1. Scrap shrinker! How to make a Log Cabin quilt block (video)

    The Log Cabin block is on the favorites list of so many quilters—is it among your faves? The variations are virtually endless. Plus, Log Cabin blocks are super scrap-friendly!

    Scrappy Courthouse Steps quilt
    Scrappy Courthouse Steps by Lissa Alexander

    We wondered where Log Cabin blocks originated, and we found a little history about the design via the American Quilter’s Society blog:

    Log Cabin quilt detail“While it’s natural to assume that this traditional block originated in the United States during the pioneer days, the origins of the block seem to go back much further in time and location. Similar designs have been found on ancient Egyptian mummies and in an English quilt predating 1830.

    Log Cabin quilts first made a widespread appearance in the United States in the 1860s during the time of the Civil War. The block name may very well have had a connection to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The Log Cabin quilt became wildly popular and was identified with the pioneer spirit and values of America.”

    From ancient Egyptian mummies to Abraham Lincoln—now that’s a block design with some staying power!

    Whether you’re new to making Log Cabin blocks or just haven’t sewn them in a while, perhaps our latest video on how to make a Log Cabin quilt block will inspire you to start something new. In this video we focused on the classic half-light, half-dark version:

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

    Round and round and round you go—Log Cabins are so fast and fun to sew!

    Once you get the hang of sewing traditional Log Cabin blocks, you’ll be ready to mix things up with clever variations on the design. And that’s exactly what the 16 designers in Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Log Cabins challenged themselves to do:

    Quilts from I Love Log Cabins
    Clockwise from top left: Mi Casa by Carrie Nelson; Seeing Stars by Kimberly Jolly; Twilight by Amy Ellis; Blaze by Amy Smart

    If you’re ready for your own Log Cabin quilt challenge, pick up Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Log Cabins, where you’ll find 16 ways to create the Log Cabin of your dreams!

    What’s your favorite fun-to-sew block: Log Cabin, Churn Dash, Flying Geese, Four Patch? Tell us your pick for best block in the comments!



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  2. ⏰ Flash sale! Pick 5 fat quarters and . . . 😍

    We’re starting out with a little quilting math today, a story problem. (It’s a snap, promise—we’ll even give you the answer.)

    Jane chose 5 fat quarters from her stash; then she chose 1 background fabric to coordinate. How many different quilts will Jane make using the same formula again and again?

    The answer: 15.

    Why? Because that’s how many beautiful, simple-to-sew quilts are waiting for her (and you) in Take 5 Fat Quarters from best-selling author Kathy Brown!

    Today we have a weekend-only offer for our Stitch This! readers:

    Take 5 Fat Quarters flash sale!

    Download the Take 5 Fat Quarters eBook for only six bucks through Sunday!

    In Kathy’s fun book, you take five minutes to choose five fat quarters. By minute six, you’re off on a new quilting adventure. Take a look at some of the pretty—and pretty quick!—quilts you can create:

    Staying Focused fat quarter quilt
    Staying Focused

    Swimming the Sidestroke fat quarter quilt
    Swimming the Sidestroke

    Crisscross Applesauce fat quarter quilt
    Crisscross Applesauce

    See more from Take 5 Fat Quarters >

    fat quarter cutting plansYou’ll love Kathy’s approach to stacking and cutting all your fat quarters at once so you can get right to sewing. And if you’re a scrap saver or a no-waste kind of quilter, you’ll find cutting plans like this one (right) for every quilt in the book. See how her plan lets you keep bigger pieces of fabric intact? Kathy knows you want to be frugal with your precious fat quarters!

    And don’t forget another fun part about Kathy’s books—the stories. If you’re familiar with Kathy’s previous titles, you know she always shares a special story about each quilt she designs.

    Click here to see all the quilts you can start making with just five fat quarters each. Perhaps you can whip one up for someone on your holiday gift list (yes, the holidays will be here before you know it). How about another quilt for a birthday or housewarming present? Hey, how about a quilt just for you? “Take 5” and then take your pick!

    This offer ends Sunday, July 23, so don’t delay—download your copy of Take 5 Fat Quarters today!

    How do you collect fat quarters—in bundles or one by one? Tell us in the comments!

    Take 5 Fat Quarters flash sale!




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  3. Layer Cake love ahead 💓: these squares are a piece of cake (+ fabric giveaway!)

    Have your cake . . . and quilt it too!

    Go beyond the style of typical Layer Cake designs and transform those yummy squares into fresh, scrappy quilts that are simple to sew and spectacular to show off. The new book A Piece of Cake will show you how.

    From A Piece of Cake

    Wait until you see Peta Peace’s fun quilt motifs: spools and bows, hearts and stars, and much more. And clever tips for mixing colors to get Peta’s light and playful look? That’s just icing on the cake!

    From A Piece of Cake

    We’re excited to have Peta here as a guest writer—all the way from Australia!—to tell us more about her new book and her love of Layer Cakes. And to go along with Peta’s beautiful new book, we’ve got a special . . .

    FABRIC GIVEAWAY! Our pals at Moda Fabrics sent us a lovely Layer Cake featuring fabric from The Good Life line by Bonnie & Camille.

    Martingale + Moda giveaway!

    Learn how you can win the Layer Cake plus a copy of A Piece of Cake at the end of this post.

    And now, here’s Peta!

    Peta PeaceWhen I was little, my mum was always at the sewing machine. She sewed all the time, so fabrics, piled up and ready to be cut, were as much a part of our home as we were. Thankfully, my mum had the patience to teach me how to sew. It’s a skill that’s been super handy throughout my life.

    Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of sewing, but it wasn’t until I discovered quilting that I felt like I’d found my sewing love. These days I’m lucky enough to call myself a quilt designer. So when the opportunity came along to work with Martingale and share my love of this awesome craft through a book, I was beyond excited!

    I have a healthy stash of fabric sitting in my cupboard, but my go-to way of making a quilt is with precuts. The little piles of fabric goodness make choosing fabric for a quilt quick and easy, so I always make sure I have a good supply on hand. In A Piece of Cake, I share my love of precut fabrics through 14 projects that can all be made from 10″-square Layer Cakes, my favorite type of precut. There’s something for everyone inside the book!

    Some quilts are fast to piece, such as Modern Spools.

    Modern Spools quilt
    Modern Spools

    Some give a fresh twist to traditional quilt blocks, such as the Simplest Sampler.

    The Simplest Sampler quilt
    The Simplest Sampler

    There’s even a project or two for when you’re short on time, but just really want to sew something.

    Projects from A Piece of Cake
    Left: Spin Pillow. Right: Bright and Breezy Runner.

    No matter which project you choose, you’ll find simple and clear step-by-step instructions along with easy-to-follow color diagrams that will help you build your skills as a quilter as you make beautiful quilted memories to cherish and share.

    I sure hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look at A Piece of Cake and that you’re feeling inspired to grab a Layer Cake—or to cut some 10″ squares from your stash—and get started on one of these projects soon.

    A Piece of CakePeta, thank you for giving us a peek at your lovely new Layer Cake book!

    Layer Cakes or stash squares: which would you use in one of Peta’s quilts first? Tell us your answer in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered to win A Piece of Cake plus the Layer Cake from Moda Fabrics! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    And remember, when you buy A Piece of Cake at ShopMartingale.com, you’ll be able to instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I would go first to my stash where I usually find any combination I want for a quilt, whether color-coordinated, scrappy, or in-between. Similar to the contents of the kitchen pantry I think of my stash as using, not using up. I buy yardage when I can (‘planned leftovers’) and replenish my blenders as needed, so I usually have good options to help seemingly random stash fabrics play well together, or when the precuts do not include the blenders I ‘crave.’”

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










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  4. Got orphan quilt blocks? There’s a pincushion collection in your future

    Pincushion from Simple AppealRaise your hand if you’re a Kim Diehl fan! I know that there are a LOT of you out there joining me as I wave wildly. As if Kim’s beautiful patterns aren’t enough, her books have the added value of her “Pin Point” tips sprinkled throughout. If you can’t have Kim in the room with you while you sew, then these tips are the next best thing! (See 25 of Kim’s “Pin Point” tips in this post.)

    Recently, I came across a couple of English-paper-pieced blocks that I’d made that didn’t end up in a project. I thought about making them into mug rugs or coasters but just didn’t feel inspired—not to mention the fact that I didn’t want them to end up with coffee stains on them! Then, I remembered one of Kim’s Pin Points, and my problem was solved. The tip comes from Kim’s recent book, Simple Friendships, which she co-authored with Jo Morton.

    Kim DiehlWhen I make scrappy quilts, I like to stitch a handful of extra blocks for added choices as the design is laid out. I found that my leftover “orphan” Old Italian blocks could be repurposed beautifully to make sweet little pincushions. To do this, I layered a finished block with a coordinating print 5½" square, right sides together, and joined the pieces, leaving a 2″ opening on one side for turning.

    Pincushions from orphan quilt blocks
    Kim’s Old Italian block pincushion

    Next, to box the corners, I pulled the front and back pieces apart at one corner, laid the unit flat on my cutting mat with the corner pointing upward and the seam centered and running vertically, and used a pencil and acrylic ruler to draw a horizontal line across the corner (through the seam) ½" down from the stitched point. After pinning, I repeated with the remaining corners, and then stitched each corner on the drawn line (beginning and ending with a few backstitches), before trimming away the corners to leave ¼" seam allowances.

    To complete the pincushion, I turned the unit right side out, filled it with crushed walnut shells (which was easy to do using a quart-size ziplock bag and snipping one corner for pouring), and hand stitched the opening closed. These are super-fast to stitch, super cute, and make great gifts for quilting friends.

    Pincushions! Can we ever have enough? I have a bunch of them and I never mind getting a new one as a gift. I keep the ones I’m not using in a basket, looking ever-so-cute, on a shelf in my sewing room. I try to swap them out occasionally, but I seriously enjoy just looking at them and remembering who and/or where they came from.

    Pincushion collection
    My pincushion collection

    Simple FriendshipsYou can see more from Kim and Jo’s book, Simple Friendships, in this post.

    What happens to YOUR leftover blocks?

    a) They languish in my scrap bin
    b) I use them on the back of my quilt
    c) I repurpose them

    Tell us in the comments!







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  5. This weekend only: Save 40% on Moda All-Stars books 😍

    We can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend than by quilting with the Moda All-Stars—and this weekend, you can do it at a price that’ll have you seeing stars!

    Save 40% on Moda All-Stars books

    The books in our best-selling “All-Stars” series are scrap-friendly and packed with tips and projects from some of your favorite celebrities of the quilting world. And when you act this weekend, you’ll not only save 40%, you’ll also get to instantly download the eBook version of the books you buy!

    And as always, when you make a purchase of $40.00 or more at ShopMartingale.com, we’ll pay for your shipping to the US and Canada. Sweet!

    Save on four star-studded books:

    Moda All-Stars: Lucky Charm Quilts
    Moda All-Stars: Lucky Charm Quilts

    Create charming quilts with the All-Stars: choose from projects that use one, two, or three 5″ charm packs.
    $24.99 Only $14.99 this weekend

    Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels
    Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels

    Got a mini amount of time (or fabric)? Make a marvelous mini with Moda designers!
    $24.99 Only $14.99 this weekend

    Moda All-Stars: Scraps Made Simple
    Moda All-Stars: Scraps Made Simple

    Let the All-Stars help you transform your yummy scraps into something spectacular.
    $26.99 Only $16.19 this weekend

    Moda All-Stars All in a Row
    Moda All-Stars: All in a Row

    It’s the book that started it all! Row your way through 24 beautiful designs from your favorite Moda designers.
    $26.99 Only $16.19 this weekend

    Moda All-Stars: All in a Row AgainComing October 2017
    Moda All-Stars: All in a Row Again

    The Moda All-Stars are back with 23 all-new rows to mix and match! Choose from four fun categories: Flowers and Trees, Critters and Creatures, Buildings and Houses, and Classic Patchwork. Click “Notify Me” on this page at ShopMartingale.com and we’ll send you a reminder email when the book is released.

    Be sure to follow our All in a Row page on Facebook too; there’ll be lots of rowing fun come fall!

    Which book by the Moda All-Stars is your favorite . . . so far? Tell us in the comments.







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  6. Calling all sewists: irresistible sewing-themed projects ahead (+ giveaway!)

    Thread love, needle love, button love—sewing love! We are so excited to give you a sneak peek inside Sew Many Notions!

    Sew Many Notions

    Profess your love of sewing with these warm-and-fuzzy projects that are quick to put together and fun to display or give. Each sewing-themed project is perfectly portable for on-the-go stitching, and author Debbie Busby (of Wooden Spool Designs fame) shares all her tips for appliquéing with wool and embroidering in her primitive style.

    Sew, A Needle Pulling Thread collection
    Sew, A Needle Pulling Thread collection: wall hanging, pincushions, and needle keepers

    Stitch wall hangings, pincushions, a sewing kit, a framed stitchery, plus an entire collection of tomato-themed sewing notions (SEW cute)! You’ll love making and giving these sewing-inspired gifts to all of your sewing friends—the sweet embroidered sayings about sewing will tug at their heartstrings, and yours.

    From Sew Many Notions
    More from
    Sew Many Notions

    We’re happy to have Debbie here as a guest writer today—here’s what she has to tell you about her new book!

    Debbie BusbyTrying to imagine my life without sewing is impossible, and even more so without the right tools or notions.

    I spend a lot of time in my sewing studio surrounded by the notions I need to stitch up my projects. The notion collections I’ve acquired over the years inspired me to create the notion-themed projects in Sew Many Notions.

    Glass jars filled with buttons, bins of old wooden spools, jugs of red tomato pincushions (and shelves of other pincushions), and mugs filled with old scissors are a few of the collections I have, and they remind me of my grandmothers and great aunts.

    The projects in Sew Many Notions are created with beautiful wools and cottons. They are fun, quick, and easy to make. There are projects with motifs that are wool appliquéd to wool, as in the A Stitch in Time Saves Nine collection:

    A Stitch in Time Saves Nine collection

    And there are projects with motifs that are wool appliquéd to cotton, as in the Button Love Wall Hanging.

    Button Love Wall Hanging

    When I put the book together I imagined the projects being made by sewing groups, in classes, and as personal gifts to give to your friends. I encourage you to change the colors to your own personal favorites and to go with your decor.

    One of my favorite projects is the button pincushion set. There are no limits to the colors of buttons you can create and give to all your stitching friends. I am planning on making one for each of my stitching buddies for an upcoming gathering.

    Button pincushions

    Another of my personal favorites is the tomato pincushion collection! Who can stop at owning just one? Make them from cotton and wool, add them all together in a bowl, and you’ve got an adorable centerpiece for your next sewing bee.

    On Pins and Needles Collection

    I hope you find joy in creating these notion-themed projects and using them in your sewing space.

    Sew Many NotionsDebbie, thanks for sharing your nifty, notion-inspired projects with us!

    Who might you make a sewing-themed project for: a friend, a sewing group, yourself? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of Sew Many Notions! 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 Susan, who says:

    “I always take a basket full of snacks and, of course, chocolate, every time that I go in for chemotherapy. The patients, their families and caregivers, and the staff, always appreciate it. I think that I would like to make some easy sewing notions that have sayings like "You are sew special." I could work on them (hand sewing) while receiving my treatments also. I think that the staff would appreciate little needle books as everyone has times they need to do an emergency repair and I could add safety pins, threaded needles, and of course, a special message on top. Being surrounded by so many seriously ill people in the chemo room as well as though who truly care for us and help us through these difficult times, makes me appreciate the many blessings we still have. I would love to win your book and get started with some projects as my last week’s chemo has left me bed bound and hurting. Distraction, especially sewing and crafts, is my favorite way to deal with (or rather ignore) the pain. The projects will also give other’s joy and comfort too. Thank you for the chance to win your book—It’s so cute!!! If I win, I hope to take two baskets of goodies next time! You are sew clever!!!”

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



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  7. Step-by-step: how to create the perfect quilt for your space (so fun!) + video

    From Zen Chic InspiredSometimes we make quilts for others; sometimes we make quilts just for fun. But sometimes, we want to make a quilt that blends perfectly with our surroundings—a bedroom, a living room, an office space. And when you want to do that, there’s one person who’s ready to show you how to take the leap into designing: Brigitte Heitland, author of Zen Chic Inspired.

    Zen Chic InspiredBrigitte is an interior designer; the owner of Zen Chic, a pattern company; and a fabric designer for Moda Fabrics. She’s also hopelessly addicted to patchwork. In her book, she gives you the reins, explaining step-by-step how to dream up your very own quilt design that will fit your particular space. She also provides 12 start-to-finish quilt patterns so you can play with her ideas for choosing colors, prints, and patterns that harmonize with your decor. Whether you love the country look, prefer modern minimal, or you’re eclectic to the max, Brigitte will teach you the process she uses to design quilts to coordinate with the spaces you love.

    In the video below, Brigitte shows how her book works. In less than a minute, it will all make sense! Hit play and watch how easily she connects interior design and quilt design:

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

    Here’s a link to the Moda Palette Builder that Brigitte mentions in the video. It’s fun to play with—upload a pic of the room you want to create a quilt for and watch the color magic happen!

    Brigitte recently gave her quilting friends a challenge: design a quilt around a specific photo of a room using Zen Chic Inspired as a guide. This is the room her friends started with:

    Following the advice in Zen Chic Inspired, three of Brigitte’s friends met the challenge, creating quilts to go with the room setting above. See part 1, part 2, and part 3 at Brigitte’s blog—the results are all beautiful, and all one of a kind!

    Here are just a few of the room settings and the quilts designed around them in Zen Chic Inspired:

    On the Ball quilt
    Brigitte’s On the Ball quilt was inspired by the curves and textures in the room setting on the left.

    Sweden quilt
    This simple Sweden quilt was inspired by the red slats next to the staircase.

    News quilt
    For her News quilt, Brigitte planned her design around the room color and the circular rug.

    Ready to design a quilt to match your type of decor? Order Zen Chic Inspired today and let Brigitte help you create a quilt that’ll be picture perfect. Tag photos of your projects on social media with #zenchicinspiredbook so we can see and share!

    Look around the room you’re in: what might inspire a one-of-a-kind quilt? A chair, a lamp, the coffee cup you’re using? Tell us in the comments!





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  8. Send them to school with memories from home 🎓

    Graduation day is behind us, and those grown-up kids ready for college, work, or their first move from home are preparing to strike out on their own.

    If you look back at that time in your own life, you might remember feeling excited—but also a little anxious—about starting life beyond home, sweet home. (Do I have pots and pans and soap and towels and plates and cups and, oh boy, what am I missing?) It takes time to make a new home, sweet home. If you have loved ones leaving the nest soon, there’s one way to give them a soft place to land: with a handmade quilt full of memories from you. And you can let a stack of their T-shirts become your muse!

    Terrific T-Shirt QuiltsWith Terrific T-Shirt Quilts, creating a cuddly memory quilt is an easy task. The book explains the ins and outs of working with knits, figuring out how to cut apart shirts for the best use of the fabric, and how to combine shirt parts with quilting cottons for sashing, alternate blocks, or borders. You’ll even find tips for using mesh fabrics, screen-printed and iron-on designs, sweatshirts, and baby clothes. Plus, you’ll find 10 step-by-step projects that you can use as is or modify to fit the shirts you want to use. Take a look at a few quilts from the book that you can use as a starting point:

    Go Zags t-shirt quilt
    Thrill them with a custom quilt that celebrates their team colors.

    Congrats Grad t-shirt quilt
    Pack years of memories into a quilt made with T-shirts saved from childhood, plus scraps from pillowcases, curtains, and even flannel pajamas. This quilt is extra-long to fit a college dorm bed.

    Tween Dreams t-shirt quilt
    Collect a pile of T-shirts that have been outgrown. No matter the size of the motifs,
    Terrific T-Shirt Quilts will teach you how to use strips and patchwork to make every T-shirt fit just right.

    Want to learn more about Terrific T-Shirt Quilts?

    What T-shirt quilt theme would be perfect for a loved one you know? Sports, music, extra-curricular activities, nature? Tell us in the comments!







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  9. Wish list day! Pat Sloan, precuts, and Civil War patchwork (+ giveaway!)

    Yay yay yay, it’s Wish List Day! We’re counting down to a new batch of beautiful Martingale books arriving in August—tell us which new release is your favorite and you could win it!

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

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Make My First QuiltPat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt
    A How-To Book for All You Need to Know
    Pat Sloan

    Want to learn how to quilt—or help someone who wants to learn? Pat Sloan’s made quilting a lifelong passion for thousands of her students by showing them the ropes, and she’ll do the same for you (or your wanna-be quilter friends!). From essential tools, sewing-machine advice, and common quilting terms to rotary cutting, machine sewing, and quilt-top assembly, Pat’s included all the tips and tricks that her newbie students love. Learn to sew nine classic quilt blocks; then use those blocks in nine beautiful projects that you’ll be proud to show off. More than 140 photos make learning easy—and Pat’s you-can-do-it style of teaching makes it fun!

    From Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Make My First Quilt
    Beginner-friendly projects from
    Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt

    See more from Pat’s latest “Teach Me” book >

    Piece and Quilt with PrecutsPiece and Quilt with Precuts
    11 Quilts • 18 Machine Quilting Designs • Start-to-Finish Success!
    Christa Watson

    Stumped whenever you read “quilt as desired”? Be baffled no more! Christa Watson (author of the best sellers Machine Quilting with Style and coauthor of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting) has all you need to start—and finishevery striking quilt in her latest book. First, choose from 11 fresh quilt patterns that rely on speed-it-up precut fabrics. Then, let Christa walk you step-by-step through exactly how to quilt your quilt, using one of 18 quilting designs provided for walking-foot or free-motion quilting. Ready to make your own machine-quilting choices? Mix and match Christa’s quilt patterns (or any quilt pattern) with any of the machine-quilting motifs included. These quilts will never see the UFO pile—not when you’ve got Christa’s built-in finishing plans!

    Squiggles quilt
    Try simple squiggle quilting on this charm-pack-friendly Squiggles quilt

    Spools quilt
    Use every last bit of your precuts to make this cool Spools quilt; then machine quilt it with a combination of motifs from the book

    See more of Christa’s start-to-finish quilts >

    The Big Book of Civil War QuiltsThe Big Book of Civil War Quilts
    58 Patterns for Reproduction-Fabric Lovers

    Fans of Civil War quilts, this is THE book you’ve been waiting for! Packed with 58 patterns from popular designers, The Big Book of Civil War Quilts will inspire you to cut into your reproduction fabrics again and again. Let Kim Diehl, Carol Hopkins, Country Threads, Jo Morton, and many more inspire a lifetime of quilts that capture the traditional, vintage look and feel of days gone by. From minis to bed quilts, it simply doesn’t get bigger or better than this for lovers of quilts from the Civil War era.

    From The Big Book of Civil War Quilts
    Just four of 58 quilts from The Big Book of Civil War Quilts

    See more from our latest BIG book >

    Which new book would make your August amazing? 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.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “Civil war quilts. I love anything with history attached to it.”

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








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  10. How to put a rainbow in a quilt? Add a little black and white (+ giveaway!)

    Multicolored printsWouldn’t it be fun to add all the colors you love to a single quilt, and not have to worry about whether it all “goes” together or not?

    Sounds impossible, right? Or maybe you’ve made a quilt of many colors and come away disappointed. But Splash of Color author Jackie Kunkel’s figured out how to include a spectrum of colors in a single quilt—and she’s made it easy for all of us to do too!

    How does Jackie do it? She balances those bright colors with black and white. Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Splash of Color to show you just how Jackie creates her multicolored magic. Read on for Jackie’s secret!

    Jackie KunkelDesigning a quilt using black-and-white prints brings a new level of enjoyment to choosing a color palette. What I like most is that black-and-white prints make all other colors shine. Whether you are choosing pinks, greens, blues, yellows, or browns, they all become the stars of the show.

    Prints with black backgrounds make any saturated colors pop. White background prints can do the same, with the added potential of giving a quilt a more modern look. Stay away from prints with cream backgrounds, which can give quilts a yellow cast when placed next to a white print or solid. And avoid gray prints and gray solids as well. Gray will dull the intensity of the other colors in the quilt.

    Black and white prints
    An array of black-and-white prints

    One of the things you’ll see throughout Splash of Color is that I use a variety of black-and-white prints in every quilt. This not only gives each quilt a scrappier look, it also makes the result more interesting. Paring back the number of black-and-white prints can give your quilt a more contemporary appeal, which is apparent in the alternate versions of “Proud Mary” and “Twirling.”

    Proud Mary quilt
    Proud Mary

    Twirling quilt

    The scale of black-and-white prints is also important to the design. In many of my quilts, I use small- to medium-scale motifs. The prints I choose are based on the size of the quilt block and the size of the pieces within the block. If the scale of the print is too large, you might not even see the design of the fabric. Reserve large-scale prints for quilt projects where you can feature them in a bigger area. The Crossroads quilt is a perfect example. Since the design includes large squares, I incorporated a mix of both large- and small-scale prints. For a totally different look, you could use only large-scale motifs.

    Crossroads quilt

    When you start pairing colors with black-and-white prints, you’ll find that you can take different approaches depending on what appeals to you. For example, highly saturated colors, such as hot pink, will stand out vividly against black-and-white prints. If you want a slightly subdued effect (some quilters call this low-volume), choose less saturated colors, such as pale pink.

    Star Bright quilts
    The primarily white background in Star Bright (left) gives the quilt a very different look and feel than the black background in the alternate version (right).

    Considering print scale is just as crucial to choosing colored prints as it is to selecting black-and-white prints. When choosing colored fabrics, consider the overall look and feel you’re going for. Solid fabrics read differently than prints.

    Climbing Mountains quilts
    Using solids in the alternate version of Climbing Mountains (right), instead of the mottled and printed batiks in the main version (left), changes the look of the quilt substantially.

    In Lava Lamps and Dreaming of Pyramids, I used multicolored prints with black or white backgrounds. I was very selective when choosing the prints; they were mostly small in scale with some type of dot, and they all incorporated the full rainbow spectrum of colors, not just one color. Choosing multicolored prints adds a huge amount of interest to a quilt.

    Lava Lamps quilt
    Lava Lamps

    Dreaming of Pyramids quilt
    Dreaming of Pyramids

    One of the best things about quilting is that we get to play with fabric. Here is your chance to experiment and see what appeals to you the most. Scrappy, modern, bold, subdued, a traditional twist—you name it, the sky is the limit! So reach for the sky and give your inner designer a chance to play.

    We’ve got a special goody to give away today: an Aurifil thread collection curated by Jackie Kunkel herself!

    Martingale + Aurifil giveaway!

    To enter to win the Splash of Color thread box plus a copy of the Splash of Color book, tell us:

    How many colors do you typically use in your quilts?

    a) I usually make quilts with just a few colors and prints.

    b) I make quilts with just a few colors, but lots of prints.

    c) Lots of colors, lots of prints—true rainbow quilts!

    Tell us your answer in the comments!

    Ready to select a rainbow of colors from your stash and try adding a little black and white? Order your copy of Splash of Color now and instantly download the eBook for free.

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

    “A- I used to use just 3-4 colors/prints, but lately have been getting into scrap quilts – so much more variety of colors, prints and some solids.”

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





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