1. 5 years!!! It’s our blog anniversary – celebration ahead! (giveaway + a heads up!)

    Can you believe it? We’re celebrating FIVE YEARS since we launched the Stitch This! blog!

    We’ve published 1,184 posts, read 163,334 comments, and introduced you to 280 new books. That’s a lot of happy numbers! We love sharing our books with you, and we hope you enjoy hearing about what our wonderful authors are up to!

    How-to posts are popular at Stitch This!, and we wondered which posts you found the most helpful during the past year. Below, take a look at our top 5 posts—which ones helped you?

    (By the way, if you aren’t following us on Pinterest, now’s the time—we’ve got more than 35,000+ followers and we’d love for you to join us, so pin the posts below and click “Follow” on our Pinterest page!)

    #5: Quick video tip: nice, neat embroidery—on the back!

    Embroidery tip: invisible tie-off
    From Snow Happy


    #4: Scrappy Nine Patch quilt block tutorial (+ the one clever step you’re missing)

    How to make a scrappy Nine Patch block
    From Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Nine Patches


    #3: 5 easy quilt-finishing tips for “toppers”

    5 easy quilt-finishing tips for toppers
      From The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting


    #2: How to sew bump-free block seams (video tip)

    How to sew bump-free block seams
    From Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Log Cabins


    #1: Walking-foot quilting tutorial (video): try quick & easy curves

    Walking-foot quilting tutorial
    From
    Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt


    Now, what’s an anniversary celebration without gifts? Answer our question at the end of this post and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of the following pairs of anniversary goodies:

    Book and fabric giveaway!
    A mammoth fat-quarter bundle from our friends at Moda: Rainy Day by Me and My Sister Designs—PLUS a copy of Me and My Sister Designs’ latest book, 12-Pack Quilts!

    Book and fabric giveaway!
    OR
    these adorable About a Boy/About a Girl bundles by Anni Downs, courtesy of our friends at Henry Glass—PLUS a copy of Baby Bliss by Kim Diehl and Pat Wys!

    And because you’re celebrating 5 years with us, we’ll let you in on a BIG little secret that has to do with the number 5 too . . . we’ll be hosting our semiannual WAREHOUSE SALE on Monday, March 13.

    More than 90 books will be on sale for only $5 each while supplies last. So mark your calendar and get up early for some fun Monday cybershopping in your jammies!

    Now, back to those goodies up for grabs! For your chance to win a book and a bundle, tell us:

    How long have you been following Martingale’s Stitch This! blog?

    a) I’m brand-new to the blog (be sure to subscribe!).

    b) I’ve been hanging with this tribe for a while now (so glad you’re here!).

    c) I’ve been following Stitch This! since the very first post!

    Tell us in the comments and you could win the About a Girl and About a Boy bundles from Henry Glass, plus a copy of Baby Bliss; or you could win the Rainy Day fat-quarter bundle from Moda, plus a copy of 12-Pack Quilts! We’ll choose two random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Many thanks for celebrating our 5th anniversary with us—
    stay tuned for much more to come in year six!

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  2. How to quilt a patchwork quilt just like Civil War–era quilts

    Birthday QuiltWe know we have just a few (ha!) fans of reproduction quilts out there—so today we’ve got something special to share with you!

    If you’ve ever wondered how to choose a quilting design for your reproduction quilts, one that’s authentic to the era, Julie Hendricksen is the perfect person to ask. She’s made a career out of her passion for antique quilts as an author, fabric designer for Windham Fabrics, and owner of JJ Stitches quilt shop in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Julie and her antique and antique-inspired quilts were even featured in a two-part episode of PBS’s Sewing With Nancy last year. So yeah, the perfect person to ask!

    With hundreds of antique quilts in her collection—scrap quilts from the turn of the nineteenth century being her favorite—Julie’s had ample opportunity to research the quilting designs that quilters from the late 1800s chose. And in her book Preserving History, she shares her years of expertise with you.

    Quilts from Preserving History
    Quilts from
    Preserving History

    There are two main categories of quilting that Julie delves into in Preserving History: crosshatching and marked motifs. In this excerpt from the book, Julie covers crosshatching—a simple motif that produces striking results.


    Quilting a Reproduction Quilt: Crosshatching

    Julie HendricksenThese days, many of us send our quilts off to be quilted by a professional long-arm quilter rather than handling the quilting ourselves. But if you want your quilt that’s pieced using reproduction fabrics to look authentic to the antique one it’s modeled after, what type of quilting design do you choose?

    Part of the fun of looking at vintage quilts is not only to examine the prints and colors and the plan or whimsy with which they’ve been combined, but to also have a close-up look at how these dearly loved and oft-used quilts were quilted.

    Crosshatching (lines going in two opposite directions, forming intersecting lines) was a popular quilting style in the 1800s and remains so today. One thing you’ll notice about quilts from long ago is that the quilter probably didn’t bother marking her quilting lines, nor did she have tools such as spacer bars or rulers at her disposal like we have for our machines today. Crosshatched lines were “eyeballed,” stitching from one corner of the block to another. Sometimes things got a little wobblier as the crosshatch was continued into the border, because there were no more patchwork lines to use as a guide, as in the 1930s Checkerboard quilt below. Does that mean the quilt was any less special or loved or warm? Certainly not!

    Checkerboard quilt - crosshatching quilting
    1930s Checkerboard quilt

    When blocks were set straight, the crosshatching typically was done diagonally, from corner to corner of blocks. This means the stitches were sewn along the bias of the fabric, which is the easiest direction to go when hand quilting. Sewing along the grainline is quite a bit harder.

    Conversely, when blocks were set on point (diagonally), the crosshatching was still done along the bias of the fabric, but the resulting grid looks like it’s worked vertically and horizontally across the quilt, as in this Triangles in a Row quilt.

    Triangles in a Row quilt
    Close-up: Triangles in a Row

    Crosshatching doesn’t have to be done in squares. Quiltmakers adapted it to match the style of the quilt. Below, two different versions are shown. The first is diamond crosshatching, which is formed by following the lines of the Thousand Pyramid triangles. (The pattern for this quilt is in my first book, Remembering the Past.)

    Thousand Pyramid quilt
    Thousand Pyramid quilt: diamond crosshatching

    Another example is on the 1890s Baskets quilt below. The crosshatch is a combination of parallel diagonal lines intersecting with parallel vertical lines. It creates a nice effect, especially in the plain alternate blocks where the crosshatching shows up quite well.

    1890s Baskets quilt
    1890s Baskets quilt

    If you plan to machine or hand quilt your project with crosshatching, an easy way to mark the lines is with painter’s tape. It comes in many widths, you can reposition it several times before you need a new piece, and it’s not so sticky as to leave a residue on your quilt. Crosshatching isn’t the easiest technique for a long-arm quilter, however. It involves a lot of ruler work and stopping and starting as the quilt is rolled forward or backward. While its look is all about simplicity, the price tag for this type of quilting may not be!


    In Preserving History, Julie also covers marked quilting motifs in antique quilts, when classic designs like pumpkin seeds, cables, and Baptist Fans were all the rage. Learn more about authentic marked motifs from the Civil War era in Preserving History.

    Examples of marked quilting motifs
    Examples of marked quilting motifs from
    Preserving History

    Books by Julie HendricksennWant to learn more from Julie about Civil War quilts? Pick up her books Preserving History and Remembering the Past. When you buy either book, you’ll be able to instantly download the eBook for free. Buy both and we’ll pick up your shipping tab in the US and Canada!

    How do you quilt your reproduction quilts: with crosshatching or marked motifs? Tell us in the comments!

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  3. Wish list day! A splendid sampler, Minick and Simpson, and more (+ giveaway!)

    Hey hey hey, it’s Wish List Day! We’re back for our favorite day of the month, and we can’t wait to give you a peek at new books coming from Martingale in April—tell us which one is your favorite book and you could win it!

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

    The Splendid SamplerThe Splendid Sampler
    100 Spectacular Blocks from a Community of Quilters
    Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson

    Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson started The Splendid Sampler Sew-Along with a shared idea: to bring the whole world together to quilt. And with help from quilters across the globe, that’s exactly what they did. More than 25,000+ quilters from all walks of life joined the sew-along—100 quilt blocks, 80+ designers, and 12 months of sewing fun—and now the much-anticipated companion book is almost here! All 100 block patterns (with close-up photos of each design) are included, along with ideas for setting your blocks. Make a few or make them all! The Facebook group is still going strong—get the book, share your blocks, and experience the joys of quilting with a very special community of quilters.

    Quilt blocks from The Splendid Sampler
    Blocks from the Splendid Sampler

    See all 100 blocks up close—which is your favorite? >


    Minick and Simpson Blue & WhiteMinick and Simpson Blue & White
    Living with Textiles You Love
    Polly Minick and Laurie Simpson

    When we first saw images from the photo shoot for this book, everyone in the Martingale office immediately wanted to switch the colors in their homes to blue and white—and we bet you will too! In this hardcover, coffee-table-style volume, you’ll pore over page after page of breathtaking room settings, all in calming blues and crisp whites. Polly and Laurie invite you to explore their inspiring collections, from quilts and hooked rugs to darling antiques (the heart-shaped tin cookie cutters and timeworn game boards made us gasp with glee!). Spotlighting three different homes featuring Americana, coastal, and classic styles, you’ll discover delightful decorating ideas and loads of tips for creating a two-color look. Whenever you want to be inspired by tranquil beauty—or you want to dream up a new decorating scheme—let this picturesque book whisk you away to a wonderful world of blue and white.

    From Minick and Simpson Blue & White
    From
    Minick and Simpson Blue & White

    Minick and Simpson Blue & White
    A room setting from the Americana chapter

    Sneak more peeks from Minick and Simpson Blue & White >


    The Big Book of Strip QuiltsThe Big Book of Strip Quilts
    Start with Strips to Make 60 Stunning Quilts

    Gather your stockpiles of strips for the 13th book in our “Big Book” series! Use precuts or strips from your stash to create 60 strip-tastic projects in styles ranging from classic beauty to fresh quilts with a modern vibe. Choose from designs by Kim Brackett, Amy Ellis, Kate Henderson, Julie Herman, Kathy Brown, and many more. So many designers, so many strips—sew much fun! And all for just pennies per pattern.

    From The Big Book of Strip Quilts
    From
    The Big Book of Strip Quilts

    Get ready for some “big” fun with your strips! See more >


    Oh Glory!Oh Glory!
    11 Quilt Projects to Salute the Stars and Stripes
    Kathy Flowers

    Stitch a salute to the American spirit with the red-white-and-blue projects in Oh Glory! Show your pride in July and throughout the year with patriotic table toppers, wall quilts, throws, and more—or make and give a project to honor and comfort service members and veterans you know. A story about Kathy’s inspiration for the book—her father, a veteran of World War II—will tug at your heartstrings and fill you with gratitude for the men and women who proudly serve our country. Stitch an ode to them, to freedom, and to a celebration of the stars and stripes!

    Projects from Oh Glory!
    From
    Oh Glory!

    See more patriotic patchwork from Oh Glory! >


    Which book would make your April awesome? Tell us in the comments you could win your favorite when it’s released! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

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  4. 🌷9 quilts that sing of spring🌷

    It may not feel like it just yet, but spring is almost here! There are just 17 days until the first day of spring. Woohoo! 👏🌷☀

    Soon, we’ll be able to go outdoors without dressing like Nanook of the North. Flowers and green grass will replace the now-dreary snow and slush. The gray skies will be turning blue. Birds will be singing. And we’ll be able to get our Vitamin D from the sky instead of the kitchen cupboard. It just can’t happen soon enough!

    Sadly, Mother Nature doesn’t use a calendar so the shift will be gradual. 😔 We’ll just have to take it one day at a time. But thankfully your sewing room can reflect any season you like! Why not pull out some of your pretty springtime fabrics and create a beautiful quilt that will help get you through the transition?

    If you’re looking for some great ideas, we have an assortment of inspiring, instantly downloadable patterns to get you on your way. On sale this week for just $1.99 each, what are you waiting for?

    Birdhouses of Key West quilt
    Birdhouses of Key West by Cynthia LeBlanc Regone

    Iris Wool Table Runner
    Iris Wool Table Runner by Julie Popa

    Spring is Sprung quilt
    Spring is Sprung by Julie Popa

    Spring Bouquet Table Topper
    Spring Bouquet Table Topper by Julie Popa

    Double Pink Blooms quilt
    Double Pink Blooms by Cynthia LeBlanc Regone

    Fruit Basket quilt
    Fruit Basket by Cheryl Brown

    Gathered from the Garden quilt
    Gathered from the Garden by Cindy Lammon

    Spring Showers quilt
    Spring Showers by Cynthia Tomaszewski

    Mocha Stars quilt
    Mocha Stars by Kim Diehl

    How do YOU feel about the change of seasons?

    a) Spring can’t get here soon enough!
    b) I LIKE my wool socks!
    c) I can go with the flow!

    Tell us in the comments!

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  5. Celebrate National Craft Month by losing a shirt (and gaining an apron – free pattern!)

    It’s National Craft Month!

    March is the month to reclaim time for doing the things you love—like quilting, sewing, and crafting to your heart’s content.

    We Martingale staffers love to quilt, but we love other crafts, too. And of course, sewing tops many of our lists. That’s why we’re kicking off National Craft Month with a fun freebie: The Shirt Tales Apron!

    Shirt Tales Apron free pattern
    Shirt Tales Apron by Linda Griepentrog. Sign in or register at ShopMartingale.com to download the free pattern.

    It couldn’t be easier to make an apron from a man’s dress shirt—by keeping some of the shirt details intact, it’s a snap to sew. The collar, buttonholes, and placket are already done! All you need is one large or extra-large men’s button-down shirt, one yard of medium rickrack, and 1⁄3 yard of 1/2″-wide fusible-web tape. You might already have everything you need in your sewing supplies (plus one thing from your guy’s closet).

    This free apron pattern comes from the eBook Kitchen Stitches, which will have you making special items for your kitchen all month long. Just look at all the pretty, practical items you can sew:

    From Kitchen Stitches
    From
    Kitchen Stitches

    Looking to celebrate National Craft Month by broadening your crafty horizons even more? Browse any of these books to try a new technique or stretch your sewing skills!

    Stitches from the Garden Sew Many Gifts Sew Much Fleece
    Sewing Pottery by Machine Baby Says Sew Style and Swing

    You’ll also find many more ways to celebrate National Craft Month with our entire fleet of freebies—all yours to download for free when you register or sign in at ShopMartingale.

    Free patterns from Martingale

    If you make the Shirt Tales Apron, be sure to snap a pic of your project and hashtag it with #madewithmartingale—we’d love to see and share!

    We know you  💕💕💕 quilting—but what other crafts do you enjoy? Sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery? Tell us in the comments!

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  6. Walking-foot quilting tutorial (video): try quick & easy curves

    Are you a "quilt by check" quilter—meaning you send out your quilts to be quilted? Or maybe you’ve tried free-motion quilting and the results weren’t, um, what you’d expected (ask anyone in our office who’s tried it: we’ve all been there).

    Today we’re here to tell you that free-motion quilting and quilting by check aren’t the only choices you have for finishing your quilts. If your sewing machine came with a walking foot (pictured >), you have another awesome option: walking-foot quilting!

    Pat Sloan has a great philosophy about machine quilting: go for it! But start simple. Quilting with a walking foot is the perfect place to start building your machine-quilting skills. In her book Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, Pat shows you how your walking foot can do wonders—and how you can be successful the first time. That alone makes the technique worth trying!

    Never tried machine quilting with a walking foot before? Let Pat teach you how—right now.


    Pat SloanWalking-Foot Quilting Tutorial

    Excerpt from Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt

    Most sewing machines come with an even-feed presser foot called a walking foot. Some machines even have a built-in even-feed system. A walking foot helps evenly feed the thick quilt sandwich through your machine so you don’t create puckers and pleats as you quilt the top, batting, and backing layers together.

    Machine quilting curves with a walking foot
    Machine quilting curves with a walking foot

    I started out quilting my quilts with a walking foot and still use it. I love the effects I get from straight lines as well as decorative stitches. (Yep, you can use some decorative stitches in conjunction with your walking foot to add texture and interest to your quilt.) If you’ve tried to quilt using a regular presser foot, you’ve noticed that the top fabric bunches and pulls. A walking foot pushes the top fabric evenly along while the feed dogs underneath control the movement of the backing fabric. The result is that you can quilt beautifully. From quilting straight lines to decorative stitches, your walking foot offers lots of options—including curves:


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

    Looks easy, right? In Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt, you’ll find many more tips for walking-foot quilting, with close-up photos that clearly illustrate each step (like how to start and finish your quilting so it looks nice and neat—those close-ups are below). Plus, you’ll get access to all 8 of Pat’s step-by-step videos. It’s like having Pat right by your side at your sewing machine!

    Machine quilting with a walking foot
    From
    Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt

    Here’s what quilters like you are saying about Pat’s latest book on Amazon.com:

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine Quilt“I’m reading this now and it is exactly what I needed to start my journey into machine quilting. I can hardly wait to try a project!”

    “This is a really comprehensive walking-foot and free-motion quilting book. It covers everything from the materials and tools to the different threads, stitches, and patterns. Another great feature to this book are videos on the publisher’s website so you get both the printed tutorials along with videos.”

    “As I expected from Pat Sloan! All of her ‘Teach Me’ books are detailed for the beginner and have great designs for any level quilter. I love them all.”

    Pat’s ready to teach you more about quilting in her popular “Teach Me” series—buy two or more and earn free shipping! (US and Canada only.)

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

    So, which kind of quilter are you right now?

    a) I’m a walking-foot quilter.

    b) I’m a free-motion quilter.

    c) I’m a hand quilter.

    d) I’m a "quilt by check" quilter!

    Tell us your answer in the comments!

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  7. Your sewing space, but better: 3 quick ways to get efficient and organized (+ flash sale!)

    No matter how much or how little room you have to quilt in, any space can be perfect for you—if you have the right setup. If space and budget constraints are keeping you from quilting in the space of your dreams, get ready to advance toward that goal today!

    Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space flash sale!

    Quilter and professional organizer Lois L. Hallock has made a career of helping quilters organize their sewing spaces for maximum efficiency. Her eBook, Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space, is packed with ideas for quilt-room design, organization, and even ergonomics—and her advice applies to spaces of all sizes. Whether you want to declutter a corner or are ready to renovate a room, Lois shares strategies that everyone can put to use. And today you can download her popular eBook for just $6.00! (Sale ends 2/27 at noon PT.)

    Download the Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space eBook for sewing-room makeover ideas that will make your precious quilting time more efficient and more fun. Start with these three tips taken from the book—you can implement them right away.

    Create a quilter’s work triangleFOR EFFICIENCY

    Create a quilter’s work triangle. The work triangle has been used in kitchen design for years. Quilters typically move between their sewing machine, cutting mat, and ironing board, so carefully consider where you’re performing these tasks. Are they occurring in close proximity to each other? If not, try making a few moves to boost productivity.

    Fold your fabric uniformlyFOR ORGANIZATION

    Fold your fabric uniformly. The biggest storage problem for quilters? Fabric! Fabric that is folded uniformly is easier to stack, creates a less cluttered appearance, and makes finding just the right fabric easier. Lois uses an 8½" x 24″ ruler for folding fabric greater than ½ yard (but less than 3 yards). First, fold the fabric selvage to selvage (as it comes off the bolt); then wrap the fabric around your ruler until it’s all rolled up. Next, slide the ruler halfway out of the fabric and fold the fabric in half. The folded fabric will be about 9″ wide by 11″ deep. Stack these folded fabrics on a shelf so that only the last fold shows, making sure that your folded front edges are even. No one will ever see the back edges when the fabrics are stacked on the shelf!

    Repurpose furniture for your quilting spaceFOR SAVING $$$

    Repurpose furniture for your quilting space. Take a look at the furniture in your house. Do you have furniture that you could borrow for your quilting space? Bookcases, dressers, cabinets, and computer desks are all great items to call into duty for storing all kinds of quilting supplies.

    From furniture layouts and sewing- and cutting-table options to storage of all sorts, you’ll find loads of ideas for making your sewing space fun to be in and easy to create in. Download your copy of Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space today!

    What’s the current state of your sewing space: close to clean, kinda cluttered, or chronic chaos? Tell us about it in the comments!

    Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space flash sale!

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  8. Quilts don’t match your home? Try a Zen Chic approach (+ fabric giveaway!)

    From Zen Chic InspiredDo you have a stack of quilts stashed away because they just don’t “go” with anything in your living spaces? (Hands raised here.)

    There’s nothing more disappointing than creating a quilt you like and then realizing it doesn’t quite look right anywhere your home.

    But wait, put those tissues away: Germany-based quilter, Moda fabric designer, and interior designer Brigitte Heitland has a new book that teaches you how to make quilts that will always be a perfect match for YOUR home: Zen Chic Inspired!

    Zen Chic Inspired

    If you yearn to make quilts that pair perfectly with your decorating style—and who doesn’t?—Zen Chic Inspired is a resource you’ll turn to again and again. Classic or country, modern or eclectic, Brigitte guides you toward creating one-of-a-kind quilts inspired by the colors and elements in your home. No difficult design concepts here—Brigitte’s approach is innovative, fun, and easy to start using right away. Don’t start another quilt for your home (or somebody else’s home) until you learn Brigitte’s techniques for making a perfect match!

    Shaking Up quilt
    Shaking Up quilt, inspired by a yellow room

    You’ll love Brigitte’s practical advice for dreaming up quilts that tell your story. And the styled room shots that inspired the 12 quilt patterns inside? Gorgeous—and a wonderful way to inspire your decorating too!

    Black-and-White quilt
    Black and White quilt, inspired by a collection of dishes

    We’re excited to have Brigitte as a guest writer at Stitch This! today—don’t miss the story she shares about helping transform her sister’s pillowcase from a project without a place to call home into a project ready for center stage.

    BUT FIRST…


    FABRIC GIVEAWAY! Our friends at Moda Fabrics gave us a bundle of Brigitte’s new fabric line, True Blue, to give away to you!

    Moda fabric giveaway - True Blue by Brigitte Heitland

    Learn how you can win this beautiful, bluesy bundle plus a copy of Zen Chic Inspired at the end of this post.


    Brigitte HeitlandI was excited because my sister was visiting from the United States. We hadn’t seen each other for some time, and there was a lot of catching up to do. She couldn’t wait to browse my fabric and see all of my creations. One of my fabric designs was based on newsprint, which she found especially intriguing.

    “Oh, I love that one!” she exclaimed. “I’m going to make a pillowcase from it!”

    That’s when I decided to slow her down a bit.

    “What kind of pillowcase, and for what room?” I asked. It turned out that she hadn’t really thought that far.

    It’s a common scenario I often observe in quilt stores around the world. In fact, I remember having such reactions myself during my early days of quilting. We see a fabric, we fall in love with it, we buy it and we bring it home, and perhaps we even make a quilt, a pillowcase, or something else. And then at the end of our labor we proudly display our work, only to realize that we don’t experience the satisfaction that comes with a harmonious look.

    Pixelate for a color scheme
    Idea from
    Zen Chic Inspired: turn a pixelated image of your space into a color palette.

    I explained to my sister something that I’ve learned along the way: sometimes it’s better to start the process backwards. Begin with that favorite Japanese lamp which is the focal point of your guest room, or the abstract painting in your studio. Have a look around a room and survey your favorite things. Now, with these items in mind, look again at the fabric you were going to purchase. Is it still a go?

    From Zen Chic Inspired
    Idea from
    Zen Chic Inspired: transform the shapes or motifs in a room (such as a lamp, a cushion, or even a coffee cup) into a foundation for a show-stopping quilt.

    This approach to quilting, which includes some easy-to-understand principles of interior design, is just one of the many pleasures that await you in Zen Chic Inspired. I can’t wait to share with you what I shared with my sister, because it won’t only help you select a great project; it will help you select a project that will give you so much more than just another quilt.

    Example from Zen Chic Inspired
    Example from
    Zen Chic Inspired: the fabrics in the top photo aren’t harmonious with the surroundings; in the bottom photo, the fabrics coordinate well with the elements in the room.

    Zen Chic Inspired features 12 one-of-a-kind designs for quilts of all sizes and styles, from little table runners to bed-sized quilts. It includes examples of beautiful rooms that illustrate what I mean by selecting a project with your space in mind. The projects cover all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. In fact, advanced quilters might be pleasantly surprised by a few clever new tricks I’ve developed and can’t wait to share with you. (Have you ever tried inserting crossed strips at unusual angles? I figured out a technique that makes it easier than you think.)

    On the Ball quilt
    Strips at unusual angles: Brigitte’s On the Ball quilt, inspired by the legs of a rocking chair.

    If you’re a passionate quilter, chances are you already have a collection of quilt books. But if you’re like me, you value high-end fabrics and want to make the best use of the time you invest in quilting. It makes sense to think a project through from beginning to end before you start. Once my sister did that, she realized that she would be better off using a different fabric. And the one she picked in the end was perfect. Through Zen Chic Inspired, I hope I get to be your little sister for a day, or for the duration of your project, or maybe even for your quilting life.

    Inside Zen Chic Inspired

    See more quilts from Zen Chic Inspired >


    Zen Chic InspiredBrigitte, thank you for sharing your story with us—you gave your sister a whole new perspective on quiltmaking!

    How do you typically start a new quilt project?

     a) I’m in tune with Zen Chic Inspired—before I begin a project, I like to gather inspiration from the space I want a quilt to live in.

    b) Sometimes I finish a project before I know where I’m going to use it, and it gets stashed away because it doesn’t quite fit in anywhere.

    c) I have a closetful of quilts that don’t have a home in my home!

    Share your answer in the comments and you could win Brigitte’s new True Blue bundle from Moda Fabrics plus a copy of Zen Chic Inspired! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “Definitely b). I make quilts because I like the pattern/fabric then I have no idea what to do with them. I usually end up giving them away.”

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

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  9. Spring cleaning (of your stash): try these 3 simple categories

    If you break into a sweat when you think about the state of your sewing space…

    You might need a spring cleaning.

    If towers of fabric teeter as you dig for just the right color and print…

    You might need a spring cleaning.

    If you’ve ever sighed as you stood knee-deep in fabric…

    You might need a spring cleaning!


    How to organize your fabric stash

    So, what’s the best way to organize a fabric stash that’s starting to spiral out of control?

    Stash LabFrom Stash Lab - detail of Leaf Pile quilt author Tonya Alexander loves making scrappy, stashy quilts—and part of the reason is because she knows where her fabrics are and can scan them at a glance, instead of spending her time digging for treasures. Today we’re sharing some of her tips for prepping your stash and scraps so that they’re easy to manage, easy to skim, and easy to pop into a quilt, just like that. Read on for the three categories that Tonya uses to streamline her stash—spring’s the perfect time to whip your stash into shape!


    SORTING AND STORING FABRIC SCRAPS

    Tonya AlexanderBy creating scrap categories for sorting your fabric, you can begin to see the options that are open to you. What are the fabric cuts and sizes sitting on your shelf? One-yard pieces? Fat quarters? Precut charm squares or Jelly Rolls? Consider the sizes and shapes in your inventory to help you decide what to do with them.

    I sort and store my scraps in shape and size groupings, in addition to color families. Here’s my storage strategy.

    best way to organize fabric stashFAT QUARTERS AND LARGER PIECES stay on the stash shelves grouped by color or style. Batiks, splashy Kaffe Fassett prints, flannels, etc., each get their own pile.

    STRIPS OF VARIOUS WIDTHS (1½", 2½", and 3½") and squarish pieces that are less than a fat quarter each go in separate bins.

    EVERYTHING ELSE THAT’S TOO SMALL—these random scraps go in a basket so they don’t get mixed in with larger pieces of fabric or those of specific sizes, such as strips.


    A strategy that doesn’t require a master’s degree in organizational skills, but keeps your fabric neat and tidy and ready for action. Hooray for simple solutions!

    What’s the best thing about organizing your stash? Once you stash-storing plan is in place, new fabrics always have a place to live when you bring them home—plus it’s a snap to DE-stash. In Stash Lab, Tonya’s designed quilts for specific cuts of fabric, but even more useful are the three creative “equations” she’s created for you follow (don’t be alarmed by the word: trust us, there’s zero algebra or rocket science involved).

    If you have a lot of 1½"-wide strips, a project like Carpool is a great option.

    Carpool quilt
    Carpool quilt

    A favorite Jelly Roll would work well in Sparklers.

    Sparklers quilt
    Sparklers quilt

    If you have mostly fat quarters, a design like The Big Spin can put your stash and scrap fabrics to use in a beautiful way.

    The Big Spin quilt
    The Big Spin quilt

    See more stash- and scrap-friendly quilts from Stash Lab >

    How do you store your stash fabrics: by color, by style, by size of cut? Tell us in the comments!

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  10. Go BIG or go home: 5 titles in our “BIG BOOK” series are on sale!

    These aren’t just any quilt books on sale: these are BIG BOOKS on sale!

    5 BIG BOOKS on sale!

    Our “BIG BOOKS” are packed with inspiration from some of today’s most popular designers, all for just pennies per pattern! Don’t miss your chance to stock up on select BIG BOOKS through Sunday, February 19. (And remember, when you buy the print book at ShopMartingale.com, you instantly get the eBook for FREE.)


    The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts77 PATTERNS! The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts

    There’s not a scrap stash around that can outlive this indispensable resource! This colossal collection features patterns from Kim Brackett, Kim Diehl, Country Threads, and many more.

    From Amazon: “They weren’t kidding when they named this book. It is BIG! I want to make every one! If you love to quilt and need a stash-busting book, this book is it.”

    The Big Book of Baby Quilts87 PATTERNS! The Big Book of Baby Quilts

    One book of delightful quilt patterns to make for all those beautiful babies you know—with enough ideas for their babies and their babies’ babies! Sweet designs come from Nancy Mahoney, Mary Hickey, Nancy Martin, and more.

    From ShopMartingale.com: “I can’t get over the variety of baby quilts that they’ve included here—there’s appliqué and curved piecing and prairie points and rickrack and chenille . . . I could see a charity quilter working her way through the whole book!”

    The Big Book of Nickel Quilts40 PATTERNS! The Big Book of Nickel Quilts

    Got 5″ charms or scraps? Then you’ve GOT to get this book! Many “charming” quiltmaking adventures await when you have so many charm-square quilt patterns at the ready.

    From ShopMartingale: “A must-have book for anyone who enjoys working with 5″ charm precuts, using fabric from your stash, or even swapping scrap fabrics with others . . . your book of go-to designs for scrap busting and making beautiful quilts.”

    Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics64 PATTERNS! Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics

    (Don’t let the title fool you—this is a BIG book too!)

    A staggering 64 quilt patterns for most every precut you own—or will ever own. Enjoy patterns from Carrie Nelson (aka Miss Rosie), Me and My Sister Designs, Country Threads, Amy Ellis, and more.

    From Amazon: “I have loads of Jelly Rolls, charm packs, and fat quarters. I swear this book was made for me. A compilation of the best precut quilts . . . a super addition to your quilt library.”

    The Big Book of Patchwork50 PATTERNS! The Big Book of Patchwork

    Classic crib quilts, lap quilts, bed quilts and more, all featuring the fast cutting and piecing techniques that beloved quilt designer Judy Hopkins is famous for.

    From Amazon.com: “Judy Hopkins is a great author. All of her books give very clear, concise directions and the patterns are fabulous!”


    What’s been your BIG quilting kick so far in 2017: precut quilts, baby quilts, scrappy quilts? Tell us in the comments!

    5 BIG BOOKS on sale!

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