1. Perfectly pieced Four Patches: Miss Rosie’s simple secret

    how to sew a four patch quilt blockThe Four Patch. It’s the first block many quilters learn to sew. It’s basic. It’s classic. It’s a great introduction to patchwork.

    Of course you know how to sew a Four Patch quilt block. But if you’re not sewing them like Carrie Nelson (aka Miss Rosie), there’s a new technique to learn!

    Ask most any quilter what’s the most challenging part of sewing a Four Patch, and they’ll likely say the same thing: getting that center where four fabrics meet to butt up and behave.

    We met up with Carrie at Quilt Market, and she showed us how she gets her Four Patch centers to perfectly perform their patchwork duty—watch this video to learn her trick:


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

    Such an easy fix!

    Carrie’s latest book, Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites, is a runaway best seller—it even sold OUT for a while there!—but now it’s back in stock. And you can bet that Miss Rosie will reveal many more sewing tricks in her book. Take a look at all the gorgeous quilts you can create:


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

    Order your copy of Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites and download the eBook instantly for free.

    What was the first quilt block you ever made: Four Patch, Rail Fence, Log Cabin, something else? Tell us in the comments!

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  2. Troubleshooting sewing-machine tension: 5 simple steps

    Flower Power free-motion quilting motifHow can you get the perfect thread tension before you start machine quilting? Look no further than Lori Kennedy’s book Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3!

    In Lori’s book, you’ll learn all you need to know to create 61 whimsical motifs, including how to set up your machine, how to doodle to refine your technique, and yes—how to get that perfect thread tension before you begin.

    Today we’re sharing Lori’s five-step process from Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 for finding your machine’s sweet spot when it comes to thread tension. These tips will help you today and years from today. Read on to learn Lori’s secrets!


    Lori KennedyFINDING THE BEST TENSION

    The perfect machine-quilting stitch should be balanced between the top and bobbin threads. In other words, the bobbin thread shouldn’t show on the top of the quilt, and the top thread shouldn’t show on the back of the quilt. It’s almost impossible for any sewing machine to create perfect balance at all times while you’re machine quilting, because of the mechanics of moving the quilt in many directions. Using the same color of thread in the bobbin as on the top will conceal most issues as long as the tension is properly adjusted.

    For most sewing machines, stitches will look better when the top tension is lowered. Adjust the top tension first, adjusting the bobbin tension only if necessary. If it’s impossible to balance the tension completely, it’s better to have top threads pulled slightly to the back than to have bobbin threads showing on the top. Here are some examples of my machine quilting after adjusting my thread tension.

    Here are the steps I take to balance my tension:

    1. Using the same fabrics and batting that will be used in the quilt project, free-motion stitch a 3″ line without changing the tension settings. Inspect the line.

    2. Lower the tension one step or number and stitch another 3″ line. Inspect the line. Does it look better or worse? If it looks better than the first line, lower the tension again and stitch another line.

    3. Inspect this line of stitching. Does it look better or worse?

    4. Continue lowering the tension and stitching lines until the newly stitched line looks worse than the previous one.

    5. Tweak the tension between the final two lines to find the perfect sweet spot for your stitches.

    Troubleshooting machine-quilting tension


    Take the time to set your tension before you stitch—it will relieve a lot of tension in the long run!

    We caught up with Lori at Quilt Market and she showed us how she stitches her Flower Power motif from Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3. Watch her work her magic (with a little practice, you can conjure her magic too):


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

    Here’s a FREE tutorial for the Flower Power motif from Lori’s book that you can start with (it’s her favorite). Just be sure to check your tension first!

    Free machine quilting motif: Flower Power
    Download Lori’s Flower Power tutorial—print it out and try it for yourself!

    What’s your tension-checking trick: a scrap of fabric, a practice sandwich . . . a seam ripper? Tell us in the comments!

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  3. Free sewing patterns for fall 🍂 autumn-inspired kitchen set

    Crunching leaves. Hot apple cider. Sweaters. The pumpkin patch! Perhaps an autumn chill isn’t in the air just yet . . . but it’s coming. And today we’ve got a great way to celebrate the cooler season on the way—with needle and thread, of course!

    Free patterns for fall: autumn inspired kitchen set

    Download the Harvest Spice Trio patterns for free when you sign in or register at our website.

    ’Tis the Autumn SeasonShelley Wicks and Jeanne Large authors Jeanne Large (right) and Shelley Wicks (left) are well-known for their spectacular sewing salutes to the seasons. In their book, they share a dozen quilts and projects perfect for cozying up, settling in, and welcoming the beauty of fall. And the signature techniques they use to create their designs are quick to cozy up to as well! Chunky fusible appliqué and lickety-split wool appliqué are easy to learn and fun to do.

    Let’s take a closer look at what’s in store for you when you create the projects in the free Harvest Trio set:

    Harvest Spice Apron
    Harvest Spice Apron
    : put on this sweet apron throughout autumn and spice up meal-prep time with a sprinkle of the season. All you need is two yards of fabric, scraps of gold, black and green, and a scattering of buttons.

    Harvest Spice Tea Towels
    Harvest Spice Tea Towels:
    start with pre-purchased tea towels and add appliquéd sunflowers and pumpkins—couldn’t be simpler! You’ll find appliqué patterns for both towels in the download.

    Harvest Spice Coasters
    Harvest Spice Coasters:
    these charming coasters feature a rickrack edging—the technique used to apply the rick rack hides raw edges in a single sewing step. It’s a fun method you can use for lots of different projects!

    Speaking of that rickrack edging, here’s a quick video on how the technique works:

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

    You’ll also find a recipe for hearty bran muffins in the download—perfect to try as this season begins to turn to the next.

    'Tis the Autumn SeasonWant even more harvest-hued projects from Shelley and Jeanne? Buy ’Tis the Autumn Season and instantly download the eBook for free.

    What’s your favorite thing about autumn?

    • The colors of the season match all of my quilts.
    • Layers, layers, layers!
    • Halloween, Thanksgiving, and all the fun that goes with them.

    Tell us in the comments!

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  4. Big blog hop! Piecing, quilting, and precuts (and a pincushion) + giveaway!

    Piece and Quilt with PrecutsIt’s Martingale’s day on Christa Watson’s blog hop for her new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts—welcome, everyone! I’m Karen Johnson, Martingale’s director of marketing. I’ll be your blog-hop host for today!

    The thing I love most about Christa Watson’s new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts, is that she gives you a quilt to make AND machine-quilting instructions for each quilt. None of this “quilt as desired” for Christa!

    The quilting designs in the book are all very achievable, and Christa breaks them down for you: choose walking-foot quilting, free-motion quilting, or combine both kinds of quilting. You can easily mix and match any of the quilting designs on any of the 11 quilts in the book. Here are just a few of the beautiful quilts (and beautiful quilting):

    I volunteered to sew a block from the Frequency quilt (click here to read more about Christa’s version of Frequency at her website). It’s an easy block that calls for 2½" strips, and I took the easy way in choosing fabrics—I picked a Jelly Roll from our office stash (pretty convenient, eh?).


    First Crush by Sweetwater—so cute!


    Ready, set . . . sew! Chain piecing made the job go fast.


    After a bit of improvisational cutting and stitching, I laid out the strips to decide on placement. That’ll do!


    Some trimming . . .


    Ready for quilting!

    Now, I’ve done my fair share of machine quilting, but I need to PRACTICE more! Yes, I shouted PRACTICE!

    To get ready, I did something I rarely do—I changed my throat plate to a single-hole plate. I’m always concerned about using a single-hole plate because I’m sure I’m going to forget to switch things back and I’ll set my machine to a zigzag stitch and . . . oops! But lo and behold, my machine has a feature that allows me to lock it to straight stitching only. It’s mistake proof!

    I chose a thread that would look good on all of the light and dark fabrics so I wouldn’t have to change threads partway through. Aurifil 2600 Dove looked like it would do the job nicely.

    Since this was a small piece, 18″ square, I secured the layers with straight pins to prepare for stitching in the ditch. Did I mention I like shortcuts?

    After stitching in the ditch, I removed the straight pins and chose the Squiggles walking-foot quilting pattern from Piece and Quilt with Precuts. I let the lines overlap to create interesting designs. The quilting was fun and oh-so easy!

    Now for the scarier part: free-motion quilting. I haven’t done free-motion quilting for quite awhile, and I desperately needed to PRACTICE! But lazy girl that I am, I used this block to practice the Crazy Eights free-motion quilting pattern from the book. I thought it would be easy, and it was, after I got the feel for it.



    I think you can see the results from the back a little better—not bad!

    I won’t be entering any quilt shows next week, but I’m happy. I just need to do this more often to keep in PRACTICE!

    This was so much fun, and I had lots of scraps leftover, so I couldn’t resist whipping together a cute little matching pincushion. The pattern isn’t in the book, but I followed the same basic instructions for improvisational cutting. Every block needs a matching pincushion, right?

    Christa Watson booksToday we have an epic giveaway for you: eBook editions of ALL SEVEN Martingale books that Christa has either written or contributed to! They include:

    Piece and Quilt with Precuts

    The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

    Machine Quilting with Style

    Rock Solid

    180 Doodle Quilting Designs

    Block-Buster Quilts: I Love House Blocks

    Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Churn Dashes

    To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments:

    How often do you practice your machine quilting?

    • Every day!
    • At least once a week.
    • Every once in a while.
    • Um . . . nope. Not yet.

    We’ll choose three random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And remember, when you buy Piece and Quilt with Precuts at ShopMartingale.com, you can instantly download the eBook for free.

    Have you missed any of the stops on Christa’s blog hop? You can still visit them—here’s the full schedule:

    Friday, August 18
    Kathy Bruckman blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More
    Instagram: @kathyskwiltsandmore

    Kate Colleran blog: Seams Like a Dream
    Instagram: @seamslikeadreamquilts

    Sharon Parcel blog: Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
    Instagram: @punkydoodle53

    Saturday, August 19
    Sandy Maxfield blog: Sandy Star Designs
    Instagram: @sandystardesigns

    Joanne Harris blog: Quilts by Joanne
    Instagram: @turtlequilterjo

    Teresa Mairal-Barreu blog: Sewn Up
    Instagram: @teresadownunder

    Monday, August 21
    Nancy Scott blog: Masterpiece Quilting
    Instagram: @masterpiecequilting

    Martingale blog: Stitch This!
    Instagram: @martingaletpp

    Lorinda Davis blog: Laurel Poppy & Pine
    Instagram: @laurelpoppyandpine

    Tuesday, August 22
    Sherry Shish blog: Powered by Quilting
    Instagram: @poweredbyquilting

    Michelle Bartholomew blog: Michelle Bartholomew
    Instagram: @michellebartholomew

    Allison Dutton blog: Allison Sews
    Instagram: @allisonsews

    Wednesday, August 23
    Lissa LaGreca blog: Lovingly Lissa
    Instagram: @lovinglylissa

    Sherri Noel blog: Rebecca Mae Designs
    Instagram: @rebeccamaedesigns

    Sandra Healy blog: Sandra Healy Designs
    Instagram: @sandrahealydesigns

    Thursday, August 24
    Laura Piland blog: Slice of Pi Quilts
    Instagram: @sliceofpiquilts

    Cheryl Brickey blog: Meadow Mist Designs
    Instagram: @meadowmistdesigns

    Jen Frost blog: Faith and Fabric
    Instagram: @faithandfabric

    Friday, August 25
    Jessee Maloney blog: Art School Dropout
    Instagram: @jessee_artschooldropout

    Jessica Caldwell blog: Desert Bloom Quilting
    Instagram: @desertbloomquilting

    Anjeanette Klinder blog: Anjeanette Klinder
    Instagram: @anjeanetteklinder

    Saturday, August 26
    Terri Vanden Bosch blog: Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
    Instagram: @lizardcreekquilter

    Suzy Webster blog: Webster Quilt
    Instagram: @websterquilt

    Katie Joy Church blog: Wild Prairie Studio
    Instagram: @katie_joyquilts

    Monday, August 28
    Pam Cobb blog: The Stitch TV Show
    Instagram: @thestitchtvshow

    Jen Rosin blog: A Dream and a Stitch:
    Instagram: @adreamandastitch

    Rashida Khanbhai blog: No. 3 Quilt Studio
    Instagram: @no3quiltstudio

    Tuesday, August 29
    Lynn Kline blog: Monkey Needle
    Instagram: @monkeyneedle

    Kathy Bruckman blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More
    Instagram: @kathyskwiltsandmore

    Wednesday, August 30
    Jen Shaffer blog: Patterns by Jen
    Instagram: @patternsbyjen

    Sandra Starley blog: Textile Time Travels
    Instagram: @textiletimetravels

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  5. Weekend-wonder quilts for the back-to-school sewing pace (+ sale!)

    Little Red Schoolhouse quiltIs your town back to school yet, or are the kiddos heading back soon? That may mean less sewing time during the week—but you can make it all up on the weekend!

    If your next sewing splurge is planned for this weekend (or the next, or the next), now’s a great time to do a quick supply check. Fabric? check. Sewing machine? Check. Rotary cutter’s sharp? Mat’s scrap-free? You’re ready to roll except for one more thing—inspiration!

    Today we’ve got books filled with fast-and-easy quilted goodies to create, and they’re all at just the right price: 40% off! So buy a favorite book while the savings are sweet (and instantly download the eBook version for free).

    Your next weekend wonder quilt could be:

    Square City quilt
    Square City from
    Easy Weekend Quilts. This quilt is ideal for featuring large-scale prints in the blocks and plain squares. Choose one neutral tone-on-tone print to tie the whole design together.

    See 11 more quick quilts in Easy Weekend Quilts >
    $16.99 only $10.19 (with free eBook)


    Double Four Patch quilt
    Double Four Patch from
    Sew Charming. It doesn’t get much easier than simple squares and Four Patch blocks—unless you skip the fabric-matching process and make your quilt from a coordinated pack of pretty precut charm squares.

    See 17 more fast quilts from Sew Charming >
    $24.99 only $14.99 (with free eBook)


    Caribbean Cooler quilt
    Caribbean Cooler from
    Fat-Quarter Quickies. Whether you choose to make this fat-quarter-friendly design in bright batiks or more subdued colors, this is a quilt you can sew on the weekend and take anywhere you go on the weekend.

    See 10 more zippity-quick quilts from Fat-Quarter Quickies >
    $16.99 only $10.19 (with free eBook)


    Country Churn Dash quilt
    Country Churn Dash from
    One Bundle of Fun. Pick 21 contrasting fat quarters to make this cute Churn Dash quilt pop—served with a side of country charm.

    See 11 more lickety-split quilts from One Bundle of Fun >
    $18.99 only $11.39 (with free eBook)


    Color Gradations quilt
    Color Gradations from
    Sew, Slice, Spin & Sash. Got a stash that resembles a rainbow? Experiment with mini prints, batiks, or tone-on-tone fabrics in a range of hues for a quilt that’s an expression of your style. (And don’t miss this video from author Theresa Ward on speeding up strip quilting even more with a friend named Elmer—yes, we mean the glue!)

    See more pronto patchwork from Sew, Slice, Spin & Sash >
    $16.99 only $10.19 (with free eBook)


    At 40% off, you can let these speedy quilts satisfy your weekend sewing fix all school-year long!

    When do you squeeze in sewing time during the school year—weekends, weeknights, anytime you’re able? Tell us in the comments!

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  6. Best book for beginning quilters? Pat’s where it’s at (+ big giveaway!)

    Think back to when you were a beginning quilter (or maybe that’s right now). Wh0 do you wish you’d had to help you as you started on this whimsical, wonderful journey? After reading the new book we’re sharing with you today, we know wh0 we wish we’d had:

    PAT SLOAN!

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Make My First Quilt

    If you want to learn how to quilt—or help someone who wants to learn—Pat Sloan is the perfect teacher. She’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). In the latest book from Pat’s “Teach Me” series, you’ll first learn to sew nine classic quilt blocks:


    Just knowing how to sew nine quilt blocks right out of the gate is a great start for any beginner! But Pat goes one step further: she shows how to use those blocks in nine beautiful projects that any quilter will be proud to show off.


    We’re thrilled to have Pat as a guest writer at our blog today to tell us more about her special book for beginners—welcome back, Pat!


    Writing the fourth book in my “Teach Me” series was exciting to plan, write, make, and now share with you!

    I learned to quilt by taking a 12-week, all-by-hand, cardboard-template class in a quilt shop. At the time that was the only way you could learn in a classroom. When I started to teach beginners, I looked back to how I learned then, and how people learn today.

    Today we have a lot of self-taught quilters because of amazing tutorials, easy-to-do projects, and the internet! One of the things I’ve noticed is that often when we are self-taught, we might miss things that would truly help us enjoy quiltmaking more. (I talked about this topic recently on the American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast, which I host weekly. You can listen to the episode here.)

    Let me tell you about the important features I share in the book, which many self-taught quilters can use to fill in those “information gaps” about how quilting works.

    • In the first six sections of the book, I introduce the basics—prepping fabrics, pressing blocks, and assembling quilts.
    • I include nine block patterns, and I walk you through making each one with step-by-step photos that you can follow.
    • My approach is to make a block, and then repeat that block in a project. That way, you practice a skill and still have a project when you’re done.
    • As you work through each block, I add new techniques. By the end of the book, you have a whole new toolbox of skills.

    My favorite part about writing this book was to include all the tips I know for how to spot and correct problems. Troubleshooting isn’t hard once you know how to check for issues as you go along. My biggest tip is to check for accuracy as you sew and not wait until the end. I wrote an article about this very topic that you might find helpful.

    I’ve fine-tuned what you need to know, so you’ll be successful and also have fun!

    Collect the other three books in my “Teach Me” series to have a full reference guide to use over and over again.

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine Quilt Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Sew Triangles Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Applique

    Now Let’s Go Sew!


    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. More than 140 photos in the book make learning easy—and Pat’s you-can-do-it style of teaching makes it fun.

    And speaking of fun . . .

    BIG GIVEAWAY!

    Pat’s rounded up some of her industry friends who’ve generously donated wonderful prizes for FIVE beginners and beyond to win!


    FROM MODA: A fat-quarter bundle of Quill by 3 Sisters plus a Layer Cake of Grunge by Basic Grey (because well, you just gotta have great fabric!).


    FROM OLFA: a 12″ x 17″ Olfa Folding Cutting Mat, a 45 mm Splash Handle Rotary Cutter in Emperor Purple, an Endurance 45 mm Tungsten Tool Steel Rotary Blade, AND a 6″ x 12″ Frosted Acrylic Ruler. WOW!



    FROM FAT QUARTER SHOP
    : Fat Quarter Shop’s exclusive line of batting is Happy Cloud, and that’s exactly what it feels like. Win two 60″ x 60″ throw packs: one in 100% cotton and one in a 50/50 cotton blend. Nice!

    FROM SCHMETZ NEEDLES: A Sew Essentials Combo Value Pack featuring Schmetz Needles and a Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion. Also includes a useful informational card with needle tips and the Schmetz Color Code Chart. Awesome!


    And last but not least, FROM OLISO: A limited-edition Oliso TG1600 Pro Smart Iron . . . in PINK! With Oliso’s patented iTouch® technology, you simply touch the handle and the iron lowers, ready to work. Take your hand off and the patented scorchguards lift the iron off the board preventing scorches, burns, and tipping. Sweet! (Bonus: when you buy the Oliso TG1600 Pro Smart Iron on Pat’s website, you’ll get a 15% discount and free shipping—thanks, Pat!)

    And you can bet with each winning prize, you’ll also get your own copy of Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt from Martingale!


    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Make My First QuiltTo be automatically entered in the giveaway, tell us in the comments:

    What do you wish you’d known when you started quilting?

    • I wish I’d known more basics about cutting, piecing, and pressing.
    • I wish I’d had a crash course in knowing how a sewing machine works.
    • I wish I knew that I was going to need more room for fabric. A LOT more.
    • I’m a newbie—I want to know more!

    We’ll choose five random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’d like to start learning with Pat right now, you can order Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt at our website and instantly download the eBook for free.

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  7. 2 tricks for how to paper piece quilt blocks: video

    From Learn to Paper PieceEver tried paper piecing? If you have, you know there’s no better technique for getting accuracy in your blocks. If you haven’t tried paper piecing, give it a shot! The benefit of pinpoint precision is worth a try.

    There are a few tricks that make paper piecing easier and more enjoyable. We caught up with Oh Glory! author Kathy Flowers at Quilt Market, and she’s a big paper-piecing fan. She shares her two favorite tips for how to paper piece quilt blocks in the video below:


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

    Kathy’s tips are must-haves when paper piecing for the first time or the 100th time! You can find the Add-A-Quarter ruler at your local quilt shop or online.

    So, what wonderfully precise patchwork can you create with paper piecing? Take a peek:

    Projects from Oh Glory!
    Pretty and patriotic paper-pieced projects from Kathy’s book
    Oh Glory!

    Lobster Stew quilt
    Nancy Mahoney’s colorful Lobster Stew quilt from her book
    Learn to Paper Piece (can you imagine trying to sew these blocks without the magic of paper piecing?)

    Garden Path quilt
    This stunning Garden Path quilt from
    A Paper-Pieced Garden by Maaike Bakker and Francoise Maarse

    Serenity quilt
    This small-and-scrappy Serenity quilt from
    Little Gems by Connie Kauffman

    Mariner's Compass quilt
    This jaw-dropping Mariner’s Compass quilt from Showstopping Quilts to Foundation Piece by Tricia Lund and Judy Pollard

    Do you consider yourself a paper piecer?

    • Yes, I love those perfect points, stick-straight angles—and fewer pins!
    • I’ve paper pieced before, but I’m still a beginner.
    • Never tried it—but I do like the sound of precise patchwork!

    Tell us about your paper-piecing proficiency in the comments!

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  8. Have you tried machine quilting panels for practice? (+ giveaway!)

    How are your free-motion machine-quilting skills coming along? If you need a little practice (don’t we all?), Pat Sloan has a smart little tip: practice your free-motion quilting on printed fabric panels.


    A free-motion-quilted panel from
    Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt

    Why practice on panels? In her book Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, Pat sings the praises of printed panels—the motifs are easy to follow, they’re small enough for a practice piece, and when you’re done, you have a cute little quilt to share. They make great baby quilts!

    Here’s Pat’s five-step plan for improving your free-motion skills with panels, excerpted from Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt (and there’s a lot more about machine quilting where that came from!).


    1. Pat SloanBaste five small quilts. Use a panel or 1½ yards of a baby fabric and add two borders: a narrow inner border and a wider outer one. This will give you quilt tops to practice on that don’t require a lot of time or work to assemble. Choose a panel or fabric that will keep your interest and give you motifs or designs to follow. Number your quilts 1 through 5.
    1. Over the next two weeks, quilt all five quilts, in order from 1 through 5. Make a promise to yourself to quilt every day, even if it’s for only 10 minutes. The repetition over the two weeks is very important.
    1. Write on a piece of paper the day you started to quilt each quilt, starting with quilt 1. When you finish it, record the date and pin the paper to quilt 1. Do the same for each of the five quilts. When you’ve finished the first one, start on the next one. Don’t stop to attach the binding until all five quilts are done.
    1. When quilt 5 is complete, get out all five quilts and compare your work. You’ll see a huge improvement from quilt 1 to quilt 5.
    1. Now, attach an easy binding on each quilt. Throw the quilts in the wash and then give them away! I’m serious. Do not keep them, because you’ll constantly compare what you did. Don’t dwell on where you started. You want that feeling of accomplishment, so you can move onto quilt 6!

    Pat also made a quick video about machine-quilting on panels here:


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

    Sew smart! Feeling inspired? Well . . .

    Pat and our pals at Moda Fabrics sent us five panels to play with—and we’d love to give all of them to one of you!

    To win all five panels and a copy of Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, tell us in the comments:

    How would you rate your machine-quilting skills?

    • Stellar! I’ve been practicing.
    • I’m practicing, but I sure could use some panels to practice more.
    • Still quilting by check. Help!

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

    Want even more machine-quilting tips from Pat? Pick up her book at our website today and instantly download the eBook for free. Take a look at all the projects you can make and machine quilt in Pat’s book!

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  9. What can you do with a charm pack? 8 fun projects to try

    Got a stack of charm packs but no inspiration in sight? Whether you’re an accumulator of precut charm squares or a saver of 5″ squares from your scraps, we’ve got bundles of “charming” ideas to get you sewing something fun!


    Pillow party ahead
    Charm squares needed: 42

    From Back to Charm School
    In this cute Country Threads pillow, the raw edges fray to form little “whiskers” around each circle. So cute and cuddly.


    Darling doll quilt
    Charm squares needed: 40

    Doll star quilt
    In this sweet and starry quilt, each block is made using just two fabrics. The quilt measures a teeny 14″ x 16″! Get the pattern in
    Country Threads Goes to Charm School.


    A radiant runner
    Charm squares needed: 47

    Honeybee block table runner
    Sew a sweet table runner with three simple Honeybee blocks set on point (+ fusible appliqué for the win!).


    A surprise gift
    Charm squares needed: 8

    From Simple Fun and Quickly Done
    The perfect gift for kids and kids at heart! Wrap a two-liter drink bottle and tuck pizza or movie coupons into the zipper pocket. Coffee lovers will enjoy a coffee gift card zipped up around a thermos. One size fits all! Get the pattern in
    Simple, Fun & Quickly Done.


    A charming Christmas
    Charm squares needed: 50

    Charm square tree skirt
    Get a jump on holiday sewing—it’ll be here before you know it! In this Country Threads pattern, you can make either a tree skirt or a pretty quilt. Or use two charm packs and make both.


    An ode to Joe
    Charm squares needed: 38

    Coffee-cup quilt
    Whether your favorite brew comes from an espresso machine or from a Starbucks can, you’ll enjoy sipping it tucked under this colorful lap quilt from Country Threads.


    An Autumn celebration
    Charm squares needed: 38

    Autumn Star framed quilt
    Charms in autumn’s palette of gold, brown, and rose set the tone for this starry quilt from
    A Cut Above. (Learn how to frame your quilts in this post.)


    A ray of sunshine
    Charm squares needed: 40

    Charm square tote bag
    Start each day with a ray of sunshine, courtesy of your sewing skills! Or make this happy bag as a gift to brighten someone else’s day. Find the pattern in
    Charmed, I’m Sure.


    How “charming” is your fabric collection?

    • Sew very charming!
    • I’ve got a little of everything: charms and other precuts, plus yardage.
    • No precut charms yet—but I can cut plenty from my stash myself!

    Tell us in the comments!

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  10. Welcome to sashing school: 6 ways to sash your quilts

    From Quiltmaking Essentials 2Ever looked at a block layout and thought it could use a little extra punch? Sashing is a great way to set off your blocks and make them truly sparkle!

    If there’s one person we’d trust to make a sashing choice for us, it would be Donna Lynn Thomas. She’s written a dozen books on quiltmaking, sharing her tried-and-true tips on everything from cutting and pressing to machine piecing, along with all sorts of special sewing techniques. She’s a pro’s pro! And her quilts, well, they’re truly spectacular.

    Candy Dots quilt
    Candy Dots quilt by Donna Lynn Thomas, from
    Patchwork Palette

    Today we’re sharing some fun quilt-sashing ideas from Donna’s book Quiltmaking Essentials 2. In the book, she reveals everything you’d want to know about what to do with your quilt after you make your blocks, including ideas for settings, borders, backings, and bindings. And yes, sashings! See if Donna’s ideas might make their way into one of your quilts.


    Types of Sashing

    Excerpted from Quiltmaking Essentials 2 by Donna Lynn Thomas

    Donna Lynn ThomasSashing strips are pieces sewn between blocks within a row, and they may be used between rows as well. Sashing can consist of plain fabric strips or pieced strips, and you’ll find it in both straight and on-point quilt settings. It can run across an entire quilt top as one piece, or be sewn into rows with sashing squares located at the corners of each block.

    Although sashing strips run between blocks and rows, some quilters choose to make the first border on their straight-set quilt a sashing border. A sashing border is one that mimics the sashing between the blocks. It can be either pieced or plain, but it will match the block sashing. You don’t usually find sashing borders used in on-point quilt settings, because the side setting triangles separate the center of the quilt from the first border.

    Below are some examples of different types of sashing.

    Scrap Windmill Quilt
    Although this is a miniature quilt, Scrap Windmill has all the components of a larger quilt, including plain sashing without sashing squares but with a sashing border.

    Split Geese quilt
    This lovely Split Geese quilt has sashing with sashing squares but no sashing border.


    You’ll see pieced sashing not only between the blocks of this Cool Blue quilt, but also in the sashing border.


    On-point quilts, such as Autumn Leaves, are just as likely to have plain sashing without sashing squares as straight-set quilts.

    Cool Blue quilt
    The sashing strips and squares in this lovely diagonally set Delft Baskets quilt are made from a variety of different prints.

    Sashing strips and sashing squares are sometimes pieced in such a way that they integrate with the block corners to make secondary designs. This creates the look of interlocking blocks, making it difficult to discern where the blocks begin and end.

    Morris Star quilt
    Look closely at this Morris Star quilt. It contains only nine blocks, but the sashing and sashing squares are pieced to mimic the blocks, creating the look of interlocking blocks.

    Sashing can be a lot of fun in a quilt, adding visual interest, surprising design elements, or just plain restful space between heavily pieced blocks. Consider using them in your own quilt designs.


    Quiltmaking Essentials 2Want more of Donna’s sashing tips? Pick up Quiltmaking Essentials 2 at our website, ShopMartingale.com, and instantly download the eBook for free.

    To sash or not to sash: do you ask the question? Share your sashing dos and don’ts in the comments!

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