1. Learn it once, knit it thrice: Jen Lucas returns with Stunning Stitches (+ giveaway!)

    Knitters, take note: these stitches are too stunning to knit just once!

    Best-selling author Jen Lucas is back with her fifth book, Stunning Stitches, sharing more exquisite wraps that are way easier to knit than you might think!

    Jen’s dreamed up an all-new system for knitting through her latest book: first, she chose seven of her all-time favorite stitch patterns. Then she designed three different wraps highlighting each stitch pattern in all its stunning glory. Once you learn each stitch, you’ll have a trio of gorgeous wraps to create, and you’ll feel confident knitting them all.

    From Stunning Stitches
    More from
    Stunning Stitches

    Choose from 21 projects in a variety of yarn weights, from fingering weight to bulky, and knit every style of wrap: shawls, scarves, cowls, a poncho, a hooded scarf, a Mobius scarf, and more. Jen’s wraps make wonderful gifts—one size fits all!—and they’re so luxe, you’ll feel like royalty when you wear them.

    Jen’s our guest writer today, and she’s here to tell us more about her beautiful new book. Welcome, Jen!

    Jen LucasAs a designer, I’m constantly poring over the pages of my stitch dictionaries, looking for the perfect stitch pattern to use in my design. After I pick one, I use it once, check it off in the book, and most of the time, never use it again. It’s so sad. Some stitch patterns are just too pretty to use only once!

    In Stunning Stitches, I explore using the same stitch in three different accessory patterns. You might find a beautiful lace panel used in a poncho, shawl, and scarf, just like in the Glarus set.

    Glarus knitting trio
    Glarus knitting trio: where a beautiful lace panel is the star of the show.

    The book goes beyond lace stitches: I explore using cables, texture, and slipped stitches. There’s something for everyone.

    Glarus stitch pattern
    Detail of Glarus stitch pattern

    Looking for something simple? The Cyprus collection features a stitch pattern that’s made up of only knits and purls. You can have the cowl, dickie, or stole whipped up in no time.

    Cyprus knitting trio
    Cyprus knitting trio: grab a soft and squishy yarn to knit these richly textured pieces.

    Cyprus stitch pattern
    Detail of Cyprus stitch pattern

    You’ll also notice in this book that I’ve designed a few things that you haven’t seen from me before. There’s the poncho and dickie (pictured above), but I’ve also designed a couple of cowlettes—they’re triangle shawls that don’t fall off! If you like the shawls in my book Sock-Yarn Shawls, you’ll love these sweet cowlettes!

    Bampton cowlette
    Bampton cowlette

    Pomelo cowlette
    Pomelo cowlette

    This book was a blast to put together, and I hope you love the patterns as much as I do!

    Stunning StitchesThanks for showing us all your stylish and truly stunning new stitches, Jen!

    What’s your favorite type of wrap to knit for yourself: shawls, scarves, cowls, ponchos? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Stunning Stitches eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck, and happy knitting!

    See more from Jen Lucas:

    Cozy Stash-Busting Knits Sock-Yarn Accessories Sock-Yarn Shawls II Sock-Yarn Shawls

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  2. Kimonos, Yoko, and inspiration galore: a quilter’s journey to Japan

    Director of Marketing, Karen JohnsonThis March, I was lucky enough to travel to Japan for a two-week vacation to visit my daughter, Cari. She’s been living and working in Japan for nearly two years in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). She lives in the Akita prefecture, an eight-hour drive north of Tokyo.

    I began in Tokyo, with a few days on my own. First stop? A quilt shop, naturally. Yoko Saito’s shop! I’m a huge fan and couldn’t wait.

    Yoko Saito’s quilt shop

    I learned that most quilt shops in Japan feature only the fabric and patterns of the owner/designer, unlike in the US, where most shops feature many designers. I was in heaven browsing all of her books, patterns, kits, and beautiful fabrics.

    Oh, look at that bookshelf. I recognize one English-language book—and it’s a Martingale book!

    501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks made it to Japan!

    Right outside of Yoko’s shop, I discovered the art of Japanese manhole covers. I began looking for them everywhere. Some are painted, some are plain. Can’t you see an appliqué quilt featuring each design? I can!

    I spent the next two days walking and taking trains around the city, seeing beautiful shrines, a few tiny cherry-blossom buds (I missed full blossoms by two weeks), and of course, the very busy (and loud) Shibuya Crossing. Think Times Square on steroids.

    The Shibuya Crossing is rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world.

    Taking the bullet train, or Shinkansen train, I sped north to finally see Cari! As I got closer to Akita, I saw more and more snow on the ground. Akita is not touristy, but Cari was easily able to entertain me. We went to a resale clothing shop where I browsed many (MANY!) used and vintage kimonos. Oh my, the fabrics! Racks and racks! I tried on a few, but the prices ranged from $40 to $800, so I made my purchases later at a flea market in Kyoto for a mere $10 apiece.

    So many kimonos to choose from!

    The kimonos I bought at a flea market in Kyoto

    Before leaving Akita, I had the pleasure of visiting Cari’s school and meeting her teachers, a few students, and her vice principal. She teaches her own classes, and she is required to always speak only in English to the students.

    On the next leg of our vacation, Cari, her boyfriend Josh, and I flew to Kyoto/Osaka for a week. Not a lot of opportunity to search out quilt shops when you’re traveling, but I did manage to find a fabric store in Kyoto. It looked similar to fabric stores in the States, with a wide range of fabric types, tools, and notions. I bought a couple of purse handles. Cari also spotted a cute little yarn shop—I love the “menu” outside.

    The rest of our time was spent being tourists. We climbed the many (!) stairs to the top of the beautiful Kiyomizu Temple, which was just a few blocks from where we were staying. We were told to be there at sunset—it was worth the climb!

    Atop the Kiyomizu Temple

    Quilting inspiration was everywhere in Kyoto and Osaka. One day we visited a large bamboo forest. Here are my daughter and me—I see matchstick quilting!

    Enjoying a walk through a bamboo forest

    Along the way, I kept seeing beautiful and peaceful Zen gardens. I’m told the lines in the sand represent water movement. I think they look more like beautiful quilting designs.

    I was also inspired by the unusual roof lines. So many angles and shadows.

    I love to travel, and this was a fantastic trip. Of course, seeing Cari was the highlight, but experiencing the country was so visually stimulating. I hope you enjoyed this little bit of my trip as much as I did. Excuse me now, I need to go stitch something from Yoko Saito’s shop!

    Interested in Japanese quilting? You might like these eBooks:

    Quilting with Japanese Fabrics Asian Elegance Sensational Sashiko

    Have your travels ever inspired your quilting? Share your story in the comments!







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  3. ⏰ Flash sale! Quilts from the Civil War era + a special Civil War story

    If quilt patterns from the Civil War era make your heart skip a beat, you won’t want to miss today’s flash sale on a very special eBook:

    Remembering Adelia flash sale

    Through actual diary entries in Remembering Adelia, you’ll get a rare glimpse into one year in the life of a teenage girl during the Civil War: minding daily chores, joining in sewing and quilting circles, and watching friends and neighbors go off to war. Interspersed throughout Adelia’s diary entries are beautiful quilt patterns from the Civil War era—authentic Civil War blocks and quilt designs typical of the time are included.

    Peony Star quilt
    Peony Star Quilt from
    Remembering Adelia

    In this excerpt from Remembering Adelia, author Kathleen Tracy explains how she came across Adelia’s diary and was inspired to write her second book.

    Kathleen Tracy“While I was visiting local historical societies and researching pioneer families for my book Prairie Children and Their Quilts, I came across a small, leather-bound journal dated 1861. The journal was written by Adelia Thomas, a young woman of 19 who lived in a farming community in northern Illinois, miles away from the conflict when the Civil War began in the spring of that year.

    Adelia and her daughters
    Left: Adelia Thomas Bennett at 54 years old, 1896. Right: Adelia’s daughters, Grace, Alice, and Hester.

    Despite the intensity of the war, Adelia’s journal focuses on family life and daily experiences and is filled with records of births, deaths, marriages, and social visits. It’s a wonderful look at what kinds of activities and thoughts occupied the lives and minds of young women at the beginning of that crucial time in America’s history. Journal accounts like hers show us just how much sewing and quilting was a part of life for the average woman, and perhaps provided sustenance in times of strife, as well as fulfilling a desire to “do something” patriotic to help the soldiers. For many, quilting was also a way to preserve their memories.

    Orange Peel quilt
    Orange Peel Quilt from
    Remembering Adelia

    The diary begins in January 1861, just months after President Lincoln was elected and before his inauguration in March. Fort Sumter was attacked by the Confederacy in April and Lincoln’s first call for volunteer troops occurred a few days later. Most people, including Lincoln himself, expected that the war would be short-lived and over within a few months at the most, with minimal casualties. The actual loss of life that did occur (over 620,000) would have been unimaginable. As the year unfolds, we watch the crisis build as Adelia’s friends, family, and neighbors join the fight to save the Union, some never to return.

    Civil War soldier
    Civil War soldier from McHenry, Illinois

    Many quilts were made during this time in history, but few survived because of the devastation brought by the war. The quilts that did survive are excellent examples of quilting trends of the time. Inspired by a variety of antique quilts and the diary entries, the quilts and projects included in Remembering Adelia reflect some of these trends.

    Quilts from Remembering Adelia
    Quilts from
    Remembering Adelia

    I can’t look at antique quilts without imagining the lives of the women who made them. Adelia’s diary shows what daily life was really like for many women in the latter half of the nineteenth century. I hope this book will take quilters into that world. At first it may appear far removed from our own lives, but a closer glance will show that we are not so different from women who lived and quilted a century and a half ago. In remembering Adelia, I have tried to honor quiltmakers from the past and their extraordinary quilts that have been left to us as inspiration to re-create and treasure.”

    Quilting party, 1898
    Quilting party, 1898

    Read entries from Adelia’s diary and enjoy Kathy’s small quilt patterns from the Civil War era in Remembering Adelia—download the eBook for just $6.00 through May 29 at noon (PT).

    Small and ScrappyLove Kathleen Tracy’s antique-inspired style? Pick up her best seller Small and Scrappy, filled with tiny Civil Warera treasures that are full of scrappy charm. Keep Small and Scrappy by your fabric-cutting area: every time you create a new pile of scraps, you’ll have this inspiring resource at the ready.

    What inspires you most about Civil Warera quilts: the colors, the quilt blocks, the stories behind them? Tell us in the comments.





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  4. NEW Splendid Sampler sew-along starts today!

    Did you miss the Splendid Sampler Sew-Along?

    Are you still working on your blocks?

    Do you want to make your blocks all over again?

    Tune up your machine and start sorting your fabrics—The Splendid Sampler authors Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson are starting an all-new Splendid Sampler Sew-Along this Thursday—meaning TODAY! And this time, they’re sewing from the book!

    The Splendid Sampler

    Pat and Jane have switched up the order of the blocks from last year, so you’ll have a fresh surprise each week. Sometimes they’ll assign one block per week, sometimes two, so the pace is a little more relaxed. And this time, you’ll have the benefit of following along in the book—no more printers or page protectors to fuss with!

    Pages from The Splendid Sampler

    Along with Pat, Jane, and Aurifil, we’re helping to kick off the new sew-along with some fun giveaways! Be sure to visit all three links below and enter for your chance to win The Splendid Sampler PLUS a designer Aurifil thread box from Pat or Jane!

    Martingale’s Instagram
    |The Aurifil blog |Aurifil’s Instagram

    Order your book here and download the eBook instantly for free; then head on over to the Splendid Sampler Sew-Along Facebook group and join in the fun!

    Is your Splendid Sampler project completed, somewhere along the way, or just a twinkle in your eye? Tell us in the comments!








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  5. Whip up a little something: wonderful wool-felt applique designs (+ giveaway!)

    Got a little wool in your stash? Dreaming of taking a little time out of your day to stitch? We all need a little “me” time to enjoy our creativity, and author Roseann Kermes has just the thing to make your stitching dreams come true!

    From A Little Something

    In just a few minutes a day, you can transform bits of wool and thread into “a little something” to show off and share. Roseann’s hand-sewn treats are so sweet—and if you’ve ever wanted to try wool appliqué, A Little Something is the perfect place to begin.

     Hospitality Hanger
    Hospitality Hanger

    Roseann’s portable projects make it a snap to sew wherever you go, even if you only have a few precious moments. You’ll fall in love with Roseann’s petite, practical designs, including a sewing kit, coasters, a jewelry bag, pincushions—even a cute satchel for your cell phone! If you’re looking for great gift ideas that are quick to make, you’ll find oodles inside A Little Something too.

    A Little Something

    Are you a beginner when it comes to wool appliqué or embroidery? No worries! Roseann will lead you step-by-step to first-time success. In fact, we had the pleasure of visiting with Roseann at our office while her book was still in the design stage, and she was kind enough to let us film her doing several of her favorite hand-sewing techniques! Here’s the first video we filmed—a how-to for an embroidery backstitch:

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

    We’ll be releasing one of Roseann’s videos every week on our Facebook and Instagram pages for the next several weeks—be sure to follow us so you can see more of Roseann’s how-to videos!

    We’re excited to have Roseann here as a guest writer today to tell us more about A Little Something.

    Roseann KermesI’ve always loved making things. Learning how to braid daisy chains, sewing something to wear, painting ornaments for my kids, experimenting with jams or recipes . . . I’m always making something! Sharing the love of making with friends and family is always the best part. It’s one of the things that led me to teaching. I love seeing people learn and be successful, and sharing that joy of making with them.

    As A Little Something began to come to life, I imagined others gathering with friends to make the projects together. That’s why most of my designs have simple steps and not too many stitches to learn. I created many of them on Sunday afternoons, so I think of them as projects you can do without investing many hours. I want people to experience the joy of finishing something they’re proud of—to glance at it several times a day and revel in the feeling of “I made that!”

    Strawberry Sewing Trio
    Strawberry Sewing Trio

    While I love to stitch, I’m also a decorative painter. Wool appliqué and painting are so similar. Each starts with shapes that are layered and then embellished. I’ve replaced a liner brush with thread for the smallest of details. I use a whipstitch instead of a blanket stitch to anchor the appliqués. I want the shapes to stand on their own and not be overpowered by thread.

    Autumn Abundance Wall Hanging
    Autumn Abundance Wall Hanging

    You won’t need a lot of supplies for wool appliqué. The one thing I insist on is to have scissors that are sharp to the point. As for needles, I find that #9 embroidery needles work best. They are slim and sharp, plus the eye is large enough to thread four strands of floss. Other supplies are easy to gather too. Freezer paper for templates, embroidery floss, some pretty wool, and a design you love from A Little Something—that’s all it takes!

    From A Little SomethingThe thing I love best about A Little Something is the simplicity of the stitches. Beginners will feel comfortable learning them, but the stitches aren’t so simplistic that advanced appliquérs will be bored. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the star stitch. I love how it adds so much texture. (I use it a lot!)

    My wish for everyone making these projects is that they find happiness in stitching and a feeling of accomplishment when they’re done. Enjoy making “a little something!”

    A Little SomethingThanks for sharing A Little Something with us today, Roseann!

    How often do you set time aside for a little hand stitching?

    • A few times a month
    • At least once a week
    • Every day!

    Tell us your answer in the comments and you could win a copy of A Little Something! 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 purchase A Little Something at ShopMartingale.com, you’ll get to instantly download the eBook for free.




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  6. Patchwork for Pop: quick Father’s Day gift ideas

    Now that we’ve finished honoring Mom (ok, that’s never really finished but you know what I mean!) it’s time to turn our attention to Dad! Father’s Day is coming up fast, and we’re here to help you with some quick projects that the dad in your life is sure to love.

    First up is this stylish Wine Zip from the book Simple, Fun & Quickly Done by Terry Atkinson. Use fabric in a theme or colors that Dad loves, tuck in his favorite beverage, and voilà! The perfect gift in no time!

    Wine Zip
    Wine Zip from
    Simple, Fun & Quickly Done

    For the game lover, why not whip up this super fast and fun Travel Backgammon Set from the book Sew Gifts! It’s the perfect size for stuffing into a travel bag, and the wool felt construction is both quick to stitch and durable.

    Travel Backgammon Set
    Travel Backgammon Set from
    Sew Gifts!

    If Dad likes to cook and/or barbecue, whip up this easy Pot Holder and Oven Mitt by Cassie Barden. Add some gadgets, tools, or specialty spices and maybe you won’t have to cook for Dad on his special day! (See what I did there?)

    Pot holder pattern Oven mitt pattern
    Pot Holder and Oven Mitt by Cassie Barden (find both patterns in The New Handmade)

    If you start right away, there’s still time to make a quilt for Dad. This masculine quilt from 12-Pack Quilts by Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson uses 12 fat quarters plus a background and binding fabric. It’s foundation pieced on muslin, so once you have your strips cut, the piecing will be done lickety-split.

    Waste Not quilt
    Waste Not from
    12-Pack Quilts

    For more great quilt ideas for Dad, take a look at the other projects in 12-Pack Quilts.

    Here is another fabulously easy quilt from All About Strips by Susan Guzman. Gather 18 fat quarters plus three yards of background/binding fabric and you’ve got a good-sized quilt that will wrap Dad in love for years to come.

    Treble and Bass quilt
    Treble and Bass from
    All About Strips

    What’s your favorite way to celebrate with Dad? Steaks on the barbeque, an afternoon at the ballpark, or simply waiting on him hand and foot while he lounges in his favorite chair? Tell us in the comments!








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  7. Happening now: Save 30% sitewide (get that book you’ve been wishing for!)

    Quilt Market’s in full swing. You can hear crickets in the office today. I’m all by myself. And you know what they say:

    When the cat’s away, the mice will . . .
    put on a big SITEWIDE SALE!

    Sitewide sale this weekend only!

    From hot-off-the press books to popular classics, from print books to eBooks (plus our indulgent coffee-table books for fabric lovers—you know you want ’em!), save 30% on your purchases through May 21. Get ready to stock your shelves (or tablets!) with creativity for summer stitching and beyond!

    No time to dillydally (the bosses will be back soon): start saving on those books you’ve been dreaming of owning! And remember, whenever you place an order for $40 or more at ShopMartingale.com, you earn free shipping* to the US and Canada.

    Take me to:
    quilt books | sewing books | knitting books
    crochet books | best sellers

    *In-print books only. Orders may take up to 15 days to process before shipping. But we’ve got the best warehouse team in the whole wide world—your order will be shipped as quickly as possible!







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  8. Sew a holly-jolly holiday! Sweet Santa embroidery patterns (+ fabric giveaway!)

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . when Santa’s the inspiration for your needle and thread, every day feels like the most wonderful time of the year!

    Just Be Claus

    First Robin Kingsley charmed us with a flurry of sweet snowmen in her best-selling book Snow Happy. Now Robin is back to share more enchanting stitcheries in Just Be Claus—this time featuring Santa and all of his favorite things in beautiful redwork. Even the grumpiest of Grinches won’t be able to resist Robin’s renditions of jolly-old Saint Nick!

    Santa Tea Time
    Deck the kitchen with Robin’s darling tea towels—sure to bring a smile!

    Now’s the perfect time to sew fun little gifts and decorations for your holiday home—there’s no Christmas rush! Savor some slow stitching and bring your own Santas to life in ornaments, pillows, framed embroideries, and a Santa sampler quilt that will fill your holiday guests with joy.

    Jolly Santas quilt
    Surround the embroidery in this Jolly Santas quilt with your stash of Christmas fabrics.

    All of Robin’s projects are easy to create and put on display. And no worries if you’re new to embroidery—Robin’s embroidery basics have you covered. Once you get started, we guarantee you won’t want to wait until December to show off your Santa style!

    Santa Collector table runner
    Start a new Christmas tradition of setting out milk and cookies for Santa on this adorable runner.

    Robin is our guest writer today, here to tell you more about her latest book. But before we get to more merriment . . .

    BOOK + FABRIC GIVEAWAY! Our friends at Maywood Studio sent a festive bundle of Robin’s latest fabric line, Just Be Claus, to give away to one lucky winner!

    Martingale + Maywood Studio giveaway!

    Learn how you can win the bundle plus a copy of Just Be Claus at the end of this post. And be sure to visit Robin’s blog today too: she’s hosting another fun book-and-fabric giveaway!

    Robin KingsleyHow wonderful be asked to design and stitch a WHOLE book about Santa Claus! That jolly old elf can be imagined so many ways. I had a terrific time playing with Santa and even more fun drawing and stitching the projects in Just Be Claus!

    I created holiday projects you can enjoy in your own home or give as welcome gifts to family and friends. There are big and not-so-big projects to keep you busy right up until Christmas.

    One of my favorite projects is the Oil Can Folk-Art Santa, which is mounted on a vintage oil can so people can admire the stitching on the front and the back.

    Oil Can Folk-Art Santa embroidery
    Add tiny buttons and jingle bells to complete this one-of-a-kind, three-dimensional centerpiece.

    The Portraits of Santa Table Mat gave me the opportunity to add extra-decorative embroidery, plus an old button or two to finish.

    Portraits of Santa table topper
    How fun would it be to have Santa join you for a mug of hot chocolate?

    Counting down the days until Christmas is SO important! Make your own colorful Christmas Countdown complete with chalkboard fabric and a pocket to hold your chalk.

    Christmas Countdown embroidery
    A Christmas Countdown to remember!

    These are just three of the 24 special designs you can make in Just Be Claus. I wonder which will be your favorite design?

    Santa Claus is quite the versatile character and will entertain you ALL year as you get ready for the holiday. In the book I also share my favorite tips and tricks for:

    • Transferring embroidery designs to fabric
    • Learning fun embroidery stitches that add special embellishment to your designs
    • Keeping the back of your embroidery neat (you’ll surprise all those nosy people who always turn over your work!)
    • Giving your embroidery a fine, polished finish

    And, of course, there are many FUN embroideries to stitch!

    Just Be ClausThanks for sharing your new book with us, Robin!

    For your chance to win the Just Be Claus book and the fabric bundle from Maywood Studio, tell us:

    How many Santas show up in your home decor at Christmastime?

    • 1 to 5
    • 6 to 10
    • 11 to 20
    • 20 or more!

    Share your answer in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered into the drawing. We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    ➡ Buy both of Robin’s books, Just Be Claus and Snow Happy, to get some jolly stitching done before the holiday and we’ll pay for your shipping in the US and Canada.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I’m guessing that I have at least 11 – 20 Santas all around the house during Christmas. There are enough that I’ve never bothered to count!”

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







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  9. Tips for choosing fat quarters (from someone who’s bundled 5,000)

    fat quartersGot stacks of fat-quarter singles that you couldn’t resist at the store—and now you’re not sure what to do with them?

    If you have fat quarters that aren’t in pre-bundled form, it can be challenging to figure out how to choose the right combination of colors, values, and prints and sew them into a quilt you’ll be proud to display. But in Me and My Sister Designs’ book 12-Pack Quilts, you’ll find smart tips for combining fat quarters, all from a bona fide professional fat-quarter bundler. Yes, they exist, and shop owner Julie Karasek’s earned that title! Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs explain how 12-Pack Quilts was born:

    Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson“The idea for 12-Pack Quilts began at a quilt gathering where we heard shop owner Julie Karasek talk about the success of her quilt shop’s 12-pack program. The lecture planted the seeds of this book and we were under way before the event ended! Julie estimates her quilt shop, Patched Works in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, has bundled more than 5,000 fat-quarter 12-packs in the past few years. With that much experience, we consider Julie the expert when it comes to bundling fat-quarter 12-packs!”

    Barb and Mary included a special Q & A with Julie in their book to find out how she chooses fat quarters for the popular bundles in her shop. Here are some of Julie’s words of wisdom from 12-Pack Quilts!

    Barb: What advice do you give people on choosing 12 fat quarters for a quilt?

    Julie KarasekJulie: Most importantly, you want some distinction between your 12-pack fabrics and your background fabric. So, if you’re using light gray for your background, don’t use a light gray tone on tone for one of your fat quarters. Likewise, if solid white is your background, don’t include a mostly white print among your fat quarters.

    Think about the overall balance of colors you’re after. Generally, we split the color mix equally. If we have six colors, there are two different prints of each color in the pack. If there are four colors, there are three prints of each. If there are three colors, there are four prints of each, and so on. Most often, we try to keep an even balance of mediums and darks, assuming the background is going to be light. With a dark background, you’d want to pair medium and light fat quarters. If we’re working within one collection of fabrics, we also try not to repeat the same print (in different colorways) too much (no more than two or three times).

    Designs from 12-Pack Quilts
    Designs from
    12-Pack Quilts

    Mary: What’s a common mistake when it comes to assembling a 12-pack?

    Julie: A rookie mistake is not paying attention to contrast. For example, choosing a beautiful, small-scale light print when your background is also light—there isn’t enough contrast. So be sure to lay your 12-pack of fat quarters atop your background fabric to see that they separate from one another.

    If you include high-contrast lights and darks in your 12-pack, think about choosing a strong medium tone for the background. Or, if the pattern allows for high-contrast blocks, use two background fabrics and alternate your lights and darks to create positive/negative quilt blocks.

    Caught in the Middle quilt
    Caught in the Middle

    Barb: What advice would you have for quilters looking to gain confidence in mixing colors for their 12-packs?

    Julie: I usually start with “You dressed yourself this morning, so you’re able to do this.” More often than not, it comes back to what they’re wearing. Look at your shirt, your quilted purse; there’s a color palette that you like. And that’s often how we get started.

    Bobbins quilt

    A mix of 12 fat quarters that didn’t start life as one collection is one of my favorite kinds of 12-pack. Even if you’re cutting fat quarters from larger yardage cuts, the smaller you cut it, the better it might play with other fabrics you already own. We all bought the fabric in our stashes for a reason. So mixing them with other pieces is a perfect departure point for any 12-pack quilt. Dive in and get started!

    Heart's Desire quilt
    Heart’s Desire

    12-Pack QuiltsWe hope you enjoyed Julie’s fat-quarter tips! Ready to head to your stash for a dozen perfectly picked fat quarters? Purchase 12-Pack Quilts and you can instantly download the eBook for free.

    Do you have a knack for mixing fat quarters?

    • Nope—I stare at them, they stare at me, and that’s as far as it goes.
    • Sometimes—kind of hit or miss, but I’m getting better at it.
    • Yes—it’s one of my favorite parts of the quilting process!

    Tell us your answer in the comments!







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  10. Long may she wave: quilts to make for Flag Day 💫

    Looking for an American flag quilt-block pattern for summer celebrations on the way? You’ve come to the right place—and now is the right time to make one to celebrate a special day arriving even sooner than the Fourth of July: Flag Day!

    National Flag Day is celebrated every June 14; it commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777. Did you know that since 1777, the design of the flag has been officially modified 26 times? (Actually . . . that’s kinda like modifying quilt layouts—sounds about right!) For 47 years, the 48-star flag was in effect. In 1959, the 49-star version became official. Then President Eisenhower ordered the 50-star flag on August 21, 1959.

    There’s plenty of time to sew a patchwork ode to Old Glory in time for summer’s patriotic parties. No matter how many stars or stripes you choose to wave in your flag quilt, we hope you’ll be inspired by the choices below. Red, white, and blue are the unofficial colors of the summer season, so let’s get stitching!

    Leo's Star quilt
    A fun afternoon project: Leo’s Star by Kathy Flowers, from
    Oh Glory!

    We are United table runner
    This sew-on-the-go We are United table-runner pattern shows you how to piece and quilt your project at the same time. Find it in
    Stitch on the Double.

    One Flag quilt
    One Flag by Country Threads, from Civil War Remembered
    : can you spot the flag in this star-studded quilt?

    Freedom Waves quilt
    Simple, strippy blocks combine with a bit of fuse-and-stitch appliqué in this Freedom Waves quilt by Geralyn Powers. Find the pattern in
    Patchwork Plus.

    Long May She Wave quilt
    Alternate red and white Courthouse Steps to create stunning stripes that salute the flag.
    Find the pattern in Oh Glory!

    Star Spangled Banner quilt
    This Star-Spangled Banner quilt is perfect for your red, white, and blue scraps—find the pattern in
    Fast Favorites from McCall’s Quilting.

    Patriotic My Best Sampler quilt
    Try a little piecing, a little appliqué, and a lot of Flying Geese in this sweet sampler quilt from
    Folk-Art Favorites.

    Where do you take quilts along with you during summer: to the park, the beach, a summer cabin? Tell us in the comments!

    You might also like: Re-creating the Star-Spangled Banner





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