Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book review and give-away: Inspired By Tradition

I have a wonderful book to give away today to one lucky applique lover! Inspired by Tradition: 50 Appliqué Blocks in 5 Sizes (Martingale/That Patchwork Place, $22.99) is Kay Mackenzie’s latest book.

Kay Mackenzie
In 2009, I reviewed Kay’s last book, Easy Appliqué Blocks, which includes 50 other block designs. After Kay wrote that book, she envisioned a way for quilters to have “a library of designs right at your fingertips whenever you need one block or many!" Her new book continues and expands the library she began in the first book in a wonderful way. 

This time, the blocks are all traditional in style, but are somewhat simplified for the modern quilter. There are vines, berries, birds, baskets and wreaths. Each design is shown in a color photo of the block, and all the designs are included on the CD (more about this later).

But this book has more to offer than just lovely block designs. There are also great instructions for Kay’s two favorite appliqué methods, one one by hand and one by machine.

Coming Up Roses (26" x 26")
The hand method involves back-basting, something I’ve heard about but not tried (yet), so I am looking forward to testing it out. There are instructions for hand stitching all kinds of shapes, including points, notches, curves and circles.

Kay’s machine applique method involves raw-edge machine appliqué using paper-backed fusible web. For both methods, Kay provides excellent instructions that are extremely detailed, with many clear diagrams. 

At the back of the book, Kay included “A Little Gallery of Ideas,” which is a great way to see how you can stitch and combine several blocks to make a small quilt, table runner, wall hanging or banner. Some of these projects are shown here.

Appliquér At Heart (22" x 46")

One of the neatest things about this book is that all 50 of the applique block designs  are included on the CD that comes with the book. It works on Mac, PC or Linux platforms, and it includes all the designs in five different sizes, from 6" to 12". So as long as you have access to a computer and printer, you won’t have to go running to a photocopy shop to make an enlargement. And all the designs are also reversed on the CD, so if you are doing fusible applique or Kay’s back-basting method for hand appliqué, you don’t have to do that step, either!

Cherry Jubilee (three 8" square mini quilts)

I especially enjoyed Kay’s “Appliqué Questions and Answers” section; it includes very valuable information and insights to common appliqué issues. Even though I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on appliqué – my first book, Appliqué Petal Party (C&T Publishing 2009) was an appliqué pattern– I learned a lot from this book. It just goes to show that no matter what your experience level, you always have new things to learn.

Inspired by Tradition shipped out in early March. So if you want a copy now, ask for it at your favorite quilt shop. It is also available at Amazon and through the publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place. And of course, you can order it from Kay’s website and get an autographed copy!

Kay has generously donated a copy of her book for me to give away here! For a chance to win, leave a comment after this post and tell me what you like best about appliqué, and what kind of method you use. OR if you don’t appliqué, tell me why you want this book. I’ll draw one name at random at 9 p.m. EST April 1. Honest. This is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke.

Giveaway is closed... The winner is Robin in Richmond, VA.

If you want to read other reviews of Kay’s book, you can check out other bloggers participating in Kay’s “Book-a-Round” here:

Maria Peagler

Darcy Ashton

Erin Russek


Holly Mabutas

Kathy Mack

Kim Jamieson-Hirst

Sarah Vanderburgh

Maria Michaels Designs