Then we’ve got a fun little video tutorial for you today!
String piecing is a fast, fun way to transform your stacks of strips into beautiful quilts and more, like this Live Simply Pillow (above) from Sew This and That!. All you need are strips and a foundation to sew the strips onto—you won’t believe how quickly you can make multiple blocks!
By the way, strips of different lengths work for string piecing, as do strips of different widths. And if you sew your seams a little wonky, it just adds to the charm! Take a look-see at how simply you can start string piecing in this string quilt-block tutorial:
For scrappy strips, stash strips, and the Jelly Rolls on your shelves comes a whopping 60 patterns from some of today’s brightest designers. Enjoy patterns for stunning strip quilts from Kim Brackett, Kathy Brown, Amy Ellis, Melissa Corry, Kate Henderson, Rebecca Silbaugh, Sue Pfau, Julie Herman, Gerri Robinson and more—all for just pennies per pattern.
In this last-a-lifetime volume, all patterns start with 2½" strips. You’ll find styles ranging from classic beauties to fresh quilts with a modern vibe. Create a special strip quilt for yourself, family, friends, or just because (we all deserve just-because sewing days, right?). You’ll never run out of strip-tastic ideas! Here’s a small sampling from The Big Book of Strip Quilts (can you believe such a variety of designs all start with 2½" strips?):
Knotted Squares by Amy Ellis—a stylish throw with room for two (or more)
Boxed In by Julie Herman—picnic quilt, anyone?
Porch Swing by Kim Brackett—a summer salute to the red, white, and blue
Butterflies by Kate Henderson—for a spirit who loves to soar
Spinners by Cassie Barden—for all those cute kiddos
Fat Man’s Squeeze by Kathy Brown—just comfy, cozy goodness!
That’s six gorgeous quilts from the book: but there are still 54 more to choose from! So many designers, so many strips—sew much fun.
So, what kind of strips do you own right now?
Stacks of Jelly Rolls
Scads of scrappy strips
I’m off to start stripping my stash!
Tell us your answer in the comments and you could win an eBook copy of The Big Book of Strip Quilts! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And remember, when you purchase the book at ShopMartingale.com, you’ll be able to instantly download the eBook for free.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner—Sunday, May 14!
Remember when we were in school and our teachers would always come up with a wonderful crafty item that we could make for our moms for their special day? I know my mom always treasured those childlike (but oh, so cute) elementary-school gifts, just as I treasured the gifts I received from my kids. Now that we’re adults, we have to come up with our own ideas. Below, you’ll find some suggestions to get you thinking and creating for Mother’s Day!
Table runners and toppers are always welcome gifts. This table runner is super quick and easy to make—just start with a focus print in Mom’s favorite colors or motifs and you’ll have the perfect gift in no time!
Is Mom a tea lover? If so, why not whip up a matched set of caddies for her table? Fill the tea-bag caddy with her favorite teas. Then, make it extra-special by including a package of her favorite tea-time cookies.
We’ve been waiting to share this book with you since it was just a gleam in Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson’s eyes—and it has been a looong wait! But finally . . . The Splendid Sampler has arrived!
Pat and Jane started The Splendid Sampler Sew-Along in February 2016 to bring the whole world together to quilt. More than 25,000+ quilters from all walks of life joined the sew-along, and more are still joining today (you can join too!). One hundred quilt blocks, 80+ designers, and a year of sewing fun—and we’re overjoyed to be the publisher of the beautiful companion book!
All 100 block patterns from the sew-along are included (with close-up photos of each design; see right), along with ideas for setting your blocks. Make a few blocks or make them all! The Facebook group and the Splendid Sampler website are still going strong, so get the book, share your progress, and experience the joys of quilting with a very special community of quilters.
Stitch This!: How did you come up with the idea for The Splendid Sampler? And did you have any idea how successful it was going to become?
Pat: I had an idea for creating a project with a lot of designers, and I knew it would be more fun to run it with a partner. Jane is experienced at managing large projects, so I asked if she wanted to do the project with me, and she did!
Jane Davidson and Pat Sloan
From there we sent lots of emails. When we met at Spring Quilt Market in 2015, we had a wonderful time working through the idea over coffee. It was Jane’s idea to make 6″ blocks and to design 100 of them. You can listen to our podcast chat for more details.
ST!: What were the easiest and most challenging parts of creating and managing the Splendid Sampler group, and of creating The Splendid Samplerbook?
Pat and Jane: The easiest part was asking the designers to work with us. We both know a lot of people, so we made up a list of designers to contact. A wonderful array of “Yes!” emails came back.
Some of the Splendid Sampler designers at Quilt Market, 2016
The most challenging part was getting everything ready so that the book could come out soon after the sew-along ended. We had to hustle to write patterns and make quilts, most of which were done before the sew-along even started. There was so much going on behind the scenes before we even revealed the first block!
ST!: Do you have any favorite blocks? And did you, as seasoned quilters, learn something new?
Pat: Oh, not a fair question! Our designer friends really knocked it out of the park for us. The book includes embroidery, English paper piecing, paper piecing, patchwork, and appliqué. The creativity is amazing! So to pick one is hard. But I think I’ll pick Jane’s pencils. I love how creative the block is, and how it’s a tool many of us started our quiltmaking with, drawing or sketching designs.
Jane: Please forgive me, Pat! While I love all your blocks, my favorite was Anne Sutton’s block, Sunday Best. What can I say—I love bunnies and the challenge of needle-turn appliqué. I find appliqué very relaxing.
ST!: Did you require the designers to follow guidelines, or did you just let them bring their own ideas to the table?
Pat and Jane: We gave the designers only two rules: use a technique that you’re known for, and let sewing and creativity inspire the theme of your block. This allowed the designers to explore sewing, quilting, and creativity in their own ways.
ST!: What was the easiest and the hardest part about working together?
Pat: Jane and I have talked about this. The easiest is that our skill sets turned out to be super compatible. You don’t know how things will go until you work with someone, but we trust and respect each other. We’re also both good at delegating and working on teams. So our team of two rocked this project! We had our own tasks and then cross-checked and helped each other out with other tasks.
The biggest challenge we faced was the time-zone difference. Jane, in Australia, wakes up at about 3:30 in the afternoon my time. My evening is her daytime. Often we couldn’t chat much in a day. We wished that we lived near enough to each other to have gotten together in person to experience things, at least a little bit.
Pat and Jane: Yes! We are super excited—now that the book is out, we already have our amazing Facebook group up, running and vibrant! In a few weeks we’ll start assigning one block a week from the book to sew—sign up for our newsletter to be notified of those details. Now is the perfect time to tell your friends and your local quilt shop that you want to have a sit-and-sew to work on Splendid Sampler blocks. Along with making friends online, many quilters have started groups in-person and enjoy sewing together. We can’t wait to see quilts being made for years to come!
• One of TWO prizes from Reliable Irons: two winners will receive a Velocity 200IR Compact Vapor Generator Iron—the water is heated internally so it turns into steam before it reaches the sole plate—the steam it delivers will astonish you! (Please note: Reliable Irons prizes are for US addresses only.)
• One of FOUR prizes from Schmetz Needles: four winners will receive two packs each of Schmetz Microtex (Sharp) Needles, Schmetz Quilting Needles, and Schmetz Universal Needles, plus a handy pocket guide to home sewing-machine needles!
That’s 13 lucky chances to win—why not throw your hat in the ring? To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments:
Which chapter of The Splendid Sampler will you dive into first?
a) The patchwork chapter
b) The appliqué chapter
c) The foundation-piecing chapter
d) The embroidery chapter
Or have you already been sewing along?
We’ll choose 13 random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck to all! And remember, when you buy The Splendid Sampler at ShopMartingale.com, you’ll instantly be able to download the eBook for free. Get started on block #1 (or #21, or #61, or #91) today!
It’s such a simple skill. You can learn just a few embroidery stitches or learn them all—and there are hundreds of stitches to choose from!
In Cottage-Style Charm, designer Natalie Bird uses just five embroidery stitches to make the embroidery projects in her beautiful book: a back stitch, French knots, a satin stitch, a Lazy Daisy stitch, and a running stitch. These basic stitches couldn’t be easier to master!
True Friend Tote
Natalie relies on a few tricks to make her embroidery extraordinary. One tip from Cottage-Style Charm shares a secret for eliminating embroidery “shadowing”—when the threads on the back of your work can be seen from the front, creating unsightly “shadows” that disrupt the motifs. In this quick video, we share Natalie’s shadow-stopping solution:
a) total newbie
b) committed a few stitches to memory
c) my brain is overflowing with embroidery stitches!
Share your answer in the commentsand you’ll be automatically entered to win the pretty All Afloat bundle from Clothworksplus a copy of Cottage-Style Charm! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!
And remember, when you purchase Cottage-Style Charm at ShopMartingale.com, you can instantly download the eBook for free. (Also twice as nice!)
Comments are closed for this post.
Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Linda, who says:
“I’ve started an embroidery piece but it got relegated to the back of the cupboard while I quilt. I need to pull it out and stitch some more on it.”
We’ll email you about your prizes, Linda—congratulations!
If you have a question about appliqué, you look to the pros for an answer—and when it comes to appliqué, Kim Diehl is the pro-est of the pros! Appliquéing oodles of beautiful quilts through the years (while writing 11 best-selling books and counting), Kim’s perfected her appliqué techniques and shares them all in her book Simple Appliqué.
Kim knows that just a few quick prep steps before beginning to sew will result in a more efficient—and more fun—experience. So today we’re sharing a tip from Simple Appliqué that will set you on the road to appliqué success. It’s a tip that goes right to the center of it all: namely, how do you center your appliqués before you start sewing, anyway? We’ll let Kim explain!
As you begin each new appliqué project, take a moment to evaluate how the design is positioned on the block or unit to be stitched. Very often, you’ll see designs centered, whether from side to side, top to bottom, or diagonally, but occasionally you’ll have a design that requires measuring from a given point or simply placing the elements to create a visually pleasing design. Before you lay out your design, pressing creases into the cloth will act as registration marks to simplify the process of positioning your appliqués.
When adding creases to serve as registration marks for a block background or unit, it’s best to press the creases using a hot, dry iron (I usually use the cotton setting). Using steam can make creases difficult to “un-press” after the stitching is complete.
Pressing the fabric with right sides together will produce inverted creases, making it much easier to position and stitch the appliqués, as opposed to folding the fabric with wrong sides together, which will produce raised creases with peaked centers.
To add a perfectly centered crease (in any direction needed), fold the background fabric in half to find the center position, aligning the raw edges to ensure the piece remains square, and use the heated iron to press the resulting center crease. I’ve found that for nearly all appliqué projects, adding one or more of the creases described below can be tremendously beneficial when laying out the design.
Vertical design. If the majority of your design is based on a center vertical position, crease the block through the vertical center.
Horizontal design. For designs that are based on a horizontal position, crease the block through the horizontal center.
Vertical and horizontal design. For designs that feature both vertically and horizontally centered elements, crease the block through both the horizontal and vertical centers, refolding the cloth as each crease is added.
Diagonal design. If the project features a diagonal design, fold the cloth in half diagonally and crease the fold, and then unfold and refold the cloth in the opposite diagonal direction to add the second crease.
Combination. For designs that include all of the above elements, press horizontal, vertical, and diagonal creases, unfolding and refolding to add each new crease.
Fold, crease, and unfold—you’ll be certain that your appliqués are sewn in just the right place every time!
Another helpful tool that Kim uses is one that she developed to ease appliqué prep even more: Kim Diehl’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper. If you’re still using cumbersome rolls of freezer paper from the grocery store, Kim’s appliqué papers will change your sewing life for the better! The papers come in flat 8½" x 11″ sheets and they can run through ink-jet printers. Kim even includes a free pattern for trying out her papers:
Folk-Art Dish Garden: free pattern when you purchase Kim’s papers
“Kim’s appliqué freezer paper holds its shape well when pressing the seam allowance around the edge of the paper to prepare each piece for hand or machine appliqué. I use starch in my appliqué prep, and Kim’s papers hold up well, even though the starch has water in it. I love it!”
Mini-quilt mania is upon is! In our last post we shared six tips from Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels for making mini-quilts. But one question we often get asked is: once you have a stack of mini-quilts, how do you display them?
Answer: make a mini-quilt gallery!
We love the mini-quilt gallery idea so much, we started one in our office sewing studio:
Do you like it so far? We’re already working on adding more!
We were inspired to create our gallery by a special section in Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels that offers wall-layout ideas for small quilts. If you’re not sure how to display quilts on a wall—particularly mini quilts—perhaps this layout from the book will inspire you!
Arrangements tend to work best when you group elements in odd numbers—as a rule, odd numbers of objects are more visually pleasing. Even with different-sized quilts, you can create continuity by keeping the vertical and horizontal spaces between quilts equal.
Simply adapt the groupings in the template above for the mix of minis you make. Family and friends will marvel at your collection!
There are three more fun layouts in the book, including how to hang a trio of mini quilts, how to mix other elements (like photos or art) with your quilts, and even how to lay out a mini-quilt gallery on a wall next to a staircase. So many options!
Mini-quilts are BIG right now! They’re fast to finish, they provide an easy way to try new techniques, and let’s face it—they’re adorable. Plus, you can display them in so many ways:
Spread, tucked, hung, or framed—mini-quilts can shine almost anywhere!
Sewing minis can mean a more quickly completed quilt—but there are a few tips that can help you have even more fun and success making them. That’s why we’ve rounded up six smart tips from Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels for making mini-quilts—and we put them in a quick *little* video for your viewing pleasure!
You’ll find lots more tips for making mini-quilts in Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels, along with 15 beautiful quilts from popular Moda designers, including:
Betsy Chutchian (Mini Medallion mini-quilt)
Jen Kingwell (Fly Away Home mini-quilt)
Lisa Bongean (Midnight Garden mini-quilt)
Me and My Sister Designs (Spinner mini-quilt)
If you’re inspired to make a stack of mini-quilts, you won’t want to miss Friday’s post, when we’ll be sharing ideas for making your own mini-quilt gallery! We’ve started one of our own in the office and we can’t wait to show you how it’s turning out!
Quilting icon Jo Morton is back with more exquisite little quilts that have only been available to her devoted club members—until now! Gorgeous styled photography captures 15 quilts reminiscent of days gone by, while close-up photos reveal every scrappy choice Jo makes so you can follow her lead. Get oodles of ideas for displaying small quilts, along with Jo’s favorite techniques for making small quilts—the voice of experience when it comes to working with smaller pieces. You’ll be inspired to start right away with Jo’s wise approach to quiltmaking: if you want to make them all, make them small!
Transform bits of wool and thread into “a little something” to show off and share! These hand-sewn treats are oh-so sweet—if you’ve ever wanted to try wool appliqué, this happy little book is the perfect place to begin. Easily portable projects make it a cinch to sew whenever you have a few precious moments. You’ll fall in love with Roseann’s petite, practical designs, including a sewing kit, coasters, a jewelry bag, pincushions—even a satchel for your cell phone! And if you’re looking for great gift ideas that are quick to make, you’ll find oodles inside. A section on wool-appliqué essentials gives you all the confidence you’ll need to stitch every adorable project in the book—and most can be finished in a weekend or an afternoon.
Stitch up a holly-jolly Christmas where Santa is the star! If you loved Robin’s Snow Happy bluework embroidery, you’re in for a treat when you see what she’s done with Mr. Claus! Transform your holiday home into Santa’s village with delightful Santa motifs in classic redwork embroidery. Easy-to-make projects include wall hangings, pillows, ornaments, kitchen linens, and a joyful quilt starring six of Robin’s one-of-a-kind Santa stitcheries. Learn Robin’s transfer methods, finishing techniques, and clever tips for making your embroidery look flawless (even on the back). Believe in these Santas—they’ll bring a whole new magic to your holiday!
How cute would these tea towels be as holiday-party hostess gifts?
Best-selling knitting author Jen Lucas is back to share more stunning stitches! Jen chose seven of her all-time favorite stitch patterns; then she designed three different wraps highlighting each stitch pattern in all its stunning glory. Choose from 21 projects in a variety of yarn weights, from fingering weight to bulky, and knit every style of wrap: shawls, scarves, cowls, a poncho, a hooded scarf, a Mobius scarf, and more. Jen’s wraps make wonderful gifts—one size fits all—and they’re so luxe, you’ll feel like royalty when you wear them.
So, which new book would make your May 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.