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Kathy McNeil's tips newsletter.

Happy New Year friends!

Bruce and I just returned from the wet and wonderful Road to California show. California is not geared for heavy rains. One day I had to ford a creek to get to the convention center. My shoes were soaked, so I ended up teaching in my bare feet all day. That's one for my list.

Ironically, we flew home from southern CA and landed in the sunny skies of Seattle.  Two challenging days on the judging team with my dear friend Linda Taylor and Traci Brookshire.  Linda is the legendary long arm artist who developed much of the Gammill software. I always learn so much from her comments as she looks at quilts. One of her most frequent comments to help with improvement is: "This quilt could benefit from out-line quilting on all of your major geometric and appliqué shapes. This will give them more definition." The quilts were more spectacular than ever.  It's a good thing there are 3 judges, as it often came down to a whisker between masterful quilts. 
Thank you to all the students who filled all of my workshops!  It is such a joy to teach the Apliquick method and watch students soar in the first hour, tackling tiny complex shapes with confidence. I got to teach design and an Innovative Borders class too. You all know how passionate I  am about design.  There are some pretty big highs in being a quilting teacher and then...........

 Disaster on my new Modern quilt with an Appliqué twist.
In Zen Buddhism, an Ensō (円相, , "circle") expresses the moment when the mind is free to let the body create. Those are the magic moments of my life. Please don't share this on any public media like Facebook. I have not posted it yet as it has not been out to a show.
You guys are always the first to see my new attempts.  The black 'border' is just the sheet behind the quilt.

Quilting is NOT FOR WIMPS!!!!!!  So, you see all those Sashiko designs quilted in the background white? They all had to be marked, of course, and I used the new blue disappearing pens from  Yes, I did try it all out on a sample, using the same white fabric, and it had disappeared.
After 40 hours of quilting, I was finally finished and so excited to get going removing the lines. DISASTER TIME.  Blue gone, but do you see those brown spots and lines? I was freaking out. I soaked the brown again and again. I immediatley wrote to the company and got this e mail:
 "First let me ask, what was different from the sample and the quilt? When testing, the sample should be the same including batting choice. Did you pre-wash your fabric? If fabric is not pre-washed, the sizing in the fabric could react to the ink in the marking pens."  

Nowhere on the bottle does it say the fabrics have to be pre-washed. So in desperation I got out a Clorox stain remover pen. Once again I tried it on a sample where the line had disappeared. No chemical reaction seemed to occur, although I did not have any samples with the brown lines. There was definite improvement, but now some of the lines were yellow instead of brown. I really like this quilt and was not willing to give up yet. I did a ton of research. Next came a vinegar and water wash. Some improvements but still yellow staining. The final move was painting on Mrs. Stewart's Concentrated Liquid Bluing over the yellowed areas. Thankfully, they are no longer visible. 

There was a beautiful quilt in the show that had a few places with RED marking showing. Having just experienced this myself, I felt so badly for this quilter. We all concurred that this was probably the result of a Friction Pen used for marking. These marks are known to return in the cold and those FedEx trucks are not heated when shipping your quilt to a show. I still feel terrorized and from now on I will only trust chalk pencils on darker fabric and any lighter fabric will be marked from the back. 

Apliquick News! We had a wonderful time visiting with Rosa who developed the Apliquick tools. She is really is an entrepreneurial genius.
Did you know that Spain has been the leader in scissor manufacturing since the Middle Ages? I could not do without my 4 inch appliqué scissors with their sharp tips and serrated edges for cutting tiny shapes.

Now Apliquick has come out with a New 6 Inch Scissors. My GO TO Scissors!

They are normally $52.00. From January 24th-28th they will be $42.00 because I love them and know you will too.
rgonomically designed to prevent strain on fingers and joints. All five fingers lie in a natural position as you cut. The microserrated edge grips the fabric, holds it in place, and cuts without fraying. For cutting gentle curves and straight lines. These are perfect for most of your basic cutting needs. Click here to go to my web store.

My next trip is to Appliqué Academy in Rockport, TX. Join me and I will teach you everything you will need to know to make the" Language of Flowers" Quilt.  Choose one of three blocks to work on. This is for beginners to experienced appliquérs - Academy is the place to stitch, share, and learn with others.

Click here for more information.
 February 9th-11th

Hugs to all.  I will write again in the Spring..... CAN"T wait.