1. How to cast on, how to bind off: 200+ options (+ giveaway!)

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    Cast On, Bind OffCast On, Bind Off—now in paperback! Did you miss this book when it was released in hardcover? Or did you hesitate because of the price? Packed full of cast-on knitting methods and bind-off techniques, it’s now only $19.99—that’s more than 200 ways to finish your knitting for only $19.99!

    I’ve been knitting for many years now, but I still use only one cast on and one bind off. It’s what I was taught, am comfortable with, and have memorized. But I’m often unsatisfied with the results. Is it because I’m not doing it correctly? No. It’s because one technique is not conducive to all projects. The same bind off that’s perfect for my scarf makes my sock cuffs a little too tight and leaves my lacy shawls with an edging that’s disappointing.

    No more! I vow to try something new on my current project. I’m working on a linen-stitch scarf at the moment that’s knit lengthwise, so the bind off will really show. I think the “Stem-Stitch Bind Off” might be just the thing.

    Karen's scarf in progress
    My scarf in progress

    Stem-Stitch Bind Off
    Stem-stitch bind off

    I’ve been wanting to try knitting socks from the toe up—can you believe there are nine different options for starting a toe-up sock in this book?! Nine! Cast On, Bind Off just might become my new go-to sock resource.

    Easy-Toe Cast On
    Easy toe cast on

    Straight-Wrap Cast On
    Straight wrap cast on

    Backward-Loop Sock Cast On
    Backward-loop sock cast on

    Each technique is presented with clear step-by-step directions and illustrated with line drawings AND a photograph of the finished edge. Finding just the right one is easy because the book is categorized by type. Cast-on categories include loop, twist start, long-tail, decorative, tubular, knit on, and more. Bind offs include chain, decorative, increase, sewn, and tubular, to name a few. It’s so easy to skim the category headings to find what you’re looking for. In total, you’ll find more than 120 ways to cast on and over 80 ways to bind off.

    Picot Chain cast on and bind off

    Author Cap Sease explains the advantages and disadvantages of each technique and makes a suggestion for each one’s most appropriate use. She even includes a chart of cast-on and bind-off pairs, so that your beginning and ending edges can match! Another chart helps you easily find just the right technique for your specific purpose. Need a firm-edge cast on? You’ll find six options. Want a durable bind off? Twelve are included! Making something from lace? You’ll have 11 cast ons to choose from.

    You’ll even find tips on how to tighten up that last floppy bound-off stitch that drives you crazy!

    Get Cast On, Bind Off in paperback, hardcover (which features a concealed spiral binding), or as an eBook. Remember, when you purchase the paperback or hardcover editions, you can instantly download the eBook version for free!

    How many cast ons and bind offs have you tried so far? Share your count in the comments and you could win a copy of the Cast On, Bind Off eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

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  2. Types of sewing-machine feet: a guide for the baffled

    Learn about different types of sewing machine feet

    How many presser feet do you own? Not sure? Is that because you shy away from everything but an all-purpose presser foot? Or is your sparkly, much beloved collection of specialty feet so vast it’s simply hard to keep track?

    If everything but your all-purpose foot is gathering dust, now’s the time to learn what those mysterious other feet can do. Just check out the quick guide to presser feet below. In no time, you’ll be able to identify sewing-machine feet like an expert. And you’ll be matching the right foot to the right task with confidence.

    Sewing-Machine Foot Types Explained

    From A to Z of Sewing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginning to Advanced Sewing

    Most machines come with a few standard, interchangeable presser feet. An all-purpose sewing foot, a zipper foot, an embroidery foot, and a buttonhole foot are the most basic. You can invest in others designed for specific purposes. Having the right foot on the machine makes it easier to achieve the best result for the task.

    All-purpose sewing foot
    This is the standard foot for all basic, forward-feed sewing. The sole of this foot is flat, providing control as the fabric passes over the feed dogs.

    All-purpose presser foot - from A to Z of Sewing

    Blind-hem foot/edgestitch foot
    These feet have a bar running through the center of the feet in front of the needle. Use the bar as a guide for instances when a line of stitching is required close to a ridge or fold, such as for hemming, edgestitching, or joining two pieces of lace with the edges butted together.

    Blind-hem foot - from A to Z of Sewing

    Buttonhole foot
    Two grooves under the sole of a buttonhole foot (below left) allow the fabric to move freely as the thread builds up to form the end bars of the buttonhole. The guide between the grooves helps keep the side bars parallel and slightly apart.

    If your machine has a fully automatic buttonhole presser foot (below right), a button is placed in the back of the foot and the machine gauges the correct buttonhole length to fit.

    buttonhole presser feet - from A to Z of Sewing

    Cording, piping, or beading foot
    A large groove in the sole of these feet allows heavier threads, cording, and other high-relief decorative trims to pass freely under the foot after being stitched.

    Cording presser foot- from A to Z of Sewing

    Darning foot
    A darning foot is spring loaded, hopping over the surface while you move the fabric from side to side or backward and forward. This foot requires the feed dogs to be covered with a special stitch plate or to be lowered under the normal sole plate.

    Darning foot- from A to Z of Sewing

    Embroidery foot
    This foot is completely open in front of the needle, making the work clearly visible. There is also a wedge-shaped indentation under the foot, which allows dense satin (zigzag) stitching to glide through without becoming jammed. The angle in the indentation makes it possible to follow curves easily.

    Embroidery foot - from A to Z of Sewing

    Pintuck foot
    This is used with a twin needle to stitch pintucks, spacing the tucks by positioning the previous tuck in one of the grooves under the foot.

    Pintuck presser foot- from A to Z of Sewing

    Rolled-hem foot
    The raw edge of the fabric is guided through a tunnel in this foot in front of the needle; it produces a perfectly folded and stitched narrow hem.

    Rolled-hem foot- from A to Z of Sewing

    Walking foot
    A walking foot is the perfect tool for machine-quilting straight lines across the three layers—top, batting, and backing—of a quilt. The walking foot works in unison with the lower feed dogs, passing upper layers of fabric under the foot at the same rate as the lower layers. Its name comes from the way the foot moves up and down, "walking" across the uppermost layer of fabric rather than pressing against it.

    Walking foot- from A to Z of Sewing

    Zipper foot
    This is a narrow, one-toed foot with notches on both sides for the needle positions. Adjust the foot or the needle position to stitch with the required side against the teeth of the zipper. A broad foot with rollers that uncurl the zipper coils is available for inserting invisible zippers.

    Zipper foot - from A to Z of Sewing

    A to Z of Sewing - The Ultimate Guide for Beginning to Advanced Sewing

    Have fun with your feet! You’ll find step-by-step photo tutorials showing how to use a zipper foot, pintuck foot, cording foot, and more in A to Z of Sewing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginning to Advanced Sewing.

    Which types of sewing-machine feet do you enjoy using? Is there a specialty foot you couldn’t stitch without? Tell us about your favorite presser feet in the comments!

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  3. Quirky question: how’d you get so creative?

    Posted by on April 16, 2014, in quirky question

    Martingale's Quirky Question

    Thanks for stopping by for the weekly Quirky Question—where questions are just for fun, your answers are always welcome, and you could win an eBook for free!

    Vintage Bow Ties quiltRight: “Vintage Bow Ties” by Karen Costello Soltys, from Bits and Pieces. Get the eBook for $11.39 this week only; see a slideshow of quilts from the book below.

    Whether you were raised by a pack of quilters or you started quilting all on your own, it’s likely that someone, somewhere inspired you to pick up needle and thread for the first time. In today’s question, tell us about the person who passed along their passion for quilting to you:

    Who has been your biggest creative influence?

    Post your answer in the comments before noon (PST) on Monday, April 21, for your chance to win. The carefully selected winning answer will be posted on Wednesday, April 23, along with the next question.

    Last week’s Quirky Question was, “Have you made an ‘ugly’ quilt? What happened…and where is it now?” Here’s the winning comment, from Kathy:

    “Before I make a quilt, I take the time to put fabrics together to see how they complement each other. I ignored that process once when I made my husband a quilt from his school colors—maroon and gold. I chose two solids that competed since they were the same value. I didn’t care for the color combination but completed it anyway, hoping it would look better when finished. Finishing didn’t improve the look so the quilt was relegated to the back of his car. Through the years, it has warmed sleepy children riding in the back seat on winter nights. It has also covered the ground for numerous picnics and trips to the beach. I would never have done these things to a ‘pretty’ quilt. Ugly can serve a purpose because I won’t stress over damaging an ugly quilt. Twenty years later, it is still holding strong!”

    Congratulations, Kathy—look for an email about your free eBook.

    One Patch Garden quilt

    One Patch Garden

    Plaid Coins quilt

    Plaid Coins

    Box of Chocolates quilt

    Box of Chocolates

    Americana Nine Patch quilt

    Americana Nine Patch

    Waste Not Want Not quilts

    Waste Not Want Not

    Sugarplum Stars quilt

    Sugarplum Stars

    Pastel Pinwheels quilt

    Pastel Pinwheels

    Sunny Lanes quilt

    Sunny Lanes

    Amish-Inspired Shoofly quilt

    Amish-Inspired Shoofly

    Christmas Goose quilt

    Christmas Goose

    12-Karat Four Patch quilt

    12-Karat Four Patch

    Antique Diamonds quilt

    Antique Diamonds

    Pennsylvania Star quilt

    Pennsylvania Star

    Japanese Circles quilt

    Japanese Circles

    Maple Sugar Hearts quilt

    Maple Sugar Hearts

    Sweet Pea quilt

    Sweet Pea

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  4. Baby animal quilts on parade (+ giveaway!)

    Appliqued owl from Animal ParadeTwice a year, I have the privilege of attending International Quilt Market. It’s part of my job and there’s a lot of work involved, but it’s fun work that results in a satisfying exhaustion. We’re there to showcase our books and authors, meet our customers, and see what’s new in design trends, fabrics, and notions. We’re also on the lookout for great new authors.

    We found one of our great new authors at Fall Quilt Market a few years ago. Perhaps I should say she found us. I was meeting with someone in our booth when I heard excited gasps coming from a few feet away. The gasps became murmurs, then giggles, and ultimately squeals of delight as a young woman pulled quilt after adorable quilt out of a suitcase and held them up for all to see. That young woman was Cheri Leffler, and those adorable animal baby quilts went on to become Animal Parade.

    It’s unusual for a designer to show up with an entire book’s worth of quilts, and Cheri wasn’t sure when she came into the Martingale booth that day whether we would like her designs. Like them?? We were over the moon, and so was everyone else within range. These were some of the cutest, most original animal-appliqué quilt patterns we’d seen, and we were so excited that she’d brought them to us. Now it is my pleasure to present them to you.

    Babies and toddlers love animals, and this gathering of sweet smiling friends offers lots of options. The mischievous monkeys and cuddly koalas are irresistible, of course…

    Quilts from Animal Parade
    “Goin’ Bananas” and “Tree Huggers”

    …but so are the gentle giraffes and the frolicking baby foxes.

    Quilts from Animal Parade
    “Heads in the Clouds” and “Kits ’n’ Caboodle”

    I’d love to make every baby animal-quilt in this book, but when I learned I was about to become a grandmother again, I knew I had to choose one and get busy. Luckily, the choice was made for me when it was decided the nursery would have an owl theme. Hooray! I had just the quilt…or not.

    Whoo Dat? quilt from Animal Parade
    “Whoo Dat?”

    My daughter-in-law liked the owls, but she was torn because she also loved the tree motif and background from “Goin’ Bananas.” Hmm. What to do? Get creative! I used the tree pattern from “Goin’ Bananas” and three of the owls from “Whoo Dat?” to make my own design. It’s not quite finished yet but I love the way it’s turning out. What do you think?

    Mary's owl quilt
    Mary’s owl quilt

    I hadn’t actually thought of these patterns as being so versatile until I needed to modify the owl quilt. Once I started looking at the designs differently, I realized that there are all sorts of fun options here. Wouldn’t a giraffe and a monkey look cute in the same quilt? Couldn’t the frog and the ducks share a pond? Just imagine the possibilities! Not only are the designs adorable and the patterns full-size and easy to work with, but the variety is huge!

    Animal ParadeDo you know a little one who loves animals? Which quilt would you make…or design? Share your ideas in the comments and you could win a copy of the Animal Parade eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

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  5. Smart block patterns for scrap quilts (+ sale!)

    Save on select eBooks - this week only

    From Quilts from the Heart IIWhether you have a bagful, a few drawers full, or a room full of scraps, get ready to celebrate them! Today we’re sharing ideas for quilting with scraps—with one important consideration in mind: choosing blocks that are perfect for the scrappy approach. If you’ve ever wished that you could stitch scrappy blocks with abandon—without worrying how they’ll come together in the end—the blocks below just might make your wish come true. They lend themselves to looking sharp in scrap quilts for three reasons: the value choices are simple, the piecing is doable, and the designs are beautiful.

    Whether you have time to piece just one scrappy block a day or you prefer to “block” out time to make a big pile of them in one sitting, four-time author Lynn Roddy Brown has some solid advice to share. Her solutions will inspire you to experiment with settings, sashings, and more to create a scrap quilt that shines with personality—which is why we save all those scraps in the first place!

    Discover just a few of Lynn’s tips in the following excerpt from Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts. Then get inspired to play with her scrap-quilt designs, as well as the designs of the other authors featured below. Download any of these eBooks instantly—get them all for 40% off this week only!

    Excerpt from Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts
    by Lynn Roddy Brown

    Blocks that are good for scraps can be set many different ways and work well with alternate blocks. Choose blocks that are easy to piece and range in size from 4″ to 9″ square. This encourages the making of many blocks and allows for more design possibilities.

    Fewer seams usually means more accurate blocks. I find that if I’ve made many easy-to-piece blocks, it isn’t difficult to set aside a few that I don’t like. If I’ve spent hours making 12 large, complicated blocks, my expectations will be high. This often results in disappointment.

    Four Patch units + half-square triangles
    For Lynn, simple sewing is key. Left: Four-patch units and half-square triangle units show off blue and yellow scraps. Right: the same units, made with a rainbow of scraps, create an energy and charm all their own.

    After my first look at a group of blocks in a straight setting, I will try them on point. An on-point setting often creates diagonal lines, which keeps the viewer’s eye moving across the surface and makes for a more interesting quilt.

    If blocks don’t seem to go together, separating them with alternate blocks often helps. Adding alternate blocks is also an easy way to make a larger quilt. Since alternate blocks will be as much as half of the blocks, they can also cause a shift in mood. If blocks need to be calmed down, add alternate blocks in grayed tones. Bright alternate blocks can perk up a boring group of blocks. Adding alternate blocks is also a way to shift color. If you want a blue quilt, add alternate blocks in a blue fabric that you really like.

    Churn Dash quilts
    Churn Dash, four ways.
    Top left: Churn Dash sits on point with the addition of triangles on all four sides, creating a secondary zigzag pattern between the blocks. Top right: Church Dash gets a lift with Flying Geese sashing. Bottom left: “Civil War and Blue” by Fran Urquhart is a good example of using alternate blocks to bring out one particular color. Bottom right: In “I’ll Fly Away,” Barbara Reynolds set her blocks on point and side by side, creating additional patterns and interest.

    Simple Strategies for Block-Swap QuiltsLet Lynn introduce you to many more scrap-friendly blocks in Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts, along with ideas for organizing your own block swaps. Click here to view a gallery of all the quilts in the book; download the eBook this week for only $11.39.

    A little goes a long way: scrap-quilt blocks from Bits and Pieces by Karen Costello Soltys

    Quilts from Bits and Pieces
    Left: the Chinese Coins quilt block is a favorite old pattern that combines narrow bits of scrap fabrics into long strips. Here, the coins are all made using strips of plaid fabrics (get the ePattern here). Right: Easily make either or both of these half-square triangle quilts with scraps in red, blue, gold, purple, and green (get the ePattern here).

    Quilts from Bits and Pieces
    Left: The Ohio Star block is a perennial favorite among quilters. Make the quilt interesting by using a variety of prints, plaids, and stripes for the star centers (get the ePattern here). Right: Pastel Pinwheel blocks combine two sets of Karen’s favorite fabrics—Japanese prints and hand-dyed pastel solids (get the ePattern here).

    Bits and PiecesDiscover more simple-to-sew blocks for your scraps in Bits and Pieces, which includes 18 classic quilt patterns. Click here to view a gallery of quilts from the book; download the eBook instantly for $11.39 this week only.

    Make ’em in multiples: Scrap-quilt blocks from Quilts from the Heart II by Karin Renaud

    Fanny's Dream quilt from Quilts from the Heart II
    If you’re a fan of chain piecing, Karin’s block choices are right up your alley. The units in this Fanny’s Favorite block are perfect for chain-pieced patchwork. As you can see from the close-up of the block, once your color palette is chosen, anything goes. (Get the ePattern here.)

    Matt's Mosaic quilt from Quilts from the Heart II
    Create a profusion of movement with the Swamp Angel block, made up of half-square and quarter-square triangles. Different-colored scraps can be placed almost anywhere with a forgiving white background; the architecture of the block reins the design in. (Get the ePattern here.)

    Flotsam and Jetsam quilt from Quilts from the Heart II
    The Jacob’s Ladder block lends itself to many layouts—off center as shown, radiating from the middle, forming Xs to make a lattice, or turned blocks that make diagonal lines. (Get the ePattern here.)

    Quilts from the Heart IIChoose from 18 quilt patterns in Quilts from the Heart II, each designed with your scraps in mind. Click here to view a gallery of quilts from the book; download the eBook instantly for $11.39 this week only.

    Which quilt blocks have you featured your scraps in? Share your top picks in the comments!

    You might also like:Therapy—compliments of your next scrap quilt

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  6. Hate finishing? How to knit seamless sweaters

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    From Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) KnitsHow many times have you completed the bulk of a sweater pattern, just to leave the pieces unfinished in your WIP basket? How many times have you paid someone else to sew those sweaters together because you just really hate the finishing?

    If that’s you, you’re not alone! Turns out, there are many, many knitters who don’t enjoy the final task of sewing sweater pieces together. Andra Knight-Bowman, Martingale author and former yarn shop owner, had heard the complaint time and time again from her customers—and she couldn’t blame them, because it wasn’t her favorite task either.

    That’s what propelled Andra to design a collection of patterns for the knitter who hates the finishing: Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) Knits. As she put together the patterns, she discovered that there are many different ways to make sweaters seamless. Think you’ll be confined to sweater vests? Think again!

    Take a look at some of the seamless-sweater knitting patterns in Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) Knits and what makes them perfect for finishing-phobic knitters:

    Building from the Bottom Up: Patterns start at the bottom hem and are worked up toward the shoulders. The sleeves are either worked in the same fashion and completed with a join or picked up at the armholes and worked down to the cuff. Easy!

    Projects from Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) Knits

    Taking It from the Top Down: Starting at the shoulders and working your way down to the bottom makes these sweaters a breeze. Knitting down from the top makes it easy to lengthen or shorten a sweater or the sleeves, because you can try on your project before you bind off.

    Projects from Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) Knits

    Somewhat Side-to-Side: These patterns are made somewhat side-to-side; not too challenging, just a different approach to making a garment. Side-to-side patterns are perfect for knitters who want a change from the typical way of making a garment, with beautiful results.

    Projects from Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) Knits

    See more of the designs from Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) Knits in the gallery.

    Take Andra’s advice: “Leave the stress of sewing seams aside. After all, knitting is our therapy. Isn’t knitting supposed to be relaxing?”

    So why not try knitting a sweater you’ll actually enjoy completing? You can get Seamless (or Nearly Seamless) Knits right now at ShopMartingale.com—and remember that when you buy the book, you’ll get the eBook version for free right away (just in case you hate waiting for the mail as much as you hate the finishing).

    What’s the most appealing thing about knitting a seamless sweater? Tell us in the comments!

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  7. Quiz: how many of these quilt-block designs have you made?

    50 classic quilt blocks quizToday we’ve got a quilting query for you: how many classic quilt blocks have you made? We’ve scoured the ultimate resource for traditional quilt blocks, 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks, in search of the some of the most timeless, classic quilt blocks we know. And now we want to know if you’ve sewn these pretty pieces of patchwork!

    You’ll see many familiar quilt-block names below, along with a few less-common designs and a dash of blocks you may never have seen before. Since so many quilters have changed up block designs over the years, block variations count toward your total. For instance, if you’ve made the Monkey Wrench quilt block, count the Wrench block below as one you’ve made.

    Tally up how many blocks you’ve sewn; then claim your new quilting title below. It’s all in fun of course—be sure to add your favorite blocks of all time in the comments!


    Album quilt block
    1. Album
    Anvil quilt block
    2. Anvil
    Basket quilt block
    3. Basket
    Bear's Paw quilt block
    4. Bear’s Paw

    Bear's Paw quilt
    “Bear’s Paw” from The Big Book of Patchwork by Judy Hopkins

    Birds in the Air quilt block
    5. Birds in the Air
    Broken Dishes quilt block
    6. Broken Dishes
    Cake Stand quilt block
    7. Cake Stand
    Card Trick quilt block
    8. Card Trick
    Churn Dash quilt block
    9. Churn Dash
    Contrary Wife quilt block
    10. Contrary Wife

    All in a Row quilt
    Churn Dash: “All in a Row” from Simple Comforts by Kim Diehl (get the ePattern)

    Corn and Beans quilt block
    11. Corn and Beans
    Cotton Reels quilt block
    12. Cotton Reels
    Cracker quilt block
    13. Cracker
    Crown of Thorns quilt block
    14. Crown of Thorns
    Dutchman's Puzzle quilt block
    15. Dutchman’s Puzzle
    Economy Patch quilt block
    16. Economy Patch
    Flying Geese quilt block
    17. Flying Geese
    Four Patch quilt block
    18. Four Patch

    Double Four Patch quilt
    Four Patch: “Double Four Patch” from
    The Big Book of Patchwork by Judy Hopkins

    Gentlemen's Fancy quilt block
    19. Gentlemen’s Fancy
    Goose Tracks quilt block
    20. Goose Tracks
    Hovering Hawks quilt block
    21. Hovering Hawks
    Irish Chain quilt block
    22. Irish Chain
    Jack in the Box quilt block
    23. Jack in the Box
    Jacob's ladder quilt block
    24. Jacob’s Ladder
    Kansas Troubles quilt block
    25. Kansas Troubles
    Lady of the Lake quilt block
    26. Lady of the Lake

    Lady of the Lake quilt
    “Lady of the Lake” from
    The Big Book of Patchwork by Judy Hopkins

    Missouri Star quilt block
    27. Missouri Star
    Next Door Neighbor quilt block
    28. Next Door Neighbor
    Ocean Wave quilt block
    29. Ocean Wave
    Ohio Star quilt block
    30. Ohio Star

    Ohio Star Crossing quilt
    Ohio Star (with Checkerboard blocks): “Ohio Star Crossing” from
    The Blue and the Gray by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene

    Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block
    31. Old Maid’s Puzzle
    Peace and Plenty quilt block
    32. Peace and Plenty
    Perkiomen Valley quilt block
    33. Perkiomen Valley
    Puss in the Corner quilt block
    34. Puss in the Corner

    Perkiomen Valley Nine Patch quilt
    “Perkiomen Valley Nine Patch” from
    Nine by Nine by Cyndi Hershey (get the ePattern)

    Railroad Crossing quilt block
    35. Railroad Crossing
    Red Cross quilt block
    36. Red Cross
    Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt block
    37. Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
    Rocky Road quilt block
    38. Rocky Road
    Sawtooth quilt block
    39. Sawtooth
    Shoo Fly quilt block
    40. Shoo Fly

    Amish-Inspired Shoo Fly quilt
    Shoo Fly: “Amish-Inspired Shoo Fly” from
    Bits and Pieces by Karen Costello Soltys (get the ePattern)

    Snail's Trail quilt block
    41. Snail’s Trail
    Square on Square quilt block
    42. Square on Square
    Stepping Stones quilt block
    43. Stepping Stones
    Turkey in the Straw quilt block
    44. Turkey in the Straw
    Turnstile quilt block
    45. Turnstile
    Underground Railroad quilt block
    46. Underground Railroad
    Union Square quilt block
    47. Union Square
    Wild Goose Chase quilt block
    48. Wild Goose Chase
    Windmill quilt block
    49. Windmill
    Wrench quilt block
    50. Wrench

    Midnight Goldenrod quilt
    Wrench: “Midnight Goldenrod” from
    Farm Girl Quilts by Tammy Johnson and Avis Shirer

    So, how’d you do? See what our (completely trivial) scoring board says about you!

    Four Patch quilt block Made 1-10 blocks? You’re a Solid Stitcher. Not bad—and there’s a lot more quilt-block fun to be had!

    Missouri Star quilt block Made 9-20 blocks? You’re a Savvy Sewist. Your sewing-machine motor is revved up: keep going!

    Lady of the Lake quilt block Made 21-30 blocks? You’re a Quintessential Quilter. Hey, you’ve been around the block a few times. Literally!

    Corn and Beans quilt block Made 31-40 blocks? You’re a Piecing Pro. You’ve got your sewing-machine pedal to the metal—and you’ve got major stitching smarts.

    Bear's Paw quilt block Made 41-50 blocks? You’re a Patchwork Professor. You could be teaching this stuff—or are you already?

    501 Rotary-Cut Quilt BlocksAll the quilt blocks in our quiz are featured in the book 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins. This master compilation includes cutting and construction directions for each block in six different sizes, resulting in more than 3,000 different block possibilities. Click here to see the other 451 blocks!

    Cutting chart for Churn Dash quilt block
    Example cutting chart from
    501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks

    Which traditional quilt blocks would you add to our classics list? Name them in the comments!

    60 comments (read all)

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  8. Quirky question: “ugly” quilts?

    Posted by on April 9, 2014, in quirky question

    Martingale's Quirky Question

    Thanks for stopping by for the weekly Quirky Question—where questions are just for fun, your answers are always welcome, and you could win an eBook for free!

    A Fresh Look at Seasonal Quilts

    Today we’re spotlighting A Fresh Look at Seasonal Quilts by Julie Popa (eBook only). See a slideshow of all 19 projects from the book below.

    It’s time to clear the air—no need to feel ashamed. If one quilter’s done it, many more have too, and it’s okay to admit it. If you haven’t done it, you’re one of the few, and we salute you. It’s ’fess-up day at Stitch This!, and here’s what we want to know:

    Have you made an “ugly” quilt? What happened…and where is it now?

    Post your answer in the comments before noon (PST) on Monday, April 14, for your chance to win. The carefully selected winning answer will be posted on Wednesday, April 16, along with the next question.

    Last week’s Quirky Question was, “What was the first quilt block you ever made?” Here’s the winning comment, from Janet:

    “Well, I have never let ‘that’s difficult’ stop me. While growing up, on my bed was Grandmother’s Flower Garden made by my Grandmother. At 10 years old, I decided I could do that. So I did. I traced a pattern from my bed quilt and started making hexagon flowers. I made a doll quilt which I still have and when I look at it, I love how brave I was.”

    Congratulations, Janet—look for an email about your free eBook.

    Spring Bouquet table topper

    Spring Bouquet table topper

    Spring is Sprung quilt

    Spring is Sprung quilt

    Spring Penny Rug

    Spring Penny Rug

    Iris wool table runner

    Iris wool table runner

    Star Spangled lap quilt

    Star Spangled lap quilt

    America the Beautiful table topper

    America the Beautiful table topper

    Cherries wool table runner

    Cherries wool table runner

    Summertime Picnic quilt

    Summertime Picnic quilt

    Fruit Salad wall quilt

    Fruit Salad wall quilt

    Sunshine lap quilt

    Sunshine lap quilt

    Fall Harvest table topper

    Fall Harvest table topper

    Pumpkin wool table runner

    Pumpkin wool table runner

    Pumpkin Patch lap quilt

    Pumpkin Patch lap quilt

    Autumn Leaves penny rug

    Autumn Leaves penny rug

    Autumn Splendor wall quilt

    Autumn Splendor wall quilt

    Warm Hearts table topper

    Warm Hearts table topper

    Snowflake lap quilt

    Snowflake lap quilt

    Heartfelt wool table runner

    Heartfelt wool table runner

    Be My Valentine wall quilt

    Be My Valentine wall quilt

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  9. Q&A with Kim Diehl + new scrappy quilts + fabric giveaway!

    It’s been two years since Kim Diehl released a collection of quilt patterns in her “Simple” series of books—and if you’ve been counting, her new book is lucky #7. This latest bunch of warm, welcoming quilts are as gorgeous as ever, and as always, they speak to lovers of scrappy quilts.

    Quilts from Simple Appeal
    “Farm-Girl Finery,” “Sprigs and Twigs,” and “Apple Brown Betty” from Simple Appeal

    Simple Appeal is inspired by Kim’s grandmother, a use-it-up-and-make-it-do kind of quilter who passed her no-nonsense style on to her granddaughter. But the practical lessons Kim learned from her grandmother apply to more than fabric choice; those practical lessons have also guided her in construction. Looking at Kim’s quilts you might not believe it, but her designs are deceptively simple to create. A reliance on classic quilt blocks, paired with her invisible machine-appliqué method, means all of us—yes, even you!—can stitch these beauties. Simply follow Kim’s no-nonsense lead.

    Quilts from Simple Appeal
    Clockwise from top left: “Penny Garland,” “Homestead Harvest,” “Wreath of Lilies,” and “Mending Basket.”

    See more quilts from Simple Appeal in the slideshow below.

    Last month, we approached our Facebook followers with a question: If you could ask Kim one thing about her quilts, what would it be? Kim chose five of her favorite questions, and today she’s sharing her answers at Stitch This! Read on for Kim’s thoughts on color, inspiration, process, and her “teeny tiny sewing room,” where all the magic happens!

    Hearthside Seasons fabric by Kim DiehlFABRIC GIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Henry Glass have generously provided a bundle of fabric from Kim Diehl’s “Hearthside Seasons” line to give away to you! Learn at the bottom of this post how you can win it, plus a copy of Simple Appeal.

    Visit the Henry Glass blog, The Sewing Cabinet, for another Kim Diehl book and fabric giveaway!

    Facebook Q&A with Kim Diehl

    Lunch Box Social quilt1. “When you design a new pattern, do you think about how it will look in a variety of colors? Your country colors seem to look just as good as bright and batiks.”
    –Suzy Weinbach

    What a great question, Suzy. When I design my quilts, I do it the old-fashioned way with a pencil and paper, and at that point in the process, I really think only in terms of values—light, medium, and dark—rather than actual colors. Taking this approach lets me (or anyone!) plug in any type of color scheme and have a successful outcome. Once I’m ready to make my quilt and I begin auditioning prints for my design, that’s when the fun really starts, because the sky’s the limit! I actually love it when people step away from the colors in my quilt design and take a completely unique approach with bright colors or batiks, and it completely fascinates me how each of these quilts can be the same pattern as mine, yet look so different.

    2. “Which part of the process do you enjoy the most?”
    —Ann Kokosa

    I wish I could tell all of you that I love every step of the process equally, but I can’t do that with a straight face. My very favorite part of making a quilt is any step that lets me dive into my favorite armchair and do some hand stitching, especially sewing the binding, because I get to spend time with my finished quilt and I can spread it in my lap and pet it and pat it while I do my stitching. This is totally normal if you’re a quilter! And here’s where I have to confess that just like everyone else, there are some steps in the process that I consider to just be a necessary evil. I find cutting fabrics to be dreadfully tedious, so when I tackle this step, I treat myself to some TV time to help me whittle away this little job.

    Kim Diehl and her dog, Cooper
    Kim enjoying some hand-sewing time with her dog, Cooper

    3. “What is your favorite color and what else do you like to do besides quilting and making fabulous books?”
    –Danette Roundy

    I find that my favorite color can be different on any given day…I can’t just pick one color, because that would be like trying to pick a favorite child. I’m always in love with cranberry red, but then I also love shades of teal blue, plum (never purple!), and olive-y greens.

    When I’m not quilting and traveling, I love to be a homebody and enjoy some quality nesting time. Gardening, baking, antiquing, and playing cribbage with my husband is about as exciting as it gets for me. My oldest daughter very recently got married, and she asked me to decorate her reception venue, which was a huge, cavernous empty space. I had a blast hauling in scads and oodles of quilts, and arranging country-style bouquets in my collection of vintage crocks, canning jars, and cobalt bottles.

    Kim's collection of vintage blue glass
    Kim’s collection of vintage blue glass

    4. “What does your sewing studio look like? I would love to see the area that you create in!”
    —Sharon Bischof-Zabransky

    I know that many designers have dream studios with acres and acres of space, but this is SO not the case for me. I have a teeny tiny sewing room, but I love this space because it’s all mine and I’ve got it organized for maximum use. My red curtains cast a cozy warm glow on everything, and I use fun and unique containers for storage. One of my best finds was an old beat-up green and cream enamel roaster that I dug out of the ground on my in-law’s farm. They thought I was slightly nuts when I asked if I could have it, but I now use it for my fabric scraps and it’s one of my favorite things.

    Kim's sewing room
    Kim’s sewing room

    5. “Where do you get your inspiration for your fabrics and patterns?”
    —Nancy Nehez

    I do a lot of porch-sitting when I’m thinking about pattern and fabric designs, and much of my inspiration comes from nature, especially my front garden, which I’ve shared below. I also love putting my own twist on tried-and-true quilt blocks that have been loved and used for years, and I love combining elements from two or more traditional blocks to make something fresh and new. The cherry on top is being able to use my own fabric designs when I stitch my quilts, and I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

    Kim's front porch garden
    Kim’s front-porch garden

    Simple AppealKim, thank you for giving us a peek into your process!

    What do you like best about Kim’s quilts—the colors, the appliqué, the scrappy vibe? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of Simple Appeal PLUS the gorgeous fabric bundle from Henry Glass! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “My whole house is decorated in antiques and Kim’s quilts fit in perfectly. The style, the colors, the mellow warmth just capture what I want my home to be. We are (finally) finishing the bonus room above the garage and it will be my sewing room. I would love to have a copy of the book to be my first projects in the new room to create things to help me decorate my new space. Please pick me.”

    Rickie, we’ll email you about your prizes. Congratulations!

    Sprigs and Twigs quilt

    Sprigs and Twigs

    Penny Garland quilt

    Penny Garland

    Esther's Baskets quilt

    Esther's Baskets

    Late Bloomers quilt

    Late Bloomers

    Country Haven quilt

    Country Haven

    Penny Candy quilt

    Penny Candy

    Homestead Harvest quilt

    Homestead Harvest

    Lunchbox Social quilt

    Lunchbox Social

    Patty Cakes pincushion

    Patty Cakes pincushion

    Apple Brown Betty quilt

    Apple Brown Betty

    Wreath of Lilies quilt

    Wreath of Lilies quilt

    Mending Basket quilt

    Mending Basket

    Starberry Jam quilt

    Starberry Jam

    Farm-Girl Finery quilt

    Farm-Girl Finery

    Hearthside Seasons fabric by Kim Diehl

    1,081 comments (read all)

  10. Country-cottage style: 9 tips for getting it with quilts (+ sale!)

    Here at Martingale, we’re feeling both sad and excited. As our longtime President and CEO, Tom Wierzbicki, is leaving for different adventures, we’re looking ahead to a new chapter in Martingale history. You might know our incoming Publisher and Chief Visionary Officer from her work as the Crafts Group Content Chief at Meredith Corp., where she oversaw American Patchwork & Quilting, Quilts and More, and Quilt Sampler magazines. Her name is Jennifer Keltner, and we’re thrilled to welcome her! Click here for a press release about our big news. We’ll be sharing more in the weeks to come.

    Now, on to our regularly scheduled post!

    Exposed bricks on interior walls, vintage wooden-plank floors, a cobblestone pathway leading to the front door…oh, the charms of a country cottage! It’s no wonder the style is eternally popular: it’s relaxed, cheerful, and instantly invites you to make yourself at home.

    From Quilting in the Country
    From Quilting in the Country

    Fortunately, you don’t need to own an aging cottage to give your home a casual country look. With a few collections, some showpieces from the past, and a quilt or two (or more), it’s easy and fun to create the comforts of a country cottage, no matter where you live.

    One thing is (happily) certain: for this decorating style, textiles are a must. Below you’ll find ideas for using quilts to put touches of the country life into your living spaces. The suggestions are so simple you can incorporate them into your home today—and you can start stitching any of the quilts featured today too. The eBooks featured are instantly downloadable!

    Ideas from Fig Tree Quilts: Houses by Joanna Figueroa and Lisa Quan

    Quilts from Fig Tree Quilts: Houses
    Fold quilts over an armoire or cabinet door; stack piles of quilts on open shelves. Tuck vintage items or collections here and there to add interest.

    Projects from Fig Tree Quilts: Houses
    Drape a quilt and hold it in place with heavier decorative items; hang a small quilt—or any fabric-based item, such as this framed embroidery sampler, right—directly on the wall for instant warmth.

    Projects from Fig Tree Quilts: Houses
    Don’t forget the beds—the most obvious choice for quilt display! Enhance the scene with decorative items that coordinate with your bed quilts.

    Fig Tree Quilts: HousesBe sure to check out the other beautiful projects from Fig Tree Quilts: Houses.

    • 14 house-themed quilts
    • Piecing and appliqué
    • Cottages, villas, schoolhouses, more


    Ideas from English Cottage Quilts: 10 Charming Projects by Pamela Mostek

    Quilts from English Cottage Quilts
    Displaying quilts outdoors—in proper weather conditions, of course!—brings the cottage feel outside to mingle with the greenery. Left: a small quilt is purposefully hung off-center on a front door, providing a sense of informality to the entrance. Right: a quilt is left on a chair just outside, inviting people to wrap up.

    Quilts from English Cottage Quilts
    Whether indoors or out, some quilters feel uneasy about using a quilt as a tablecloth. But just look at the color and coziness it provides! Remember this: cottage-style quilts aren’t meant to remain pristine or be kept under wraps. Repeated washings only give quilts more character and charm.

    Quilts from English Cottage Quilts
    Again—don’t forget the beds! Try unfussy pillows and fresh flowers for a laid-back, friendly feel.

    English Cottage QuiltsBe sure to check out the other beautiful projects from English Cottage Quilts.

    •    10 wall, lap, and bed quilts
    •    Stitch classic flowers, vines, and baskets
    •    Dozens of inspiring on-location photos


    Ideas from Quilting in the Country: Projects and Recipes to Celebrate Life’s Special Moments by Jane Quinn

    Projects from Quilting in the Country
    Add textile accents to soften hard angles or cozy up rooms that are based on utilitarian needs, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Toss this yo-yo table topper (left) on a countertop, or let it serve as a pretty foundation for a vase or centerpiece. The cheery purse (right) is actually a clever tea cozy!

    Projects from Quilting in the Country
    Let personalized accents pique people’s curiosity and encourage conversation. Left: this eye-catching quilt is made with preprinted quilt labels that family or guests can write messages on. Right: one-of-a-kind leaf prints enhance an autumn-hued table runner.

    Projects from Quilting in the Country
    Add a dash of cottage charm to special occasions with quilts that suit the celebration. Left: a baby quilt hangs on a wooden fence to greet baby-shower guests. Right: a winter-themed quilt, complete with embroidered mittens featuring the names of family members, is displayed during a holiday party.

    Quilting in the CountryBe sure to check out the other beautiful projects from Quilting in the Country.

    •    16 quilts and accents
    •    Comfort-food recipes
    •    Six themes with entertaining ideas


    What’s your favorite decorating style? Share yours in the comments—we may feature quilt-decorating ideas for your favorite style in an upcoming post!

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