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Summer newsletter/ Kathy McNeil

                    Summer time greetings dear friends.

 My plan was to write soon after returning from judging and teaching at the incredible AQS Paducah show this year. I'm a bit late, sorry.

I came home with tons of wonderful hugs, sold out classes/ lecture and COVID. Fortunately with 4 booster vaccines under my belt, it was only like having the flu. I had the incredible honor of emceeing the award ceremony. That morning, we went out to breakfast. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw my daughters, son in law and grand baby sitting in the restauraunt. I thought I was hullicinating....

They had planned for months to come as a surprise, kindaof a "Mom's retiring from on-the-road teaching days party". It was amazing to share such a huge, important, rewarding side of my life with them. (I don't think they have been to a lecture since they were teens). Even Meredith Schroeder, the founder of AQS was in on the surprise. The Queen mother of the quilting world, held my youngest grand daughter and passed on some of her indomitable spirit!!!!!!!! 

The quilts are more amazing every year. My favorite part is the sky high variety in diversity of style and techniques. Of course, as usual, the pictorial quilts were the largest catagory. An over whelming dilema to award only 4 with ribbons. Modern quilts are evolving slowly with less negative space and more complexity in piecing and applique. There is more and more of a modern quilting approach to fillers and designs too.The minature winner has to be seen. It had so many tiny, delicate details. Here is a link to view the winners if you have not had a chance to see them.  AQS winners

Examples of Modern Quilting Designs and Fillers


Modern quilting designs add a delightful, often unexpected additional visual layer of interest. That visual impact is critical; quilting certainly adds texture, interesting lines, shapes, and variety to our quilts. There are more straight lines used in modern quilting than in more traditional quilting filler designs. Another fun part is these fillers can float under and over traditional pieced blocks or appliquéd shapes. For me they are much less intimidating than trying to create perfectly symetrical, mirror image designs around a shape. When the quilt style is a bit whimsical.... as in my octopus and elephant patterns, then quilted modern whimsey brings unity and reinforces that theme. Straight lines or slightly curved straight lines are easily done on your home machines. If you want the thread to show- use a heavier weight thread i.e 40# with a contrasting color or value. Link to my shop and the patterns below. Click on images to enlarge them.  The above two patterns are especially suitable for fused applique.

Patterns in Kathy's shop.

Where do I begin quilting?

Outline quilt- just outside major shapes or quilt in the ditch around blocks and sashing.You now have stabalized the top, so the layers won't shift. Next- Take a square, triangle, rectangle, or circle and place them over the background. Use a 9mm chalk pencil or quilt marker and outline that shape. Remember they can disapear under another shape. See above examples. Fill in those geometric shapes with fun filler designs. Consider mulitple directions in straight lines, a variety in the scale size of circles, pebbles, checker boards etc. Be playful, have fun and practice your free motion skills on fun wall hangings before you try bigger quilts. 

Have a wonderful summer! Think about joining me on that cruise to New Zealand and Australia next March and we will catch up this fall.

hugs Kathy