1. 10 great scrap-quilt patterns for beginners

    Aren’t scrap quilts wonderful? They’re an all-time favorite and present a terrific opportunity to play with fabric.

    If you’re a beginner, the idea of a scrap quilt might be somewhat daunting. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! Read on for a collection of scrap quilts that are beginner-friendly, with pieces that are mostly squares and rectangles for easy cutting and sewing. A few are small enough that even if you have a small scrap basket, you’ll have enough fabric. For the larger ones, we’ve included precut-friendly quilts so that you can add in a bundle or two of precuts if your scrap collection is still growing!

    These larger quilts from Oh, Scrap! may look a bit intimidating, but they have NO triangles and are precut-friendly. Lissa’s tips for scrap quilting will keep the momentum going when you’re ready to move on to more complex patterns.

    Scrap quilts from Oh, Scrap!
    Splendid Scraps and Stair Steps from
    Oh, Scrap! by Lissa Alexander

    These little beauties would look fabulous in any color scheme, and they’re perfect patterns if your scrap basket is on the petite side!

    Windowpane quilt
    Windowpane from
    Small and Scrappy by Kathleen Tracy

    Playing Checkers quilt
    Playing Checkers from
    Simple Whatnots by Kim Diehl

    If your scrap pile is somewhat limited in colors, Kate Henderson has you covered. The color schemes in these quilts call for just two or three colors, making your fabric choices easy-squeezy.

    From Scrappy and Happy Quilts
    Pink Daisy and Mellow from
    Scrappy and Happy Quilts by Kate Henderson

    Got Layer Cake leftovers? These quilts are perfect! The Wrapped in Love quilt comes in two sizes—make it a mini if you don’t have larger scraps.

    Quilts from A Piece of Cake
    A Piece of Cake and Wrapped in Love from
    A Piece of Cake by Peta Peace

    Precut-friendly and cheerful! Piece and Quilt with Precuts is a skill-building book that will take you from scrap basket to finished quilt in no time.

    From Piece and Quilt with Precuts
    Gridwork and Dot ’n’ Dash from
    Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

    What are your main roadblocks when it comes to scrap quilting?

    • I don’t have enough scraps
    • The idea of combining several (or many!) colors intimidates me
    • Scrap quilts don’t seem beginner-friendly

    Tell us in the comments!


    87 comments (read all)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  2. Do you doodle? 180 new ways ahead (+ giveaway!)

    A doodle a day keeps the UFOs away!

    180 More Doodle Quilting Designs

    Doodle quilting has taken the quilt world by storm—and now there are 180 more doodle designs at your fingertips!

    In this sequel to the best seller 180 Doodle Quilting Designs, you’ll learn to free-motion quilt in three easy steps:

    1. Trace a doodle

    2. Draw a doodle

    3. Quilt a doodle with ease

    Tracing a doodle, then drawing it freehand, then stitching it on fabric helps your eyes, hands, and muscles learn a motif. All three parts work together to create delightful doodles in thread. (Haven’t tried it? We did—it’s fun and it works!)

    Designs for blocks, borders, and corners include lines, waves, squiggles, loops, curves, pebbles, swirls, curls, feathers, flowers, and more. And an introductory section sets you up for success. There’s never been a better time to discover this fun way to machine quilt! Check out just a few of the fun motifs you can use on your quilts:

    Dandelions free-motion quilting motif
    From the “Flowers” chapter: Dandelions motif by Karrlyn Marchuk

    Pebbles by the Shore free-motion quilting motif
    From the “Loops, Curves, and Pebbles” chapter: Pebbles by the Shore by Laurie Gustafson

    Hearts on a String free-motion quilting motif
    From the “Doodle Fun” chapter: Hearts on a String by Dara Tomasson

    Those are three of the designs. There are still so many more to choose from!

    We asked a few of the doodly designers featured in 180 More Doodle Quilting Designs about their favorite free-motion tip. Here’s what they had to share:

    > Dara Tomasson of Stitched Quilting Co. says, “My favorite free-motion quilting tip is to actually do it! Spend time practicing on quilt sandwiches and just do it!!”

    > Rebecca Silbaugh of Ruby Blue Quilting Studio says, “Remember to blink, don’t lock your legs (if you’re standing), and remember to breathe. If you’re too tense you won’t be able to quilt well!”

    > Carolyn Murfitt of Free Bird Quilting Designs says, “I always like to make sure that the quilting resonates with the quilt, so I find my quilting inspiration from the fabric or design of the quilt. This adds a layer of quilting that harmonizes with the quilt.”

    > Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt says, “The weight of the thread makes a huge difference in machine quilting! Use a lightweight thread (50 wt or finer) when you want to create a background design and a heavy weight thread (40 wt or heavier) to pop the motif!”

    > Melissa Corry of Happy Quilting says, “Try to stay relaxed and don’t fret over every stitch 😉 I find that listening to an audio book while quilting is the perfect balance of half listening and half quilting to give me the perfect state of relaxation while quilting, and I get to enjoy a good book at the same time. Double bonus!”

    > Maggi Honeyman of Sew Maggi’s quilting says, “Don’t follow your quilting path by looking directly at the needle. When I first started quilting I had a hard time with this. It’s kind of like driving a car. You don’t watch the road directly in front of your car, you look ahead to where you are going. The same applies with quilting. And don’t be afraid to add a little speed. Going too slow makes smooth movements harder in my opinion.”

    180 More Doodle Quilting DesignsHere’s what quilters like you are saying about the first book:

    “One of the best features is that the book shows you how the same design looks and is executed in different shaped blocks: triangles, squares, borders, etc. I am so glad I bought this book and as a complete beginner at free-motion quilting, it is just what I need to get started.”

    “A book of easy-to-do patterns! I am enjoying how easy it is to work the patterns from very inspirational quilters. Highly recommend to the new free-motion quilter. Truly a confidence builder for us who fear . . . the freedom.”

    “GREAT resource for quilters looking to get into free-motion quilting! I have a computerized longarm, so I haven’t had to work ‘off the belts’—but of course, I WANT to—so I needed some ideas and love the instructions given in this book—has been such a help! I’m so glad I bought it!”

    We’ve got a shiny-new copy of 180 More Doodle Quilting Designs to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter your name into the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    Have you tried doodle quilting?

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to start a fresh free-motion motif right now, order the book at our website and you can instantly download the eBook for free.


    517 comments (read all)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  3. Fat-quarter piles overflowing? 13 stash-worthy patterns ahead (+ giveaway!)

    Fat-quarter fans: start your sewing-machine engines!

    Fat-Quarter Favorites

    Find fun ways to use MORE of your fat quarters in Fat-Quarter Favorites, featuring an all-new collection of fat-quarter-friendly designs.

    Quilts from Fat-Quarter Favorites

    Take your fun little chunks of fabric in fantastic new directions, trying fresh spins on classic quilt blocks such as Jacob’s Ladder:

    Step in Time quilt
    Step in Time by Samantha Dorn. Fat quarters to de-stash: 39.

    Churn Dash:

    Searchlight quilt
    Searchlight by Vicki Ruebel. Fat quarters to de-stash: 15.

    and Pinwheel:

    Seeing Stars quilt
    Seeing Stars by Kristi McDonough. Fat quarters to de-stash: 19.

    Or, take a page from nature’s design book and turn fat quarters into fabric flower gardens:

    My Urban Garden quilt
    My Urban Garden by Katja Marek. Fat quarters to de-stash: 30 (plus 6 or 7 fat eighths).

    and even sparkling stars:

    How They Shine quilt
    How They Shine by Melissa Corry. Fat quarters to de-stash: 20.

    With today’s popular designers leading the way, it’s easier than ever to have a fresh kind of fun with your fat quarters!

    And speaking of the designers—Fat-Quarter Favorites promises patterns from some of the best in the biz and some up-and-comers. We asked the designers to answer an all-important fat-quarter question:

    Do you prefer fat-quarter singles or bundles?

    • Katja Marek of Katja’s Quilt Shoppe says, “I prefer bundles, but I don’t necessarily use the fabrics together when I purchase a bundle. I think I just like the well-coordinated temptation, all in one package.”
    • Melissa Corry of Happy Quilting Melissa says, “Hands down, bundles!!!”
    • Samantha Dorn of Aqua Paisley Studio says, “A bundle of fat quarters is a gift that keeps on giving! Using a bundle of fat quarters from a single fabric collection makes fabric selection a breeze, and any leftovers make a great addition to your stash—which makes a bundle a great place to start when purchasing fabric.”
    • Heidi Pridemore of The Whimsical Workshop says, “I Love Bundles :)”
    • Peta Peace of She Quilts A Lot says, “I love fat quarter bundles but sometimes it’s nice to show your own style and flair with a personally curated set from my stash. So I guess I’m also a bit partial to single fat quarters along with the bundles. My fat quarter drawers are definitely testament to that!”

    Good advice from some fat-quarter pros!

    Fat-Quarter FavoritesWe’ve got a copy of Fat-Quarter Favorites to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter your name into the drawing, share your answer to the same question we asked of the designers:

    Do you prefer fat-quarter singles or bundles?

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re inspired to dive into your fat-quarter stash right NOW, you can order Fat-Quarter Favorites at our website and instantly download the eBook for free.


    533 comments (read all)

  4. 9 easy patriotic quilts for the 4th (and all summer long) 🇺🇸 🌞

    From Oh, Glory!Summer is unofficially here—and official or not, it’s time to celebrate and decorate!

    While they’re perfect for Independence Day, easy patriotic quilts are also ideal for other holidays and gift-giving occasions throughout the year, including:

    • Flag Day
    • Presidents’ Day
    • Memorial Day
    • Veterans Day
    • Gifts for armed-services members
    • Projects for Quilts of Valor

    And hey, what’s the upcoming season without a splash of red, white, and blue?

    Here are just a few quilts we’ve chosen for you today—whip up your favorites and add a little sparkle to your summer!

    Stars of Freedom quilt
    Stars of Freedom by Kathy Flowers, from
    Oh Glory! A great project for using up your scraps, this little table topper can be as scrappy or fabric-coordinated as you choose.

    Anthem quilt
    Anthem by Kim Diehl, from
    Simple Whatnots. Kim says, “Quilts with a red-white-and-blue color scheme hit the mark on so many levels—they’re vivid, rich, and perfect any time of the year. Adding unexpected touches of turquoise to the traditional patriotic theme lends a light, fresh feel, bringing a bit of modern flair.”

    Antiquity quilt
    Antiquity by Jo Morton, from
    Jo’s Little Favorites III. We love this subtle take on the red, white, and blue theme: try muted blues, creamy whites, and rusty reds.

    Stars and Stars quilt
    Stars and Stars by Laurie Simpson, from
    Moda-All Stars: Mini Marvels. Paper piece these sparkling stars for goof-proof perfect points.

    The Fourth of July quilt
    The Fourth of July by Sue Pfau, from
    Easy Quilts from Precut Fabrics. The King’s Crown block in this Layer-Cake-friendly quilt appears to be set on point, but it’s not! Secondary designs elevate the design to something much more complex than it is to sew (shhh!).

    Leo's Star quilt
    Leo’s Star by Kathy Flowers, from
    Oh Glory! Made as a tribute to her father, Kathy’s simple-to-stitch quilted flag is one you can sew super-quick and proudly display any time of year.

    Patriotic Logs quilt
    Patriotic Logs by Carol Hopkins, from
    Civil War Legacies IV. The antique quilt that provided inspiration for Carol’s quilt was constructed from flag bunting and was made by Amanda Beitler, a worker at the Collegeville Flag Factory in Pennsylvania.

    Long May She Wave quilt
    Long May She Wave by Kathy Flowers, from
    Oh Glory! Four stars and alternating red-and-white Courthouse Steps blocks create a pretty rendition of the American flag, perfect for a wall hanging or back-of-sofa lap quilt.

    Teatime quilt
    Teatime quilt by Laurie Simpson, from
    Moda All-Stars: Lucky Charm Quilts. Dress up a table or wall with this cheerful checkered quilt. Use a charm pack that includes a variety of red-on-cream prints to add a scrappy touch.

    Americana Coasters
    Americana Coasters by Kathy Flowers, from
    Oh Glory! Calling all paper piecers! These little Log Cabin coasters are so easy to make—and they’re perfect for hostess gifts or stocking stuffers for the holidays too. (Watch Kathy’s video demonstration of stitching and trimming these paper-pieced blocks here.)

    Here’s wishing you a very happy Fourth and a stitched-filled summer!

    What do you have more of in your stash: red, white, or blue? Tell us in the comments!


    66 comments (read all)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  5. Wish-List Day! A prairie, a farmhouse, a roundup, and more (+ giveaway!)

    Welcome to Wish-List Day! We hope you’re celebrating this summer with a little sewing. We’re not only celebrating summer sewing here at Martingale; we’re also celebrating new sewing books coming in July!

    So sit back, relax, and take a peek at what’s on the way. And don’t forget to choose your favorite book in the comments. You could win your pick—and that definitely deserves a summer celebration!

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



    A Prairie JourneyA Prairie Journey
    Small Quilts That Celebrate the Pioneer Spirit
    Kathleen Tracy

    Kathleen Tracy is back with 13 petite quilts that explore ties to the past, each inspired by yesterday’s traditional blocks and today’s reproduction fabrics. You’ll be whisked back to an era when the classic quilt blocks of today were just making their debut.

    Stitch projects such as Wagon Wheels, Crossing the Prairie, and Aunt Sarah’s Scrap Baskets, or make a friendship quilt featuring autographed blocks. Vintage photos and the words of pioneer women from the mid-nineteenth century sprinkled throughout make this beautiful book extra special.

    Remake quilting history—see more >


    French FarmhouseFrench Farmhouse
    Quilts with Rustic Simplicity
    Marie-Claude Picon

    Blend the beauty of antique quilts with the simplicity of primitive stitchery and what do you get? The French farmhouse look! French designer Marie-Claude Picon shares how you can combine prints, colors, and textures to capture an old-fashioned, comfy quality in your quilts.

    Ten projects range from classic Nine Patch and medallion designs to quilts featuring tiny houses and stunning stars. As you sew along, you’ll learn how to get that perfectly aged feel with simple patchwork, fusible appliqué with flannel and wool, and easy embroidery. Gorgeous display ideas will inspire you to add a little French flair to your home.

    Farmhouse style, meet French country flair—see more >


    Table-Runner RoundupTable-Runner Roundup
    13 Quilted Projects to Spice Up Your Table
    Compiled by Amelia Johanson

    From classic chic to fresh twists, the versatility of the table runner shines in this collection of all-new projects. Thirteen designs include scrappy stars for the dinner table, sweet pineapples and savory olives for alfresco dining, a clever hexagon runner that transforms into place mats, and more.

    Fun and easy techniques range from traditional patchwork and fusible appliqué to stitch-and-flip triangles and dimensional curves. Get double the enjoyment when you use these beautiful pieces as wall hangings or as accents to drape on other kinds of “table” tops, such as dressers, bookshelves, hutches, and cabinet doors.

    Grace the space in which you gather—see more >


    2019 That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar2019 That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar
    Includes Instructions for Each Project

    Now in its 17th year of publication, That Patchwork Place’s annual quilt calendar has become a favorite of quilters worldwide. Show off a love of quilting year-round and enjoy sewing along each month too: the calendar spotlights 12 dazzling, swoon-worthy projects plus a 28-page pullout booklet that includes complete instructions for making each one. Don’t wait—next year’s calendar always sells out before the current year is over!


    Projects included in the 2019 calendar

    Admire these quilts all year—and make them too! See more >


    Stitches to Savor 2019 CalendarStitches to Savor 2019 Calendar
    Sue Spargo

    Enjoy Sue Spargo’s exquisite stitchery throughout the year in this spectacular wall calendar—a true visual delight! An at-a-glance calendar format lets Sue’s embroidered and appliquéd quilts shine in big, beautiful photographs. They’re so realistic you might just run your hands across the pages as if they were actually quilts! You’ll want to slow the days to savor each amazing stitch, month after month. The calendar pairs perfectly with Sue’s coffee-table book, Stitches to Savor: A Celebration of Designs (available now—treat yo’self!). Patterns not included.

    Let Sue Spargo inspire you all year long—see more >


    Which book or calendar above would make you jump for joy in July? 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. Good luck!

    By the way—books released in June are available TODAY!


    491 comments (read all)

  6. How to transfer embroidery designs onto fabric: 3 ways (+ giveaway!)

    If you’ve ever wondered how to transfer embroidery designs onto fabric, you’re in luck—we’ve got three easy ways to share with you today!

    The how-to comes from Lunch-Hour Embroidery, a book packed with more than 75 cute motifs to embroider, plus the entire alphabet in both capital and lowercase letters. The illustrations are easy to enlarge or reduce, and you can transfer them to clothing, linens, bags, and more. Mix and match motifs and letters to create one-of-a-kind embroidery projects like we did—check out what Martingale staffers and friends have made from the book so far:

    Best of all, you need only learn 10 basic embroidery stitches to create every motif in the book. Sweet!


    More embroidery motifs from the book

    Now, here’s that how-to . . . experiment with all three methods to find your favorite.

    TRANSFERRING DESIGNS TO FABRIC

    Excerpt from Lunch-Hour Embroidery

    There are a number of ways to transfer embroidery designs to your project fabric. You can research online tutorials for more details about each method.

    Tracing with a light source.
    For thin or light-colored fabrics, trace the design onto tissue or copy paper, then darken (but don’t thicken) the traced lines with a fine-point black marker. Place your fabric on top of the traced design and lightly trace the design lines with a pencil or water-erasable marker. If you have trouble seeing the design lines through the fabric, you can tape the design paper and fabric to a window so that the light source makes the lines visible. And if you have a lightbox, transferring designs is a snap, even with dark fabrics.

    Heat-transfer pencil.
    Similar to the technique above, you’ll trace the motif onto tracing or copy paper with a special heat-transfer pencil. (For asymmetrical or one-way designs, you’ll need to reverse the design before you trace it.) Flip over the tracing paper so that the image side is down, place it on your project fabric, and press with dry heat until the image transfers, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy wash-away stabilizer.
    A water-soluble stabilizer is perfect for dark fabrics (and all other fabrics, too) and allows you to trace the design and adhere it right on top of the embroidery fabric. This stabilizer is thin and has an adhesive back that you can reposition. Embroider right through the stabilizer, then dissolve it in warm water, following the manufacturer’s directions. You can even run sheets of stabilizer through a laser printer!


    We love having options, don’t you?

    Our friends at Lecien Fabrics sent us a lovely bundle of Cosmos embroidery floss to give away to one lucky winner today:

    To enter to win the floss and a copy of Lunch-Hour Embroidery, tell us in the comments:

    How do you typically transfer embroidery motifs to fabric?

    • Light source
    • Heat-transfer pencil
    • Wash-away stabilizer
    • I’ve found another way . . . and I’ll share it in the comments!

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’d like to start a new embroidery project right away, order Lunch-Hour Embroidery at our website and instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I use a light source, or light-colored background fabric that I can see through! Would love to try the washable stabilizer.”

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


    510 comments (read all)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  7. Elegant embroidery from a Japanese master 😍 (+ giveaway!)

    We’re so excited to introduce you to the latest book from Stitch Publications today! Get ready to “ooh!” and “aah!” as you peek inside the artful world of Japanese master embroiderer Reiko Mori, whose incredible work embodies charm, grace, and true elegance.

    Elegant Embroidery

    In Elegant Embroidery, more than 40 embroidery motifs are grouped into enchanting vignettes which you can mix and match to your heart’s content.

    Favorite Things embroidery vignette
    Favorite Things vignette

    Eleven start-to-finish projects include totes, fabric-covered boxes, and more.

    Embroidered snowflake boxes
    Snowflake Boxes

    Embroidered Pocket Board with Climbing Roses
    Pocket Board with climbing roses

    Chamomile Tote Bag
    Chamomile Tote Bag—look at those pudgy bees!

    Learn 16 embroidery stitches step by step—some well-known and some less common—and feature them in designs for holidays, seasons, and everyday occasions. Themed chapters include flower, marine, and Christmas collections, as well as an assortment of Ms. Mori’s signature black-on-linen designs.

    Embroidered Hollyhocks Pouch
    Hollyhocks Pouch, made up of buttonhole stitches and French knots

    See more from this captivating embroidery collection >

    We’ve got a copy of Elegant Embroidery to give away today! To enter the drawing, tell us:

    Are you an embroidery enthusiast—or do you want to become one?

    Share you answer in the comments! 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 winner is Candy, who says:

    “I have admired this work for a long time. Such beautiful needlework. I’m retired and have lots of time to learn a  new craft! Thank you for the chance to win!”

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


    This book is published by Stitch Publications, is distributed by Martingale, and is nonreturnable.


    354 comments (read all)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  8. Sawtooth Star quilt-block pattern, step by step (video)

    Sawtooth Star blockStar blocks have been around as long as quiltmaking itself. There might be enough different Star block patterns to populate a whole galaxy!

    One of the most iconic star motifs in quilting is the basic eight-pointed star, and there are dozens of variations. As with many other common blocks, you can take your pick of various methods for constructing an eight-pointed star depending on the look you want to achieve. Today, we’re sharing how to make perhaps the most classic of all star blocks: the Sawtooth Star quilt-block pattern. The how-to comes from the book Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Star Blocks (and we certainly do!).

    This Sawtooth Star block measures 12½" square, including seam allowances. Grab a trio of fabrics and give the block a try—just follow along with the video!


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

    Now that you’ve learned the basics of sewing a Sawtooth Star block, you can create lots of variations! There are eight different kinds of Sawtooth Star blocks in Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Star Blocks, along with other types of star-studded designs—take a look at all the quilts you can choose from in the book:

    Quilts from Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Star Blocks
    Create starry quilts with Melissa Corry, Amy Ellis, Lynne Hagmeier, Kimberly Jolly, Sue Pfau, and more

    Sew many stars! The book also shares a step-by-step technique for making another beautiful star block, the LeMoyne Star. We’ll share a how-to for that block in a future post, right here at Stitch This!

    How many different kinds of star blocks have you made?

    • 1 to 3
    • 4 to 10
    • More than 10
    • None yet—but these sparkly quilts are setting my sights on stars!

    Tell us in the comments!


    65 comments (read all)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  9. New tricks for a seasoned scrap quilter (+ scrappy giveaway!)

    As the content director for Martingale, it’s easy to be inspired by all of our authors’ work. Every day I’m surrounded by beautiful new quilts, pillows, table toppers, embroidered goodies, and more. Very often I find myself saying, “I want to make that.” Then time slips away, another box of quilts comes in, and I start the daydreaming process all over again.

    Oh, Scrap!But not this time. A few months back while working with author Lissa Alexander on her book Oh, Scrap!, I thought, this time I really am going to make that project—and I did! And it was easy and fun and I love the result.

    First off, I love scrap quilts. My favorite genre. But with a full-time job and a home to run, I don’t always have as much time as I’d like for sewing. Enter the mini-charm-pack scrap quilt. Even though I have more fabric squirreled away than I care to admit, Lissa’s tip for those new to quilting— or those who don’t have a stash of scraps—is to start with precut squares. In this case, mini charms, which are 2½" squares. Each mini-charm pack has 40 squares from one line of fabric, offering a little taste of each fabric in the line.

    For some reason, Lissa’s tip resonated with me. It was as though she gave me permission for a fresh beginning. I didn’t have to rummage through bins and baskets looking for just the right colors. I could start anew with mini charms. And that’s exactly what I did.

    Plus Marks the Spot is the first quilt in Oh, Scrap! and it’s beginner friendly. You don’t need lots of experience, because it’s made with the simplest of shapes—squares. And you don’t need a stash—you can start with a couple of packets of mini charms and one background fabric. It couldn’t be easier.

    Plus Marks the Spot quilt
    Plus Marks the Spot

    Making this quilt was so freeing—I wasn’t beholden to fabrics on hand, and I didn’t feel guilty for ignoring all my scraps and buying new fabrics, because mini charms are very affordable. And each little packet comes already cut to exactly the size you need. I could just divvy them up and get sewing.


    Planning the blocks


    Chain piecing

    I do have one word of caution for you, however. Sewing this quilt is addictive. I couldn’t stop at the number of mini-charm packs called for. Four days after my initial purchase, I went back to my local shop and bought several more packs and made my quilt slightly larger. Not because I needed it to be larger, but because I was having fun! Quilting doesn’t get much better than that.


    Block layout


    Trimming/prepping for binding

    Lissa’s quilt in the book features a dark-blue square at the middle of each block, but red was the predominant color in the charm packs I bought. So my blocks all have red centers. From there, it was like dealing a deck of cards—aqua squares for this block, yellows over there, greens for another block. While the colors work nicely together, I made sure that all seven of the charm packs I used were by different fabric designers so that I’d have a variety of prints and colors. After all, this was going to be a scrap quilt. (right: the different fabric lines I used in my quilt.)

    Plus Marks the Spot quilt
    Ta-da!

    So whether you’re a seasoned quilter like me or you’re just starting on your quilting journey, Oh, Scrap! is a fun book with so many ideas and tips that I bet you can’t stop at just one quilt. I know I can’t. Next up, Izzy Squared is calling my name.

    Izzy Squared quilt
    Izzy Squared

    Today we’re giving away a copy of Oh, Scrap! and a one-of-a-kind collection of scraps created by Lissa herself, while she was working on her book!

    To enter into the drawing, tell us:

    How many mini-charm packs are in your stash right now? 

    • 1 to 5
    • 6 to 10
    • More than 10
    • Headed to the quilt shop right now 💨 💨 💨

    Tell us in the comments! 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 winner is Karen, who says:

    “I’m in the 1 to 5 category, with plenty of other stash scraps to fill in. This book is so inspiring. Thank you!”

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


    1,290 comments (read all)

  10. Stitching a simple life: Q & A with Maggie Bonanomi (+ special giveaway!)

    Welcome to the warm, woolly world of Maggie Bonanomi, where whimsical wonders await!

    Come on in, take a seat, and enjoy some slow stitching with this celebrated maker—she’ll lead you on a creative journey inspired by a simpler time.

    Pure & Simple

    In Maggie’s world, hand-drawn patterns and hand-dyed wool combine with artful motifs and casual stitches. The result is Pure & Simple, a rustic collection of primitive projects that are a delight to make, use, and enjoy.

    From Pure & Simple

    No fancy skills to learn, no expensive tools to buy: needle, thread, and wool are about all you need to begin. Create pillows, runners and toppers, wall art, and even clever vegetables crafted into sewing essentials—make them in minutes to warm up any nook or cranny.

    Early Radish and Sweet Peas
    Early Radish and Sweet Peas

    A few things to know about Maggie:

    • Her small appliquéd projects feature an indulgent mix of cozy wools, textured linens, and crisp cottons.
    • When stitching her primitive designs, Maggie uses only ONE type and color of thread: Coats and Clark’s Summer Brown (how simple is that?).
    • Maggie uses a whipstitch to appliqué raw-edge shapes. That’s it! No turning under edges. Although she might toss in a sprinkle of embroidery stitches from time to time.

    Little Brown Bird
    Little Brown Bird

    • She prefers hand-dyed wool by Blackberry Primitives, and the colors she uses are listed in Pure & Simple. (We hear Blackberry Primitives will be hosting a sew-along for the book—stay tuned!)
    • Sometimes Maggie uses found items, like twigs and bits of book pages, in her projects. The results are enchanting.

    May Basket Pin Keep
    May Basket pin keep—note how the paper behind the top button transforms it into a flower!

    • You’ll instantly be put as ease once you learn Maggie’s stitching philosophy: perfection isn’t the goal. It’s supposed to be fun, after all!

    Maggie’s simple, casual style will charm you—as all things do when they’re handmade and from the heart.

    We asked Maggie to answer a few questions about her creative life—read her answers below. And don’t miss the opportunity to enter to win a copy of Pure & Simple AND one of three adorable kits from Blackberry Primitives!


    Maggie BonanomiStitch This!: How did you come to write Pure & Simple?

    Maggie: The way Pure & Simple came to be written is a bit of a roundabout. I started to miss writing a book; it had been a few years since my last one. I put together a monthly newsletter, which included a few wool projects that became a monthly girls’ club through the Country Sampler shop in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Once I had contact with Martingale, those projects became part of an idea for a new book. I guess you’d say the rest is history.

    ST!: Your work is known for being primitive, unfussy, and, well . . . pure and simple! Can you tell us more about your aesthetic? How did it develop?

    Maggie: I just find that working with a muted color palette and simple designs is more pleasing to my eye. I design things I’d want to live with.

    Life is Good pillow
    Life Is Good pillow

    ST!: What’s your typical process for designing, and where do you find inspiration?

    Maggie: I can’t say I have a typical process for designing. I may do some simple drawings, I may be inspired by a purchase of some wonderful wool, or there may be an idea for something I want. Inspiration comes from many places. Most often it’s nature and color, and occasionally a scrap on the floor that I see in a different light!

    ST!: It’s obvious that you love wool and hand sewing; what is it that draws you to them over other fabrics and techniques?

    Maggie: Wool, particularly hand-dyed wool, is wonderful to work with. It’s easy. You can cut out a piece and just stitch it down!

    Sunshine on a Stem
    Sunshine on a Stem

    ST!: What do you love about being a designer?

    Maggie: What I love about being a designer is that I’m able to share what I love, simple as that. Well, and getting to travel to places to teach!

    ST!: Tell us about The Purple Turnip!

    Maggie: The Purple Turnip is my studio and shop in Lexington. It’s in a wonderful building on Main Street, built in 1869. It’s only about four blocks from home. It’s a bit antiques/collectibles, old textiles (if I can part with them), ironstone, wool, my books, and an assortment of things I love. The shop is where I can work and also occasionally hold workshops.

    Potted Topiary
    Potted Topiary

    ST!: Finish these sentences for us:

    One reason working with wool is so satisfying is: there are such great colors and textures, and you don’t have to turn under the raw edges!

    If I had a three-word sewing mantra, it would be: stitch, stitch, stitch. It can be very meditative.

    My best tip for new stitchers is: NOT to worry about perfection. A lot of time, and sometimes money, is spent on our projects. The process should be enjoyed, and we don’t need to waste time worrying about how we’re doing.

    Before I begin designing a new project, I must have: the materials I think I might want to use as well as a simple drawing to help direct me.

    If I had a sewing superpower, it would be: being able to get to and make all the ideas I have!


    Many thanks to Maggie for answering our pressing questions—and now for more about that warm-and-woolly giveaway!

    Our friends at Blackberry Primitives generously sent us THREE of the cutest little kits we’ve ever seen! They come with all the wool and ribbon you need to make this pretty White Tulips pillow from Pure & Simple, plus a fun little tape measure too!

    To enter your name in the giveaway to win a kit plus a copy of Pure & Simple, tell us:

    Pure & SimpleHow often do you set time aside for a little slow sewing?

    • As often as I can squeeze it in.
    • At least once a week.
    • Every day!
    • Most of my time is spent speed sewing on the machine—but Maggie’s got me thinking about slowing things down here and there!

    Share your answer in the comments! We’ll choose three random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you feel like you can’t own Maggie’s slow-sewing book fast enough, order Pure & Simple at our website and instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winners are:

    Kathie, who says, “I’d say at least once a week.  More often if I have a wonderful project like these in the book.  Thanks for the giveaway.”

    Linda, who says, “I slow sew as often as I can squeeze it in. It’s my preferable way to sew. In the winter when life slows down, I try to sew a little every day and always with wool. Thank you Maggie, Blackberry Primitives, and Martingale for this delightful giveaway!”

    Sharon, who says, “As often as I can, but at least once a week. I love to embroider (as well as machine sewing/quilting), and it’s so enjoyable. Thank you for the giveaway!”

    We’ll email you about your prizes, ladies—congratulations!


    472 comments (read all)