Inspired by Tradition by Kay Mackenzie – Book Review + Giveaway

on Mar 27, 2011 in Books | 161 comments

My goodness, how time flies. I swear I reviewed Kay’s book Easy Applique Blocks five seconds ago. It’s been a full two years (almost to the date!)

I’m very excited that Kay’s written Inspired by Tradition. I’m a traditional block kind of gal. That may surprise you just a bit. Most of the fabric I use and designs I create tend toward the modern side of the scale. Aha, it’s all rooted in tradition! Everything old is new again, just made with different fabric.

Things about Kay’s approach to applique that I LOVE:

  • Kay does not draw a line in the sand about hand applique vs. machine, she embraces both.
  • The book covers several techniques in detail with step-by-step instructions, photographs and illustrations. This is a book that contains designs but also covers technique in depth.
  • Tips and frequently asked questions are included.
  • Kay has a point of view and she shares it! When first teaching myself to applique I was frustrated by the apparent mystery surrounding why you choose one approach over another. Kay discusses her preferences and the relative differences. So refreshing to have straight forward answers on this topic.

Things about the book that I LOVE:

  • OK, the printing in 5 sizes from a CD is over-the-top genius. I put the CD in my computer, selected my design, and clicked on a 12″ block size from a choice of 6″, 8″, 9″, 10″ and 12″. I printed a reverse template for tracing onto the fusible web and a second template for placing the shapes. Man, oh, man. No going to the photocopy place. No trying to figure out the actual size of my scanner images and how to print them to my desired block size. Just select and print. Yahoo!!
  • Full color images of each block.
  • Detailed instructions for multiple techniques including Hand Applique, Back-Basting, Hand Stitching, and Raw Edge Machine Applique.
  • Simple designs. It was extremely satisfying to create my block in a couple of hours, start to finish!

I selected the Orange Basket design (image from the book):

Here’s my finished version:

I’m still debating about how to use the block. I’m leaning toward a wall hanging with two more of the same block made up in different fabric combinations:

(solids Moda Crossweave Wovens, prints Kaffe Fassett Spring 2011)

Thank you Kay for another brilliant book packed with projects and techniques. It definitely got my creative juices flowing!


To win a copy of Inspired by Tradition (provided by the publisher That Patchwork Place) please leave a comment sharing why you enjoy applique. A winner will be selected Monday evening. Winner to be announced soon!


Handy links:

Kay’s blog All About Applique

A list of all the blogs on the Book Tour (more chances to win, yipppeee!)

Amazon listing containing a gallery of all quilt blocks in the book

Listen to Kay’s interview on Pat Sloan’s Creative Talk Radio

pink chalk fabrics ~*~ new arrivals ~*~ free patterns ~*~ on sale