1. 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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  2. 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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  3. The “value” of your smart phone: are you using this quilting trick? 📱

    We’ve got a quick quilting trick for you today!

    If you’ve ever struggled with deciphering the values of different fabrics, this is a tip that’ll provide lots of “value” when you’re choosing fabrics for a quilt, arranging blocks, or just trying to figure out the value of a particular fabric—not value moneywise, but value colorwise! (Light? Medium? Dark? Sometimes it’s hard to tell!)

    Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color.

    The secret tool you’ll need to help determine fabric values is probably nearby right now—in fact, it may be in your purse or pocket. It’s your phone—and if it can take photos, it just might become in-value-able to your quiltmaking life!

    I was having some trouble organizing these batiks from light to dark in value. Here’s how you can use your smart phone to get the values right:

    1. Snap a pic of the fabrics you’re struggling to sort by value.

    I couldn’t quite tell where the three center fabrics fell on the value scale, and that pesky blue-green print was tripping me up too. Would it read as dark or medium in my quilt?

    2. Tap on the photo you’ve taken; then choose to Edit the photo (in this example I’m using the camera app on an Android phone; you may have similar editing options on your phone).

    3. In the Edit menu, you should see a “Grayscale,” “Mono,” or “Black-and-White” option; tap on that.

    4. Now your photo should look like a black-and-white photo, with all the colors removed. All that remains are the values of the fabrics.

    5. Now that you can see the values of your fabrics, you can arrange them from light to dark and then use them in a way that produces more contrast in your quilt blocks.

    Photo with the colors removed

    New arrangement of fabrics from dark to light

    Those medium-value fabrics can be tricky—but now you’ve got a way to put them in their patchwork place!

    A wonderful book to give your value-picking skills some practice is Stashtastic! by Doug Leko. Doug’s designed a dozen beautiful quilts and each quilt is shown in a different colorway, like this:

    French Twist quilt
    French Twist from Stashtastic!

    The value exercise above will give you special insight into creating all of Doug’s gorgeous quilts with your gorgeous fabrics! You can see more quilts from Stashtastic! here.

    We hope you found this little tutorial helpful! How do you usually determine the values of your fabrics? Tell us in the comments!

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  4. Wish List Day! Whatnots, wool, and wonderful embroidery (+ giveaway!)

    It’s gonna be an awesome day—it’s Wish List Day! We’re counting down to a new batch of beautiful Martingale books arriving in May. Tell us which new release is your favorite at the end of this post and you could win it!

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

    Simple WhatnotsSimple Whatnots
    A Batch of Satisfyingly Scrappy Little Quilts
    Kim Diehl

    Small, scrappy, heartfelt, and happy—Kim Diehl is back on a splendidly small scale! Kim’s little quilts have three big benefits: they’re scrap friendly, they’re quick to finish, and they’re as cute as can be. Choose from 18 petite quilts in Kim’s signature style (five are all-new; 13 were a part of Kim’s Simple Whatnots Club). Learn streamlined techniques for precise piecing, invisible machine appliqué, and wool appliqué. Use completed projects as wall quilts and table toppers, or follow Kim’s lead and display projects in other creative ways. And, as always, Kim shares her “Extra Snippet” sewing tips throughout so that YOU can become a better quilter . . . little by little!

    Check out a “little” more from Kim’s latest book >

    Stitches from the YuletideStitches from the Yuletide
    Hand Embroidery to Celebrate the Season

    Kathy Schmitz

    Celebrate the charms of the season with exquisite embroidery from best-selling author Kathy Schmitz! You’ll find spectacular embroidered winter scenes inspired by classic motifs, delightful hand-drawn sketches, and beautiful watercolor paintings in page after page of elegant designs.

    Create a pillow, tea towels, wall art, ornaments, and more, all perfect for decorating and gift giving. Motifs range from jolly snowmen to frolicking reindeer. Kathy’s signature birds and bunnies also make a special appearance—they’ll inspire you to start some of the season’s best stitching!

    Start stitching for the year’s most magical season >

    Pure & SimplePure & Simple
    17 Primitive Projects Inspired by the Seasons
    Maggie Bonanomi

    Maggie’s designs will charm you—as all things do when they’re handmade and from the heart! Follow this celebrated maker on a creative journey inspired by a simpler time. In her world, hand-drawn patterns and hand-dyed wool combine with artful motifs and casual stitches. The result is a collection of primitive projects that are a delight to make, use, and enjoy. No fancy skills to learn, no expensive tools to buy: a needle, thread, and wool are all you need to begin. Create pillows, runners and toppers, wall art, and more to warm up any nook or cranny.

    Simply fun to stitch—see more from Maggie >

    Elegant EmbroideryElegant Embroidery
    Reiko Mori

    The latest book from Stitch Publications opens the door to the artful world of Japanese master embroiderer Reiko Mori, whose incredible work embodies charm, grace, and true elegance. More than 40 motifs are grouped into enchanting vignettes to mix and match, and you can feature them in 11 projects, including totes, fabric-covered boxes, and more. Learn 16 embroidery stitches to create designs for holidays, seasons, and everyday occasions. Themed chapters include flower, marine, and Christmas collections, as well as an assortment of Ms. Mori’s signature black-on-linen designs.

    See more from this captivating embroidery collection >

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

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  5. Sew sweet! Small wool projects for sewing on the go (+ giveaway!)

    Introducing perfectly portable projects for sewing on the go, new from an author we all know and love—the Teacher’s Pet, Kathy Brown!

    Lunch-Hour Wool Minis

    Kathy’s fun projects in Lunch-Hour Wool Minis are so small, so sweet—and so simple to complete. About all that’s needed is a needle, thread, wool, and a little lunch-hour time to make 14 cute and creative projects. Seasonal and everyday designs include framed art:

    Ewe and Me and the Jingle Tree
    Ewe and Me and the Jingle Tree

    A mug rug:

    Bees and Blossoms
    Bees and Blossoms

    And fun pieces you can stitch and attach to craft-store and found items to make them extraordinary:

    Projects from Lunch-Hour Wool Minis
    More projects from
    Lunch-Hour Wool Minis

    Even beginners can easily appliqué these charming decor pieces—and complete each in a few lunch breaks or less!

    Today we’re excited to have Kathy here as a guest writer to tell us more about her latest book—and the “chilly” story of how her love affair with wool began.

    Kathy BrownI have been a creative person for as long as I can remember. From an early age armed with crayons, paper, and tempera paint to my later years where I dabbled in pen and ink illustrations, china painting, ceramics, cross-stitch, and more, my hands were forever moving and creating.

    In the early nineties, I discovered the world of quilting and instantly fell in love. It was the creative outlet I needed for my hands to work their magic. Yet something, some little thing, was still missing in my creative soul.

    As chance would have it, a dear friend in the bitter-cold climate of Wisconsin had an obsession (I mean that in a good way) and led me to the world of wool. Up until that point, wool was a four-letter word to this Louisiana girl. Hot, rough, itchy, and utilitarian were the only words I knew to describe wool. Little did I know that wool could become such a glorious fabric for me to work with: soft, supple, hand-dyed, full of textures, and just waiting to be turned into glorious works of art!

    Wool threads
    And don’t forget wool threads—scrumptious!

    Armed with the creative spark that started that day, I began my journey into wool working. I love to think of my passion for wool as a fire hidden deep within, originating from my great grandparents who emigrated to the United States from their tiny little island of Fair Isle, Scotland, where the Shetland sheep roam free upon the lands. Today, you can find me knee-deep in my wool obsession, so much so that when the wonderful folks at Martingale asked if I’d like to write another book, I immediately said yes—if it could be a book about wool! And so here we are with Lunch-Hour Wool Minis!

    I love working with mini projects. A lot of us, myself included, have so many commitments in our lives today that we don’t have time to create pieces that take weeks or months to complete. So the idea of wool minis was on my mind when I started writing this book. Add to that, I absolutely love working with old, antique, or reproduction pieces that can be repurposed into fabulous “bases” that incorporate the wool-appliqué project I’m working on. A good example of this is Night Lights—taking a common cheese grater and repurposing it as a base for a cute snowman appliqué and letting it do double duty as a luminary by placing a battery-operated timer candle on the inside!

    Night Lights
    Night Lights

    Another favorite is this cute little bunny among soft white daisies, mounted on a vintage grain scoop—a perfect way to usher in the sweet days of springtime.

    Sweet Smell of Spring
    Sweet Smell of Spring

    Any free time I have is usually spent scouring vintage shops or antique stores, hunting down those “just-right” pieces that I can find to accentuate the wool appliqué that is next on my list! I hope you’ll find wonderful ways to embellish items you have in your home with the projects from Lunch-Hour Wool Minis.

    Lunch-Hour Wool MinisThank you for giving us a peek into your latest book, Kathy!

    We have a copy of Lunch-Hour Wool Minis to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter your name into the random drawing, tell us:

    Do you have a wool stash? 

    • No wool yet—but Kathy’s inspired me to start one!
    • I’ve got bits and pieces, and I’m ready for more.
    • I think I’ve got a flock of sheep’s worth of wool!

    Tell us your answer in the comments—we’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to make a mini with Kathy right now, purchase your copy of Lunch-Hour Wool Minis 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 Katherine, who says:

    “I just started working with wool about a year ago and love it! I’m just starting to build my wool stash… So much fun!”

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

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  6. 5 reasons to attend Quiltstock: a quilt retreat hosted by Martingale and Moda

    Giddyup and let’s get going! Spend time doing what you love with people who love the same things as you. Ready or not, here it comes—and we’d hate for you to miss it. Still need a nudge to know whether or not to add your name to our must-not-miss Martingale and Moda Quiltstock retreat list? Read on!

    1. Sit Back and Relax

    The origination of the word “retreat” is Latin and translates to “pull back.” Quiltstock is a place to do just that—pull back from the demands of daily life and focus on doing what you love! Sit back, relax, and sew with like-minded enthusiasts.

    2. Fire up the fun!

    A change of location, a change of pace, and a change of people can free you up to just have fun. At Quiltstock, you can set up your sewing space once, and we’ll bring the teachers to you. What could be easier?

    Speaking of fun . . . meet your Quiltstock guest instructors: Carrie Nelson, Lisa Bongean, Kathy Schmitz, and Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson of Me and My Sister Designs!

    3. All play and no work!

    Work commitments, family obligations, household chores—none of that follows you here! At Quiltstock, you’ve got permission to “retreat” from everyday duties so you can focus on you for a few days!

    4. Fill in the blanks:

    I’ve always wanted to go on a getaway retreat, but ____________ has gotten in the way. This time, I’m gonna make ME time and not let _____________ get in the way!

    5. Find Your Tribe

    Quilters are the kindest, most generous people on earth. We know this for a fact! And what’s more? With all of our differences, we share even more similarities. Come connect with other quilters who want to nurture their creativity, who value their quilting time, and who are looking for ways to connect with other quilters. If we just described you, guess what? We just described other quilters attending the retreat too! They can’t wait to meet you—come join in the fun!

    Learn more details about—and sign up for—the Quiltsock retreat, sponsored by Martingale and Moda, at this link.

    Space is limited. Don’t delay. You are worth it—we hope to see you there!

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  7. Oh, Scrap! 😜 Don’t miss this scrapalicious blog hop (+ a OOAK giveaway!)

    We’re thrilled to be a stop on Lissa Alexander’s blog hop for her new book today! Oh, scrap—after all the buzz, all the anticipation, and all the teases and sneak peeks, Oh, Scrap! is finally here!

    Oh, Scrap!

    Lissa Alexander is a wife and mother of five, a quilter since 1980, the curator of the “Moda All-Stars” series, and the director of marketing at Moda Fabrics. Whew!

    Oh, and did we mention she’s also a scrap-quilting master? Oh, yes, that too!

    Quilts from Oh, Scrap!
    Quilts from Oh, Scrap!

    If you want to think like a scrap quilter, look to Lissa. She’s spent three decades honing her scrap-quilting skills, and in her first solo book, she offers page after page of tips for making dazzling scrap quilts bursting with colors, prints, and textures.

    Indian Blanket
    Indian Blanket

    As you make 12 exquisite quilts with Lissa, you’ll learn her secrets for deciding which fabric combinations work—and (sometimes more importantly!) understanding why others don’t. She’ll explain how to use your unique stash to make scrap quilts that sparkle. Take a look at this handy visual “swatch card” for Lissa’s quilt, Sherbet Stars:

    Sherbet Stars quilt
    The swatch card (right) is invaluable when it comes to choosing fabrics like Lissa does—it features the actual colors and prints that she used in her quilt.

    Oh, Scrap! also includes a preface by renowned quilt historian Barbara Brackman, who muses on the history of scrap quilts. Fascinating!

    And then there are the QUILTS!

    So many fabrics, so many colors, so many prints . . . so many possibilities!

    We’ve also got a SPECTACULAR giveaway today, like nothing we’ve ever done before. The prize? It’s like Julia Child sending you the finest ingredients to make her latest recipe … like van Gogh gifting you his favorite paints and a canvas (graced with a few paint strokes to start) … it’s like Beethoven shipping his piano to you, along with sheets of music on which the beginnings of a sonata are written. Find out more at the end of this post!

    But first, here’s Lissa to introduce you to her new book and give you some tips for making your own scrappy quilts.

    Lissa AlexanderI hope many of you know me, but for those who don’t, let me give you a short history of what brings me here today. I began quilting in 1980 the old-fashioned way—tracing patterns, adding seam allowances, cutting templates, piecing by machine, and using the quilt-as-you-go method.

    I was thrilled when my sister-in-law gave me a rotary cutter and the book It’s Okay If You Sit on My Quilt by Mary Ellen Hopkins. In the book was a little note from my sister-in-law, saying there was one other item I needed, but the shop was out of it. I had no idea what was missing (and this was before Google existed) so I just waited. After a little research, I discovered the rotary mat was the missing item. Once I got that all straightened out, I was on my way.

    A few years later I got a part-time job at Jenny Lynn’s quilt shop in Dallas, Texas, where I also taught. Later I was hired by Melba Hamrick to start a quilt shop in her existing shop, The Old Craft Store, in Carrolton, Texas. Nine years later, Mark Dunn and Cheryl Freydberg from United Notions/Moda Fabrics hired me. I just celebrated my 20th anniversary with Moda. It seems like yesterday when I came on board. I’ve been able to work for what I consider the best fabric company in the industry. My experience running a shop ties in with Mark Dunn’s vision of supporting independent quilt shops.

    Kismet quilt

    Then something happened that turned my world upside down. Two years ago, I spent the night at my son’s house to help with my new granddaughter. The following morning, my husband came by just in time to witness me having a seizure. The rest is a whirlwind, but I was hospitalized, and on March 16, 2016, I had brain surgery. After I recovered, I decided I was ready to push myself and take on the challenge of publishing a book about what I love most about quilting—color.

    Izzy Squared quilt
    Izzy Squared

    So, why is the book titled Oh, Scrap!? When I started writing the book I was thinking, oh, crap, I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky to have a wonderful family and many quilty friends. That’s why I decided to take Martingale’s Chief Visionary Officer, Jennifer Keltner, up on her invitation to write a book. But what kind of title would Oh, Crap! be? So the working title became Oh, Scrap!, and it just stuck.

    I should’ve known I was suffering from QuiltPox or ScrapPox when I started saving the tiniest pieces of scraps in a shoe box. Come on, you’ve done that, right? I thought I’d need them someday because I was going to paper piece mini-quilts. When the box was full, I came to my senses and threw the scraps in the yard for the birds to build nests with. That season my neighborhood had very colorful nests.

    Splendid Scraps quilt
    Detail of Splendid Scraps

    My favorite thing about quilting is color, and my second favorite thing is mixing and matching fabric lines from different designers to achieve a scrappy look. My definition of scrappy doesn’t mean everything including the kitchen sink—it means color-coordinated quilts with lots of different fabrics. A variety of fabrics ensures different values, a nice range of scale, and a flow throughout. But you don’t need a degree in color theory to make scrap quilts.

    Surrounded quilt

    My scraps are mainly bits and pieces left over from Moda precuts. Precuts build color confidence, because if you use all of the fabrics in a bundle together, you’ll have a beautiful quilt. Having scraps ready and accessible to cut is the biggest trick. The majority of my pieces are folded and stored in plastic containers that measure 5″ x 14″ x 5″ tall, the same container size you’d use to store canned soft drinks in the fridge. I pull containers out by color and cut away. Fat quarters or smaller pieces fit nicely. Organization is always a big topic for quilters—how do you store your fabrics?

    Stair Steps quilt
    Stair Steps

    The patterns in Oh, Scrap! are traditional and made in a wide range of fabrics. I hope that, using my tips throughout the book, you’ll expand your vision about what fabrics can go together in a quilt. If you’ve been following the Oh, Scrap! blog hop, you’ll see that some of my friends have made quilts from the book in their favorite colors. We’re all constantly learning and looking at things from different perspectives. I hope Oh, Scrap! finds a place in your quilt library and helps you use up the scraps you’ve saved.

    Firecrackers quilt

    I would love to see your versions of my quilts, or even your color palettes. Please tag me on social media using the hashtags #ohscrap or #modalissa.

    Thank you to the entire team at Martingale for making my dream come to life.

    Thank you for this peek into your beautiful and enlightening book, Lissa! You can follow Lissa online at modalissa.com and on Instagram at @modalissa.

    Now for that stupendous giveaway! Lissa sent us something a little old and something a little new to give away to you:

    First, a little old—win a one-of-a-kind collection of scraps taken from two of Lissa’s quilts in Oh, Scrap! You’ll get to see up close and in detail the fabrics she chose, and you’ll be able to use them in your version of these quilts!

    Win scraps to make the Sherbet Stars quilt, plus a copy of Oh, Scrap!, or . . .

    Win scraps to make the Stair Steps quilt, plus a copy of the book.

    Then, a little new—as Moda’s director of marketing, you know Lissa would be sending us brand-new bundles of beautiful fabric too! Two winners will receive one fat-eighth bundle each of either Play All Day by American Jane or Overnight Delivery by Sweetwater.

    Oh, Scrap!So, let’s answer Lissa’s question: how do you store your scrap fabrics?

    • In organized bins, like Lissa.
    • I use bins and shelves and closets and boxes and such.
    • Organized? Not so much—I just go digging!

    Tell us your answer in the comments for your chance to win! We’ll choose two random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you can’t wait to discover Lissa’s best scrap-quilting secrets, you can buy Oh, Scrap! at ShopMartingale.com and instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winners are:

    Carole, who says, “I store my scraps in small bins or boxes on shelves…pretty organized.”

    Althea, who says, “Lissa, I love the colors in your ‘Oh, Scrap’ book. I do have lots of scraps and boxes of fabric which should be used up soon. I would certainly love to start out with your book of quilts to use my scraps.”

    We’ll email you about your prizes, ladies—congratulations!

    The Oh, Scrap! blog hop ends today—and all of the giveaways below end today too! You still have a chance to enter each one of them in order to win a free eBook copy of Oh, Scrap!

    March 16: Pat Sloan

    March 17: Corey Yoder

    March 18: Barbara Brackman

    March 19: Alison Dale of Fabric Expressions

    March 20: Melissa Corry

    March 21: Carrie Nelson of Moda Fabrics

    March 22: Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life

    March 23: Kimberly of Fat Quarter Shop

    March 24:  Teresa Silva of Quilting is my Bliss

    March 25: Jane Davidson of QuiltJane

    March 26: Martingale (that’s us!)

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  8. Hand-appliqued houses with Yoko Saito (video) 📹

    We’re pleased to bring you Yoko Saito books in English, published by Stitch Publications and distributed by Martingale. And today we’ve got a new video of Ms. Saito in action, sharing a technique from her book Houses, Houses, Houses!because house quilts are hot!

    This celebrated Japanese quilter is known for her exquisite appliqué, and in Houses, Houses, Houses! she explores quilted dwellings in all kinds of designs, from quilts and bags to pillows, pouches, and three-dimensional house-shaped blocks—34 step-by-step projects in all. You’ll also learn how to design your own house blocks, just like Yoko Saito does! Let’s take a look at how she appliqués her houses onto fabric. (And if you do hand appliqué, you won’t want to miss the two clever tools she uses to prepare her pieces—brilliant!).

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

    The way she turns those seams—we think that might be the best idea ever for prepping appliqué pieces with straight edges!

    Here are just a few beautiful projects from the book:

    Stairs Bag by Yoko Saito
    Stairs Bag

    Town on a Hill Carry-All by Yoko Saito
    A Town on a Hill Carry-All

    Block-of-the-Month II Quilt by Yoko Saito
    Block-of-the-Month II Quilt

    Here are some inspirational words from Yoko Saito’s Houses, Houses, Houses!

    Yoko Saito“The wonderful thing about appliqués of houses is that anyone can easily create one of their own. Even if you start with the same basic house pattern, just changing the fabric used for the walls or roof will make it completely unique. You can get creative and think about changing the shape of a door, or making it appear as if there is a light shining out of a window. You can even add trees outside the house. It’s almost as though you are young again and playing with blocks, putting them together however you desire.

    Ideas for house blocks can come from anywhere. You might stop and sketch a building that you see on a corner when you are out walking, find one in a picture book, or be inspired by a photo you took while on holiday. I hope this book sparks your imagination and encourages you to create your own original house.”

    Watch more Yoko Saito videos on hand sewing Log Cabins and stitching elegant vine appliqués.

    What kinds of abodes would you build with Houses, Houses, Houses?

    • Barns, churches, and mom-and-pop shops: I like the country life.
    • City skyscrapers: the sky’s the limit!
    • A friendly neighborhood with houses all in a row.

    Tell us which you’d stitch in the comments!

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  9. Our beginner is machine quilting! See her sublime first stitches

    Third time’s the charm! Martingale graphic designer Tara is back with a third installment of her “newbie” series, giving us a peek into the mind of a beginning quilter. Help us cheer her on! This time Tara tackles a topic that even longtime quilters can feel anxious about: machine quilting. Leave your good wishes and advice for Tara in the comments!

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


    In my last post, I was nervous about starting the quilting, and with good reason. Behold: my practice wholecloth sandwich! What a mess! It did its job, though—I quickly learned that quilting is nothing to be afraid of (unless you’re this poor sandwich).

    Oh my.

    For my Rainbow Runner, I started out trying to “stitch in the ditch.” I thought it would anchor the quilt and help me get a feel for sewing through all three layers before committing to anything too noticeable. I had also heard somewhere that it was a good skill for a beginner to start with. In reality, I couldn’t stay in the ditch at all! Not yet, anyway. Even when I could, I noticed that some of the stitches were visible and others disappeared into the seam. I got through two ditches and wanted to start over—so I ripped them out and pretended it never happened.

    Awhile back, Martingale’s director of marketing, Karen Johnson, had suggested that I quilt straight lines by sewing along painter’s tape. It worked really well for me (mostly because I dislike measuring things). I started with one set of diagonal lines across the whole quilt—about eight lines, eyeballed to be about the same distance apart.

    I started quilting and realized this was quite an undertaking. I noticed that the way I held the fabric while feeding it into the machine made a big difference. It also had to be folded a certain way to move with ease around the machine . . . then it needed somewhere to go on the other side. It required much more concentration and was far more physical than I expected. Every time I finished a set of lines and still thought it needed more, I wondered, “Are you sure?”

    Yes, you’re sure. Keep quilting!

    At some point—I’m not sure when exactly—probably around the 50th line—I suddenly realized the quilt felt like . . . a quilt! It had changed right under me into this thick, substantial material that was a lot easier to work with. It had stiffened a little so that it rolled up and folded nicely, and now it had this texture that changed the whole look. For some reason it surprised me—I guess forgot I was making a quilt? Or I didn’t expect it to work? I’m not sure, but I couldn’t stop!

    Almost done!

    After 69 lines, I had this nice diamond pattern that felt amazing and looked pretty cool, but I also thought it should be just a little more stiff and flat. So I did one more round of lines, which turned my diamonds into wonky parallelograms. Between you and me, it’s bugging me that I didn’t get those nice even-looking diamonds, but it feels perfect for a runner, and I’m chalking it up to a learning experience. Now I know how much quilting density I like, and I can plan my next quilt more easily.


    Did you read that? My next quilt! I’m definitely hooked and thinking hard about this project:

    Wrapped in Love from Peta Peace’s
    A Piece of Cake

    But first! I need to bind, label, and use this Rainbow Runner to make my first quilt official. I’ve already got a pieced binding strip and label made. I can’t wait!

    Thanks for sharing your newbie story with us, Tara—we all remember those “a-ha” moments when everything starts to click!

    Next time we’ll find out how Tara fared with binding her pretty little runner—and finishing her first quilt!

    What was the first kind of quilting you ever tried?

    • Same as Tara—straight lines on my machine.
    • Free-motion quilting.
    • I haven’t gotten that far yet!
    • Hand quilting, all the way.

    Tell us in the comments!

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  10. ⏰ Semiannual warehouse sale spotlight: small, quick quilts (FINAL DAY!)


    Today we’ve curated a list of $6 books packed with small, quick quilts—you know, for when you have the urge to whip up a pretty quilt for yourself, for a gift, or just because (because who needs a reason to sew?). Grab ’em for just $6 each, today only!

    Browse all $6 books at this link—make sure you didn’t miss any!


    Goes to
    Charm School

    Back to Charm

    101 Fabulous
    Small Quilts


    Set the Table

    Top Your Table

    Table Toppers


    Civil War Legacies

    Civil War Legacies II

    English Paper
    Piecing II


    Make It, Take It

    Sew Much Fleece

    Sew Many Gifts

    Sew This and That!

    Celebrate Christmas
    with TPP


    Welcome Baby
    Modern Baby
    Modern Baby

    Baby Bliss

    Visit this link to see all 95+ books
    in our Semiannual Warehouse Sale—
    ONLY $6 EACH through today!

    And remember to pick up a beautiful coffee-table book too—they’re all on sale for $22.00 each (37% off!)—final day to indulge!

    Which books are you treating yourself to on this final day of our warehouse sale? Tell us in the comments!

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