1. 🎅 Short on sewing time? Try these 7 quick Christmas gifts to embroider

    Family, friends, coworkers, sewing besties, party hosts, the mail carrier, teachers, neighbors, and more—don’t you wish there was time to make something special for everyone on your holiday gift list?

    Well, we’ve got a little secret: little embroidery projects fit the bill! They’re simple, quick, portable, and fun—both to make and to give. So take a look at the make-in-a-day projects below and start planning who’ll be lucky enough to get a handmade gift from you this season!

    Redwork Candle Mat
    Brighten someone’s holiday with a redwork candle mat graced by whimsical robins—they can display it all winter long. (From
    Christmas Patchwork Loves Embroidery by Gail Pan.)

    Snowman Bookmark
    Easy-to-stitch Christmas gift? Bookmarked! Everybody needs one, and this little snowman will inspire anyone to cuddle up with a good book. (From
    Snow Happy by Robin Kingsley.)

    Bunny Sachet
    Dressed for a romp in the snow, this little bunny hops atop a lavender-filled sachet—give the gift of the sweet scent of summer all winter long. (From
    Stitches from the Yuletide by Kathy Schmitz.)

    Pincushion collection
    This cute set of make-in-a-day pincushions, embellished with buttons, lace, and rickrack, is sure to delight your sewing friends! (From
    Patchwork Loves Embroidery by Gail Pan.)

    Embroidered Tea Towels
    Embroider one of 130 sweet motifs onto purchased tea towels for a super-quick, practical, and personalized gift.
    (From Lunch-Hour Embroidery.)

    Red Bird Coin Purse
    Whip up this cute Red Bird Coin Purse in multiples and enclose gift cards for an extra surprise. It also makes a great pouch for all of those people who can’t live without their earbuds! (From
    Cottage-Style Charm by Natalie Bird.)

    Embellished coffee-cup stoppers
    Embellished coffee-cup stoppers do more than keep your coffee warm and from spilling—they look adorable too! Embroider initials on the back for a personalized touch. (From
    A Little Something by Roseann Meehan Kermes.)

    Redwork Christmas ornaments
    Cheerful fabric ornaments are embroidered in red and easy to finish with a simple binding. They hang from wool strips—use two wool strips to hang from a wooden spool as shown or use a single centered wool strip to hang directly from a Christmas-tree branch. (From
    Just Be Claus by Robin Kingsley.)

    Christmas question: would you rather . . .

    • be one of Santa’s elves, or
    • be one of Santa’s reindeer?

    Tell us in the comments!


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  2. 14 big, beautiful Civil War quilts that will blow your mind! (+ giveaway!)

    Best-selling author Carol Hopkins is back with new ways to create your own antique-style treasures with a big twist—big quilts!

    Vintage Legacies

    You’ll love learning how Carol uses her signature Civil War color palette in Vintage Legacies—each quilt is more stunning than the last:

    Quilts from Vintage Legacies

    Fourteen patterns ranging from lap- to twin-size pay tribute to Southern belles, men’s work shirts from the Civil War era, First Lady of the United States Mary Todd Lincoln, and more. Interesting tidbits about nineteenth-century life round out this gorgeous collection that will inspire you to think big!

    We asked Carol a few wanna-know questions about her quilting life and about her new book—here are her answers (don’t miss the answers to our quirky questions, they’re a hoot!).


    Carol HopkinsStitch This!: Your first four books featured smaller quilts; in Vintage Legacies you make a big leap to big quilts! What inspired you to design larger quilts?

    Carol: I’ve designed larger quilts throughout my quilting life for workshops and classes, to commemorate special events, to showcase specific fabric lines, and to memorialize block exchanges with a special group of friends. After numerous suggestions that I write a book featuring quilts large enough to sleep under, I decided it was time to demonstrate that my attention span occasionally surpasses 10 to 20 small blocks!

    Enduring Love quilt
    Enduring Love

    ST!: What’s your designing process like—do you draft a pattern first or gather fabrics first? Do you draw ideas on paper or use a computer?

    Carol: I’d like to say I design with a plan, but I rarely do. I don’t draft patterns or draw ideas on paper or the computer. I guess I’d describe my process as “organic” (though I’m sure others would describe it as “backwards.”) I’ll explain: I’m always on the lookout for interesting blocks, especially those found in antique quilts. When I find a block I like, I usually make up a 4″ or 6″ sample and keep it in my personal block-reference library. When I decide to make a quilt using one of these blocks, I choose a size, pull coordinating fabrics, and make a bunch of scrappy blocks. Then I play with the blocks to determine how I want to set them together and how many more blocks it will take to end up with a quilt with balanced colors and good proportions. Finally, I go back and create a drawing and directions to match the quilt I’ve just made.

    Nellie Jane quilt
    Nellie Jane

    ST!: What’s inspiring your work right now?

    Carol: Two antique quilts with blocks I haven’t seen before and stacks of beautiful reproduction fabrics are calling my name.

    ST!: What’s on your sewing table right now?

    Carol: I’m finishing up three brightly colored unicorn quilts and one flannel penguin quilt made from Elizabeth Hartman patterns for my grandchildren’s Christmas gifts. I have to admit I’m finding it a challenge to work with bright fabrics covered in gold dots!

    Tribute to Judie quilt
    Tribute to Judie

    ST!: What’s your #1 tip for beginning quilters?

    Carol: Enjoy the process and admire your progress.


    6 Quirky Questions for Carol Hopkins

    • What’s your secret talent? I taught the kids in my neighborhood how to spit when I was six years old.
    • What’s the last thing you Googled? New book releases on Amazon.
    • What’s the funniest joke you know by heart? Why do seagulls fly over the sea? Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be bagels.
    • What movie have you seen again and again? Same Time Next Year with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.
    • If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator? Ellen DeGeneres.
    • What’s the most historic thing that has happened in your lifetime? It’s a tie between the moon landing and 9/11.

    Vintage LegaciesThanks for answering our pressing patchwork questions, Carol!

    We have a beautiful, brand-new copy of Vintage Legacies to give away to one lucky winner today! To be automatically entered into the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    My Civil War fabric stash needs:

    • Some shrinking—I’ve collected a lot.
    • Some expanding—I need to go shopping.
    • A kick off—I don’t have any yet!

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you can’t wait to dive into Carol’s latest book, you can order Vintage Legacies at our website and instantly download the eBook for free—it’s a deal you’ll only find at ShopMartingale.com!


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  3. How to finish a small quilt: tips from a “quirky” quilter (new video! 🎬)

    Shoofly Sampler quiltYou’ve just finished a little quilt top—and it’s soooo darned cute!

    Now maybe you’re wondering how to finish a small quilt with style. No worries—Quirky Little Quilts author Sheryl Johnson of Temecula Quilt Company has you covered from batting to binding.

    We caught up with Sheryl at Fall Quilt Market so she could share her bounty of “little” tips with us, and with you! It all comes down to three simple steps:

    1. Baste the layers—Sheryl’s got a terrific idea for using an unusual batting so your small quilts stay soft and bendy (instead of stiff as a board).
    1. Quilt ’em together—learn Sheryl’s method for stress-free hand quilting—she makes it look so easy!
    1. Bind the edges—discover another awesome little tip for small-quilt binding in the video below. Take a look:


    Reading this post in email? Click here to watch the video on Youtube.

    Now that you’ve got a little how-to for finishing little quilts, why not make one with Sheryl? All you need is a few handfuls of your favorite scraps and your choice of Sheryl’s pretty patterns from Quirky Little Quilts:

    Joyful Jumble quilt
    Joyful Jumble

    Patchwork Potpourri quilt
    Patchwork Potpourri

    T is for Temecula quilt
    T is for Temecula

    See more from Quirky Little Quilts >>>

    How do you typically finish your small quilts?

    • Basting, hand quilting, and single-fold binding—just like Sheryl!
    • I usually machine quilt my small quilts.
    • No small quilts yet, but Sheryl’s are so sweet I may give one a try!

    Share your methods in the comments—and be sure to follow Sheryl on Instagram (@temeculaquiltco) for more quirky fun!


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  4. Wish List Day! Kim and Jo, Red Crinoline Quilts, and a new BIG book (+ giveaway!)

    Whoo-hoo, it’s Wish List Day! Today we’re giving you a sneak peek at Martingale books coming in January—and we think you’re gonna be inspired! Keep track of your favorites by using the “Notify Me” and “Wish List” options at ShopMartingale.com. Browse the latest batch of Martingale books below; then enter to win your favorite book at the end of this post!

    Subscribe to our blog and you’ll always be first to see new Martingale books, plus special sales, freebies, tutorials, and more.


    Simple Friendships IISimple Friendships II
    14 Fabulous Quilts from Blocks Stitched among Friends
    Kim Diehl and Jo Morton
    COMING JANUARY 2

    Gather your favorite fabrics—and your favorite quilting friends! Kim Diehl and Jo Morton first paired up for the best seller Simple Friendships; now they’re back to share more showstopping quilts that reflect each designer’s signature style. Chapters showcase a classic quilt block; Kim and Jo each take the block and transform it into a spectacular quilt. Discover fresh spins on Churn Dash, Ohio Star, Flock of Geese, and more. Instructions make it easy to create blocks on your own or as part of a group—and the sampler quilts included are simply stunning.

    From Simple Friendships II


    Step Back in TimeStep Back in Time
    Turn Reproduction Prints into Vintage-Inspired Quilts
    Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts
    COMING JANUARY 2

    Reproduction fabric collectors and antique-quilt lovers, the much-anticipated follow-up to Tributes and Treasures is here! Enjoy an all-new, jaw-dropping collection of patterns from the talented design team behind Red Crinoline Quilts—you’ll learn streamlined techniques for creating 13 of their vintage-inspired designs. Each quilt is paired with a fascinating true story from the 1800s, while more than 70 beautiful photos capture the style and sentiment of this unique time in American quilting history.

    From Step Back in Time


    The Big Book of Lap QuiltsThe Big Book of Lap Quilts
    51 Patterns for Family Room Favorites
    COMING JANUARY 2

    It’s the biggest lap-quilt collection ever to land in your lap! Get a whopping 51 patterns for the always-popular lap quilt—designs for everyday, seasons, holidays, and special days abound. And at just 55 cents per pattern, you’ll enjoy both inspiration and savings! Discover quilts from outstanding designers, including Country Threads, Kim Diehl, Joanna Figueroa, Lynne Hagmeier, and many more. Lap quilts are the perfect size for many occasions: cozy cuddling, creative decorating, gift giving . . . the list goes on! You’ll lap up this versatile pattern collection—there are SO many ways to use it!

    From The Big Book of Lap Quilts
    A mere 31 of the 51 patterns you’ll find in the book!


    Which book would jump-start your January? Name it in the comments and you could win it! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good Luck!

    And by the way . . . December books are available NOW!

    Moda Blockheads Vintage Legacies Turnabout Patchwork


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  5. 9 quick last-minute Christmas gifts to make in multiples

    From Simple Christmas TidingsOkay, it’s not a last-minute Christmas-gift situation yet . . . but it sneaks up on you f-a-s-t, doesn’t it? When you’ve got a holiday party, a work function, or an unexpected guest, you’ll want to spread a little Christmas cheer—quilter style! So why not prep some sewn gifts to give to the people you meet and greet this season?

    Today we’ve got nine fun—and f-a-s-t—gifts that you can whip up in multiples. Make a few, make a dozen, make more! You’ll always be ready to hand over a handmade surprise that’s sure to make anyone’s holiday a little brighter. (Plus you give yourself permission to step away from the bustle of the season and sew, sew, sew!)

    Embroidered ornaments
    Whether you hang them from a tree bough or on a doorknob, these classic embroidered ornaments will bring a smile to everyone who’s lucky enough to get one! Give the ornaments as a set or as singles—get the patterns in
    Stitches from the Yuletide by Kathy Schmitz.

    Christmastide Coasters
    Sprinkle a little patchwork-style Christmas cheer with Jo Morton’s Christmastide coasters—they’ve been a huge hit on our
    Instagram! Make your quilt-block pick—Sawtooth Star or Broken Dishes—and then surprise a friend with a coaster or two (a bottle of wine or a tin of cocoa mix would be a great addition too!). Get the patterns in Moda All-Stars: Merry Makers.

    Christmas Baubles
    This little trio of Christmas ornaments can be fashioned from scraps of fabric and wool gathered straight from your stash. But these baubles aren’t just for the tree—your giftees can mingle them into garlands, perch them on mantels, or nestle them in nooks and crannies throughout their holiday home. Get the patterns in
    Simple Christmas Tidings by Kim Diehl.

    Strawberry Sewing Trio
    Getting together with your sewing buddies for a party during the holidays? This adorable Strawberry Sewing Trio contains a cute needle keeper, pincushion, and scissors shield that are soooo easy to make, many at a time! Turn bits of wool and embroidery floss into fun little gifts that your sewing friends will treasure. Find the patterns in
    A Little Something by Roseann Meehan Kermes.

    Christmas mini pillows
    Share holiday sentiments with these fun mini pillows from Gail Pan—super-easy to embroider and a snap to finish with her single-fold binding technique (
    Gail shows you how here). Get the patterns in Christmas Patchwork Loves Embroidery.

    Snowflake Faces Ornaments
    You’ll find two options for gifting these Snowflake Faces Ornaments: as ornaments or as whimsical coat pins to wear all winter long! To turn the embroideries into pins, simply use a hot-glue gun to attach a pin backing. Get the patterns in
    Snow Happy by Robin Kingsley.

    Log Cabin Zippered Wristlet
    This Log Cabin Zippered Wristlet by Jennifer Moore features bold fabrics in an easy-to-make wristlet that updates the traditional Log Cabin block. The patchwork is so simple, you’ll be gifting these to all your friends—who, incidentally, will think you’re a genius with needle and thread! Get the pattern in
    Lunch-Hour Patchwork.

    Christmas pincushions
    Mini pillows or pincushions? Your choice! Either way, you can easily sew these cute trinkets with fabrics from your stash, and then mix and match them for holiday giving. Get the patterns in
    Just Be Claus by Robin Kingsley.

    Summer Fruit Coasters
    Charise Randell’s Summer Fruit Coasters are super cute, just like all the projects in her book
    Super Cute Paper Piecing! Consider making the cherry coaster with richer reds and greens for more of a winterberry feel, or keep the bright pinks and reds as a happy preview of spring.

    What kinds of projects have you made in multiples for gifts: hot pads, ornaments, gift tags, something else? Tell us in the comments!


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  6. Fabric collectors: welcome to Edyta Sitar’s scrappy world (+ fabric giveaway!)

    The next highly anticipated book from famed designer Edyta Sitar is here . . . and it’s a scrap-lover’s fantasy!

    Patches of Scraps

    Packed with breathtaking scrap quilts both old and new, Patches of Scraps gives you two inspiring ways to enjoy them. First, there are the awe-inspiring antiques:

    Barn Raising Log Cabin quilt
    Barn Raising Log Cabin, 64″ × 78″, Sitar Family collection, antique

    Enjoy page after page of gorgeous scrap quilts from yesteryear—most shared from Edyta’s private collection.

    From Patches of Scraps
    A peek at more antique quilts from the book

    Second comes the patterns: re-create 17 of Edyta’s scrap-packed masterpieces with your own mix of scraps! Photos for the book were taken at the Issaquah Depot in Issaquah, Washington. The 1888 Depot building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The caboose below was built in 1942 as No. 1206 for the Southern Pacific Railroad. We think the setting is perfect for Edyta’s quilts!

    From Patches of Scraps

    See all the quilts from Patches of Scraps >>>

    Like the quilts you’re seeing so far from Patches of Scraps? Then we think you’re going to LOVE the beautiful matching note cards!

    Patches of Scraps Note Cards
    Patches of Scraps Note Cards

    Perfect for thank-you notes, thinking-of-you notes, gift enclosures, teacher notes—or simply to say “Hello!”—this set of a dozen 5″ x 6¾" cards (two each of six designs) comes with envelopes and each card is blank inside, offering plenty of space to share your sentiments. Cards feature Edyta’s favorite vintage and modern-day quilts from the book. They’ll inspire you to send a sweet message to everyone you know. (They make a great gift for fellow quilters too—and Christmas is calling!)

    Flower Box quilt
    Flower Box, featured in
    Patches of Scraps Note Cards

    Our friends at Andover Fabrics sent along a stunning bundle of Edyta’s latest fabric line, called Something Blue, so we could give it away ALONG WITH a copy of Patches of Scraps AND a box of Patches of Scraps Note Cards to one lucky winner!

    Patches of ScrapsTo throw your hat in the ring for a chance to win, tell us:

    What size scrap is just big enough for you to save? (A 2″ square? A 5″ square? A 2″x4″ rectangle?) How small does a fabric scrap need to be before you toss it out?

    Share your answer in the comments to be automatically entered into the drawing. We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you can’t wait to sit down with Edyta’s new book, you can order Patches of Scraps right now at our website, ShopMartingale.com.

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Amy, who says:

    “My rule for my smallest scraps is 2 inch square or wonky pieces, and 1-inch string or strip.  Anything else goes in a dog-bed bag. Thank you for the chance.”

    We’ll email you about your prize, Amy—congratulations!


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  7. 🎁 9 no-sew gifts . . . for people who sew (+ special sale!) 🎁

    From Sleigh BellsMany quilters begin with a dream each January: to make something special for the all the quilty friends they have on their gift list.

    And then the months roll on . . .

    A year packed with jobs, kids, family, friends, vacations, housekeeping, clothes washing, dinner making—whew! Before you know it, the countdown to Christmas has started all over again.

    If you’re on track with holiday sewing for your best quilting buddies, we raise our rotary cutters to you—congrats! And if you’re a bit behind schedule, we’ve rounded up several gift ideas for you. They’re 100% no-sew. But they’ll delight every quilting fan on your gift list.

    GIFTS THAT GIVE ALL YEAR LONG: A 2019 QUILT CALENDAR

    Stitches to Savor 2019 CalendarStitches to Savor 2019 Calendar
    SAVE 20% NOW

    We are thrilled to once again bring you an all-new, awe-inspiring wall calendar featuring the work of Sue Spargo. Enjoy Sue’s captivating work all year long in this spectacular calendar, featuring a 3″ x 6″ at-a-glance calendar format. The format lets Sue’s quilts shine in big, beautiful photographs that are so realistic, when you hang the calendar, it actually looks like a quilt on the wall! (Patterns not included.)

    GIFTS FOR CREATIVE SOULS: QUILTING JOURNALS

    Simple ReflectionsSimple Reflections: A Journal for Memories and Musings

    Kim Diehl will inspire your sewing friends to keep a journal just for their creative side! In Simple Reflections, Kim’s gathered photographs of favorite quilts and more to share. Among gorgeous photos of Kim’s work, there’s plenty of space to jot down sewing notes, log quilting milestones, and record inspiration wherever it may strike. Kim’s included seasonal recipes too! Your giftees can bring the beauty of quilts wherever they go—a handy take-along size makes it easy to do. (Patterns not included.)

    A Quilter's JournalA Quilter’s Journal
    SAVE 20% NOW

    Photographed at quilting star Lisa Bongean’s gorgeous lakeside home, A Quilter’s Journal is an inspiring week-by-week journal packed with stunning photos of quilts and more to enjoy. Throughout the pages you’ll find fun prompts to answer all year long—they’ll get the creative juices flowing. And at a petite 5¼" x 8⅜", it’s the perfect size to carry along while you’re on the go. (Patterns not included.)

    GIFTS TO INSPIRE A CREATIVE LIFE: COFFEE-TABLE BOOKS

    Yoko Saito through the YearsYoko Saito through the Years

    This in-depth look at Yoko Saito’s quilts and quilted bags celebrates 40 years of her illustrious career. Each piece is featured in photography that reveals the tiny stitches, the subtle hues, and the surprising details that make her work a joy to study. Marvel at hundreds of fabrics, thousands of embroidery stitches, and Ms. Saito’s stunning appliqué—all sewn to perfection. This keepsake book offers a rare opportunity to explore the history of a legendary artist. (Patterns not included.)


    American Quilt TreasuresAmerican Quilt Treasures: Historic Quilts from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum
    SAVE 20% NOW

    Take a fascinating journey through a curated collection of quilts housed at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. The museum graciously allowed Martingale to photograph 65 one-of-a-kind quilts, ranging from just 30 years old to an incredible 197 years old. You’ll be captivated by the creativity and persistence of quilters from the past—and discover the enduring impact that quilts of yesteryear have on the quiltmakers of today. (Patterns not included.)

    Minick and Simpson Blue & WhiteMinick and Simpson Blue & White: Living with Textiles You Love
    SAVE 20% NOW

    In this hardcover volume you’ll pore over page after page of breathtaking room settings, all in calming blues and crisp whites. Polly Minick and Laurie Simpson invite readers to explore their inspiring collections, from quilts and hooked rugs to darling antiques. Spotlighting three different homes featuring Americana, coastal, and classic styles, this book features delightful decorating ideas and loads of tips for creating a two-color look. (Patterns not included.)


    A Common ThreadA Common Thread: A Collection of Quilts by Gwen Marston
    SAVE 20% NOW

    Got a quilting BFF who loves to quilt off the pattern page? Don’t miss the opportunity to WOW him or her with this in-depth look at the work of Gwen Marston. The book chronicles five decades of Gwen’s fascinating career, from her beginnings as a traditional quilter to her “liberated” quilt era and beyond. This magnificently photographed collection of more than 65 quilts—curated by Gwen herself—invites readers to enjoy her journey, her artistry, and her process like never before. (Patterns not included.)

    Stitches to SavorStitches to Savor: A Celebration of Designs by Sue Spargo
    SAVE 20% NOW

    If you know someone captivated by color, texture, whimsy, creativity—and of course, quilts!—they’ll fall in love with this coffee-table book. From embellished leaves and fanciful birds to extravagant blooms, 200 lush, color-splashed photographs capture the pure magic that Sue Spargo makes with needle and thread. Sue’s work will summon creativity, light up inspiration, and delight anyone who dreams of making more time to stitch. (Patterns not included.)

    Of course you’ll want to make your wrapping as special as your gift—and these pretty gift tags are our gift to you! Simply download, print, cut out, and add names.

    Download your free printable Christmas gift tags here!

    Christmas Eve predictions: will you still be sewing, still be wrapping, or already be peacefully sleeping? Tell us in the comments!


    Sale ends December 2, 2018.


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  8. Create a holly-jolly home 🎄 8 Christmas decorations and ideas

    From Moda All-Stars: Merry MakersThe time is near for Christmas cheer!

    Soon many of us will be unpacking those boxes and bins filled with tinsel, ornaments, and memories that make the season bright (oops, how did that candy cane get in there?). Today we’ve rounded up fun ways to display your handmade pieces from the past . . . and ideas for creating new ones for Christmas 2018! Either way, we hope you’ll find a few tips below to freshen up your holiday home.

    Mini Stockings
    Don’t have a mantel—or maybe it’s reserved for displaying other holiday treasures? Try hanging your stockings on a ladder for a fun twist on tradition. We already talked to Santa, so he’ll be on the lookout for ladders this year! Get the pattern for Joanna Figueroa’s Mini Stockings in
    Moda All-Stars: Merry Makers.

    Winter Fest Table Runner
    Add a little glitz to the holiday table with a collection of glistening ornaments arranged among sprigs of pine or holly—perch the container of your choice atop a runner you’ve made from scratch. Get the pattern for Kathy Schmitz’s Winter Fest Table Runner in
    Stitches from the Yuletide.

    Merry Christmas to All quilt
    Got a little Christmas quilt—and a little wall space? Turn a knotty tree branch into a quilt rod for a rustic country look. Hang the quilt with two lengths of jute as shown, pinning the jute to the quilt with small safety pins. Get the pattern for Robin Kingsley’s Merry Christmas to All quilt in
    Just Be Claus.

    Twilight Star Medallion Lap Quilt
    It takes just 10 seconds to bring the season to a bedroom or guest room—if you do it Kim Diehl style! Simply drape a holiday-themed lap quilt over existing bedding for an instant fa-la-la-la-la feel. Get the pattern for Kim’s Twilight Star Medallion Lap Quilt in
    Simple Christmas Tidings.

    The Stockings Were Hung
    Another inventive Christmas stocking idea—display them along the staircase! Lengths of ribbon tied around balusters will keep each stocking in place. Get the patterns for Bonnie Sullivan’s The Stockings Were Hung collection in
    A Change of Seasons.

    Snow Days Book Weight
    This practical book weight does double duty—it keeps your cookbooks open while you make your favorite Christmas cookies, and it adds a dash of the Christmas spirit to the kitchen when not in use! (Not to mention it’d make a perfect gift for a foodie.) Get the pattern for Robin Kingsley’s Snow Days Book Weight in
    Snow Happy.

    He’s Making a List quilt
    Hang a tiny quilt from a Christmas wreath you already own—the quilt has a message that’ll give your visitors a chuckle. Ho ho ho! Personalize tags for family and friends you’ll be spending the holidays with; then watch to make sure your tag ends up on the right side come Christmas! Get the pattern for Anni Downs’ He’s Making a List quilt in
    Season’s Greetings.

    Vintage Cherries
    Is your dining-room table used for special occasions only? Drape a favorite holiday quilt over the table, add a pine-bough centerpiece, and enjoy that quilt in a whole new way—at least until Christmas Day! Get Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks’ Vintage Cherries pattern in
    ’Tis the Season.

    When do you put up your holiday decorations?

    • The day after Thanksgiving
    • Early December
    • Christmas Eve!

    Tell us in the comments!


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  9. A simple message for you: thank you.

    From Simple HarvestAs we celebrate this season of giving thanks, our thoughts turn to you.

    Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without thanking the people who make our work so special. And that’s you. We appreciate your trust in us to inspire you with the books we create. We are grateful to play a part in your creative life, and we’re dedicated to providing you with quality, beauty, and value in our books, now and in the years to come.

    May the good things of life be yours in abundance, not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the coming year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    All the best, from all of us at Martingale.


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  10. How to sew with Jelly Rolls: 4 smart strip-piecing tips

    Quilts from Start with StripsGot Jelly Rolls? Great! Hesitant to unroll them? You’re not alone!

    Best-selling author Susan Ache (pronounced “AH-kee”) has a passion for strippy quilts, and in her book Start with Strips, Jelly Rolls take center stage—those rolls of 2½"-wide strips from a coordinated fabric collection. Her quilts expand WAY beyond the typical Jelly Roll quilts you may have seen—they’re the kind of quilts you *make* and then *make sure* they get handed down from generation to generation. But that’s just the look of her quilts; you’ll be surprised at how Susan’s simple sewing tricks can turn strips from so-so into sensational.

    You’ll find lots of ideas for turning up the WOW factor in the Jelly Roll blocks that Susan makes. But one of her favorite things to do might surprise you: she loves to mix up strips from different Jelly Rolls.

    WHAT?!? You can do that?!

    Why yes, you can!

    Susan explains just how—and why—she mixes Jelly Rolls in her book. She also shares some basic tips for working with those precut bundles of strips, and today we’re sharing a few of them with you! So if you’ve been wondering what to do with your Jelly Rolls, take it from Susan—this is the perfect time to unfurl them.


    Susan AcheReady Your Jelly Rolls

    Excerpted from Start with Strips by Susan Ache

    I sort all my fabric scraps by color. That goes for Jelly Rolls, too. That way, when I want to make a scrappy quilt with a limited color palette, I can find all of the orange or green or turquoise strips I need, without having to thumb through individually bundled Jelly Rolls.

    As you’ll see in the project instructions from Start with Strips, I sometimes call for a certain number of strips of each color. That doesn’t mean they all have to come from the same Jelly Roll. You can mix and match the greens or reds or aquas from multiple Jelly Rolls to make your own custom scrap mix. It’s easy. And fun. And a new way of thinking. Here are some more guidelines I like to follow when working with these precut strips with pinked edges.

    ELIMINATE THE FUZZ.

    Before strip piecing with Jelly Roll strips, I take them one at a time, folded from selvage to selvage, and measure to make sure each strip is 2½" wide. Then ever-so-carefully I lay my ruler on top and trim off the fuzzy edges with my rotary cutter. Brush the bits of fabric lint into the wastebasket, and then you only have to deal with that once—not every time you pick up your blocks.

    USE A COLLAPSIBLE DRYING RACK.

    When working on a project with tons of strips, draping them over a collapsible drying rack is an excellent way to corral them. They’ll all be visible and at the ready, rather than piled up and wrinkled.

    HOLD ’EM STEADY.

    When joining long strips, hold the strips together firmly in front of and behind the needle. Do not pull or stretch them; simply holding them firmly will prevent puckered stitches or bowed strip sets.

    HAVE FUN!

    Somebody once asked me what my best weekend smelled like. The first thing that came to mind was suntan lotion and salty beach air. I have realized that most of the time, the colors I quilt with remind me of being at the beach or on an island. I love a quilt that mushes colors all together while creating a soft, gently used look at the same time. Whatever your preferred color scheme, I hope you’ll consider mixing and matching precuts. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results, and in the end, you’ll have a custom-blended scrap quilt to show for it!


    With Susan’s smart tips (we love the drying-rack one!), you’re ready to roll. Take a look at just a few of the quilts you can create with the Jelly Rolls you have—or want to have:

    Airboats quilt
    Airboats. Susan says, “This quilt isn’t about matching colors, but rather it’s about the contrast in values. Each block takes three fabrics, so figure out how many total fabrics you have to work with; then simply divide them into groups of three.”

    Beach Reading quilt
    Beach Reading. Susan says, “When it comes to text prints, don’t be afraid to cut them up and turn them every which way in a quilt design. Here they’re used as the background, where they look fabulous and act as a foil for the solids, the stars of the show.”

    Cherry Orchard quilt
    Cherry Orchard. Susan says, “Looking for a great seasonal project? This quilt is it! Choose two colors and a background and you could make this for any holiday or time of year. Black, orange, and gray for Halloween; rust, avocado, and gold for fall—or simply choose your favorite color scheme and enjoy this beauty all year long.”

    See 10 more quilts from Start with Strips >>>

    Have you strip pieced with Jelly Rolls?

    • I’m new to strip piecing with Jelly Rolls.
    • I’ve sewn a Jelly Roll strip here and there.
    • I’ve been stripping with Jelly Rolls for quite a while now!

    Tell us in the comments!

    Browse more books for strippy sewing:

    The Big Book of Strip Quilts Scrap-Basket Beauties Striking Strip Quilts


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