The winner of Sew Embellished is No. 9, Gail! Congratulations! Gail says that her guild is just starting a splinter group for art quilters this month and the timing is great. Very cool.

I have show and tell! At the recent Desert Guilds show in Palm Springs, the show committee asked the vendors to award ribbons for their favorites. I wandered the show looking here and looking there. I saw one that was entirely to my delight, walked up to it, and hung my ribbon. Then I read the description. No wonder I loved the pattern… it’s one of Holly’s!

Holly Mabutas is a gifted artist and quiltmaker who has THE most delightful patterns over at Eat Cake Graphics. Here’s the quilt from the show, Furry Sweetness by Judy Price, quilted by Lynette Harlan. Love it, gals!

my Vendor's Choice ribbon

Furry Sweetness at Eat Cake Graphics.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

April 8, 2014

Filed Under Patterns, Prizes | 4 Comments 

Cathy Perlmutter is my special friend that I visit with whenever I’m in her area for a quilt show. She writes the fabulous blog Gefiltequilt about her wondrously creative projects. When I took a look at this month’s featured book, I knew that it was right up Cathy’s alley. Yay, she agreed to write a guest post!!

Take it away, Cathy!

How lucky am I that Kay Mackenzie loaned me a copy of Cheryl Lynch’s new book, Sew Embellished! Artistic Little Quilts, Personalized with Easy Techniques, published by Martingale in 2012.

This book is a delight, and packed with useful information. For everyone who would like to start embellishing, or be inspired by new ideas, this book is a must-have.

The book starts out as an embellishment encyclopedia. Cheryl shows how to attach a wide variety of beads, buttons, and miscellaneous hardware – anything, as she says, that has a hole in it. She shows how she uses trims as whimsical border treatments. There’s an explanation of how to make custom buttons and beads from polymer clay. She takes us through a wide variety of threads and yarns, and graphs the main embroidery stitches that quilters need.

Cheryl also offers a variety of ways to add words–whether applique, computer printing, embroidery, polymer clay plates, and more. She has a lot of really interesting binding and edging techniques, including folded shapes.

All that alone would be worth the price of admission, but we’re not even halfway through the book yet! Cheryl’s projects, which involve both piecing and applique, celebrate family, pets, nature and love. She turns unfinished blocks into works of art. My favorite are her brooches with shrink-plastic photos stitched on; a stunning appliqued “tranquility tree”, and her accordion-fold heart & home standing book.

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning embellishment techniques or acquiring more; and who would like a reference and inspiration for personalized and unique art quilt gifts. I am buying myself a copy. It is a keeper that I will refer to again and again!

Kay here… thank you Cathy! Cathy has to get her own copy because we’re giving this one away! If you’d like to enter the drawing, please leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, April 7.

It is with a sorrowful sigh that I must say that these drawings are now open to U.S. mailing addresses only. I found out with a shock that one of the changes in our recent USPS postal rate increase is that the cost to Canada has more than tripled. Apologies to my quilting neighbors to the north. :( .

Many thanks for reading All About Appliqué,
Kay and Cathy

April 1, 2014

Filed Under Books, Embellishment, Embroidery, Prizes | 17 Comments 

The three door prize winners in honor of National Quilting Day are… No. 34-Dorothy, No. 39-Cathy, and No. 47-Lynn. Congratulations to all three and thanks to everyone who entered the draw!

When I put together door prizes for the shows the contents may vary… this time they contained two of my books.

Growing Hearts has 16 flowering hearts blocks, and A Merry Little Christmas has a variety of holiday designs in sizes that play nicely together. Enjoy the designs ladies!

I’m off to SoCal once again (my car knows the way) for the Glendale Quilt Guild show at the Pasadena Convention Center. Hope to see you there, and who knows, maybe you’ll win a door prize :) .

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

March 19, 2014

Filed Under Prizes, Quilt shows | 3 Comments 

Depending on who you ask, today is National Quilting Day (according to the NQA) or Worldwide Quilting Day (according to the Fabric Shop Network).

Whatever we call it, it’s a day to celebrate quilting and all that it means in the lives of anyone who has ever made a quilt, slept under a quilt, touched a quilt, or seen a quilt. That’s gotta be just about everybody, don’t you think?

Illuminations, design by Kay Mackenzie

There ought to be a party. And at a party, there are often door prizes. When there are door prizes, people win them. I have door prizes!

Yep, at almost every guild show I bring along door prizes, goody bags of my books that lucky ticket holders get to take home with them. Instead of tickets, we’ll do comments! If you’d like to win one of my door prizes, leave a comment here on this post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Tuesday, March 18. We’ll do three winners!

Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. And, I can’t remind about this enough… if you click “Reply” to your email subscription, you will not be entered in the drawing. You have to come to the blog itself and leave a comment.

Happy National/Worldwide Quilting Day!

March 15, 2014

Filed Under Prizes | 47 Comments 

I’ve got a lot of fun stuff to mention today!

First off, Martingale is commemorating Worldwide Quilting Day, March 15, with several suggestions for things to do. One of them is, “Start a spark—make just one block!” To support this notion they’ve got some of their favorite block eBooks on sale. And my Easy Appliqué Blocks is one of them!

Go see the Martingale blog post!

Golly, it’s good to see those EAB blocks again.

I might just have to cook up something myself this Saturday to celebrate what is both Worldwide Quilting Day and National Quilting Day. Got my thinking cap on…

While I’m thinking, you have got to go and see what the phenomenal Darcy Ashton is working on now.

The gorgeous Miss Mermaid.

My next show is the Glendale Quilt Guild, March 21-22, newly held at the Pasadena Convention Center. After many years in Burbank, they’re moving to this new venue where the entire show can be in one giant happy room. Can’t wait, especially since I’ll get to see my special pal Cathy, she of GefiilteQuilt. Note that this is a Friday-Saturday show.

Got a lot to do to get ready! I’m also working on yet another new pattern. Stay tuned!

Until Saturday,
By Kay Mackenzie

March 11, 2014

Filed Under Books, Designers, Patterns, Quilt shows | Leave a Comment 

Right now I’m in Valencia, California, staying over on the way to Palm Springs for the Desert Guilds biennial quilt show! Setup is tomorrow, then the show is Friday and Saturday. I had a great time two years ago and am happy to be going back to the desert once again. My pal Debby has a beautiful shop The Quilter’s Faire in nearby Palm Desert and it’ll be great seeing her again over the weekend.

The winner of Fall Into Spring is No. 41, Ellen. Congratulations Ellen! I know you will love this expanded pattern from the AQS. Thanks so much to everyone who follows the blog and enters the drawings.

Back next week,

March 5, 2014

Filed Under Prizes, Quilt shows | 1 Comment 

As we ease our way into spring, it’s great to have this expanded pattern from the AQS Love to Quilt series!

Fall Into Spring is an award-winning quilt designed and made by Cheryl See in 2007. Cheryl used hand appliqué techniques, and you can use your favorite appliqué method to bring this 57½ x 57½ beauty to life.

The pattern includes humongo folded sheets inside that give you all the patterns full-size! Complete instructions, including optional trapunto and cording methods, are also on these big sheets. Cheryl notes that the fabrics in the original quilt are Marimekko® but that any gradated fabrics will work just as well, or you can piece to achieve the same effect.

If you’d like to win this pattern, please leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. California time on Wednesday, March 5. Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. (Remember, emails won’t enter the drawing.)

Good luck everyone!
Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

March 1, 2014

Filed Under Patterns, Prizes | 49 Comments 

Commenter No. 16, Karen Pastoor, came up the winner of The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop. Congratulations Karen! I know you will enjoy this fabulous new book.

And don’t forget that Kevin Kosbab is holding a blog tour later this week to celebrate the book’s release! It’ll go February 20-28 over at Kevin’s blog, Feed Dog Designs.

In other news, I’m gearing up for my own guild’s quilt show this weekend! We’re the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association, with members from Santa Cruz County and beyond.

The show is held at the County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. It’s a great location, we have all three buildings and there are lots of fun features and activities during the show. I’ll be in the Harvest Building this year, the same building where lunch is served and the quilt auction and fashion show are held. Hope to see you there this weekend! Saturday, February 22, 10-5, and Sunday, February 23, 10-4.

I mentioned that I was working on a new pattern. Here it is, Sunday Dress.

Originally I called it “Easter Dress,” but after thinking about it some more, I changed it to Sunday Dress so that it wouldn’t seem so seasonal. Those of you who got it at the Folsom show (thank you), I guess you could say you have a collector’s item! :)

Back on the 1st with another great appliqué book! See you then!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

February 18, 2014

Filed Under Books, Patterns, Prizes, Quilt shows | 1 Comment 

I’m subscribed to the appliqué book feed on Amazon, and as soon as I saw the announcement of a new book that was coming out, I was intrigued and followed the link right away.

The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop by Kevin Kosbab, from Interweave/F+W Media.

I pulled up the “Look Inside” on Amazon, started reading the section on “Give Appliqué a Chance,”, and honestly, I got chills. Kevin and I could have one brain on the subject of appliqué hesitation. As you know I had just been working on The Appliqué Self-Help Brochure!

I contacted Interweave to see if they would be willing to send a review copy. Not only were they quite gracious about doing so, they set up an interview with Kevin! I’m so happy to share our email conversation, a little later in the post.

The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop combines traditional methods with a fresh design eye. Kevin gently introduces and thoroughly explains several methods of hand and machine appliqué, including raw-edge, prepared-edge, and needle-turn, all presented with striking projects that fall toward the modern aesthetic. The old and the new… what a great combo platter!

Cobblestones Quilt

Here’s what Kevin and I talked about.

• Kay: I love the front matter in your book… “Give Appliqué a Chance.” You and I both have heard what you aptly call “the old chestnuts,” such as “I don’t have the patience.” Me, in my booth at shows… how about you?

• Kevin: There’s a healthy die-hard appliqué contingent at my local quilt guild, but other members are more hesitant to approach the “A-word”. Just attending quilt shows gives ample opportunity to overhear similar sentiments as people browse the vendors and displays. The most puzzling thing I’ve heard is, “I don’t appliqué, but I do fusible”–which, as you point out in your flier, IS appliqué!

• Kay: You and I think alike when it comes to appliqué method. There are so many ways to go about it, and there’s no one correct way! I really like how you present this concept, both in the section called “Choosing a Method” and as each is introduced. Most books just announce the method, and plow right into it! You start out by asking “Why?” and then delivering an explanation of why one might choose that particular method. Is that the way your mind works?

• Kevin: Definitely! High school calculus baffled me because nobody would (or could) explain the “why” of the processes, so I wanted to lay out actual reasons why one appliqué method might be beneficial in certain circumstances. Projects in the book like Eccentric Concentrics and the All Seasons Pillows take advantage of the freeform nature of needle-turn, while the crisp shapes of the Pineapple Rings and Counterbalance quilts make more sense as prepared-edge projects. And to define edges with decorative stitching or contrasting thread, you can’t beat raw-edge fusible appliqué. I really believe there’s no one-size-fits-all method, and each offers unique opportunities and challenges.

Counterbalance Quilt

• Kay: The subtitle of the book is “Timeless Techniques for Modern Designs.” Its seems to act as a bridge between what’s time-honored and what’s coming up new and fresh in quilting today. Was that your thinking going into the project?

• Kevin: It was definitely one of the thoughts floating around in my head–in a wider sense, that’s how I like to approach quilting and needlework in general, learning from the experience of people before me while applying those skills to a newer aesthetic. I love digging through old needlework books and figuring out how to extract the basic techniques from the often dated examples.

• Kay: The book gives information on very precise ways to achieve results, and also more freeform strategies. I appreciate the way you encourage imprecision and improvisation in appliqué.

• Kevin: I’m so glad to hear that. I think concentration on precision is one of the biggest barriers to enjoyment of appliqué, so I wanted to counter that with a different perspective. There’s been lots of interest in improvisational piecing over the last several years, and it felt to me that improvisation was an even more natural component of appliqué, even though it’s not an aspect I often see associated with appliqué (or encouraged). Historical quilts are rarely absolutely precise, but they have a vitality that’s lost when we try too hard to emulate computer-aided perfection. Improvisation shouldn’t be about shoddy craftsmanship, but about embracing the handmade nature of the things we are taking the time to make by hand.

All Seasons Pillows

• Kay: The sidebar on “Quilt Police, Appliqué Division” had me cracking up! I’ll just quote the first couple of sentences. “Every branch of quilting has its share of self-appointed authoritarians on a mission to ensure compliance with their version of The Right Way To Do Things. Appliqué seems to attract an especially large police force, but as in real law enforcement, their statutes vary by jurisdiction.” Well said!

• Kevin: Thanks, I had fun writing it! Writing pages and pages of detailed technical instructions can provoke occasional outbursts like that. ;-) And besides, who said quilting had to be all serious business?

• Kay: You talk about how when you first became interested in appliqué, there were calls to mom. Can you describe how those calls went?

• Kevin: Well, to start with, my mom was quite surprised that I was considering quilting, since I’d been insistent she not make me a quilt when I went away to college (“Mo-om, it’ll be embarrassing!”). But she offered to quilt my first (pieced) quilt top, and quite fortuitously left the binding for me to do. I told her I found hand-sewing the binding strangely enjoyable, to which she said, “You know, if you like sewing the binding, you’d probably like appliqué.”

She’s an expert appliquér, so since she was my main point of quilting contact then, she didn’t instill any of the fear many quilters feel about appliqué. She encouraged me to try a freezer paper and starch-turned method to start with and gave me a basic run-down of how it worked, and I set off to do a large-scale appliqué across the better part of a full-size bed quilt–not how I’d recommend starting, but it got me hooked. After I’d done a couple quilts that way, I lamented to my mom how the starching and ironing started to feel tedious, a feeling she shared (neither of us get our kicks from ironing laundry), so she promised to show me needle-turn applique the next time we got together in person.

Fruit Market Quilt

The rest of my family couldn’t believe the sight of the two of us messing about with fabric and needles, but since then my younger brother’s also become a costume designer, so my father and other brother (both engineers) really wonder what happened.

My mom also gave lots of advice on tools and supplies, though what I had available at the time was pretty much limited to what was available on foot in downtown Philadelphia (which meant hand-quilting thread for appliqué–again, not what I’d recommend for a beginner!). We still compare notes on new supplies, techniques, and ideas. Though our quilts look totally different, our attitudes about quilting are pretty close, so she’s been very generous in helping me out with pattern samples. Call me a mamma’s boy if you must, but we do live thousands miles apart!

• Kay: The book has full-size patterns in a plastic bag attached to the inside back cover! Excellent! Was that your concept?

• Kevin: The publisher decided the ultimate format, but I felt strongly that the patterns should be printed full size. It’s so frustrating when a book requires patterns to be enlarged–it always seems to take a huge amount of trial and error to get the photocopies to come out right. If people have bought the book, they shouldn’t have to pay a copy shop too.

That said, I did have to work out an enlargement percentage for the Eccentric Concentrics Quilt in the book because the pattern is the size of the entire quilt, but I hope people will prefer to sketch out their own interpretation.

• Kay: How did you and Interweave get together?

• Kevin: I’ve been designing sewing projects for Stitch, one of Interweave’s magazines, since their second issue, so that’s how their books division found me. The acquisitions editor asked if I’d thought about writing a book, to which I replied, “As a matter of fact, yes!” I’d worked as a book editor myself, so a quilting book had been knocking around in my head for a while.

• Kay: When, why, and how did you become interested in quilting and appliqué? Do you teach classes? How do we pronounce your last name?

• Kevin: Still with neither of us thinking I’d get into quilting, my mom bought me my first sewing machine when I started talking about making curtains for my first apartment. That apartment never had its curtains finished, though, because I soon got distracted with quilting: I made a really simple quilt for my bed from Denyse Schmidt‘s first book, then another bed quilt from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr‘s book shortly after, and then I started designing my own patterns. I actually picked up appliqué shortly after those first two quilts, encouraged by my enjoyment of binding. I’d never planned to get into quilting, but it gave a medium to my lifelong interest in graphic design–appliqué was the last piece of the puzzle, opening up infinite possibilities in designing quilts.

I do teach classes, including some new ones based on the improvisational approaches in my book. Confirmed teaching engagements are posted on my website on the Class Schedule page.

My last name has been mispronounced in lots of ways over the years, but per the U.S. Air Force it’s KOZ-bab, just like it’s spelled but with a Z sound instead of an S. It previously had a more Germanic pronunciation, but my grandfather decided his name was whatever his superiors called him, so that’s what we’ve been running with since.

Thanks for your kind words and thoughtful questions. It’s hugely rewarding to hear that someone “gets it” after all the work of putting the book together.

• Kay: I get it! Been going there and doing that! You did a great job.

Kevin Kosbab, photo by John Lessard

Kevin on Facebook.

Kevin’s putting together a blog tour to celebrate the upcoming release of his book! It’ll be going on February 20-28 over on Kevin’s blog, Feed Dog Designs. Be sure to mark your calendars!

In the meantime, I have a copy of The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop to give away here! If you’d like to enter my drawing, leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 17.

Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. And remember, step away from the “reply” button if you’re getting this by email. Come to the blog itself to leave your comment.

Thanks Kevin for taking the time to share some inside info with us!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

February 12, 2014

Filed Under Blog hops, Books, Prizes | 35 Comments 

Just a couple quick notes today. You may be wondering what happened to our book feature for February. It’s coming! Stay tuned for something really cool, a little later in the month.

I’m headed to the Folsom Quilt and Fiber Guild show this weekend. It’ll be my first time, and from what I understand it’s a pretty big and wonderful show. I’m looking forward to it! I saw my buddy Cathy of Cathy’s Crafts at Road, and it turns out we’ll be next-door neighbors, yay!

I made a new pattern! It has this in it. I’ll show you the whole thing later.

There’s a giveaway going on right now at Quiltmaker. It ends February 8, so hurry on over!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

February 5, 2014

Filed Under Prizes, Quilt shows | Leave a Comment 

Finally getting my head back on straight after a week away from home at the glorious Road to California show. My goodness, what an extravaganza! The Mayor of Ontario (California) said it is their single biggest event of the year.

This year, about 50 more vendors were added, located in a structure that was variously referred to as the Bubble, the Big Top, the Tent, and officially, The Pavilion. My pal Debby, whose shop is The Quilter’s Faire in Palm Desert, was the last to get a space and it was wonderful to have a chance to visit with her in those few minutes a day when we are not bungee-corded to our booths.

Debby had been telling me that she was going to make up my pattern
A Spin in the Garden, and there it was!

A whole new look, so fresh and adorable! She had kits for the happy spring-like fabrics, and I think they sold out. If you’re interested, you can contact the store to see if they have more. The Quilter’s Faire.

The Appliqué Self-Help Brochure went over well. :) I didn’t hand out that many, because in general the visitors to the booth had lovely, positive attitudes. When I did fish one out and hand it over with a smile, it was taken in good spirit, so I think it’s going to work.

A few of you stopped by to see the new Teapot quilt, thanks! it also was well received and fit into the booth “like butter.”

I didn’t get the chance to take many photos of the show entries, but what I did notice were several variations of the good ol’ Dresden Plate, one of my favorite blocks. There were more, but here are just a couple.

Fancy Dresden Plate by Cheryl Beckendorf and Leslie Guyton, quilted by Heidi Stagno

Bloomin' Cogwheels by Janna Thomas

There’s something exciting coming to Appliqué Book Land, quite soon! Stay tuned!

Until then,
By Kay Mackenzie

January 31, 2014

Filed Under Patterns, Quilt shows | 8 Comments 

First of all, thank you so much for all of the nice words about the brochure. The encouragement is highly appreciated, and I’ll let you know how it goes over!

Those of you who have visited my booth have seen the nine-block teapot sampler that I hang to show some of the designs in Teapots 2 to Appliqué.

That quilt has been universally loved. People exclaim over it, and those who get the book want to take photos of it, so they can “remember the colors.” (I point out that it’s red, white, and blue LOL.)

In the last little while, those teapots have started to whisper to me. “Mackenzie,” they say, “We’re tired. We want to stay home.” It’s true they have done a yeoman’s service. So over the holiday hiatus I made a new nine-block sampler. Here are a couple of the new teapots.

As you can see, they’re still red, white, and blue, but in a richer scheme. The white is now ivory, the 30s and toile prints now French and Civil War. I hope this new collection will hit the spot for viewers.

The quilt will make its debut at the upcoming Road to California show. If you’re planning on attending this quilting extravaganza, come on by and see it! I’ll be in the ballroom.

I’m on the road to Road on Tuesday, for a week. See you when I get back, if not before!


January 19, 2014

Filed Under Quilt shows | 2 Comments 

A couple months ago, I floated the idea of creating a hand-out to give to visitors in my booth who expressed appliqué fear or hesitation. I so appreciated all of your responses and support! I’ve been working on it ever since.

To those who said they liked the graphic, thank you so much! It’s the same as the header for the blog. They are three of the designs from Easy Appliqué Blocks, my first book with Martingale.

It’s also on my business card.

I now have the brochure printed, packed, and ready to debut at the first show of the year, Road to California later this month. We’ll see how they go over. :)

Someone asked if they could purchase one… heavens no! I’ve modified the format so that it’s all one page, nicknamed the Appliqué Self-Help Flier, and I’m posting a pdf of it here for anyone to print. The information is all the same, just rearranged to go on one page instead of a two-sided half-sheet.

Just click on the image below, and the pdf version should pop up for you.

You’ll note that the copyright statement includes permission to distribute the flier at will, provided that it’s not modified and remains in its original form.

Up with appliqué!
By Kay Mackenzie

January 10, 2014

Filed Under Articles | 6 Comments 

The winner of Nature’s Beauty in Appliqué is Helen Lebrett! Congratulations! Helen, be sure to reply to my email so that I can get your prize sent out to you.

I subscribe to the Checker News Blog. Checker Distributors is one of the largest companies supplying our independent quilt shops with everything they could need and more. Their news blog is geared toward retailers, but reading it is a great way to see what’s new, cool, and groovy in Quiltland.

Penny Haren, author of the Pieced Appliqué series of books, is a consultant for Checker and does most of the blogging. Recently she posted the story of an old appliqué top that was relegated to the closet for a number of years after the fabrics faded, and how she was able to bring it back to new life. I found this fascinating!

Penny’s Appliqué Repair

Until next time,
By Kay Mckenzie

January 7, 2014

Filed Under Freezer paper on the back, Glue stick, Photo tutorials | 1 Comment 

A very happy New Year to you all!

Susan Taylor Propst is the author of a series of wonderful books on floral appliqué. Here on the blog, we previously featured her titles Beautiful Blooms and Another Season of Beautiful Blooms.

For this month, courtesy of Martingale, we have Susan’s third book, Nature’s Beauty in Appliqué.

Subtitled “Pretty and Practical Projects,” this book gives instructions for a variety of different things you can appliqué and sew, from table runners to place mats to tote bags to zippered cases.

Campanula Neck Roll

Tulip Place Mats

Petunia Case

Also blooming in the designs are irises, daffodils, dahlias, and ivy. Add in Susan’s instructions for her methods of needleturn hand appliqué, prepared-edge hand appliqué, and fusible appliqué, and this is one fantastic resource!

If you’d like to enter the drawing for Nature’s Beauty in Appliqué, please leave a comment below by 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, January 5.

Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Heads up! If you get this in an email, do not reply… it will not enter you in the drawing. Leave your comment on the blog, on the internet. To get there, click on the title of the post in your email feed.

See you Saturday!
By Kay Mackenzie

January 1, 2014

Filed Under Books, Prizes | 70 Comments 

Merry Christmas to all!!

Usual Disclaimer: What you are about to see contains images of cute fluffy kitties. It has nothing to do with appliqué, so be warned if you must. Welcome to the Fourth Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!

In the spring, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors for the season. Dana and I had the joy and privilege of taking care of 24 little balls of fur for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

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 teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house.

When Stormy came into the shelter as a stray kitten in a cardboard carrier, everyone knew about it! This tiny kid had a set of lungs on him! Two visitors who were there to look at kittens took a liking to his spirit right away. I was able to follow up with them throughout Stormy’s foster period, and they adopted him just as soon as he was ready.

Stormy, complete with ring-around-the nose from enthusiastic Fancy Feast eating.

His first trip up the stairs.

A little more grown up, and with a cleaner nose.

Max is very sensitive about his magnificent tail, but allowed Stormy to use it for a pillow.

Normally three at a time is our limit, but once in awhile it bears breaking the rules when there’s an irresistible batch of three that can come home to join the one that you’ve already got. (Plus the giant.)


Kiki, checking out the tomatoes and parsley with Max.

Stormy (left) and Nick (right).

Kitty Dreamland.

Next we had a batch of three, one girl and two boys. They came from behind a tire shop so they were a little greasy. I had to give them baths with a drop of Dawn.

Trixie, enduring well.

All recovered and feeling clean and happy.

Baxter, the orange boy.

Moxie with his one gray toe.

Trixie thinks Baxter makes the best pillow.

That’s a lot of legs.

Our next batch of three were what we call “cow cats.” Three darling black and white kitties just home from the shelter. In the front are Pickles and Scooter Bug. Shy guy Blake holds up the rear.

I put on a bird video to see how they would like it.

After all that excitement, everyone was ready for a nap.

Blake was Pet of the Week at the shelter. What a handsome guy he grew into!

After that we had three torties. Now torties are sometimes known for having “tortietude,” but these three girls were sweet as sugar.

Genevieve, Georgie, and Gingersnap.

Dana called them the “pod kitties” because they moved as a group, whatever they did.

They inducted Max into their pod.

Georgie, with her little-old-man eyebrows.

Bootsie makes a good chin rest.

Gingersnap, the pastel tortie of the group.

Max gives Gingersnap a lesson in herbology.

Then came two of the funniest little cats we’ve ever had. Austin and Andrew were two orange medium-hair boys.

See that dove there that got knocked over? We didn’t do that.

Austin, on toy overload. They liked to sleep upside down.

These guys were on the shy side. In fact, they could be downright reclusive. They went to ground probably more than any other kitties we’ve had. After three years of doing this, I know all the hiding places, but I was still stumped! Finally we found them tucked away in a partially open drawer.

Did I mention that they liked to sleep upside down?

Then one day, we couldn’t find them, again! At last Dana heard rustling. They had gone behind that drawer, down to the drawer underneath, and were sleeping peacefully on Dana’s magazine archive.

Dana posted photos of them on Facebook, and a friend of his who was in the market for kittens fell in love with them. As soon as they were ready, they were adopted together into a loving family that dotes on them. They named them Thor and Loki.

Happy in their new home, still upside down, dreaming of soaring through the air with Thor’s hammer.

The next three that we had all came as singles, but overlapped one another.

Cindy Lou was a beyond-adorable torbie, that is, combination tortie and tabby. This little cutie had something strange going on in that she ate clay litter and licked concrete. She was transferred to a wonderful rescue organization who took on her issues, resolved them, and successfully adopted her out within a day of making her available. Thank you, AFRP!

Our next little guy was a brown tiger who charmed the entire staff at the shelter with his antics. I could hardly get to his kennel to take him home for all the people crowded around cooing over him! He certainly was a gem, full of personality and a joy to have around.

Jeffty in a patch of sunlight.

We do try to instill table manners in our kittens, but Jeffty considered any etiquette he had learned to be irrelevant where Gizdich Ranch pie was concerned.

Next came Jeremy, a little black fellow with a white locket on his throat. He was a bit nervous, totally people-friendly but not at all sure about “that other kitten.”

Within a day, affable Jeffty had won him over and they were BFF.

We named Jeffty after a famous short story by Harlan Ellison. I was at the shelter when he was adopted, and I could hardly believe it when the family not only recognized the name, but turned out to be personal friends of the author!

At that point, there were exactly two weeks before our U.K. trip, so I let the staff know that I had a short window. I didn’t even make it home that day before Dana took a call that some kittens had come back when another foster family had to go out of town, and needed two weeks! Lucky me!

Fuzz and Casanova.

Casanova so named because he was a lover boy, a champion snuggler.

After we got back from Scotland, I thought we were pretty much done for the season. However, winter kittens, though rare, are not unheard of, so I kept my radar up. Sure enough, I was able to pick up a brother and sister last week, so we’ve got kittens for Christmas!

Meet Sparrow and Squidge.

Some kittens just name themselves. Squidge, with his milk-chocolate rabbit fur, roly-poly shape, and short little legs, reminds me alternatively of a hedgehog, a dusty snowball, and a Cocoa Puff. Before I could even think of a good name, “Squidgy” came out of my mouth.

Sparrow is a self-assured little mighty mite with a big voice. She weighs in at just over a pound, but makes up for lack of size with heart and spunk as big as Texas. These guys are so fun, so easy, I feel like they’re a holiday gift.

All settled in, with little halos around their heads.

The very best to you and yours, including all your furry friends! I leave you with this final video showcasing Kitten Mixed Martial Arts.

Until next year,
By Kay Mackenzie

December 25, 2013

Filed Under Kittens Off Topic | 13 Comments 

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes!!! That was fun, and it was really fun to pull three winners this time. The readers who will receive a copy of my Teapots 2 to Appliqué are #56, Lee; #2, JuliaP; and #15, Debra. I appreciate you all so much for joining me on this blog, throughout the year.

Regular reader Beverly Schueneman made my Plum Pudding pattern to hang on her kitchen door!

So cute! I love the fabrics that she chose for the patched backgrounds, and the hard-to-find mottled browns for the puddings.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

December 22, 2013

Filed Under Patterns, Prizes, Show & Tell | 4 Comments 

Greetings fellow appliqué enthusiasts! I have one of those birthdays that’s close to Christmas. When I was a kid it meant “combination” presents, which to someone of a tender age can be very thick. (I’ve gotten over that now.) (Pretty much.)

To help celebrate the day, I’m putting up a copy of one of my most popular books, Teapots 2 to Appliqué.

It’s in its fourth printing and still going strong. Quilters love teapots!

The book has designs for 16 different teapots, plus cups and saucers and milk and sugar, and instructions for back-basting hand appliqué. (Of course you can use whatever method you like.)

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment here on the blog by 7:00 p.m. California time on Sunday Saturday, December 21. Hey, one copy doesn’t seem enough. How about three winners! Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck in the draw!

Happy holidays,
By Kay Mackenzie

December 17, 2013

Filed Under Back-basting (no-template), Books, Prizes | 76 Comments 

Linda Franz is one of my most revered associates in the quilting world. When I first stuck a toe into publishing, I saw that she had produced the fabulous Quilted Diamonds on her own, and I contacted her with questions. Linda immediately became a mentor to me, answering at length and providing the most wonderful encouragement.

I’ve watched over the years as Linda has continued trail-blazing. She is the inventor of Inklingo, a system of printing on fabric that provides a myriad of benefits for both patchwork and appliqué. Recently Linda posted a tutorial on Quilting Hub about back-basting with Inklingo that you’ll just have to go and see. Among Linda’s many skills is photography, and the quality of her photo tutorials is unsurpassed. You’ll also meet Linda’s friend Monkey, who helps demonstrate during the tutorials.

Coming up: Tuesday is my birthday. I have a date with the hubby for dinner-and-a-movie, but I’m also feeling inclined to do some sort of something here on the blog to help celebrate. And, on Christmas day I post my annual Cavalcade of Kittens, so be warned if you are averse to fluffy baby felines. :)

By Kay Mackenzie

December 14, 2013

Filed Under Back-basting (no-template), Hand appliqué, Photo tutorials | 2 Comments 

Here’s some very cool news: The delightful Laura Wasilowski will be an instructor at the upcoming World Quilt Show Florida!

I interviewed Laura awhile back for the blog, If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out the Spotlight on LW. Laura’s a proud fuser, in fact she’s Dean of Corrections of the famous Chicago School of Fusing.

The Mancuso team, who put on this Florida show as well as PIQF here in California and many others, have also arranged a special hotel and show package for your winter getaway enjoyment.

Here’s more info on Laura’s luncheon talk.

Hope you get a chance to snow-bird it to Florida for the show.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

December 8, 2013

Filed Under Quilt shows | 1 Comment 

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