My current favorite brand of paper-backed fusible web is SoftFuse.

I carry it on my website and I take it with me to shows.

Yesterday I made a new little visual demo of how to use the product, to lay on the table for those who are unfamiliar with raw-edge fusible appliqué.

I thought, aha! I can take photos as I go and stick them up on the blog!

First trace the shape onto the paper side and roughly cut out, leaving a small margin outside the drawn line.

Cut right through the line and trim away the center of the template, leaving a ring of fusible in the shape of the motif.

Put the cut-away part with your stash of fusible scraps, for future use on a smaller motif.

Fuse the floppy shape to the back of your appliqué fabric, meeting the cut ends together.

Now cut out the shape on the drawn line, through the template and the fabric together.

Remove the paper backing, fuse to the background fabric, and stitch.

The flip side. I used a small blanket stitch and buried the thread tails under the line of stitching.

That’s the basics!

Until next time,
Kay

The winner of our February featured book is Barbara Burnham of Ellicott City, Maryland, who says “We can never have too much appliqué.” Hear, hear! Congratulations Barbara, and enjoy the book.

The first show of the year that I did was in Modesto, California, a couple of weeks back. The guild was so excited that they had been chosen to host a Ricky Tims Super Seminar! It’s next year, February 6-8, 2014.

I talked with one of my vendor buddies, who attended one of these seminars in the past. She said that you don’t do a lick of stitching, that’s not the idea, and you come away greatly inspired with ideas, concepts, lessons, and information. She loved it.

Watch for full details on Ricky’s website rickytims.com and the guild website, Country Crossroads Quilters.

Fast forward one week to Ontario, California. A super-nice gal, Gina Darlington, stopped by my booth and mentioned that she was the organizer for Celebrate! Quilt Camp & Show this June 12-15 in Flagstaff, Arizona. I smiled when I saw that the keynote speaker is my pal Annie Smith. There are some extremely appealing appliqué classes in there, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area or will be in the market for a trip to the “cool mountains of Flagstaff” this June.

I met another nice Arizona quilter, Vanessa Fromm (there were several busses from Arizona for the show) who told me about her new designing adventure, Fabric Confetti. These are fun projects that involve raw edges and bits of colorful fabrics to make darling appliqués.

Very high on the cute!

Last tidbit for today: the Martingale blog Stitch This! has seven easy, quick, and free downloadable patterns for Valentine’s Day!


Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Every couple of years, my small quilt group the Nite Needlers collaborates on a project that we donate as a fundraiser to our guild or another worthy cause. This year we hit on a red-and-white basket quilt.

I drafted some basic traditional-looking baskets in my trusty Illustrator program and handed them out with the finished dimensions to all the gals. We’re each making five blocks, and our ground rules are that we’re using turkey-reddish fabrics for the baskets and white-to-cream-with-red for the background. Sticking to the basic basket shape, we can do whatever we like as far as sub-piecing the body, adding appliqué, etc.

OF COURSE I had to do some appliqué. Here’s what I came up with.

Okay imagine for now that there’s some red print on the white.

I had my plan. Now for the execution part. I was presented with some conundrums.

IMO, raw-edge appliqué is for decorative purposes, like wall quilts. This project is going to be bed-sized, so I really felt that my appliqué should be turned-edge. “Hand appliqué!” you might be saying. As well you might, knowing me.

But there were other factors to consider. I knew that Janet, who never does anything by hand being the mistress of the machine that she is, would make her handles using turned-edge machine appliqué. Plus, I wanted to delineate the edges of the appliqué motifs to distinguish between the flower and the leaves a little better, and the machine blanket stitch in the dark red color would work well for that.

So there it was. Turned-edge appliqué with a machine blanket stitch. Hmm….

I reached deep into my appliqué bag of tricks, and even ended up inventing a new trick that I threw back in with the rest when I was done!

First, the handles. I used Holly Mabutas’ glue-stick turned-edge preparation method, where the turning allowance is glued back onto itself using a freezer-paper template on the front as a guide. All went well.

Then the flowers. Another conundrum, factor, wrinkle, challenge, or whatever you consider it to be. These were white flowers on a red background. Can you say “shadow-through?” I wanted to line them.

Thinking cap, thinking cap. I could have used faced appliqué, but I was in the glue-stick groove. Got it! A hybrid fusing/glue-stick method!

I hauled out scraps of my favorite paper-backed fusible web SoftFuse, and made some templates with the centers cut out.

I fused them to some white scrap fabric and cut them out actual size.

I removed the paper backing and fused them onto the back of the red-and-white print for the flowers, and cut them out leaving a small turning allowance.

Back to Holly’s method, except this time I glued the turning allowance over onto the white lining, using it as my template. It worked!

Then I turned to Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles™ templates to make turned-edge flower centers.

Stick them all together and you’ve got a motif ready to pop onto a basket and stitch.

Here are my five baskets, ready to turn in at the next Nite Needlers meeting, and another thing off my list! Thanks Holly and Karen Kay!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

If you’re like me you’re always interested in finding out more about how other appliquérs go about things. I was very intrigued to read up on the method that author Lori Buhler gives in her new book from Martingale, Fuss-Free Machine Appliqué: Sew on the Line for Great Results.

Lori tells us, “The quilts in this book are a combination of appliqué quilts and pieced quilts that use appliqué pieces to emulate the look of curved piecing. This technique used for appliqué is a fast and easy method that fits in with our busy lives. It involves using interfacing to face appliqué shapes, making it possible to turn under the edges with perfect results.”

Aha! So that’s how you can sew on the line! It’s all done by machine, stitching on lines that are marked on the interfacing. Very cool.

I’ve done a fair amount of this method with fusible interfacing; Lori uses a non-fusible product and pins the shapes in place for stitching.

Here are some of the stunning results she gets!

French Summer

Chocolate Kiss

Spinning Spools

This beautiful book gives full information on the interfacing technique, as well general quiltmaking and finishing instructions. There are 12 gorgeous projects, all using interfaced appliqué either for appliqué shapes or to eliminate the need for intricate piecing.

Courtesy of the publisher, I have a copy to give away. If you’d like to enter the drawing, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post before 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 5. (Can you believe it’s August already?)

Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. And remember, if you’re reading this in your email program, clicking “Reply” is not leaving a comment. You’ll need to click over to the blog itself.

Good luck!
Cheers,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

At Spring Market in May, I stopped by the Landauer booth to find out more information about one of their upcoming appliqué titles.

I happened to speak with the right person! The staff member in charge of digital marketing was thrilled at the prospect of sharing their appliqué titles with All About Appliqué and handed me a couple to peruse.

One of them was Janet Pittman‘s Appliqué: The Basics and Beyond. I sat down and looked all the way through through the book. It’s fantastic, and I was presented with a copy to take home in my suitcase. Thank you, Landauer!

Janet has really done a comprehensive job of presenting information about appliqué… several kinds. After a section on equipment and supplies, we’re on to the preparing, stitching, and embellishing! There’s paper-backed fusible-web, turned-edge with template and starch, turned-edge with freezer paper and glue, turned-edge with freezer paper on the wrong side and also the right side, faced appliqué, marked-line and thread-basted, you name it, Janet has covered it. And it’s all beautifully photographed and illustrated for you.

One of the really cool things about the book is that it’s spiral-bound inside a hardback cover so it lays flat. What a nice convenience.

The subtitle of the book is, “The Complete Guide to Successful Machine and Hand Techniques with Dozens of Designs to Mix and Match.” In addition to all that appliqué information, there are a bunch of projects with complete instructions. There’s even an index in this comprehensive resource.

If you’d like to win Appliqué: The Basics and Beyond, please leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 7.

Please pay close attention to the following. There are always a few who don’t understand how to leave a comment.

If you receive this blog post in your email, replying to that email will not enter you in the drawing. You’ll need to click on the title of the post, which will take you to All About Appliqué on the internet. Scroll to the bottom and leave your comment there. Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only.

Good luck!

Cheers,
Kay

Our featured book this month is by none other than Nancy Mahoney, my current technical editor at Martingale!

Nancy has been publishing with Martingale for a long time. Today, thanks to Martingale, we get to explore her Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts.

fast-flower

Like many quilters, Nancy loves to garden as well as quilt. She has created this special collection of 11 quilts that combine a patchwork garden backdrop with beautiful flowers in bloom.

Precious Peonies

Precious Peonies

Like all Martingale books, this one includes quiltmaking basics, and also goes into detail on two ways to prepare your appliqué motifs. Starch-and-template produces a turned edge, and fusible-web results in raw-edge appliqué. Nancy gives detailed, illustrated information about both.

A-Tisket A-Tasket

A-Tisket A-Tasket

Star-Flower Baskets

Star-Flower Baskets

The quilts are so very appealing, aren’t they? As you can see, they’re beautifully photographed in a garden setting. The book includes full flat shots of each quilt as well, along with complete instructions for making them.

Congratulations, Nancy one another great one!

I have a copy of the book to give away in a drawing. If you’d like to win Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts, please leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, April 9.

The fine print: Drawing open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Don’t reply to your email feed; instead, click over to the blog itself and leave your comment at the bottom of this post. Good luck to you!

Until then,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Fran V. wrote:

I have found that there are a lot of assumptions made when it comes to actually stitching the pieces together and in what order. For some blocks it is rather obvious, but for others not so much, especially in more complicated blocks. Some direction here would be nice.

Fran, there are two ways of thinking about what a pattern should provide. Some patterns come with little numbers all over them indicating stitching order of the pieces. To me they look like they have the measles LOL. I’m in the other camp. You know that old expression, “If somebody’s hungry, you can give them a fish, or you can teach them to fish.”

numbered-roseRose block from Easy Appliqué Blocks.

The same process applies whether the pattern is simple and the order is obvious, or when the pattern is quite complicated and has many pieces and layers. Take charge! Just look and see which pieces are partially behind others, and start with them. Build from the back to the front. If it helps you, you can jot down your own measles on your master pattern. :)

Fran also wrote,

Also some hints on deep curves and points would be nice. Could you use your wavy blades to cut these out to eliminate the fray while you work with them?

We’re covered points, notches, and curves in previous posts. As for the wavy blades… wow! Now that’s a thought! A scary one! It’s a good thing Clover makes microserrated scissors with this very idea in mind. They’re like teeny tiny pinking shears. I carry them on my website in the 5″ hand-scissor size, on the Kits & Notions page.

scissors

Karen Kay Buckley also has her own brand in a larger and a smaller size on her website.

Miscroserrated scissors don’t exactly eliminate fraying. I don’t think anything can — it’s cut fabric after all — but they do make the cut edge less prone to fraying.

Hope this helps! Thanks for your question Fran! So glad you are enjoying the blog.
Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Cheryl Lynch, well known for her charming Judaic quilt designs, took a trip to Mexico to go deep-sea fishing and whale-watching. While she was there she became enchanted with the colors and patterns of hand-painted Mexican folk art. On a return trip south of the border she traveled to Puebla, known as “The City of Tiles,” and steeped herself in the world of Talavera tilemaking. It is these little pieces of Mexican folk art, where “perfection is not a goal,” and “at their heart is the simple joy of creation,” that serve as the inspiration for the designs in Cheryl’s book Quilt Fiesta!

quilt-fiesta

The books starts out by with beautiful photographs of Mexican pottery and architecture. As Cheryl says, “Inspiration for quilt designs can be found everywhere,” and what a great idea to translate these into quilt patterns, especially since some of the tiles have corner motifs that result in a secondary design when blocks are put together. Very quilty!

Cheryl shares information about the appliqué method that she used for the motifs in the book, raw-edge fusible appliqué sewn by machine. There’s also a bit of foundation paper piecing instruction for when that’s needed, then a whole section on quilt construction and finishing. Then we’re on to 10 glorious decorative projects reflecting the beauty of Talavera ceramic tiles. There are quilts, placemats, a bed runner, and more. Here are just a few.

Frida's Flowers

Frida's Flowers

Puebla Posies

Puebla Posies

Floral Fiesta place mat. So cute!

Floral Fiesta place mat. So cute!

So vibrant! I love folk art. Cheryl helps you translate the solid colors of tilework into lively quilt designs using the array of fabrics at our disposal today.

Courtesy of That Patchwork Place, I have a copy to give away in a drawing. If you’d like a chance to win Quilt Fiesta, leave a comment on this post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, February 10.

The fine print: Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Do not reply to your email feed; instead, click over the blog itself and leave your comment at the bottom of the post. Good luck!

Cheers,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Pursuant to our recent discussions about wool, I thought I’d give a link over to the Bunny Hill Blog. Anne just put up a post showing the most luscious wool. Go feast your eyes!

Another fascinating thing I saw was a video at The Quilt Show by the Bernina educators. Apparently, some new Berninas have what’s called “hover mode.” Oooh, when you’re doing machine appliqué and you need to stop and pivot, if you set the machine on this mode, it’ll automatically raise the presser foot for you! What a concept! I may be the only quilter in the world who has a Bernina with a knee lever, who doesn’t use it. I could really get the wants for the hover mode.

new-crazy-hearts-detailCould’ve used it on this project, that’s for sure!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

The Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival at the Arizona State Fairgrounds is next week. If you’re in that area, I hope to see you there!

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who responded with warm enthusiasm for my foster kitten stories. There’s a followup… but I’ll save that for later.

Several of the projects that appear in my book A Merry Little Christmas to Appliqué are on loan to my pal Debby at the Quilter’s Faire in Palm Desert, California.

When a traveling quilt-show vendor specializing in Christmas expressed an interest in carrying the book, I thought I’d make another version of the project that’s the most popular one… Plum Pudding!

The original.

The original.

It was loads of fun rummaging for the fabrics, and also a little scary. It’s been awhile now since the book came out, but in the scrap bag I found a few leftover squares of the original fabrics used for the patched background! I also had enough of the red sashing and all three fabrics that were used for the puddings!

In my files, I even found the original pattern and tracing-paper overlay! Since the pattern is blown up 200%, this saved me a step. That’s why I keep stuff. You never know.

plum-patterns

Once I’d pulled all the fabrics, I started thinking about the great expanse of white that makes up the ‘hard sauce’ part of the pattern. It would be covering a weensy bit of the brown, and also the patched background, and I didn’t want those to shadow through.

Usually, for machine appliqué I would use a double layer to create a light-over-dark motif by first fusing two layers of fabric together and then using that composed fabric to create the motif. This time, the area was so large, and I didn’t want the stiffness from the extra fusible. I thought I’d try something new.

I started out by making two motifs just the same, both with the inside of the fusible web cut out.

Back

Back

Front

Front

I removed the paper backing from both, placed one on top of the other on a nontick appliqué pressing sheet, and tacked them together with a hot iron.

double-layer

If there are are inconsistencies in the two shapes, just use your scissors and trim them to match.

A little haircut needed here.

A little haircut needed here.

All trimmed and tidy.

All trimmed and tidy.

Now the motif is double-layer and with no fusible web in the middle to make it stiff! Try it! It worked for me.

Stitched block.

Stitched block.

Finished project: Plum Pudding 2

Finished project: Plum Pudding 2

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

My pal Cathy sent me a link to one of Bonnie McCaffery’s vidcasts. The Tentmakers of Cairo are artists I had not heard of. Their story is fascinating and the work they do incredible. And so fast! Check it out. It’s a big wide world, and it isn’t really tents any more.

Over at The Quilt Show, Sharon Pederson has been giving a series of lessons. There’s one on easy padded machine appliqué that’s really cool. You do not have to be a TQS member to watch the video.

Until next time, enjoy the show!
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I want to thank Kay for inviting me to her blog today. I had the opportunity to be a guest on her blog once before and enjoyed the experience very much.

CATFor those of you who don’t know me, I’m Cheryl Almgren Taylor, a quilter and designer who specializes in fusible-web appliqué. In certain quilting circles, making this admission is like admitting you feed your kids hot dogs and goldfish crackers for dinner every night! However, I find this method to be very user-friendly and it enables me to create fabulous, intricate shapes with ease. It also incorporates thread as a design element which gives me the opportunity to add more color and texture.

I have a brand-new book just released by Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place: Inspirational Applique: Reflections of Faith, Hope, & Love.

inspirational-applique

The book is a collection of scripture-inspired quilts, wallhangings, and small projects. I am a pastor’s wife and as a person of faith, I enjoyed being able to create tangible objects that express my beliefs through my quilting. That is one of my favorite things about quilting—our ability as quilters to convey our thoughts and beliefs through the medium of fabric and thread and color.

As I worked on the book, I felt a connection to the quilters of past generations who also used their quilting skills to express their beliefs and dreams. If you study the Baltimore Albums of the 19th century, most of those beautiful creations give us glimpses into the lives of their makers. Even the plainer, patchwork quilts from the past sometimes include tantalizing personal insights left by the quilter. And one of the common practices in historic quilts was to include a deliberate mistake to express their religious faith, the belief that nothing is perfect except God. I’ve never had to create a deliberate mistake in a quilt—I’m quite proficient at providing numerous mistakes without any extra effort, but I enjoy this tradition and the significance it held for the quilters who did this.

I am happy, though, that I have access to the wonderful world of quilting that we live in now, with rotary cutters and electric irons and fabulous computerized sewing machines. I own several sewing machines and like a man and his car, I am bonded with my machines.

As I mentioned before, my favorite technique is fusible-web appliqué. I always recommend using a lightweight fusible web and the “doughnut” method of construction, which has you cut out the center portion of the web from large pieces before fusing it to the back of your motif fabric. This makes the quilt soft and pliable rather than stiff, which is a common complaint about quilts made with fusible web. However, when using a lightweight fusible web, you must sew a finishing stitch around each unfinished edge in the appliqué design. I prefer a very small blanket stitch, but it is possible to use a satin stitch or zigzag—it just gives a slightly different look to the finished piece.

In creating the quilts for the book, I discovered a new technique that I think a lot of people would enjoy knowing about. One of the designs in the book, “Daily Bread,” features a neg done in gold and blue tones.

dail-wall

A neg is a bundle of wheat that is set out in wintertime in Scandinavian countries for the animals. Because the design featured a number of strands of wheat bundled together, there are a large number of overlapping wheat kernels to be appliquéd. All of them needed to be finished with a blanket stitch. If you are a fusible appliquér, you know that sometimes as you sew around overlapping pieces, you do not end up in the right spot for the next shape. Then you have to stop, trim your threads, move the fabric, and start over again. By accident, I discovered a traveling technique that makes it easy to move from piece to piece.

I discovered that after finishing the blanket stitch on a piece, I could change the machine setting from the blanket stitch to a straight stitch and travel to the next piece along the edge of the pattern pieces. (The pieces do have to be overlapping.) This can be done before or after using the blanket stitch on the design. If I traveled before finishing the edge, the blanket stitch laid over the top of the straight stitching and couldn’t be seen. If the blanket stitch was already sewn along the edge, the straight stitch went on top of the edge stitch and still couldn’t be seen. Of course, you must be using the same color of thread on the next piece, but for my overlapping wheat kernels, it was an outstanding technique.

I used traditional bias strips for the border vine in “Birds of the Air.”

birds-of-air

But, in two other projects I used another trick — cutting fusible web-backed fabric pieces rather than creating bias strips for vines. For the tablecloth “I Am the Vine,” I traced the vine shapes onto fusible backing, fused the vines to the background, and finished the edges with a blanket stitch. It looks great and was much easier than fussing with bias strips.

i-am-vine

I hope these tips will help you in your quilting journey and, for those of you who have never tried fusing, I hope you will become inspired to try this wonderful and easy technique!

Happy quilting!~Cheryl

Kay here — Thanks a million Cheryl for those two fabulous appliqué tips! The traveling straight stitch to another shape is something I been playing with myself. Thank you for legitimizing it!

Courtesy of the publisher, we have a copy of Inspirational Appliqué to give away to a reader. If you’d like to enter the drawing for the book, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Sunday, November 5. U.S. and Canada addresses only, and remember to resist the temptation to hit “reply” to your email subscription. Instead, click over to the blog itself.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

The Heat-n-Bond fusible samples are going off to Jen Martin. The cool thing is, Jen had been thinking of doing a thorough investigation of fusibles, and has agreed to let us in on her results! Thank you Jen, we’ll really be looking forward to your comprehensive review of different brands.

On the last post, a few questions came up in the comments about fusibles.

Dolores wrote:

It might be quite interesting. I used (horrors) the Heat and Bond heavyweight and it really turned out stiff. It was the only one I had on hand but I would love to try others.

Dolores, the heavyweight (Ultra Hold) is not meant to be sewn through. It’s more for projects like fusing something onto a totebag.

Debbie wrote:

I use several types myself, it all depends on the type of projects that I am working on. I find some too stiff, but great for machine quilting and the lighter weight is hard to peel the backing. Then there is wash away, haven’t tried washing it yet, since I use that on wall projects.

Is the lighter weight with the hard-to-peel paper, by, chance, Wonder Under? I started having that problem with it myself. That’s why my current favorite is Shades SoftFuse. I’m sending some of that to Jen along with the Heat n Bond, to be included in her comparison.

Also, I’ve never heard of wash-away fusible web. Could you by chance be talking about some type of stabilizer or interfacing instead? What product are you talking about? Inquiring minds and so forth. :)

Marcia wrote:

Would you like to have the opinion of a newbie trying to work with them? If so, I could do that for you. I have my Rose of Sharon die from Accuquilt, but have not tried it. I would be happy to test the differences in these, using that die.

Marcia, I haven’t used any of the Accuquilt cutters, but just a word to the wise… my understanding is that you have to prefuse the fabric first, before running it through the cutter. If you cut the shapes first, there’s no way you can get the fusible on them! Also, prefusing means that you can’t cut out the center of the fusible.

My pal Kim Jamieson-Hirst loves her Accuquilt and has played with it a lot, so go check out her blog at Chatterbox Quilts Chitchat.

Angie wrote,

Would you believe I inherited a bolt of the Ultra Hold? It does leave a stiff applique piece, but if one cuts out just the outline of the template and uses only that for your applique piece it won’t be so stiff. I use a 90/14 needle when finishing and the blind hem stitch.

Angie, are you saying that you successfully sewed through the Ultra Hold? I tried it once and had to stop every few seconds to clean the gunk off the needle. Tell us more!

Suzanne wrote,

I am a new appliquer and so far have only done raw edge applique (cuz I’m intimidated by the sewn edge kind!), but I would love to try these. I used another brand that didn’t have a paper backing and ended up pressing the gluey side to my iron! Not smart, not fun. So I’m really taken with the idea of having a paper backing.

Suzanne, first of all, do not fear the appliqué! For the raw edge method that you used, I think you are talking about MistyFuse or something similar. You mention the gluey side… well, it’s all gluey! Myself I prefer having a paper backing. But lots of people happily use unsupported fusibles. The wonderful Sarah Vee has a MistyFuse tutorial posted on her blog. Go check it out!

StrayStitches wrote,

I haven’t tried any of those products before. Have you tried them before and if so, do you like them?

Stray, I’ve tried them all. Read my post on fusible web that was written in response to the Call for Topics. What I’ve landed on is SoftFuse.

Okay, I take that back. I’ve never tried Heat n Bond nFeather Lite. It may the most comparable Heat n Bond product. I’ll be interested to hear what Jen has to report.

Laurel Anderson, author of Appliqué Workshop, wrote,

I do two classes called Survey of Fusibles where we try a wide variety of fusible webs and rate them.

What a great class! Laurel’s teaching information is on her website, Whisper Color.

Susan wrote,

I would love to try this am working on my first appliqued quilt and evidently not using the correct fusible (breaking needles). Would definitely like to try this product.

My goodness Susan, what product are you using that breaks the needle? Do tell.

Remember to go to the blog itself to respond to any of this. Replying to your email subscription sends your comment only to me, and everybody wants in on this very important discussion!

Until next time, lots of fun stuff coming down the pike,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Before the lights went out in San Diego, I was tromping up the aisle, and someone was taking a picture of a quilt. Naturally I turned my head, and then I put on the brakes hard. I can spot my teapots at 50 paces! There was the most glorious oriental teapot quilt. I stood there with my jaw on the floor.

Tea Ceremony by Marjorie Kilcrease, 109 x 120

Tea Ceremony by Marjorie Kilcrease, 109 x 120

Most of the teapots are from my Teapots 2 to Appliqué. I got the chance to talk with Marjorie a couple times during the show. She was beaming with pride over her quilt and so was I. Here’s the story of this masterpiece, from Marjorie herself.

When I saw Kay’s book on teapots, I fell in love with it. However, I kept thinking “Are you crazy? This is applique!” I collected oriental fabrics for about two years while I was trying to figure out how to display the teapots. Then I found the center panel with the Geisha holding the teacup.

center-panel

Next, I found the block pattern called BQ2 by Maple Island Quilts and it looked very oriental to me. I was ready to sew!

This was my second appliqued quilt. I used the directions in the book to enlarge the patterns by 150% so they would fit on a 12″ block. I used a freezer-paper method (ironed to the back) with spray starch to anchor the edges down. Then I used the liquid basting to adhere the teapot parts to the block. The final step was machine-stitching the teapots. My husband designed three blocks for me too. The whole project took about four months.

cer-1cer-2cer-3

The quilter, Wendy Knight, did custom quilting. In the black horizontal strips are names of tea or words like ‘happiness’, ‘peace’, etc. The vertical black strips have bamboo quilted in.

I had bought a large backing but still needed to enlarge it to make sure there was enough for the quilter. My husband helped me mimic the front design and we offset the black strips (instead of centering them) and then I used another panel that I found to add a decorative touch.

other-panelstea-ceremony-back

The quilt is for us and will take its turn on our king-size bed. However, all of my friends want me to put it in our will and leave it to them! They’ll need to discuss that with our two daughters though! :)

What Marjorie didn’t mention is that her quilt won First Place in Viewer’s Choice!

ribbon

Congratulations Marjorie!!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Remember this photo, of me and Annie Smith holding each other’s books?

annie-n-kay-april-2011

The Ultimate Appliqué Guidebook from C&T Publishing is our featured book this month.

applique-guidebook

Full disclosure: Annie is a buddy of mine. For years we’ve followed one another’s progression as we strove for and attained career goals. A goal that we each held dear was the publication of an appliqué book. I’m so thrilled for Annie that her wish came true last fall when this gorgeous book came to life.

I’ll start by telling you that this is not the ultimate guide to every method of appliqué that’s out there. It’ something very important, a sourcebook of appliqué design elements and a gentle guide through the process of finding inspiration, encouraging it, recording it when it strikes, and translating it into your own unique appliqué quilts.

Starting with the basics, Annie goes through choosing fabrics, playing with fabrics, employing a focus fabric, and determining value. There’s a comprehensive section on tools and supplies for appliqué.

Wow.

Wow.

Then she moves on to detailed instructions for her own favored appliqué methods: raw-edge fusible machine appliqué and Holly Mabutas‘s prepared-edge method for hand appliqué, where freezer-paper templates are ironed to the front and the turning allowance is glued to the back. All through the book there are specific, detailed photographs to help you see exactly what Annie’s talking about.

Then comes a section on the basics of design for blocks and quilts. These are important concepts that in my experience are not covered all the time. A beautiful gallery of quilts follows, to give you even more inspiration. Check out an earlier blog post of mine that shows Annie’s gorgeous coat and accompanying quilt, both of which are pictured in the book.

Following that are several lovely quilt projects to get you started, with pull-out patterns in the back Then comes a whole long catalog of appliqué design elements! A 50 page appliqué shape-a-palooza! Mix and match these as you like!

elements

Many of the elements are given in a variety of sizes, and you can always enlarge or reduce on a photocopy machine. And, you can use any method of appliqué that you like. Another great thing about this book is that it has a lay-flat binding, so you can smooth it out flat for tracing without worrying about breaking the spine. Very cool!

Annie gave me an autographed copy of her book to give away to one of my readers in a drawing. Thank you Annie! If you’d like a chance to win, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, June 4. Contest open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Good luck!

Until then,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

P.S. In case you might not know, Annie does a podcast for quilters. Check it out at Simple Arts.

The speaker at my guild’s meeting last night was Rose Hughes!

Rose is the author of Dream Landscapes, which was previously featured here on the blog.

Now Rose has published a beautiful followup book, Exploring Embellishments: More Artful Quilts with Fast-Piece Appliqué.

exploring-embellishments

I just so happened to have a copy with me last night, which Rose graciously signed for us! That’s right, courtesy of That Patchwork Place we have a fantastic giveaway to a lucky winner of the book personally signed by the author.

rose-hughes

Rose’s lecture was all about color, and about each quilter’s personal color journey. We had the treat of seeing her color-drenched, fast-piece appliquéd and embellished quilts in person as she displayed a trunk show of her work. On her website, Rose has a free Color Discovery Lesson. Check it out!

Exploring Embellishments focuses on the embellishment side of Rose’s work, taking us through all different types of fascinating doodads. Some were a surprise to me! I was familiar of course with buttons and with seed beads and bugle beads, but I never knew about coin beads or pressed glass/lampworked beads. They’re beautiful! Rose also urges us to consider a range of natural materials and found objects. Basically, anything that has a hole in it or that you can get a hole through, you can use to embellish your quilt!

I had never heard of air-dry clay. How very interesting! Rose also has good times with Angelina fibers, chenille sticks, wool roving, and the Mysterious Substance called Lutradur. You’ll see how to use these materials and more to fabricate your own unique embellishments.

Each project in the book is an embellishment learning experience, starting with Fast-Pieced Appliqué to create a colorful, interesting background.

roses-cat
roses-dogCollectively these darling little quilts are called “The Truth About Cats and Dogs.”

starry-nightThe embellishments create the sparkle and glow of a moonlit “Starry Night.”

wildflower-walkWool-felt and wool-roving flowers.

To enter the drawing to win the book, leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, April 15. The contest is open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. If you’re subscribed by email or feed reader, remember to click over to the blog itself to leave your comment.

Cheers,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Admin note: The Giveaway for Kids has drawn to a close.

Awhile ago I instituted a Giveaway for Kids. I’ll repeat the post here.

Due to a printing glitch and subsequent reprinting, I ended up with way more copies of In a Twinkle: Youthful Quilt Designs than I needed. It’s time for them to move away from home!

If you’re a member of a group that makes and donates quilts for kids in need, email me at “kay at kaymackenzie dot com” and tell me about your group. I’ll send you 6 copies (as many as I can stuff in a bubble mailer) by the “slow boat to China,” Media Mail. If you feel like paying me back for the postage, you can PayPal a couple bucks to the same address.

If you’re not a member of such a group but you know somebody who is, feel free to spread the word.

frontcoveriat.jpg

This book includes step-by-step, illustrated instructions for five easy quilts and a comfy cozy flannel blankie, plus detailed instructions on the fusible-interfacing method for machine-appliquéing big, simple shapes.

There are only a few more packets of In a Twinkle waiting to go to a good home. So if your group has not yet received any, now’s the time to let me know that you’d like one for the use of your group’s worthy efforts. U.S. and Canada only.

Thank you for what you do for kids,
Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Last night Brown came and delivered the most beautiful book. I’m holding it in my hands, I see my name on the cover, and I can hardly believe it’s mine!

kays-inspired-by-tradition

It’s been just over a year since I was given the green light from That Patchwork Place for this new book. I’ve blogged about the process a little bit from time to time. (If you look at the Categories in the left-hand sidebar you can click on ‘A story of another book’ to read those posts if you like.)

Inspired by Tradition: 50 Appliqué Blocks in 5 Sizes is presented in the same format as Easy Appliqué Blocks, my first book from TPP… 50 blocks shown in a thumbnail library so you can choose your block, and a CD that you stick into your computer, choose any one of 5 sizes, and print right at home! No figuring of percentages or folding, copying, and matching back up crooked sections! We even give reversed versions of each pattern, since you need that for some forms of appliqué.

The designs in this new book are all vintage and old-timey in look and feel, hence the name Inspired by Tradition. The publishers did an amazing job on the pages within… graceful, colorful, and pretty, and so well suited for showing off these blocks with traditional appeal. I couldn’t be happier with how it looks.

In addition to the blocks, there’s a Little Gallery of Ideas to get you thinking. We’ve included the dimensions of all the blocks, sashing, borders, etc. in case you’d like to make something similar. There are also extensive illustrated instructions for back-basting hand appliqué and raw-edge fusible machine appliqué, and a section of appliqué questions and answers compiled from what quilters talk about when they come into my booth at shows.

What I have right now is my advance copy. The book ships to quilt shops March 7. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now, and at a great price too. And, if you go look at it on Amazon and click on ‘see all product images,’ you can see all 50 of the blocks! That’s right, the publisher uploaded beautiful images of all 50 blocks, stitched by moi!

If you’d like to wait for a copy signed by me, I’ll have it on my website March 7 as well.

Thank you for taking a look at my new baby. I’m just a little bit excited. :)

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I’ve long been an advocate of finding your own method of appliqué, one that’s right for you and gives you results you like. That’s not the same for everyone, and I believe there’s no right and no wrong way, only what pleases you. When quilters stop by my booth at shows and make faces at the “A” word, I tell them they just haven’t found their method.

So I was delighted to take note of a new book by Laurel Anderson called Appliqué Workshop: Mix and Match 10 Techniques to Unlock Your Creativity!

applique-workshop

Here’s some information straight from the author herself.

Laurel Anderson:

I wrote this book with the idea that everyone has different design needs and different technique requirements.

The quilter who wants to occupy her time while on a fishing boat or in a doctor’s waiting room will be more interested in hand appliqué or cutting out fused shapes for three-dimensional or fused appliqué. The mother of four with limited time may be delighted with the speed of machine appliqué or the raw-edge technique. The artist who wants creative freedom may mix many methods into one piece of fiber art.

The techniques in the book are grouped into turned-edge, raw-edge and needle-turn appliqué. Each technique has a summery of its best uses. For instance: the Turned Edge with Starch or Glue makes very sharp points on leaves or petals. The 3D Broderie Perse method makes fast and easy daisy petal shapes for wall hangings. It is easier to be creative if you have your choice of many design tools.

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

The book offers ten appliqué methods, two edge-finishing facings, and several different template ideas. As a bonus, there’s a section on color and a chapter on dying fabric for flower quilts. The pullout section gives six full-size, ready-to-use patterns. The instructions teach several techniques for each pattern. If you make them all you will have tried all the techniques!

The book is available from Laurel’s website, Whisper Color. Laurel says to be sure to send her a message in an email telling her who to sign to book to. (There’s a Contact button on the website.) And while you’re on the site, check out the 100% bamboo batting and Laurel’s latest stand-alone pattern, Winter Amaryllis.

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Isn’t this gorgeous?

Thank you, Laurel, for telling us about your exciting new book. I’ll be directing those face-makers to it!!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I’m delighted today to turn the blog over to appliqué author, designer, and teacher Cheryl Almgren Taylor.

Cheryl Almgren Taylor

Cheryl Almgren Taylor


Cheryl: I am excited to be a guest on Kay’s site today and want to thank her for the invitation to be a part of her blog.

I have loved quilts since I was a small child but never ventured into quilting until 2000. I had been sewing since I was 13 so I had some basic skills down. But I discovered, like many of us, that quilting is a whole new world.

I got into designing because of my grandson Michael and my love of storybooks. I spent 14 years teaching in the elementary grades and loved “read aloud” time with the kids. Several years ago I wanted to make Michael a quilt that would go with his favorite story Going On a Bear Hunt, and this led to the creation of a whole series of quilts that coordinate with childrens’ books. I was surprised and delighted when Martingale & Company (That Patchwork Place) chose to publish my designs in a pattern series entitled Storybook Snugglers.

There were six patterns in this original pattern series from 2007, with two quilt designs in each pattern–one easier version and one more detailed. There are still some patterns available from Martingale.

Monkey Business by Cheryl Almgren Taylor

Monkey Business by Cheryl Almgren Taylor

deck-halls

Last summer my first book Deck the Halls was published featuring a collection of Christmas quilts.

Editor’s note: If you haven’t seen it, check out the post from last November, when Deck the Halls was our featured appliqué book.



Cheryl:
Although I love pieced quilts, I am especially drawn to appliqué. Applique enables us to make shapes that are just not possible with piecing, and you don’t have to worry about your quarter inch or matching points! I especially love using batiks and fussy cutting shapes so that the design has shading provided by the fabric. I also like to use a variety of fabrics in the same tonal range when repeating a shape, rather than making everything match. I think it gives more interest to the design. When I’m designing I am almost always telling a story (at least in my head) and my favorite technique is fusible-web appliqué finished with machine blanket stitching.

Wrapped Up in Love from Deck the HallsWrapped Up in Love from Deck the Halls

I know that in certain quilting circles, admitting to a love of fusible web can be the equivalent of admitting you only shower once a week or you let your children eat cereal out of the box while watching Saturday morning cartoons so that you can sleep in late. But I really do love the technique. And although the jury is out on how long my quilts will last into eternity, I know that I can finish more quilts in my lifetime.

An event early in my quilting career also solidified my feeling that there is a time and place for fast techniques. When my first grandchild Taylor was born, of course I wanted to make him a quilt. I envisioned this as an heirloom quilt that would be lovingly treasured, perhaps hung at the foot of the crib as part of the décor and eventually stored away for future generations. I spent nearly a year completing the quilt (it had two ruffles and piping, as well) and I was extremely proud that Taylor received it before starting Kindergarten.

A few short months later, I called my daughter and discovered that Taylor had been sick and thrown up on the quilt. I was horrified and wondered why he was anywhere near the quilt at the time. My daughter, who doesn’t quilt or sew, explained that she believed children should play with their quilts and enjoy them, not save them as heirlooms. Well, there’s certainly something to be said for that philosophy, but as a quilt maker it made me realize that recipients are not always aware of how much time goes into making a quilt and that fusible web fills a need in those circumstances. It’s quick(er), it’s user friendly, and it gives beautiful results.

Christmas Kisses from Deck the Halls

Christmas Kisses from Deck the Halls

For those of you who have never ventured into the world of fusing, here is some advice I think you might find helpful.

First off, purchasing fusible web can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for. There is everything out there in fusible land, from fusible interfacing to fusible batting. If you have never ventured into this department before, you can become overwhelmed and confused. And depending upon where you are shopping, the store clerk may not know a piece of fusible web from a French fry. The item you want to purchase is paper-backed fusible web. Brands that may be familiar are Heat ‘n Bond, Wonder Under, and Steam a Seam (as well as many others) and I highly recommend a lightweight product.

When using fusible, remember that if your design is asymmetrical you must trace the pattern in reverse on the paper backing of the fusible product. Also remember to trace each piece separately. If you have a large pattern piece, cutting the center portion out of the fusible will create less stiffness in the finished design. My books and patterns all have a section that gives detailed information on this process.

Another important thing you should know about lightweight fusible web is, that it’s a temporary bond. It must be stitched down around the edges or it will eventually float away. This is not true for all fusible webs—only the lightweight type. However, using a heavier fusible makes a stiffer quilt and I don’t recommend using them.

And now we get to the fun part of fusing—finishing the edges! There is such a choice of fabulous threads out there in different weights, colors, and fibers. It’s awesome! So the first thing you have to decide is what element you want the threads to play in the finished product. Do you want them to recede into the background or pop out as a design element? Do you want them to add some pizzazz or blend in? This is an important design element in your quilt and you will be happier with the finished quilt if you decide how this element should look just the same as you select your color choices.

I have developed some personal choices that work for me, but please bear in mind that I don’t work for these companies, receive compensation from them, or guarantee their products. I’m just sharing my personal experiences with you. My “go-to” thread for finishing appliqué edges is Mettler 50 wt. Silk Finish cotton thread in a matching or coordinating color. The thread is thick enough to make it viewable, but it doesn’t distract from the design. If you want your thread to recede a little more, consider using a 60 wt. Mettler or a 50 wt. Aurifil, again in a matching color. Using YLI silk threads in a 50 wt. can give a beautiful, subtle sheen to edges but since the thread is a finer consistency, you may want to be selective in its usage. If you want your thread to pop out and become a design feature, try a slightly darker hue or be bold with a darker thread choice. Using a thicker 40 wt. thread will also make the stitching a dominant part of the design and some people even use a 25 wt. thread, which will be very thick. It will give you a primitive, country feel. Finally, when you want a little glitz, consider a Sulky rayon/polyester or metallic thread. These threads can bring glamour and pizzazz to your work.

I hope this advice is helpful and has inspired you to launch into a new appliqué project. I can only say that if you’ve been afraid to try fusible web before, give it a try. It’s a very user-friendly technique.

Happy quilting!
Cheryl

Kay: Thank you Cheryl! It was a treat learning more about you, and your appliqué wisdom is much appreciated. We’re “like this” in so many ways. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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