1. The happiest amigurumi you’ll ever see (+ giveaway)

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    From Happy-gurumi

    Have you heard the latest buzz? No, it’s not the bees taking up residence in your garden. It’s the happiest collection of amigurumi toys ever!

    But there’s something unique about these crochet designs: many of them have puppet-style mouths. Vanessa Chan, author of Happy-gurumi, started incorporating open mouths for her crocheted softies after studying animation in college. Vanessa is here to tell us more about her process and inspiration—welcome, Vanessa!

    Vanessa ChanHello everyone! I’m really excited for the release of my first book, Happy-gurumi! I often get asked about how I came up with the designs for the book and how I started doing puppet-style mouths. I started crocheting in college, where I studied stop-motion animation. I naturally gravitated toward combining crochet with my puppets and started working on the open-style mouth for some of my puppets. I liked the happy mouth so much that I started adding it to my amigurumi and kept going from there. For the future, I’m working on developing new styles of mouths and details inspired by my stop-motion puppets.

    One of Vanessa's working prototypes
    One of Vanessa’s working prototypes

    For my designs, I keep a running list of potential amigurumi ideas, and I used that list as a starting point when picking projects for the book. When thinking of new designs, I’ll ask my friends and family about their favorite animals or what they’d like to see next. I also try to make a fun, goofy version of everyday things such as a daisy or root beer float.

    Crocheted Root-Beer Float

    Crocheted Present

    I hope you crochet these designs yourself! Remember not to be discouraged if your softie doesn’t look exactly like the one in the picture. Even when I follow my own patterns, each amigurumi turns out a bit different, but they all have their own personality!

    Would you like to win a copy of Happy-gurumi?

    Because Vanessa’s characters are bursting with personality and ready to speak, we helped her caption all the photos in the book. Check out some of the silly puns in Happy-gurumi:

    Crocheted Sunshine

    Crocheted Elephant

    Think you can come up with even funnier captions? Head on over to our Facebook page to enter the Happy-gurumi caption contest! You could win a copy of Happy-gurumi. We’ll choose three winners; we can’t wait to read your submissions!

    Visit the gallery to see all 20 projects (and enjoy the captions) in Happy-gurumi.

    Happy-gurumiCrocheted amigurumi: silly animals or goofy objects? Tell us your pick in the comments! Don’t forget to enter the Happy-gurumi contest on Facebook for your chance to win a copy of Happy-gurumi.
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  2. How to appliqué quilts just like Kim Diehl (+ fabric giveaway!)

    If you’ve always wanted to appliqué exquisite quilts just like bestselling author Kim Diehl, we’re thrilled to tell you that the following statement has never been truer than with the release of Kim’s new book:

    You CAN do it!

    Homestead Harvest quilt from Simple Appeal
    “Homestead Harvest” from
    Simple Appeal

    Bittersweet Briar quilt from Simple GracesIn her ninth book, Simple Appliqué, Kim shares her best techniques—developed over years of teaching thousands of appliqué students—for six different ways to appliqué. (Did you even know there were six ways to appliqué?) From traditional needle-turn appliqué to her signature invisible machine method, Simple Appliqué is a class, a show-and-tell, a guidebook, and a reference all in one—and it’s a book you’ll rely on for as long as you love needle and thread.
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    DID YOU KNOW? After teaching herself the steps needed to make a quilt in the late 1990s, Kim entered and won American Patchwork & Quilting magazine’s “Pieces of the Past” quilt challenge with the third quilt she’d ever made.

    Oh, and don’t forget—Simple Appliqué is a project book too! Once you experiment with all six techniques, you can choose your favorite to create Kim’s stunning “Scrap Basket Blossoms” quilt. The complete pattern is included.

    Scrap Basket Blossoms quilt
    “Scrap Basket Blossoms”

    With this all-inclusive handbook, you’ll never be at a loss for an appliqué answer again. We’re happy to have Kim as a guest blogger today to tell you more about Simple Appliqué. Take it away, Kim!

    GIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Henry Glass have generously provided a beautiful bundle of 28 fat eighths from Kim’s “Heritage Hollow” line to give away to you!

    Simple Applique fabric giveaway

    Learn how you can win it, along with a copy of the Simple Appliqué eBook, at the bottom of this post.

    Kim DiehlGreetings from Idaho! I’ve been so blessed to be a quiltmaker for more than 15 years, and while I’ve loved making each and every one of my quilts, my very favorite projects have always been those that include appliqué. I’m really passionate about appliqué and I love the magic that even simple designs can bring to a quilt—so much so, that I’ve spent more than 10 years traveling around the country teaching my techniques.

    During my travels I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of quiltmakers who enjoy appliqué, but in all honesty, I’ve also met others who consider it to be the “A-word” and find it more than a little bit intimidating. My goal in writing Simple Appliqué is to show that when appliqué is broken down into small, simple steps, it’s very approachable and SO not scary!

    In Simple Appliqué, six of my favorite appliqué techniques are explained in down-to-earth, easy-to-understand language, with each section featuring tons of how-to photos and illustrations.

    How-to photos from Simple Applique
    Detailed how-to photos from
    Simple Appliqué

    For an added dollop of inspiration, and to give you the itch to stitch, I’ve included scads of my favorite quilt photos from my previous books.

    Quilt photos from Simple Applique
    Quilt photos from
    Simple Appliqué

    The icing on the appliqué cake is the dozens of “Pin Point” tips shared throughout Simple Appliqué—little tips, tricks, and hints that I’ve learned through many years of trial and error while I honed my appliqué skills. Here’s just one great tip from the book:

    Pin Point tip from Simple Applique

    With a few quick swipes of your pencil, the “Fit Your Skill Level” tip will make any appliqué project doable as you learn, until one day you realize that this step is no longer necessary and you can stitch any shape with confidence!

    It’s my hope that as you read through the steps for each of the six appliqué methods, you’ll feel like we’ve tackled them together. I hope you enjoy Simple Appliqué!

    Simple AppliqueThanks for sharing your latest book with us, Kim!

    What appliqué method haven’t you tried yet: needle turn, machine, trapunto, fusion, wool, or fusible? Tell us in the comments and you could win a bundle of Kim’s latest fabric line from our friends at Henry Glass plus a copy of the Simple Appliqué eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Buy Simple Appliqué today and get the eBook instantly for free:

    Print book (with free eBook): $22.99
    eBook only: $14.99

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    Kim Diehl's Best Applique Freezer PaperCOMING IN JULY: Kim Diehl’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper

    The quality product that Kim uses for her invisible machine-appliqué method! Create instant tracing templates and pattern pieces for hand or machine appliqué using an inkjet printer or photocopier. Includes 30 sheets + a free downloadable pattern.

    Add to Wish List | Notify Me
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  3. 11 simple quilt blocks you can make in 10 minutes

    11 quilt blocks to make in 10 minutes

    Work, school, after-school activities, appointments, shopping, cooking, cleaning…whew! Do you sometimes feel you’ll never find time to quilt? We feel that way too, so we set out to find ways to squeeze a little quilting into small chunks of time. Do you know what we found? A surprising number of easy quilt blocks that you can cut, sew, and press in less than 10 minutes. It’s true! We know because we timed ourselves just for fun. And if you use chain piecing, that single block will turn into a stack before you know it.

    So what blocks come together that quickly? Look at classic beginner quilt blocks, just for starters. A few that spring to mind immediately are Rail Fence, Nine Patch, Square in a Square, and Half-Square Triangles. Using 2½" strips from a Jelly Roll, we actually made four Rail Fence blocks in 10 minutes. Just imagine how quickly you can finish that quilt! And half-square triangles are easy to make in pairs, so there’s another block that reproduces in a hurry.

    Rail Fence quilt block
    Rail Fence quilt block
    Nine Patch quilt block
    Nine Patch quilt block
    Square-in-a-Square quilt block
    Square-in-a-Square quilt block
    Half-square triangle quilt block
    Half-Square Triangle

    501 Rotary-Cut Quilt BlocksThose are just a few of the dozens of simple quilt blocks quilters have loved for years. To find more, we dove into 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins, an amazing resource in which every block is given in six sizes. (That’s more than 3000 possibilities!) There were so many good options it was hard to decide what to show, so we chose just a few to feature below. See more of the astonishing variety of blocks in this treasury here: 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks.

    Blocks in a Box quilt block
    Blocks in a Box
    Cotton Reels quilt block
    Cotton Reels
    Counterpane quilt block
    Flying Goose quilt block
    Flying Goose
    Four Patch quilt block
    Four Patch
    Pinwheel quilt block
    Shoo Fly quilt block
    Shoo Fly

    With all this talk of quick and easy, it’s good to remember that just because the blocks are simple doesn’t mean a quilt is boring. Check out these examples of fabulous quilts made from easy quilt blocks.

    Rail Fence quilt
    “Don’t Interrupt!,” from
    Country Threads Goes to Charm School by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene, features the simple Rail Fence block.

    Nine Patch quilt
    Nine-Patch blocks in sweet ’30s prints star in “Take 5…Visits the General Store,” from
    More Take 5 Quilts by Kathy Brown.

    Square in a Square quilt
    “Cornucopia,” from
    Big ’n Easy by Judy Hopkins, starts with Square-in-a-Square blocks.

    Half-square triangle quilt
    If you can make a half-square triangle, you can make “Rainbow Stash Buster” by Megan Jimenez from
    Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe.

    What’s your go-to block when you need a quilt fix in a hurry? Tell us in the comments.

    Save 40% on select eBooks this week!

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  4. What is your quilty name?

    Welcome to Quilt Town!

    The Village Square quilt from Irish Chain Quilts
    “The Village Square” from Irish Chain Quilts (available in May; add to wish list)

    Quilt Town is the coziest city on earth, a place where all persons, places, and things are snuggled up in—you guessed it—quilts! You, me, rooftops, tree trunks, mailboxes, swimming-pool covers…

    The Village Square quilt detailAll the quilters in Quilt Town are granted special powers: perfect ¼" seams, flawless matching points, and boundless creativity. Plus a never-ending supply of calorie-free chocolate.

    In Quilt Town, it’s never more than a two-block walk to the local quilt shop. Why? Because there’s a quilt shop every two blocks!

    Now, in Quilt Town we all have special names. Cozy, quilty names. And if you’re reading this post—PATCHACADABRA!—you just became an honorary citizen of Quilt Town. And all honorary citizens are granted their own special, cozy quilty names. Find out your quilty name below.

    What is your Quilt Town name?

    Thanks for visiting Quilt Town! Stop by anytime you need a quilting fix or a quilting friend.

    P.S. We originally named our quilty city "Quiltville;" our apologies to the Quiltville down the road! A few people pointed out that the name we chose for our city is already on the map. Talk about an oops. Of course we know and love Bonnie Hunter’s site; our memory simply failed us when coming up with a name for our little game.

    Want to create a little Quilt Town of your own? Check out these fun, city-inspired patterns:

    House quilts from Fig Tree Quilts: Houses
    Fig Tree Quilts: Houses (individual ePatterns also available)

    Quilted bed runner from Christmas is Coming
    Christmas Is Coming

    House quilt from Folk-Art Favorites
    From Folk-Art Favorites

    What’s your quilt name in Quilt Town? Tell us in the comments!

    Save 40% on select eBooks this week!

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  5. One goofproof way to choose quilt colors (+ sale)

    How to choose quilt colors: block mockups

    Fabric color wheelIf you’ve ever wished that quilt color combinations would come to you via instinct, intuition, or a reoccurring series of color-splashed dreams, you’re not alone. Let’s face it: some quilters have a natural gift for choosing colors. And then there’s the rest of us!

    Lessons in color theory are helpful, but there’s no substitute for auditioning fabrics with the one foolproof tool that’s always available: your own two eyes.

    That’s where handy (and fun!) quilt-block mock-ups come in. In Color for the Terrified Quilter, Sharon Pederson and Ionne McCauley share an easy way to audition fabrics in a single block. Enjoy the freedom to try different color combinations and get the look you want—all before you get to the sewing stage.

    How to choose quilt colors: making a block mock-up

    from Color for the Terrified Quilter by Sharon Pederson and Ionne McCauley

    1. Make at least two photocopies of the block pattern you plan to use, enlarging if desired.

    2. Gather a glue stick, pencil for making notes, rotary cutter, and a ruler and cutting mat.

    3. Select fabrics and cut the patches for your chosen block. Cut patches to the exact dimensions of the shapes on the paper, without seam allowances. (You might want to make one extra copy of the block pattern and cut shapes from it, then use them as templates for cutting fabrics.)

    4. Arrange your fabrics on the photocopy of the block. Keep that glue stick capped for now; you might go through several fabric choices before you make your final decision.

    Quilt-block mockup

    5. Before finalizing your color choices, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Is the value contrast where you want it?
    • Are the lights, mediums, and darks in the right places?
    • Can you see the shapes?
    • Do some blend together? Is that what you want?
    • Is there any one fabric that stands out too much?
    • Squint or use a reducing glass to see the overall contrast of values.

    6. Once you’re happy with the block, grab your glue stick. (Technical tip—put the glue on the paper, not the fabric.) Apply glue to the second mock-up sheet, and then move your fabric pieces carefully and place them in position. Apply gentle pressure and smooth out the fabric to adhere it to the paper.

    7. Note what you learned, changes you want to try, and the date in the margins.

    Block-mockup examples
    Examples of block mock-ups

    Color for the Terrified QuilterIn Color for the Terrified Quilter, you’ll use block mock-ups to build your color confidence. Play with monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split-complementary, and triad color combinations—master them all with paper, glue, and fabric!

    See more from Color for the Terrified Quilter >

    40% off this week only:
    $18.95 $11.37

    Want more colorful quilt ideas?

    Check out these color-happy eBooks on sale—all 40% off this week!

    Colorful Quilts Sew Fun, So Colorful Quilts Quilt Challenge

    For even more colorful quilt ideas, check out Fabric Play and A Modern Twist.

    Which color makes it into your quilts most? Tell us in the comments!

    You might also like:
    Try a color lesson that sorts your stash too

    Save 40% on select eBooks this week!

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  6. Worsted-weight stash? Try these yarn patterns!

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    Got a pile of worsted-weight yarn in your stash, waiting to be used? Then we’ve got patterns for you!

    Over the next few months, we’ll share popular knitting and crochet patterns that will help bust through your stash. Look for a select yarn type and weight each month, so no matter what you have in your stash, you’ll be slashing through it in no time!

    Stash Dash

    Want to join our Stash Dash? You can do so by subscribing to the blog here.

    Before we get to the round up, what is worsted-weight yarn anyway? "Worsted-weight yarn is probably your BFF in knitting and crocheting," according to Craftsy and we agree! It’s a medium-weight yarn that gets its name from a village called Worstead in England. Check out this quick-and-dirty chart from the Craft Yarn Council of America:

    Worsted-weight yarns

    Here’s a quick tip: got unlabeled yarn in your stash? Knit a gauge swatch to determine what weight it is. Find out how to knit a gauge swatch in this post.

    These crochet and knitting patterns will LOVE your worsted-weight stash yarn:

    From 20 Easy Knitted Blankets and Throws From Knitted Scarves From Cozy Toes for Baby
    From left to right: 20 Easy Knitted Blankets and Throws, Knitted Scarves, Cozy Toes for Baby.

    From Knit Pink From Modern Baby Crochet From Knit a Monster Nursery
    From left to right: Knit Pink, Modern Baby Crochet, Knit a Monster Nursery.

    Which yarn weight would YOU like to see in our next roundup? Tell us in the comments! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog—you won’t want to miss the next Stash Dash.

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  7. It’s official: you’ve got a big crush on little quilts (fabric giveaway!)

    Little Gems blog hop

    Get ready for some BIG fun during the Little Gems Blog Hop!

    We’re happy to help author Connie Kauffman kick off her hop with several five-star reviews of the book—all from quilters like you—plus a big giveaway!

    Quilt from Little GemsSo why all the quilty buzz about these tiny treasures?

    • You can make each striking 12″ x 12″ quilt entirely from your scrap stash
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    • Get the ultimate in accuracy with paper piecing—these small quilts are perfect for practicing the technique
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    • Finish the backing and binding with a single fat quarter
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    Follow the hop and you’ll see 10 different bloggers remake the quilts from Little Gems in fabulous fabrics from Island Batik. See the original quilt from the book plus the remake together—you’ll be inspired to whip up your own versions.

    Quilts from Little Gems

    See more petite patchwork in Little Gems >

    Check out what quilters are saying about Little Gems at ShopMartingale:

    “I just finished one of the projects featured in Connie’s book, called ‘Serenity,’ and I love it! As Connie suggests, I picked fabrics at random as I was putting the blocks together…I am already picking my next project!”

    “These are great looking miniature quilts. Great for embellishments! Good patterns to use up scraps. A definite must-have book for your quilting library.”

    “What a neat book! I love paper piecing and Connie’s patterns are very precise and easy to understand. I have fabric waiting for the ‘Playing with Plaids’ quilt.”

    “If you, like me, keep all your scraps and leftover fabric to use in a project later, then let me tell you that this book is for us.”

    “Easy to read and understand; makes creating these miniatures such a joy. The step-by-step instructions make it so simple. Even beginners will be able to quilt one of Connie Kauffman’s lovely designs.”

    BIG GIVEAWAY! Win a beautiful bundle of new “Jewels and Gems” fabric (not even officially available yet!) from our friends at Island Batik, a copy of Little Gems, PLUS a pack of our Papers for Foundation Piecing!

    Little Gems giveaway

    For your chance to win, answer this question in the comments:

    How’s your paper-piecing prowess: practiced a little, practiced a lot, practiced to perfection, or shy to try?

    We’ll choose a random winner on Monday, April 20, and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Follow the Little Gems Blog Hop for your chance to win more fun prizes:

    Wednesday, April 8: Author Connie Kauffman remakes “Serenity”
    Thursday, April 9: Martingale (that’s us!)
    Friday, April 10: Connie Campbell remakes “Playing with Plaids”
    Saturday, April 11: Barbara Gaddy remakes “Spinners”
    Sunday, April 12: Barbara Chojnacki remakes “Daisy Daze”
    Monday, April 13: Author Connie Kauffman hosts Ackfeld Manufacturing
    Tuesday, April 14: Tammy Silvers remakes “Forest Fire”
    Wednesday, April 15: Maryellen McAuliffe remakes “Radiance”
    Thursday, April 16: Bea Lee remakes “Star Burst”
    Friday, April 17: Linda Pearl remakes “Tranquility”
    Saturday, April 18: Island Batik remakes “Cotton Candy”

    You might also like:
    Scrap overload? Piece these “little gems” in a flash

    #imadeitmyselfieHave you made a project from Little Gems?
    Please let us know how it turned out! Share a picture of you and your project on Instagram with the hashtag #imadeitmyselfie!

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  8. Our BYOF (bring your own fabric) mini quilt retreat: hop + giveaway!

    Make It, Take ItHere are a few great things about quilt retreats:

    1. They’re away from home, chores, kids, and responsibilities.
    2. Retreats are all about hanging out with sewing buddies and developing friendships.
    3. But they’re also about getting projects completed.
    4. Retreats are a great time to relax, unplug, and unwind—sometimes with a little wine and chitchat.
    5. After the retreat is over, you can return to daily life refreshed, rejuvenated, and with your work-in-progress pile a little bit lighter.

    Quilt-retreat ideas

    That’s the spirit behind Krista Hennebury’s NEW book, Make It, Take It. The book is full of fun stories from contributors, as well as clever ideas for quilt-retreat projects to inspire friendship and community.

    Projects from Make It Take It

    Prior to Krista’s book-release date, we were itching to hold our own retreat. So we took a break from our desks and got together to sew the “Rainbow ‘Round the Cabin” quilt in Make It, Take It. For this round-robin style project, everyone brings a couple yards of their own fabric in a predetermined colorway, plus a 12″ center block. The center block can be whatever you choose: a pieced or appliquéd block, or simply a square of favorite fabric—whatever makes your quilty heart happy!

    We had a dozen eager participants, so we split up into two groups. One group chose brights and the other neutrals. Check out some of the photos from our in-office quilt retreat:

    Virginia sewing, Linda cutting
    Virginia adds a row to someone else’s quilt top, and Linda squares up a quilt top. There was plenty of time to swap stories and laughter in the line for the iron and the rotary cutter!

    Virginia, Sarah, and Durby sewing
    Virginia, Sarah, and Durby busy adding rounds.

    Cathy, Karen, and Mary sewing
    Cathy, Karen J., and Mary help each other determine in what order the rounds should be added.

    In just two hours we had 12 quilt tops finished. Unbelievable!

    Of course, we had to take group photos of our two round robin teams and their finished quilts! We confess, it got a little silly:

    Bright Make It, Take It quilts
    The bright group, clockwise from top left: Beth, Linda, Cornelia, Kara, Mary, and Karen B.

    Neutral Make It, Take It quilts
    The neutral group, clockwise from top left: Karen J., Cathy, Virginia, Durby, Sheila, and Sarah.

    See the original “Rainbow ‘Round the Cabin” quilt in the gallery.

    Wanna see more fun projects for your next quilting getaway? For even more great quilt-retreat ideas and projects to make before AND during your retreat, look for Make It, Take It by Krista Hennebury at your favorite local quilt shop or at ShopMartingale.com. Don’t miss the other stops on the Make It, Take It Blog Tour:

    Friday, April 3 blog-hop kickoff: Krista at Poppyprint
    Monday, April 6: Berene at Happy Sew Lucky and Amy at During Quiet Time
    Tuesday, April 7: Leanne at She Can Quilt and Felicity at Felicity Quilts
    Wednesday, April 8: Martingale Inc. at Stitch This! (that’s us!)
    Thursday, April 9: Krista at Spotted Stones and Krista at Krista Withers Quilting
    Friday, April 10: Lynne at Lily’s Quilts and Cindy at Live a Colorful Life
    Saturday, April 11: Ayumi at Pink Penguin and Krista at Poppyprint
    Sunday, April 12: Kristie at OCD: Obsessive Crafting Disorder and Christina at Sometimes Crafter

    What’s your best quilt retreat story? Tell us in the comments and you’ll be entered to win an eBook copy of Make It, Take It. We’ll pick a random winner one week from today and contact the winner by email. Good luck!

    20% off + free shipping on select books this week!

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  9. New Martingale quilting books: April 2015

    Welcome to Wish-List Day! At the beginning of each month we reserve one day to give you a sneak peek at new Martingale quilting books and more coming to your local quilt or yarn shop. Click on a book cover below; then use the “Wish List” and “Notify Me” tools at ShopMartingale.com to keep track of your favorites.

    Wish List and Notify Me tools

    Subscribe to our blog so you’ll know when each book is available. Enter to win your favorite at the bottom of this post!


    Simple AppliqueSimple Appliqué: Approachable Techniques – Easy Methods – Beautiful Results!
    Kim Diehl

    What’s inside: Appliqué exquisite quilts just like Kim Diehl? Sign us up! Kim’s taught her appliqué methods to quilters around the country for years. Now she’s sharing her classroom how-to for six different appliqué techniques, from traditional needle-turn appliqué to her signature invisible machine appliqué. With this all-inclusive reference, you’ll never be at a loss for an appliqué answer again!

    Why you’ll love it: Each method is a snap to master, with close-up color photos of real hands doing the real steps, plus a little hand-holding from Kim via her written instructions. Experiment with all six techniques; then choose your favorite to create her striking “Scrap Basket Blossoms” quilt (full-sized pattern included).

    From Simple Applique
    Left: ”Scrap Basket Blossoms” quilt. Right: how-to photos from
    Simple Appliqué.

    BONUS >>> Kim includes favorite tips and tricks in her trademark “Pin Point” boxes throughout to make your appliqué journey even smoother.

    Browse the photo gallery to see more how-to shots from Simple Appliqué >

    Style and SwingStyle and Swing: 12 Structured Handbags for Beginners and Beyond
    Susan Dunlop

    What’s inside: The perfect accessory for fabric lovers? A stylish, sewed-it-myself handbag, of course! Susan’s beautiful bags are sturdy and structured, but sidestep  complex techniques. Funky, uptown, trendy, groovy—which bag best fits your style?

    Why you’ll love it: Stash accumulators, listen up: get ready to feature your fabrics in a whole new way. From a simple, elegant handbag for first-timers to an intermediate-level layered satchel, you can work your way up the bag-technique ladder at your own pace. Plus, there’s plenty of wiggle room for adding your own flair: extra pockets, different handles, unique embellishments—endless possibilities!

    From Style and Swing
    Clockwise from left: “Funky Handbag,” “Trendy Hipster Bag,” “Layered Satchel,” “Trifold Wallet”

    BONUS >>> Includes a section devoted to essential bag-making techniques that you can use with any bag pattern, such as boxing corners, sewing fabric handles, and adding closures.

    See all 12 bag designs in Style and Swing >

    Quick ChangeQuick Change: Refresh a Room Fast with Quilted Bed Runners
    Compiled by Karen M. Burns

    What’s inside: No time to make a bed quilt? Create big impact with a bed runner instead! Quickly transform the look and feel of any bedroom by switching out one of these beautiful bed runners, plus a few accessories. Easy to sew (most are make-in-a-day), easy to store, easy to change for a whole new look!

    Why you’ll love it: Rest assured that you’ll be able to complete any of these stylish runners in a fraction of the time it would take to finish a bed-sized quilt. Start making your dream bedroom a reality by choosing from four color palettes: “Ocean Blues,” “Summertime,” “Rich and Earthy,” and “Bold and Bright.”

    Projects from Quick Change
    Projects from
    Quick Change

    BONUS >>> Photos throughout Quick Change show how a runner plus a few small changes to accents and pillows can completely make over a room. So easy!

    Quick-Change designers include Kimberly Jolly and Jocelyn Ueng of Fat Quarter Shop, Megan Jimenez, Heather Andrus, Brigitte Heitland, Heidi Pridemore, Stephanie Prescott, Doug Leko, and Audrie Bidwell.

    “Zen Chic,” “Vintage Petal,” “Fireworks”—see them all in Quick Change >

    Happy-gurumiHappy-gurumi: 20 Super Cute Amigurumi Toys to Crochet
    Vanessa Chan

    What’s inside: These over-the-top adorable softies will put a smile on every face! Crochet 20 fun patterns in three themes: the great outdoors, animal friends, and party time. Vanessa’s one-of-a-kind, puppet-style mouths animate her creations in such a delightful way.

    Why you’ll love it: If you’re a beginning crocheter, start with “Little Blue Bird” (see below); then work your way through all 20 easy-to-intermediate designs. You’ll amazed what you can create once you master a few simple stitches.

    Projects from Happy-gurumi
    Projects from

    BONUS >>> Cute little Happy-gurumi captions accompany each softie. They’ll keep you in stitches!

    What does the squirrel say? Find out in the Happy-gurumi gallery >

    Which April book release are you itching to stitch from? Name it in the comments and you could win an eBook copy of it when the book is released! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    You might also like:
    New quilting books this March: newbie applique, Civil War (now available!)

    20% off + free shipping on select books this week!

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  10. 5 fast, fat-quarter friendly quilt patterns

    5 fast, fat-quarter-friendly quilt patterns

    Fat quarter friendly quilt patternsFat quarters are so fun and tempting to collect. When they’re tied into perfectly folded, coordinated bundles with matching ribbon, they’re nearly impossible to resist—even when you have no idea what kind of project they might become. The bundles fit very neatly into your shopping bag, but they begin to pile up in the sewing room at home. So rather than letting your fat quarter collections gather dust on the shelves, why not put them to good use? These easy fat-quarter quilt patterns will open your eyes to the endless fun you can have, no matter your quilting style.

    Here at Martingale, we certainly count ourselves among the fat-quarter fanatics of the world, so we paid homage to these handy little fabric rectangles in Quilting with Fat Quarters. The book includes 17 fat-quarter friendly quilt patterns from our staff, including the following options that use only fat quarters for the quilt top—no extra yardage needed! (You’ll only need extra yardage for the border, backing, and binding.)

    20% off + free shipping on select books this week!

    For “Ray of Light,” Regina Girard used a radiant combination of light- and dark-value batik fat quarters and a quick and clever method for making shaded four-patch units that doesn’t require cutting a single triangle.

    Ray of Light quilt
    “Ray of Light” from Quilting with Fat Quarters

    Many quilters like to buy fat quarters on their quilting travels. Tracy Overturf’s pattern “Sherbet Punch” uses quite a variety of fat quarters, so it would be a fun way to showcase those souvenirs and create a wonderful record of your adventures.

    Sherbet Punch quilt
    “Sherbet Punch” from Quilting with Fat Quarters

    “Heat Wave” by Abbi Barden uses fat quarters in shades that are close together on the color wheel. Combine them to create a stunning gradient effect made from super simple blocks.

    Heat Wave quilt
    “Heat Wave” from Quilting with Fat Quarters

    For “Blue Skies Ahead,” Adrienne Smitke used fat quarters in calming aqua prints. The squares form a pretty backdrop for puffy cloud appliqués and a pair of red birds that add an unexpected color pop.

    Blue Skies Ahead quilt
    “Blue Skies Ahead” from Quilting with Fat Quarters

    “Not Manly Enough” is so named because Robin Strobel made this quilt for a friend who deemed the prints and colors not masculine enough for his taste. The good news is that you can use whatever you palette you like, manly or not! The blocks are quick and easy to piece, so this quilt comes together in no time.

    Not Manly Enough quilt
    “Not Manly Enough” from Quilting with Fat Quarters

    The fat-quarter fun doesn’t end there, of course. Check out several other great titles for more easy patterns that will inspire you to release your fat quarters from their ribbons and set them free from your stash!

    Fat-Quarter Quilting: 21 Terrific 16″ x 20″ Projects by Lori Smith

    Quilts from Fat-Quarter Quilting
    “Baskets, 1930s Style” and “Garden Path”

    Fast Fat-Quarter Quilts

    Quilts from Fast Fat-Quarter Quilts
    “Bright Bullion” by Le Ann Weaver and “Lost and Found” by Mary Green

    Fat-Quarter Quickies by Kathy Brown

    Quilts from Fat-Quarter Quickies
    “Carribbean Cooler” and “Cutoffs”

    How many fat quarters are lingering in your stash? Fewer than ten? More than 20? Too many to count? Tell us in the comments!

    20% off + free shipping on select books this week!

    *Free shipping to the US and Canada only. Must sign in or register first; free shipping and discount will apply at checkout.

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