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McKenna Ryan visits Keepsake Quilting

By Bonnie Knott

For years the Keepsake Quilting catalog has carried the popular designs of McKenna Ryan, who, using her fusible machine-applique Mckenna Ryantechnique, has brought natural realism and detail within the reach of even the beginning quilter. This summer we were so lucky to have McKenna travel east to visit Keepsake Quilting in person.

On Friday, August 6th, McKenna taught the Swing Low block from her charming Back on the Farm quilt. Students learned all McKenna’s tips for turning her artistic designs into fabric art, and they also received McKenna’s blessing to change things up—to use different fabrics, stitching techniques and design elements—to make the quilts their own.

On Saturday, many of the students who attended the Friday workshop were joined by other McKenna fans from all over New England and beyond for a lecture, trunk show and luncheon at the Chase House in the picturesque town of Meredith on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. The view was not only gorgeous outside the windows of the Chase House but also within the function room where McKenna had her quilts hanging from the walls and spread out on tabletops. To see her extensive body of work, ranging from her Moose Junction quilt, which launched her career back in 1996, to her brand new Beach Walk block of the month, was very exciting. What was even more exciting was that McKenna was there in person to describe in her own words how each wonderful quilt came to be.

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