1. Make 2015 the year of the art quilt (+ sale!)

    Holiday-Recipe Blog BlitzWelcome, Holiday Blog Blitz visitors! See our contribution to SewCalGal’s holiday-recipe blog hop at the bottom of this post—a decadent dessert from the book Coffee-Time Quilts. Enjoy!
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    Save 40% on select eBooks this week

    Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t. It’s not that I haven’t tried, but despite my best intentions, my enthusiasm begins to wane by the middle of February. I believe many resolutions don’t last because they focus on something negative: we resolve to diet because we think we’re overweight; we plan a new exercise routine because we’re feeling out of shape. But what if the resolution was to do something positive and creative just for the fun of it? Now that’s a promise I can keep.

    I hereby resolve that 2015 will be the year I broaden my horizon and dip my toe into the world of art quilting.

    I love to make quilts from patterns; it suits my rule-following, color-inside-the-lines nature. But I’m ready for a little fabric adventure. It’s time to get in touch with my inner quilt artist for a bit of bend-the-rules, color-wherever-I-want excitement. Will you join me?

    The world of fiber art quilts is vast, with as many different styles as there are quilt artists. The first step is to decide what type of art quilting appeals to you, then look for a book to help you on your journey.

    Landscape quilts are a good starting point. Points of View by Valerie Hearder and Dream Landscapes by Rose Hughes feature two very different techniques with equally stunning results. Both books include patterns, but the technique instructions are so thorough, you won’t need patterns for long. You’ll be creating your own designs in no time!

    Quilts from Points of View
    “Fern Hill” and “Summer Marsh” from Points of View

    Quilts from Dream Landscapes
    “Oak—King of Trees” and “Making a Stand” from
    Dream Landscapes

    Another great starting place for new art quilters is the story quilt—after all, everyone has a story to tell. Mary Lou Weidman is the queen of story quilts. When her book Out of the Box came out, I was captivated by the creative lessons, ideas, and encouragement that filled its pages. But then came Out of the Box with Easy Blocks by Mary Lou and her co-author, Melanie Bautista McFarland, which gave me even more tools to create the story quilt of my dreams.

    Quilts from Out of the Box with Easy Blocks
    The purple cow and the shoes are just two of the 13 blocks and 7 quilts in Out of the Box with Easy Blocks. Now, couldn’t you have fun telling a story like this?

    If you really want to stretch your creative muscle, Design, Create, and Quilt by Rose Hughes is practically a design class in a book. Through exercises and projects, Rose explores the five basic elements of design: line, shape, texture, color, and space. By the time you’re through, you’ll have the techniques and the confidence to design your own abstract art quilts.

    Quilts from Design Create and Quilt

    So what do you think? Are you ready to try something new and different? This is one resolution I’m looking forward to keeping.

    What’s your quilting resolution for 2015? Tell us in the comments.

    Holiday Blog Blitz Recipe:
    Double-Shot Mocha Cheesecake

    Rich and creamy, this decadent treat is for true chocolate and coffee lovers.

    1¾ cups chocolate cookie crumbs
    ¼ cup butter
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar

    2 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
    ¼ cup coffee liqueur
    3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
    1¼ cups granulated sugar
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    3 eggs
    3 tablespoons milk

    1. Prepare the crust: Mix the cookie crumbs, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press into the bottom and along the sides of an ungreased 9″ springform pan. Chill the crust while you continue with the recipe.

    2. Prepare the filling: In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate morsels in the water and add the coffee crystals. Cool; then add coffee liqueur. Caution: Do not heat liqueur in a saucepan. Be sure the filling has cooled before adding the liqueur.

    3. In another bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and flour. Add the vanilla, eggs, milk, and chocolate mixture.

    4. Pour the filling mixture into a chilled cookie crust. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Leave the cake in the oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven; allow to cool for 45 minutes, and then remove the sides of the pan. Chill at least 4 hours before serving. Serving option: Top with fresh strawberries or raspberries.

    Coffee-Time QuiltsFind more recipes perfect to pair with coffee—
plus 12 coffee-inspired quilts—in the eBook Coffee-Time Quilts >>

    Visit these other blogs today for more holiday recipes!

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  2. Top 5 knit + crochet books: your 2014 favorites

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

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    Top 5 Knit and Crochet Books of 2014As 2014 comes to a close, we look back on a fabulous year of sharing handmade love with you, our readers. From knitting and crochet tips and tricks to heartwarming stories and friendly giveaways, we had, without a doubt, an incredibly full year. And best of all, we shared dozens of delightful books with brand-new patterns to fill your shelves!

    So as the New Year approaches, let’s take a moment to look back and celebrate YOUR favorite books of 2014. You helped make each of these best-selling knit and crochet books a star when you purchased a copy from your local yarn shop or online. Without further ado, we present to you…

    The Top 5 Knitting Books of 2014  |  The Top 5 Crochet Books of 2014

    Which ones do you own? Which ones are on your wish list? Stay tuned in the New Year for more fabulous and original titles! Subscribe to Stitch This! so you don’t miss any of our posts. You can also join our Insider Book Club to enjoy new titles delivered to your door every month, plus a 35% discount every day at ShopMartingale.com.

    Martingale's Insider Book Club

    Top 5 Knitting Books of 2014
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    20 Easy Knitted Blankets and Throws #5: 20 Easy Knitted Blankets and Throws

    What’s to love: Immerse yourself in comfort and beauty with this varied assortment of fun-to-knit throws!

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "There is something in this book for anyone."

    "I can’t wait to make beautiful blankets for my family to use."

    "I had to have this book!"
    Knit Pink #4: Knit Pink

    What’s to love: A special knitted gift is a tangible way to show our support to loved ones—or our appreciation to caregivers. These beautiful knitting patterns are ideal.

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "This book is beautifully done."

    "Great way to support those going through a trying time."

    "Have used several of the patterns already for friends."
    A to Z of Knitting #3: A to Z of Knitting

    What’s to love: Browse over 1000 close-up photographs featuring real hands holding real yarn and needles—there’s no easier way to learn!

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "I ‘get it’ finally!"

    "A to Z of Knitting is indeed a terrific reference book."

    "It has excellent photos of actual knitting for the stitch instruction."
    Sock-Yarn Shawls #2: Sock-Yarn Shawls

    What’s to love: Sock yarns are so yummy. Best of all, they’re versatile! You can use these fabulous fibers for a lot more than socks; find a variety of knitted-shawl patterns to suit yourself and your friends.

    >> Psst… stay tuned in January for Sock-Yarn Shawls II!

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "There are even directions for enlarging shawls."

    "This author does it right. Brava!"

    "I like EVERY shawl in this book!"
    Cast On Bind Off #1: Cast On, Bind Off

    What’s to love: In one extraordinary book, you’ll have at your fingertips more than 120 ways to cast on and more than 80 ways to bind off.

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "I’m a very experienced knitter and still found so much I didn’t know."

    "Not only are the directions clear but the author adds helpful hints along the way."

    "Who knew there were so many different ways to create edging!"

    Top 5 Crochet Books of 2014

    Bathtime Buddies #5: Bathtime Buddies

    What’s to love: Take the plunge with charming undersea crocheted creatures that double as tub-friendly toys! Create soft and safe tub toys that use water-friendly materials.

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "I absolutely love this book! My little one’s favorite thing is trips to the aquarium."

    "These little crocheted characters are so adorable, and there are projects for all skill levels."

    "The opening chapters detail stuffing options (including bells, rattles, and squeaks) and tips for everything from using templates to cutting bellies out of terry cloth to sanitizing and drying your used toys."
    Crochet a Zoo #4: Crochet a Zoo

    What’s to love: Go a little wild as you stitch everything from lions and tigers to bears and baboons. You can even create felt bananas, leaves, and other zoo food, plus zany zookeepers all dressed for the part.

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "I was very pleased at how clear and concise the pictures and directions are."

    "The different body pieces are modular, so many are shared between the various animals, which makes the learning curve for doing multiple animals much simpler."

    "The grandkids just love these and so do their friends and their teachers!"
    Modern Baby Crochet #3: Modern Baby Crochet

    What’s to love: Crochet novel designs that babies and moms will adore! This book is packed with clever, beginner-friendly projects to crochet for baby boys and girls.

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "With an assortment of wonderful cuddly patterns, this book is brimming with wonderfulness!"

    "This is not your average baby crochet book. The patterns are fresh, edgy, and modern."

    "These lovely projects will inspire a beginner as well as an experienced crocheter."
    The Big Book of Crochet Stitches #2: The Big Book of Crochet Stitches

    What’s to love: Access hundreds of crochet stitches that you can use year in and year out. This indispensable resource provides excellent value.

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "My newest stitch dictionary!"

    "This is the crochet book I have been looking for."

    "I took it to a crochet class and everyone loved it."
    A to Z of Crochet #1: A to Z of Crochet

    What’s to love: Whether you’re a new crocheter or just want to try new techniques, this must-have resource offers all the know-how you’ll ever need!

    What readers say:
    (from reviews on Amazon.com)

    "No more hunting for the directions for a particular stitch pattern."

    "I bought this a while ago and frequently use it as a reference guide."

    "I’m no expert, but with this book I could definitely become one."

    What was your favorite knitting book of the year? Crochet book? Tell us in the comments!

    Big eBook and ePattern sale happening now!

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  3. 7 days to Christmas! 9 make-in-a-day (or less) projects

    Posted by on December 18, 2014, in quilting & sewing, , , ,

    From Here Comes Winter
    Quilt detail from
    Here Comes Winter

    One week until Christmas: who’s left on your nice list? You want to make them something from the heart…but is there enough time left?

    With a little quick-sew magic, the answer is yes!

    Below you’ll find nine projects to put together in just a few hours. Projects are from our exclusive ePattern line at ShopMartingale. Download a pattern for only $1.99 during our special eBook and ePattern sale—within a few minutes you’ll be happily sewing a gift for that special someone on your nice list!

    Zinnia pincushion 1. Zinnia pincushion
    by Linda Lum DeBono, from the book Cool Girls Quilt: More than 15 Fresh, Fun and Funky Projects

    All you need to make this pretty pincushion is four colors of felted wool, embroidery floss, beads, and fiberfill. Pair the gift with a new box of high-quality pins.
    La Grande Poire pincushion 2. La Grande Poire Pincushion
    by Joanna Figueroa, from the book Fig Tree Quilts: Fresh Vintage Sewing

    Put this pear pincushion on a pedestal—display it on a fancy candlestick holder! Fill the pincushion with crushed walnut hulls (available at pet stores) to add a bit of weight, then round out edges with fiberfill.
    Dinner Party Grocery Bag 3. Dinner Party Grocery Bag
    by Cassie Barden, from the book The New Handmade

    Why is Cassie’s reusable bag our best-selling ePattern of all time? Because it’s a breeze to make, fun to personalize with bold fabric choices—and it’s a gift everyone can use! Fill the bag with an assortment of holiday goodies.
    Lovely Lavender Sachets 4. Lovely Lavender Sachets
    by Joanna Figueroa, from the book Fig Tree Quilts: Fresh Vintage Sewing

    Perfect for charm squares, these sweet sachets give off a gentle, relaxing fragrance. Embellish with buttons and lace or other trims you have on hand. Make one or make a bunch!
    Jelly Roll tote bag 5. Jelly Roll Tote Bag
    by Nancy J. Martin, from the book Rolling Along: Easy Quilts from 2½" Strips

    A great gift for any guy or gal on your nice list! Transform a Jelly Roll into a roomy tote with reinforced handles, piped side seams, and a zippered top. Foundation piecing makes the body of the bag a cinch to stitch.
    Pretty Crafty Apron 6. Pretty Crafty Apron
    by Cassie Barden, from the book The New Handmade

    Whether quilting, sewing, or playing in other creative ways, we all require one thing—a place to put our supplies. Whip up this cute apron for a creative soul on your gift list. Made with just three fabrics!
    Evening Essentials wristlet 7. Evening Essentials Wristlet
    by Cassie Barden, from the book The New Handmade

    Make this little wristlet with only four materials—fabric, lining, interfacing, and a zipper. Perk up the gift by slipping in a gift card to a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or movie theater.
    Knit-Not scarf 8. Knit-Not Scarf
    by Cassie Barden, from the book The New Handmade

    So fast—and so easy to personalize! Choose a gorgeous cotton print for the front of this scarf and a soft, cuddly fabric for the back. You can make the scarf with 54″-wide fabric or piece together two lengths of standard 42″-wide fabric.
    Waste Not Want Not quilts 9. Waste Not Want Not quilt(s)
    by Karen Costello Soltys, from the book Bits and Pieces

    Make these classic quilts simultaneously or individually—instructions are provided for both. Using a two-at-a-time method for making half-square triangles, you’ll have a little “Flags” or “Barn Raising” quilt completed in no time.

    How many people are left on your gift list: more than five, less than five…or are you finished for the year? Tell us in the comments!

    BIG eBook and ePattern sale going on now!

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  4. 6 buck eBooks, 1.99 ePatterns: sale starts now

    Posted by on December 17, 2014, in quilting & sewing, , ,

    Shop eBooks | Shop ePatterns

    eBook and ePattern sale!

    Shop eBooks | Shop ePatterns

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  5. 9 ways with big quilt blocks: a cozy home quick! (+ giveaway)

    New-release day: Think Big

    Filmstrip quilt and pillowDo you love surrounding yourself with all things quilty—pieces that add a cozy vibe to your home while showing off your creativity too?

    Enhancing her home with quilted treasures is one of best-selling author Amy Ellis’s passions. In her new book Think Big, she shares her secret for warming up stark spaces with quilts of all sizes—and for sewing them in a jiffy.

    So how does she do it? With large quilt blocks that will adapt to any area you want to enhance with a quilt. Amy’s 10 big block designs—18″ big, to be exact—act as a base for creating a bounty of coordinating projects:

    • 1-block table toppers
    • 1-block pillows
    • 3- to 6-block table runners
    • 3- to 6-block bed runners
    • 9-block baby quilts
    • 12-block throws
    • 20-block twin quilts
    • 25-block queen quilts
    • 30-block king quilts

    Sew just one project for a space that needs a little sprucing up, or make a coordinating set of projects to bring an entire room together.

    But wait, there’s more…a very special wow factor in Think Big that had everyone at Fall Quilt Market buzzing. It’s the failsafe yardage and cutting charts that take away (far away) all the math hassles that typically go along with switching sizes.

    Amy’s here as a guest blogger today to tell us more. Welcome back, Amy!

    Amy EllisI’m so proud of the books I’ve written with Martingale, and I always love getting emails with pictures of your quilts made from patterns included in my books!

    I’ve gotten plenty of emails with questions about resizing quilts to fit the size project that you want to make. My goal in writing Think Big is to inspire you to be creative and make unique quilts that suit your needs, whether it’s for your bed, for your dining-room table, or for a gift to be given.

    Mod Pod pillow and runner
    Transform this “Mod Pod” block into a pillow, runner, or a quilt in the size of your choice—Amy’s charts make it easy.

    I wanted to include as many options as possible so that you could easily make the quilt that you want to make. Sorting out how to share those options was a bit of a challenge, but in the end I came up with some handy charts to give you the freedom to create.

    Cutting chart from Think Big
    Example of cutting chart from
    Think Big

    Knowing that not everyone loves quilt math as much as I do, my goal was to simplify the process for you as much as possible. I know some of you looking at the chart above might be slightly overwhelmed, but it really is quite simple!

    Connections quilt and pillow
    “Connections” quilt and pillow

    Make just one block or make 30—I walk you through the math to determine your cutting plan. Most of the information you need is already filled in. Your only decision to make is how many blocks to sew and which fabrics to use. Make those choices, write your answers on the spaces provided in the charts, and you will be piecing (or fabric shopping) in no time!

    Pillows from Think Big
    Amy’s “Pillow Primer” includes step-by-step instructions for finishing a pillow two ways: with and without a zipper and binding.

    Since all the blocks in Think Big are 18″, they add up to a quilt fast! There are projects for the beginner and for the more advanced quilter. I hope you will “think big” and find your perfect project soon!

    Think BigThanks for sharing your new book with us, Amy!

    Which room in your home might inspire you to “think big” right now? Share your answer in the comments and you could win a copy of the Think Big eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Pick up your copy of Think Big at your friendly neighborhood quilt shop or at ShopMartingale.com.

    Print book: $24.99 (includes free eBook)
eBook: $16.99

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  6. Mini quilts bring maximum cheer (+ sale!)

    Quilt eBooks on sale Dec 15 - 21

    In the run-up to Christmas it seems we’re always racing to finish projects we should have started much earlier than we did. We put the last few stitches in the binding on the family quilts and start right in on the quilts for best friends, guild buddies, and the office Secret Santa.

    Well, here’s a novel idea: At this time of year, when there’s already too much to do and too little time to do it in, why not think small? A gift quilt doesn’t have to be large or complicated. Mini quilt patterns abound, and small quilts are just as appreciated as larger ones. The key is to look for easy patterns that are stress-free and quick to finish.

    A small or mini quilt can be just the thing to brighten a corner, freshen a table top, or turn into a pillow. And what little girl wouldn’t love a special quilt to tuck in around her favorite doll?

    If your recipient favors traditional styles, consider a project from American Doll Quilts.

    Underground Railroad quilt Indigo Blue and White Quilt
    “Underground Railroad” and “Indigo Blue and White Quilt” from American Doll Quilts

    Looking for something more contemporary? Check out Fun-Size Quilts. If the title makes you think of tiny chocolate bars, there’s good reason: these colorful bits of quilty goodness are just as fun and addictive as those tasty treats.
    Fox in a Box quiltTapa Cloth quilt
    “Fox in a Box” by Jeni Baker and “Tapa Cloth” by Natalie Barnes are just two of the 19 irresistible projects in Fun-Size Quilts.

    Piecing a mini quilt might sound intimidating, but paper piecing one is just plain fun. In Paper-Pieced Mini Quilts, Wendy Vosters has simplified the process so you can piece it, quilt it, and wrap it in practically no time at all. Wouldn’t these make charming gifts?
    Quilts from Paper-Pieced Mini QuiltsQuilts from Paper-Pieced Mini Quilts
    “Christmas Joy” is a wee 8″ x 10″, and “Early Autumn” finishes at 9″ x 11″.

    If you’re really short on time but still want to give a hand-stitched gift, how about a postcard? At 4″ x 6″, the fabric gems in Positively Postcards are fast, fun, and unique. Choose a theme fabric or motif that your recipient will love, accent it with threadwork or small embellishments, and add a heartfelt message to the back. They’ll love their personalized mini quilt!

    Positively Postcards provides instructions for making postcards along with photos of more than 85 examples. The possibilities for creative postcards are limited only by your imagination.

    Projects from Positively Postcards
    Examples of postcard styles from simple to heavily embellished, clockwise from top left: “Friendship Tea,” “Anticipation,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Secret Garden,” and “Red Robin” from Positively Postcards.

    Repeat after me: small is good. Now go find some fun, easy patterns for small quilts and get busy!

    What’s your favorite size of quilt to make: large, medium, small, or extra small? Tell us in the comments!

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  7. 12 last-minute Christmas gifts to knit or crochet

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    12 make-in-a-day gifts

    There are only 12 days until Christmas! How are your handmade gifts coming along?

    If you’re crunched for time and still want to give something handmade, here’s a roundup of last-minute handmade Christmas gifts. With six quick, easy crochet projects and six quick-knit projects, you can make one every day between now and Christmas.

    Don’t forget that most books purchased at ShopMartingale.com also come with a free, immediate download of the PDF eBook. (With so few days until Christmas, you’ll want to get started right away!) A knitting or crochet book also makes a great gift.

    6 Make-in-a-Day Knitted Gifts

    Left to right: Quick fishbone lace cowl from Ocean Breezes by Sheryl Thies, simple travel pouch from Knit Pink by Lorna Miser, two-at-a-time caps from Easy Knitting for Baby by Doreen L. Marquart.

    Yea-Big Yeti from 50 Yards of Fun Monster bookends from Knit a Monster Nursery Rolled Caps from Knit Bright
    Left to right: Yea-Big Yeti (and dozens of other cute creatures) from 50 Yards of Fun by Rebecca Danger, monster bookends from Knit a Monster Nursery by Rebecca Danger, rolled caps from Knit Bright by Kristin Spurkland.

    6 Make-in-a-Day Crocheted Gifts

    From Crochet from the Heart From Contemporary Crochet From Amigurumi on the Go
    Left to right: Kitty bed from Crochet from the Heart by Kristin Spurkland, chunky hat and scarf from Contemporary Crochet by Sys Fredens, apple cozies from Amigurumi on the Go by Ana Paula Rímoli.

    From Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet From Modern Baby Crochet From Crochet Pink
    Left to right: Wrist warmers from Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet by Sheryl Thies, planetary mobile from Modern Baby Crochet by Stacey Trock, slippers from Crochet Pink by Janet Rehfeldt.

    What’s your go-to make-in-a-day handmade Christmas gift? Tell us in the comments!

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  8. Everyday objects, extraordinary quilts (video + giveaway!)

    New-release day: Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images

    Ever notice something seemingly ordinary—a chain-link fence, a pile of leaves, a string of beads, a tile floor—and thought, “That would make a great quilt!”? If you have, you’ll find a kindred spirit in designer Heather Scrimsher. Her passion? Creating extraordinary modern quilt patterns from the ordinary things she sees everyday.

    Fall Leaves quilt
    “Fall Leaves”

    In her new book Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images, Heather shares the inspiration behind 15 one-of-a-kind quilt designs. Once you understand how she creates her quilts, you’ll see the details of your world through fresh eyes. And you’ll want to capture those details in your own unique quilts.

    Propeller quilt

    Today we’re excited to have Heather as a guest blogger to share more about her book, as well as a new video that shines a light on her creative process. Welcome, Heather!

    Heather ScrimsherWhen I create designs for quilts, I start with a tangible moment. A memory. And I often snap photos to remember details. This has become so much easier with the accessibility of cell-phone cameras. Now, with a swipe of your finger, you can capture whatever fascinates and inspires you.

    While I share the stories behind each of my quilts in Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images, I want to go further in depth for a few of my favorites, explaining how my designs go from photo to finished quilt.

    Interlinked quilt
    “Interlinked.” My husband and I were stopped in construction traffic. I was staring out my window at a chain-link fence. In my head, I was trying to trace the path of the wire that creates the fence links. I went home and sketched a rough drawing of the linking metal. Then I started adding to the drawing, and the second link was created within the first. I moved from a sketch to graph paper and began to color in sections of my vision. Graph paper is a perfect medium because creating a quilt is easy once you’ve drawn the design onto grids.

    Masonry quilt
    “Masonry.” My daughter and I were on a historical tour. I noticed that on nearly all the edges of the buildings, light corners popped against dark bricks, as in the photo above. That light-and-dark play inspired my own quilted version of a building from the tour.

    Thorny quilt
    “Thorny.” I love roses. But they only exist for a fleeting time. And what is left? The poor rose bush. I thought the poor thorns left after all the blooms had wilted needed to be recognized. And so “Thorny”—made up of four 32″-square blocks—was born.

    I walk through my design process for “Thorny” in this video:

    Reading this in email? See the “Design your own quilt: from inspiration to design” video at the Stitch This! blog or watch it on YouTube.

    Graphic Quilts from Everyday ImagesThanks for sharing your behind-the-scenes design process with us, Heather!

    What everyday situation is most likely to inspire your next quilt: a walk outdoors, a tour of architecture, or a stroll around your own home? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Pick up your copy of Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images at your friendly neighborhood quilt shop or at ShopMartingale.com.

    Print book: $24.99 (with free eBook)
    eBook: $16.99

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I have taken photos of material used in restaurant chairs/booths planning to use in a quilt one day. I also study floor tiles when I am in a high end waiting room!

    Nancy, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!

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  9. Roundup: our top 5 free quilting videos

    Martingale on YouTubeNeed some quilting inspiration today? Check out our top 5 free quilting videos on YouTube—a great group of creative how-to tutorials that’ll get you motivated to try something new!

    Subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive updates whenever we add new videos.

    Reading this blog post in an email? Click here to see any of the videos below at our Stitch This! blog or to watch them on YouTube.

    #5: How to make half-square triangles

    with Gerri Robinson, author of A Cut Above

    A Cut AboveDiscover bestselling author Gerri Robinson’s secret for making quick half-square triangles: start with strips! With fabric strips and one of Gerri’s favorite rulers, even the smallest half-square triangles are a snap.

    See Gerri’s gorgeous quilts in A Cut Above >
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    #4: All-in-One Ruler

    with Cathy Wierzbicki, designer of the All-in-One Ruler

    No need for a scatter of specialty rulers—this one does it all! In this video demonstration, you’ll see how Cathy Wierzbicki’s all-purpose ruler is quite possibly the only ruler you’ll ever need. Use the ruler to make any quilt, including the quilts in Cathy’s eBook Twosey-Foursey Quilts.
    All-in-One RulerTwosey-Foursey Quilts

    #3: How to appliqué with crayons

    with Terri Kygar, author of Creative Quilts from Your Crayon Box

    Creative Quilts from Your Crayon BoxTime for new fabric fun with a childhood favorite—crayons! Using Terrie Kygar’s Melt-n-Blend technique, anyone can create beautiful appliqué designs on fabric. See how Terrie gives a dimensional, hand-painted look to the quilts she creates.

    See more from Creative Quilts from Your Crayon Box >
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    #2: It’s a Wrap

    Featuring techniques from Susan Brier, author of It’s a Wrap and It’s a Wrap II

    It's a WrapTransform fabric strips into baskets, bowls, and other beautiful containers. You’ll won’t believe how easy it is—until you watch the technique! Simply wrap fabric strips around cotton clothesline, coil into the desired shape, and secure with machine stitching.

    Start with a simple plate shape in It’s a Wrap >
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    #1: How to machine appliqué in a new way: Fast-Piece Appliqué

    with Rose Hughes, author of Design, Create, and Quilt and Fast-Piece Appliqué (coming January 2015)

    Sew complex-looking shapes in a jiffy with Rose Hughes’s Fast-Piece Appliqué technique. Her machine-friendly method is so simple, you’ll be designing your own artistic appliqué quilts in no time. See for yourself why it’s is our most-watched video of all!

    Dream Landscapes Design, Create, and Quilt Fast-Piece Applique
    Use Rose’s Fast-Piece Appliqué technique with all of these books

    How do you typically learn new quilting techniques: from videos, from books, from classes, or from friends? Tell us in the comments!

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  10. Sewing games for kids: batteries not required (+ giveaway!)

    New release day--Sew and Play

    How can you inspire kids to unplug from that video game, TV, or computer and choose to play together instead? With your love of sewing! And with the holidays at hand, there’s no better time for introducing new fun and games—that you make yourself.

    Pancake Party game to sew
    “Pancake Party”

    For about the price of one commercial game, the new book Sew and Play offers 11 different games to create with basic sewing skills. Each game helps develop children’s physical, mental, and social abilities. How’s that for a gift that keeps on giving?

    Horse Race game to sew
    “Horse Race”

    Each game in Sew and Play is:

    • safe for all ages
    • gender-neutral
    • ideal for travel
    • washable
    • easy to sew
    • easy to give
    • battery/cord/plug free!

    How to play Horse RaceNice-and-neat storage options are included for each project, along with complete “How to Play” game rules. Bonus: age-appropriate play options are offered for toddlers, preschoolers, and schoolkids—as children grow, they can play games in new ways!

    Whether you need a creative Christmas gift to make in a jiffy or would simply like to spoil a child with some good old unplugged fun, the projects in Sew and Play are a treat for any reason, any occasion—any kid! We’re happy to have author Farah Wolfe as a guest blogger today to tell us what inspired her to write Sew and Play. Welcome, Farah!

    Farah WolfeI’m the playful sort, and Sew and Play is the book I’d always wanted but could not find. I love creating handmade gifts from the heart, and I wanted to do something dynamic and interactive for the children in my life.

    As an occupational therapist and the mother of a child with delays, I understand the importance of movement, motor skills, early sensory experiences, and social play. I began developing games with inviting themes and characters that would entice children’s imaginations and really engage them. As they played the games that I’d stitched with love, I saw my creations come to life. Laughing and interacting, playing together or quietly on their own, exploring the warm properties of fabrics and embellishments; that’s when the magic really happened.

    Games to sew from Sew and Play

    The wonderful thing about the projects in Sew and Play is that each will help you create a game that children of many ages and developmental levels can play. Even better, you don’t have to be a perfectionist—I’m definitely not one. While I’m certain my mom cringes when she sees my lopsided seams, the kids are having fun.

    When I first completed the game “Foot Frenzy,” I had my niece and nephew come over to test it for me. They are twins, see a lot of each other, and don’t always get along. I was amazed at how much they laughed and played cooperatively while trying to stay on the mat.

    Foot Frenzy game from Sew and Play
    “Foot Frenzy”

    I work part time at a school and my students are crazy about “Gone Fishin’.” I make the classic game more challenging by using a balance board as a boat for them to sit or stand on, rocking and swaying with the waves.

    Gone Fishing game from Sew and Play
    “Gone Fishin’”

    Horse Race!” “Crab Crawl!” “Snake Pit!” Let the games begin in Sew and Play >

    Sew and Play has been such a fun endeavor; I’m excited to share it with others! There is nothing more rewarding and meaningful than making a game that will light up the life of a child, and at the same time, help teach them skills for life. Sew away, and then let them play. It’s double fun!

    Sew and PlayThanks for sharing your new book with us, Farah!

    Pick up your copy of Sew and Play at your friendly neighborhood quilt shop or at ShopMartingale.com.

    Print book: $26.99 (with free eBook)
    eBook: $18.99

    What favorite game did you play as a child? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Sew and Play eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “When I was a child, I was given the game of Going Fishing. Cardboard fish with a metal stud in them and a pole with a magnet on the end. The picture from the book looks like to sew the game would be even better, the fish look more interesting. I also think the Foot Frenzy would be wonderful fun to make!”

    Nancy, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!

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