1. English paper piecing by hand OR machine: prep steps (video)

    You’ve seen them online, at shops, and at shows: glorious English-paper-pieced quilts bursting with color and texture. They’re just WOW!

    Now the new trend in English paper piecing is here: Dresdens. And with all the success that best-selling author Katja Marek has had with EPP hexagons, you know she’s on top of the Dresden trend!

    Paper Lanterns Wall Quilt
    Paper Lanterns Wall Quilt

    Her new quilt-along, Rainy Days and Sun Days, is all about exploring the infinite ways you can piece Dresden blocks. In her latest book, Distinctive Dresdens, you’ll find 26 gorgeous renditions:

    Blocks from Distinctive Dresdens
    Eight of the 26 blocks in the book

    Distinctive DresdensAnd because Katja is such a pro at math, at sewing, and at figuring out the steps for you, she’s made it so you can easily create Dresden blocks too—and you can sew them by hand OR by machine. YES!

    The first step is all about preparing pieces for sewing. Depending on your sewing method, the prep steps differ a bit. We caught up with Katja at Quilt Market and she demonstrated the two different ways she prepares her Dresden wedges: for hand sewing and for machine sewing (which are also covered in the book with step-by-step photos). Watch below:

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

    Once you’ve prepped your pieces, the sewing can begin, and you’ll find complete step-by-step directions for hand and machine sewing in Distinctive Dresdens. Then you can create gorgeous Dresden projects like this:

    Good Morning Place Mats
    Good Morning Place Mats

    …and this:

    Class-Act Cushions
    Class-Act Cushions

    …and this!

    Clamoring for More Quilt
    Clamoring for More Quilt

    Katja just launched her quilt-along for Distinctive Dresdens, and it’s not too late to join the fun! You can find all the quilt-along details here, and you can join her Facebook group for the quilt-along here.

    Rainy Days and Sun Days Quilt-Along

    Dresden blocks: by hand or machine? Tell us in the comments how you’ll make yours!

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  2. Learn how now: blanket stitch for appliqué with Debbie Busby

    If there’s one embroidery stitch that everyone who sews should know, we just might pick the blanket stitch as the big winner. It’s an easy way to conceal raw edges of appliqué pieces, it’s quick to learn, and it’s super cute too!

    The blanket stitch
    See what we mean?

    Sew Many Notions author Debbie Busby has traveled across the United States and to Australia to share her wool-appliqué techniques, and the blanket stitch is one of her favorite stitches to teach. Her beautiful book is chock-full of them! Once you have this simple little stitch down, you can embellish every edge of your work with it.

    We caught up with Debbie at Quilt Market, where she shared her method for the blanket stitch with us. Take a look!

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

    Adding the blanket stitch to your appliqué is like putting frosting on a cake: it makes your finished projects sparkle. Here are a few more of Debbie’s sewing-inspired projects from Sew Many Notions:

    Sewing Day Wall Hanging
    Sewing Day Wall Hanging

    Cute as a Button Pincushions
    Cute as a Button Pincushions

    Sewing Stuff Pocketbook

    Simple Tomato Pincushions
    Simple Tomato Pincushions

    See more projects from Sew Many Notions >>>

    Debbie’s adorable tomato pincushions are so popular, they recently caused a commotion on Facebook—people were clamoring for the pattern when they saw this fun photo from a Facebook group member. Well, we’ve got the pattern. It’s in Sew Many Notions!

    Maker: Delane Young Turner. Prairie Star Table-runner pattern is by Cheri Saffioti-Payne.

    Along with the blanket stitch, we think Debbie may be the world’s #1 fan of wool appliqué. Here’s Debbie to tell you about her favorite type of sewing (but be warned, addictive-personality people!):

    “If there’s anything you should know about wool appliqué, it’s this: it’s fun, easy, quick, and addicting! The projects in this book are meant to be quick and easy too. Make them for your home or sewing studio, or give them as gifts to your stitching friends and neighbors.

    My hope is that you’ll enjoy the process, add your own touches, and change the colors to those you love. I also hope wool appliqué will find its way into your life and your heart. So jump in and find a project that will bring you joy. Once you start, you may not be able to stop!”

    What’s the first embroidery stitch you ever learned: blanket, buttonhole, backstitch? Tell us in the comments!

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  3. Q&A with the creator of the Civil War Legacies series (book #4 is here!)

    Love fabrics inspired by the Civil War era? Save every scrap? Best-selling author Carol Hopkins applauds you—she saves every scrap too! You’ll find fantastic ways to use your reproduction stash and scraps in Carol’s latest book, Civil War Legacies IV.

    Civil War Legacies IV

    In this fourth book from Carol’s “Civil War Legacies” series, you’ll find a collection of small, spectacular quilts where every scrap you save can shine.

    Make a quilt honoring the Blue and Gray Trail:

    Blue and Gray Trail quilt
    Blue and Gray Trail

    Choose a stunning tribute to the woman who established the American Red Cross:

    Battlefield Angel quilt
    Battlefield Angel

    Or stitch a sampler chock-full of charming Basket blocks:

    Tilly's Basket Sampler quilt
    Tilly’s Basket Sampler

    Along with 14 of Carol’s exquisite designs, you’ll enjoy reading little-known facts about the Civil War and Carol’s stories about how each stunning little quilt came to be.

    From Civil War Legacies IV

    We asked Carol to answer a few pressing questions we had about her quilting life—read her answers below!

    Stitch This!: This is the fourth book in your best-selling “Civil War Legacies” series—what inspired book #1?

    Carol HopkinsCarol: I’d been designing about six new patterns a year to introduce to shop owners at spring Quilt Markets. I’d never thought about writing a book, but during my fifth trip to Market, I was approached by several publishers, one of whom was Karen Soltys representing Martingale/That Patchwork Place. I have bookshelves full of That Patchwork Place books that I’ve collected over my 30 years of quilting, and I was so humbled and excited about the possibility of having my own book with that logo in the corner. It was my own “yes to the dress” moment!

    ST!: What’s your typical process for designing quilts, and where do you find inspiration?

    Carol: To be honest, I never design a quilt from start to finish before I start sewing. I’m always on the lookout for interesting blocks or settings in antique quilts. When I find an unusual block or a clever use of fabrics in a traditional block, I’ll make up one block as a reference. Then, when I’m ready to start a new quilt, I’ll make a few more, still with no plan for where I’m going.

    I seem to have a 10-block attention span, so when I’ve made about that many, I start to think about how I’ll set them together and how many more blocks that would take. This is probably the main reason that I make small quilts—once I’ve figured out a small one, I’m ready to move on. I often think I’d like to remake my small quilts into full-sized quilts containing more of those cute little blocks, but that just doesn’t seem to happen.

    Wedding Bouquet

    ST!: It’s obvious that you have a love of reproduction fabrics; what is it that draws you to them over other fabrics?

    Carol: Reproduction fabrics call to me for several reasons. One is the soft, muted colors that reflect the worn-and-loved patina of those found in antique quilts. I’m also drawn to the motifs and details in the prints themselves, especially the beautiful florals and paisleys which may contain 20 or more different colors.

    When I first started quilting in 1980, there were no fabrics like these in the marketplace, so it was virtually impossible to reproduce an antique quilt. Turquoise polyester just didn’t do the job! When manufacturers started reproducing eighteenth- and nineteenth-century prints in the late 1980s, I could finally make quilts like those found in old trunks, and I’ve been focused on them ever since.

    ST!: You must have many, MANY little quilts—how do you use them?  Do you display them all, rotate them out? How do you like to display them?

    Carol: My favorite display is a two-foot-tall folk art angel with jointed arms that can hold a quilt without folding it. I also have two small wooden rocking chairs once used by my husband and his twin sister, the backs of which are perfect for showcasing quilts. Other little quilts are displayed on doll beds, folded up in piles in glass-front bookcases, rolled in baskets, or used as table toppers. I used to have groupings of quilts hanging on the walls, but when we went all fixer-upper and removed walls, those spaces disappeared. With more than 100 small quilts, there’s no way I can display them all at once, so some spend their time in storage bins, waiting for their turn to shine.


    ST!: What do you love about being a quilter?

    Carol: In addition to the creative outlet that quilting itself provides, and the never-ending new offerings of fabrics, patterns, and techniques, it’s the friendships with and inspirations from other quilters that nourish my quilting soul. I’m challenged to think of another group of people with such diverse talents and interests who come together to share, listen, support, and encourage others more than the heartfelt way that quilters do.

    ST!: Finish these sentences for us!

    • One reason making smaller quilts is so fun is: They allow you to explore something new without huge time investments, and then you get to move on to a new project with a different selection of fabrics.
    • If I had a three-word quilting mantra, it would be: Enjoy the process!
    • My best tip for new quiltmakers is: Find your ¼".
    • Before I begin a quilt, I must have: A scavenger hunt through my house to make sure I’ve found just the right fabrics from my stash. This goes with my other three-word quilting mantra: It’s here somewhere!
    • If I had a quilting superpower, it would be: To surround myself with an anti-procrastination shield.

    >>> Follow Carol on Instagram: @carol_hopkins_designs <<<

    Thanks for indulging us, Carol—congratulations on your lovely new book!

    Carol’s had lots of experience piecing smaller blocks and quilts—if you haven’t seen her tips for making flying-geese units (many of which you’ll find in Civil War Legacies IV), don’t miss this helpful video:

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

    Civil War Legacies IVWe have a copy of Civil War Legacies IV to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    My Civil War fabric stash needs: 

    • Some thinning—I’ve amassed a lot.
    • A few more colors and prints—I need to go shopping.
    • A kick start—I don’t have any yet!

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. And if you’re ready to start sewing with Carol’s new book now, order Civil War Legacies IV at ShopMartingale.com and you can instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “Lots more colors and prints. I have done a few Civil War quilts, but would love to do more. I love the tiny prints and colors of that era.”

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

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  4. Jo Morton shares the back-basting appliqué stitch: 9 reasons to try it

    At Martingale, we’re totally over-the-top fanatical for Jo Morton. Aside from her stunning books filled with spectacular quilts, Jo has a wonderful way of explaining techniques—it fills you with the curiosity and confidence to try.

    So, when Jo says her favorite way to appliqué is by using the back-basting method, we’re all ears!

    Jo learned the back-basting appliqué technique from Martingale author Jeana Kimball years ago, and now she shares the technique step by step in her latest book, Jo’s Floral Album. The method doesn’t require freezer paper or templates, and it will help you achieve appliqué perfection, just like Jo:

    From Jo's Floral Album

    Here’s what Jo says about the technique:

    Jo Morton“While you can use any appliqué method you like to make the Anna’s Blue Baskets quilt from Jo’s Floral Album, I hope you’ll try my back-basting method which is described in the book, complete with how-to photos. It’s a method that requires a bit of preparation, but it yields precise results for everyone.

    Renowned quiltmaker Jeana Kimball calls this method template free, because there’s no need for any type of template-making material. You’ll create the appliqués directly from the design that you trace onto the background fabric. A couple of the benefits of this technique are that your pieces will be correctly positioned and your appliqués will lie flatter.”

    There are three prep steps to complete before you start sewing:

    1. Trace a pattern onto your background fabric

    2. Baste oversized fabric pieces to the right side of your background fabric, following the traced lines

    3. Cut the oversized fabrics to the shape of the motif, adding a fat ⅛" seam allowance

    You’ll find more details about the first three steps in the book.

    Back-basting applique technique

    Now you’re ready to start the best part—the sewing! Here’s Jo demonstrating the stitching portion of the back-basting appliqué technique:

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

    Once you have the back-basting appliqué technique down, you can join Jo and create the exquisite quilt from the book:

    Jo's Floral Album quilt

    Aren’t the blocks stunning?

    From Jo's Floral Album

    Jo’s spectacular blocks feature beautiful blossoms, twining vines, luscious berries, and other motifs that define traditional Album quilts. Make blocks one after another, or set a relaxed pace and sew just one block each month—by year’s end, you’ll have a breathtaking quilt to display, give, or save as a family heirloom. Plus, the book comes complete with full-sized pullout patterns—no visits to the copy shop for you!

    If you create your own version of Jo’s quilt, share a photo on social media and use the hashtag #josfloralalbum—we’d love to see and share!

    What’s your go-to appliqué method?

    • I use back-basting appliqué, just like Jo!
    • I prefer the needle-turn method.
    • I’m all about freezer-paper appliqué.
    • My machine and I prefer machine appliqué.
    • Fused and finished!

    Tell us in the comments!

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  5. Snow day? Sew day! 8 projects for winter’s final weeks

    Snowmen Are Cool Mug MatsHow’s winter been treating you?

    For some it’s been a season similar to winters before . . . but we’ve watched others endure frigid temperatures, mountains of snow, and a chilly case of the winter blues. For those going through it, we send you our warmest wishes—and we want to help you send those winter blahs packing!

    It’s 60 days until winter’s officially done (we know, it sounds like an eternity). Until that first day of spring arrives, why not immerse yourself in some snow-inspired stitching? The projects below will warm your hands and your heart. Before you know it, you’ll have a family of little snowmen to help you bid winter farewell—and to help you welcome the winter to come!

    You can never have too many pincushions:

    Flakey Pincushion Trio
    Flakey Pincushion Trio from
    Snow Happy

    Or tea towels.

    Snow Chefs Tea Towels
    Snow Chefs Tea Towels from
    Snow Happy

    And everyone knows that a few good (snow) men will add a little delight to your day.

    A Few Good Men quilt
    A Few Good Men lap quilt and banner from
    Here Comes Winter

    Winter doesn’t have to be blah . . .

    Winter Wonders
    Winter Wonders from
    A Change of Seasons

    When you stitch a wintertime project, blah quickly turns into awe:

    Snowman motif
    Snowman motif on the Joy stocking from
    A Change of Seasons

    Time to pick up that needle and thread and brighten your day—or the day of someone who’s longing for spring—with some sweet snowman stitching. Best of all? You can enjoy these happy snowmen all winter long!

    Snow Happy Here Comes Winter A Change of Seasons

    What do you love most about winter: snowy landscapes, only-in-winter activities . . . the excuse to stay home and sew? Tell us in the comments!

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  6. Scrappy makes happy: fun two- and three-color scrap quilts (+ giveaway!)

    Pick just two or maybe three . . . now choosing scraps is SEW easy!

    Scrappy & Happy Quilts

    Create lively, colorful quilts with three-time author Kate Henderson—and say bye-bye to stressing over color choices. With this collection of two-color and three-color quilt patterns, choosing colors is a snap. Plus, you can use up every scrap!

    Start with yardage, scraps, or precuts: the choice is yours. And if you’ve got a LOT of one color in your fabric collection, these bright and beautiful quilts will make that color sparkle. The more of one color, the merrier!

    From Scrappy & Happy Quilts

    Everything is happy when it’s scrappy, don’t you agree? Here’s Kate to tell us more about her latest book.

    Kate HendersonColor is one of my favorite things. The more colors and patterns I can surround myself with, the better. So no one was more surprised than me when I kept being drawn to vintage red-and-white quilts.
    I started designing some quilts is just two colors, but of course I couldn’t quite contain my choices to just two fabrics (or to solids). The results are the 13 quilts in Scrappy & Happy Quilts.

    The book is divided into two sections. The first section features quilts made from just two colors; the second section features quilts that use three colors. As much as I tried to keep every quilt to just two colors, a third sometimes crept in!

    Mellow quilt

    There is something for every quilter in this book. From Pink Daisy, made from squares:

    Pink Daisy quilt
    Pink Daisy

    To Sunrise, which is foundation pieced.

    Sunrise quilt

    Most of the quilts, like Fields of Green, are quite scrappy. I really enjoyed combining lots of patterned fabrics with solid fabrics.

    Fields of Green quilt
    Fields of Green

    There are also a few quilts that can be made from precuts, such as Shimmer, which uses charm squares.

    Shimmer quilt

    Like my other books, there are lots of diagrams, tips, and tricks throughout to make the sewing process easy and enjoyable. Whether you want to make a baby quilt or a bed quilt, there’s a pattern for you in here. Just chose your favorite color (or two) and get sewing!

    I would love to see what you make from the book—post your photos and use #scrappyandhappyquilts on Instagram. You can find me there as @katehendersonquilts.

    Scrappy & Happy QuiltsKate, thank you for sharing your new book with us!

    We’d love to give a copy of Scrappy & Happy Quilts to one lucky winner today! To be entered in the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    What color of scrappy would make you happy?

    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 get scrappy and happy right now, order Kate’s new book at our website and instantly download the eBook for free.

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  7. Beautiful blocks alert! A peek at Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns

    As promised, we’re continuing to share with you books from Stitch Publications, now distributed by Martingale. Today we’re taking a peek into Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns—but you may not have seen traditional beauties quite like this before!

    Yoko Saito's Traditional Block Patterns

    Did you know that famed Japanese master quilter Yoko Saito was first inspired to quilt after seeing antique quilts during a visit to the United States? You can see the influence of American quiltmaking in this stunning volume, featuring 66 of Ms. Saito’s favorite block designs. Her approach to color—so unique that it has its own name, “taupe color”—relies on subtle hues and tints that bring a soft and dreamy neutral color palette to life.

    From Yoko Saito's Traditional Block Patterns

    Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns includes three main sections to inspire your creativity. First, the Shape patterns: Drunkard’s Path, Nine Patch, Log Cabin, hexagons, and triangle blocks, along with 10 projects to make, such as this gorgeous Grandmother’s Flower Garden Handbag:

    Grandmother's Flower Garden Handbag

    Next, the Object patterns: star, basket, house, floral, and tree blocks that will take your breath away. One of our favorite projects from this section (13 projects in all) is the Spool Cabinet Wall Hanging—a must-sew for anyone with a quilting space, big or small!

    Spool Cabinet Wall Hanging

    Yoko SaitoThe final section includes step-by-step lessons for Ms. Saito’s approach to sewing and pressing, along with her picks for essential quilting notions and tools. She hand pieces everything she makes, and you’ll get her helpful tips for precise stitching.

    Of course, you can choose to sew by machine, but take a look at this video of Yoko Saito sewing a Log Cabin block by hand at Fall Quilt Market—her speed and precision are mesmerizing!

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

    The simple tools she uses really speed things along—just watching her makes us want to try her technique. She makes it look so easy!

    Projects in the book range from a bag that features one block:

    Washington Evergreen Bag
    Washington Evergreen Handbag

    To a spectacular sampler quilt that features 30 blocks.

    Sampler Quilt
    Thirty blocks plus a stunning appliquéd border (full-sized pattern sheets included)

    Yoko Saito's Traditional Block PatternsWe’re giving away a copy of Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns to one lucky winner today! To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments:

    How friendly are you with handwork?

    • I love handwork—it’s my favorite part of making things.
    • I enjoy handwork and usually have a hand-sewing project nearby.
    • Me and my machine are best buds, so I’ll be a whiz whipping up the blocks in this book by machine!

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

    Feeling inspired to play the Yoko Saito way? Order your copy of Yoko Saito’s Traditional Block Patterns at our website, ShopMartingale. And stay tuned for more peeks of Stitch Publications books coming soon!

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  8. Join our book club and get $40 to spend right now – yes, now!

    If you follow our Stitch This! blog, we know something about you: you love books that inspire your creativity. And because you do, the Martingale Insider Book Club may be just right for you.

    Martingale Insider Book Club

    As a book-club member, you’ll get all our brand-new books, all our best sellers, all 35% off, all the time—that’s a lot of saving! And you’ll save on other things too—calendars, foundation papers, even Kim Diehl’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper (you can never have too much). For book-club members, everything is on sale, every time you visit us online!

    When you log on to our website as a book-club member, you’ll instantly see how much you can save:

    How does the book club work? It’s easy:

     Join the club for just $14.99 per year. You’ll immediately get that back, plus more, in books and other merchandise of your choice because you’ll instantly receive a FREE $40 gift certificate from us*. How’s that for instant gratification? Wahoo!

     Buy 4 or more books in a year, always at 35% off. We’ll send monthly emails to you about our hot-off-the-press books. Choose the format you like best: printed books or eBooks. You can accept our Featured Selection, decline it, or choose something else. It’s entirely up to you.

     Purchase 6 or more books or other products during the year and we’ll waive next year’s membership fee!

    Joining is easy! Visit us at ShopMartingale.com and add the Insider Book Club membership to your shopping cart. We’ll send your $40 gift certificate by email as soon as you’ve joined the club. Then you can enjoy a little spending spree at our website—it’s on us!

    Have more questions? Click here for more information, or email us directly at bookclub@shopmartingale.com and we’ll be glad to help.

    Find out more about the club: FAQs | membership terms | sign up!

    Which book would you choose to get with your gift certificate? Tell us in the comments!

    *Please note that gift-certificate purchases do not count toward your membership obligation.

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  9. Plan, dream, create: an inspiring journal for the New Year (+ giveaway!)

    A New Year means a fresh start—and today, we’re excited to introduce you to a tool that will give you a fresh outlook on your creative life. Welcome to organization for your quilting life, and inspiration for your quilting soul!

    A Quilter's Journal

    Photographed at quilting star Lisa Bongean’s gorgeous lakeside home, A Quilter’s Journal is an inspiring week-by-week journal packed with stunning photos of quilts and more to enjoy.

    From A Quilter's JournalThroughout the pages of this beautiful journal, you’ll find fun prompts to answer all year long—they’ll get your creative juices flowing. Create plans for quilting adventures, keep track of your projects, document gift and charity quilts—or simply keep a memory journal for future generations of quilters in your family to cherish. And at a petite 5¼" x 8⅜", it’s the perfect size to carry in your bag while you’re on the go.

    Use the journal as a to-do list, as your sketchbook, as your diary, or all of the above! We’re excited to welcome Lisa Bongean as a guest writer today to tell us more about the journal that every quilter is going to want to own.

    Lisa BongeanI have always wanted a place to keep track of the daily progression of my quiltmaking. A place I retire to at the end of the day to write a little about what I’ve accomplished. But the problem has been that notebooks are boring, calendars aren’t quite right—and who can commit to being consistent? Not me.

    So when I pitched my idea to Martingale about a journal for quilters in a weekly, open-ended format—no dates, no years—I decided I could certainly commit to that. And if I choose to write daily, that can be done as well!

    A Quilter’s Journal has a beautiful matte finish for smear-free writing and a lay-flat binding that won’t break when writing week after week. The Martingale team thought of everything to encourage us to keep the journal active.

    From A Quilter's Journal

    The photography throughout is filled with amazing inspiration. There are lots of photos of quilts, both new and from my collection of antiques, along with sewing items and notions, also new and antique. Although there are no patterns in the journal, you can find patterns and/or kits for some of the featured quilts, which can be ordered on my Primitive Gatherings website. You’ll find a link in the journal to a list of available patterns.

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

    We also wanted a place in the journal for lists: bucket-list items, classes we wanted to take, teachers we wanted to meet, shows and retreats we wanted to attend. I also wanted a place just to write down my thoughts about quilting and why I am inspired to do it every day… and there’s space to do all of these things in A Quilter’s Journal.

    Inside A Quilter's Journal

    We as quilters are a rare breed. We put lots of love into the things we make. Some things we make take years. Some projects take months, and some only days, but still, time is our most precious asset. When you take the time you have and pour it into a quilt, it’s the perfect way to show someone how much you love and care about them.

    My quote at the end of the journal says it all to me:

    I think you’ll enjoy this journal and the pleasure it will bring you when you look back on it over the years.

    A Quilter's JournalThanks for sharing your journal with us, Lisa—we can’t wait to get to planning, doing, and dreaming.

    To celebrate the release of A Quilter’s Journal, we’re giving away a copy today! To enter the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    If I had A Quilter’s Journal, I’d fill it with:

    • Ideas for future projects
    • Plans for quilty travels
    • Prose about my patchwork
    • All of the above!

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. And if you want to start jotting down your quilting plans for the New Year now, order your copy of the journal at our website, ShopMartingale.com. Happy journaling!

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  10. A beginning quilter at Martingale: did she catch the quilting bug?

    It’s a happy day here at Martingale—we have a budding quilter on our staff! Our marketing graphic designer, Tara, is testing the quiltmaking waters, and she’ll be sharing her experience in a series of blog posts at Stitch This! Today you’ll get to know Tara and see her first sewing efforts. Let’s all cheer her on!

    As I sit down to write this it’s January 3, 2018—exactly one year to the day that I started working at Martingale as a graphic designer in the marketing department.

    Me and my office! This quilt was made by Judy Murrah in 1995, and it actually plays London Bridge if you know where to find the button. I’m not kidding.

    First things first: Martingale is fantastic! Working here is truly inspiring. Everyone here is so creative—I’ve never worked with so many people who make things in their spare time. I distinctly remember using the phrase “wannabe quilter” in my cover letter when I applied for the job, and Karen Johnson, our Director of Marketing, took that 100% seriously.

    Enter 2018. My resolutions were to be more creative in my spare time and to do some home improvements, including cozy-making. Committing to a series of blog posts seemed like a good way to jump-start those efforts (and impress my boss!). So here we go with my first post about my first quilt!

    Fabric Selection—Keep It Simple, Sewist

    There’s so much fabric out there it makes my head spin. So I decided to start with my tiny stash. I was given a bundle of Kona Cotton Solids as a souvenir from Spring Quilt Market, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to use them. At our Martingale holiday potluck, I won another awesome bundle of Bonfire Batiks by Moda. I thought they might work well with the solids.

    Kona Cotton Cookie Cutter Bundle and Bonfire Batiks by Moda

    Tools of the Trade—OLFA and Pat Sloan to the rescue!

    Martingale let me borrow a toolbox full of OLFA rulers, cutters, mats, and spare blades. I really like their Frosted Advantage Ruler. It was easy to see what I was doing—very helpful for a beginner. Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt seemed like a logical choice, and I was right. Although I didn’t plan to make a project from the book, I knew that Pat’s explanation of techniques would be the perfect prerequisite reading.

    Project Ideas

    There is no shortage of amazing Martingale patterns I would love to make someday if I turn out to be any good at this quilting thing. Here are a few:

    Wrapped in Love from
    A Piece of Cake
    Come On-a My House from Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites
    Spectrum from Rock Solid 

    In the end, I decided to make a little runner for my table at home, sewn out of strips in a rainbow palette. I figured sewing straight lines would be challenging enough!

    So, do you want to know how it went? Stay tuned for my next post in which I put Pat’s book to the test and end up with a real live finished quilt top!

    Spoiler alert: I love it!

    To be honest, the experience was over far too fast. I wanted more, and more happened. You’ll see…

    I’d love to know: What was your first quilt project? Describe it in the comments!

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