Wall quilts are magic-makers in the decorating world. Need to brighten a corner, add a splash of color, cozy up a space? A quilt on a wall does that and much more.
If you’ve never hung a quilt on a wall in your home, today is the day to choose a wall quilt to make, and give it a try. Why? Because the eBook Best Wall Quilts from McCall’s Quilting will inspire you with a variety of gorgeous choices—and you’ll be surprised at how the quilt you create will instantly transform the look and feel of a room. Plus, wall quilts showcase our passion for sewing!
The fact that the Best Wall Quilts eBook is on sale for only six bucks might inspire you too. Take a look at just a few beautiful options from the book:
Let guests know they’ve entered a quilter’s home right at the front door! This Welcome quilt marries a traditional quilt design with contemporary fabrics.
How clever is the placement of this sweet Apple Blossom Time quilt? The quilt pops inside an open cabinet and serves as a backdrop for treasured collectibles.
Scrap-quilt lovers, this is your jam. Search your stash for batiks to use in this statement-maker as shown, or envision the design in your favorite fabrics. Can you imagine how amazing this would look with a scattering of nineteenth-century reproduction scraps?
Now, when you’re home, take a moment. Look around and choose a spot for the wall quilt you’ll make. Download Best Wall Quilts and choose the perfect quilt for that space. Then go to you stash or your local quilt shop and let the fun begin!
P.S.Don’t forget to snap a pic when your quilt is on the wall! We’d love to see it! Use the hashtag #madewithmartingale on social media or send your photo to email@example.com.
We’ve learned a lot about embroidery since we started publishing books on the subject. What do we love about embroidery?
It’s so easy to get started. Beginners turn pro real fast.
It’s so easy to finish projects. No UFOs to be found.
It’s so easy to embroider quick gifts. Oops! Forgot your bestie’s birthday is tomorrow? Cut, sew, embroider, wrap, done. Today.
With the holidays on the horizon, it’s great to have go-to gift ideas for family and friends. So today we’ve searched our beautiful embroidery books to give you the inspiration and motivation you need to greet the holiday season with good gift-giving cheer.
You can bet the projects below are all simple, all quick, all easy. All embroidered!
^^^ This Wooly Bird sewing pouch is perfect for keeping portable projects organized. A clear vinyl back lets the owner see everything at a glance. Just a couple of embroidery stitches and POOF! Instant personality.
^^^ With no edges to turn under and a simple whipstitch used for the appliqué, this Close at Hand pincushion couldn’t be easier to make. The needle-and-thread embroidery motif is sweet and simple. And we’re with Jenifer when it comes to pincushions: you can never have enough!
^^^ From cookbooks and romance novels to biographies and whodunits, the snowy months are the perfect time to curl up with a good book—and the happy snowmen in the Snow Days bookweight and bookmark set will keep your gift recipient company while they do.
^^^ Open this pretty embroidered fabric folder and you’ll find pockets inside to tuck treasures into (see right). Fill it with stationery and stamps, inspiring quotes, or a heartfelt handwritten note before you give it.
Embroidery gifts to make for the holiday decorator
^^^ Embroider, sew, bind, and stuff—these Mini Sentiments pillows come together quicker than Santa can zoom down a chimney. This is one of those gifts that keeps on giving, as you’ll happily see it displayed at your gift recipient’s home each year.
Not sure how to transfer embroidery designs to fabric? Check out this video from Gail Pan—couldn’t be easier.
We’re closing in on that busy time of year—the holidays! Even though we have lots of planning, cooking, shopping, and decorating ahead, it’s important to carve out a little space for ourselves and spend time in our happy place—in front of our sewing machines. We all deserve a little escape from the insanity, don’t we?
Table toppers and runners give us a perfect opportunity to enjoy valuable me time and prepare for the holiday. If you’re hosting the Big Meal, a new topper will do wonders to make your table look extra special. If someone else is doing the cooking (lucky you!), what better hostess gift than a new runner for the table? And guess what? We have just the books for you AND they’re on sale this week! We’ll even pay for your shipping in the US and Canada.
These sweet, snuggly crocheted animals are ready to give and get cuddles from kids and grown-ups alike. Big, amigurumi-style buddies measure from 9″ to 13″ tall, rely on basic crochet stitches, and are quick to create with easy-to-find yarns.
Twenty-year-old college student Shannen Chua learned how to crochet in school in the Philippines—it was a requirement in sixth grade, how fantastic is that—and she is charming the crochet world with her creations. When you take a peek at the Huggable Amigurumi gallery, you’ll see why. You’ll meet Belle Bluebird, Henry Elephant, Rocco Raccoon, and many more cozy critters to crochet.
Discover even more adorableness in Shannen’s illustrations, sprinkled throughout the book.
Today Shannen is our guest writer, here to tell us a little about her new book and give you a few little tips for making your crochet extra cuddly.
Hi there! I’m Shannen, the author of Huggable Amigurumi, a compilation of 18 seriously adorable designs (no bias here). All the designs are huggable, as the title suggests, and they’re super addicting to make.
(Me with my huggables—you can see they’re bigger than traditional amigurumi. More to hug! >>>)
When you first look through the designs, some of you might wonder if the projects are complicated. But rest assured, the moment you start crocheting, you’ll stop worrying. All of the designs in the book are made with super-simple stitches—you can be a beginner and still create these wonderful toys!
All the stitches used in the book are as follows: slip stitch, single crochet, long single crochet (a fancy term for inserting your hook 1 row below while making a single crochet), half double crochet, double crochet, magic ring (easy to substitute with a chain 2), and a puff stitch. I explain how to do each stitch in the book. Probably the most “difficult” stitch would be the puff stitch, but that’s only for one project, little Lila—and the instructions offer an easy alternative.
Hint: Instead of a puff stitch you can opt to use a fuzzy yarn and a larger hook for Lila.
Another great thing about these little huggables is that you don’t need balls and skeins of yarn. If you have bits and pieces of different yarns lying around, feel free to combine them! It gives your projects even more personality.
In Huggable Amigurumi, I also share tips on improvising materials to give your amigurumi extra pizzazz. However, my favorite tip in the book is one method that has really made my amigurumi stand out. It’s how I stitch my single crochet. Instead of a YOH (yarn over hook) for the first step, I do a YUH (yarn under hook). It’s so simple and it makes a huge difference in the finished product!
I am so excited to share this book with crocheters new and pro alike! I hope you enjoy Huggable Amigurumi—please let me know how you like it! You can visit me online on Instagram and Tumblr. Be sure and tag your projects with #huggableamigurumi!
Shannen, we can’t wait to crochet your little sweethearts—thanks for telling us more about your new book!
Are you: 1) new to crochet, 2) new to amigurumi, or 3) an ace at both? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Huggable Amigurumi eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!
First she taught you all about appliqué; then she turned triangles into a hassle-free task. Now celebrated teacher, designer, and bubbly quilting personality Pat Sloan is back to teach you the know-how you need to become a confident machine quilter.
We are so excited about pairing up with Pat to bring you an all-new resource, perfect for every quilter who’s tried to machine quilt but hasn’t been happy with the results!
In Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, Pat guides you through both walking-foot quilting and free-motion quilting, all with her relaxed, no-stress approach to learning. Step-by-step photos, tons of tips, and Pat’s encouraging advice will inspire you to try—and motivate you to practice!
From tension troubles to stitching speed to what quilting designs to use, Pat’s got your questions covered. And when you buy the book, you’ll gain instant access to bonus video tutorials starring Pat herself! Here is one example:
And if all that wasn’t enough, Pat’s even included nine pretty projects for practice.
You’ll be proud of the machine quilting you can do right at home!
Reference guide + project book + video tips + Pat cheering you on along the way. Everyone who quilts (or has a stack of quilt tops—you know who you are!) needs Pat’s new book. She’s our guest writer today, here to tell you more of what you’ll learn. Welcome back, Pat!
But first . . .
BIG GIVEAWAY—THREE WINNERS! Pat’s brought three companies together for a great giveaway: our friends at Moda Fabrics supplied six fun fabric panels (you’ll understand why when you read Pat’s post below). Our friends at Aurifil contributed three boxes of Pat’s new thread collection, called the Perfect Box of Neutrals. And we’re giving away three copies of the book!
Throw your hat in the ring to win this fun giveaway—learn how at the end of this post.
When making a quilt, one of my greatest satisfactions is to do the whole process myself, and that includes quilting the layers.
When I started machine quilting on a pretty inexpensive and basic machine, my walking foot didn’t work very well. Actually, it was so bad I couldn’t move the fabric under the foot! So I came up with other ways to get the quilting done.
After I got a new machine (yay!) I was able to successfully free-motion quilt, and now I do both free-motion and walking-foot machine quilting.
I begin with how to baste the layers together, then show you how to practice. Oh my yes, I DID say “that word!” Then I take you through using simple, basic quilting patterns to give your quilt that next layer of design.
Walking-foot and free-motion quilting
But there is another part—the thread! You need gorgeous thread. I tell you all about the different thread weights and when to use them. (My newest thread collection is my Perfect Box of Neutrals 40-weight thread for Aurifil, which is excellent for machine quilting.)
Free-motion quilting is a series of things you do, much like driving a car. At first it might feel a bit awkward, but with practice—back to that practice thing—the steps become second nature.
Now, I have a secret tip for you that will change your free-motion quilting life.
Quilt five fabric panels in a row. Find five cute fabric panels, one with motifs you can quilt around. First baste all five panels first so you have them at the ready; then quilt on them every day until you finish. Don’t stop practicing for weeks in between. By the end of your panel practice, you’ll see a massive improvement as your muscle memory connects the dots on how to do these new techniques.
Christmas is right around the corner. Google says only 77 sleeps left. And who is more excited to experience the magic of Christmas than the littlest of littles in our lives—babies and other tiny tykes!
What better way to show a little one your love than to stitch up a gift that they can snuggle, cuddle, wrap up in, play on, and otherwise make their favorite blankey of all time? We can’t think of one. And with 77 sleeps left until Christmas, you can easily whip up a stack of baby quilts from our adorable eBooks on sale this week.
(If you crochet (or want to learn), scroll to the end of this post for a super-cute way to create some holiday fun for babies and toddlers too. Beginning crocheters welcome!)
We’ve chosen a favorite project from each eBook below—click on a pic to see more from each eBook. And save a whopping 40% this week only.
We love this sweet Peas in a Pod design—and the circles provide a built-in way to personalize it. Use the circles for names, dates, initials, appliquéd shapes, or anything else you can dream up. The letters and numbers in the quilt are made of plush fabric—fuzzy fun for tiny fingers.
Choose two shades of one color and two shades of another, add a background fabric, and you’re on your way to stitching Mary Hickey’s Petite Trellis quilt. This repeat-block quilt is super-simple to piece, and it’s perfect for pinks, blues, and more gender-neutral colors.
Just as much as we love the quilt, we love what Mary Hickey says about creating quilts for babies: “Of course quilts provide warmth for the babies that we love. More than that, though, quiltmaking allows us to make a piece of art that expresses our dreams for our tiny friends.”
These fantastic crocheted sea creatures live a double life! On land they’re fun and friendly playthings; toss them in the tub and they transform into squishy tub toys to delight and entertain little ones at bath time. Each toy is made from cotton yarn, terry cloth, and natural sponge stuffing. Our favorite vignette from the book finds Dudley the Diver sharing sea space with a spirited Dolphin.
(New to crochet? No matter—in addition to project directions, basic how-to-crochet instructions are included. You can dive right in!)
Diver and Dolphin
We adore the Starfish and the Jellyfish too:
Starfish and Jellyfish
How many little ones will you spend time with this Christmas? Tell us in the comments!
We’ve all done it: you’re happily whirring along at the sewing machine when you feel a little bump under the needle. Oops. One of your seams just got sewn in the wrong direction.
In the video below, Martingale acquisitions editor Beth Bradley shows a quick fix for avoiding those accidental bumps. And if you don’t already know about Beth’s trick, feel free to join those of us in the Martingale office who are smacking our foreheads and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Don’t you love the cute Log Cabin block Beth featured in the video? You’ll find the pattern in the book Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Log Cabins, along with 16 more riffs on one of the most famous quilt blocks of them all, such as:
This pretty pastel Four Patch Log Cabin quilt by Susan Ache
This color-charged Hourglass Courthouse Steps quilt by Audrie Bidwell
This beauty called Mi Casa by Carrie Nelson, based on an antique Log Cabin quilt
Hey hey hey—it’s Wish List Day! We love giving you a peek at new books on the way, and we love finding out which books you like best. In fact, you could win your favorite book if you let us know your choice at the end of this post. But be warned: it’s gonna be hard to narrow it down! Subscribe to our blog and you’ll always get a first look at new Martingale quilt books, plus special sales, freebies, tutorials, and more.
A common love of antique quilts and reproduction fabrics brought them together. Now, 20 years after the 19th-Century Patchwork Divas block-exchange group was formed, they’re celebrating—by letting YOU become an honorary member!
Let the Divas share their all-time favorite quilt-block patterns with you—from strip-pieced Postage Stamp to teeming-with-triangles Tree of Life. You’ll see how members transformed their piles of patchwork blocks into jaw-dropping quilts, each more spectacular than the last. You’ll even get the Divas’ advice on how to start a successful block exchange with your quilting and sewing friends. With these incredible quilts from the Divas, your group will never run short of inspiration!
Do you need new inspiration for your charm squares or new inspiration for your scraps? Say hooray—Sew Charming has you covered either way! From the best-selling authors of the “Back to Charm School” series comes a fresh approach to making quilts with 5″ squares, that gives you the freedom to sew with whatever fabric you have on hand. Every quilt is made two ways—once with a charm pack, once with scraps—and you’ll be surprised at the dramatic differences that result. Lots of ideas inside for decorating with small quilts too.
Left: Sophisticated Hourglass quilt made with scraps. Right: Polka-Dot Hourglass quilt made with charm squares.
Left: Square in a Square quilt made with scraps. Right: Rose Pink Squares made with charm squares.
Got a dozen fat quarters? Got a dozen times that many fat quarters? Got fat-quarter bundles? Whether you’re a collector, a connoisseur, or an unapologetic hoarder of those chunky cuts of fabric, 12-Pack Quilts is the perfect quilting companion for you. Start any of these lap- to twin-sized quilts with just 12 fat quarters and watch them fly together! Barb and May include a special Q&A with Julie Karasek, a quilt-shop owner who excels at bundling 12-packs for her customers—Julie reveals how to avoid rookie mistakes when choosing fat quarters for a project. Simple fabric selection, super-quick patchwork, and happy styles from Me and My Sister Designs—what are you waiting for? (Oh, the release date—be sure to put 12-Pack Quilts on your Wish List!)
Choose from fun motifs like bobbins, hearts, houses, and #hashtags
What can you do with 360+ knit stitches at your fingertips? Guarantee a lifetime of knitting fun! Give a plain pattern panache by substituting a stitch pattern you love, or start from scratch and knit a project with your favorite stitches—there are so many to choose from! From cables and lace to bobbles and knots, you’ll never tire of experimenting with hundreds of options for scarves, hats, sweaters, afghans, and more. A full-color photo and complete how-to instructions are included for every stitch in the book.
Which new book would make your November extra-nice? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of your favorite book when it’s released! We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.
It’s no secret that Civil War–style quilts are mega popular—and we bet we can tell how much you love them by the colors in your stash.
If your stash resembles a spread like this:
We’ve got some fun tips for you today!
Some of our most popular books about reproduction quilts are on sale—this week only, you’ll save 20% and we’ll even cover your shipping costs.* But more than that, we’re sharing little quiltmaking tips from these talented authors, gleaned right from the pages of their best sellers. So grab the tips below—and grab your favorite books while they’re still a steal!
We know from our recent interview with Julie Hendricksen that she’s a softy for antique quilts—she currently has a collection of several hundred. So when it comes to reproduction fabrics, Julie’s a whiz (it doesn’t hurt that she owns a quilt shop too). In Remembering the Past, Julie examines several blocks in each antique quilt, explaining the interesting choices each quilter made. Her eye for detail is illuminating! And her insights are something you can easily apply to your quilts. An example:
Got lots of Civil War prints, but not sure how to mix them together? You’re in luck—Carol’s a pro. She encourages you to pull fabrics from different fabric lines that reflect these specific colors and prints popular in the mid-1860s:
Fabrics associated with men’s clothing, such as stripes, plaids, checks, polka dots, shirting prints, textured fabrics, and other geometric shapes
Prints with interesting background features, such as vines, dots, squiggles, and mottled colors
Brown, red, blue, purple, and gold color families ranging from light to dark within each colorway
Madder-style prints, stripes, and paisley
Accents of cheddar, cinnamon pinks, and poison greens
Yes, you read that headline right: candles. And Mary and Connie aren’t using the wax—they’re using the flames! Do you dare follow their advice to get an antique look in the sweet doll quilts below?
“These two little projects faithfully represent the doll quilts from long ago that young girls might have played with and cherished during Civil War times. To make these Broken Dishes and Double Four Patch designs look as if they were just pulled out of an antique trunk, we stained the finished quilts in a coffee bath and then literally scorched them with a candle flame in random spots. Carefully!”
If you know which quilt blocks were trendy during the Civil War era, you know that some contain lots of half-square triangles. Paula and Mary Ellen promise there’s no need to fear half-square triangles—especially not with a tool they use called Star Singles:
“We love half-square-triangle units, as you can see from our quilts! We provide cutting options for some projects in which purchased triangle papers are a good option. We like the Star Singles papers for ease and accuracy and often use them in our quiltmaking. They make several identical half-square-triangle units at a time. Star Singles papers are designed by Liz Eagen of Spinning Star Design. They’re widely available at quilt shops and online.”
Of course, Star Singles are optional; learn a different way to make multiple half-square triangles at the same time in this post. Once you choose the technique you like best, you can dive into making these exquisite quilts from Tributes and Treasures:
Another weekend idea: why not share today’s freebie with a friend? You know, that friend who always admires your quilts but swears she wouldn’t know a bobbin from a wagon wheel? We all know someone like her—a little anxious about diving into the wonderful world we call quilting. Print a copy of the Nest free quilt pattern and deliver it to her in person, along with a few fun cuts from your stash to get her started.
(Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the nearest pastry shop on your way to pick up a few goodies, and maybe some fancy coffee drinks. She’d like that. Are the pumpkin-flavored goodies and drinks out yet? )
And then, when you give her the pattern, stash fabrics, and pastries, tell her it’s all just a little gift. From quilter to quilter.
Speaking of stashes . . . even experienced quilters can whip up this fun quilt in an afternoon with that fabric. You know the one—carefully folded and occasionally fondled—the one that’s so lovely you haven’t cut into it yet? Yes, that fabric. The big pieces in this pretty pattern will give that fabric plenty of room to shine.
One more idea: Head to our Facebook page and share our post about the Nest free quilt pattern with all your Facebook friends. Show them what you’ll be making this weekend. Who knows? You may discover that you have more quilty friends than you thought.
Want more fast and fun quilt ideas? Check out Sara Diepersloot’s two popular books on the subject:
All of Sara’s crazy-cute quilts are perfect for:
• weekend start-to-finish sewing fun
• teaching a new quilter the basics
• quick gifts: think housewarmings, baby showers, birthdays, and holidays
• charity quilts
• you—because you love to sew!