Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mary Kay Mouton: Fresh idea leads to first book

Flip-Flop Paper Piecing:Revolutionary Single-Foundation Technique • 52 Full-Size Patterns
by Mary Kay Mouton
C&T Publishing, Feb. 16, 2009 $27.95

Delivered to book shelves for sale beginning Feb. 16: Mary Kay Mouton's first book for C&T Publishing. It features a new twist on foundation piecing.

The author, originally from Illinois now lives in Milledgeville, Georgia where she is
a member of the Lake Oconee Quilt Guild, a local bee group called the Old Capital Stitchers, and the Georgia Quilt Council.

quilts have been juried into The Pacific International Quilt Festival, Quilt Odyssey, The Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, The American Quilter's Society Annual Quilt Show & Contest, The American Quilter's Society Quilt Exposition, The American Sewing Exposition, and Road to California. She won ribbons at The American Quilter's Society Annual Quilt Show & Contest (Honorable Mention), The Pacific International Quilt Festival (Second Place), The American Sewing Exposition (Second Place), and most recently Road to California (First Place -- shown below). She will begin teaching her first class in April.

Photos: cover of her book; sampler of some of her quilt blocks pieced using her new technique; 18x18-inch quilt that won first place in the Road to California Quilt Show; book author Mary Kay Mouton; and last a detailed photo
of four-basket quilt square.

Mary Kay Mouton in her own words:

It was in the making of a pieced border for one of my art quilts that I fumbled into Flip-Flop Paper Piecing. I was constructing a block featuring a plai
d fabric. Because I am nothing if not compulsive, I wanted that plaid to look continuous across the block, to be perfectly matched. And yet, I was tired just thinking of fussy cutting each piece and sewing each so precisely that the plaid would appear undisturbed, though actually broken by other non-plaids pieces in the block.

Suddenly I thought, why not just plop the plaid fabric down on a printed paper foundation. Then insert the other non-plaid fabrics by sewing them from both sides of the foundation! The plaid would look continuous because it would be continuous, and it would be precise because it would be foundation pieced on a printed foundation. By golly, I was on to something here!

Once I performed that first basic Work-Alternately-On-Both-Sides-Of-the-Foundation maneuver, my mind was flooded with one variation after another of what has come to be called Flip-Flop Paper Piecing (so named because the foundation is flipped back & forth, back & forth, flip flop, flip flop, as seams are sewn first on one side of the foundation, and then the other).

Sewing has been a passion since I first became armed and dangerous, needle-wise, at the age of 12. My mother took me to Singers' summer sewing classes. I have never had a better time, and I have never been the same since. As I progressed, I made everything from lined wool suits to jeans to underwear (but take my wise advice, underwear is better purchased than made). Indeed, I was rarely seen without a tape measure hanging around my neck.

I grew up, though, to become a Medical Records Administrator, very practical, very dull, very unsubversive. Next along came marriage, and oh-my-goodness-a-baby-changes-everything. My plans were to go back to work when my babies went off to school, but life intervened. A home-based business using my sewing skills came to my rescue. I made and repaired doll clothes. In my "spare time," mostly at odd moments stolen between the math tutoring and the potato mashing, I developed my only passion outside my family and my cat: quilting.

Quilting is the best of sewing.
It doesn't have to fit, and it can
never make
you look fat.
(I still mourn over the perfectly executed, striped linen suit that was, shall we say, less than flattering.) I started competition quilting. There is nothing like the thrill of having your quilts accepted into national quilt shows, ribbon won or not.

My quilts were largely appliqué, and generally nostalgic art with just a bit of piecing thrown in for contrast. But, as I worked with my new technique, I discovered hundreds, even thousands, of blocks could be pieced, each on its own undivided paper foundation. My greatest inspiration came one night, when half-asleep, dreaming of, what else, quilting, I sprang up to consciousness with the realization I could piece an 8-pointed Lemoyne Star, Flip-Flop-style. And once you have a Lemoyne Star, a Mariner's Compass is not far behind.

I developed 13 maneuvers in my piecing system, and submitted them to C&T Publishing, who, bless their little hearts, decided they'd take me in and publish my book. Now anyone can learn to Flip-Flop Paper Piece. Precision sewing no longer requires either exact and careful cutting, or the meticulous stitching of an "accurate" 1/4" seam. Nor does it demand constant measuring, and seam ripping, and resewing as the block is constructed. A little Flip-Flop maneuver here and there will produce precision, painlessly.

And the beauty part is that Flip-Flop Paper Piecing fits any quilting style or genre. The final product can be an innovative swirl of distorted blocks, a pieced landscape, or a reproduction of an antique masterpiece. It's all up to the individual subverter. Flip-Flopping is a technique with the speed and accuracy of traditional foundation piecing but with a range as limitless as our imaginations: There are Flip-Flop circles & Flip-Flop borders, Flip-Flop trees and Flip-Flop Houses, and a sky full of Flip -Flop stars. I love this technique.


Unknown said...

I read this and am aspiring in the next year or so to do this type of piecing.
I stil make simple designs of my own creations and love just learning this craft.
Your work is spectacular.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Nanci. But I must say my piecing is not as difficult as it looks. I'll bet with the right technique you could do this type of piecing right now. It is amazingly easy with foundation piecing, especially Flip-Flop Foundation Piecing. You just sew on a paper line.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Nanci. But I must say my piecing is not as difficult as it looks. I'll bet with the right technique you could do this type of piecing right now. It is amazingly easy with foundation piecing, especially Flip-Flop Foundation Piecing. You just sew on a paper line.

Jane said...

Mary Kay, I hope you will consider doing a video of your technique in action, or that maybe CT would think about a DVD component to future editions of the book. It would be so cool to get to see this in action. Your instructions are fine, but I found myself wishing I could see somebody doing this in person! This technique is a real game-changer for foundation piecers everywhere! No more bulky awkward seams that can't decide which way they want to go. yay!

Unknown said...

Hi Jane,
I would love to do a DVD to demonstrate the technique. Here's hoping the book sells well enough so that C&T will let me do one.

In the meantime, I've started to teach the technique here in Georgia, and if all goes well I'll try to take my show on the road to quilt guilds in other states. Or maybe we can get a little grass roots thing going so that if one person learns, it they can demonstrate it to another.

Unknown said...

Mary Kay,

I just discovered your wonderful book and technique. I am now in search of the scherenschnitte paper that you mention in your book. Where can I find it?

Thank much,

Unknown said...

Hi Nancy,

I am so thrilled you like my new technique--absolutely makes my day.

After my first find of the perfect scherenschnitte paper at a garage sale, I have been unable to locate another paper like it--crisp and hard as you sew it, and easily tearable when you're done. I have seen other scherenschnitte paper since, at craft stores like Michaels or at scrapbooking stores, but they were too tough to tear easily.

I've finally gotten tired of looking and have reverted to regular typing paper. Now if I can just sell enough copies of my book, maybe I can get a company to produce that perfect paper. I did save about a half a sheet as a sample, just in case.

Thanks so much for your interest in my book,
Mary Kay

LeeAnn (Jackson) Anderson said...

Hi Mary Kay, this is a little odd, but several years ago, I lived in Toledo Ohio with my now ex-husband, we had friends by the name of Mary Ann & Gary Mouton, by chance could this be you? I moved from Toledo apx Jan 1982, so my memory is really being put to the test but this picture resembles the Mary Ann I knew back then. Looking forward to hearing from you,

LeeAnn (Jackson) Anderson said...

Mary Kay, sorry for my previous comment, I kept writing Mary Ann, I meant Mary Kay! Whoops I have a good friend here by the name of Mary Ann, So In correcting myself, our friends in Toledo was Mary Kay & Gary Mouton.