1. Crochet + knitting ideas: 2015 color of the year

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday


    2015 color of the year: marsala

    Starting a new project this weekend? Here’s a little crochet and knitting inspiration: a roundup of patterns, yarn, and accessories that all look stunning in Marsala, the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year.

    Color of the Year 2015: Marsala

    1. From Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet // 2. Spud and Chloe Sweater in Red Velvet // 3. Knit Picks Rainbow Wood Circular Interchangeable Needles // 4. From Knitting Pleats // 5. From Tunisian Crochet Encore // 6. Blue Room Pottery Marietta Dark Marsala Red Wine Heart Yarn Bowl // 7. Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted Yarn in Currant // 8. From Wrapped in Comfort


    Colors: warm and sultry (like Marsala) or cool and daring? Tell us in the comments!

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  2. 7 stash-busting batik patterns

    Shop the one-dollar ePattern sale

    September quilt from Quilt BatikAre there batiks in your stash? Chances are if you have any, you have many. Maybe it’s just the people I know, but in talking with quilters about fabrics, I’ve found that when it comes to batiks, those who like them really, really like them. They don’t just have a few batiks in their stash, they have a batik stash. Does that describe you? Doesn’t it feel good to know you’re not alone?

    What is it about batik textiles that makes them so irresistible? We asked three authors who really know their batiks: Karla Alexander, Kim Brackett, and Cheryl Brown. Read on to learn what they have to say and to find some great batik quilt ideas. Then check out their books for more batik patterns.


    Eight-time author Karla Alexander has used batiks for years in her Stack the Deck quilts. For her, it’s all about the color. “First, I love vivid colors that more often than not appear as a solid from a distance, providing the colorway I’m seeking but without that flat one-color look,” Karla says. “I can find the colors I want, usually set into a quiet background that doesn’t steal the show but ends up doing a lot of work for you by adding to the flow of color. A good example of this is ‘Blue Moon’ from Color Shuffle.”

    Blue Moon quilt
    “Blue Moon” from Color Shuffle

    “Second, batiks are perfect for creating a gradated effect. I search for pieces that have three or more colors in a non-stylized organic pattern, for example, vines and leaves. These winding designs can lead the eye to another color without ever creating a hard line. I can move from an inky dark purple to a light yellow without seeing the seam. ‘Loosely Woven’ from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide is an example of this effect.”

    Loosely Woven quilt
    “Loosely Woven” from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide

    Kim Brackett is another author who’s very fond of batiks, and she’s used them extensively in her “Scrap-Basket” series of books. Color is important to Kim too, but so is pattern: “I love the variations in pattern and color within the same piece of batik fabric. Because of the way batiks are printed—with different-colored patterns on top of different-colored backgrounds—often when you cut the fabric into smaller pieces, it looks like the pieces came from several different fabrics.” This makes the fabrics truly versatile; cuts from the same yardage could be used in very different quilts.

    Batik quilts from Kim Brackett
    Some of Kim’s many quilts featuring batiks, from left: “Sea Glass” from
    Scrap-Basket Beauties; “Nova” from Scrap-Basket Sensations; “Bali Sea Star” from Scrap-Basket Surprises

    The third author we spoke with is Cheryl Brown, who literally wrote the book on batiks. (Quilt Batik!) Color and pattern are important to her, too, but so is the feel of the fabric. Here’s what Cheryl told us: “I love the beautiful colors and also the variety of patterns. But there is something about the fact that batiks are made by hand that makes them extra special. I love the randomness of the finished product. I also love the feel of the fabrics, which are more tightly woven than cotton prints and as a result, they don’t fray much. That means batiks are a great choice for appliqué.”

    Quilt patterns from Quilt Batik
    “Power to the People” and “Night and Day” from
    Quilt Batik!

    These quilts are just a few examples of the beauty and versatility of batiks. Check out these patterns and many more in these books:

    Stack, Shuffle, and Slide Color Shuffle Quilt Batik!
    Scrap-Basket Sensations Scrap-Basket Beauties Scrap-Basket Surprises


    What does your relationship with batiks look like: just met, falling fast, or serious crush? Tell us about it in the comments!


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  3. 6 quilt tutorials—free from our authors!

    Shop the one-dollar ePattern sale

    If you’re a regular Stitch This! reader, you know that we love to share techniques, tips, and inspiration to help make your quilting experience successful and fun. One of our favorite ways to do that is to pull together a bunch of our free quilt tutorials and give you a heap of useful quilty information all at once.

    Our talented authors love to share, too, and not only in their books. Many also generously share their expertise on their blogs through free quilting tutorials. But it can be hard to find those tutorials when they’re spread all over the Internet. Here’s a short list of great lessons from the experts, from ensuring an accurate seam allowance to adding a label. Click through to see each designer’s post, then follow them via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


    Test Your ¼" Seam Allowance

    Author: Pat Sloan (Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Appliqué—available now!)
    Blog: PatSloan.com

    Test your quarter-inch seam allowance

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    Flying Geese the No-Waste Way

    Author: Melissa Corry (Irish Chain Quilts—coming May 2015)
    Blog: Happy Quilting Melissa

    Flying Geese the no-waste way

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    Choosing Batting for a Quilt

    Author: Amy Smart (Fabulously Fast Quilts)
    Blog: Diary of a Quilter

    Choosing batting for a quilt

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    How to Make Bias Binding

    Author: Amber Johnson (Vintage Vibe)
    Blog: A Little Bit Biased

    How to make bias binding

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    How to Bind Curves

    Author: Julie Herman (Skip the Borders)
    Blog: Jaybird Quilts

    How to bind curves

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    Fusible Quilt Labels Made Easy

    Author: Krista Hennebury (Make It, Take It)
    Blog: Poppy Print Creates

    Fusible quilt labels made easy

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    For more quiltmaking how-tos, visit our How to Quilt page.


    What techniques would you like to see in an online tutorial? Tell us in the comments and we may feature your tutorial idea in a future post.

    2015 Quilters' Survey


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  4. Fusible appliqué made easy with Pat Sloan (+ big giveaway!)

    Projects from Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Applique

    Moda fabric designer, American Patchwork & Quilting Radio host, prolific author, traveling teacher, quilt-along queen (six already hosted in 2015!), and social-media maven (with a reach of 130,000 between sites, blog, Facebook, and Instagram)—it’s none other than Pat Sloan!

    What’s next for this beloved quilting personality, known for her boundless creativity and contagious enthusiasm?

    She’s going to teach you her five-star methods for fusible appliqué!

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to AppliquePat says you don’t have to settle for fusible appliqué that feels stiff as a board; with her appliqué techniques, your appliqué will feel soft and cuddly—just like a quilt should feel. Pat’s spent years refining her approach, and you’ll be amazed at how quick and easy her “doughnut” method is to master. Learn all about it in Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Appliqué.

    Pat’s new book is filled with step-by-step appliqué how-to featuring detailed photos of techniques, along with eight of Pat’s pretty projects.spacer 10px deep

    How-to pages from Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Applique
    How-to pages from
    Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Appliqué

    Practice Pat’s techniques as you make the beautiful projects in the book; then substitute her method in any appliqué pattern you choose.

    We’re thrilled to have Pat as a guest blogger today at Stitch This! so she can tell you more about Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Appliqué. But first…take a look at today’s amazing giveaway, curated by Pat herself!


    GIVEAWAY ALERT! Pat has a lot of friends in the quilting business—and she’s sharing their generosity today! The following companies are offering today’s very special giveaway prizes:

    Pat Sloan giveaways

    Moda Fabrics: Two Layer Cake bundles and one batik fat-quarter bundle from Pat Sloan’s latest fabric line, The Sweet Life.

    Aurifil Threads:The Perfect Box of Colors” collection, curated by Pat: 12 large spools of 50wt cotton thread in a variety of colors.

    Havel’s Sewing: Sew Creative 8″ Fabric Scissors and Snip-Eze Multi-Use Comfort Scissors.

    Therm O Web: A 35-yard bolt of HeatnBond® Lite, a paper backed, iron-on, sewable, double-sided adhesive for bonding fabric without extra weight or stiffness.

    Learn how you can win one of three prize packages PLUS a copy of Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Appliqué at the bottom of this post.

    And now, let’s welcome Pat!


    Pat SloanHave you wanted to try appliqué, but thought it might be hard? Do you think you might have to do handwork when you prefer to use your machine? Or maybe you thought the only way to do fusible appliqué was by creating stiff shapes?

    I’m here to tell you none of those things happen when I appliqué! It’s not hard, you do it on your machine, and it’s soft and flexible with my methods, yeah!

    I didn’t start out as a quilter who appliquéd, but I became one as soon as I could! I longed to create flowers and shapes with curves, and to add fun images to my work. Appliqué gives total freedom of design and it’s easy, fast, and most of all fun!

    My book is written like a class with step-by-step photos, tips and sidebars, and loads of examples. I’ve taught thousands of quilters to appliqué and I can teach you too!

    Closeup of fusible applique in Aunt Bea's Bouquet quilt
    Close-up of appliqué from “Aunt Bea’s Bouquet”

    Even if you already know how to do fusible appliqué, you might have a few questions…like “Why is my machine blanket stitch going off into space when I turn?” There are several reasons why. Ask yourself:

    • Did you pivot while your needle was in the shape instead of in the background?
    • Does your blanket stitch have a double bite or a double straight line, and you turned before it was ready?

    In Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Appliqué, I show you how to check for these things plus a lot more!

    Applique threads when stitchedAnother important part of your appliqué is the thread you use. Are you curious about different-weight threads and how they will look? I explain all the weights and share what they look like when stitched. Here’s just one stitching example at right.

    You can use this book as a class by making the first project, “Sweet Bea’s Bouquet,” and following my step-by-step tutorial to complete it. It’s small—just 24″ square—and the shapes have gentle curves and rounded “points” so it’s easy to make. Even if this is your first appliqué project.

    Sweet Bea's Bouquet quilt
    Pat’s first project in Teach Me to Appliqué: “Sweet Bea’s Bouquet”

    The other projects include various amounts of appliqué, from a popping flower and checkerboard quilt to my “Farmers’ Market” quilt, which features many different appliqué shapes. And speaking of “Farmers’ Market,” I’ll be hosting a sew-along to make the quilt, starting this summer. Perfect timing for making an appliquéd quilt with me! Check your local quilt shop to see if they’re hosting a sew-along too.

    Farmer's Market applique quilt
    “Farmers
    Market” quilt

    This is the first book in my “Teach Me” series. Use it as a reference guide and a pattern book. Look for more books to come in the series!

    Now Let’s Go Sew!


    What kind of appliqué techniques have you tried in the past: hand, machine, fusible…all three? Tell us in the comments and you could win one of three “The Sweet Life” fabric bundles from Moda, one of the prizes from our friends at Aurifil, Havel’s Sewing, or Therm O Web, PLUS a copy of Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Appliqué! We’ll choose three random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!


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  5. Tip for built-to-last quilts: sewing one final seam

    Quilting 101: sewing one final quilt seam


    What a wonderful feeling it is to finish a quilt top! Whether the next step is to quilt it yourself or to send it out for professional quilting, it’s important to make sure your top is as sturdy as can be to withstand all the quilting ahead.

    Little Red Layer Cake quilt
    “Little Red” Layer Cake quilt by Carrie Nelson

    What does Carrie Nelson, best-selling author of Schnibbles Times Two and Another Bite of Schnibbles, do to her quilt tops for an extra dose of durability? Her final step adds strength, cuts down on stretching, and guarantees that pieced borders won’t come undone.

    Who doesn’t want stronger quilts that will last through years of use? Learn Carrie’s simple technique below—make it the last thing you do on all of your quilt tops too!


    Plan C small quiltBuilt-to-last quilts: sewing one final seam

    From Schnibbles Times Two by Carrie Nelson

    I always do one last thing before my quilt top is truly finished and ready to be quilted. I always stay stitch around the outer edge of the quilt top, stitching about ⅛" from the edge. This helps keep the edges from stretching and also prevents seams on my pieced borders from separating.

    Most of the quilters I’ve worked with say it helps, especially if you’re planning to have your quilt top professionally machine quilted.


    Now you know Carrie’s secret for stronger quilts. But do you know what a schnibble is?

    McGuffey quilt
    “McGuffey” schnibble quilt

    A schnibble is simply a scrap, a small piece of cloth, or a leftover bit of fabric. In Schnibbles Times Two, Carrie first shows you how to create beautiful quilts with Layer Cakes (10″ squares):

    Nice Day Layer Cake quilt
    “Nice Day” Layer Cake quilt from Schnibbles Times Two

    Then she’ll show you show to make the same quilts in schnibble-size versions with charms (5″ squares).

    Nice Day small quilt
    “Nice Day” schnibble quilt from Schnibbles Times Two

    Schnibbles Times TwoSee all 12 pairs of quilts in Schnibbles Times Two >
    Print book (with free eBook): $26.99
    eBook only: $18.99

     

    Find even more of Carrie’s fun-to-sew quilts in her second book, Another Bite of Schnibbles:

    Lincoln large and small quilts
    “Lincoln” Layer Cake quilt and schnibble quilt from
    Another Bite of Schnibbles

    Two Percent large and small quilts
    “Two Percent” Layer Cake quilt and schnibble quilt from Another Bite of Schnibbles

    See more from Another Bite of Schnibbles >
    Print book (with free eBook): $26.99
    eBook only: $18.99


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    What type of schnibbles do you own more of: the precut kind or the scrappy kind? Tell us in the comments!

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  6. How to read crochet patterns (+ chart)

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday


    How to read crochet patterns

    What’s one important part of mastering a new skill? Learning the lingo!

    Understanding what the standard crochet abbreviations mean is one of the first steps you’ll take when learning how to crochet. Patterns generally use abbreviations to describe different crochet stitches to avoid making the instructions too lengthy.

    Even if you’re a seasoned crocheter, you may get stuck from time to time on an obscure abbreviation in the pattern you’re working with. There are a lot of them, for goodness’ sake!

    Whether you’re just learning or need a little refresher, here’s a handy reference for crochet terms and abbreviations:

    Printable crochet chart
    Chart from
    A to Z of Crochet

    Click here for a printable version of this chart.

    For more information about reading crochet charts and patterns as well as tips for basic to advanced methods, fixing mistakes, and finding the answers to almost any crochet question, check out A to Z of Crochet at ShopMartingale.com.


    Which are you most comfortable with: a chart or a written pattern? Tell us in the comments!


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  7. Spectacular Civil War tribute quilts from Country Threads (+ giveaway!)

    Posted by on March 19, 2015, in quilting & sewing, ,

    Shop the one-dollar ePattern sale

    The best-seller The Blue and the Gray: a Civil War fabric lover’s dream.

    Civil War Remembered: the dream continues.

    Road to Victory quilt
    Detail of “Road to Victory” from
    Civil War Remembered

    Whether you’re a fan of traditional quilts, Civil War reproduction prints, or deliciously scrappy patterns, these spectacular new designs from Country Threads will inspire you.

    (And if you collect 1800’s fabrics, shhh…listen closely…we’ll bet you can hear your collection calling to you right about now.)

    Detail of Buckwheat Star quiltIn Civil War Remembered, you’ll find stunning patchwork featuring a broad palette of Civil War–era colors. Rich reds, blues, and rusts, sour greens and double pinks, pops of crisp shirting prints—often all mingling together in the same quilt!

    We could easily gush all day about Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene’s quilts, but we believe—and we think you’ll agree—that these gorgeous examples speak for themselves. Here’s a sneak peek of just a few quilts from Civil War Remembered, along with details about each design, in Mary and Connie’s own words.

    One Flag quilt
    “One Flag.”
    Don’t let any bit of your reproduction fabrics—or your spare time—go to waste. This wall hanging lets you put all your leftovers to good use in one quilt and incorporates the full palette of Civil War–era colors.

    Lady of the Lake quilt
    “Lady of the Lake.”
    It’s easy to see why this quilt block became popular in the nineteenth century: it’s a perfect way for thrifty seamstresses and quiltmakers to use up their scraps! If your scrap bin is overflowing, put those tidbits to good use. Or, start fresh with Civil War reproduction fat quarters to make this showstopper.

    Brother Fought Brother quilt
    “Brother Fought Brother.”
    The Star block featured in this handsome quilt was a common
    component in many Civil War–era quilts. Set with Snowball blocks, the stars form chains that suggest brothers banding together, although we know, tragically, that brothers also battled against one another in the War between the States.

    President's Pride quilt
    “President’s Pride.”
    If you’ve never tried your hand at a medallion quilt, this is a great opportunity. Notice that a plain border separates each round, giving you the chance to square up the quilt and make sure the following round will fit perfectly.

    Buckwheat Star quilt
    “Buckwheat Star.”
    Nothing says “thrift” like string piecing. Make the most of leftover strips or a collection of fat quarters by sewing narrow strips randomly onto foundations to create the star points. The effect is dramatic, and you’ll feel good about using up and making do.

    See all 19 quilts in Civil War Remembered >


    Civil War RememberedWhich style of fabric takes up the most room in your quilting closet: reproductions, moderns, batiks, florals, novelties… something else? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Civil War Remembered eBook! We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Buy Civil War Remembered today and get the eBook instantly for free.

    Print book (with free eBook): $24.99
    eBook only: $16.99


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  8. Flash-sale alert! $6 eBooks for Worldwide Quilting Day

    Yesterday we shared ideas for fun things to do on Worldwide Quilting Day (this coming Saturday). Today’s all about inspiring you to quilt the day away.

    Select eBooks only $6 each!

    That’s right—instant-gratification, start-sewing-right-this-minute eBooks for only $6 apiece! Go for a beauty that’s quick and easy, sew up a style that’s fresh and new, or enjoy a challenge. It’s up to you. Choose from 10 popular titles below, never offered at this price before: Only $6 each!

    Baby's First Quilts
    Baby’s First Quilts

    Nancy J. Martin
    $14.95 $6.00
    Better Together
    Better Together: Two-Block Designs for Dynamic Quilts

    Karen Sievert
    $14.99 $6.00
    Charmed I'm Sure
    Charmed, I’m Sure: Quilts and More from 5″ Squares

    Lesley Chaisson
    $16.99 $6.00
    Country-Fresh Quilts
    Country-Fresh Quilts: Traditional Blocks with Floral Accents

    Deanne Eisenman
    $16.95 $6.00
    Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts
    Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts

    Nancy Mahoney
    $16.99 $6.00
    Folk-Art Favorites
    Folk-Art Favorites: Quilts from Joined at the Hip

    Tammy Johnson and Avis Shirer
    $16.99 $6.00
    Quilt Fiesta!
    ¡
    Quilt Fiesta!: Surprising Designs from Mexican Tiles

    Cheryl Lynch
    $18.99 $6.00
    Quilts from the Heart
    Quilts from the Heart: Quick Projects for Generous Giving

    Karin Renaud
    $16.95 $6.00
    Sunbonnet Sue and Scottie Too
    Sunbonnet Sue and Scottie Too

    Suzanne Zaruba Cirillo
    $16.95 $6.00
    Twin Peaks
    Twin Peaks: Quilts from Easy Strip-Pieced Triangles

    Gayle Bong
    $16.95 $6.00

    Here’s wishing you a weekend that’s full of happy stitches!

    Are you planning a little patchwork or a little appliqué for Worldwide Quilting Day? Tell us what you’ll be working on in the comments!


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  9. Worldwide Quilting Day 2015: 3 ways to celebrate

    Posted by on March 17, 2015, in quilting & sewing, , ,

    Shop the one-dollar ePattern sale

    Worldwide Quilting Day 2015What’s so special about this coming Saturday? It’s Worldwide Quilting Day!

    How will you celebrate?

    We’ve gathered a few fun ideas for making this year’s Worldwide Quilting Day your best yet. So clear your schedule and make time for a little sewing, a little shopping… and maybe a little selfie?

    SEWING.
    The first thing to do on Worldwide Quilting Day (that’s also the most fun)? S-E-W. Create a group getaway for the day with quilting pals or relish a quiet day at home with needle and thread. Hey, this excuse only comes once a year. Plan time for patchwork!

    Simple Appeal Patchwork Loves Embroidery The New Hexagon
    Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics My Enchanted Garden Stack, Shuffle, and Slide
    Download the eBook versions of best sellers like these—save on shipping costs and have them in plenty of time to enjoy this Saturday.

    SHOPPING.
    It’s the perfect day to visit to your local quilt shop, where you know they’ll be celebrating in style. Download our free printable shopping list for quilters to keep track of what you need, want, or can’t resist buying when you arrive.

    Printable shopping list for quilters
    Print two shopping lists per 8½" x 11″ sheet.

    SELFIES!
    Spread the word on social media about Worldwide Quilting Day! Take a selfie with your sewing project in progress—or your favorite Martingale book—and hashtag it with #sewingselfie on Instagram. We’ll repost your pic on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

    Jennifers-favorite-Martingale-books
    Publisher and Creative Visionary Officer Jennifer Keltner says of her selfie, “Who can choose? I love all the Martingale books!#sewingselfie

    Want more ideas for celebrating Worldwide Quilting Day? See these posts for even more ways to play.spacer 10px deep

    Inspire a beginning quilter

    Host a quilting party

    Nine ways to celebrate Worldwide Quilting Dayspacer 10px deep

    Happy Worldwide Quilting Day from all of us at Martingale!


    How will you spend Worldwide Quilting Day this year: celebrating with quilting friends, visiting your LQS, or sewing the day away? Tell us in the comments!
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    2015 Quilters' Survey


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  10. One-step method: how to sew rounded corners on quilts

    How to sew rounded corners on quilts


    Ohio Star Crossing quilt detailHave you ever noticed that in antique quilts, sometimes it’s the little things that take a design from ordinary to extraordinary?

    Occasionally you’ll find an unexpected element—an off-center layout, an unusual motif, or a zinger of a color—in quilts of yesteryear. Whether the makers of these quilts chose these details out of necessity or for creativity (or both!) is hard to say. Either way, those surprising little features are part of what make antique quilts so appealing.

    Taking their cue from the past, the design team known as Country Threads is big on the little things too. One little way they make their Civil Warinspired quilts stand out is by rounding the corners—and their technique couldn’t get much easier.

    Ohio Star Crossing quilt
    “Ohio Star Crossing” from
    The Blue and the Gray

    See the one-step process below for rounding corners. Why not try it in your next quilt?


    How to sew rounded corners on quilts

    From The Blue and the Gray by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene

    To round the corners as we do, place a 5″-diameter plate or cardboard circle on a corner block and trace the curve. Trim the corner on the drawn line. Repeat for the other three corners.

    How-to-sew-rounded-corners-on-quilts

    Use this technique for pieced blocks and borders, as well as for single-fabric borders.

    Bind your quilt as you normally would. The corner curves are wide, so no special binding techniques are needed, although using bias binding will make it easier to bind the corners.


    Here are more beautiful examples of rounded-corner quilts from The Blue and the Gray:spacer 10px deep

    Gettysburg quilt
    “Gettysburg” from
    The Blue and the Grayspacer 10px deep

    Blue and Gray quilt
    “Blue and Gray” from
    The Blue and the Gray

    spacer 10px deep
    Battle for Glory quilt
    “Battle for Glory” from
    Civil War Rememberedspacer 10px deep

    The Blue and the GraySee all 18 quilts in The Blue and The Gray >

    by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene

    spacer 10px deep
    #3 bestseller of 2013
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    • Create wall quilts, table toppers, and even doll quilts
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    • Don’t waste a single scrap of your Civil War fabrics; use it all up in these multifabric quilts


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    Civil War RememberedCivil War Remembered: 19 Quilts Using Reproduction Fabrics

    by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene

    See all 19 projects in Civil War Remembered >

    Paperback + free eBook: $24.99
    eBook: $16.99

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    Which reproduction fabrics do you collect the most: 1800s or 1930s? Tell us in the comments!

    Quilt and crochet books on sale through March 22


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