I love my job. One of the best things about it is that I get to see so many of the new appliqué books as they cross my desk on their way to you, gentle readers.

This month, courtesy of C&T Publishing, we have the beautiful Simply Successful Appliqué by Jeanne Sullivan.


When I first saw the cover, I thought there was a lot of dimensional appliqué in that basket. Upon looking closer, I see that it’s really the beautiful shading in the fabric that lends that effect of depth! Very cool.

This book is for appliquérs who prefer a prepared-edge method… that is, the edges are turned prior to the stitching process. Or, for appliquérs who would like to learn more about it!

The book starts with a long list of supplies you’ll need, then goes on to five different approaches to color planning, selecting and auditioning fabrics, and preparing the background fabric. Then comes a comprehensive section on creating the pattern components needed, from making a master pattern to preparing working patterns to making an acetate or vinyl overlay for placement to making and labeling freezer-paper templates.

Then on to Jeanne’s appliqué basics! Accurate cutting of templates is covered, as well as “window shopping” for areas of fabric for your motifs (hence that shaded effect). In the next section, “Making Preturned Appliqués,” Jeanne says, “Hands down, it’s the easiest, quickest, and all-around best way to prepare turned-edge appliqué!”

Jeanne’s method involves ironing the edges of appliqué shapes over freezer-paper templates. On areas that need to be gathered, she uses liquid sizing and heat-sets the creases with an iron.

Now you may have seen this method given before, but I doubt you’ve seen it in the photographed detail given here: exactly how to manage each and every area of an appliqué shape, as well as how to handle unusual shapes and scenarios. Using an overlay to position the pieces is covered next, along with basting the pieces in place.

Part of the Gallery section.

After viewing a gorgeous gallery of quilts made by Jeanne and her students, you’re ready to absorb the sections on hand stitching and machine stitching. Again, there’s way more actual detail of each process than the average bear!

Near the back there’s a section on specialty forms of appliqué, including (yes) dimensional flowers, skinny stems, stuffed berries, reverse appliqué, lined appliqué, needle trapunto, broderie perse, lettering, and basic embroidery stitches.

To cap it all off, there’s an included CD that has nine projects with full-size templates on it!

Just a few of the projects on the CD.

All in all, 128 pages of glorious detail on all aspects of prepared-edge appliqué! Would you like to win a copy of Simply Successful Appliqué? To enter the drawing, leave a comment here on this post before 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 5.

Contest open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Do not reply to your email feed; click over to the blog on the internet and leave your comment at the bottom of the post.

Good luck all!

Until Friday,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Hello everyone! Back safe and sound from SoCal. I’m excited… this post has been cooking for over a year now! I met Australian quilter and stitcher extraordinaire Helen Stubbings at Market a couple of times, and we finally got it together for her to do a guest post on her method of appliqué! You are going to love this! Take it away Helen!

Glue stick Applique
By Helen Stubbings of Hugs ‘n Kisses

This easy or some would say ‘cheats’ method of needleturn applique takes the scare factor out of needleturn. Most of the work is in the preparation, leaving the actual stitching as the easy bit.

The method uses two products – Hugs ‘n Kisses Applique Paper and a glue pen – I use the Sewline Water-Soluble Glue Pen.

Method:
Place a sheet of applique paper with the shiny (glue) side down on top of your template or design printed sheet. It is semitransparent so you can easily see the design through the paper. Trace each design or template shape onto the paper – I like to use a Sewline Ceramic pencil which glides on nicely. Note: if your applique design is directional you need to reverse it for this method.


Cut out each shape carefully on the traced lines. This is the important part – be as careful as possible as this determines your final shape.


Fuse each shape to the wrong side of your chosen fabrics. You need to leave a large ¼” between shapes for seam allowances.


If you wish, you can fussy-cut your fabrics by positioning the shapes to suit.

Cut out each shape leaving an approximate 1/8” seam allowance.


Using the glue pen, run a line of glue along the edge of the paper template –- it only needs to be light and right on the edge.


Using your thumb and forefinger, gently press over the seam allowance onto the glue. You want to fold the fabric on the edge of the paper –- but you don’t want to fold the paper as well, it doesn’t take too long to get the feel of the edge of the paper and where to fold to.


If the end of your applique piece is going to be under another piece in the final design you do not need to glue and fold these edges over.

You do not need to clip into outer curves. Our seam allowance is small and often on the bias so clipping is not necessary. Just gently fold/pleat around curves a small step at a time so you do not get points. If you are having trouble eliminating points try trimming back the seam allowance a little further.





If you have tails like on this leaf, just leave those and they will be dealt with later.


Your prepared shape!


You will need to clip on inner curves – but not as much as you may be used to. Just clip where you absolutely need to to enable the seam allowances to fold in nicely. Inner points need to be clipped to the edge of the paper.


Continue glueing until all shapes are prepared.


Position your background fabric over the design sheet. Use a light box if you cannot easily see through the fabric.


Position and layer all applique pieces following the design you can see underneath. Use the glue pen or for larger projects Roxanne’s Glue baste it to secure all pieces at once. Just layer them up until the complete block is ready for stitching.



Now you can stitch all pieces down as you would for your normal applique method. I use Hugs ‘n Kisses applique needles and Superior Bottom Line threads but you can use your thread of choice. When stitching down those tails that are showing, stitch to the point and do a double stitch to hold, tuck under the tail with the tip of your needle and continue in the new direction.

No need to remove the papers – when it is washed they will just dissolve and soften into safe fibres in your quilt project.

All of our Hugs ‘n Kisses applique patterns include the full design sheet along with reversed where necessary templates and applique shapes for tracing. We are considering including pre-printed Applique Paper in our patterns in the future –- so you can just cut out, glue and stitch!

Happy appliquéing!
Hugs,
Helen

Wow, what a treasure! Over on the Martingale blog Stitch This! there’s a hand appliqué tutorial from appliqué icon Mimi Dietrich.

Mimi is the author of many wonderful appliqué titles. In this illustrated tutorial she gives the “freezer paper on the back” method, complete with stitching tips. Thanks Mimi!

Not only that, Martingale has put her book Mimi Dietrich’s Favorite Appliqué Quilts on sale at 40% off this week. And I was very tickled to see that this sale also includes my book Inspired by Tradition. Now that’s good company!

Cheers,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Anybody up for some old-school, not-quick-and-easy, very detailed, completely captivating holiday appliqué?

Then I have just the thing for you! Santa’s Loading Dock Quilt by Mary Buvia is this month’s featured book, courtesy of AQS Publishing.


Wow! What a quilt! You can see a closer photo of it on Mary’ website. This is a masterpiece, and accordingly Mary was awarded Master Quilter status by the American Quilters Society.

The book gives you all the patterns and information you’d need to recreate the entire jolly scene; however, Mary encourages you to use whatever smaller elements from it that you like to make a smaller quilt or decorate other projects.

Mary’s appliqué method involves double freezer-paper templates, starch, and glue to create prepared-edge pieces for hand appliqué. The book also gives information for raw-edge machine appliqué if that’s what you prefer.

Many of the templates are given full size; however, some of them you’ll need to enlarge 200%.

So, who’s itching for some exceedingly cute holiday stitching? If you’d like to win this book, please leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 1. Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only.

Holiday cheers,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

P.S. I’ll be in Lodi, California, this weekend for the Tokay Stitch ‘n Quilt Guild show. This is a lovely show put on every other year, and the ladies serve a delightful afternoon tea for all!

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

In response to last year’s Call for Topics, Donna A. wrote:

I need to know everything! I have a wonderful teacher but she lives a long ways from me. I pretty much just drink in all the information I can get my hands on. Make more books and more patterns — there can never be enough!

Donna, I’m workin’ on it . :)

Donna also wrote that she need to know the pros and cons of glue basting.

Personally I don’t use glue or starch (with the exception of a dab of glue stick in certain specialty situations) but I know that many appliquérs couldn’t live without glueing the edges of their pieces over. It all depends on what you prefer. Myself I’m in the camp of less prep and let’s get to the stitching, but then again needle-turn is like breathing for me. Other appliquérs do not enjoy the edge-turning process and would rather have it done in advance. It’s all good! Whatever gives you the satisfaction in the process and the happiness with the result, that’s what you should do.

Here are the pros and cons of glue from my personal perspective.

PROS

• It’s a prepared-edge method, which means you don’t have to turn the edge while stitching. You just get to stitch away.

CONS

• You get glue on your fingers. Ew.
• You have glue in your project.
• It’s more prep time before getting to the stitching.
• You have to make templates.

If you know of more pros and cons, please chime in!

glue-stick

Here’s a roundup of glue-related posts from the blog. (I got this by clicking on “Glue stick” in the Category list.) I’d pay particular attention to Holly’s method and Laurel’s book.

Glue stick.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

In other news, Anne Sutton posted about an upcoming on-line sewing competition show called Sliced. Ooooh that has got to be good. I can’t wait!

Reminder: I’ll be at the upcoming Pajaro Valley Quilt Association’s annual show, February 25-26. My booth is #30, the first one on the right as you come into the main building, aka the Crosetti building. Our featured speaker is amazing pictorial quilt artist Linda Schmidt. There’s a fashion show and a quilt auction, a bed turning, door prizes, guild flea market, children’s activities, and a whole lot of fun at our show.

This just in from my pal Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics:

I’m SO excited to announce a new project! I’ve teamed up with author Terri Thayer, actually she’s the one that approached me with the project over a year ago. She’s writing an 8 month series of stories called Tales of the Quilt Shop, and I’m creating an applique project to go along with it called Sugarplums.

You have GOT to go and take a look at the first block on Holly’s Blog Sprinkles of Thought. If there were anything cuter it wouldn’t be allowed by law. Way to go Holly! Not only that, Holly includes a link to her glue-stick turned-edge hand-appliqué tutorial.

Back soon,
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 winner of the Quilted Crow Girls pattern is… ! Congratulations

One of the Schoolhouse sessions that I attended during Spring Market was a presentation by Tri-State Printing. Tri-State is a well know name in the quilting industry. I’ve never used them, but I’ve been aware of them for a long time. They are extremely knowledgeable about our industry and its printing needs, and they print for a ton of quilt designers. If you need a little or a lot of help with your printed materials, from pattern covers to brochures to self-published books, they would be a good company to contact.

I went to a fun presentation from the Quilted Frog! Aka Carla Scott and Leanne Smith, who just came out with a new book from AQS Publishing called Lady Bug & Friends Quilts.

lady-bug

The Quilted Frog gals have developed a distinctive, cartoony, and very fun style they call Easy Outline Appliqué™. You have to go to their website and see the quilts from the new book! They are so different looking, really fresh and appealing!

Over on their website they also have tutorials and videos, so be sure to poke around all the great resources they offer.

There’s more from Schoolhouse and Market. I’m trying to wrangle some guest posts, so stay tuned!

Whilst I was tramping around the aisles of Market, I stopped by the Creative Crafts Group booth. They’re the ones who publish Quiltmaker and the special 100 Blocks issues, among many other publications. I was tickled to see the cover of the recent 100 Blocks Volume 3 blown up to poster size. A staffer insisted on taking my picture, and she told me to point to my block. This cheesy maneuver caused me to slump down, which made me look like I gained back that 10 pounds I just lost, but oh well. :)

ccg-booth

In case you ‘re interested in getting that special issue and haven’t found it yet, I have it available on my website now, on the Patterns page.

Until next time,
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

So many thanks to those who chimed in about their blog-reading strategies. One reason for doing that last post that I forgot to mention is that sometimes I get messages from readers who are subscribed by email, who don’t even realize that they’re subscribed to a blog, and they think I’m sending them emails!

Erin Russek, who writes the One Piece at a Time blog, recently posted a great photo tutorial showing a very cool template-drawstring-and-starch method for getting the edges pressed under on petal-shaped pieces. Check out her Little Bird Top Knots post. Thanks for a great lesson, Erin!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

You may recall how I made some patchy hearts out of random hunks of patchwork from my UFO pile.

patchy4 For awhile I looked at that fluffy stack and waited for inspiration to come. I wanted to make a quilt top to give to the AllStar Quilters For Kids, an offshoot of my guild that makes quilts for kids in need. It wasn’t too long before I got an idea, and I sketched it out in my illustration Program, Adobe Illustrator.

Illustrator is not a quilt-dedicated program, but it has a grid and a “snap to grid” function so I can easily lay out quilts to get an idea of what they’ll look like and what the dimensions are.

I decided to use the blue and the yellow hearts, and sorted through the stack to pull those out. I hallucinated in my head that I needed 6 blue and 3 yellow hearts, and snap! that’s exactly how many I had. Kismet!

Yeah right. When I went to put things together I realized that I needed 4 yellows. Off I went to those large scraps of patchwork that I had fished out of the trash LOL! I sewed the two largest ones together, added a couple of little pieces to one end, and had enough for that fourth heart!

Here’s what I made.

blue-yellow-hearts

I fused the hearts to the background fabric, top-stitched around the edges, and cut away the background fabric and the fusible interfacing behind the hearts.

by-detail

The alternating squares are all from stash fabrics that were happy to find a home. I had to go out and look for the two border fabrics (because I don’t have very many large pieces in my stash).

Now, what to do with the remaining colors of hearts in that pancake stack… hmmm…

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 have to say that I’m just a flat appliqué girl myself. But I truly appreciate dimensional appliqué and our book look for August is a fantastic celebration of floral forms that stand up and sing!

more-fabulous-flowers

More Fabulous Flowers: Mini-Quilts in Dimensional Appliqué by Sharon K. Baker gives a ton of information on how to make faced, double-fused, prairie-point, double-folded prairie-point, ruched, strip-pieced, and yo-yo leaves and flowers. The detailed, illustrated instructions in the book go soup-to-nuts, from fabrics and supplies to pre-quilting the background to making stems to constructing all those luscious leaves and petals to embellishing them with beads and yarns to finishing the darling mini-quilts.

rosebuds

The book includes 20 little quilt projects to spark your imagination, and you can go anywhere from there. “The designs in this book are like ingredients in a recipe,” says Sharon. “Combine the ingredients as you like to whip up your own special creation. Use the flowers to embellish quilts or wearable art, or simply wear then as decorative pins on clothing. Combine the flowers, explore your own creativity and style, and create a peaceful garden for the mind and soul.”

Many thanks once again to Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place for providing a copy of More Fabulous Flowers for a lucky reader. If you’d like a chance to win, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, August 9. U.S. and Canada only due to the cost of postage.

Those subscribed by email, remember, don’t reply to the email to leave a comment. Instead, click over to the blog itself. The comments link is at the bottom of the post.

Good luck!
Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I’m resting up from a week in Long Beach. The trip went well despite a dead battery on the way down. I handled it (I am woman, etc.) and after that everything went as planned, within normal operating parameters.

You may remember me posting about some random hunks of patchwork I had dug out of the UFO pile.

I had an idea! I thought of the fusible interfacing method for turned-edge appliqué! I felt this was a natural for making something appliqué with all those seams.

I marked the hearts on the smooth size of the interfacing and pinned in place over the right side of the patchwork.

patchy1

I did a whole tutorial on this method over at the Show & Tell Center. Check out The Anatomy of a Lollipop for a refresher.

Shortened up the stitch length a bit and sewed all the way around each shape, on the drawn line.

patchy2

Cut out the hearts, leaving a 1/8″ seam allowance. Clipped the notches.

patchy3

Cut a slit in the interfacing and turned the hearts. A quick run along the seam with a craft stick and a poke at the tip with a stylus and that’s it! They look like a stack of fluffy pancakes.

patchy4

I know from making gobs and buckets of lollipops that these will smooth out and flatten when they’re fused to their backgrounds.patchy5

I thought I was now done with those hunks of patchwork. However, as the project went along, I found myself pulling the bigger scraps back out of the trash. Will this never end!!!?

patchy6

Now what am I going to do with the hearts? Hmmm…

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Tasty precuts make great ingredients for A Baker’s Dozen!

A Baker's Dozen from the staff at That Patchwork Place

A Baker's Dozen from the staff at That Patchwork Place

Most of the staff at Martingale & Company (parent company of That Patchwork Place) are quiltmakers. In this collaborative pattern book they challenged themselves to use the yummy precut assortments available today… we’re talking jelly rolls, layer cakes, honey buns, turnovers, dessert rolls, fat quarters, and charm packs… to whip up a bakery case of delectable quilts.

Note: It isn’t required to use precuts. Each set of instructions also gives fabric requirements for pulling from your stash or from bolts at the quilt shop. But just in case you have been tempted by those luscious jelly rolls, layer cakes, etc., the book gives information on how to handle them, sort them, to wash or not to wash, and what to do about those confusing pinked edges.

Staff from all areas of Martingale contributed to the book, from web manager to the marketing department to customer service and relations, print and production, editorial, book design, illustration, accounting, author liaison, acquisitions and development, and the social networking coordinator, who quilted 11 of the quilts! I thought it would be fun to hear something about the process.

Mary Burns, Marketing Coordinator, tells the story of her quilt Flying Shuttles.

cracker

The Editorial Department put out a call to the staff for designs using precut fabrics or fat quarters. I don’t really consider myself a quilt designer. I think of myself as just your average quilter. Everyone here is so encouraging though—I work with such wonderful and creative people—so I decided to jump in!

I had a fat quarter pack of Kim Diehl’s “Country Haven” and I knew I wanted to do something old-fashioned and folksy to go with the décor of my 1901 farmhouse. I found a traditional pieced block called “Cracker” in my trusty Judy Hopkins book 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks. I set the blocks in circles and called it Colvin Mill Wheels, after a historic mill near my sister’s house in Virginia.

At the last minute, I sketched out an alternate layout of Cracker blocks in vertical rows—and that’s the one that was chosen. (Hooray for last minute inspiration!) At that point the quilt didn’t have any appliqué, but after I pieced it and sewed on the cream border, it just looked like it needed something. I sketched out a flowing vine, some leaves, and folksy flowers. Fortunately, they were thrilled—but I only had a couple weeks before the deadline for finished quilts— and I was scheduled to be at Spring Quilt Market the first week and on vacation at my sister’s in Virginia the second week. What was I thinking?!

As Marketing Coordinator, one aspect of my job is to get everything ready for our booth at Quilt Market. The month up to and including Market is extremely hectic. I stayed up late every night the week before we left, finishing the pieced borders and machine appliquéing all my vines and leaves, cutting out all my folksy flowers and flower centers and packing them all in my carry-on—didn’t want to risk losing it!

I use freezer paper applique on the wrong side of the fabric, with the shiny side up so that I can press the seam allowance to the sticky side, then cut a slit in the back and remove the paper. I machine-appliqued the vines and leaves and hand-appliqued the flowers and flower centers. I finished appliquéing the centers onto the flowers on the plane; it really made time fly!

When we got to the hotel, I laid the quilt out on my bed and figured out where I wanted the flowers to go. Despite my valiant efforts, by the time Market was over, I still wasn’t finished appliquéing the flowers—how naïve of me to think that I could work hard at Market and still have time and energy to finish the quilt! So off to my sister’s house the two of us went, my quilt and I, with a promise that I’d email a photo of the finished quilt before the deadline. It’s kind of fitting that I finished it in all the way across the country in Virginia, near the Mill that originally inspired me to use the Cracker block.

I changed the title of the quilt to “Flying Shuttles” because the way the Cracker block turns left and right reminds me of how a shuttle flies through a loom. When I showed it to my teenage sons at home, the Cracker blocks reminded them of the old Intellivision game, Astrosmash, and the space shuttles that you had to shoot to win. Either way, I just love how this quilt turned out–and apparently I’m not the only one, because the quilt has been chosen to be in That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar 2011—I’m Miss November!

So there’s my saga, hope you find it amusing. The hardest part about designing a quilt pattern is that you have to write down everything you do, and have it make sense to someone who’s never done it before. Now I know! It’s not as easy as it sounds!

Cathy Reitan, Martingale’s author liaison, set a personal challenge for herself with her design.

Circles and Chains by Cathy Reitan

Circles and Chains by Cathy Reitan

I have always created with textiles, starting in high school with fashion sewing from patterns and then moving into copying store fashions. As I moved into my 30s and had a family, the focus changed to children’s designs and home dec sewing with a little bit of quilting. With the dawn of children having their driver’s licenses and freedom from being a slave to the car, I began to quilt. You know, the kind of quilting where you plan a project, shop for the items you need, and work on it for significant lengths of time, not just in stolen moments.

I usually use traditional civil war colors and patterns with a lot of hand work. When the opportunity to design a quilt for A Baker’s Dozen came along, I set myself a goal of using colors out of my normal color palette and geometrical shapes that where also not the norm for me. Circles and Chains was the result. I combined the traditional Irish chain block ( just could not completely give up the traditional) with the geometric fast-fused applique circles. I made couple of sample blocks and threw them away because the colors I picked were not strong enough to support the jelly roll I wanted to work with. Back to the quilt store for the brown and yellow solids and another trial block was made. The effect of the deeper color was much better with my jelly roll. I used several colors I love to hate, primarily orange paired with turquoise which is color that I am repeatedly drawn to but matches nothing in my house. Now I just need a child to give up a bedroom so I can decorate with a new color scheme!

Working at Martingale is a great place to inspire creativity and take the next leap of faith because there is always someone to encourage and praise your efforts. There is always someone to bounce and brainstorm ideas with. Of course with so many beautiful samples coming in from authors the list of projects I want to make is always longer than the hours left in my lifetime!

Adrienne Smitke from the illustration department describes the collaborative effort that went into her design.

Ladybugs!

Ladybugs!

This quilt was a team effort, and I think that’s part of why I like it so much. Not only are the colors and motifs cheerful and welcoming, when I see this quilt I think about all the different elements of its construction and how many different hands helped stitch it together.

While I really like sewing, I love shopping for fabric. I could spend hours browsing either online or in the fabric store through the ever changing rows of color and pattern. It is more often the fabric that helps inspire the kind of quilt or project I want to make rather than the other way around. I had been trying to come up with an excuse to work with Momo’s Wonderland fabric line since its release. While browsing for ideas, I took a closer look at the polka-dot print in this fabric line and discovered that some of the dots were actually ladybugs. Inspiration struck and I knew ladybugs would make a cute and easy appliqué design. To compliment the ladybugs, I pulled three simple flower shapes from the print used in the border.

As a technical illustrator I spend a lot of time working with Adobe Illustrator (a vector drawing program), so it was easy for me to draw the full size applique patterns on the computer. This allowed me to easily tweak and size them as I needed to fit the blocks. You don’t need to be a professional designer to use a computer to create your own patterns. Many computers already come with drawing software, or you can simply Google “vector drawing program” online to explore the many options available. It can take a little time to get used to the drawing tools in these programs, however you shouldn’t be discouraged. Like with any skill, practice makes perfect.

Once the quilt design was complete, that’s when the teamwork began. I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish two complete quilts (my other quilt in the book is “Rose Garden,” page 62) in the time available, but my co-workers came to the rescue. Despite that they were all working on additional quilts of their own for A Baker’s Dozen, they pitched in and each took on a part of the process.

While I cut and sewed the pieced blocks, Karen Soltys worked on the appliqué blocks. Karen has a wealth of great tips for how she made the machine appliqué simple and easy. First she traced all the large shapes on fusible web and then, before cutting any of them out, traced the smaller shapes inside the larger ones. She cut those smaller pieces out of the centers of the larger ones, and fused them onto their contrast fabrics. This not only saved on fusible web, but made the finished appliqué blocks much softer and more flexible.

After all the shapes were fused to their fabrics and then to the white background blocks, Karen machine-blanket-stitched around all of the shapes using chocolate brown machine-quilting thread to add definition to the designs. She recommends using open-toe presser foot so that you can easily see where you’re stitching. In addition, she used a 50-weight thread (“regular” sewing thread) in the bobbin, which required loosening the machine tension a bit so that the bottom thread wouldn’t pull up to the top as she stitched.

Karen handed off the appliquéd blocks to Cathy Reitan, who hand-embroidered the beautiful details for the flower stems, lady bug wings, and antennae before assembling the blocks and borders into a quilt top. Karen Burns, who did the stunning machine quilting on almost all of the quilts in the book, stitched all-over swirls in the appliqué blocks to help the motifs stand out, and then added flowers in the borders reminiscent of the flowers in the fabric pattern. Finally the quilt came back to Cathy, who sewed on the binding and hanging sleeve. It was really thrilling to see how all of the blocks and pieces were assembled into a stunning final product, and to know each of us had a hand in it. Now the quilt hangs behind my desk at work and each day I am greeted by its cheerful motifs and reminded of the teamwork that helped put this quilt together.

I really enjoyed hearing these stories, hope you did too. Martingale has supplied a copy of the book to give away, so leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, May 8, to enter the drawing to win this delicious collection of quilt patterns. (U.S. and Canada only)

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Easy Appliqué Blocks sightings!

To make a bday quilt for her little niece, Sarah Vee used designs and blocks she discovered by reading a variety of quilting blogs. For the bright and polka-dotty flowers in the quilt, she printed out the Daisy, Sunflowers, Posy Bunch, and Tulip Trio designs from Easy Appliqué Blocks. Such a fun and cheerful quilt! Lucky little girl.

Mary on Lake Pulaski used the Vase design for a charity fundraising project called Sis Boom Pow. The fabrics she used, by Jennifer Paganelli, are fresh, fun, and modern. Check it out on the Sis Boom blog. In the comments on her post, Mary puts up the URL for a tutorial on the starch method for turned-edge appliqué on Snippets of a Quilter.

Thanks a million, Sarah and Mary, for hauling out Easy Appliqué Blocks! It worked for you just the way I envisioned, as a library of appliqué blocks right at your fingertips.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Happy New Year appliqué enthusiasts!

Hey is anybody going to Road to California later this month? I got a call just a couple weeks ago offering me a spot as a vendor and I said yippee! If you’re going to be at this fabulous quilt show and conference in Ontario, California, in two weeks’ time, please come by and say hello! I’ll be in 806.

matqNow on to our January giveaway, sponsored by Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place. Sharon Pederson is a Canadian quilter whom I’ve met a couple times, most recently when she came to give a talk at my guild. If you ever get the chance, be sure to go to one of her lectures because it is a highly amusing experience. Sharon’s book Machine Appliqué for the Terrified Quilter is intended for quilters who (like Sharon in a former life) “refer to appliqué as the A word.”

Sharon says that her book is for those who are attracted to appliqué but feel that life is too short to do hand work. Learning that she could appliqué by machine was what it took to make her a total convert! I’ll throw in my 2¢ worth and add that even if you like hand work, it’s great to throw more techniques into your appliqué bag of tricks.

rose-quiltLots of introductory information is given about fabrics, threads, needles, sewing machines, and stitches. Then Sharon takes you step-by-step through two methods: invisible machine appliqué, where the edges of the appliqué are turned and the stitches are unseen, and fusible appliqué, where the edges are raw and the stitches are visible. Reverse appliqué is also covered.

Sharon gives lessons on a variety of machine stitches, including the satin stitch, narrow zigzag, and decorative stitches, plus how to manipulate them in interesting ways. Great closeup photos accompany this information.

stained-glassThe projects in the book are mostly small and manageable, because after all, “you might be just a little bit terrified about the prospect of machine appliqué, so why further terrorize yourself by trying a queen-size project first?”

If you’re more of a visual learner, you might be interested in the DVD, a separate item. A sample lesson from it is available for viewing on the Martingale website.

Whether you’re terrified or not, this is one great resource for those interested in machine appliqué! Leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Wednesday, January 6, to enter the drawing for the book. U.S. and Canada only, unless you’d be willing to pay the shipping.

eab-cdThe winner gets my book Easy Appliqué Blocks too, with its companion CD that lets you print 50 designs in 5 sizes!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

On The Quilt Show website, there’s a link for a series of Bernina Educational Videos that are free for the watching… you don’t have to be logged in.

I found this one on invisible machine appliqué that shows the freezer-paper-template-and-glue method for doing turned-edge appliqué with the blind-hem stitch. The link starts up the video right away.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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