Friday, February 28, 2014

Blog Tour day 8: Quilting Daily

Today marks the end of the Quilter’s Applique Workshop Blog Tour and also the official publication date of the book! So it’s appropriate that today’s post is on the publisher’s Quilting Daily blog. Stop by for a handful of my appliqué tips.

Enter there for a chance to win a copy of the book—and there’s still time to enter for the tour’s grand prize! Thanks for your entries—the winner is announced here!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Tour day 7: CraftyPod

Still wondering if The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop is for you? Diane Gilleland’s review on CraftyPod gets to the core of what makes this book great (he said, humbly).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blog Tour day 6: Happy Appliquer


Magazines may be able to dig up quotes and photos from years gone by, but nobody can dredge up the past like a mother! Thankfully she only shared the minimally embarrassing anecdote of my childhood cartoon creations (Mo-om!), and today I’m honored to present a guest post on my talented mom’s blog, Happy Appliquer. Be sure to look around to ogle the work of a truly accomplished appliqué artist.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blog Tour day 5: Generation Q


Today longtime quilt friend Melissa Thompson Maher reviews The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop on the Generation Q Magazine site! I’m blushing...
It’s classic Kevin.  His urbane sense of humor oozes off the pages right from the start.
Don’t miss the goofy portrait of me they dug up from the archives.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Blog Tour day 4: LoveBug Studios


Jump over to Ebony Love’s LoveBug Studios for a guest post on die cutting for appliqué. While you’re there, enter to win some wool charm squares!

And don’t forget to enter the grand-prize giveaway for the blog tour by commenting on the first day’s post. Thanks for your entries—the winner is announced here!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Quilter's Applique Workshop Blog Tour: Virtual trunk show

Yesterday I launched my new book The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop with a trunk show, book signing, and demo at the annual retreat held by my home guild, the Tuleburg Quilt Guild. After the relatively solitary process of putting the book together, it was a real treat to share the quilts with my friends and fellow quilters, and to hear what they made of them. So to kick off my blog tour, I thought I’d share a few pics from the event with you too.

Keep following the blog tour through the official publication date of February 28 to get more ideas for appliqué and hear more about The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop from these bloggers:
 Don’t forget to check out the grand-prize giveaway details at the end of this post!


Since my Fruit Market quilt got shipped to the publisher almost immediately after I got it back from the quilter, it was great to get it out into the light of day.


Speaking of the light of day, how’s this for dramatic lighting? The sun decided to act as a natural spotlight for Pineapple Rings.


Cover quilt Cobblestones got the spotlight treatment too.


Check out these treat boxes my super friend, cashier, and cheerleader Sandy made for the retreat using the Cobblestones blocks! Even better, they were filled with her homemade caramely, chocolatey shortbread.


My lovely assistants, Deborah and Sandy, with my Mod Flowers Table Runner. The runners were too small for them to hide their faces behind; I do believe there were some secrets whispered behind the larger quilts....



Counterbalance turned on its side reminded some audience members of snakes who’d gobbling up a rat, which I had to admit was a pretty fair assessment. So the quilt’s nickname will now be Well-Fed Snakes.


Garden Allotments was one of the crowd favorites—broderie perse is great with fairly large-scale prints like these florals.


Round the Block was another crowd pleaser, not that you’d know it from the faces we’re pulling.


Having a TED Talks moment.


One of our guild members is named Dessie. As I was unfurling this banner and only the left half was showing, one of our VPs was momentarily puzzled as to why I’d made a quilt that said “Feed Dessie”—was she hungry?? (The pattern for the full pieced alphabet is forthcoming, so you can spell out the name of whoever needs to be fed in your own guild.)


After lunch, I demonstrated needle-turn appliqué with freehand tree shapes as in the All Seasons Pillows peeking out to the left of me (a free pattern for the project is coming later in the blog tour). Not having a precise line to follow takes the stress out of needle-turning so you can focus instead on learning the process and hand movements. I was thrilled to see guild mates discovering (to their surprise) that the process was easy and fun! There’s really no need for all that “A-word” name-calling.

For the duration blog tour, enter to win the “grand prize” giveaway of a signed copy of the book, a stack of my other appliqué patterns, and my home-dec sewing DVD. Just tell me what intrigues you about appliqué in a comment on this post, whether you’re a beginner or an appliqué aficionado. Comments will be open through March 1, 11:59 pm Pacific Time, then a winner will be randomly chosen. (U.S. addresses only please; one entry per person.) Good luck, and make sure to check out all the other stops on the tour too! Thanks for your entries—the winner is announced here!

The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop
By Kevin Kosbab
Interweave/F+W Media; $26.99
bit.ly/JFVK4U
The Quilter's Appliqué Workshop

Thanks JD for taking the retreat photos!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Follow along with the Quilter's Applique Workshop blog tour!

From February 20–28, The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop is hitting the road! (In a virtual sense, that is.) Follow along as we spread the joy of appliqué across the Internet. Here’s the schedule:
There’ll be reviews, tips, free stuff, giveaways, and more, so don’t miss any of the stops! You can also keep up with the latest book news over on the Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop mini site.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Free heart appliqué pattern

heart applique

Hearts have never been a motif I’ve liked much, nor has Valentine’s Day been top on my list of favorite holidays. But there’s no denying that a heart shape is perfect for learning to appliqué. It’s got it all: inner curves, outer curves, inside corners, and outside points—all the things you need to learn how to sew for any appliqué method.

Despite this natural appropriateness, I avoided using hearts in the projects and illustrations for The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop, mainly because they just seem a little too twee. But it is Valentine’s Day (like it or not), my book does come out this month, and I did need a shape to try out blanket-stitch appliqué on my relatively new sewing machine. So I gave in.

I drew up an Alexander Girard–inspired heart that’s fairly geometric and squat, a little more mod than the typical primitive or playing-card heart. So download the free PDF pattern or EQ7 project file and set your sewing machines to twee!

The EQ file also includes a quilt design using the heart motif laid out in a half-drop pattern and colored in a sort of ombré from red to hot pink. Maybe he doth protest too much?

Half-Drop Heart quilt

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kitting tools for portable hand applique

Sometimes I do handwork in my sewing room, sometimes in the living room, and sometimes out and about with my appliqué friends. Hand appliqué is generally pretty portable, but if you have a lot of thread colors, you might not want to drag them all around the house or further afield.

silk threads for hand appliqué

To make thread a little more portable, I wind the silk thread I use for appliqué onto machine bobbins so I can fit a whole bunch of colors into a single grab-and-go box, along with other essential tools. (If you’re interested in any of the specific tools and supplies, I’ve gathered a list of my favorites on Amazon.)

appliqué travel kit

That bedraggled tomato isn’t the most exciting pincushion in the world, but it fits nicely in my travel box and has emery in the strawberry for cleaning needles that start to get tarnished. As to why I’m hanging onto those bent needles on the magnetic strip, all I can figure is I wasn’t bothered to get up and dispose of them properly.

For traveling even more compactly, I sometimes use a smaller bobbin box, paring down the essentials even further.

mini appliqué travel kit

Generally I don’t need marking tools in this box, because I use it after I’ve already marked and basted a block up—though it’s handy to have a mini bottle of basting glue for making quick changes. The folding scissors are just right for snipping threads and making occasional clips into the appliqué seam allowances.

bobbin of silk thread

Since I’m not using the silk-thread bobbins in my sewing machine, I label them with reinforcement rings from the office-supply store to keep track of the color numbers. Keep in mind that when you wind thread onto a bobbin, it’s backwards, so instead of threading the leading end, thread the tail end into your needle for hand-sewing.

How do you kit up your appliqué supplies?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Mid-Century Monday: Boby taboret for sewing storage

The Other found me the best present ever! He spotted this organizer in a thrift store and thought it might be helpful for my sewing bits and bobs. “If you don’t want it, it was only $2,” he said, since it was fairly covered in paint, scuffs, and grime. He didn’t know what he’d scored, nor did the shop that priced it! (All photos are after cleanup.)

Boby taboret for sewing supplies

So what is it? The sorter in me is delighted with its functional features, but I also knew straight away that it was not just any organizer, but a classic Boby taboret, designed in 1969 by Joe Colombo. The space-age styling and practical compartments have long appealed to me, but the $300 pricetag for a new version kept it strictly in the realm of covetousness. (Of course, 45 years in production, then as soon as I look it up to check the current price, nobody’s selling it.) So after a once-over with a damp cloth and a twice-over with the same stuff I used to clean up my Genie, there’s an authentic piece of mid-century modern design in my sewing room, all the more exciting for being such a bargain!

Boby taboret - drawers open

Mainly designed and/or sold for fine artists, the brilliance of Boby is that he’s chock full of compartments of different sizes and configurations—much more useful than a stack of same-size drawers. There are tiny wells for paintbrushes, deep ones for rolls of paper, bulk cubbies for chunky stuff, and shallow drawers for small pieces. In other words, perfect for sewing supplies!

Boby taboret for sewing supplies

Rather than floating around the room at random, rolls of fusible web, freezer paper, and stabilizer can live in the deep sections, along with my slippery quilting mat. Instead of brushes, a seam ripper and screwdriver are kept close at hand. And the flat top gives a surface to corral spools, bobbins, and any of those other current-project things that tend to float around a sewing table. My Boby’s shorter than the standard model, so he rolls right under the sewing table when not needed.

Boby taboret - top drawer

But the drawers—oh, the drawers! My Boby model has three shallow swing-out drawers instead of two deeper ones. This is ideal for presser feet and machine needles. I’m constantly switching feet while I sew, and my Janome 8900 uses some fairly bulky dual-feed feet that now have a home of their own in the top drawer.

Boby taboret - middle drawer

Things like spare spool caps and spool pins live in the next drawer down—easy to get to, but tucked away. (Away from dust and curious cats, that is.) Bulkier machine attachments and occasionally used stuff is here too.

Boby taboret - bottom drawer

The bottom drawer holds various pins and clips. Like the fusible rolls, these previously didn’t have a proper home and wandered untamed around the sewing room. Just getting the rolls, pins, and presser feet in order was worth the $2.

Boby taboret - back

The cubbies round the back are just right for mid-size items like quilting gloves and a bobbin winder. They were always awkward when I had them in drawers with smaller items like thread spools.

Boby taboret - signature

I haven’t decided on a definite purpose for the largest cubby at the base of the unit. There’s a molded signature down there proving Boby’s no knockoff—along with some bits of paint and ming I wasn’t quite able to get rid of, proving that this particular Boby’s no mere showpiece. I fully intend to continue using and loving him.

And though I tease the Other about his near-constant thrift-store circuit, I should probably just appreciate it! He scored another great mid-century find which I’ll share next time.