1. A hand-sewn running stitch as fast as a sewing machine? Must see 😮

    Yoko SaitoWhen we see a quilt artist do amazing things, we can’t wait to share those amazing things with you. We’ve got one of those magical moments for you today. But you are going to have to see it to believe it. We saw it in person, and we still can’t believe it!

    Japanese master quilt artist Yoko Saito has dedicated 40 years to her craft, and her patchwork-and-appliqué designs are admired the world over. She’s known for hand piecing, hand appliquéing, hand embroidering, and hand quilting all of her work. Her quilts and bags are astonishing, but when you realize everything is sewn by hand, her work becomes even more mind-blowing.

    Dots and Crosses Bag
    Dots and Crosses Bag from
    Quilts and Projects from My Favorite Fabrics

    We had the opportunity to capture video of Ms. Saito stitching, and she showed us how to do a running stitch by hand. We’re excited we get to share her technique with you today—and we’re already betting that your jaw will drop at her speed!

    Reading this post in email? Click here to view the video.

    Yoko Saito gives sewing machines a run for their money, don’t you agree?

    We’re proud to be the distributor of books by Yoko Saito, translated into English and published by Stitch Publications. You can see the Yoko Saito books we carry here—you’ll love owning them not only for the quilts and bags you can create, but for the gorgeous photography, the breathtaking projects, and the opportunity to slow down and dream about where your own creativity can take you.

    Yoko Saito through the YearsYoko Saito’s work is truly like no other, and that’s one of the many reasons we’re thrilled to be publishing a retrospective of her work in our next coffee-table book, Yoko Saito through the Years, coming September 2018. We cannot wait to show you more from this exquisite volume! But until then, you can get your quilty daydreaming in with Yoko Saito’s other books—here are just a few peeks:

    Quilts from Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns
    Quilts from
    Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns

    Bags from Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory
    Bags from
    Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory

    Basketweave Handbag from Yoko Saito’s Woolwork
    Basketweave Handbag from
    Yoko Saito’s Woolwork

    Turtle Pincushion from Yoko Saito’s Woolwork
    Turtle Pincushion from
    Yoko Saito’s Woolwork

    You can watch more how-to videos starring Yoko Saito here:

    So, how often do you sew by hand?

    • Right now it’s just me and my machine.
    • I enjoy both types of sewing!
    • Yoko and I are kindred spirits: I sew everything by hand.

    Tell us in the comments!

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  2. What’s new with The Splendid Sampler? L-o-t-s! Big reveal ahead 🎉🎉🎉

    BIG NEWS about The Splendid Sampler is here! What’s the news?

    Is it that more than 28,000 quilters are now a part of the Splendid Sampler community on Facebook?


    Is it that The Splendid Sampler has been a best seller since it was first published in April of last year?

    Nope, it’s not that either . . .

    Is it that The Splendid Sampler authors Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson have something new up their patchwork sleeves?

    YES! The big news about The Splendid Sampler is . . .

    She’s getting a sister!

    The Splendid Sampler 2

    Get ready to double your sampler-block choices, double your inspiration, and double your quilting fun! The Splendid Sampler 2 is coming in October, and it’s jam-packed with 100 all-new blocks from a special group of 80 stellar designers.

    Jane Davidson and Pat SloanOf the new book, Pat (right) says, “Our online group has become a melting pot of comradeship, education, and inspiration, with true beginners and seasoned quilters sewing alongside each other and cheering each other on. Jane and I wanted the designers of The Splendid Sampler 2 to carry on that same feeling of friendship and encouragement. So we asked them to design their blocks with this question in mind:

    ‘I’m living my best quilting life when . . .?’

    You’ll be delighted by the answers these designers have given in the form of their block designs. We can’t wait to share more with you soon!”

    Stay connected to Pat and Jane’s Facebook page for The Splendid Sampler so you’ll be among the first to know about super-exciting sewing plans in the months leading up to the new book’s release. Don’t own the first book? Order your copy now so you can get ready for the next round of block-making fun!

    You can join the sew-along any time—there are 28,000+ quilters waiting to welcome you. And if you need a little motivation to finish your blocks from the first book, the October release of The Splendid Sampler 2 is IT. So start your sewing engines!

    How many Splendid Sampler blocks have you made so far?

    • None yet—but I’m inspired to begin!
    • 1 to 10
    • 11 to 50
    • 51 to 75
    • 76 to 100
    • I’ve made all 100 blocks—and I finished my quilt!

    Tell us in the comments!

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  3. Even your ancient scraps will ❤ you for trying this technique (+ giveaway!)

    Grab your bits, pieces, strings, strips, and chunks:

    (Yes, even the ones that look like this—you’ve got them too, right?):

    Slice and dice them into smaller scraps:

    Sew them back together this way and that:

    Keep sewing, keep going!

    And before you know it, your bits and pieces begin to turn into something magical, right before your eyes:

    never thought I’d use some of these fabrics again, but even those scraps I saved from my first year as a quilter—1997—are looking good!

    Keep patch-working your way to the size you want (blocks, panels, or strips):

    Square up the edges, and you’ve created a whole new fabric that holds all your scrappy memories.

    I’d never done anything like this before, and I had a great time sewing the Stash Statement way—it was inspiring, liberating, a little crazy, and a LOT of fun. And today we’re thrilled to kick off Kelly Young’s blog tour for her new book, Stash Statement!

    Stash Statement

    With Kelly’s improvisational technique, there’s no such thing as a miscut. You can skip perfect ¼" seams. No need for perfect points. Start with a single color, and then progress to using multicolored scraps in Kelly’s quilts—she provides you with a plan. You get to simply play!

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Quilts from Stash Statement

    Use any fabric you have on hand—everything works and anything goes. These scrap-packed quilts will give a happy home to every piece of fabric you’ve ever saved.

    You’ll find my finished quilt below, but first, meet Kelly Young and get to know more about her stash-busting book!

    Kelly YoungI’ve loved quilts for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always marveled that quilting is the perfect blend of order and creativity.  Of course, making them means that I also get to pet all of the pretty fabric. And let’s face it—what quilter doesn’t love that?

    As any quilter knows, making quilts means making scraps, and figuring out how to use them can be fun but also daunting. My new book, Stash Statement, is all about structured improvisation: using your scraps with a consistent background fabric. You’ll learn to sew your quilt scraps with three easy improvisational methods, and then use those scrappy pieces within the comfort of 12 quilt patterns. It’s a perfect balance of play and predictability, and the texture created in the resulting quilts makes a big statement.

    To help you get the hang of improv piecing, the first four quilts in the book are all about color play and are great whether your scraps are full of bright colors or more muted tones.

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Precarious and Beach Retreat

    Once you’re familiar with the process, you’ll be ready for the quilts in the next section, which mix scraps into a free-for-all of color! These quilts show a variety of fresh styles, and you’ll have fun choosing the perfect background fabric for your scrappy masterpiece.

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Fire Pit and Detour

    The last four quilts in the book use improv units in the background with solid blocks, creating lots of depth and interest—almost like an impressionist painting!

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Bloom Chicka Boom and College Prep

    Structured improvisation is fun for novice and experienced quilters alike. Best of all, since there is no need to cut scraps into uniform sizes, it creates very little waste. I hope you’ll use your scraps with the patterns in the book to make your own stash statement!

    We’re kicking off the Stash Statement blog tour today. Visit my blog at myquiltinfatuation.com for a full list of bloggers, and for a chance to win a copy for yourself. Happy scrapping!

    Follow Kelly! Blog Instagram Facebook

    Thank you for sharing your new book with us, Kelly!

    Grab the opportunity to press, piece, and play with your fabrics like you may never have before—order your copy of Stash Statement at ShopMartingale.com and instantly download the eBook for free.

    And as for my finished quilt—here’s a mini version of Kelly’s Precarious design:

    I do believe I made a little Stash Statement all my own. I was so addicted to the technique that I decided to piece together the background too. SEW FUN!

    Stash StatementWe’ve got a copy of Stash Statement to give away to one random winner today! To be entered into the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    Have you tried improvisational piecing?

    • Yes, I’m an improv addict!
    • I’ve dabbled, but I haven’t finished an improv quilt yet.
    • Not yet, but my stash is ready for a bit of improv!

    We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And be sure to follow the Stash Statement blog tour for more improv fun—the schedule is below.

    Stash Statement Blog-Tour Schedule (see lots more improv quilts on the tour!)

    4/16: Grand Bazaar quilt

    Shelley @ Cora’s Quilts

    Connie @ Freemotion by the River

    4/23: Louvered quilt

    Lindsey @ Primrose Cottage Quilts

    Diann @ Little Penguin Quilts

    4/30: Precarious quilt

    Jess @ Quilty Habit

    Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts

    5/7: Beach Retreat quilt

    Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts

    Liz @ Savor Every Stitch

    5/14: Fire Pit quilt

    Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts

    Preeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts

    5/21: Detour quilt

    Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts 

    Shelley @ The Carpenter’s Daughter Who Quilts

    5/28: Murrina quilt

    Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl

    Leanne @ Devoted Quilter

    6/4: Scattered quilt

    Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal

    Christine @ Triangles and Squares

    6/11: Bloom Chicka Boom

    Chris @ made by ChrissieD

    Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

    6/18: Regatta quilt

    Susan @ Quilt Fabrication

    Debbie @ A Quilter’s Table

    Christa @ Christa Quilts

    6/25: Catch a Falling Star

    Cynthia @ Quilting is More Fun Than Housework

    Anja @ Anja Quilts

    7/2: College Prep quilt

    Hilary @ by Hilary Jordan

    Lori @ Crossquilt

    7/9: Take Flight quilt (bonus digital pattern from the book)

    Kelli @ Seriously, I Think It Needs Stitches

    Paula @ The Sassy Quilter

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  4. Friday the 13th? You’re in luck! Flash sale ⚡ on 2 best-selling eBooks now

    Who knew Friday the 13th would be a lucky day? We did!

    Chase away today’s superstitious vibes with a flash sale on two eBooks that will bring you lots of quilty luck: Simple Graces by Kim Diehl and The Blue and the Gray by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene of Country Threads. Both books are on sale today for just SIX BUCKS EACH—now that’s lucky!

    Simple Graces The Blue and the Gray

    You’ll never run out of luck with Kim’s Simple Graces—inside you’ll find a collection of gorgeous quilts to create. Plus, each quilt is accompanied by adorable companion projects, totaling more than 20 fun projects in all!

    Pedal Pusher quilt
    Make this beautiful Pedal Pusher quilt . . .

    Pedal Pusher pincushions
    And a pretty cotton or wool pincushion to match.

    Pie in the Sky quilt
    Pair this Pie in the Sky quilt . . .

    Patchwork pillowcase
    With a starry patchwork pillowcase.

    As luck would have it, there are six more pretty pairs of projects to create in Simple Graces! See them all here.

    Now, we don’t want to push our luck—but for all you quilters out there with repro stashes, The Blue and the Gray is sure to become your lucky charm.

    Battlefield quilt
    Will you make Battlefield first?

    Ohio Star Crossing quilt
    Or perhaps this Ohio Star Crossing quilt sparks your inspiration.

    Civil Unrest quilt
    This Civil Unrest quilt is sure to bring scrap-sewing luck your way!

    Find 15 more Civil Warinspired quilts to create in The Blue and the Graysee them all here.

    Don’t let your luck run out—download one or both of these beautiful eBooks for just $6 each before our flash sale ends on Sunday, April 15!

    What do you do on Friday the 13th—stay at home with curtains drawn, avoid black cats, never handle mirrors? Or is it just another day? Tell us in the comments!

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  5. Get free-motion quilting: meet your you-can-do-it teacher (+ giveaway!)

    No fancy machine needed, no PhD in quilting required—start free-motion quilting right now with this sequel to a best-selling book for machine quilters just like you!

    More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

    Author Lori Kennedy is back with 62 more fun motifs and tons of tips, tricks, and techniques that will turn you into a top-notch machine quilter (yes, YOU).

    In More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3, you’ll follow Lori’s setup plan for stress-free stitching; then you’ll learn about doodling, troubleshooting, and mastering the perfect stitch. You’ll soon be ready to put your pedal to the metal with seasonal and holiday motifs, backgrounds and fills, and “just for fun” designs that will infuse your quilts with personality. Take a look at just a few of the motifs you can create:

    Free-motion quilting motif: butterfly
    Machine quilt cute butterflies that flutter over a springtime quilt.

    Free-motion quilting motif: baby carriage
    Who wouldn’t want to personalize a baby quilt this way?

    Free-motion quilting motif: scissors
    This scissors motif is quite easy to quilt, as you can see!

    The book also includes a section on how to quilt BIG quilts—Lori’s got loads of ideas to help you succeed.

    We’re excited to again welcome Lori as our guest writer to tell us more about her sequel!

    Do YOU want to know the secret to free-motion quilting?

    Choose motifs that are FUN for you and patterns that reflect YOUR personality. When you are having fun, your quilting will be transformed from a chore to a pleasure and your quilts will be elevated from mundane to cherished family heirlooms!

    My second book, More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3, includes more than 60 FUN motifs and breaks them down into manageable step-by-step instructions with photographs.

    The patterns cover all the seasons. You’ll learn to stitch Spring motifs like Baby Birds and Silly Spiral Flowers and Summer patterns like Easy Breezy Flowers and Windowsill Garden. By Fall, you’ll be ready to add Pumpkins, Spiders, and Jack-o’-Lanterns to your quilts. When the snow starts to fall, you’ll find tutorials for Winter motifs like Wooly Mittens, Poinsettias, and Mistletoe.

    Seasonal free-motion quilting motifs
    Seasonal motifs

    In addition to the seasons, there are three more motif chapters: Celebrations, Just for Fun, and Backgrounds and Fills. Celebrations contains patterns like Cupcakes, Baby Carriage, and Ribbons.

    Free-motion celebration motifs
    Celebrations motifs

    Just for Fun includes motifs for quilters, like Scissors and Pincushions, and other lighthearted motifs like an adorable Circus Train.

    Just for fun free-motion quilting motifs
    Just for Fun motifs

    To round out your choices, you’ll find a variety of Backgrounds and Fills like Chevrons and Arrows and Woodgrain.

    Background and fills free-motion quilting motifs
    Chevrons and Arrows

    For help learning the motifs, there’s a chapter on skill building, which includes tips on doodling six essential doodles, as well as suggestions for refining your stitch technique.

    In the Setup and Supplies chapter, you’ll find timesaving tips to set up your machine quickly and information on how to choose the best needle, thread, batting, and marking tools.

    From More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
    Table of Contents

    The Secret to Free-Motion Quilting: If you have fun while you’re quilting, your quilts will be fun! When you make quilts with personality, your family will enjoy them more—and sleep better snuggled in them!

    Happy quilting!

    Follow Lori! BlogFacebookInstagram

    More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3Thank you for sharing your latest book with us, Lori!

    We have an eBook copy of More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter to win, tell us in the comments:

    How big are the quilts you’ve machine quilted so far?

    • Small.
    • Medium.
    • Large.
    • All of the above!

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to start machine quilting with Lori, you can get her book at ShopMartingale.com and instantly download the eBook for free.

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  6. Creative quilters 💕 That time our editor repurposed a quilt on Instagram . . .

    A fun thing happened a few weeks ago on our Instagram page—so fun, we wanted you to see it too!

    We shared a little project that our acquisitions and development editor Amelia Johanson made to cover and cushion her sewing-room chair. It’s the Sister’s Choice Table Topper by Beth Bradley from the new book Lunch-Hour Patchwork.

    Here’s the original project from the book:

    Sister's Choice Table Topper
    Sister’s Choice Table Topper by Beth Bradley—cute!

    And here are the before-and-after pics of Amelia’s chair:



    Amelia heard that one of our Instagram followers had asked for a little binding tutorial so she could make the chair cover she saw on our feed. What did Amelia do? She sprang into action! Within about 20 minutes, Amelia had drawn diagrams to illustrate the binding process and whipped up a little how-to in words as well. Here’s what she said:

    “It was really simple to turn what was designed as a table topper into a chair pad. Here’s how you do it:

    1. Once you’ve finished your patchwork, layer and quilt it (fig. 1). Trim the backing and batting even with the patchwork top to create your unbound chair pad. (This topper measures 16½" x 16½".)

    2. Sew a strip of binding to each back ‘corner’ and finish by folding the binding to the underside of the chair pad and stitching down by hand (fig. 2).

    1. Cut a binding strip about 42″ long. Center and sew to the back of the chair pad. You should have approximately 15″ of excess binding extending from each side. DO NOT cut off the excess binding at the sides. Fold under the raw edges, making the strip the same width as the finished binding, and hand or machine stitch closed.
    2. Cut another binding strip approximately 70″ long and sew around the sides and front of the chair pad, making sure to leave at least 15″ of excess for ties at each back side and mitering the binding at the front corners. Fold and stitch the excess binding to create ties as you did for the back binding (fig. 3). Place on your chair and tie the loose binding in bows to secure to the chair.”

    Perfect size, perfect polish! Now we’re starting to imagine the possibilities:

    This pretty springtime pattern would be perfect for a chair cover:

    Daisy Delight Candle Mat
    Daisy Delight Candle Mat from
    Sew This and That!

    You’d only need four blocks to make a chair cover based on this beauty:

    Identify Yourself to the Person Who Answers the Phone quilt
    Identify Yourself to the Person Who Answers the Phone from
    Back to Charm School

    How about little Log Cabin chair covers?

    Cabin Corners quilt
    Cabin Corners from
    Jo’s Little Favorites

    Oooh, how about this one in a square shape?

    Rhubarb Crisp quilt
    Rhubarb Crisp by Jo Morton, from
    The Big Book of Table Toppers

    Or . . . how about a cover made from one of the little quilts in Kim Diehl’s new book Simple Whatnots? Now this would really dress up a chair—hole or no hole!

    Scarlet Stars quilt
    Scarlet Stars from
    Simple Whatnots

    Ah, the possibilities! Thanks for the idea, Amelia—and the how-to and the illustrations too!

    Have you used your quilts in unique ways? Tell us about it in the comments!

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  7. Free-motion quilting around appliqués: Pat’s got your back! (video) 📹

    Perhaps you mastered stitch-in-the-ditch machine quilting . . .

    Then you moved on to walking-foot curves . . .

    And now you’re playing with your free-motion foot: loops and curves are looking good!

    So, what’s next?

    In her book Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, Pat’s mapped out how beginners can start machine quilting with straight lines and a walking foot—super doable—and how quilters who’ve had some practice can take their skills to the next level. And if you’ve started free-motion quilting, you’ve got to try the gosh-darn cutest motif Pat shares in her book: bubbles!

    Dresden Candy Dish quilt
    Dresden Candy Dish quilt (pattern included in Pat’s book)

    Free-motion bubbles (also known as pebbles) are an especially great motif for machine quilting around appliqués. Here’s Pat’s 1-2-3 process:

    1. Outline stitch around all the appliqué shapes, including stems, leaves, flowers, and other shapes, stitching as close to the edge of the appliqué as you can to help emphasize the appliqué. Then echo quilt around the shapes so you won’t have to quilt the bubbles in really narrow spaces.
    2. Quilt a background fill to flatten the background and give it texture, such as bubbles—this allows the appliqué to pop off the surface.

    Free-motion bubbles
    Outline quilting + bubbles

    1. Accent larger appliqué shapes with additional quilting. Add a vein to a leaf, stitch a design in a basket, make roof tiles on a house, and so on. Quilting in the shapes adds texture to the motifs and your quilt.

    Free-motion quilting appliques
    Quilting inside larger appliqué shapes

    Now that you know what to quilt around and on your appliqué motifs, you’ve got to know how to quilt them. Again, it’s Pat to the rescue! In the video below, Pat demonstrates how to freehand draw and then free-motion quilt bubbles:

    Viewing this post in email? Click here to watch the video.

    Think you can quilt bubbles like Pat? If you’re not so sure, Pat has a little advice just for you:

    “Take a deep breath. Free-motion quilting is not scary, but
    you’ll probably make some scary-looking stitches before you
    figure it all out. Accept that you won’t be an expert at the
    beginning, and it will be much easier to learn.”  –Pat Sloan

    Practice makes progress!

    Of course, Pat’s got a lot more than bubbles in her best-selling book—even if you are a straight-up newbie, she’s got you covered. She knows you gotta start somewhere! So in Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, she takes you through a progression.

    First, you’ll learn to quilt with a walking foot—straight lines, large curves, and decorative stitches to start:

    Strippy Table Runners
    Strippy Table Runners

    Then, you’ll try simple Xs and echo quilting:

    Checkerboard Hearts quilt
    Checkerboard Hearts quilt

    Next, you’ll move on to loops, swirls, and curls:

    Mexican Rose quilt
    Mexican Rose quilt

    And finally, you’ll combine different techniques in a single quilt:

    Cherry Pie quilt
    Cherry Pie quilt: Pat stitched walking-foot waves in the sashing; meandering, loops, bubbles, and echoes in the block backgrounds; and horizontal straight lines in the plus signs at the center of each block

    You’ll also find oodles of tips for how to set up your home sewing machine in the book, so when the time comes, you can skip all those hassles that new machine quilters face without Pat at their side. There are nine quilt projects included to practice on too! See them all here.

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine QuiltHere’s what quilters like you are saying about Pat’s book:

    “This book has everything you need to know to machine quilt. Pat offers many helpful details and tips for someone doing this for the first time. I successfully quilted my first project . . . I have planned several new projects using the patterns provided!”

    “Pat Sloan is a very good teacher. This book is for all who are just starting quilting. You will learn everything you need to know to make your first quilt.”

    “A great book on machine quilting! Pat Sloan explains everything simply, and I would buy her books unseen just because she wrote them!”

    You can order Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt at ShopMartingale.com and we’ll send you a link to download the eBook instantly for free.

    How far along are you on your machine-quilting path?

    • I’ve taken all the curves, loops, and swirls you can take!
    • I’m on the path and excited for what I see ahead.
    • Thinking about stepping onto the path soon!

    Tell us in the comments!

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  8. The “value” of your smart phone: are you using this quilting trick? 📱

    We’ve got a quick quilting trick for you today!

    If you’ve ever struggled with deciphering the values of different fabrics, this is a tip that’ll provide lots of “value” when you’re choosing fabrics for a quilt, arranging blocks, or just trying to figure out the value of a particular fabric—not value moneywise, but value colorwise! (Light? Medium? Dark? Sometimes it’s hard to tell!)

    Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color.

    The secret tool you’ll need to help determine fabric values is probably nearby right now—in fact, it may be in your purse or pocket. It’s your phone—and if it can take photos, it just might become in-value-able to your quiltmaking life!

    I was having some trouble organizing these batiks from light to dark in value. Here’s how you can use your smart phone to get the values right:

    1. Snap a pic of the fabrics you’re struggling to sort by value.

    I couldn’t quite tell where the three center fabrics fell on the value scale, and that pesky blue-green print was tripping me up too. Would it read as dark or medium in my quilt?

    2. Tap on the photo you’ve taken; then choose to Edit the photo (in this example I’m using the camera app on an Android phone; you may have similar editing options on your phone).

    3. In the Edit menu, you should see a “Grayscale,” “Mono,” or “Black-and-White” option; tap on that.

    4. Now your photo should look like a black-and-white photo, with all the colors removed. All that remains are the values of the fabrics.

    5. Now that you can see the values of your fabrics, you can arrange them from light to dark and then use them in a way that produces more contrast in your quilt blocks.

    Photo with the colors removed

    New arrangement of fabrics from dark to light

    Those medium-value fabrics can be tricky—but now you’ve got a way to put them in their patchwork place!

    A wonderful book to give your value-picking skills some practice is Stashtastic! by Doug Leko. Doug’s designed a dozen beautiful quilts and each quilt is shown in a different colorway, like this:

    French Twist quilt
    French Twist from Stashtastic!

    The value exercise above will give you special insight into creating all of Doug’s gorgeous quilts with your gorgeous fabrics! You can see more quilts from Stashtastic! here.

    We hope you found this little tutorial helpful! How do you usually determine the values of your fabrics? Tell us in the comments!

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  9. Wish List Day! Whatnots, wool, and wonderful embroidery (+ giveaway!)

    It’s gonna be an awesome day—it’s Wish List Day! We’re counting down to a new batch of beautiful Martingale books arriving in May. Tell us which new release is your favorite at the end of this post and you could win it!

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

    Simple WhatnotsSimple Whatnots
    A Batch of Satisfyingly Scrappy Little Quilts
    Kim Diehl

    Small, scrappy, heartfelt, and happy—Kim Diehl is back on a splendidly small scale! Kim’s little quilts have three big benefits: they’re scrap friendly, they’re quick to finish, and they’re as cute as can be. Choose from 18 petite quilts in Kim’s signature style (five are all-new; 13 were a part of Kim’s Simple Whatnots Club). Learn streamlined techniques for precise piecing, invisible machine appliqué, and wool appliqué. Use completed projects as wall quilts and table toppers, or follow Kim’s lead and display projects in other creative ways. And, as always, Kim shares her “Extra Snippet” sewing tips throughout so that YOU can become a better quilter . . . little by little!

    Check out a “little” more from Kim’s latest book >

    Stitches from the YuletideStitches from the Yuletide
    Hand Embroidery to Celebrate the Season

    Kathy Schmitz

    Celebrate the charms of the season with exquisite embroidery from best-selling author Kathy Schmitz! You’ll find spectacular embroidered winter scenes inspired by classic motifs, delightful hand-drawn sketches, and beautiful watercolor paintings in page after page of elegant designs.

    Create a pillow, tea towels, wall art, ornaments, and more, all perfect for decorating and gift giving. Motifs range from jolly snowmen to frolicking reindeer. Kathy’s signature birds and bunnies also make a special appearance—they’ll inspire you to start some of the season’s best stitching!

    Start stitching for the year’s most magical season >

    Pure & SimplePure & Simple
    17 Primitive Projects Inspired by the Seasons
    Maggie Bonanomi

    Maggie’s designs will charm you—as all things do when they’re handmade and from the heart! Follow this celebrated maker on a creative journey inspired by a simpler time. In her world, hand-drawn patterns and hand-dyed wool combine with artful motifs and casual stitches. The result is a collection of primitive projects that are a delight to make, use, and enjoy. No fancy skills to learn, no expensive tools to buy: a needle, thread, and wool are all you need to begin. Create pillows, runners and toppers, wall art, and more to warm up any nook or cranny.

    Simply fun to stitch—see more from Maggie >

    Elegant EmbroideryElegant Embroidery
    Reiko Mori

    The latest book from Stitch Publications opens the door to the artful world of Japanese master embroiderer Reiko Mori, whose incredible work embodies charm, grace, and true elegance. More than 40 motifs are grouped into enchanting vignettes to mix and match, and you can feature them in 11 projects, including totes, fabric-covered boxes, and more. Learn 16 embroidery stitches to create designs for holidays, seasons, and everyday occasions. Themed chapters include flower, marine, and Christmas collections, as well as an assortment of Ms. Mori’s signature black-on-linen designs.

    See more from this captivating embroidery collection >

    Which book above would make your May extra marvelous? Tell us in the comments and you could win it when it’s released! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

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  10. Sew sweet! Small wool projects for sewing on the go (+ giveaway!)

    Introducing perfectly portable projects for sewing on the go, new from an author we all know and love—the Teacher’s Pet, Kathy Brown!

    Lunch-Hour Wool Minis

    Kathy’s fun projects in Lunch-Hour Wool Minis are so small, so sweet—and so simple to complete. About all that’s needed is a needle, thread, wool, and a little lunch-hour time to make 14 cute and creative projects. Seasonal and everyday designs include framed art:

    Ewe and Me and the Jingle Tree
    Ewe and Me and the Jingle Tree

    A mug rug:

    Bees and Blossoms
    Bees and Blossoms

    And fun pieces you can stitch and attach to craft-store and found items to make them extraordinary:

    Projects from Lunch-Hour Wool Minis
    More projects from
    Lunch-Hour Wool Minis

    Even beginners can easily appliqué these charming decor pieces—and complete each in a few lunch breaks or less!

    Today we’re excited to have Kathy here as a guest writer to tell us more about her latest book—and the “chilly” story of how her love affair with wool began.

    Kathy BrownI have been a creative person for as long as I can remember. From an early age armed with crayons, paper, and tempera paint to my later years where I dabbled in pen and ink illustrations, china painting, ceramics, cross-stitch, and more, my hands were forever moving and creating.

    In the early nineties, I discovered the world of quilting and instantly fell in love. It was the creative outlet I needed for my hands to work their magic. Yet something, some little thing, was still missing in my creative soul.

    As chance would have it, a dear friend in the bitter-cold climate of Wisconsin had an obsession (I mean that in a good way) and led me to the world of wool. Up until that point, wool was a four-letter word to this Louisiana girl. Hot, rough, itchy, and utilitarian were the only words I knew to describe wool. Little did I know that wool could become such a glorious fabric for me to work with: soft, supple, hand-dyed, full of textures, and just waiting to be turned into glorious works of art!

    Wool threads
    And don’t forget wool threads—scrumptious!

    Armed with the creative spark that started that day, I began my journey into wool working. I love to think of my passion for wool as a fire hidden deep within, originating from my great grandparents who emigrated to the United States from their tiny little island of Fair Isle, Scotland, where the Shetland sheep roam free upon the lands. Today, you can find me knee-deep in my wool obsession, so much so that when the wonderful folks at Martingale asked if I’d like to write another book, I immediately said yes—if it could be a book about wool! And so here we are with Lunch-Hour Wool Minis!

    I love working with mini projects. A lot of us, myself included, have so many commitments in our lives today that we don’t have time to create pieces that take weeks or months to complete. So the idea of wool minis was on my mind when I started writing this book. Add to that, I absolutely love working with old, antique, or reproduction pieces that can be repurposed into fabulous “bases” that incorporate the wool-appliqué project I’m working on. A good example of this is Night Lights—taking a common cheese grater and repurposing it as a base for a cute snowman appliqué and letting it do double duty as a luminary by placing a battery-operated timer candle on the inside!

    Night Lights
    Night Lights

    Another favorite is this cute little bunny among soft white daisies, mounted on a vintage grain scoop—a perfect way to usher in the sweet days of springtime.

    Sweet Smell of Spring
    Sweet Smell of Spring

    Any free time I have is usually spent scouring vintage shops or antique stores, hunting down those “just-right” pieces that I can find to accentuate the wool appliqué that is next on my list! I hope you’ll find wonderful ways to embellish items you have in your home with the projects from Lunch-Hour Wool Minis.

    Lunch-Hour Wool MinisThank you for giving us a peek into your latest book, Kathy!

    We have a copy of Lunch-Hour Wool Minis to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter your name into the random drawing, tell us:

    Do you have a wool stash? 

    • No wool yet—but Kathy’s inspired me to start one!
    • I’ve got bits and pieces, and I’m ready for more.
    • I think I’ve got a flock of sheep’s worth of wool!

    Tell us your answer in the comments—we’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to make a mini with Kathy right now, purchase your copy of Lunch-Hour Wool Minis at ShopMartingale.com and you can instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I just started working with wool about a year ago and love it! I’m just starting to build my wool stash… So much fun!”

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

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