1. Quiltstock is coming this summer—will we see you there?

    It’s the New Year—time for a NEW adventure! And we’ve got just the thing: our first-ever quilt retreat with our friends at Moda Fabrics will take you on the adventure of a lifetime!

    Give yourself an early birthday gift . . .  Start planning your summer vacation . . .  Use your tax refund wisely! Invest in fun, friends, and a fantastic quilting experience you’ll never forget.

    Join us for an epic five-day/four-night event that quilters will talk about for years to come. Don’t miss your chance to mix and mingle with other quilters and top-notch designers, all brought to you by Martingale and Moda—the people and brands that bring you more of what you love about quilting!

    Fun, friends, piecing, and happiness—plus four fabulous world-class designers to learn from. And you don’t have to choose the classes you want to attend. YOU get to have classes with ALL OF THEM!


    Introducing YOUR Quiltstock teachers!

    Classes + free-time sewing + fun & games = THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE

    Guarantee your spot with a $995 payment that covers all four classes, special events, a limited edition Quiltstock 2018 goodie bag (retail value over $250), and seven meals. The $995 retreat fee is nonrefundable but is transferrable.

    Don’t wait, SPACE IS LIMITED. Class supply list will be available June 1, 2018.

    Here’s how to reserve your spot at Quiltstock:

    Sign up! Call 800-426-3126, ext. 1378, or 425-483-3313, ext. 1378 (for callers outside US/CAN).

    Don’t miss out on an extra SHOPportunity, July 23, 2018, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.! Tell us now if you’d like to add an optional excursion to visit Chip and Joanna Gaines’ flagship store, Magnolia Market, in Waco, Texas. The $125 tour fee is nonrefundable but is transferable. (Click here for details.)

    Reserve your hotel room for Quiltstock 2018 online here or by calling Magnolia Hotel Park Cities, Dallas, at 888-983-5012 or 214-750-6060 (reference Quiltstock room block). All Quiltstock participants must stay onsite at the Magnolia Hotel during the event. Rooms are $139 per night and include parking. Share a room with a friend or room alone, it’s your choice!

    Invite your friends! Download this Quiltstock 2018 brochure and tell them you’re going!


    Questions? Comments?
    Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to answer!

    Hope to see you in 2018 at QUILTSTOCK!


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  2. Wish List Day! Charms, gardens, and lunch-hour patchwork (+ giveaway!)

    Can we get a whoop-whoop for Wish List Day? We’re counting down the days until our February 2018 books hit your local quilt shop—tell us which new release is your favorite 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.

    Moda All-Stars: Mini Charm QuiltsModa All-Stars: Mini Charm Quilts
    18 Clever Projects for 2½" Squares

    Compiled by Lissa Alexander

    The Moda All-Stars are back to charm you in many “mini” ways! Start with one, two, or three packs of 2½" mini-charm squares; then choose a project from 18 celebrated Moda designers, including Lisa Bongean, Jen Kingwell, Jo Morton, Laurie Simpson, and Pat Sloan. And let the mini-making begin!

    Projects include a pincushion, a runner, a doll-quilt-and-pillow set, and a multitude of small quilts, including one inspired by an antique game board. Mini charms pack a mighty punch—and these fun patterns work like a charm.

    From Moda All-Stars: Mini Charm Quilts

    See more marvelous minis >


    A Cottage GardenA Cottage Garden
    Stitch and Enjoy a Bounty of Beautiful Blossoms

    Kathy Cardiff

    When an avid gardener and seasoned quilt and stitchery designer combines her passions, magic sprouts! Using wool as her medium and flowers as her muse, Kathy Cardiff brings her blossoming backyard garden to life in projects that blend elegant beauty with a touch of primitive charm.

    Projects from pillows and sewing notions to table toppers and wall quilts culminate in a stunning nine-block sampler quilt bursting with blooms. Add basic embroidery-stitch details to give each flower, leaf, and vine Kathy’s special brand of cottage style.

    From A Cottage Garden
    This way to more cottage style in wonderful wool >


    Lunch-Hour PatchworkLunch-Hour Patchwork
    15 Easy-to-Start (and Finish!) Projects

    Pack your lunch . . . and a project too! The second book in our “Lunch-Hour” series makes small, charming projects easily doable—during your lunch hour! Perfectly portable patchwork can be completed in as little as an hour or over just a few lunch breaks during the week.

    Choose from pretty pillows, small quilts, cute bags, and more—all beginner friendly, simple to start, and a breeze to finish. Whether lunchtime is spent at the office, on the road, or right at home, now you can break up each busy day with some sublime stitching time!

    From Lunch-Hour Patchwork

    See more lovely lunch-hour projects >


    Which February book would you flip your lid for? 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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  3. Best new quilt books? They’re coming in 2018! (sneak peek)

    Cheers to the New Year!

    As we turn the page on a new year, we celebrate the creativity of you, our customers, the loyalty of passionate book lovers, and the spirit that spurs all of us on to make things for those we love.

    We know the gift-giving season is behind us, but we wanted to share just one more little gift with you—a sneak peek at books coming from Martingale in 2018. We hope you’re excited about them as we are!


    A Cottage Garden
    February: Kathy Cardiff brings her blossoming backyard garden to life in projects that blend elegant beauty with a touch of primitive charm. Wool lovers, this one’s for you!


    Lunch-Hour Patchwork
    February:
    Pack your lunch . . . and some stitching too! These perfectly portable patchwork projects can be completed in as little as an hour or over just a few lunch breaks. Lunch-time fun is served!


    Moda All-Stars: Mini Charm Quilts
    February:
    Eeny, meeny, mini, moe . . . small quilts are so fun to sew! The Moda All-Stars are back to charm you in many mini ways—each project uses one, two, or three packs of 2½" mini-charm squares.


    Jo's Little Favorites III
    March:
    Oh, Jo—we love you so! Enjoy 16 more exquisite little quilts previously available only to Jo’s devoted club members. Jo also invites you into her 1920s-era bungalow to share how she displays quilts in her home. What a treat!


    Oh, Scrap!
    March:
    Lissa Alexander has spent three decades honing her talents, and now you get to learn all her scrappy tricks. Your unique stash—and Lissa’s book—is all you need to make scrap quilts that sing in 2018.


    More Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
    April:
    No fancy machine needed, no PhD in quilting required—start free-motion quilting right away with this sequel to Lori Kennedy’s previous best seller. Sixty irresistibly fun motifs will get your machine whirring!


    Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too
    April:
    Gail’s sweet embroidery motifs feature bees and bunnies, houses and hearts, and her signature bird, leaf, and vine motifs. Learn just eight simple stitches to create any project in the book.


    Simple Whatnots
    May:
    Kim Diehl returns with a new collection of petite quilts that are scrap friendly, quick to finish, and as cute as can be. Kim Diehl fans won’t want to miss this one!


    Stitches from the Yuletide
    May:
    Celebrate the charms of the winter season with Kathy Schmitz’s spectacularly embroidered winter scenes, hand-drawn sketches, and beautiful watercolor paintings. Dreamy.


    Pure and Simple
    May:
    Celebrated maker Maggie Bonanomi will lead you on a creative journey with her hand-drawn patterns, hand-dyed wool, artful motifs, and casual stitches. A slow-sewing delight!


    Whew—we say that’s a wonderful way to kick off the New Year!

    Which book (or books!) do you predict will make its way into your sewing space this year? Tell us in the comments!


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  4. Announcing YOUR top 10 quilt books of 2017 (+ big BIG giveaway!)

    Christmas is almost here. We want to wish you all the merriment and happiness you can handle this season!

    Whether you’re wrapping gifts, baking goodies, or doing a last-minute sewing sprint, we want you to know how honored we are to be a part of your creative life. Thank you for staying connected with us, sharing your stories, and inspiring us to do our best work.

    Our last post of the year at Stitch This! is one of our favorites. Why? Because we get to count down our TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR—the books YOU voted for every time you bought a new book. And we also get to give a copy of every top 10 book away to one lucky winner! Will it be you? Let’s start the countdown—which includes reviews from quilters like you!


    The Big Book of Strip Quilts: Start with Strips to Make 60 Stunning Quilts
    For scrappy strips, stash strips, and the Jelly Rolls on your shelves come a whopping 60 patterns from some of today’s brightest designers—Kim Brackett, Kathy Brown, Amy Ellis, Melissa Corry, Kate Henderson, Rebecca Silbaugh, Sue Pfau, Julie Herman, Gerri Robinson, and more. All for just pennies per pattern!

    “My goodness! 60 projects in one book! This is a strip quilter’s haven, using all those 2½" strips that we all have. Martingale does a great job with illustrations so that there aren’t any questions on techniques. There is something for everyone in this 224-page book. Strip on!”

    See the quilts >


    That Patchwork Place® 2018 Quilt Calendar

    We sold out of our 2018 calendar last Friday—but you may still be able to get your hands on one at your local quilt shop or online! Our “TPP” calendar will show off your love of quilting year-round, and you can sew along each month too: the calendar features 12 gorgeous quilts PLUS a 28-page pullout booklet that includes directions for making every project.

    “This large wall calendar is filled with page after page of colorful photos of quilts. Each month features a different color palette and pattern. Oh, and speaking of patterns, all the patterns and directions for each quilt are included in a booklet in the back so you can make each project as the months go by.”

    See inside >


    Simple, Fun & Quickly Done: 18 Easy-to-Sew Table Runners, Bags, Pillows, and More
    Terry Atkinson

    No one needs a hobby that adds more stress to life! That’s the spirit that guides Terry’s simple-to-sew designs, from toppers and pillows to quilts and bags. 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.

    “This book has a really nice variety of projects that are as cute as they are handy. They also include some really fun dimensional elements like twisted pleats, rosettes, and DIY chenille. You will be sewing up all sorts of super-cute projects you will enjoy using as much as you did making.”

    See the projects >


    Jo’s Little Favorites II: A Classic Collection of 15 Small Quilts
    Jo Morton

    Quilting icon Jo Morton returned this year with more exquisite little quilts that have previously been available only to her devoted club members. Gorgeous styled photography captures 15 quilts reminiscent of days gone by, while close-up photos reveal every scrappy choice Jo makes. Like Jo says: if you want to make them all, make them small!

    “A beautiful collection of small quilts to decorate your home through the changing seasons. Patterns include instructions that even a beginner quilter will have no trouble understanding. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves small quilts.”

    See the quilts >


    Free-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 your quilting to be as much a part of your quilt’s personality as your piecing—let Lori lead the way! Learn to quilt flowers, leaves, tiny houses, and other whimsical motifs Lori is known for on your home sewing machine. And Lori’s setup routine guarantees you’ll achieve success right from the start.

    “I looked through the pages and thought, ‘Yes, I can do this.’ This book has spiral binding: I kept it open on the page I needed next to my sewing machine as I could easily refer to it when I did not know where to go next when I attempted one of the motifs. Sweet!”


    See the quilts
    >


    Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites: 12 Captivating Scrappy Quilts
    Carrie Nelson

    This curated collection of popular patterns from Miss Rosie—aka Carrie Nelson—is absolutely stunning, and the quilts are fat-quarter friendly! A dozen bed-sized patterns are written as if Carrie’s sitting beside you, telling you why she did or didn’t do something (and why you may want to follow her lead). The book features all the witty prose quilters love to read when Carrie’s wearing her other creative hat—as blogging and social-media guru for Moda Fabrics.

    “So many charming projects to choose from! I think my family is afraid I may never take the sewing machine off the dining room table . . . and the photography makes me want to be a farm girl!”


    See the quilts
    >


    Simple Harvest: A Bounty of Scrappy Quilts and More
    Kim Diehl

    Kim’s 11th “Simple” book is packed with projects, decorating ideas, and even recipes—a one-stop book for capturing the cozy feel of fall. Want to make something quickly? Try Kim’s mini penny garland and the cutest little needle keep you’ve ever seen. Want to re-create one of Kim’s masterpieces? Her October Twilight and Harvest Tapestry quilts will take your breath away. And you can put those appliqué fears to rest—Kim will make you a convert with her invisible machine-appliqué technique.

    “You get the whole nine yards in this book. Gorgeous photography displaying lovely project after lovely project, mouth-watering recipes, and darling ideas for decorating your home for fall. The instructions are detailed and easy to follow, with links for printing full-sized patterns. I am going in search of more Kim Diehl books.”

    See the quilts >


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

    Pat and Jane 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 28,000 quilters have joined the sew-along—100 quilt blocks, 80+ designers, and 12 months of sewing fun! The Facebook group is still going strong, so get the book, share your blocks, and experience the joys of quilting with a very special community of quilters.

    “This book is based on a sew-along with more than 28,000 quilters that joined the group on Facebook. One hundred blocks, 83 designers, and 12 months to share inspiration, techniques, and stories. If you feel stuck and you are looking for more and different ideas, this is the book for you. I highly recommend this book.”

    See the quilts >


    The Big Book of Table Toppers: 56 Patterns

    The 13th book in our “Big Book” series includes 56 projects for tables, walls, chairs, and gifts: quick, fun, and so easy to display. The book is divided into two sections—toppers and runners—and then there’s the designer power! All of your favorites are here: Kim Diehl, Country Threads, Jo Morton, Me and My Sister Designs, and many more. Each design is featured in beautiful styled photography, a perk that’ll inspire you to sew to your heart’s content (all for only 50 cents per pattern).

    “A fun book of table toppers. Eye-catching cover. Something for the beginner up to the more experienced quilter. Fifty-six designs with lots of photos and detail. Nicely diagrammed! Love the variety of table toppers. Something for every season. A must for my collection.”


    See the quilts
    >


    Simple Friendships: 14 Quilts from Exchange-Friendly Blocks
    Kim Diehl and Jo Morton

    Kim and Jo bring their signature styles together in a book bursting with exquisite quilts to make with friends. The results are breathtaking! Instructions include options for making an entire quilt solo and making just one block at a time (perfect for swaps). Friends, guilds, bees, and more—invite everyone to sew, swap, and build lasting friendships while stitching these dazzling quilts!

    “I can’t say enough wonderful things about this book. Kim and Jo have definitely outdone themselves. If you love quilting and love quilting with friends even more, you will enjoy the idea of swapping blocks to make any of the projects in this book. The book gives you great guidelines to follow for a successful block exchange. First thing I had to do was make the darling pin cushion from page 90 from a leftover orphan block. Trust me, you will love this book.”

    See the quilts >


    So, what was YOUR favorite quilt book of 2017? Share your pick in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered into our random drawing to win our TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR! We’ll choose one winner two weeks from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year to you, from us. We have LOTS more inspiration coming your way in the New Year—let’s meet up here again in 2018 for more stitching fun!


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  5. Need a fat-quarter de-stash? Do it in a flash (+ giveaway!)

    Love to buy fat quarters . . . maybe a little too much? You’re not alone! When your fat-quarter stash starts to teeter-totter, look to Doug Leko to inspire your downsizing (and replenishing). He just may be the fat quarter’s #1 fan!

    Stashtastic!

    Doug’s new book Stashtastic! is filled with beautiful lap- and bed-sized quilts that use as few as eight or as many as 30 fat quarters per project. He’s made each of his classic quilts in TWO different colorways, and the results are spectacular:

    From an elegant English Knot quilt . . .

    English Knot quilt
    English Knot and alternate colorway

    . . . to a dramatic Cathedral Ceiling . . .

    Cathedral Ceiling quilt
    Cathedral Ceiling and alternate colorway

    . . . to easy quilts you can breeze through . . .

    Easy Street quilt
    Easy Street and alternate colorway

    Doug’s got your fat quarters covered. He also provides tips for each project that will inspire you to amp-up the scrap factor, so you can really raid your stash!

    Whether you love dark, subdued hues or you prefer light and bright quilts, you’ll find the inspiration to make these quilts your way.

    Due North quiltDoug’s a well-known designer, but here are some facts you may not know about him:

    • He founded his pattern company, Antler Quilt Design, in 2008, when he was just 14 years old.
    • Doug’s been quilting since the age of six, and working in his mother’s quilt shop over the years has helped him develop his skills and refine his art.
    • After pattern testing for various designers, he began to develop his own quilt patterns.
    • He launched a full-scale design and marketing operation while he was still in high school, and continued his venture throughout college.

    And you wonder where he gets his inspiration!

    Here’s Doug explaining why fat quarters are his favorite fabric cut:

    “Fat quarters, in my opinion, are the best size of precut fabric you can get. I know that many quilters agree. I find that the fat quarter is the one cut of fabric almost all quilters have in their stashes. It makes sense. At 18″ x 21″, a fat quarter is usually large enough to include the entire design of a print or to show the whole repeat. I love playing with fat quarters when designing, shuffling them around and swapping them for other pieces to see which fabric I like best. There are so many things you can create with them! When you want a great collection of prints, colors, and styles, fat quarters are the most economical way to achieve that desire.”

    We completely agree!

    So, tell us (you’re among fat-quarter friends, so don’t be shy): how many fat quarters could you de-stash right now?

    Tell us your answer in the comments and you could win a copy of Stashtastic! plus a yummy fat-quarter bundle of Basic Grey Grunge from our friends at Moda Fabrics!

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you’re ready to play with your fat quarters today, pick up Doug’s new book at ShopMartingale.com and you can instantly download the eBook for free.


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  6. 130 ways to stitch away your lunch hour: see our embroidery! (+ giveaway)

    Martingale staffers and friends have been stitch, stitch, stitching their way toward the release of the new book Lunch-Hour Embroidery—and we are SO excited to show off our embroidery to you today!

    Lunch-Hour Embroidery

    Lunch-Hour Embroidery is packed with fun embroidery motifs—from apples, anchors, and alligators to zebras, zippers, and zinnias, you’ll love creating your own embroidery art from A to Z.

    From Lunch-Hour Embroidery
    In this debut book from Martingale’s “Lunch-Hour” series, you’ll learn 10 basic embroidery stitches in minutes. Then you’ll choose from more than 75 cute motifs to embroider, plus the entire alphabet in both capital and lowercase letters. The illustrations are easy to trace and sew and enlarge or reduce, and you can transfer them to clothing, linens, bags, and more. Mix and match motifs and letters to create one-of-a-kind embroidery projects!

    What we love most about the book is that it comes from one of our very own staffers, Martingale design manager Adrienne Smitke, who illustrated all the motifs in the book. Adrienne is here as a guest writer today to tell us more about the creation of Lunch-Hour Embroidery—and to share our embroidery projects with you!


    Adrienne SmitkeWhen Martingale asked me to kick off their “Lunch-Hour” series by illustrating an alphabet book of embroidery patterns, I was excited. “No problem!” I thought. But they also wanted a full alphabet of capital and lowercase letters, and not just one, but THREE designs for each letter!

    Cut to me making lists of animals, and foods, and nouns of every variety on my phone, and on spare scraps of paper, and asking everyone I knew if they had ideas for things that started with the letter “V” or “Q.” But in the end, it was worth all those brainstorm sessions because this book is JAM-PACKED FULL of fun motifs for you to stitch!

    I love embroidery because you can fit in a little stitching any time you’ve got a few free minutes. There’s no need for expensive materials, and it’s perfect for on-the-go projects. Even if you’ve never embroidered before, you only need about $10 to $15 of basic supplies to get started, and once you get the hang of a few basic stitches, the possibilities are endless.

    Basic embroidery supplies
    Basic embroidery supplies

    In Lunch-Hour Embroidery, we break down the 10 basic stitches I used in my designs. Take a few minutes to practice stitching each one, and figure out if you like stitching with a hoop or without (I prefer to use a hoop, but either way is fine).

    Mountain embroideryThen it’s time for the greatest challenge of all—deciding which design to make first! If you’re looking for a quick project, these sweet-and-simple designs can easily stand on their own. Once you’re done stitching, try framing a completed design inside an embroidery hoop to hang on your wall—instant art! Looking for a last-minute gift idea? You can finish any of the motifs in a weekend. Check out these little llamas I made as a gift to hang in my mom’s fiber-filled craft room.

    Llama embroidery motif
    Llama motif

    But that’s just the beginning. Basically anything you can get a needle and floss through can be brightened up with a little stitching. The book includes a few ideas for things you can make with purchased materials (no sewing required!) to get you started.

    From Lunch-Hour Embroidery
    Buy a fabric item, add a little
    Lunch-Hour Embroidery, and voilà!

    But why stop there? Check out what Martingale employees have been stitching up from the book:

    Lunch-Hour Embroidery motifs
    You can even combine multiple motifs to make a larger project, such as this Happy Camper pillow. I made this using a purchased linen pillow cover.

    I hope this gets you excited to start stitching, whether on your lunch break or at any time of day! Share your projects with us online—use the hashtags #lunchhourembroidery and #madewithmartingale so we can find them!


    Lunch-Hour EmbroideryThanks for telling us more about Lunch-Hour Embroidery, Adrienne!

    We’re giving away an eBook copy of Lunch-Hour Embroidery to one lucky winner today! To enter to win, tell us in the comments:

    What’s your level of embroidery expertise?

    • I’m an expert.
    • I’m learning!
    • Never tried it, but I want to learn how now!

    Good luck! And if you’re ready to start stitching during your next lunch hour, you can order Lunch-Hour Embroidery at our website and instantly download the eBook for free.


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  7. A gift from Nancy Zieman to all of us: share the joys of sewing

    Sewing is magic, creative, and fun,
    it’s meant to be shared with a special someone.
    Let’s fly off to Sewland and stitch something new,
    Where all the town sews at a quarter to two.

    From the Flying Sewing Machine
    The person who penned this little rhyme knew all about the magic of sewing. In fact, she shared that magic with millions of us. It was Nancy Zieman, beloved host of Sewing With Nancy, the longest-running sewing series in the history of American television.

    Nancy and her granddaughtersWe were heartbroken when we heard that Nancy passed away on November 14 of this year, shortly after retiring from her show and her business, Zieman Productions. Before her passing, she was preparing to launch a new program dedicated to a topic near and dear to her heart: teaching children to sew.

    We’re excited to share that Nancy’s vision has come to fruition. Her legacy lives on in the “I Sew for Fun” series, a range of products that teach children ages 5 to 9 how to sew. We are proud to be part of this campaign and to honor Nancy’s memory by publishing her children’s book, The Flying Sewing Machine. Nancy’s rhyming tale introduces kids to the little town of Sewland, where everyone stops to sew each day at a quarter to two.

    The Flying Sewing MachineIn the book, kids will discover the excitement of creating beautiful things with fabric. In a world where sewing is a delightful part of every afternoon, they’ll meet wonderful friends—who just happen to be flying sewing machines! This charming book offers parents, grandparents, and others a special way to show children how fun sewing can be.

    We created a little video about the book to share with you, which includes a very special moment: Nancy reading her book to her two granddaughters.


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

    We are honored that Nancy chose Martingale to publish The Flying Sewing Machine. And we love that Christmastime is the perfect time for you to share the book with children. Read it with them, talk about your own love of sewing, and show them how to begin their own sewing adventure. Just as Nancy showed so many of us.

    Do you have a child or two you’d like to teach how to sew? Name them in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of FIVE copies of The Flying Sewing Machine—and get those youngsters started on a fun fabric journey that could last a lifetime.


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  8. You won’t believe your eyes: sensational quilts from strips (+ giveaway!)

    Jelly Rolls, scrappy strips, stash strips, more . . . now YOU can make gorgeous strip quilts galore!

    Start with Strips

    Master scrap quilter and Instagram sensation Susan Ache (@yardgrl60) shares her secrets for creating beautiful, cozy, heartwarming quilts—and they all start with 2½" fabric strips.

    From Start with Strips
    From
    Start with Strips

    But Susan’s lovely designs are only part of what you’ll discover inside her new book, Start with Strips. You’ll also find her tricks for sorting strips before sewing—it’s a part of the quiltmaking process that often trips up even the most experienced quilter. (If you’ve ever unfurled a Jelly Roll, took a moment to stare at it longingly, and then rolled it right back up, you know what we’re talking about!)

    Citrus Grove quilt
    Citrus Grove

    Once you learn Susan’s sorting method, you’ll feel free to make her sensationally scrappy quilts without fear of choosing colors or prints. And the sorting method works the same for ALL precut fabrics—fat quarters, Layer Cakes, charms and mini-charms, you name it!

    Take a peek at the quilts you can create in Start with Strips—don’t they make you want to unfurl that roll, search your stash, and dig into your scraps? The feeling is mutual!

    You’ll love creating these oh-so-beautiful quilts—the kind that make a house a home. And guess what? You can join a sew-along in January featuring the special quilt below—follow @yardgrl60 and the hashtag #airboatparade on Instagram to stay in the know!

    We’re happy to welcome Susan Ache (pronounced Ah-kee) to Stitch This! as a guest writer today to share one important tip for making quilts from Start with Strips. Take it away, Susan!

    But first . . .


    FABRIC GIVEAWAY! Our pals at Moda Fabrics are so excited about the release of Start with Strips, they sent us three Jelly Rolls to help us celebrate! To enter to win a copy of the book plus one of these Jelly Rolls (Thrive, Woof Woof, or Big Sky), leave a comment at the end of this post.


    Susan AcheBeing a guest blogger is definitely a first for me. Start with Strips is my very first quilt book, so I was thrilled when I was asked to write as a guest blogger. Let’s jump right into the fun stuff.

    There should be an app for second guessing yourself. I could have used it during my block and quiltmaking process for this book. I’ll let you in on a little secret: there is one quilt in Start with Strips that I knew exactly how I wanted it to look; I saw it in my mind as clear as day. But the Airboats quilt certainly wasn’t living up to what I had envisioned. I actually made the entire quilt twice! I was beginning to feel like Goldilocks.

    Airboats quilt
    Airboats

    Airboats quiltLet me tell you how it began. Each block in Airboats calls for three colors and a background. Well, as I say in Start with Strips, the fabrics in your quilt blocks don’t necessarily have to match; they just have to contrast so they show up. My background for the blocks is where the road took a turn toward mush-all-together.

    Editing myself, that’s all it took. The backgrounds of the original blocks were all scrappy, and it was just too much. Once the quilt was completed, there was absolutely no place for my eye to see the colors or the blocks. We’ve all heard the statement, “less is more.” In this case, it was the absolute truth. I changed the background to a solid in all of the blocks and voilà, my vision was alive again.


    From Start with Strips
    A peek at more quilts from
    Start with Strips

    As much as I love scrappy quilts, sometimes enjoying the calm of one neutral can change an entire look. So, here’s my advice to you: while you choose colors for your own quilts in Start with Strips, keep in mind that you are your own editor. If you are happy with your choices, then it’s right.


    Start with StripsThanks for sharing the backstory of Airboats with us, Susan—we love how your vision turned out in reality.

    To win a copy of Start with Strips and one of the Jelly Rolls from Moda Fabrics, tell us in the comments:

    When it comes to Jelly Rolls, I:

    • Unfurl, sort, and start stitching the minute they’re home.
    • Keep some rolled up just for show, but I’ve rolled out plenty for patchwork too.
    • Just love looking at those perfect, pretty circles—It’s hard for me to open them up!

    We’ll choose three random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And if you can’t wait to unwind a roll of Jellies and “start with strips,” order the book at ShopMartingale and you can instantly download the eBook for free.


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  9. Quiltstock: the quilt retreat of a lifetime is waiting for you!

    Quiltstock is coming this summer—will we see you there?

    When word started spreading at Houston Quilt Festival about this one-of-a-kind retreat, slots started filling up. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for you to give yourself, OR for that special Santa in your life to give to you (wink, wink)!

    Join us for an epic five-day/four-night event that quilters will talk about for years to come. Don’t miss your chance to mix and mingle with other quilters and top-notch designers, all brought to you by Martingale and Moda—the people and brands that bring you more of what you love about quilting!

    Fun, friends, piecing, and happiness—plus four fabulous world-class designers to learn from. And you don’t have to choose the classes you want to attend. YOU get to have classes with ALL OF THEM!


    Introducing YOUR Quiltstock teachers!

    Classes + free-time sewing + fun & games = THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE

    Guarantee your spot with a $995 payment that covers all four classes, special events, a limited-edition Quiltstock 2018 goodie bag (retail value over $250), and seven meals. The $995 retreat fee is nonrefundable but is transferrable.

    Don’t wait, SPACE IS LIMITED. Class supply list will be available June 1, 2018.

    Here’s how to reserve your spot at Quiltstock:

    Sign up! Call 800-426-3126, ext. 1378, or 425-483-3313, ext. 1378 (for callers outside US/CAN).

    Don’t miss out on an extra SHOPportunity, July 23, 2018, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.! Tell us now if you’d like to add an optional excursion to visit Chip and Joanna Gaines’ flagship store, Magnolia Market, in Waco, Texas. The $125 tour fee is nonrefundable but is transferable. (Click here for details.)

    Reserve your hotel room for Quiltstock 2018 online here or by calling Magnolia Hotel Park Cities, Dallas, at 888-983-5012 or 214-750-6060 (reference Quiltstock room block). All Quiltstock participants must stay onsite at the Magnolia Hotel during the event. Rooms are $139 per night and include parking. Share a room with a friend or room alone, it’s your choice!

    Invite your friends! Download this Quiltstock 2018 brochure and tell them you’re going!


    Questions? Comments?
    Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to answer!

    Hope to see you in 2018 at QUILTSTOCK!


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  10. Look to embroidery for the quickest handmade Christmas gifts!

    Just Be Claus quiltRaise your hand if you’re thinking of making Christmas gifts this year . . . but haven’t started them yet.

    Some of us at Martingale? Same.

    Is there still time? Hey, you’ve got a whole 16 days until Christmas is here—of course there’s time! When you want sweet and simple projects to whip up quick, embroidery is the way to go. And Robin Kingsley is all set to be your sewing elf!

    The festive projects in Robin’s two books, Just Be Claus and Snow Happy, are easy to start, fun to make, and fast to finish. And the delight they’ll put on your gift recipient’s faces will be worth every stitch. Today we’re sharing projects from Robin’s books to inspire you, along with a little thread tip from Robin—it’s one of the secrets that makes her embroidery shine.


    Robin KingsleyMy favorite thread for embroidery is size 8 pearl cotton. Its weight is comparable to three strands of six-strand embroidery floss, the kind you separate into plies for embroidery, and you can substitute embroidery floss in these projects if you prefer.

    Because the pearl cotton strands are twisted, the strands stay together without separating as you stitch, yielding neat stitches every time. The embroidered stitches “sit up” beautifully on the fabric, adding texture to the stitching and creating a clean appearance in the finished product. Pearl cotton also doesn’t kink and knot as frequently as six-strand embroidery floss tends to do.

    Pearl cotton comes in a large variety of solid colors and variegated shades. The variegated thread may be a single color in graded values from light to dark, or a handful of different colors blended along the strand for even more embroidery interest.

    Embroidery supplies
    Fabric, needles, pearl cotton, and a hoop: all you need to begin one of Robin’s embroidery projects.

    Use the pearl cotton as it comes off the ball; it’s convenient and easy. My two favorite pearl-cotton brands are Presencia from Spain and DMC from France. Each offers an extensive color palette, and the threads are tightly twisted to retain their smooth finish when stitched.

    Santa and snowman embroidery
    Closeups of Robin’s redwork and bluework

    All of the Santas in Just Be Claus and all of the snowmen in Snow Happy are stitched with size 8 pearl cotton. I also use it to do quick quilting with a running stitch. The simple running-stitch finish is a perfect accent to the embroidery and patchwork in most of these projects.


    Start a Santa or snowman project from one of Robin’s books today and you’ll be on your way to a happy handmade holiday.

    Projects from Just Be Claus and Snow Happy

    Which of Robin’s holly-jolly creations are you most fond of: Santas or snowmen? Tell us your seasonal selection in the comments!

    >>> And remember, when you purchase both Just Be Claus and Snow Happy together at ShopMartingale, you’ll get free shipping and you can instantly download both eBooks for free.* A gift in the form of books for you, a gift in the form of handmade goodies for them—everyone wins this Christmas!

    Just Be Claus and Snow Happy


    *Free shipping to the US and Canada.


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