Congratulations! According to random.org, the winner of an autographed copy of Susan Brubaker Knapp’s Appliqué Petal Party is Carol Schlabach!

Thank you so much to everyone who left comments. I know it’s a treat for Susan to see all the wonderful things you’ve said.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

P.S. More giveaway goodness coming up!

Susan Brubaker Knapp and I became acquainted through a Yahoo discussion group for pattern designers. Her Blue Moon River blog was one of the stops on my Easy Applique Blocks Book-a-Round in April. In May, Susan and I were able to meet in person during Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. (See my post-Market post.)

We were both as high as kites above Pittsburgh. Me because my book had just come out, and Susan because she had just found out that not one but two of her quilts had been chosen for the 2010 Quilting Arts Calendar, one of them actually being on the cover! That’s right, those stunning citrus slices are Susan’s. Not only that, she and C&T Publishing were hard at work on Susan’s first book due out in the fall.

During the summer, C&T contacted me to ask if I would like to write an blurb about Susan’s book. Would I! They sent me an advance galley copy of Applique Petal Party so I was able to pore over the gorgeous floral designs and the written information. I wrote my blurb and sent it in.

Check out the interview with Susan on the C&T blog.

Now the book is out!

Applique Petal Party is presented in a unique format… a glossy heavyweight sleeve contains an instruction booklet and… get this… 16 full-size patterns! Each block is 13”, so what a convenience. You can make the Petal Party quilt, a smaller wall quilt, or use these designs whenever you need an appliqué block. Click here to see the full quilt on the C&T site..

The booklet gives great hand appliqué instructions plus construction information for the Petal Party quilt that goes from cutting to quilting to binding and labeling. The quilt has scalloped borders so here’s your chance to learn how to do those, including the binding part.

My blurb? It just flowed from my brain through my fingertips to the keyboard. When I got the book, I saw that my quote had made the back cover! In fact, it’s the only one!!! Wow!

kays-quote

Susan has generously sent me an autographed copy to give away in a drawing to a lucky reader. Leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. on Halloween to enter the drawing. (U.S. and Canada only unless you’re willing to pay the shipping.)

Boo!
Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

It started last Wednesday morning bright and early as Dana and I packed the car and drove an hour and a half to Pleasant Hill, California, to attend the quarterly meeting of the Northern California Quilt Council. I had been invited to participate in a panel discussion called “So You Want to Get it Published.” How very cool! Publishing nerd that I am, I can’t think of a more thrilling topic.

My fellow panel members were Cara Gulati of Doodle Press, Jill Rixman of A Designing Woman, Megan Wisniewski and Lynn Koolish of C&T Publishing, authors Judy Sisneros and Melinda Bula, Tracey Brookshier of Brookshier Design Studio, and Judy Mullen of Scaredy Cat Designs. Quite an array of different perspectives on publishing in the quilting world!

We each had five minutes to introduce ourselves, complete with red, yellow, and green flash cards to let us know when the hook was approaching LOL. Questions from the floor followed. Some of the answers shared great information about various forms of ‘getting it published,’ while others provided moving inspiration. I think we all wish the session could have gone on longer. We only scratched the surface; there was so much more to talk about!

After the meeting was over Dana and I had lunch and set off for our next destination: Shinneyboo Creek Cabins near Emigrant Gap in the Sierra Nevadas. This is a rustic vacation resort with little cabins that I found by following Google Maps up I-80.

Little cabin in the woods.

Little cabin in the woods.

back-porch

It was so much fun! A complete change of scenery from our coastal Santa Cruz. Crisp mountain air, woodsy terrain, and tons of tumbled rocks and huge boulders thanks to the work of glaciers in the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago. (Hello, I‘m married to a science writer.)

We brought our dinner and warmed it up in our cozy little cabin in the microwave, and made tea with the electric kettle. Dana immediately climbed up into the loft and turned 10 years old again, reading in the loft as happy as a clam. I read some quilting magazines and stitched three holly leaves.

The next morning we went for a walk. (Notice I said walk. I’m a good sturdy walker but don’t say the word hike.) Our destination was the Pierce Creek Wetlands Trail, ¼ mile from the path behind our cabin.

sign1

A mile or so later down a rocky road, we came to the following sign.

sign2

I swear they were in that order.

creekbed
But we did find the Pierce Wetlands, er, dry creekbed. Rains this winter will undoubtedly make it wet again.

yurtThey also have a yurt.

Dana examining a fascinating round rock.

Dana examining a fascinating rock.

Dana contemplating a sign that says nothing, with a pine cone on his head. Don't ask.

Dana contemplating a sign that says nothing, with a pine cone on his head. Don't ask.

We left Shinneyboo and drove east to Bearpaws & Hollyhocks, a charming quilt shop in Sacramento well worth the detour. I found some of the double pinks that I have come to greatly appreciate.

We got back on the freeway and proceeded eastward a short hop to historic Auburn, where I stopped in at the Cabin Fever Quilt Shoppe. The first thing I saw was Susan Brubaker Knapp‘s hot-off-the-presses Applique Petal Party! (A whole post about that’s comin’ up.)

cabin-fever

As I was perusing the shop’s lovely fabrics and making my selections, the owner came in. “Oh, hello!” she said to me. She had been at the NCQC meeting that morning! It was great to chat with Patti a little bit about the experience. She gave me a copy of the 2007 Quilt Sampler magazine, which features Cabin Fever as one of the Top Ten Stores! Congratulations Patti and staff!

Just one part of the store.

Just one part of the store.

Then, on to our last stop, the Sands Regency in Reno, Nevada.

From woodsy to glitzy.

From woodsy to glitzy.

Dana plays in a chess tournament at the Sands once or twice a year and I love to go along when I can. The fabulous Windy Moon Quilts has a huge selection of fabrics, lots of lights and darks and other categories too numerous to mention. I also found Sew-n-Such, a very fun shop featuring sewing machines, sergers, and a sizeable quilt fabric presence. Very nice vibe in that shop.

fabrics

My haul of fabrics from the trip. Can you tell that I’m collecting backgrounds, reds, pinks, greens, and blues? Yep, I’m off to the races on another future project.

So what quilter doesn’t combine vacation time with visits to quilt shops, catching up on quilting magazines, and time spent on take-along projects? For us, all trips are quasi-quilty! I sure enjoyed mine.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Pacific International Quilt Festival was last weekend and as usual it was a colorful, energetic, heavenly concentration of quilts, quilters, and wares under one roof.

The quilt that reached out and grabbed me this year was Fragrant Memories by Rachel Wetzler of St. Charles, Illinois.

Fragrant Memories by Rachel Wetzler

Fragrant Memories by Rachel Wetzler

Rachel graciously consented to my posting her quilt on my blog. She reports, “It’s one of my favorites as it brings back ‘the good old days’ when mom’s warm bread or rolls awaited me after school. Yum!”

fragrant-memories-detail

The description read, “One of my favorite childhood memories is coming home from school to the aroma of mom’s homemade bread. This quilt is one of five in my Simply Sensational series using architectural settings to highlight each of the five senses.”

I think Rachel succeeded in the smellorama department, don’t you? I wanted to step right into that kitchen and dive into a cinnamon bun.

This quilt won the Best of Country ~ United States award in the World Quilt Competition.

ribbon

Rachel is an amazing quiltmaker. I found this interview with her on the Alliance for American Quilts website that was done in connection with the Q.S.O.S. project. She talks about the series and about how it wasn’t all that easy to make LOL! (I imagine not!)

Thanks, Rachel, for sharing your fragrant memories with us.

Until next time,
Much more from PIQF,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Thank you so much to everyone who came over from the Bloggers Quilt Festival and left amazing comments about Shopping Bags. I cherish each and every one; you’ve done my heart good.

There’s a followup story. As I was cutting shapes for the bags, I also cut a few blades and squares from each fabric for some Dresden plate blocks, figuring I had already pulled a coordinated assortment of fabrics so why not make it a twofer. I made this quilt later. Same fabrics exactly as the shopping bags! This quilt is from Faye Anderson’s pattern ‘Cracked China.’ I call mine ‘Mix and Doesn’t Match.’

Mix and Doesn't Match by Kay Mackenzie

Mix and Doesn't Match by Kay Mackenzie

Here’s the quilt that appeared in American Quilter. Funny that they were originally attracted to the pattern from the dark blue quilt, requested an additional lighter sample, and then never used the first one at all!

Shopping Bags II by Kay Mackenzie

Shopping Bags II by Kay Mackenzie

In this quilt, the bags were pieced into the background instead of appliquéd on.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Thanks to Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place I have another fantastic book to tell you about.

deck-halls

Deck the Halls: Quilts to Celebrate Christmas by Cheryl Almgren Taylor is a beautiful volume that includes a variety of festive holiday projects. Besides wall quilts to celebrate the season, there’s a door banner to welcome your holiday guests, a mantel runner to decorate your hearth, toppers and runners to make your table extra special, and an elegant quilted stocking for Santa to fill.

pomegranate

Most of the patterns include appliqué, because as Cheryl put it, “I love the shapes and the graceful curves you can create, as well as the flexibility the technique provides.” Of course you can use your favorite form of appliqué, but Cheryl gives you full illustrated instructions for the fusible-web machine method, and has even reversed the patterns for you. That’s a real convenience.

gingerbread

This one makes me hungry.

stocking

The book includes a whole section of basic information about fabrics, threads, sewing machines, needles, tools, etc. That’s before you even get to the Quiltmaking Basics: rotary cutting, fusible web appliqué, pre-assembly, bias vines, and even paper piecing.

Leave a comment before 7:00 California time on Tuesday, October 13, and be eligible to win the book! U.S. and Canada only, unless you’re willing to cover the shipping.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I asked Dana which quilt should be my quilter’s choice for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival put on by Amy of Park City Girl. Immediately he said, “Shopping Bags.”

Shopping Bags by Kay Mackenzie

Shopping Bags by Kay Mackenzie

The bag popped into my head a number of years ago whilst tromping the aisles at Pacific International Quilt Festival. It must have been the heavenly combination of quilts, fabric, and shopping!

It took awhile for the concept to get from my head to a design. Yes, kids, each bag has set-in seams in two places. That did not deter me. I used freezer-paper templates and sewed carefully, and they came together just fine.

Shopping Bags detail

Shopping Bags detail

It was gobs of fun rummaging through my stash for fabrics to make the fronts, sides, and backs. For the sides, I chose fabrics where I could use both the back and the front, to add to the illusion of a folding pleat.

After the bags were all sewn together (by machine), I turned over a quarter of an inch all around the edges and pressed. I chose a swirly background fabric and made my best stab at an artistic arrangement. In fact this may have been my very first quilt to come even close to being an “art quilt.” I just wanted them to hang there in space and overlap and float in and out from each other.

Once the bags were arranged, I basted them down and stitched the turned edges like appliqué, changing threads to match or blend with each fabric.

I went to the craft store to get something for the handles. I made my choice and as I was standing in line I saw the manager. Susan!” I yelled. “Whaddya call this stuff?” “That’s rat-tail cord,” she replied. Who knew. I couched the cord into place using one of those curve-bar thingies for placement.

Get this… I totally forgot to leave enough background fabric at the top for the handles. I quickly figured out that the topmost handles were going to stick up off the quilt. A happy accident… I get comments on how creative and clever this is.

Along with a different version of the quilt, the Shopping Bag block pattern was published the Fall 2005 issue of American Quilter magazine.

Hope you like Dana’s choice! Visit Park City Girl every day through October 16 and get a ringside seat for other bloggers’ quilt picks.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

… And we’re back. 2.8.4 at last! What a weight off my mind. Of course a lot of the content in my sidebars evaporated and I spent the morning rebuilding them, but hey, at least I’m up and running again with the most important stuff. And now for today’s post.

DH Dana and I are both writers. However, there’s quite a difference between the type of comments we each might make upon entering each others’ offices.

Here’s what he might say after wandering into my studio.

kay-screen.gif“Nice typeface. New?”

Or,

dolls.gif“Looks like a doll shop.”

Whereas, when I mosey into his workspace, I might say something like,

dana-screen.gif“I see that the residual set in your Apollonian Gasket forms a fractal with dimension 1.30568.”

It works out quite well actually, at least for the last 20 years :) .

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

This month’s prize winner is Wenche Martinsen of Drammen, Norway. Congratulations Wenche!

b943_c.jpg

I’ve been looking forward to delving into this month’s book, Dream Landscapes: Artful Quilts with Fast-Piece Appliqué by Rose Hughes. Landscapes, art quilts…. totally out of my arena and it’s always interesting to learn new things to throw into one’s appliqué bag of tricks.

Rose tells us, “Fast-Piece Appliqué is a method of construction that makes easy work of sewing curves, circles, and many designs that you thought were too difficult to put together.”

Once I read through the process, it was one of those V8 Moments. Wow, it really makes a lot of sense!

Rose’s method employs tracing paper, freezer paper templates, and machine-sewing the pieces together from the front… simple and direct. She takes us through a small teaching project first and then provides several patterns and a beautiful gallery of her own and her students’ work for inspiration.

example1.jpgLook at those beautiful flowing curves!

example2.jpgCircles sewn without clipping or pinning!

The book includes a quick tutorial on color, full and detailed step-by-step instructions for Fast-Piece Appliqué, and a lot of information on yarn, which is couched over the top of the stitching lines to delineate the shapes and cover raw edges. The couching also provides the initial quilting.

Then the author takes us through the steps of sandwiching, further quilting, and binding these pieces of wall art, followed by a wonderful section on embellishing with embroidery stitches and beading.

Many thanks to Martingale & Company /That Patchwork Place for sponsoring the prize.

And thanks, Rose, for making me start to dream of landscapes!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I sent my tech guy a note giving him a heads-up that I’m proceeding with some posts so he’ll know to do a new backup whenever he’s ready to try the upgrade again. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that 2.3.2 will consent to become 2.8.4!

:) Kay

parkcitylogo.pngAmy at Park City Girl is sponsoring another internet Quilt Festival for those who have Market envy. (Just kidding! If you’re making the pilgrimage to Houston you’re welcome too :) .

Click the logo to learn all about the Festival, And, if you have a blog, consider participating! You’ll get to showcase one of your quilts for whole bunches of appreciative quilters. I’m a prize sponsor and there are lots of others too.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I’m on blogging hold right now. Cruzio called and told me I really needed to upgrade WordPress. Yes, I admit it, I was using an ancient version, but the last time I tried upgrading the blog was down for four days. But, since they called, I tried again, and once more the venture was met with less than success. Apparently the database is confused from the last attempt. The techs are workin’ on it, but in the meantime I’m treading lightly.

Sigh, see you soon,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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