1. A simple message for you: thank you.

    From Simple HarvestAs we celebrate this season of giving thanks, our thoughts turn to you.

    Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without thanking the people who make our work so special. And that’s you. We appreciate your trust in us to inspire you with the books we create. We are grateful to play a part in your creative life, and we’re dedicated to providing you with quality, beauty, and value in our books, now and in the years to come.

    May the good things of life be yours in abundance, not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the coming year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    All the best, from all of us at Martingale.


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  2. How to sew with Jelly Rolls: 4 smart strip-piecing tips

    Quilts from Start with StripsGot Jelly Rolls? Great! Hesitant to unroll them? You’re not alone!

    Best-selling author Susan Ache (pronounced “AH-kee”) has a passion for strippy quilts, and in her book Start with Strips, Jelly Rolls take center stage—those rolls of 2½"-wide strips from a coordinated fabric collection. Her quilts expand WAY beyond the typical Jelly Roll quilts you may have seen—they’re the kind of quilts you *make* and then *make sure* they get handed down from generation to generation. But that’s just the look of her quilts; you’ll be surprised at how Susan’s simple sewing tricks can turn strips from so-so into sensational.

    You’ll find lots of ideas for turning up the WOW factor in the Jelly Roll blocks that Susan makes. But one of her favorite things to do might surprise you: she loves to mix up strips from different Jelly Rolls.

    WHAT?!? You can do that?!

    Why yes, you can!

    Susan explains just how—and why—she mixes Jelly Rolls in her book. She also shares some basic tips for working with those precut bundles of strips, and today we’re sharing a few of them with you! So if you’ve been wondering what to do with your Jelly Rolls, take it from Susan—this is the perfect time to unfurl them.


    Susan AcheReady Your Jelly Rolls

    Excerpted from Start with Strips by Susan Ache

    I sort all my fabric scraps by color. That goes for Jelly Rolls, too. That way, when I want to make a scrappy quilt with a limited color palette, I can find all of the orange or green or turquoise strips I need, without having to thumb through individually bundled Jelly Rolls.

    As you’ll see in the project instructions from Start with Strips, I sometimes call for a certain number of strips of each color. That doesn’t mean they all have to come from the same Jelly Roll. You can mix and match the greens or reds or aquas from multiple Jelly Rolls to make your own custom scrap mix. It’s easy. And fun. And a new way of thinking. Here are some more guidelines I like to follow when working with these precut strips with pinked edges.

    ELIMINATE THE FUZZ.

    Before strip piecing with Jelly Roll strips, I take them one at a time, folded from selvage to selvage, and measure to make sure each strip is 2½" wide. Then ever-so-carefully I lay my ruler on top and trim off the fuzzy edges with my rotary cutter. Brush the bits of fabric lint into the wastebasket, and then you only have to deal with that once—not every time you pick up your blocks.

    USE A COLLAPSIBLE DRYING RACK.

    When working on a project with tons of strips, draping them over a collapsible drying rack is an excellent way to corral them. They’ll all be visible and at the ready, rather than piled up and wrinkled.

    HOLD ’EM STEADY.

    When joining long strips, hold the strips together firmly in front of and behind the needle. Do not pull or stretch them; simply holding them firmly will prevent puckered stitches or bowed strip sets.

    HAVE FUN!

    Somebody once asked me what my best weekend smelled like. The first thing that came to mind was suntan lotion and salty beach air. I have realized that most of the time, the colors I quilt with remind me of being at the beach or on an island. I love a quilt that mushes colors all together while creating a soft, gently used look at the same time. Whatever your preferred color scheme, I hope you’ll consider mixing and matching precuts. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results, and in the end, you’ll have a custom-blended scrap quilt to show for it!


    With Susan’s smart tips (we love the drying-rack one!), you’re ready to roll. Take a look at just a few of the quilts you can create with the Jelly Rolls you have—or want to have:

    Airboats quilt
    Airboats. Susan says, “This quilt isn’t about matching colors, but rather it’s about the contrast in values. Each block takes three fabrics, so figure out how many total fabrics you have to work with; then simply divide them into groups of three.”

    Beach Reading quilt
    Beach Reading. Susan says, “When it comes to text prints, don’t be afraid to cut them up and turn them every which way in a quilt design. Here they’re used as the background, where they look fabulous and act as a foil for the solids, the stars of the show.”

    Cherry Orchard quilt
    Cherry Orchard. Susan says, “Looking for a great seasonal project? This quilt is it! Choose two colors and a background and you could make this for any holiday or time of year. Black, orange, and gray for Halloween; rust, avocado, and gold for fall—or simply choose your favorite color scheme and enjoy this beauty all year long.”

    See 10 more quilts from Start with Strips >>>

    Have you strip pieced with Jelly Rolls?

    • I’m new to strip piecing with Jelly Rolls.
    • I’ve sewn a Jelly Roll strip here and there.
    • I’ve been stripping with Jelly Rolls for quite a while now!

    Tell us in the comments!

    Browse more books for strippy sewing:

    The Big Book of Strip Quilts Scrap-Basket Beauties Striking Strip Quilts


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  3. Pretty pinnies, poppets, and pincushions—Pin Pals is here! (+ big giveaway!)

    We’re bursting-at-the-seams excited to introduce best-selling author Carrie Nelson’s new book to you today! Her projects are pretty. They’re playful. They’re pinnies!

    Pin Pals

    In Pin Pals, Carrie’s packed 40 adorable pincushions with personality. Her patchwork pinnies are quick to stitch and so addicting to create—they’re like potato chips. No quilter can make just one! And why make just one when they’re so easy to create? Simply sew, quilt, turn, and stuff!

    From Pin Pals

    Super-quick to sew and delightful to display, you can show off the pincushions you make as singles or in pleasing piles. You’ll want to put a pin in Carrie’s philosophy behind making her delightful pincushions: to sew just for the joy of it.

    Pincushions from Pin Pals

    We’re thrilled to welcome Carrie as a guest writer today, here to tell you about her pinnie obsession. Take it away, Carrie!


    Carrie NelsonHi! My name is Carrie and I might have a pincushion problem. My shelves and cubbies runneth over with these little creations . . . but I can’t stop myself from saving ever-smaller scraps for pincushions that I use primarily for decorative purposes. So maybe I don’t have a problem so much as a passion—for making things.

    Churn Dash pincushions
    Like Butter

    But why pincushions? Or pinnies—that’s what I’ve always called them. The whole story is in the book, but it comes down to making something just for fun. I’ve probably made almost two hundred pincushions over the years and, while I keep a few, I give most away. (They do make terrific gifts.)

    Random Strips pincushions
    Random Strips

    There are a couple of things I want to share about making pinnies—and about me.

    First, I think perfection is highly overrated. While I will always strive to do my best work, I also love the human touch that comes from mismatched points, wonky seams, and less-than-perfect quilting.

    Side Steps pincushion
    Side Steps—Carrie accidentally poked a hole in the corner of this pincushion. No worries—she darned the corner and her pincushion and the mend added a whole new charm.

    Pin Pals pincushionPinnie expert? Not me. Everything I’ve included is simply what works for me. I experiment, I learn, I try again. Like when it comes to quilting the pinnies—I like the way a quilted pincushion looks. I quilt them with two layers only—just the pieced top and some batting. The pinnie doesn’t need a backing layer, and I’ve found that machine quilting with the batting on bottom has worked nicely with every batting I’ve tried.

    If you’re a little worried about all the small pieces—don’t be! Been there, felt that! I’d get this idea . . . draw it out . . . calculate the cutting sizes . . . and think “I must be crazy.” Then I’d start cutting and sewing, and it turned out better than I would have guessed. It will be the same for you—I promise!

    All those “rules” you learned about quilting? Forget at least half of them. Then ignore the rest. This is a pincushion. It won’t be washed, stretched, or dragged through the yard—unless you have critters.

    Coveting thy neighbor’s scraps? It will happen. I suggest offering to trade—or to make two pinnies, one of which you’ll give to the source of the coveted scraps.

    Pink Half-Square Triangles pincushion
    Pink Half-Square Triangles: Carrie made adorable use of leftover fabrics from a quilt made by
    Lissa Alexander.

    Supplies? While I share some of my favorite threads, pins, and tools in the book, use what you have. The backing and batting scraps left from trimming quilts can be used for pinnies—and the batting can be torn into little bits to use for stuffing. Or if, like me, you prefer to fill pincushions with crushed walnut shells, they’re easily found at any pet store in the reptile section. To get the shells into the pinnie, I borrow a funnel, a ½-cup measuring cup, and a jelly-roll pan (to catch any spills) from my kitchen.

    Pinnies from Pin Pals
    More pinnies from
    Pin Pals

    I hope you have as much fun making these pin pals as I did. I hope you’ll feel free to change things and make yours different. And if you find yourself making more pinnies than you’ll ever need or use . . . Hi, my name is Carrie. It’s nice to meet you—we’re meant to be friends.


    Thanks for sharing your pin-tastic new book with us, Carrie!

    Did you know that Carrie is also the popular blogger at Moda Fabrics? It’s true—and she’s put together an incredible, one-of-a-kind giveaway for you!

    Carrie is giving away three prizes to three lucky winners, who will receive:

    1. A copy of Pin Pals (autographed, of course!)

    2. A goodie box filled with Moda mini-charm packs and spools of Aurifil 80 wt. thread (for machine quilting your pinnies)

    3. Three adorable finished pincushions . . . handmade by Carrie herself!!! OMG!!!

    Pin PalsWouldn’t you love to add Carrie’s pincushions to your own pinnie collection? Sew generous, that Carrie!

    To enter the drawing for Carrie’s amazing prizes plus a copy of Pin Pals, tell us in the comments:

    Have you made pincushions before—and do you use them for holding pins, decorating spaces, or both?

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Ready to start pinnie-making with Carrie right now? We don’t blame you! Purchase Pin Pals at our website and you can instantly download the eBook for free.


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  4. Your quilted legacy: create it in stunning red and white (+ fabric giveaway!)

    When 14 beloved designers get creative with a classic color combination, magic happens. We’re delighted to share a little of that magic from the highly anticipated book Red & White Quilts with you today!

    Red & White Quilts

    Generations of quilters have been captivated by the simple beauty of red-and-white quilts—and today’s quilters are no different! Whether it’s humble patchwork or glorious appliqué, a quilt made with only red-and-white fabrics instantly speaks to the heart.

    From Red & White Quilts

    In Red & White Quilts, 14 of our generation’s top designers share their takes on red-and-white quilts, ranging from vintage-inspired beauties to contemporary styles. You’ll be wowed by the celebrity designers included in this breathtaking collection:

    Susan AcheLissa AlexanderLisa Bongean • Sue Daley

    Kim Diehl • Sarah Huechteman • Jen KingwellCarrie Nelson

    Debbie Roberts • Camille Roskelley • Jill Shaulis

    Helen Stubbings • Karen Styles • Victoria Findlay Wolfe

    Each designer shares her vision of a legacy-worthy red-and-white quilt, and the results are simply spectacular. Although the quilts spotlight each designer’s signature style, they all share that crisp, clean, classic look—a look that will inspire you to create your own quilted legacy in red and white.

    At Quilt Market and Festival just last week, Martingale and Moda Fabrics were thrilled to sponsor the Red & White Quilts Special Exhibit—a chance for attendees to see all 14 quilts up close and in person. We were also thrilled that several of the designers were at the show and gathered for a photo op!

    Designers of Red & White Quilts
    Back row from left: Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Lissa Alexander, Carrie Nelson. Front row from left: Helen Stubbings, Lisa Bongean, Sue Daley, Jill Shaulis, and Karen Styles.

    But enough chatting—let’s see each glorious quilt! Since it was impossible to choose just a few of the quilts to show you, we’re sharing a peek at them ALL today, along with a little insight from each designer. Isn’t it a treat to see the designers with their gorgeous quilts?

    QUILT #1: SWEET DREAMS by Lissa Alexander

    Sweet Dreams quilt
    Lissa says, “You’d think this design had some appliqué to create the rings that appear. But there’s not one curved seam or appliqué piece in the entire quilt. Add quilting to emphasize the circular shapes, and this classic 1930s design becomes a graphic, modern quilt. It’s a dream-come-true pattern in my book!”

    QUILT #2: RUBY JUBILEE by Karen Styles

    Ruby Jubilee quilt
    Karen says, “I made this quilt to commemorate a special occasion—my own 40th (ruby) wedding anniversary in 2019. It crosses a long-wished-for design off my ‘quilts I want to make someday’ list. My eye is drawn to the symmetry and precision of the LeMoyne Star pattern—a pattern often made by amazing women of our past.”

    QUILT #3: HAPPY ACCIDENT by Susan Ache

    Happy Accident quilt
    Susan says, “I’m paying tribute to the purest idea of red and white with this pattern. Repeating blocks that create secondary patterns are what excite me about quilting. With alternating positive/negative blocks, a diagonal design emerges once the blocks are joined together.”

    QUILT #4: STARS IN FLIGHT by Jill Shaulis

    Stars in Flight quilt
    Jill says, “Combining Stars and Flying Geese in one block is a win-win for me. My inspiration for this design began with a scrappy antique quilt. I’ve always been drawn to red-and-white quilts, so I adapted the design to a two-color straight-set quilt with light sashing that’s more my style.”

    QUILT #5: FLOWER POWER by Helen Stubbings

    Flower Power quilt
    Helen says, “I love symmetrical, mandala-type designs. Using my easy glue-stick appliqué method, this quilt comes together quickly—the repetition of appliquéd dots and dotted prints in varying scales adds an element of happiness and whimsy to the overall design.”

    QUILT #6: #TWISTED CABIN by Sarah Huechteman

    Twisted Cabin quilt
    Sarah says, “These blocks are assembled Log Cabin style. While the overall effect is of rows radiating out from the center, it’s actually a straight-set, 16-block quilt. Turning the four center blocks so the secondary center-block pattern emerges is what creates the quilt’s WOW factor, giving it a twist on tradition.”

    QUILT #7: DAYDREAMS by Camille Roskelley

    Daydreams quilt
    Camille says, “Making a red-and-white quilt has always been a dream of mine. When the opportunity to create one for this book of dream-come-true quilts came around, I was more than ready to dive in and make that dream a reality. For me, it’s a timeless quilt I’ll love forever.”

    QUILT #8: ENOUGH WITH THE CURVES by Jen Kingwell

    Enough with the Curves quilt
    Jen says, “Enjoy making this curvy little quilt with your favorite appliqué method. Circles and curved piecing in quilts are pleasing to my eye. One comment on an Instagram post of mine was: ‘Enough with the curves.’ This made me laugh, and I thought, ‘That’s a great name for a quilt!’”

    QUILT #9: SCARLET SONG by Kim Diehl

    Scarlet Song quilt
    Kim says, “After my red prints had been gathered, I fanned them out like a deck of cards, snapped a quick picture with my digital camera, and then took a peek. Any missteps were apparent through the lens of the camera, so I could make changes before cutting fabrics.”

    QUILT #10: WALK THIS WAY by Carrie Nelson

    Walk this Way quilt
    Carrie says, “I’m a girl who loves quilts with lots of pieces and fabrics. So it was a bit surprising that most of my favorite quilts hanging in the Park Avenue Armory for the Infinite Variety exhibit were usually comprised of a single repeated block. This design immediately came to mind for this book because it can be made with two fabrics, two colors, or all the colors.”

    QUILT #11: MEMORY OF A MASTERPIECE by Lisa Bongean

    Memory of a Masterpiece quilt
    Lisa says, “Many quilters keep pictures of antique quilts that seem impossible to make themselves. But as the years go by and your confidence improves, you start thinking, ‘Yes, I could make that.’ I love to collect as many antique quilts as I can. Remaking them acknowledges these masterpieces from the past.”

    QUILT #12: TRACKING TRADITION by Debbie Roberts

    Tracking Tradition quilt
    Debbie says, “Setting out to create a quilt that will stand the test of time is no small feat. For me, this timeless quilt has three important elements—antique-inspired Turkey Tracks blocks, a scrappy two-color palette, and a center appliqué medallion. The roundness of the center wreath softens the points of the quilt’s patchwork.”

    QUILT #13: CROWD PLEASER by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

    Crowd Pleaser quilt
    Victoria says, “I’m obsessed with small piecing and repetitive patterns using simple shapes that can be arranged in new ways. In this case, the quilt is visually mind-bending and doesn’t look traditional at all. It’s a complicated look that’s easy to piece.”

    QUILT #14: FOREVER THOUGHTFUL by Sue Daley

    Forever Thoughtful quilt
    Sue says, “Savor your stitching time using my favorite method—English paper piecing. Though the technique itself has been around for ages, the combination of my precut papers and tools has turned a once tedious process into an achievable technique.”

    And there you have it. Fourteen talented designers. Fourteen glorious quilts. All in red and white. There’s just one problem: choosing which quilt to make first. Ask any Martingale staffer and you’ll get a different answer!


    We’ve got an awesome giveaway to celebrate the release of Red & White Quilts today! Our friends at Moda Fabrics sent along two Layer Cakes and a fat-eighth bundle featuring The Good Life fabric line from a Red & White Quilts designer: Camille Roskelley of Bonnie & Camille!


    A little red, a little white, and a little splash of other colors, just for funsies!

    To win one of the three precut bundles from Moda plus a copy of Red & White Quilts, tell us in the comments:

    Red & White QuiltsWhat technique would you use to make your legacy-worthy red-and-white quilt?

    • Patchwork
    • Appliqué
    • A little bit of both!

    We’ll choose three winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Can’t wait to rifle through your stash and start choosing fabrics for your red-and-white quilt? Purchase Red & White Quilts at our website and you’ll be able to instantly download the eBook for free.


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  5. Using fusible web for wool applique: easy as can be (tutorial + fabric giveaway!)

    From All for Fall’Tis the season for wool: sweaters, mittens, hats, scarves—and yes, ’tis the season for sewing with wool too! Imagine curling up on the couch, hot coffee or tea nearby, needle, thread, and fuzzy bits of wool at the ready. We want to go to there!

    All for Fall author Bonnie Sullivan knows a thing or two about working with wool. She knows a lot about fabrics that behave like wool too. Bonnie designed her Woolies Flannel line of fabrics with Maywood Studio to look like wool, but they sew, piece, and wash like quality cotton flannel because they are flannel! You’ll find classic herringbones, plaids, and tweeds—those fall-inspired fabrics you want to cozy up in as your feet crunch along leaf-laden sidewalks.

    Dance of the Autumn Leaves
    Dance of the Autumn Leaves

    Bonnie’s way of doing wool appliqué couldn’t be simpler—she’s got a few tricks up her (flannel) sleeves! One of them? Fusible web, which not only makes appliqué a breeze; it also prevents edges from unraveling. To whisk you into the spirit of the season, we’re sharing Bonnie’s fusible web for wool appliqué how-to from All for Fall below. Read on and you’ll see what we mean by simple!


    Bonnie SullivanAPPLIQUÉ WITH FUSIBLE WEB

    Wool appliqué is easy and so much fun. Over the years, I’ve tried many different ways of preparing the pieces for appliqué and many different stitches, and I’ve settled on the following techniques.

    1. Patterns are reversed for use with fusible web. Trace the patterns onto the paper side of lightweight fusible web, and cut out the shapes roughly ⅛" to ¼" outside the traced lines.

    2. Place the paper shapes on the wrong side of the designated fabric and fuse in place following the manufacturer’s instructions. Cut out the pieces on the lines.

    3. Peel the paper off the shapes and arrange them on the appropriate fabrics; press to fuse the shapes to the fabric. When using fusible web with wool, you may have to give it a little more time and pressure to make sure the heat goes through the thick wool, especially when there are multiple layers. Because the wool is thick, pressing from the back after you’ve pressed the front will help the glue to adhere.

    4. Stitch the shapes to the fabric as described in the project instructions. On most of my projects I use a simple whipstitch to further secure the appliqué shapes to a background fabric.


    Blissfully simple, don’t you think? Even those of us who think we’re allergic to appliqué can go pro with Bonnie’s approach!

    Use Bonnie’s wool-appliqué techniques to create a bounty of beautiful items to dress up your fall decor, such as:

    Stars in the Pumpkin Patch
    Stars in the Pumpkin Patch

    Acorn Hollow
    Acorn Hollow

    Give Thanks
    Give Thanks

    See all 16 projects from All for Fall >>>

    And speaking of the fine Woolies Flannels that Bonnie designs . . . our friends at Maywood Studio sent us a generous heap of them to share with one lucky winner today!

    One winner will receive three Woolies Flannel charm packs, one Irish Chain Quilt kit, and one 12-Block Log Cabin Quilt kit from Maywood Studios plus a copy of All for Fall!

    All for FallTo enter the random drawing, tell us in the comments:

     What kind of stitch do you use when appliquéing with wool?

    • I use a whipstitch, just like Bonnie.
    • I prefer a blanket stitch.
    • I’ve never tried wool appliqué, but I’m ready to give it a try!

    We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to stitch for fall with Bonnie, you can order All for Fall 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 Sheila, who says:

    “I am just trying wool appliqué. My first block I have used chain stitch. The hardest thing is to find a source for wool.”

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


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  6. Exquisite shawls made easy: knit them top down! (+ giveaway)

    Seasoned knitters, newish knitters, and wanna-be knitters, today is your day! Five-time author Jen Lucas is back with a dozen lacy shawls to knit three ways: some are wedges, some are crescents, and others are half-circles. And they all start at the top!

    Top-Down Shawls

    Here’s what’s so fun about Top-Down Shawls: you cast on just two or three stitches to start, and then watch your shawl grow row by row. Both charted and written instructions are included, so you can choose your favorite way to follow along. And just look at the stunning shawls you can knit—talk about draping yourself in a dream!

    From Top-Down Shawls

    In addition to 12 cozy shawl patterns, Jen has even more in store for your next knitting adventure. If you accept her challenge, she’ll inspire you to unleash your inner designer with templates for wedge, crescent, and half-circle shawls, plus 18 stitch patterns to mix and match in mesmerizing one-of-a-kind projects. YOU choose the style and the stitches!

    Lavendula shawl
    Lavendula

    Beautiful outdoor photography features each project in a nature setting, draped open so you can see all the beautiful lacy details. Each shawl is also shown on a model, so you can accurately judge sizes and see options for wearing the shawls you make.

    Pekara shawl
    Pekara

    We’re excited to have Jen as our guest writer today to tell us more about Top-Down Shawls!


    Jen LucasWhen I was growing up, I loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I started to ponder—what if I created a knitting book that had a choose-your-own-adventure element to it? It seemed like a fun idea, and Top-Down Shawls was born.

    Whether you want an adventure in your knitting or you simply want to follow a pattern, you’ll find something you’ll love in this book. I’ve created 12 patterns for you to follow, or you can work the templates at the end of the book and make your own decisions about the shawl you want to make.

    For Top-Down Shawls, I focused on three popular top-down shawl shapes. First, the wedge shawl. Triangle shawls continue to be a popular shawl shape, and I explore both two-wedge and three-wedge shapes in this book.

    Kokedama shawl
    Kokedama

    Next, I explore crescent shawls. These shawls might be my favorite to both knit and wear. The crescent shawl typically has a longer wingspan than other top-down shawls, which makes it very easy to style.

    Delicado shawl
    Delicado

    Finally, I visit the half-circle shawl. I love using the pi shawl shaping developed by Elizabeth Zimmermann for these fun and classic shawls. The best part of these shawls is that the shaping happens on just a few increasing rows. The rest of the shawl is worked back and forth without having to worry about any increases or other shaping.

    Struttura shawl
    Struttura

    Top-Down Shawls is for all knitters. If you want to leave the thinking and design decisions to me, there are 12 shawl patterns ready to be knit. If you want a little more of an escapade, you can check out the design-your-own sections in the back of the book. There you’ll find templates for easy top-down shawl shapes and several stitch patterns to plug into the template. You can work one stitch pattern for the entire shawl, or mix and match the stitch patterns to create something truly unique for yourself.

    I hope you enjoy the new book!


    Top-Down ShawlsThanks for introducing everyone to Top-Down Shawls, Jen!

    We’ve got a brand-spanking-new copy of Top-Down Shawls to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter the random drawing, tell us in the comments:

    When it comes to yarn are you:

    a) A certified stasher
    b) A use-it-as-you-buy-it knitter
    c) A knitting newcomer

    We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to start knitting with Jen, order Top-Down Shawls at our website and you can instantly download the eBook for free.


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  7. Got repro fabrics? You’re going to 💗💗💗 this journey (+ fabric giveaway!)

    Classic blocks, reproduction quilts, and stories of hope: we’re elated to share with you Betsy Chutchian’s first solo book with Martingale!

    Hope's Journey

    Betsy’s created a wealth of antique-inspired blocks and quilts to lead you on Hope’s Journey. Inside a dozen chapters, she shares timeless block patterns in a variety of sizes, along with a collection of small quilts to sew using reproduction fabrics.

    Quilts from Hope's Journey

    This gorgeously photographed book is packed with projects to keep your journey creative and fun!

    • 28 traditional block patterns

    • 11 beautiful small quilt patterns

    • 4 settings for large sampler-style quilts

    The sampler quilts: all we can say is WOWZA! Once your blocks are made, you can mix and match them into one of the four spectacular, puzzle-piece-style sampler quilt layouts that will guide you toward your journey’s end.

    Hope's Journey sampler quilt

    See all four sampler quilts in the gallery >>>

    Each chapter also includes fascinating facts about the American frontier and the hopeful journeys that pioneers took in search of a better life. Here’s what Betsy says about how the pioneer journey relates to the experience you’ll have with Hope’s Journey.


    Betsy ChutchianThe blocks and projects in Hope’s Journey were originally taught as a yearlong mystery class. Much like the pioneers’ journey, my students had no idea where they were going or what the journey would be like. Each month, students received block instructions for a sampler quilt, a pattern for a mini-quilt, and a history lesson pertinent to a pioneer woman’s story. Students were encouraged to select a wide variety of fabrics in a palette they loved and to keep a notebook of fabric swatches, notes, quotes, and anything else that might make their journey interesting.

    Prairie Fowl
    Prairie Fowl

    Having this book in front of you eliminates the unknown, revealing all the patterns from the mystery classes in a format that lets you look ahead. You’ll also find history tidbits and my words of encouragement.

    Captivity and Flight
    Captivity and Flight

    Pack your baskets for the journey with a wide variety of prints in a palette you love, in quantities including fat quarters, fat eighths, or yardage and small pieces. I used my own fabric lines and other reproduction fabrics to make the blocks and quilts, but Hope’s Journey will look great in any fabric style. The fabrics listed with each block and small quilt are generous so that you can repeat fabrics along the way.

    Provisions for the Crossing
    Provisions for the Crossing

    I sincerely hope that you join me on this journey and enjoy it every step of the way.


    Are you ready to embark on Hope’s Journey? Our friends at Moda sent us a beautiful fat-quarter bundle featuring Betsy’s fabric line, Evelyn’s Homestead 18801900. One lucky winner will win the bundle plus a copy of Hope’s Journey!

    Hope's JourneyTo enter your name into the random drawing, tell us in the comments:

    Which Hope’s Journey project would you make first:

    • I’d start with a small quilt.
    • I’d dive into a sampler quilt.
    • Don’t make me choose yet—I love them all!

    We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Best of luck! And if you’re ready to begin a new quiltmaking journey with Betsy right now, you can order Hope’s Journey 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 Karen, who says:

    “I would be tempted to enlarge a small pattern to make a larger quilt.”

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


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  8. Wish List Day! Blockheads, big legacies, and turnabout tricks (+ giveaway!)

    Welcome to Wish List Day! Today we’re giving you a sneak peek at Martingale books coming in December—and we think you’re gonna love ’em! Keep track of your favorites by using the “Notify Me” and “Wish List” options at ShopMartingale.com. Browse the latest batch of Martingale books below; then enter to win your favorite book at the end of this post!

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


    Moda BlockheadsModa Blockheads
    48 Quilt-Along Blocks Plus Settings for Finished Quilts
    Lisa Bongean, Betsy Chutchian, Lynne Hagmeier, Jo Morton, Jan Patek, and Carrie Nelson

    (^^^ Ahem . . . did you see that author list!?! ^^^) The six celebrity designers affectionately known as the Moda Blockheads unite to share a compendium of stunning 6″ quilt blocks! Lisa Bongean, Betsy Chutchian, Lynne Hagmeier, Jo Morton, Jan Patek, and Carrie Nelson offer imaginative interpretations of 48 blocks, both new and classic. Each design is lovingly chosen by the Moda Blockheads for quilters who want to be “Blockheads” too!

    You’ll love this varied collection, from traditional patchwork inspired by history to whimsical appliquéd scenes from nature. Instructions for six jaw-dropping sampler quilts allow you to showcase the beautiful blocks you make.


    Vintage LegaciesVintage Legacies
    Wrap Up in 14 Ageless Quilts for Reproduction Fabrics
    Carol Hopkins

    Best-selling author Carol Hopkins is back with her sixth book, revealing a big twist—big quilts! You’ll love learning how Carol uses her signature Civil War color palette in larger quilts, each more stunning than the last.

    Fourteen lap-sized-and-bigger quilt patterns pay tribute to Southern belles, men’s work shirts from the Civil War era, First Lady of the United States Mary Todd Lincoln, and more. Interesting tidbits about nineteenth-century life round out this stunning collection that will inspire you to think big!


    Turnabout PatchworkTurnabout Patchwork
    Simple Quilts with a Twist
    Teresa Mairal Barreu

    Start with a simple block. Slice, turn, and sew slices back together. Then watch the magic happen! It’s hard to believe that these quilts can come from such simple-to-sew blocks, but turnabout techniques transform even the most basic blocks into showstopping quilts.

    Each chapter focuses on a single block—just follow along to sew, slice, turn, and sew again. Find several design options for each block, along with a total of 23 quilt patterns, so that you can make lap quilts, runners, and more with the turnabout blocks you create.


    Which book would make your December dandy? Name it in the comments and you could win it! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good Luck!

    And by the way . . . November books are available NOW!


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  9. Give thanks: 11 sewing projects to make Thanksgiving special

    Halloween is here! We wish you a happy and safe one.

    After all the little ghosts and goblins have gobbled up their goodies, it’s time to start thinking about the next holiday on the way—Thanksgiving! Are people coming to your home, or are you going to theirs? Sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes? Pumpkin pie or apple pie? Green beans or brussels sprouts? And where is that recipe for grandma’s stuffing?

    There’s a lot of Thanksgiving prep ahead, and the food we prepare makes the annual gathering special. Memories are baked right in! Things we sew for the gathering can turn into traditions too. Below we’ve rounded up a few ideas for the kitchen, the table, and more—for your home or for your host’s!

    FOR YOUR THANKSGIVING HOME

    “Give Thanks” is the theme of the holiday—so much so that three different Martingale authors designed projects to share the sentiment! Whether you love embroidery, wool appliqué, or a little of both, you can choose to make one or all of these wall-worthy pieces:

    Give Thanks framed embroidery
    Give Thanks framed embroidery by Kathy Schmitz, from
    Stitches from the Harvest

    Greet family and friends with warmth and welcome by staging this framed stitchery near your home’s entrance. The simple message will inspire fellowship, while the beautiful scene will inspire oohs and aahs.

    Give Thanks wool wall hanging
    Give Thanks wool wall hanging by Maggie Bonanomi, from
    Pure & Simple

    This Give Thanks wall hanging can be part of your decor all through the fall. And Maggie’s wool-appliqué letters are so fun to stitch! Learn her easy technique in this video.

    Give Thanks Penny Rug
    Give Thanks Penny Rug by Bonnie Sullivan, from
    All for Fall

    A cornucopia that’s overflowing with autumn’s bounty will remind everyone of all they have to be thankful for—and fusible appliqué makes the scene quite simple to sew.

    Gathered Blessings Quilted Basket
    Gathered Blessings Quilted Basket by Kim Diehl,
    from Simple Harvest

    Fill this pretty basket to the brim with autumn goodies of your choice and display it on any flat surface you’ve got! Another idea: provide pen and paper and ask each guest to write what they’re thankful for; then toss the papers into the basket. During dinner, pass the basket around and have each person read a message.

    Thanksgiving table runners
    Table runners from
    All in a Row Again (clockwise from top left: Tricolor Stars by Lisa Bongean, Stars and Geese by Betsy Chutchian, and Autumn Wind by Kathy Schmitz)

    Elevate your Thanksgiving table with color, texture, and pop! Any of these runners will easily steal center stage (no offense to aunt Della’s green-bean casserole, of course).

    Basket Liner
    Basket Liner by Natalie Barnes, from
    Kitchen Stitches

    You worked hard to bake that homemade bread—make sure it stays toasty warm! Keep it covered with this clever bread-basket liner that you can use for Thanksgiving and all year long.

    FOR THE THANKSGIVING HOSTESS

    Great Rewards Kitchen Towels
    Great Rewards Kitchen Towels by Kathy Schmitz, from
    Stitches from the Harvest

    Traveling for Thanksgiving? Arrive at your destination with a gift for the host and hostess—won’t they be pleasantly surprised! Purchased tea towels are the key to these quick projects. Simply embroider the squirrel and bird motifs in brownwork, wrap, and you’ll be ready to give as well as receive.

    Sassy, Happy Pot Holders
    Sassy, Happy Pot Holders by Kim Niedzwiecki, from
    Kitchen Stitches

    Pot holders are a perfectly-timed Thanksgiving hostess gift. They can be put to use right away! Stitch up a pair of these cute and scrappy pot holders, which include a built-in safety feature—Insul-Bright batting, which protects busy hands from high heat.

    Wine Glass Charms
    Wine Glass Charms by Jackie White, from
    Kitchen Stitches

    These rickrack charms make it easy to serve your guests their drinks without worrying about a mix-up. Sew a set in no time and give your host a long-lasting gift—you’re guaranteed another invite!


    We hope you’ve enjoyed our Thanksgiving sewing roundup—and that you’ll find a little time for sewing fun as you count down to the big feast this year!

    What kinds of sewn items have become a part of your Thanksgiving traditions? Tell us in the comments!


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  10. Amazing lacelike embroidery – with just a backstitch! (how-to video)

    Inside the artful world of Japanese master artist Reiko Mori, embroidery embodies charm, grace, and true elegance. There’s one motif in particular that we’ve been swooning over from her book Elegant Embroidery—Ms. Mori’s Little Black Dress (LBD for short):

    Little Black Dress embroidery
    From the Black collection of embroidery designs in
    Elegant Embroidery

    That DRESS!!! How does she embroider with such detail?

    The lacelike embroidery on the skirt seems intricate, but you won’t believe how easy it is to stitch. How do we know? Because we have the video to prove it! The publisher of Stitch Publications, Priscilla Knoble—who, among many other things, translates books from Japanese into English for Reiko Mori and Yoko Saito—recently visited Japan. During her visit she captured Ms. Mori’s assistant embroidering the lace on the dress motif. It’s a winding, wandering backstitch, but when you watch the video, you’ll see why Reiko Mori calls the stitching “squiggles”!


      Viewing this video in email? Click here to watch the video on Youtube.

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

    Favorite Things vignette
    Favorite Things vignette

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

    Embroidered Snowflake Boxes
    Snowflake Boxes

    Learn 16 embroidery stitches step by step 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.

    Pocket Board embroidery
    Pocket Board with climbing roses

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

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

    Click on a cover to take a closer look at books from Reiko Mori:

    Elegant Embroidery Floral Motifs to Embroider

    What’s your level of embroidery expertise?

    • I’m an embroidery expert.
    • I love embroidery, and I’m still learning.
    • I want to learn how—now!

    Tell us in the comments!


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