1. Kim Diehl + Jo Morton = a simply spectacular friendship 👭 (+ big fabric giveaway!)

    What could be more fun than making quilts? Making quilts with friends—and with quilting superstars Kim Diehl and Jo Morton by your side!

    Simple Friendships

    The wait to share this book with you has been almost unbearable for us. We are sooooo excited that today is the day we can reveal the beauty of a very special friendship—and a quiltmaking dream team: Kim and Jo!

    From Simple Friendships

    Kim and Jo bring together their signature styles in Simple Friendships, a book bursting with exquisite quilts to make with friends. Kim and Jo chose six of their all-time favorite blocks for exchanges; then each designed six quilts using those blocks, plus a sampler quilt that incorporates all six blocks. The results are breathtaking. You’ll learn how easy it is to form an exchange group with Kim and Jo’s advice. Instructions include options for making an entire quilt solo and making just one block at a time (perfect for exchanges). Friends, guilds, bees, online exchanges, and more—invite everyone to sew along and build lasting friendships while stitching these dazzling quilts!

    Kim and Jos Basket block quilts
    Basket block: Jo’s Berry Baskets quilt is on the left; Kim’s Cake in the Cabin quilt is on the right.

    We feel so lucky—we got to ask Kim and Jo our burning questions about the book, and their answers are below. Get chummy with these patchwork pals; then check out the a-ma-zing giveaway at the end of this post!

    Ladies, welcome back to Stitch This!


    Stitch This!: How did the two of you get together to write Simple Friendships? Did you know each other as friends before you joined creative forces?

    Kim DiehlKim: For years before we met I worshipped Jo from afar (yes, I will happily admit I was a groupie). We were both busy traveling and teaching and it seemed like we were often at the same guilds and events, but never at the same time. Until one day we WERE in the same place at the same time! I remember getting ready for our very first meeting and being so excited that I had to keep chanting to myself, “Act normal, act normal, act normal.” Our quiltmaking styles are different but complementary, and after years of dreaming about the idea of a blended book I finally suggested it to Jo. But we were both so busy and lived so many miles apart, we couldn’t make it happen. And then Martingale worked some magic!

    Jo MortonJo: About four years ago, Kim and I emailed each other about writing a book. But due to our busy schedules, it wasn’t coming together. When Jennifer Keltner joined Martingale, she resurrected the book concept and talked to both of us. She said, “How about friendship quilts?” How does one say no to Jennifer? By then Kim and I had pulled back from our busy teaching schedules, so it turned out to be great timing.

    Liberty Star quilt
    Star block: Liberty Star quilt by Kim

    ST!: How did you dream up block and project ideas for Simple Friendships—did you get together and have a block-brainstorming session to bounce ideas off each other?

    Kim: During the early planning stages of the book we both happened to be in Houston for Quilt Market. We got together, grabbed some Starbucks, and began tossing ideas around. Right from the start we were on the same page, and everything just fell into place. The hardest thing was having to whittle down our favorite blocks to only six when there are so many that we love. I thought it might come down to arm wrestling or rock, paper, scissors, but with a little give and take we got it handled.

    Jo: After our initial coffee chat in Houston, we followed up with lots of emails and a few phone calls. We sent pictures back and forth, asking “What do you think?” and saying, “This is what I’m doing!” The Internet is a wonderful tool, not always a time waster. Kim added her beautiful appliqué skills to her projects. I mostly sew patchwork quilts; I do get diverted from time to time with appliqué, but not on a regular basis like my friend. Kim lives in Idaho, and I live in Nebraska. We’re 991 miles apart, so it’s hard to meet up for coffee very often. Thank goodness Kim went to Quilt Market!

    Blueberry Buckle quilt
    King’s Crown block: Blueberry Buckle quilt by Jo

    ST!: There’s a section in Simple Friendships containing helpful guidelines for block exchanges. Can you share some of your best tips for starting and maintaining a quilt group?

    Kim: Because of my super busy schedule I admit it’s been a while since I’ve been part of a sewing group, but working on this book with Jo brought those memories flooding back and the experience felt very similar. Having a love of quilting is what will bring you together as a group, but establishing and agreeing upon realistic guidelines is what will keep you happy. To me, the single most important aspect of any swap is to clearly define color preferences, especially for scrappy exchanges, because color can be so subjective. And equally important, let the group know of any color you strongly DISLIKE (which we don’t usually think to do). If bubblegum pink is going to kill your buzz, speak up!

    Ruby Jubille sampler quilt
    Ruby Jubilee sampler quilt by Kim

    Jo: Thanks to Betsy Chutchian, I was lucky enough to get involved with several “unofficial” block exchanges put on by the 19th-Century Patchwork Divas. I made some good friends. That’s how I learned about block exchanges and how they work. One tip I suggest is to appoint a “hostess” for your exchange. A hostess makes sure everyone receives materials lists and instructions for making the block, and she also establishes deadlines. The hostess receives and distributes finished blocks to members. The hostess is of mega importance!

    Parkersburg quilt
    Yankee Puzzle block: Parkersburg quilt by Jo

    ST!: Tell us about your favorite block in the book and your favorite quilt (yes, we’re going to make you choose!).

    Kim: Noooo . . . this is like having to choose a favorite child or pet. But if my arm were to be twisted, I’d admit that the Warm Regards quilt made with the Old Italian block is my favorite (shhh, don’t tell the other quilts!). Jo introduced me to this block, and it immediately jumped right to the top of my “love it” list. Each block was an adventure in color and gave me some unexpected surprises, and the appliqué was a blast to stitch. But the very best part? Scads of yo-yos!

    Warm Regards quilt
    Old Italian block: Warm Regards quilt by Kim

    Jo: Hmm, that is hard. Favorite quilt block? I always like stars and baskets, and I also love medallions. You’re asking a quiltmaking mom to say this is my favorite child/quilt! I think my favorite quilt is whatever quilt I’m currently making. The current quilt has my full attention. I enjoy the process of getting my quilt to where I love it. I don’t draw designs on paper and then sew. I sew blocks, play with them on the design wall, and then play with assorted fabrics for the setting and borders until it all comes together.

    Twilight quilt by Jo
    Star block: Twilight quilt by Jo


    Thanks for sharing the scoop about your new book, Kim and Jo!

    Now, about that gorgeous fabric giveaway. . .

    Our friends at Henry Glass & Co. gave us a big, beautiful bundle of Kim’s latest line of fabric, called Katie’s Cupboard . . .

    Henry Glass fabric giveaway!
    Head over to the Henry Glass blog for another grand giveaway today!

    And our buddies at Moda Fabrics sent us a pretty pack of Jo’s latest fabric line, called Reflections . . .

    Moda fabric giveaway!

    And we get to give them away to you!

    For your chance to win one of the bundles PLUS your very own copy of Simple Friendships, tell us:

    When it comes to quilt-block exchanges:

    a) I’m seasoned—I love quilting with friends.
    b) I’m sporadic: I split my quilting time between my friends and me, myself, and I.
    c) I’m new to exchanges, but I think I need some “simple friendships” in my life!

    Tell us your answer in the comments—we’ll choose two random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And remember, when you buy Simple Friendships at ShopMartingale.com, you get to instantly download the eBook for free! Yippee!

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winners are Jane and M.

    Jane says, “I’m a new quilter, so I am definitely a ‘C.’  I’m a big history buff and have read quite a few historical books mentioning friendship quilts, and, scrappy quilts with blocks made by friends, neighbors and family for a gift.  I’d love to do this!”

    M says, “I’m somewhere between sporadic and seasoned. My daughter and I have been quilting together for some time. Our quilting experience began with my aunts getting together with my Mom, and making quilts. They had a wooden frame they used to tie the quilts. After each quilt was made, one of them, would make a note on the frame, the date and who the quilt was for. I have the frame now. My daughter and I used the frame when we first started making quilts. Since then we have advanced to different methods. I hope, one day, my daughter will continue quilting and want the frame.”

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

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  2. Wish List Day! Moda All-Stars, 4″ x 5″ blocks, free-motion 1-2-3 (+ giveaway!)

    We’re back for our favorite day of the month: it’s Wish List Day! We can’t wait to show you sneak peeks of books coming from Martingale in March—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.

    Moda All-Stars: Lucky Charm QuiltsModa All-Stars: Lucky Charm Quilts
    17 Delightful Patterns for Precut 5″ Squares
    Compiled by Lissa Alexander

    Oh yes we did—you love the Moda All-Stars series of books so much, we’re publishing book #4! In Lucky Charm Quilts, you’ll find dazzling quilts from some of Moda’s most popular designers, all made with 5″ charm squares. Chapters are organized by how many charm packs to use: one, two, or three. And guess what? Each designer had to stick to one important rule: use at least 80% of the charm pack. So no worries about waste! Click here to see beautiful charm quilts from Laurie Simpson, Lisa Bongean, Jenny Doan, Pat Sloan, Jen Kingwell, and more—they’re magically delightful! 🍀

    Prairie Nights quilt
    Stitches from the Garden author Kathy Schmitz has *charmed* us with Prairie Nights, a quilt she designed for Lucky Charm Quilts. So dramatic and elegant!

    Alex's Lemonade Stand FoundationAs with all our Moda All-Stars books, your purchase will make you a lucky charm for others. All royalties for the book will be donated to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds for research into new treatments and cures for all children battling cancer.

    See more charming quilts from the All-Stars >


    The 4" x 5" Quilt-Block AnthologyThe 4″ x 5″ Quilt-Block Anthology
    182 Blocks for Reproduction Fabrics
    Carol Hopkins and Linda M. Koenig

    Coming soon: a decidedly different quilt-block book! Perfect for your reproduction fabrics, this timeless collection is packed with 180+ block designs in a size that makes them simply spectacular: 4″ x 5″. This 208-page, pattern-packed volume is based on blocks that started as a challenge in the authors’ Indiana quilt group: design 4″ × 5″ quilt blocks using reproduction fabrics in blue, black, red, and double pink. Boy did they meet the challenge! Pore over scrap-tastic fabric choices with a close-up photo of each block; then get inspired to set your blocks with several examples of magnificent sampler quilts. You’ll never run short of ideas for transforming the blocks from this stunning anthology into heirloom-worthy works of art.

    Linda M. Koenig passed away shortly before this book went to press, saddening all of us who worked with her. Despite being ill, Linda, along with her good friend Carol Hopkins, put great effort into making this book a superb resource for lovers of reproduction fabrics and seekers of both classic and unusual block patterns. We’re grateful that she did.

    Small Town Parade quilt
    Small Town Parade pieced by Garnet Roesel and quilted by Lisa Ramsey

    See all the blocks from the Anthology >


    Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
    61 Designs to Finish Your Quilts with Flair
    Lori Kennedy

    If you need to fill up a quilt quickly—and you want the quilting to be as much a part of your quilt’s personality as your piecing—start here! Hang 61 free-motion designs on your quilting tool belt with help from quilting pro Lori Kennedy. Learn to quilt flowers, leaves, tiny houses, and SO many more of the whimsical motifs Lori is known for on your home sewing machine with step-by-step, close-up photography instead of illustrations—the photos make it easy to understand how each motif is created and how to reproduce it. A concealed spiral binding keeps your book flat as you learn, and Lori’s 12-step setup routine guarantees you’ll achieve success right from the start.

    Sample page from Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
    Sample page from
    Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

    See more of Lori’s designs—easy as 1-2-3 >


    So, which book would make your March marvelous? Tell us in the comments and you could win it! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck—and thanks for browsing our newest books today!

    New books from Martingale

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    "They’re all appealing! But I think I’d like to try the 4″x 5″ Anthology."

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

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  3. Scrappy Nine Patch quilt block tutorial (+ the one clever step you’re missing)

    Detail of Gradations quiltOnce in a while we come across a piecing technique we hadn’t heard about before—just goes to show that even after 40 years, there’s always something new to learn! We’re excited to share this little tweak to a technique you’ve likely used many times before: chain piecing.

    The video below focuses on a scrappy version of a Nine Patch quilt block, but you can use the technique with many different block designs. So if you’re drowning in scraps (and we know many of you are), skip the strip piecing and make your own super scrappy Nine Patch blocks—and learn a tip for keeping your squares and rows in the right order as you sew.


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

    This smart little tip comes from the book Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Nine Patches—take a look at some of the sensationally scrappy Nine Patch quilts you can create!

    Not So Plain Nine Patch quilt
    Not So Plain by Susan Ache

    Old Nine - Nine Patch quilt
    Old Nine by Tammy Vonderschmitt

    Bespoke Nine Patch quilt
    Bespoke by Corey Yoder

    Patches and Pomegranates Nine Patch quilt
    Patches and Pomegranates by Debbie Roberts

    See more from Block-Buster Quilts: I Love Nine Patches >


    A beautiful basic gets even better: don’t you just love it when that happens?

    So, is this chain-piecing technique new to you, or has it been in your quilting tool belt all along? Tell us in the comments!

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  4. We 💘 quilts! Perfect pairs of Valentine’s Day gifts for the loves in your life

    Thirties-Hearts-and-Arrows-quiltIt’s February 1st—almost time to shower all the darlings, dears, sweethearts, and honeys in your life with a special gift. And of course a gift from you will be the creative kind!

    We’ve rounded up some pretty (and pretty quick) projects to sew in plenty of time to bestow your adorations and affections on someone special—and they’re paired with add-on gift ideas that will give you more time with your loved ones. Your stash of reds, whites, and pinks await!

    💞 For your one true love

    Honor your one and only with a quilt full of hearts that you can display all through the year. Add a bouquet of flowers; then splurge on a romantic dinner or an indulgent couple’s massage.

    Three of Hearts quilt
    Download the Three of Hearts Wall Quilt ePattern
    by Ellen Pahl for $4.99.

    💞 For your BFF

    Pair one of these cute hand-sewn greeting cards with tickets for you and a friend to attend a play, musical, festival, museum, or other local event. You can both look forward to precious time together.

    Sewn-cards-and-tickets
    Download the Hi and Heart Greeting Cards ePattern
    for $3.99; download the movie-invite printable at Confetti and Bliss.

    💞 For your family peeps

    This tiny heart quilt is perfect for making in multiples—make one in each family member’s signature color. Add a basket of nom-nom goodies and enjoy a movie night at home!

    Little-Love-quilt-and-movie-night
    Little Love quilt by Edyta Sitar, from the book
    Moda All-Stars Mini Marvels; Movie Night Snack Basket from A Tasteful Gift.

    💞 For your little loves

    Make a Valentine-hued quilt for your favorite kiddo; then venture out on the town for a fun movie night away from home! Bring the quilt you make so you can snuggle up at the show.

    Wish Upon a (Crazy) Star quilt
    Wish upon a (Crazy) Star quilt by Janet Nesbitt, from
    Crazy at the Cabin; theater image from clipartion.com.

    💞 For the littlest of littles

    A quilt to cuddle in and a book all about love to read: does Valentine’s Day get any better?

    Tender Hearts quilt
    Tender Hearts quilt by Mary Hickey, from
    The Big Book of Baby Quilts; Guess How Much I Love You available at Amazon.com.

    🐺 For your furry friends 🐶

    Don’t forget the ones who love you unconditionally, day in and day out: your pets!

    Comfy Pet Perch
    Comfy Pet Perch by Linda Turner Griepentrog, from the book
    Sew Much Fleece; turn up the love quotient by adding your pooch’s favorite treat.

    Kitty Tunnel and Toys
    Kitty Tunnel and Toys by Missy Shepler, from the book Sew Much Fleece; treat your cat to a fancy Valentine’s Day feast too!

    Do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day by going out or staying in? Tell us in the comments!

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  5. Meet the quilter who made 366 quilt blocks in a year (spoiler alert: she’s awesome)

    Patricia-BryantMeet Patricia Bryant—Australian quilter extraordinaire who gave herself a challenge: make every block in Debby Kratovil’s Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar. That in itself would be a feat. But Patricia went one step further: she decided to sew a block for 366 days in a row. One block for each day in 2016.

    And guess what? SHE DID IT!!!

    “audience

    We were thrilled when Patricia began posting her daily quilt blocks to our Facebook page because we got to watch her journey unfold—and we got to marvel at her daily styled photos:

    Patricia's quilt blocks
    This collage represents only 80 of the 366 photos Patricia took of her blocks in 2016.

    Wondering what 366 quilt blocks look like all stacked up? Patricia knew you would:

    366-quilt-blocks

    We kept in contact with Patricia throughout the year. When her goal had been reached, we asked if she wouldn’t mind a little Q&A—because we all had questions. Did she use up her fabric stash? How did she stay inspired all year? How did she find the time? And WHAT is she going to do with all those blocks?

    Patricia was kind enough to answer those questions below. You can see all of Patricia’s beautiful blocks in this album on Facebook.


    Stitch This!: What inspired you to make every block in the Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar—one block a day for an entire year?

    Patricia: I didn’t start out to make all the blocks. I made the first one as a new beginning for 2016. I received the calendar as a gift from one of my craft-group friends. I enjoyed sewing the block for the first of January, and then the second of January, and then the first week, and then the first month. By the time I’d been sewing the blocks for about six weeks, friends and family started encouraging me to keep going. I thought I would, but only if it continued to be enjoyable. By about the six-month mark I found I was determined to finish the year!

    blocks-from-January-February-and-March
    A peek at Patricia’s blocks from January, February, and March

    ST!: Were all the blocks made from your fabric stash?

    Patricia: Yes. My mother and I began patchwork and quilting together in the mid-1980s, so we had ample time to amass sizeable stashes. When Mum passed away, I inherited her fabric stash. Sewing the blocks seemed like a good way to decrease the size of the combined stashes. However, having made 366 blocks, I can honestly say there is no discernible hole in the stash!

    ST!: What motivated you to keep on going each day?

    Patricia: Mainly two things: there were lots of people expressing enjoyment from seeing the blocks each day, and I felt that if I stopped, I would be letting them down. I was also sewing the blocks in memory of Mum, using her fabrics.

    blocks-from-April-May-and-June
    Blocks from April, May, and June—you’ll find
    lots of sweet animals in Patricia’s pics!

    ST!: Did you ever feel like skipping a day, or did you ever make two blocks in a day so you could take a break?

    Patricia: Yes, I often made blocks in advance if knew about travel, medical appointments, etc. I worked around leukemia and post-chemotherapy issues.

    ST!: Was it difficult to keep up with sewing on the road?

    Patricia: Not really, it was all down to planning ahead, and power for the sewing machine.

    blocks-from-July-August-and-September
    Blocks from July, August, and September

    ST!: How did you come up with photo vignettes for each block on a daily basis?

    Patricia: The vignettes improved as the year progressed. The early photos are very plain, then the photo shoots started to take on a life of their own! I tried to keep each photo shoot as spontaneous as possible with no plan in mind. Just whatever took my fancy on the day. They were influenced by circumstance, weather, location, and time.

    a-misadventure-in-photographing-a-quilt-block
    A misadventure with Patricia’s Ocean Waves block on August 19—oops!

    ST!: What are some of your favorite blocks or favorite photos?

    Patricia: I don’t think I could choose a favorite block. There are so many blocks I love, it would be like trying to choose a favorite child!

    I have two favorite photos. One is from April 8, called Eight Hands Around, where dear friends from my craft group lent me a hand in so many ways:

    April-8-quilt-block--Eight-Hands-Around-block
    Eight Hands Around block, April 8

    Another favorite photo is from April 29, called Wheels. We had stopped late the previous evening with the caravan and slept right beside a truck refueling point. This was our view the next morning. To me the photo was serendipitous!

    Wheels-block
    Wheels block, April 29

    Over the year I did end up using two calendars. My original calendar was looking a bit worse for wear—it had been pecked by birds, dropped in the ocean, and rained on, just to mention a few of its misadventures.

    Patricias-calendar
    Patricia’s well-loved calendar!

    ST!: What did you learn about yourself as a quilter during your year-long journey?

    Patricia: I learned how very thankful I was for past quilters. At the very start of my quilting journey in the 1980s, I went to classes and made a couple of sampler quilts. It was that basic knowledge from other quilters which allowed me, many years later, to have the know-how to easily sew every block in the calendar. I’ve found I enjoy passing this knowledge onto others.

    I also could not have completed the year without the support of my amazing husband.

    blocks-from-October-November-and-December
    Blocks from October, November, and December

    ST!: Everyone is dying to know: what will you do with all the blocks?

    Patricia: I’m intending to make a lot of them into quilts for family, friends, and charity. I’m excited about using the blocks in original layouts, adding other units, and playing with the blocks on my new design wall. Some of the blocks will find their way into table toppers, tote bags, and other small gifts.

    ST!: We’ve been watching you on Instagram and noticed that you’re making blocks from The Splendid Sampler sew-along. Do you plan to catch up on all 100 blocks by the group’s last day, February 14?

    Patricia: I’m loving The Splendid Sampler. The 6½" blocks really appeal to me. I enjoy “meeting” all the different designers of the blocks and being part of the online community. But as we are away from home, trying to take my stash while traveling the open roads with our caravan’s weight and storage restrictions make it impossible to bring too much with me. So sadly, I won’t be caught up by February 14. I do have a couple of projects with me to work on though, when time and electrical power allow!

    Patricia-and-her-blocks
    Patricia and her blocks on January 1, 2017.


    Patricia, thank you for sharing your year with us—we looked forward to your posts every day and we miss them already!

    In honor of Patricia’s milestone, we’re offering 20% off the Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar plus free shipping in the US and Canada—while supplies last. Treat yourself to a quiltmaking journey just like Patricia!

    Quilters-Block-a-Day-Calendar-sale

    So, how many blocks do you think you made in 2016?

    a) It’s gotta be a lot, because I lost count.

    b) Definitely more than 20—and I have the quilts to prove it.

    c) Not enough—I’d like to sew more in 2017!

    Tell us your answer in the commentsand if you’d like to see what Patricia’s up to this year, follow her at @bryant_patricia on Instagram!

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  6. What makes a spectacular scrap quilt? 7 designers share their secrets

    It’s a mystery to many quilters: how do you make a scrap quilt that doesn’t turn into a muddled mess?

    In her book Modern Heritage Quilts, Amy Ellis asks her superstar quilting friends to share what they think makes a great scrap quilt. Today we’re sharing some of their answers. If you’re drowning in scraps, longing to make a scrap quilt, or aren’t sure how to get started, read on!

    Keep-fabric-scraps-in-jars

    CARRIE NELSON

    Author of Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites

    “The scrap quilts that are memorable to me—whether they’re new or vintage, made by others or by me—are those that tell me a little bit about the maker. I love it when quilts have some sense of personality. They can be messy or organized, with a defined color palette or every color of the rainbow. I like quirky quilts with a crazy pastiche of colors, prints, textures, and so on. It isn’t always about how many fabrics they include but rather the attitude behind the selection.”

    AMY SMART

    Author of Fabulously Fast Quilts

    “Using as many scraps as possible and throwing in some ugly scraps. I tried making a scrappy Trip Around the World quilt a few months ago and hated it at first because it was too matchy. As soon as I purposely threw in some ‘uglies,’ I fell in love with the quilt. Now it sings!”

    The-Comfort-Quilt
    The Comfort Quilt by Amy Ellis, from Modern Heritage Quilts

    JACKIE KUNKEL

    Author of Splash of Color

    “I think a scrap quilt is successful when there are enough scraps used that they cause conversation and make the entire look of the quilt so darn interesting you just can’t stop looking at it! That is the sheer beauty of a scrap quilt—the randomness, the intrigue, the curiosities that go along with the finished quilt.”

    PAT SLOAN

    Author of Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt

    “I prefer a plan to my scrap quilts. The plan might be to limit the colors or to be sure I have enough of the same light to balance all the crazy fabrics and patterns.”

    Venus-quilt
    Venus by Amy Ellis, from
    Modern Heritage Quilts

    NANCY MAHONEY

    Author of Learn to Paper Piece

    “What makes a scrap quilt successful is value and contrast. Using fabrics with different values (light, medium, and dark) will make the design sing. You also want to think about contrast when using fabrics with similar values. Without enough contrast, the fabrics will blend together and the design will be lost.”

    MARIANNE FONS

    “An abundance of fabrics! When I started making quilts in the mid 1970s, a scrap quilt was not possible because there were so few patchwork-weight 100% cottons available. The first scrap quilt Liz Porter and I made was in the 1980s, and we were simply amazed when we counted 60 fabrics in it!

    In a scrap quilt, any fabric can work, as long as it has ‘friends’ to lean on. With 60, 100, or 200 fabrics, the success of the quilt doesn’t depend on just one or two of your choices. The ‘wonder fabrics’ (those you bought and wonder why) lose themselves among the great fabrics.”

    The-Wedding-Quilt
    The Wedding Quilt by Amy Ellis, from
    Modern Heritage Quilts

    So the consensus is: MORE IS BETTER! But saving scraps can be a messy business (ask us how we know). Here’s Amy’s strategy for efficiently saving her fabric scraps as she’s making other quilts:

    Amy-Ellis“A few of my favorite quilts are those I’ve made from my scrap bin. They contain bits of fabric from other projects I’ve created, and they always bring a smile to my face. When I’m cutting any quilt, I keep a container nearby for scraps. The extra bits after crosscutting my squares and rectangles, plus any leftovers after piecing, all go into the container. This can be a simple storage tote or a pretty jar. It all depends on your space and what works for you, but once it’s full, the sorting begins! At that point I sort by color.”

    Amy’s “One at a Time” boxes in Modern Heritage Quilts allow you to make just one block at a time from your scrap bin, instead of cutting fabric for an entire quilt—such a smart way to get scrappy!

    We hope you’ve enjoyed these scrappy designer secrets from Modern Heritage Quilts!

    Modern Heritage QuiltsSo, how do you make a scrap quilt?

    a) I like to plan my scrap quilts, keeping close track of colors and values as I go.

    b) I like to plan but sometimes I’ll throw in a surprise, just to see what happens.

    c) I close my eyes and dig in. Anything goes!

    Tell us your approach in the comments!

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  7. Darling crochet for Baby’s big day – and Mom’s too! (+ giveaway!)

    Baby girl, baby boy, baby bump, baby steps, baby shower, babies here, babies there, babies on the way—we’re baby crazy today! We can’t wait to see how you crocheters out there will shower the babies you know (or will meet soon) with the precious projects in 9 Months to Crochet!

    9-Months-to-Crochet

    This adorable new book from Maaike van Koert is bursting with sweet, simple projects that follow Mama and Baby through pregnancy and beyond. Organized to celebrate each trimester leading up to Baby’s birthday, 9 Months to Crochet includes crochet projects to pamper the mom-to-be too. What a wonderful way to say “Welcome!” Crochet as you grow (or your loved one grows) and transition to life with a little one in comfort and style.

    From-9-Months-to-Crochet

    Baby-friendly yarns feature natural fibers like cotton and washable wool, which are practical, easy to care for, and long-lasting. Choose one or two projects from each chapter to crochet, or make them all!

    Start with a cozy scarf for Mom and a classic granny-square baby blanket to match:

    Scarf-and-granny-square-blanket
    Comfort and warmth—the perfect gifts to start with!

    Then whip up a pretty shawl and hot-water-bottle cover to ward off the chill:

    Shawl-and-hot-water-bottle-cover

    Now that Mom’s stylish and snug, let’s see all the ways we can delight and amuse that wonderful baby on the way!

    Choose to decorate baby’s nursery:

    Bright-Nursery-Bunting
    Bright Nursery Bunting

    Sleepy-Sheep-Mobile
    Sleepy Sheep Mobile

    Dress ’em up from day one:

    Crochet-set-for-baby
    Beanie, booties, sweater, and shorts = adorbs!

    Matching-sweater-rattle-and-blanket-set
    Sleeveless Cardigan, Striped Baby Blanket, and Rattle Buddy

    Or even teach them a game or two:

    Patchwork-ball-rattles
    Patchwork Ball Rattles

    We guarantee you’ll love spoiling a baby silly with these fun-to-make projects! And no worries if you’re new to crochet: crochet basics are covered in step-by-step photos, so even beginners can jump right in.

    Crochet-basics

    Clothing, blankets, toys, and more in classic styles with a clean, modern twist—it’s all in 9 Months to Crochet, hooray!

    What’s your favorite item to make for babies?

    a) Blankets and quilts: the perfect excuse to snuggle.
    b) Items to decorate the nursery: welcome to a pretty world.
    c) Toys—let the fun and games begin!

    Tell us your choice in the comments and you could win a copy of 9 Months to Crochet! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck—and happy birthday to Baby!

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “Blankets and burp cloths.”

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

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  8. New Year’s resolution: use up those scraps!

    scrapsDid you make any quilty New Year’s resolutions this year? I asked several of my quilting buddies and got many different answers. The top four were: finish up UFOs, get my sewing space organized, learn a new technique, and use up my scraps! If using up scraps or paring down your stash is at the top of YOUR list, then you’ll love the books below. They offer solutions to a number of different scrappy dilemmas. Read on and find the perfect book for the scraps you’re ready to bust.


    Scrappy Fat-Quarter Quilts
    Scrappy Fat Quarter Quilts: Favorite Projects from Fons & Porter

    Got fat quarters? Most of us do. This great compilation of quilt patterns from Fons & Porter will whittle down that fat-quarter stash in no time (which means we can buy more, right?)!

    Sparkle Punch quilt Triple Four Patch quilt
    Left: Sparkle Punch by Elizabeth Hartman. Right: Triple Four Patch by Lynn Roddy Brown.

    get-the-book $19.99 $15.99 + free shipping (US and Canada)

    get-the-ebook $14.99 $11.99


    Strip Savvy
    Strip Savvy: 2 1/2″-Strip Quilting Designs by Kate Henderson

    For those of you with a collection of 2½" strips or Jelly Rolls (please don’t ask me how many I have!) that are begging to be sewn into quilts, you’ll find plenty of tempting patterns here.

    That 70s Quilt Reflections quilt
    Left: That 70’s Quilt. Right: Reflections, both by Kate Henderson.

    get-the-book $24.99 $19.99 + free shipping (US and Canada)

    get-the-ebook $16.99 $13.59


    Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles
    Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles

    Perhaps your scrap collection is made up of smaller pieces that you just can’t bring yourself to throw out. These stunners are all based on small rectangles!

    Black and White and Red All Over quilt Lava Flow quilt
    Left: Black and White and Red All Over by Judy Turner. Right: Lava Flow by Margaret Rolfe.

    get-the-book $26.99 $21.59 + free shipping (US and Canada)

    get-the-ebook $18.99 $15.19


    Scrap Quilts Fit for a Queen
    Scrap Quilts Fit for a Queen: or a King, Twin, or Lap

    If you’ve been quilting for a while, chances are you have all of the above—and then some. There’s a book for that too! Best of all, no matter how large or small your scrap collection is, the talented Sally Schneider provides you with 10 scrappy quilts—each with instructions for making lap, twin, queen, and king sizes. What a phenomenal value!

    Diamond Ring quilt Courthouse Steps quilt
    Left: Diamond Ring. Right: Ohio Star and Courthouse Steps, both by Sally Schneider.

    get-the-book $26.99 $21.59 + free shipping (US and Canada)

    get-the-ebook $18.99 $15.19


    What is YOUR scrap situation? “Send help, I’m buried!” “I’ve got it under control!” Or, “Scraps? What scraps?” Tell us in the comments!

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  9. Turn scraps into beautiful baskets? You gotta 👀 it to believe it (+ flash sale!)

    If you’ve got scraps and stash fabrics just waiting to be transformed into something beautiful and useful, read on. Today we’re sharing ideas from the sequel to the best-selling It’s a Wrap book, and if you’ve never seen these kinds of projects before, we guarantee you’ll flip your (fabric) lid—they’ll breathe new life into your stash!

    its-a-wrap-ii-flash-sale

    It’s a Wrap II by Susan Breier reveals a fun and easy way to use up your scraps and leftover strips with a technique that anyone can learn in a snap. And we mean anyone—just look at this how-to video from Susan’s first book:



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

    So easy—simply wrap, coil, and sew. Once you get the hang of the basic technique, you can create dazzling baskets, bowls, plates, and more in all kinds of shapes and sizes. And what’s best about Susan’s second book is that it contains three new project shapes to triple your playtime!

    Start with round, oval, and square baskets to learn the basics:

    Round-and-oval-baskets
    Round and oval baskets

    Square-basket
    Square basket

    Then try triangle shapes:

    Triangle-basket
    Triangle basket

    Figure eights:

    Figure-eight-basket
    Figure-eight basket

    Lids and handles:

    Basket-lid
    Basket lid

    Basket-handle
    Basket handle

    And our favorite—hearts! 💕💕💕

    Heart-basket
    How sweet is this scrappy heart basket? Give it as a gift and fill it with the gift recipient’s favorite little things—fancy wrapped chocolates immediately come to mind!

    You can even create one-of-a-kind, work-of-art purses—the purse below is sewn as a narrow oval basket with added handles, pockets, and a closure.

    Basic-Oval-Purse
    Basic oval purse

    Embellishment fans will love this extra perk: an entire chapter is dedicated to embellishing projects with beads, paints, buttons, charms, appliqués, and even wrapped-clothesline embellishments.

    It's-a-Wrap-II-embellishments
    Basket embellishments

    Time to “wrap” things up! Would you like to try a project from It’s a Wrap II? Grab the eBook for just FIVE BUCKS this weekend!

    Take a peek at your fabric stash: what color would rule in your baskets, bowls, and such? Tell us in the comments!

    Sale ends at noon (PT) on January 23, 2017.

    its-a-wrap-ii-flash-sale

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  10. ✂ You’ll have SEW much fun with Terry Atkinson! ✂ (+special giveaway!)

    We are thrilled to welcome celebrated designer Terry Atkinson to the Martingale family and to introduce you to her first-ever book with Martingale: Simple, Fun & Quickly Done!

    Simple Fun and Quickly Done

    When it comes to sewing, Terry has a philosophy we can all relate to: no one needs a hobby that adds more stress to life! That’s the spirit that guides her easy projects for learning to sew. From toppers and pillows to quilts and bags, you’ll enjoy every minute of your stitching time with Terry’s beginner-friendly instruction and can-do attitude.

    Color-Block Table Runner
    Color-Block Table Runner: use just four fat quarters to make this pretty runner. It’s reversible too!

    Never sewn in a zipper? Terry’s known for getting stitchers to try it—and enjoy it! She’ll inspire you to master the zipper, the tote, and other dimensional projects. With her easygoing approach to learning, you can’t go wrong. The Pillow Talk project below is one of Terry’s most-requested patterns because you can easily achieve a professional finish. See the lapped closure? It conceals the zipper teeth so both sides of your pillow stay pretty.

    Pillow-Talk
    Pillow Talk

    Terry also has a hearty sense of humor; some of her projects will have you giggling because they’re so darn cute and clever!

    Bacon-and-Eggs-Hot-Pad
    Serve up this sweet little plate of bacon and eggs at the kitchen table!

    Owl-Zip
    Whooo would you make this adorable bag for?

    When you want to have some sewing fun, make a beeline for Terry’s new book: you’ll find yourself sewing just for the joy of it. We’re excited to have Terry here as a guest writer today to tell you a little more about Simple, Fun & Quickly Done. Take it away, Terry!

    BUT FIRST. . .


    GIVEAWAY ALERT! Terry sent us a colorful assortment of 15 zippers from her line at Atkinson Designs—and we get to give them away to you! Learn how to win this collection, curated by Terry herself, PLUS a copy of Simple, Fun & Quickly Done, at the bottom of this post.

    Zipper-giveaway-blog


    Terry-AtkinsonI’ve always enjoyed creating with fabric. In grade school, I took a summer sewing class so that my mom would let me use her machine. Instead of finishing the dress from that class, I spent a wonderful summer creating and sewing doll clothes. As a teenager, I saved until I could buy my own sewing machine. As an adult, my favorite jobs have been related to sewing in one way or another. I’ve sold sewing machines, managed a fabric store, done alterations at a bridal shop, sold quilts at art and craft fairs, and taught high-school home economics. All this experience has led me to my favorite job: designer.

    My passion for creative sewing has endured, along with my need for fast results. I love to come up with shortcut methods for sewing projects. I test each project several ways; then I write the instructions using the easiest method. I’ve often heard people say, “That was so much easier than I thought it would be!” I love to add special details, but I always make sure they are simple to sew!

    Buttoned-Napkin-Holders
    These Buttoned Napkin Holders are perfect for any small items you want to corral. They make great thread and scrap catchers too.

    You’ll find a wide variety of projects in Simple, Fun & Quickly Done, because I love trying different techniques. I’d have a hard time choosing a favorite technique because it depends on what I’m in the mood to sew. It’s so much fun to work with different fabrics and try out color combinations in these small projects.

    Sling-Bag
    Another four-fat-quarter-friendly project: the Sling Bag.

    Whether it’s a simple table runner, an easy zipper bag, or a cute home accessory, there are only three things you need to know about the projects in my new book: they are simple, fun, and quickly done!

    Sister-Stars-Table-Runner
    Sister Stars Table Runner

    Look for Atkinson Designs 14″ zippers at your local quilt shop. We have a rainbow of 36 colors and you’re sure to find just the one you need.

    Visit Terry’s website: atkinsondesigns.com
    Follow Terry on Facebook and Instagram


    Simple Fun and Quickly DoneTerry, thanks for telling us more about your new book! Now, to enter our giveaway, tell us:

    When it comes to sewing zippers:

    1. a) I’ve got it all zipped up: mastered ’em.
    2. b) I’m working on my technique: getting there!
    3. c) I break out in a sweat. 😳

    Tell us your answer in the comments and you could win the zipper collection from Atkinson Designs plus a copy of Simple, Fun & Quickly Done! 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 Mary Anne, who says:

    “I’m definitely a ‘c.’ I’ve never learned how to put in zippers so usually avoid projects with them. I appreciate the chance to win this book and the zipper collection!”

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

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