This month, courtesy of AQS Publishing, we have Rebecca L. Campbell’s charming book Plant Your Own Garden.


This little book features a dozen original flower blocks that you can use to plant an appliqué garden. Each design can stand alone in a project of your own creation, or join the others in a sampler quilt.

Rebecca shares with us what inspired her to become an appliqué enthusiast and to develop her own system for pleasing results. Take it away, Rebecca!

I belong to a quilt guild, Quintessential Quilters in Columbus, Ohio. I thank that organization for the opportunity to take classes from an amazing list of famous quilters. Those teachers inspired me in a so many ways. I wanted be a part of the quilting business. but what was I going to offer? A seed was planted and I was searching for my way to inspire.

I fell in love with an appliqué pattern and became determined to learn turned-edge appliqué, but my results left a lot to be desired. I wanted perfect shapes right off the bat and didn’t want to spend time tracing or ripping freezer paper out. I matched up products that accomplished those tasks. I eliminated tracing by using a copier to create a placement guide (June Tailor’s Perfect Piecing) and templates (C. Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets). If I ironed the freezer paper to the right side of the fabric it could be pulled off once the piece is in place. Print n Fuse ironed to batting enabled me to create trapunto without stuffing.

Now I had a method that worked well for me. Teaching classes was a test to see if it worked for others. Beginners were excited with their results and experienced appliquérs found it increased their accuracy and productivity.

I had a proven method that I titled Innovative Appliqué. Someone suggested I should create an original pattern to teach from. Sixty-one patterns and more in the works are available. All individual patterns are full size.

Designing, teaching, vending and trade shows lead to connecting with America Quilter’s Society to publish a booklet, Plant Your Own Garden. Twelve flower patterns, quilt construction, and Innovative Appliqué instructions are all included. I like to provide lots of pictures to show what I am explaining. The booklet patterns do need to be enlarged 111%. That is something I hope to avoid the next go round.

I hang a sign at shows that says Appliqué is not a four letter word. I think that is so funny.

At a recent Checker Distributors open house, Rebecca filmed a video presentation showing her appliqué techniques.

Rebecca’s video.

If you’d like to win this booket, please leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, October 6. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only.

Good luck everyone!
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

This month, with many thanks to Martingale, we have Cheri Leffler’s Animal Parade.


The subtitle of this charmer is “Adorable Appliqué Quilt Patterns for Babies.” I’d say, anyone young at heart would also qualify!

Cheri begins by presenting instructions for her favorite method of needle-turn appliqué using an overlay for placement. For those who prefer machine work, she also gives a quick overview of fusible appliqué. A little lexicon of embroidery stitches rounds out the method section.

Feeling Sheepy by Cheri Leffler, quilted by Vonnie Maglinte

In this book you’ll find quilts featuring cheerful frogs, floating duckies, happy monkeys, wise owls, rollicking foxes, playful penguins, swimming sea creatures, tree-hugging koala bears, long-necked giraffes, and fluffy lambs! A whole menagerie of cuteness! Each quilt design features the animals set against a sweet and simple pieced background.

Kits 'n Caboodle by Cheri Leffler, quilted by Vonnie Maglinte

You can see the koalas peeking out at the foxes.

The appliqué patterns are printed full size and… bonus… the book includes a pullout section for the designs that are too large to fit on a page. Excellent!

A Penguin Playdate by Cheri Leffler, quilted by Vonnie Maglinte

If you’d like a chance to win this delightful book of youthful quilts, please leave a comment here on this post by 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, September 5.

Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, and please resist the temptation to click “reply” to your email feed. To enter the drawing, come to the blog on the internet and leave your comment at the bottom of the post.

Good luck everyone!
See you then,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

The lucky reader who won Wild Blooms & Colorful Creatures was No. 32, Margaret! The book is on its way to you now, Margaret, have a wild and colorful time with it!!

And my thanks to all of you who follow this blog. When you enter these drawings, it lets me know you’re out there, and you’re a fellow appliqué enthusiast, and I appreciate it so much.

I’ve been having a fabulous time making more framed mini-quilts. Here are a couple of them.

It’s a whole lot o’ fun.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Our featured book this month, courtesy of C&T Publishing, is Wendy Williams’ Wild Blooms & Colorful Creatures.

I’m wild about these colorful blooms and creatures!

This book is all about combining our traditional cotton prints with wool and linen, to add a new dimension. Wendy starts out with a section on appliqué basics that gives information on wool, wool felt, threads, templates, and her style of needle-turn that uses a running stitch close to the turned edge. There’s also a whole page of illustrated embroidery stitches for adding special touches.


Then on to the projects! There are wall quilts, runners, pillows, bags, and sewing notions galore. All of the appliqué templates are printed at full size, and there’s even a pull-out section for the larger designs. Always a bonus!


Aren’t the designs wonderful? Such a fearless sense of color and whimsy.

If you’d like to win this book in a random drawing, please leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Tuesday, August 5.

Notice how I said “leave a comment”…? This is not the same as replying to your email feed. You’ll need to get out of your email program by clicking on the title of the post, which will bring you to the blog itself on the internet, and leave your comment there.

Open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck all!!

Until then,
Kay

Random.org has determined that the reader who won Piece O’ Cake’s Backyard Birds is No. 39, Pat! Congratulations to Pat, who says that hand appliqué is her first love, so this will be right up her alley.

The show at the end of June in San Luis Obispo had some beautiful appliqué quilts.

Fragrant Memories by Margaret Taylor

I love how fearless Margaret was in creating this masterpiece not from a pattern.

Earth and Twig by Sally Inouye

I’m a big fan of the designs of Sue Spargo.

Empress Feathers by Janie Walker

We were just talking about how delightful everything is from Piece O’ Cake. :) Beautiful colors on this one.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I love everything from the Piece O’ Cake gals Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins. This month, with many thanks to C&T Publishing, we have their cheery collection of 12 bird blocks presented in an expanded pattern format, Backyard Birds.

You can mix and match these blocks, sew four of them into a 39″ x 39″ project, or put them all together for a 52″ x 65″ quilt with appliqué borders. The packet includes full-size patterns and a 16-page booklet with complete instructions.


I myself employ a patched background on occasion, but these designers are fearless masters at it. Add their delightful sense of color, you’ve got winners every time IMO.

If you’d like to win this expanded pattern, please enter the drawing by leaving a comment here on this blog post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, July 5. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, and replies to an email subscription won’t enter.

Good luck everyone!

Chirp!
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Today I head north over the Golden Gate Bridge and into wine country for this weekend’s quilt show in Santa Rosa. It’s put on by the Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County and last year it was great fun.

The Golden Gate Bridge has done away with toll booths and now you register your vehicle online and your license plate is scanned as you cross. It really speeds things up… but I still don’t know what they do with all the rental cars…

The reader who won Home Sweet Quilt is No. 4, Kathleen! Congratulations! She says she is really looking forward to this color-filled book with its combination of patchwork and appliqué. I agree, that’s the best combo platter!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I’ve admired the Jillily booth many times at shows. Jill Finley has been designing quilt patterns for over 15 years and is known for her fresh style and beautiful color combinations.

This month, with many thanks to Martingale, we have Jill’s book Home Sweet Quilt.

Need a gift or something for yourself? The book includes a dozen patterns for the whole house, from table runners to dish towels to pillows to quilts of all sizes. They’re all so fresh and pretty! Jill says in the introduction, “… My goal was to create and share fresh quilt designs… They’re much more than blankets or bed coverings. They’re the pop of color, the unexpected texture, or the softening element of each room.”

Winding Down, great for the family room.

Patio Tiles, wool and cotton table runner

The book begins with a few basics, such as working with wool, attaching borders and bindings, and Jill’s favorite stitching supplies. There’s a whole chapter on “Appliqué the Jillily Way,” which involves starching the edges of the motifs over freezer-paper templates. You can stitch them in place either by hand or by machine.

Berry Patch, a cheerful table topper.

If you’d like to win this very appealing book, please leave a comment here on the blog post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Thursday, June 5. Open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Good luck!!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

The winner of my 100 Blocks Volume 9 drawing was No. 134, Marta!

Thanks so much to all of you who stopped by on the blog tour. If you didn’t win a copy of the new issue and you’re wanting one, I have them in stock now on my website, on the Patterns page.

I also have a few copies left of Volume 8, if that’s one’s still missing from your collection.

Following closely on the heels of the 100 Blocks blog tour was our monthly book feature and giveaway. The reader who came up the winner of Rami Kim’s book was No. 5, Dot. Congratulations! Dot says her son-in-law is of Korean ancestry and she’s interested in learning more about Korean art. Very cool!

In other news, I am so happy to say that my husband Dana and I are coming up on our 25th wedding anniversary on May 19! We’re going to Hawaii for a week, to Hilo on the Big Island.

I’ve done some investigating of quilt shops, but I could always use a little inside info! Any recommendations???

Aloha,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Courtesy of AQS Publishing, we have an exquisite book this month by award-winning art-to-wear and quilter Rami Kim.


Elegant Cotton • Wool • Silk Quilts is an exciting departure from the books I usually have the privilege of featuring. Quoting from the preface, “The designs here put special emphasis on the ancient cultures of Korea. …This book will serve as an introduction to and a window into ‘The Land of Morning Calm.’ …Though many of the designs are actually more than a few thousand years old, this will be the first glimpse through the eyes of the Western viewer.”

It was exciting to turn the pages of this book and discover shapes and designs I’d never seen before.

How about these Asian interpretations of flowers, leaves, clouds, and mountains done up penny-rug style… gorgeous!

I was captivated by the section on Chopkey — a Korean folding technique. Rami give step-by-step instructions for making a traditional costume coat.

As the titles implies, there are projects done in cotton, wool, and silk, and you can certainly use any of these materials for the design of your choice.

The books jumps right into the projects, so basic skills in hand blanket-stitch embroidery will be needed. Also, the designs need to be enlarged 200%.

If you’d like a chance to win this book that translates Korean architectural elements into American quilts, please leave a comment here on the blog by 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, May 9.

Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, and remember… don’t try to enter by email. If you’re reading this in an email, you’ll need to click over to the blog itself on the internet.

Best of luck!!
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Welcome gentle quilters!! It’s Day 3 of the 100 Blocks Volume 9 blog tour! These tours are always a rollicking good time, and I’m happy to be part of things once again.

I’m Kay Mackenzie, a designer and author in Santa Cruz, California. My website is By Kay Mackenzie, which has all of my books and patterns on it, plus select notions for the appliqué enthusiast. If this is your first time visiting my blog All About Appliqué, I’m glad you’re here! You’ll find a wealth of information about all kinds of appliqué here on the blog. And, we have a featured appliqué book at the beginning of every month, given away in a drawing, which is way fun.

I’m delighted and proud to say that this is my eighth time having one of the 100 Blocks. I just love participating in these special issues!

My latest title from Martingale, Scrap-Appliqué Playground, is all about different ways to put scraps together and cut appliqués out of them. After the book came out, I started playing around with more ideas for cutting appliqués out of something other than just one fabric. I let my mind run wild, and realized that there are clever ways to use traditional pieced quilt blocks for this! It’s the best of both worlds!

Half-Log-Cabin Tulip by Kay Mackenzie.

Cutting a tulip “just so” from a traditional half-log-cabin block gives a fun, stylized look to a very traditional appliqué flower. Split leaves and a patched background complement the pieced nature of the tulip.

The magazine gives complete instructions for making the block, and includes the tulip template that fits just right on the half-log-cabin once it’s pieced. Very cool.

Of course you can change up the color of the background and the flowers. Here are just a couple of possibilities!

I hope you enjoy this block and all the other 99 fabulous and varied designs in Volume 9!

The editors of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks are sponsoring a giveaway of a copy of the magazine! If you’d like to enter to win, please leave a comment here on this post before 12:00 noon California time on Sunday, May 4.

Good luck in the drawing, and remember that if you are subscribed to the blog by email, clicking “Reply” will not enter you in the drawing. Come to the blog on the internet and leave your comment at the bottom of the post. :)

Many thanks for your visit!
Cheerio,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Volume 9 of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks is coming out soon!

To celebrate the release of their newest block collection, Quiltmaker is throwing a big party in the form of a blog tour with lots of prize-winning opportunities along the way.


The tour goes Monday, April 28, through Friday, May 2. Start each day at the Quiltmaker blog Quilty Pleasures and they’ll send you on your way to visit the blogs of many of the designers who have blocks in the issue.

My day is Wednesday, April 30. See you then!

My block is the one on the right :) .

Cheers,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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

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

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

my Vendor's Choice ribbon

Furry Sweetness at Eat Cake Graphics.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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

Take it away, Cathy!

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Many thanks for reading All About Appliqué,
Kay and Cathy

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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

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

Illuminations, design by Kay Mackenzie

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

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

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

Happy National/Worldwide Quilting Day!
Kay

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

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

Back next week,
Cheers,
Kay

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


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

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

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

Good luck everyone!
Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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

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

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

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

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

Cobblestones Quilt

Here’s what Kevin and I talked about.

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

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

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

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

Counterbalance Quilt

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

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

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

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

All Seasons Pillows

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

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

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

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

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

Fruit Market Quilt

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

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

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

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

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

• Kay: How did you and Interweave get together?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Kosbab, photo by John Lessard

Kevin on Facebook.

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

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