Friday, March 27, 2009

Win this book: “Easy Appliqué Blocks” by Kay Mackenzie

Appliquér Kay Mackenzie has a great new book just out! It features 50 darling applique designs to mix and match, each in 5 different sizes. All the blocks are on a CD that comes with the book (PC and Mac compatible), so it is easy to find the size you need and print it out from your computer.

When I saw the cat-and-fish block on the cover of Kay’s book, I knew it was the first one I’d do. My black cat, Trouble, LOVES our goldfish (a little too much, methinks), and spends time every evening watching the fish, drinking from the fishbowl, and occassionally dipping her paw in to terrorize the goldfish.

Here’s Trouble spending time with her favorite finned friend last night:

Yum! That fishy water is delicious!

And here is my block. I added the bowl (which is actually a large glass canister), but kept Kay’s graceful cat tail, which, alas, Trouble does not have. We adopted her at six months from a shelter, and were told that she had been attacked by dogs as a kitten, and they broke her tail. It has several kinks in it. I’m going to add details (the rim of the bowl, the waterline, and the glass pebbles at the bottom) when I quilt this block.

Here are some of the things I like best about Kay’s book:

1. The blocks are very simple, so they are perfect for beginners. In fact, I told my beginning applique class about this book when I taught Friday at my local quilt shop. The pieces are big, and the shapes are easy, so it’s the perfect way to learn (and learn to love) appliqué.

2. Kay shares her techniques in a reassuring, friendly writing style.

3. There are both hand- and machine-appliqué methods described in detail. Want to do maching appliqué? Choose from a raw-edge machine appliqué or a method using paper-backed fusible web. Want to do hand applique? Try either the freezer-paper-on-top technique or back basting. (I’ve never done either of these hand methods … yet!)

4. Lots of cute, cute, CUTE blocks – baskets, birds, flowers, hearts, cats, dogs, teapots, chickens – that can be used on lots of things, like wall quilts, aprons, dresser runners, sweatshirts, and totes.

5. These are versatile designs to have on hand if you belong to a guild that does block raffles or swaps with a theme. You’re sure to find a design you can use and whip up in a jiffy.

6. Kay offers tons of tips on the importance of addressing vision issues (“Gentle quilter, it’s time to go the drugstore and get some of those groovy granny glasses”), lighting, fabric selection and preparation, tools and notions, and ways to add fine details with embroidery, beading or buttons.

7. Her hand applique instructions are concise and have detailed diagrams on stitching pointy points and smooth curves.

8. The CD makes it easy to print out the blocks you need, and to scale them to the size you want. And the book also includes line drawings you can enlarge on a photocopier, if you don’t have a computer.

But I think my favorite part is the “Little Gallery of Ideas” at the end. Here, Kay showcases darling little quilts made by mixing and matching blocks from the book.

You can win a copy of this book!
Leave me a post today (Saturday, March 28) before 7 p.m. EST, telling me what method you use to appliqué (or if you haven’t tried it yet), and your name will go into the drawing. Check back later Saturday evening, and I’ll post the winner at the bottom of this post.

If you really want to win a book and don’t win my copy, you can go to each blogger’s post on their day and put your name in the hat for their book. Kay’s blog, All About Appliqué, has a list of the bloggers participating.

To purchase the book, ask for it at your favorite quilt shop. It is also available from Martingale & Company and from Amazon. If you want an autographed copy, go directly to the source and order your copy signed by Kay at Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs.

We have a winner!
Kathie H. won the book! Kay Mackenzie will be contacting you to get your address.

Thanks so much to everyone who posted; it was great to hear about your applique techniques!