Bobbi was flabbergasted when I asked her, “Are you Bobbi Finley??” That was a very familiar name to me after years of hanging around with active members of the American Quilt Study Group.

Carol and Bobbi had a special exhibit of their tile quilts in the show. Passing these at warp speed as I did the first time, these beautiful pieces have a stained-glass look, but lighter and airier. Bobbi says that a lot of people compare them to stained-glass quilts, but they’re not. Construction-wise, instead of “leading” applied over the raw edges of the shapes, these shapes are finished with turned edges, and the background is left exposed to create the spaces between shapes.

Tile Quilt Revival

Tile Quilt Revival: Reinventing a Forgotten Form is Carol and Bobbi’s fascinating, educational, and inviting book that reintroduces this “unique and somewhat obscure” form of appliqué quilt.

Tile quilts are explained this way:

Traditional tile quilts… are constructed with small pieces of cotton fabric appliquéd in a random manner to a white background, leaving a narrow space between the pieces; this white space serves as the “grout” between the tiles or “mortar” between the pavers or stones.

The books starts out with a brief history of tile quilts, with great photos showing examples from the past. Then comes a section on how to make a tile quilt, reinterpreted for today. When I read the following, the heavens opened up and I heard the heavenly choir!

The tile quilt technique, with its large and simple shapes, creates an ideal showcase for bold, contemporary fabrics. Interesting, large-scale prints are will suited for the tile pieces. If you’ve ever found yourself admiring some of the daring prints now available but wondering how to use them, a tile quilt is an idea project for putting them to good use.

Hallelujah! I have a tub of fabrics in my stash labeled “Modern” that has been… well… sitting there.


Now my “daring” prints have a destiny!

The techniques used in the book are so simple they’re ingenious! No need to consider seam allowances, to reverse patterns, or to figure out where to place the pieces. Another really great thing about this book is that it has fantastic appliqué instructions… needle-turn by hand, turned-edge machine-appliqué and fusible machine appliqué too, all expertly explained and illustrated. If you’re reading this blog, you probably like appliqué already, but how about this section where the authors say:

Even if you don’t love to appliqué or don’t consider yourself to be skilled at it, chances are you will enjoy the tile quilt process because it is not exacting. The tile-and-grout form is quite forgiving, and the inevitable deviations from strict uniformity in the grout add to the visual interest and appeal of a piece.

How cool is that?? Get your A-word friends to take a look!

After the appliqué information, there are instructions for several projects with full-size pull-out patterns.


Then there’s a Gallery of Contemporary Tile Quilts. These are fun and inspiring to look at as you see what quilters of today are doing to reinvent the form.


C&T Publishing is graciously sponsoring a giveaway of a copy of Tile Quilt Revival! Leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, March 5, to be in the drawing. U.S. and Canada only, unless you’d be willing to pay the shipping.

Those subscribed by email, click over the the blog itself and scroll to the bottom of the post to leave a comment.

I wanna start a tile quilt right now, but dang I have deadlines!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie