1. Our beginner just finished her quilt 😍 See her final share!

    It’s official: Tara’s a quilter! Martingale’s marketing graphic designer is back with the final installment of her quilting saga, giving us a peek into the mind of a beginning quilter. We’ve shared her highs and lows, her troubles and triumphs—and today is most certainly a triumph. See Tara’s finished quilt below, and remember to leave your congratulations in the comments!

    You can read Tara’s first post here, her second post here, and her third post here.

    Look, look! My quilt is almost done! I feel like I’ve been saying some version of that for four months, but I promise that by the end of this post, it will be 100% finished! Here it is again in its final unassembled moments:

    Just one last binding edge to complete!

    First I want to step back and talk about the binding. I wasn’t sure what fabric to use for the binding. I had used 23 different colors on the front, and while it was important for everything to match somehow, I thought black, white, gray, or another neutral might contrast too much with the rainbow. I wanted it all to blend while still being interesting.

    I kept going back to a few of the more rainbow-hued prints from the bundle of Moda Bonfire Batiks I started with. I hadn’t used any of those on the quilt front, so it seemed a little out of nowhere—but then I remembered that’s how it feels when something is so crazy, it just might work. After all, I’ve noticed many of the professionally made quilts I’ve seen in my time at Martingale often have something that seems random about them, but is, in fact, perfect.

    So I decided to make both a pieced backing and a pieced binding from three solids and three batik prints. Since I had limited scraps left, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the binding with equal amounts of all fabrics. I decided not to worry about it and let the binding be random, changing fabrics as one ran out.

    I’m so glad I went with these fabrics for the binding. I put them in a specific order so they would look and work a certain way along the rainbow front. The purple end has more purple on the binding; the middle section’s binding contains a lot of blue; and the pink end is just sort of bright and fun. I think it’s cool without being too attention-getting.

    Did you see my label?! Except . . . seeing my "Rainbow Runner" label makes me remember that I’d meant to officially call the quilt “Birth Day” instead. Oh no! Perhaps I’ll have to try adding another little “also-known-as label” on top. Why not? There’s room for some more fun there—and I still haven’t tried appliqué!

    I used the method from Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt to easily attach the label.

    It really classes up the joint.

    I feel so accomplished. Making a quilt has been sort of a bucket-list item for me, and now that it’s complete, I absolutely love it and want to make more (mostly so I can own more quilts). Thanks so much to all you readers for your opinions, advice, and encouragement—and a special thank-you to Karen Johnson (Martingale’s Director of Marketing) for all that plus always helping me fix things whenever I went wrong during the process (!).

    You will probably see me pop back up in the Stitch This! blog again one day—this has been too much fun!

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  2. Together again 💗 patchwork + embroidery (+ giveaway!)

    Best-selling author Gail Pan has two questions for you:

    Do you love patchwork? (Yes!)

    Do you love embroidery? (Yes, yes!)

    Then you’re going to love Gail’s all-new collection of projects that are a delight to sew and a dream to embroider!

    Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too

    An abundance of sweet motifs in Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too, inspired by Gail’s daily walks, includes bunnies and bees, houses and hearts, and her signature bird, leaf, and vine stitcheries.

    On the Go Pouch
    On the Go Pouch

    New to embroidery? Learn just eight simple stitches to create any project in the book! Choose from a pillow, pouch, pincushion, and tote, plus wall hangings, table toppers, and sewing-related items.  Enjoy your finished projects at home or give them as gifts—you’ll want to make them all!

    We’re so happy to welcome Gail back to Stitch This! as our guest writer today, here to tell you more about her latest book.

    Gail PanHi and welcome to my new book Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too. What fun I had designing and making these projects. I’m so excited that the book is finally here!

    As you can probably guess, I love to sew. The Just Sew Sewing Keeper is perfect for all my sewing needs when I’m on the go. I always have my sewing with me! I’d just made my first pattern with a zipper and was excited to be able to use a simplified method to sew the zipper and the vinyl into a folder.

    Just Sew Sewing Keeper
    Just Sew Sewing Keeper

    Of course, the Butterfly Stitches Needle Case (for two of my friends who love butterflies!) is also a fun and practical sewing project.

    Butterfly Stitches Needle Case
    Butterfly Stitches Needle Case

    This tote bag is made from fabrics I picked up on a teaching trip to Norway. What fun that was!

    Pretty Floral Tote
    Pretty Floral Tote

    Variegated thread has captured my enthusiasm more and more. I love the subtle shift in colors. I could imagine a small patch of flowers swaying in the wind, and the Wildflowers Table Runner was born.

    Wildflowers Table Runner
    Wildflowers Table Runner

    Do you have a collection of sewing trinkets? The Memories of Sewing Collage is for you! My version showcases vintage and new sewing trinkets I’ve picked up during my travels.

    Memories of Sewing Collage
    Memories of Sewing Collage

    A lady who came to one of my stitching classes told me her daughter loves bunnies, and she was eagerly anticipating me drawing a bunny. I took the challenge to create the cutest bunny, and then I put him on a handy drawstring bag. We can never have too many bags, right?

    Bunny Delights Bag
    Bunny Delights Bag

    Where I live in Australia, we don’t have snow. But we do love snowmen! This table topper is perfect for showcasing snowmen, and by using red I thought it would be great for Christmas too.

    All around the Snowmen Table Topper
    All around the Snowmen Table Topper

    I am so proud of Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too and so thankful to the team at Martingale who put together this wonderful book. I hope you love it too. Stitch with a happy heart!

    Follow Gail: WebsiteFacebookInstagram

    Patchwork Loves Embroidery TooThank you for sharing your new book with us, Gail!

    We have a hot-off-the-press copy of Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter your name in the random drawing, tell us:

    How many embroidery stitches have you tried?

    • 1-10: I’m new to embroidery.
    • 11-20: I’ve got a few stitches in my embroidery tool belt!
    • 21 or more: I just keep learning!
    • Never tried embroidery: but now that I see how much patchwork really does love embroidery . . . 😍

    Tell us in the comments! And if you’re ready to learn those eight simple embroidery stitches to make Gail’s latest projects, purchase Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too at our website and you can instantly download the eBook for free.

    You might also like:

    Patchwork Loves Embroidery Christmas Patchwork Loves Embroidery

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I am very interested in learning embroidery, but have not figured out how to do it on something I end up sewing or quilting.  I’ve gotten a few books, but so far have ended up giving them to people who are already doing things.  What pretty things they have made.  I’d like to do that too!  Thanks for the chance.”

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

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  3. Free Kim Diehl patterns: handy thread keepers and scissors fob ✂

    If you’re familiar with Kim Diehl’s books, you know they’re packed with smart little tips and tricks that simplify your sewing life. If a step can be made easier, Kim will show you how it’s done!

    Kim also loves to share recipes, decor ideas, and little bonus projects in her books. In Simple Harvest, she shares a quick way to create thread keepers and a cute wool-penny fob for your scissors.

    Free Kim Diehl patterns

    Kim’s thread keepers are a snap to make, and they’ll last longer than the paper versions. Plus, you probably already have just what you need to make a bunch: bits of template plastic.

    Kim’s scissors fob will make it easy to find your scissors—sometimes doesn’t it seem like they scurry away? Instead of searching for your scissors, just look for the pretty wool pennies!

    Kim DiehlFor the thread keepers, Kim says, “For a convenient way to tuck embroidery floss and pearl-cotton threads into my needle book with less bulk, I use little thread keepers, which are super quick to make and can hold a TON of thread. Simply use a rotary cutter with an old blade and an acrylic ruler to cut a ½" × 2″ rectangle from template plastic. Smooth the edges and round the corners of the rectangle with an emery board, and then cut a ¼" snip at the center of one end. Wind your keeper with thread and slide the loose end through the snip to anchor it and prevent tangles.”

    For the scissors fob, Kim says: “To make a fast and easy scissors fob, stitch two large penny stacks (as shown in the photo above and outlined in the needlebook project instructions on page 30 of Simple Harvest), and use a spool or lid measuring about 1½" (give or take) as a template to add one slightly larger penny to each stack. After taking a few stitches with perle cotton to secure the ends of a folded 8½" length of ribbon to the center of one wool stack, sandwich the ribbon loop between the two glue-basted penny stacks. Use the perle cotton and a blanket stitch to join the edges, and loop the fob through the scissor handle.”

    Easy-peasy, you’re done!

    Kim’s thread keepers and fob pair perfectly with her Harvest Song Needle Book and Sewing Jar projects—you’ll find patterns for both in Simple Harvest.

    Harvest Song Needle Book and Sewing Jar
    Harvest Song Needle Book and Sewing Jar

    If you’re like Kim, fall is your favorite color—so why let the current season determine your color scheme? You can stitch up Kim’s projects from Simple Harvest and use them every day of the year!

    Burnished Baskets Lap Quilt
    Burnished Baskets Lap Quilt

    Dresden Dish Garden quilt
    Dresden Dish Garden Quilt

    October Twilight quilt
    October Twilight Quilt

    Harvest Tapestry quilt
    Harvest Tapestry Quilt

    See more projects from Simple Harvest here.

    How do you store your embroidery threads: on template plastic like Kim, on cardboard bobbins, wrapped around clothespins . . . tangled in balls at the bottom of a Ziploc bag? Tell us in the comments!

    Download Kim’s Buttercream Twist pattern when you sign in or register at our website, ShopMartingale:

    Free Kim Diehl pattern
    Buttercream Twist: sign in or register at ShopMartingale to download the pattern!

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  4. A hand-sewn running stitch as fast as a sewing machine? Must see 😮

    Yoko SaitoWhen we see a quilt artist do amazing things, we can’t wait to share those amazing things with you. We’ve got one of those magical moments for you today. But you are going to have to see it to believe it. We saw it in person, and we still can’t believe it!

    Japanese master quilt artist Yoko Saito has dedicated 40 years to her craft, and her patchwork-and-appliqué designs are admired the world over. She’s known for hand piecing, hand appliquéing, hand embroidering, and hand quilting all of her work. Her quilts and bags are astonishing, but when you realize everything is sewn by hand, her work becomes even more mind-blowing.

    Dots and Crosses Bag
    Dots and Crosses Bag from
    Quilts and Projects from My Favorite Fabrics

    We had the opportunity to capture video of Ms. Saito stitching, and she showed us how to do a running stitch by hand. We’re excited we get to share her technique with you today—and we’re already betting that your jaw will drop at her speed!

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

    Yoko Saito gives sewing machines a run for their money, don’t you agree?

    We’re proud to be the distributor of books by Yoko Saito, translated into English and published by Stitch Publications. You can see the Yoko Saito books we carry here—you’ll love owning them not only for the quilts and bags you can create, but for the gorgeous photography, the breathtaking projects, and the opportunity to slow down and dream about where your own creativity can take you.

    Yoko Saito through the YearsYoko Saito’s work is truly like no other, and that’s one of the many reasons we’re thrilled to be publishing a retrospective of her work in our next coffee-table book, Yoko Saito through the Years, coming September 2018. We cannot wait to show you more from this exquisite volume! But until then, you can get your quilty daydreaming in with Yoko Saito’s other books—here are just a few peeks:

    Quilts from Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns
    Quilts from
    Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns

    Bags from Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory
    Bags from
    Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory

    Basketweave Handbag from Yoko Saito’s Woolwork
    Basketweave Handbag from
    Yoko Saito’s Woolwork

    Turtle Pincushion from Yoko Saito’s Woolwork
    Turtle Pincushion from
    Yoko Saito’s Woolwork

    You can watch more how-to videos starring Yoko Saito here:

    So, how often do you sew by hand?

    • Right now it’s just me and my machine.
    • I enjoy both types of sewing!
    • Yoko and I are kindred spirits: I sew everything by hand.

    Tell us in the comments!

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  5. What’s new with The Splendid Sampler? L-o-t-s! Big reveal ahead 🎉🎉🎉

    BIG NEWS about The Splendid Sampler is here! What’s the news?

    Is it that more than 28,000 quilters are now a part of the Splendid Sampler community on Facebook?


    Is it that The Splendid Sampler has been a best seller since it was first published in April of last year?

    Nope, it’s not that either . . .

    Is it that The Splendid Sampler authors Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson have something new up their patchwork sleeves?

    YES! The big news about The Splendid Sampler is . . .

    She’s getting a sister!

    The Splendid Sampler 2

    Get ready to double your sampler-block choices, double your inspiration, and double your quilting fun! The Splendid Sampler 2 is coming in October, and it’s jam-packed with 100 all-new blocks from a special group of 80 stellar designers.

    Jane Davidson and Pat SloanOf the new book, Pat (right) says, “Our online group has become a melting pot of comradeship, education, and inspiration, with true beginners and seasoned quilters sewing alongside each other and cheering each other on. Jane and I wanted the designers of The Splendid Sampler 2 to carry on that same feeling of friendship and encouragement. So we asked them to design their blocks with this question in mind:

    ‘I’m living my best quilting life when . . .?’

    You’ll be delighted by the answers these designers have given in the form of their block designs. We can’t wait to share more with you soon!”

    Stay connected to Pat and Jane’s Facebook page for The Splendid Sampler so you’ll be among the first to know about super-exciting sewing plans in the months leading up to the new book’s release. Don’t own the first book? Order your copy now so you can get ready for the next round of block-making fun!

    You can join the sew-along any time—there are 28,000+ quilters waiting to welcome you. And if you need a little motivation to finish your blocks from the first book, the October release of The Splendid Sampler 2 is IT. So start your sewing engines!

    How many Splendid Sampler blocks have you made so far?

    • None yet—but I’m inspired to begin!
    • 1 to 10
    • 11 to 50
    • 51 to 75
    • 76 to 100
    • I’ve made all 100 blocks—and I finished my quilt!

    Tell us in the comments!

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  6. Even your ancient scraps will ❤ you for trying this technique (+ giveaway!)

    Grab your bits, pieces, strings, strips, and chunks:

    (Yes, even the ones that look like this—you’ve got them too, right?):

    Slice and dice them into smaller scraps:

    Sew them back together this way and that:

    Keep sewing, keep going!

    And before you know it, your bits and pieces begin to turn into something magical, right before your eyes:

    never thought I’d use some of these fabrics again, but even those scraps I saved from my first year as a quilter—1997—are looking good!

    Keep patch-working your way to the size you want (blocks, panels, or strips):

    Square up the edges, and you’ve created a whole new fabric that holds all your scrappy memories.

    I’d never done anything like this before, and I had a great time sewing the Stash Statement way—it was inspiring, liberating, a little crazy, and a LOT of fun. And today we’re thrilled to kick off Kelly Young’s blog tour for her new book, Stash Statement!

    Stash Statement

    With Kelly’s improvisational technique, there’s no such thing as a miscut. You can skip perfect ¼" seams. No need for perfect points. Start with a single color, and then progress to using multicolored scraps in Kelly’s quilts—she provides you with a plan. You get to simply play!

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Quilts from Stash Statement

    Use any fabric you have on hand—everything works and anything goes. These scrap-packed quilts will give a happy home to every piece of fabric you’ve ever saved.

    You’ll find my finished quilt below, but first, meet Kelly Young and get to know more about her stash-busting book!

    Kelly YoungI’ve loved quilts for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always marveled that quilting is the perfect blend of order and creativity.  Of course, making them means that I also get to pet all of the pretty fabric. And let’s face it—what quilter doesn’t love that?

    As any quilter knows, making quilts means making scraps, and figuring out how to use them can be fun but also daunting. My new book, Stash Statement, is all about structured improvisation: using your scraps with a consistent background fabric. You’ll learn to sew your quilt scraps with three easy improvisational methods, and then use those scrappy pieces within the comfort of 12 quilt patterns. It’s a perfect balance of play and predictability, and the texture created in the resulting quilts makes a big statement.

    To help you get the hang of improv piecing, the first four quilts in the book are all about color play and are great whether your scraps are full of bright colors or more muted tones.

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Precarious and Beach Retreat

    Once you’re familiar with the process, you’ll be ready for the quilts in the next section, which mix scraps into a free-for-all of color! These quilts show a variety of fresh styles, and you’ll have fun choosing the perfect background fabric for your scrappy masterpiece.

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Fire Pit and Detour

    The last four quilts in the book use improv units in the background with solid blocks, creating lots of depth and interest—almost like an impressionist painting!

    Quilts from Stash Statement
    Bloom Chicka Boom and College Prep

    Structured improvisation is fun for novice and experienced quilters alike. Best of all, since there is no need to cut scraps into uniform sizes, it creates very little waste. I hope you’ll use your scraps with the patterns in the book to make your own stash statement!

    We’re kicking off the Stash Statement blog tour today. Visit my blog at myquiltinfatuation.com for a full list of bloggers, and for a chance to win a copy for yourself. Happy scrapping!

    Follow Kelly! Blog Instagram Facebook

    Thank you for sharing your new book with us, Kelly!

    Grab the opportunity to press, piece, and play with your fabrics like you may never have before—order your copy of Stash Statement at ShopMartingale.com and instantly download the eBook for free.

    And as for my finished quilt—here’s a mini version of Kelly’s Precarious design:

    I do believe I made a little Stash Statement all my own. I was so addicted to the technique that I decided to piece together the background too. SEW FUN!

    Stash StatementWe’ve got a copy of Stash Statement to give away to one random winner today! To be entered into the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    Have you tried improvisational piecing?

    • Yes, I’m an improv addict!
    • I’ve dabbled, but I haven’t finished an improv quilt yet.
    • Not yet, but my stash is ready for a bit of improv!

    We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And be sure to follow the Stash Statement blog tour for more improv fun—the schedule is below.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “Have experimented and my stash & I are ready.”

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

    Stash Statement Blog-Tour Schedule (see lots more improv quilts on the tour!)

    4/16: Grand Bazaar quilt

    Shelley @ Cora’s Quilts

    Connie @ Freemotion by the River

    4/23: Louvered quilt

    Lindsey @ Primrose Cottage Quilts

    Diann @ Little Penguin Quilts

    4/30: Precarious quilt

    Jess @ Quilty Habit

    Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts

    5/7: Beach Retreat quilt

    Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts

    Liz @ Savor Every Stitch

    5/14: Fire Pit quilt

    Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts

    Preeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts

    5/21: Detour quilt

    Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts 

    Shelley @ The Carpenter’s Daughter Who Quilts

    5/28: Murrina quilt

    Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl

    Leanne @ Devoted Quilter

    6/4: Scattered quilt

    Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal

    Christine @ Triangles and Squares

    6/11: Bloom Chicka Boom

    Chris @ made by ChrissieD

    Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

    6/18: Regatta quilt

    Susan @ Quilt Fabrication

    Debbie @ A Quilter’s Table

    Christa @ Christa Quilts

    6/25: Catch a Falling Star

    Cynthia @ Quilting is More Fun Than Housework

    Anja @ Anja Quilts

    7/2: College Prep quilt

    Hilary @ by Hilary Jordan

    Lori @ Crossquilt

    7/9: Take Flight quilt (bonus digital pattern from the book)

    Kelli @ Seriously, I Think It Needs Stitches

    Paula @ The Sassy Quilter

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  7. Friday the 13th? You’re in luck! Flash sale ⚡ on 2 best-selling eBooks now

    Who knew Friday the 13th would be a lucky day? We did!

    Chase away today’s superstitious vibes with a flash sale on two eBooks that will bring you lots of quilty luck: Simple Graces by Kim Diehl and The Blue and the Gray by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene of Country Threads. Both books are on sale today for just SIX BUCKS EACH—now that’s lucky!

    Simple Graces The Blue and the Gray

    You’ll never run out of luck with Kim’s Simple Graces—inside you’ll find a collection of gorgeous quilts to create. Plus, each quilt is accompanied by adorable companion projects, totaling more than 20 fun projects in all!

    Pedal Pusher quilt
    Make this beautiful Pedal Pusher quilt . . .

    Pedal Pusher pincushions
    And a pretty cotton or wool pincushion to match.

    Pie in the Sky quilt
    Pair this Pie in the Sky quilt . . .

    Patchwork pillowcase
    With a starry patchwork pillowcase.

    As luck would have it, there are six more pretty pairs of projects to create in Simple Graces! See them all here.

    Now, we don’t want to push our luck—but for all you quilters out there with repro stashes, The Blue and the Gray is sure to become your lucky charm.

    Battlefield quilt
    Will you make Battlefield first?

    Ohio Star Crossing quilt
    Or perhaps this Ohio Star Crossing quilt sparks your inspiration.

    Civil Unrest quilt
    This Civil Unrest quilt is sure to bring scrap-sewing luck your way!

    Find 15 more Civil Warinspired quilts to create in The Blue and the Graysee them all here.

    Don’t let your luck run out—download one or both of these beautiful eBooks for just $6 each before our flash sale ends on Sunday, April 15!

    What do you do on Friday the 13th—stay at home with curtains drawn, avoid black cats, never handle mirrors? Or is it just another day? Tell us in the comments!

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  8. Get free-motion quilting: meet your you-can-do-it teacher (+ giveaway!)

    No fancy machine needed, no PhD in quilting required—start free-motion quilting right now with this sequel to a best-selling book for machine quilters just like you!

    More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

    Author Lori Kennedy is back with 62 more fun motifs and tons of tips, tricks, and techniques that will turn you into a top-notch machine quilter (yes, YOU).

    In More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3, you’ll follow Lori’s setup plan for stress-free stitching; then you’ll learn about doodling, troubleshooting, and mastering the perfect stitch. You’ll soon be ready to put your pedal to the metal with seasonal and holiday motifs, backgrounds and fills, and “just for fun” designs that will infuse your quilts with personality. Take a look at just a few of the motifs you can create:

    Free-motion quilting motif: butterfly
    Machine quilt cute butterflies that flutter over a springtime quilt.

    Free-motion quilting motif: baby carriage
    Who wouldn’t want to personalize a baby quilt this way?

    Free-motion quilting motif: scissors
    This scissors motif is quite easy to quilt, as you can see!

    The book also includes a section on how to quilt BIG quilts—Lori’s got loads of ideas to help you succeed.

    We’re excited to again welcome Lori as our guest writer to tell us more about her sequel!

    Do YOU want to know the secret to free-motion quilting?

    Choose motifs that are FUN for you and patterns that reflect YOUR personality. When you are having fun, your quilting will be transformed from a chore to a pleasure and your quilts will be elevated from mundane to cherished family heirlooms!

    My second book, More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3, includes more than 60 FUN motifs and breaks them down into manageable step-by-step instructions with photographs.

    The patterns cover all the seasons. You’ll learn to stitch Spring motifs like Baby Birds and Silly Spiral Flowers and Summer patterns like Easy Breezy Flowers and Windowsill Garden. By Fall, you’ll be ready to add Pumpkins, Spiders, and Jack-o’-Lanterns to your quilts. When the snow starts to fall, you’ll find tutorials for Winter motifs like Wooly Mittens, Poinsettias, and Mistletoe.

    Seasonal free-motion quilting motifs
    Seasonal motifs

    In addition to the seasons, there are three more motif chapters: Celebrations, Just for Fun, and Backgrounds and Fills. Celebrations contains patterns like Cupcakes, Baby Carriage, and Ribbons.

    Free-motion celebration motifs
    Celebrations motifs

    Just for Fun includes motifs for quilters, like Scissors and Pincushions, and other lighthearted motifs like an adorable Circus Train.

    Just for fun free-motion quilting motifs
    Just for Fun motifs

    To round out your choices, you’ll find a variety of Backgrounds and Fills like Chevrons and Arrows and Woodgrain.

    Background and fills free-motion quilting motifs
    Chevrons and Arrows

    For help learning the motifs, there’s a chapter on skill building, which includes tips on doodling six essential doodles, as well as suggestions for refining your stitch technique.

    In the Setup and Supplies chapter, you’ll find timesaving tips to set up your machine quickly and information on how to choose the best needle, thread, batting, and marking tools.

    From More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
    Table of Contents

    The Secret to Free-Motion Quilting: If you have fun while you’re quilting, your quilts will be fun! When you make quilts with personality, your family will enjoy them more—and sleep better snuggled in them!

    Happy quilting!

    Follow Lori! BlogFacebookInstagram

    More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3Thank you for sharing your latest book with us, Lori!

    We have an eBook copy of More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter to win, tell us in the comments:

    How big are the quilts you’ve machine quilted so far?

    • Small.
    • Medium.
    • Large.
    • All of the above!

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to start machine quilting with Lori, you can get her book at ShopMartingale.com and instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “The largest I have attempted is almost twin size. Was that ever a challenge! However I now have a magnificent new Bernina and am itching to go at it again. I just don’t have the time to practice every day, as I know I should.”

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

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  9. Creative quilters 💕 That time our editor repurposed a quilt on Instagram . . .

    A fun thing happened a few weeks ago on our Instagram page—so fun, we wanted you to see it too!

    We shared a little project that our acquisitions and development editor Amelia Johanson made to cover and cushion her sewing-room chair. It’s the Sister’s Choice Table Topper by Beth Bradley from the new book Lunch-Hour Patchwork.

    Here’s the original project from the book:

    Sister's Choice Table Topper
    Sister’s Choice Table Topper by Beth Bradley—cute!

    And here are the before-and-after pics of Amelia’s chair:



    Amelia heard that one of our Instagram followers had asked for a little binding tutorial so she could make the chair cover she saw on our feed. What did Amelia do? She sprang into action! Within about 20 minutes, Amelia had drawn diagrams to illustrate the binding process and whipped up a little how-to in words as well. Here’s what she said:

    “It was really simple to turn what was designed as a table topper into a chair pad. Here’s how you do it:

    1. Once you’ve finished your patchwork, layer and quilt it (fig. 1). Trim the backing and batting even with the patchwork top to create your unbound chair pad. (This topper measures 16½" x 16½".)

    2. Sew a strip of binding to each back ‘corner’ and finish by folding the binding to the underside of the chair pad and stitching down by hand (fig. 2).

    1. Cut a binding strip about 42″ long. Center and sew to the back of the chair pad. You should have approximately 15″ of excess binding extending from each side. DO NOT cut off the excess binding at the sides. Fold under the raw edges, making the strip the same width as the finished binding, and hand or machine stitch closed.
    2. Cut another binding strip approximately 70″ long and sew around the sides and front of the chair pad, making sure to leave at least 15″ of excess for ties at each back side and mitering the binding at the front corners. Fold and stitch the excess binding to create ties as you did for the back binding (fig. 3). Place on your chair and tie the loose binding in bows to secure to the chair.”

    Perfect size, perfect polish! Now we’re starting to imagine the possibilities:

    This pretty springtime pattern would be perfect for a chair cover:

    Daisy Delight Candle Mat
    Daisy Delight Candle Mat from
    Sew This and That!

    You’d only need four blocks to make a chair cover based on this beauty:

    Identify Yourself to the Person Who Answers the Phone quilt
    Identify Yourself to the Person Who Answers the Phone from
    Back to Charm School

    How about little Log Cabin chair covers?

    Cabin Corners quilt
    Cabin Corners from
    Jo’s Little Favorites

    Oooh, how about this one in a square shape?

    Rhubarb Crisp quilt
    Rhubarb Crisp by Jo Morton, from
    The Big Book of Table Toppers

    Or . . . how about a cover made from one of the little quilts in Kim Diehl’s new book Simple Whatnots? Now this would really dress up a chair—hole or no hole!

    Scarlet Stars quilt
    Scarlet Stars from
    Simple Whatnots

    Ah, the possibilities! Thanks for the idea, Amelia—and the how-to and the illustrations too!

    Have you used your quilts in unique ways? Tell us about it in the comments!

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  10. Free-motion quilting around appliqués: Pat’s got your back! (video) 📹

    Perhaps you mastered stitch-in-the-ditch machine quilting . . .

    Then you moved on to walking-foot curves . . .

    And now you’re playing with your free-motion foot: loops and curves are looking good!

    So, what’s next?

    In her book Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, Pat’s mapped out how beginners can start machine quilting with straight lines and a walking foot—super doable—and how quilters who’ve had some practice can take their skills to the next level. And if you’ve started free-motion quilting, you’ve got to try the gosh-darn cutest motif Pat shares in her book: bubbles!

    Dresden Candy Dish quilt
    Dresden Candy Dish quilt (pattern included in Pat’s book)

    Free-motion bubbles (also known as pebbles) are an especially great motif for machine quilting around appliqués. Here’s Pat’s 1-2-3 process:

    1. Outline stitch around all the appliqué shapes, including stems, leaves, flowers, and other shapes, stitching as close to the edge of the appliqué as you can to help emphasize the appliqué. Then echo quilt around the shapes so you won’t have to quilt the bubbles in really narrow spaces.
    2. Quilt a background fill to flatten the background and give it texture, such as bubbles—this allows the appliqué to pop off the surface.

    Free-motion bubbles
    Outline quilting + bubbles

    1. Accent larger appliqué shapes with additional quilting. Add a vein to a leaf, stitch a design in a basket, make roof tiles on a house, and so on. Quilting in the shapes adds texture to the motifs and your quilt.

    Free-motion quilting appliques
    Quilting inside larger appliqué shapes

    Now that you know what to quilt around and on your appliqué motifs, you’ve got to know how to quilt them. Again, it’s Pat to the rescue! In the video below, Pat demonstrates how to freehand draw and then free-motion quilt bubbles:

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

    Think you can quilt bubbles like Pat? If you’re not so sure, Pat has a little advice just for you:

    “Take a deep breath. Free-motion quilting is not scary, but
    you’ll probably make some scary-looking stitches before you
    figure it all out. Accept that you won’t be an expert at the
    beginning, and it will be much easier to learn.”  –Pat Sloan

    Practice makes progress!

    Of course, Pat’s got a lot more than bubbles in her best-selling book—even if you are a straight-up newbie, she’s got you covered. She knows you gotta start somewhere! So in Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, she takes you through a progression.

    First, you’ll learn to quilt with a walking foot—straight lines, large curves, and decorative stitches to start:

    Strippy Table Runners
    Strippy Table Runners

    Then, you’ll try simple Xs and echo quilting:

    Checkerboard Hearts quilt
    Checkerboard Hearts quilt

    Next, you’ll move on to loops, swirls, and curls:

    Mexican Rose quilt
    Mexican Rose quilt

    And finally, you’ll combine different techniques in a single quilt:

    Cherry Pie quilt
    Cherry Pie quilt: Pat stitched walking-foot waves in the sashing; meandering, loops, bubbles, and echoes in the block backgrounds; and horizontal straight lines in the plus signs at the center of each block

    You’ll also find oodles of tips for how to set up your home sewing machine in the book, so when the time comes, you can skip all those hassles that new machine quilters face without Pat at their side. There are nine quilt projects included to practice on too! See them all here.

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine QuiltHere’s what quilters like you are saying about Pat’s book:

    “This book has everything you need to know to machine quilt. Pat offers many helpful details and tips for someone doing this for the first time. I successfully quilted my first project . . . I have planned several new projects using the patterns provided!”

    “Pat Sloan is a very good teacher. This book is for all who are just starting quilting. You will learn everything you need to know to make your first quilt.”

    “A great book on machine quilting! Pat Sloan explains everything simply, and I would buy her books unseen just because she wrote them!”

    You can order Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt at ShopMartingale.com and we’ll send you a link to download the eBook instantly for free.

    How far along are you on your machine-quilting path?

    • I’ve taken all the curves, loops, and swirls you can take!
    • I’m on the path and excited for what I see ahead.
    • Thinking about stepping onto the path soon!

    Tell us in the comments!

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