Monday, December 27, 2010

A Big Apple of a Book

This is a step-up-to-the-plate book. If you've ever marveled at the handsome New York Beauty block but shied away from making a quilt from it, this is your time.

Linda J. Hahn, quintessential Jersey girl and well-known teacher of this block, has created a paper piecing template and simple sewing technique combination that is so successful, you'll get a perfect block with perfect points every time. And, you won't spend your sewing time pinning and unpinning! She really does make it simple.

Color and design options are endless, as are the quilting possibilities. One of the neatest things about this book, in addition to the technique itself, is the inclusion of many suggested quilting ideas. Linda and her daughter, Sarah Hahn, have created a line of quilting stencils to use with New York Beauty blocks and quilts (or any quilt, for that matter) and have shared those designs here.

Give yourself permission to make a fun quilt this next year and try a New York Beauty. You will be very uptown. The book is AQS item# 8346. Ask about stencil availability when you call: 800-626-5420.

Thanksgiving and Memories

Oops! I must have gotten busy over the last few weeks because I just discovered this Thanksgiving weekend post. Here it is, hopefully better late than never.

It's not unusual for people to become nostalgic at holiday time; cementing tradition is part of the  plan.

So is reviving memories, and quilting certainly lends itself to that, what with making quilts for special occasions, using certain patterns to invoke feelings and messages, giving quilts as gifts to commemorate milestones...

And here on this Thanksgiving weekend I've come across just such a heart string. I found the  "label" I wrote for the third quilt I ever made. I didn't know back then (1991) that sewing an annotated history of the quilt onto the quilt was good to do. I merely wrote a note and handed it and the wall hanging off to my mom, who had the foresight to encase my bad handwriting in plastic. Thanks, Mom.

"Unlimited Mileage

This piece, my third, was done for my mother's 60th birthday -- 8/15/91. It commemorates our April '91 trip to Paducah, KY, for the American Quilter's Society annual conference.

The Mariner's Compass block is for all the "unlimited mileage" we put on the car. The deep turquoise is for the bridges over the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The gold fabric is for the ceiling of the lobby bar at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. The red fabric is for the Catherine the Great exhibit. The long row border is for the long, flat Missouri roads."

Well, now.

No one told me back then that making a Mariner's Compass (in the era before paper piecing) wasn't something a novice should do. I'm happy it doesn't bow that much in the center (grin). But more than any other quilt I've made, that one is special.

I'm sure every quilter has a super special quilt, even when it's impossible to choose among the "children." Feel free to share your favorites with us on Facebook or here on the Publishing blog.

New York Beauty Puzzle

I've always been a fan of jigsaw puzzles. At AQS, we've been thinking about ways we can provide fun and excitement to quilters in addition to our shared love of fabric. We'd like to see whether anyone else is interested in puzzles, too.

We've made an online jigsaw puzzle one of the quilts from  New York Beauty Simplified  by Linda J. Hahn. We hope you enjoy putting it together as much as we did. Let me know what you think!

Have some fun putting this quilt together. Please share your comments and thoughts on whether you'd want to see more of these in the future.

Happy Piecing!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Smart Quilting in These Economic Times

If scrappy quilts are not your style, and if you like applique, and if you're trying to work out of your stash to save money, then Dilys Fronks' latest book is just the ticket.

In Dual Image Applique she describes how to get two images from one cut. You save time as well as money, and you end up with two blocks, quilts, or projects to show for your effort. For example, look at her book's cover: clever!

Besides having 10 fun projects from home dec to quilts, Dilys teaches terrific machine applique technique, so if you've been looking for instruction, this book will show you what you need to know.

The extensive gallery will inspire you to put her technique to work in any quilt project.

Dilys is known in her home of Wales as "Dilys the Quilt." She has taught internationally for years and will be teaching at the AQS Paducah show in 2011 (online registration will open in early December; her classes fill fast, so don't wait!). To maximize your quilt dollar and produce amazing quilts, order AQS #8240 online or by calling 1-800-626-5420.

Friday, November 5, 2010

You'll Flip for Flip Flop Block Quilts!

Sometimes the simplest design yields the most amazing results.

One inspired day, quilt landscape artist Kathie Alyce, proprietor of Waterfall Quilts and familiar face at merchant malls throughout quiltland, created The Flip Flop Block, a gently curved, tessellated acrylic template. At her first International Quilt Market, she sold out of her simple yet clever device, and voila -- a tool inventor and truly amazing quilting device were born!

No matter how you turn The Flip Flop Block, you get amazing designs. The pieces are so easy to sew, you don't need pins. Follow her directions to add or change the marking lines on her template, and presto! More design possibilities!

Now how smart is that -- take a basic template, add or change lines and develop an unlimited number of new designs? Simple, right? Amazing, also right!

Kathie's patterns have been popular for several years. In her first book she presents exciting, brand new designs, including the slickest Wedding Ring quilt ever. Fans of curves will love her book. Quilters who see themselves as too traditional to play with artistic concepts will appreciate how she gently guides them towards a more contemporary look without all the design angst.

Flip Flop Block Quilts is truly a great technique-plus-pattern-plus-project book, and it is one that will not only yield projects of Kathie's designs but will also set you on your way to a new approach to curves, tessellation and contemporary, more artistic design. Now that's value in a book! Call 1-800-626-5420 to order.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


AQS lost  a good friend today.

Let me rephrase that.

I lost a good friend today.

Marge Boyle, director of sales and marketing, passed away suddenly the evening of October 26, 2010. We found out about it first thing today (well, yesterday; it's after midnight on the 28th now).

No one saw this coming. Marge had not been ill.

Such a shock.

Such a strange day at work.

It was my privilege to write a Memorial Page about her, which will appear in the January issue of American Quilter and on a banner slide of our web site home page ( You can read our official statement of loss there.

I'd like to be more personal here, if I may.

Marge and I shared the responsibility of posting, but she rarely had time, so most of what you've read here  has come from me. She did enjoy posting after her biannual trips to Market, though.

She'll miss this one. She would have arrived in Houston about 12 hours from now.

As at any work place, you develop friendships. At AQS, Marge was one of my closest friends. Don't get me wrong; the staff at AQS gets along so well, it's sometimes scary. We're ALL friends. But you know how it is; some are closer than others. This is what I mean about Marge.

She and her husband, Jim, were one of two couples my husband, Dennis, and I socialized with. We shared a lot in common: no kids; dogs we adored; humor; a taste for good wine and good food, especially home-cooked "gourmet."

Marge was sometimes my roommate when we were on the road.

I took care of her the time she was so sick in Des Moines.

She was my peer. We were compatible. We got along.

In any company, this is wonderful. In a small company, this is special.

We worked so well together, each contributing our strengths. A good team.

I especially loved when we polished marketing copy together. I wrote and edited the draft. She'd read it and then we'd sit at my computer, brainstorming and saying different words until we made it perfect. I loved how we both "knew" without saying that we'd hit on the right phrase.

For a wordsmith, there are few finer moments.

Marge enjoyed those moments, too.

Good times.

She shared her knowledge unselfishly. This was never more appreciated than the first few months I worked at AQS. She'd only been there a year longer, but she truly was a pathfinder for me, explaining and describing things small and large. How to change the phone and computer out-of-office messages; where the extra toilet paper hides; how she saw the quilt industry.

I know, I know. Marge had a lot of friends. She had a long history in retail and then years in quilting, and she was well-liked at work, so I'm hardly alone in her loss.

If you'd like to post a message about Marge, you may do that here or on our Facebook page.

But she won't be there every day to share our latest dog (mis)adventures, or to just talk about the weather, or to conjure up magic prose about the best quilt books in America.

Oh, dear.

I'll miss her.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Slow Quilting

You may have heard of the Slow Food Movement, which is an umbrella term encompassing ideas such as buying local produce, growing your own food, and cooking in more than eating out.

I suggest there is a corollary to quilting, but it isn't complete or perfectly accurate. I'm not talking about buying fabric made locally (although supporting your local quilt shop is always nice), or growing the cotton with which to make your own fabric.

Instead, what I mean is that slow quilting is what many, many quilters must do just because we are so busy with the rest of our lives. No matter how many gizmos and gadgets we own to help speed up the quilting process, it just takes many of us a long time to get from concept to finished quilt -- and we should accept that.

And what about when quilters choose to create quilts slowly, instead of quickly and fast? What about those of us who choose more complicated patterns or projects, or who prefer to work entirely by hand? Or to start a project by dyeing fabric and thread, even?

Thankfully, there is room in the quilting universe for everyone of every persuasion. It's a rare treat for me to attend a class or workshop, but when the opportunity arose recently to study (again) with Cindy Blackberg, I was quite content to hand piece a feathered star block. Two and a half days of quietly, slowly putting together one of quilting's more challenging blocks was a real tonic.

And something you may not know, if you've never hand-pieced a block before, is that it can be about as fast as machine piecing if you've got any experience, and, the finished block has a distinctive 3-D quality to it. I'm not a good photographer but I tried to show this in the first photo; those seams were lifting the block right off my ironing board, so I spritzed them with water and let the block dry for a day. Had this been machine pieced, the smaller stitches would have helped compress the seams and the block would have lain flatter before pressing.

Then I flipped the block face up and spritzed again, with another day for drying. If there had been blocking problems, this is when I would have pinned my block to make it square, but Cindy's cutting method reduces bias edges to almost zero, and my block was true.

Talk about sharp points! There are times when hand work brings a certain precision to your work. I know, I know; machine precision is also eminently achievable, but hand work brings so much control -- no machine between you and the result. Just your own body and rhythm.

Now that it's complete I'll contemplate what to do with my feathered star block (I'm sure I won't make an entire quilt of these blocks, as satisfying as this one was to make), and that, too, can be a process as fast or slow as the quilter involved allows, requires, needs, or wants.

Isn't this a great hobby? Bottom line: fast or slow, enjoy the time you spend quilting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Making Quilt History One Show at a Time

If you've been to more than one national or international quilt show, you know what to expect -- amazing, mind-blowing quilts; inspirational vendor displays and unlimited shopping opportunities; and life-changing special quilt exhibits.

Thus it was at this past week's third annual AQS Quilt Show and Contest in Des Moines, Iowa. Contest quilts came from 40 states and five countries; winners came from 18 states and 1 country. Vendors came from all over, as did the special exhibits. And there was also the always-terrific, prolific, prodigious display from the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild.

Aside: Lest you think hand quilting has finally lost out to machine quilting except for major hand quilting or hand workmanship awards, check out the Des Moines winners, especially the Best Wall Quilt award:

Even in a job where we see quilts day in and day out, the show displays never cease to make us stop, take a deep breath, and appreciate the creativity and artistry of the quilt makers who enter the show.

And every once in a while, something special comes along. AQS tries to bring the best of these once-in-a-lifetime exhibit experiences to every show. Des Moines 2010 was no exception, but I had a personal favorite: Men and the Art of Quiltmaking, curated by Joe Cunningham. Joe is the author of the recent AQS eponymous book describing the quiltmaking art of 30 guys who make quilts. (Call 1-800-626-5420 to ask about buying a copy.)

The exhibit wasn't the first display of quilts made by men, and it wasn't intended to make any statement other than to represent the book, says Joe. It was history-making, all the same. None of these quilts had ever been seen together before and it is highly unlikely they will ever be together again. Voila - history. Furthermore, several of the artists were on hand during the show to discuss their work. This may be common at gallery exhibits, but not so much at large quilt shows. Voila - history encore.

The longer we have a robust quilting tradition and open venues in guilds, clubs and shows, the less "rare" will be any of the anomalies that have flavored the c. 1976 quilt revival -- e.g., 3-D quilts, art quilts, quilts by men, quilts from specific materials, etc. So it's one for the history books each time an exhibit is mounted for us to behold, admire, draw from, and remember.

Join us for the next piece of quilt history making in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, March 16 - 19, 2011. Enter or attend; either way, you'll be a part of creating quilt history.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Watch Out! Vivacious Curves Ahead!

Known for her fun sense of color and play with quilts, Dianne S. Hire has come through with another wonderful book. Vivacious Curvy Quilts takes all the fear out of curved piecing and loads your design kit with numerous "curvies," curved shapes that are delightful and full of potential.

A popular teacher, Dianne shows off the work of many of her students; the book is full of bright, cheery photographs that leave no doubt about her technique's versatility.

Instructions for 11 variations are included but this book is truly a springboard to individual creativity more than a "make-this-project-this-way" book. Dianne's spirit shines through on every page, so it is definitely a fun read. AQS # 8241.

Prepare to Be Amazed!

If you love the look of pieced quilts but not the piecing, this is the book for you. Sisters Ann Seely and Joyce Stewart have written about making machine-stitched quilts that look pieced but are appliqued.

In fact, although these quilts are simple to make, they look complicated. Clever placement of basic shapes and smart use of fabric contributes to the pieced effect. You'll be amazed when you realize just how ingenious their designs are.

Forget set-in seams and curved piecing. Open the door to adapting their technique to any pieced project. Use the alternate colorways to create your own quilts, and people will say, I Can't Believe It's Not Piecing! AQS # 8236

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quilts Your Grandkids Can Snuggle In!

Those Crafty Ol' Broads have done it again. Sisters Linda K. Johnson and Jane K. Wells have written another book packed with over-the-top, fun-to-make, colorful quilts -- Cuddly Snuggly Quilts. (Their first was Beyond the Block, 2009, AQS# 7611.)

This time, they created the projects in the book for their grandchildren. Each quilt was made to match that child's personality, interests, or a milestone.

These quilts are made for snuggling, which means being used, which means not too much effort has to go into making them. As a result, these are dynamite patterns for charity.

And because Linda and Jane are doting aunts as well as loving grannies, each project is shown in a different colorway. You'll get tons of ideas from these 17 quilts and their alternates. If you love making quilts for lots of people, this is the book for you -- AQS# 8239.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Men and the Art of Quiltmaking

Long before Europeans colonized America and brought quilting as a textile tradition with them, men were the professional quiltmakers, not women. So begins Joe Cunningham's new book, Men and the Art of Quiltmaking. 

AQS is honored to be the publisher for this book, which profiles 30 of today's male quiltmakers. What they do, why they do it and how they do it are discussed. Photos of their work are included along with nine patterns.

You'll recognize some names but others will not be familiar. Men aren't quite the oddity in quiltmaking in 2010 that they were even five years ago, but are still worth understanding, because they add a certain dimension to the art of quiltmaking.

Joe is a great writer and clearly enjoyed his interviews with his fellow artists. As he writes, "...I began to feel like we were brothers of the quilt." It's a brotherhood with a huge spectrum of tastes and style, from traditional to contemporary to art quilt. Their methods and approaches vary tremendously, too.

For those attending the AQS Des Moines quilt show this October 6 - 9, a bonus is a special exhibit by 24 of the book's quilters, curated by Joe. There have been exhibits of quilts made by men, and male quiltmakers are no longer rare participants in shows and exhibits, but this is the first all-male quilter exhibit to come from a single book on the subject.

Joe will be teaching quilt classes and lecturing in Des Moines, and giving a performance of his musical, "Joe the Quilter." And, he will be signing his book in the AQS booth, so this is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in quilts made by men and talk with a male quilter. Click here to learn more about the show:

Joe's fondest wish is to write more about male quilters. Read his first book on them by ordering AQS item #8243 at 1-800-626-5420, or at the link above. See if anything Joe discovered surprises you, and let him know about it by commenting here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Meet Me in Des Moines, Myrna

OK, "Meet Me in Des Moines, Myrna" doesn't have quite the ring to it Judy Garland gave to "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis" in the almost-eponymous movie, but this really is an open invitation to come see me during our show this October 6 - 9 at the Iowa Convention Center.

I'll be in an office in the hallway outside the exhibits, hoping to talk with prospective authors about their book ideas (look for the easel sign that says, "Andi Reynolds, Executive Book Editor"). If you'd like to talk about a book idea, you can prepare in advance by reviewing our proposal guidelines. Go to and click on "Authors."

You can also attend my lecture, Publishing 101, which will be Wednesday, October 6 from 11 am to 12 pm in the Iowa Hall of Pride Theater. Register for Lecture # 32801.

I'll also be moderating the Author's Roundtable on Thursday, October 7 from 5 pm to 6 pm. This, too will be in the Iowa Hall of Pride Theater; it is Special Event # 32201. Come hear what four AQS authors have to say about being AQS authors: Joe Cunningham (Men and the Art of Quiltmaking), Jean Biddick (Masterful Machine Pieced Quilts), Zena Thorpe (Beautiful Alphabet Applique), and Kimberly Einmo (Jelly Roll Quilts & More).

Both events should help explain the process of becoming an AQS author, but you don't need to attend them to talk with me. Walk-ins are welcome, or you may make an appointment before October 1 by emailing me at You can always ask for me at the Workshop Desk, too.

Being at each AQS quilt show is always exciting for me because I do get to meet so many creative people with such interesting ideas. If you have given some thought to writing a quilt book, come to the quilt show and see me! Bring just an idea or a full-blown proposal or anything in between. I look forward to meeting you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Copyright and Quilt Shows

We receive a lot of questions about getting design permission when people enter our quilt shows. Here's a link that should help. It goes to an article written by Bonnie Browning, AQS Show Chair. We are always glad to answer any questions related to copyright; just call us at 270-898-7903.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Who Are Those Guys?

Remember this line from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?

That's what I was wondering several years ago when men quilters began appearing in quilting magazines. I wanted to read a book about men who quilt, and then I became executive book editor at AQS. I suggested we do a volume on these artists, and not long afterwards, I ran into Joe Cunningham. He'd been thinking along the same lines. The result is his forthcoming book, Men and the Art of Quiltmaking (due this Fall), in which he interviews and shows a sampling of the work of 29 men who quilt. And his own.

Joe will be teaching at our Des Moines show this October 6 - 9 and will curate an exhibit of quilts from his book. It really is something to read what these guys are thinking. One minute, they sound like aliens. The next minute, they sound like every quilter you've ever known.

Artists in the book are Bob Adams, Phil Beaver, Don Beld, Jack Brockette, Richard Caro, Joe Cunningham, Andre Emmell, John Flynn, Scott Hansen, Luke Haynes, Raymond K. Houston, Michael James, Michael Kashey, Alan Kelchner,  Richard Larson, Din Linn, Mark Lipinski, Mike McNamara, Jim Mikula, M Mueller, Scott Murkin, Shawn Quinlan, Gerald Roy, Jonathan Shannon, George Siciliano, David Taylor, Ricky Tims, Holice Turnbow, David Walker and Erick Wolfmeyer.

Seeing is believing, so make plans to come to Des Moines to answer the question: Who are those  guys?

Friday, July 23, 2010

A New Generation of Sampler Quilts is Upon Us

Consider the sampler quilt. That venerable staple that so many quilters learn on has a long but boring history: make six (or 12 or some other even number) blocks, each different but all the same size. Sash them, make cornerstones, add a simple border and voila - your first quilt. Teachers and students love samplers for combining all the basic techniques in one neat package, but they can be so blah.

Well, it's a new day in the quilt world, given Marianne Hatton's approach in Simply Dynamic Sampler Quilts. Gone is the concept that all blocks must be the same size. Her GridMap (copyright) technique shows and encourages the accurate use and placement of blocks of diverse sizes.

Gone are boring, matchy-matchy color schemes. Now samplers can be thematic, evocative, and artful.

This experienced teacher pulls all of this off while giving excellent basic how-to-quilt instructions, so shops will still love giving sampler classes to beginners. In fact, this book is a gentle exercise in design, which frightens so many new (and some not-so-new) quilters and so many people find difficult to teach.

If you're looking for a fresh approach to teaching, have a sampler idea of your own you wish were snappier, or like designing traditional-but-contemporary-too quilts, the next generation sampler quilts in this book are for you. AQS #8237 (800-626-5420)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Considering Quilting Trends

I'm occasionally asked to write something for a special project at AQS and this is always a delightful task. I did, after all, begin my career as a writer before becoming an editor.

The 2011 Kentucky Visitor's Guide will have a very short piece by me in it about Kentucky's quilt heritage. This topic has been admirably covered by others, including Jonathan Holstein and Shelly Zegart, and I make no claim to improving ground they have so capably made flourish; I'm just reporting.

What I do want to say, though, is that researching that super short article has reminded me once again of how accomplished 19th and 20th century quilters were. With very few tools, bad lighting, not a lot of time and questionable fabric and thread, they created quilts that would stun us today, even if made with the very latest in everything quilting.

Take a look at Kentucky Quilts 1800-1900  (Pantheon Books, 1982) to see what I mean. Whether your taste is what you see or not, you must be impressed with the creativity, artistry and workmanship in those quilts. In the 21st century, we have embarked on a campaign to make quilting as quick, easy, fun and painless as possible. I can't say if this is good or bad, and I don't mean to. I just think it's astonishing, when we take the time to look back, at what our foremothers made happen with needle and thread, unsupported by an almost 4 billion dollar industry.

We should give thanks every day that we have so much creative and artistic support, from fabric manufacturers to thread makers to tool creators to teachers and, yes, publishers like AQS. The list is becoming endless, and that, in itself, is cause for celebration. Quilters have never had it so good.

Take some time to really examine the much older quilts we are lucky to have available to us, whether in books, in exhibits or in person. My hope is that you will have an epiphany similar to mine.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spice Up Your Quilts

It's so much fun to find (and buy) gadgets and gizmos that bring out your creativity, we sometimes overlook the tried-and-true we already have.

Consider the sewing machine. Whether sort of old (like some of us) or loaded with bells and whistles (also like some of us), not many people take full advantage of the machine's properties when making quilts.

Enter 9 very talented Janome educators. Led by editor Nancy Fiedler, they have compiled a nifty book that explains 11 different techniques (plus 4 variations) and designed 13 really creative projects to teach how to take make the best use of what you probably already own. Make an oval table runner, a bed scarf, even a fringed journal for sketching or noting your best ideas. Wallhangings, quilts and pillows are in this book, from traditional to contemporary in style.

In addition, the book has "Bright Idea" boxes with suggestions of taking each technique further or in a different direction.

The contributors are (in order of appearance in the book): Kim Schultz, Valora Hammond, Carol McKinney, Nancy Fiedler, Mary Carollo, Marilyn Gatz, Nancy Burg, Louis Carney and Patsy Shields. Their names may be familiar if you've taken classes at AQS shows where Janome machines are used, or if you've been to other sewing events where class instructors are assisted by these oh-so-knowledgeable sewing machine experts.

Once you've read Creative Sewing Techniques by Machine, you'll never make ho-hum projects again, and your machine will truly be your creativity ally. (AQS # 8235; 1-800-626-5429)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Very Three Dimensional

Remember the warning not to "fold, spindle or mutilate?" Well, maybe spindling and mutilating are still bad ideas, but folding is definitely in!

Co-authors Geesje Baron and Esther Vermeer have written a great book on making folded blocks that will take every project into the third dimension. There are 70 blocks to choose from to make 12 unusual projects, and the best thing is that any block can be adapted to any project. Learn the basic folds and go to town creating your own folded blocks.

There's a handy visual block reference so you can go straight to the blocks that interest you and mix and match at will. Plus, each block is rated for ease, so you can start where you're most comfortable.

Enjoy taking your piecing into another world with 3D Folded Blocks. AQS #8158 (1-800-626-5420)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Avail Yourself of AQS Expertise

If you're involved in planning guild programs or retreats, you know it can be a head-scratcher to think of someone to present lectures, workshops, programs or trunk shows. You have years of quilting expertise available via AQS authors!

Many of our authors, past and present, are active teachers, criss-crossing the country to share their passion and knowledge. To see if someone you're interested in is available, search the Internet for a web site; most teachers list their classes and schedules right up front. Others give contact information so they can tailor what they do to your guild's needs.

Can't locate someone on your own? Contact AQS. We'll contact the author and share your interest in having her teach, and she'll get back to you. We're sure you'll get great programs your guild members will love from AQS authors.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

'Tis the Season

If you're a gardener as well as a quilter, as many of us are, then Spring and Summer are joyously creative seasons for you indoors (sewing) and out (planting). Here at AQS Publishing, mid-May is a bonanza of beautiful quilts and creative ideas as our latest round of manuscripts and finished projects arrive.

If you think you have a good quilt book idea, you may submit a book proposal anytime. The guidelines are on our web site under the "Authors" tab. As you develop your proposal, never hesitate to call or email with any questions or concerns you may have. That's what I'm here for!

We review book proposals mid-month in January, February, May, June, August, September, November and December, so you never have to wait long for our response to your book idea. In the other four months, we are hosting quilt shows, and I am there to meet you in person to discuss your ideas (see the schedule below). I also give a lecture -- it's free -- on publishing with AQS, and it's a wonderful way to discover what's involved in getting from idea to book with us. We also host either an Authors' Roundtable or a Book Fair so you can meet and speak with AQS authors and talk with them about their publishing experiences.

Come see me and everyone at AQS at these upcoming shows and bring your best book ideas!

Lancaster, Pennsylvania: March 16-19, 2011; March 14-17, 2012
Paducah, Kentucky: April 27-30, 2011;  April 25-28, 2012
Knoxville, Tennessee: July 14-17, 2010; July 13-16, 2011; July 18-21, 2012
Des Moines, Iowa: October 6-9, 2010; September 28-October 1, 2011; October 3-6, 2012; October 2-5, 2013


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Look Who's in the Neighborhood!

Welcome a charming cast of characters into your sewing room! Meet the Yo-Yo Family, small doll folks created by Bobbie McLure Long. Each individual is dressed in a style that matches his or her personality, complete with accessories. They look terrific, but they couldn't be easier to make.

And they each have their own little quilts! These happy little textiles would be at home in any dollhouse or decorating tables, nooks or crannies.

Like most families, the Yo-Yos have pets! You've got to meet Juno the Dog and Missy the Cat.

If you love making yo-yos and are looking for a new way to play with them, this friendly bunch is just waiting to have fun with you. Ask for AQS item # 8157 (800-626-5420).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

26th Annual AQS Quilt Show & Contest

WOW! What a great show last week. The quilts were awesome, the merchant mall was filled with a wide variety of quilting products, and the food court outside had that home-style picnic atmosphere. I didn't try all the dishes but I'll be back next year to sample more of the barbecue and yummy desserts.

Congratulations to all the winners and semi-finalists, and thank you for once again making this a successful quilt show.

JANOME Best of Show
This year's award went to Sue McCarty, Roy, UT for her quilt Tribute to Tolkien.
Sue made her prizewinning quilt for her brother Jim. She explains: “My brother is an avid fan of the Lord of the Ring series and the later film adaptation by Peter Jackson, and I also feel it offers something for everyone as a classic story of heroes’ journeys in which all characters undergo change.” Read more...

American Quilter's Society Hand Workmanship
Vintage Button Bouquet by Linda Roy, Knoxville, TN

Click here to view the entire list of winners.

2010 Catalog of Show Quilts
Bring the Paducah quilts home with you! Enjoy the beauty, creativity, and ingenuity of this year's show at home. The 387 semi-finalists are juried entries from 47 states and 10 countries. 
Book or CD-ROM Retail $20.00 Member price $16.00

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Star (or Two) is Born!

Today, April 27, is the day our own Bonnie Browning and upcoming AQS author Judy Woodworth appear on The Quilt Show! Be sure to tune in and watch both quilting experts. Judy will show how to stitch freeform feathers, and Bonnie shows all kinds of ideas for finishing a quilt's edge.

Then, when Judy's first book, Freemotion Quilting Handbook, comes out early this Fall, you'll know something about her.
Her book includes all kinds of tips and techniques she uses to longarm amazing, award-winning quilts.

Click here to enjoy the show!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Show Time!

The quilts are up, the vendors are in, the quilters are arriving every minute. The dogwoods are hanging on to their blossoms just long enough for everyone to get that last glimpse, and the weather is gorgeous. The National Quilt Museum has fabulous exhibits up and the area merchants are all decked out with quilts to welcome everyone. It's show time in Paducah!

If you aren't here or on your way here, stay tuned to for the latest: photos of the show winners and later, a video overview of what you missed. The new Pavilion is a wonderland inside with vendors, Quilter's Park and special exhibits, and the Expo Center and Convention Center are their friendly familiar selves, packed to the gills with quilts, quilts and more quilts, and vendors galore. The Best of Show quilt will knock your socks off. The classes are outstanding and several are still available; check the Workshop Desk during show hours (9am to 6 pm Wed - Fri, 9am to 5 pm Sat). There are even seats available to hear Kaffe Fassett, Eleanor Burns and Ricky Tims at the Carson Four Rivers Center! Don't you wish you were here!

I'm expecting to meet several authors and would-be authors during the show. It's always exciting to see what creative people have in mind for a book or article, so the show is a special time for AQS Publishing. Chris Brown, Editor-in-Chief of American Quilter and I will have office space on the second floor of the convention center past the Admissions Desk. Jan Magee, Editor-in-Chief of our new magazine, The Quilt Life with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson, will be in Booth 4008 in the Pavilion. If you are in Paducah, stop by to see us!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Creative Confidence

Nothing helps creativity like having the right tools, skills and techniques at hand. Renae Haddadin, well-known for her stunning machine quilting on intricately designed medallion quilts, has written her first book to share the simple, easy-to-do methods she uses to achieve her award-winning results.

Amazing Ways to Use Circles & Rays is more than a technique book. In addition to the projects, which range from wallhangings to large quilts to a tree skirt, Renae offers - no, gives - permission to take the skill set she's provided and run with it. She has truly broken circle and ray drafting, construction and foundation paper piecing into such simple steps, beginners can produce highly sophisticated original designs right away.

AQS #8154 at or 1-800-626-5420.

Monday, April 5, 2010

An Annual Favorite Returns

It's that time of year again -- publication of the winners of The National Quilt Museum's annual New Quilts from an Old Favorite contest.

The 2009 block was a perennial love -- the Sunflower block. Barbara Brackman shows no fewer than 19 variations in her Encyclopedia of Pieced Patterns, and the contestants were as imaginative as ever. First place winners Claudia Clark Meyers and Marilyn Badger are frequent quilting partners and award-winning quilters, yet they say every win is a thrill.

Catch their excitement and the joy of stretching boundaries shared by the other contributors to this book when you order AQS# 8152. or 1-800-626-5420.

Learn which block will be next at

Monday, March 29, 2010

Just in Time for Spring

What better way to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather and green growing things than with a sweet food treat! Ann Hazelwood has completed her trilogy of "100s" with 100 Sweet Treats by and for Quilters. The book itself is delicious with many photos of quilts by the dessert makers. When you need something more substantial, dig in to one of 100 short, yummy recipes for bars, breads, brownies, cakes, cobblers, cold desserts, cookies (are you hungry yet?), crunchies, fruit dishes, pies, puddings or sundries. Is it your turn to make treats for the guild or your sit-and-stitch group? Need a hostess gift? This book is the one!  (AQS #8156)

Now that you're all happy from eating a sweet treat (or two), it's back to the quilting with Sue Patten's latest books, Adaptable Quilting Designs.  Here are 90 pages of designs Sue created to fill those tricky spots on a quilt -- the sashings, cornerstones and setting triangles. All of them can be worked by hand or any type of machine, and reduced or enlarged as needed. Sue's designs work up beautifully as is, or use them to jump start your own ideas. If you enjoyed Sue's first book, Quilting Possibilities...Freehand Filler Patterns, you'll love this one. (AQS #8234)

The blogging program doesn't like posting pictures today, but you can see the books on our home page -- Call 800-626-5420 to order.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lancaster or Bust!

If you've ever planned a birthday party, a wedding, even a potluck dinner, you know what a mad scramble it can be as the time draws near. Add hundreds of quilts, dozens of teachers, hundreds of vendors and thousands of quilters and you can imagine life at AQS this last week before we open in Lancaster on March 24!

Our first show in that lovely city will be like our other shows, only different, because each show has its own "flavor," depending on so many variables -- the city, the local volunteers, the weather (!), and most importantly, the attendees. This show we expect to have many, many more people from the East than we usually see, certainly in Knoxville and Des Moines. Be prepared to hear a wide variety of accents, y'all and you guys!

Not only is this our first event in Lancaster, the show will be the first big event in the brand new Lancaster County Convention Center. Everyone there is excited and probably a little nervous. Truth to tell, so are we, for although we've put on big quilt shows for 25 years, and have become accustomed to being in new-to-us venues, every show is different. We can only hope we've planned the best to make this a memorable time for everyone involved.

We are thrilled with the enthusiastic reception we've received from Lancaster folks and from people long accustomed to attending a quilt show in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The area is a must-visit Mecca for quilters, and we're delighted to keep the quilting spirit alive there. See you next week!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Create Masterful Quilts Based on Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tile patterns have inspired quilters for years, and Jean Biddick is no exception. She has put clever drafting and piecing techniques in play to create visually stunning quilts based on the tiled floors of the Truro Cathedral in England.

These exceptional quilts are truly easier to make than they appear. A few of them are challenging, which many quilters find appealing. Not many books on the market today appeal to quilters looking to elevate their skills, so Masterful Machine Pieced Quilts should light up their sewing rooms.

The quilts are so beautiful, this book could almost pass as a coffee table book. There plenty of ideas here to inspire competition-level work. Call 1-800-626-5420 to order AQS #8153.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Proposals Welcome

If you've ever thought about writing a quilt book, consider sending a book proposal to us. We look for fresh ideas or new ways of doing things demonstrated by colorful, well-executed quilts. Book proposal guidelines are on our website under the "Authors" tab. We review proposals approximately once a month, except March, April, July and October when our shows keep us out of the office for a week at a time.

As soon as we review your proposal, I'll contact you so there's no waiting and wondering on your part. Please note that proposals should be accompanied by one or two completed representative projects.

One of the great things about quiltmaking is that there's more than one correct way to do almost everything. If you've got a great idea and want to share it with others, consider writing a quilt book. We look forward to seeing what you're thinking!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shipping Quilts - Revised - A Long Post

The Previous Post information below was posted on June 19, 2009. So you don't have to click away to find it, it's copied here, along with additional information offered by Pat in Montana, who has 25 years of experience in shipping.

New Entry: When you ship quilts to AQS or when we return quilts to you, we strongly encourage you to request a Signature Required on the box(es).

It need not be an adult signature, but tracking undelivered boxes (which can be late, delivered to the wrong address, picked up by a well-meaning neighbor who promptly forgets to give the box to you, stacked in the shipper's overgoods department, or truly lost) is next to impossible without a signature.

Requesting Delivery Confirmation is another option, but is not as strong a tracking device. Both requests cost a little extra (at this time, UPS charges $3 for Signature Required, $2 for Delivery Confirmation; FedEx charges $3 for Signature Required, nothing for Delivery Confirmation) but are well worth the peace of mind.

Also, read again below the information about insuring your quilts, both from us and from Pat. Experience has taught us to use our company policy (a special fine arts policy) to insure every appraised quilt we send.

Once a quilt leaves our hands and is with a shipper, there is nothing we can do but hold our breath that your quilts arrive safely. And if something does go wrong, there's nothing we can do to help you if all possible precautions haven't been taken.

Encouraging you to be as careful and conservative as possible when shipping and receiving your quilts is our way of thanking you for loaning them to us for shows, books, calendars, magazine articles and marketing.

Previous Post: We know how much your quilts mean to you, so we’ve compiled this checklist of best practices when sending us (or anyone) your quilts.

Mail or ship them to:

(the contact name you were given on your entry form or email)
5801 Kentucky Dam Road
Paducah, KY 42003
(270) 898-7903

Email a tracking number as soon as you have it and let us know when we should expect your quilts to:

If you don't take any other measure suggested here, at least sew a label with, at a minimum, your name, the quilt’s name, and your address and phone number onto each quilt.

For quilts larger than 30" x 30", sew a 4-inch sleeve across the back at the top. Be sure the sleeve is set down far enough not to show above the quilt when hung.

Enclose each quilt in some sort of plastic bag that you can close or tape shut to prevent water damage should the box rip or tear. Ziploc makes large-quilt size bags. Do not use anything that might be mistaken for a trash bag!

Include a color photo of the quilt in the bag with your name and contact information and why you're sending the quilt to us - the name of your proposal, book or magazine article or the contest or event you're entering.

Enclose a packing list with the box that includes your name and contact information and a list of the quilts in the box. Do not include any indications of your quilts’ values.

If you are concerned about insuring your quilts, have them appraised, and use a fine arts rider on your homeowner's insurance rather than buying the shipper's insurance.

Do not pack your quilts too tightly. We have to use a sharp blade to open most boxes and the danger of damaging a quilt stuffed into a container is real. Consider adding a layer of cardboard on top of the bagged quilts as a safety barrier.

Do not indicate anywhere on the outside of the box that it includes quilts. Do not use the word “quilt” anywhere inside or outside, including the shipping label. Use “AQS,“ not “American Quilter’s Society.”

Send your quilts early in the week so they do not sit around a warehouse or loading dock over the weekend, or send them overnight so they arrive here by 2:00 pm CST on a Friday.

If you are sending multiple quilts or multiple boxes of quilts, consider packing them either one quilt to a box and sending them on subsequent days, or put two or three quilts in a box and send the several boxes on subsequent days. This prevents having all of your quilts on the one truck that gets into an accident or burns down in a warehouse fire.

If this seems like overkill, it isn’t. The condition in which many boxes reach us is terrible, and quilts have been known to get wet, become damaged or disappear in transit.

See additional good information about shipping sent in by Pat from Montana below. Thanks, Pat!

We hope you will take these precautions and we look forward to seeing your quilts.

Pat's comment: I just read your article about shipping quilts and I’d like to add some information. (I worked at a major shipping company for over 25 years, over half of which was in the package handling areas).

Do not go cheap on your packing materials, especially the boxes. Corrugated cardboard weakens with use; buy a decent box. Never, ever use masking tape; it is not strong enough to hold the package together. Again, buy some decent shipping tape. No string! It gets caught in conveyors. No brown paper wrap; again it can get caught in conveyors and ripped off.

As you stated, a label should also be inside the package, and I always put mine in a plastic baggie. If the package gets wet, the label will still be readable.

Do not ‘over stuff’ the package – use the right size box. Packages should be able to withstand a four foot drop on the corner of the box without bursting. However, the contents should not shift around in the package. Other packages will probably stacked on top of it, and empty space can cause the package to sag and break open.

Although literally millions of packages are delivered safely and on time each day, there are circumstances beyond the control of anyone that can damage or destroy a package. Remember that the ‘money back guarantee’ or ‘insurance’ will only reimburse you for the cost of shipping and the article. You will have to have proof of value. If something is not replaceable (great grandma’s wedding quilt that has been handed down from generation to generation) do not ship it. There is not a value that can be put on something like that.

Thanks for a great article,

Pat Hierl
Whitefish, MT

Thursday, February 4, 2010

National Wear Red Day!

On Friday, February 5, 2010, Americans nationwide will wear red to show their support for women's heart disease awareness on National Wear Red Day®. Heart disease is the No. 1 health threat for women. Wearing red is a simple, yet powerful way to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke. Join thousands of women, companies and organizations, and cities across America to help support ongoing research and education about women and heart disease. For more information, here is a Google link that will take you to several Web sites.

Anita Shackelford in the Limelight

AQS author Anita Shackelford will be the cover quilter and featured artist in the March issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited. There will be a sidebar about quilting with kids, a great tie-in for her recent book with co-author (and daughter) Jennifer Perdue: Teens 'n Tweens: Quilting Fun with Family and Friends.

In the March/April issue of Quilter's Home, Anita, Jen, and Jen's daughter, Amber, will appear in a story about multi-generational quilting. Keeping quilting alive for the future! That's great news for everyone! Rock on, ladies! AQS# 8026 at or 1-800-626-5420.

Escape from the Quilt Police!

If you've ever longed to break free from traditional quiltmaking but weren't sure how to begin, Kathryn Schmidt's brand-new book, Rule-Breaking Quilts, is for you.

Using just six fat quarters and two simple cutting techniques, she guides you towards making unique, highly personal quilts that just don't follow the usual rules.

Her graphic, dynamic quilts are wonderful, the suggestions are fun, and the work can be as fast as you like or lead to lots of design contemplation. It's your choice, because there are no rules! And as she emphasizes, you cannot make a mistake with this style of quiltmaking.

If fat quarters leap into your shopping bag, here's a no-fail way to use them most effectively.

Loosen up your "by the book" mode and buy this book so you, too, can make rule-breaking quilts! AQS # 8150 ( or 1-800-626-5420.

A personal note: We not only publish but read a LOT of quiltmaking books day in and day out. None have spoken to me about taking off in a new direction like Kathy's book. If you want something a little different, I think you'll love Kathy's approach.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What You Can Do For Haiti


Paducah, Kentucky – February 3, 2010: Our hearts and prayers go out to those who are suffering in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. All of us want to do anything and everything we can to help. Since we are quiltmakers, our first inclination is to gather our fabric and thread and make a quilt. Though beautiful and comforting, a quilt may not be a practical donation for this tropical country at this time.

In all the reports we are hearing from Haiti, the most immediate requests are for water, food, and medical supplies. Organizations presently in Haiti are in a position to assess the most critical needs and they suggest that monetary donations are the best alternative so they can more easily fill these needs.

We would like to encourage you to make a monetary donation to a reputable organization of your own choosing so the people of Haiti can receive the assistance they desperately need. Be sure to choose an organization that has an excellent reputation for providing assistance during natural disasters. This will ensure your donation will go where it is needed and not be misdirected. Thank you, quilters, for your generosity.
By Sylvia Thomas

Monday, February 1, 2010

Everybody's Working for the Weekend

Here's the perfect antidote to the Monday morning blues...a new book from AQS meant specifically to use on weekends! Or any day you have an hour to spare!

In Weekend Quilts Judy Laquidara has created 16 easy, colorful quilts that are a joy to make and use. The great thing is, she wrote the instructions for each quilt in one hour segments, and none take longer than a weekend to piece!

If you're a quilter who has to find bits and pieces of time for your passion, this is the book for you. Judy's tips on getting the most done in an hour spent quilting will work for anyone. And she even includes time-saving recipes so you're not stuck in the kitchen.

A real bonus in this book is Judy's knack for interesting borders. Never make a ho-hum quilt again, and get lots more done with Weekend Quilts!  Order it (AQS #8149) on the web or by calling 800-626-5420.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Great Start to 2010

Nothing sparks inspiration like a new quilt book, and AQS has just released four great titles.

So many quilters kept asking her for an updated book, Gwen Marston has authored Liberated Quiltmaking II. It is much more than a revision of the 1996 book, Liberated Quiltmaking, which revolutionized the way many quilters approach design and construction. Indeed, this new volume (AQS #8147) includes her own and student examples of nine liberated processes evolved and compiled over the past 16 years. Terrific writing from Gwen, as always, and beautiful eye candy. LQII will be just as timeless as LQ, which has become expensive over the years, so buy it now.

Kimberly Einmo has put a happy, fresh spin on ways to use the pre-cut fabric bundles that are so very hot these days. Convenience and time-saving don't have to mean lack of dynamic design, as she aptly demonstrates in Jelly Roll Quilts & More. There are fourteen projects plus fun ideas for hosting a pre-cuts party with your quilting friends. AQS #8146


People who love richly decorated letters and flowing applique designs will be enchanted by Beautiful Alphabet Applique by Zena Thorpe. Based on her multiple award-winning quilt, Illuminated Alphabet, the book includes designs for 26 letters; alternate designs for L, O, V and E; four corner patterns; and a sashing design. Any of these lovely elements may be used separately to enhance other pieced or appliqued projects. AQS #8148


A different style and different technique separates Teri Henderson Tope's Applique in Reverse from other applique books. This one is great for beginners who worry about handling small pieces of fabric. Teri's method produces fine-looking results and her style is almost whimsical, sort of a happy look at the art nouveau style. Easily adaptable to other projects, there are 13 block and 2 border patterns that can be made into one gorgeous quilt. AQS #8151

May your Happy New Year be one of inspired stitching fueled by a book from AQS! Go to to order or call us at 1-800-626-5420.