1. Quilt tutorials week, day 3: skill-building techniques

    Welcome to day three of QUILT TUTORIALS WEEK!

    We’ve organized some of our most popular quilting tutorials from the past year into a week of posts that you can refer to again and again. Bookmark them, pin them, however you save them—but keep these posts handy for the times when you need them!

    Today’s quilt-tutorial roundup: skill-building techniques
    .

    4 painless quilt-piecing tricks
    how to sew a perfect quarter inch seam
    How to find quilt-color values
    how to applique circles by machine
    Simplifying triangle quilts--4 ways
    Quilt-color lesson--try neutrals
    How to build a quilt-color palette
    Sewing half-square triangles from strips
    Quilting circles and curves--4 ways

    The Quilter's Quick Reference GuideHave questions about specific quilting techniques? Find expert guidance on dozens of topics in The Quilter’s Quick Reference Guide. Discover clever shortcuts for piecing and appliqué, plus quick finishing techniques and loads of cheat sheets and charts. Author Candace Eisner Strick will help make your quilting faster, easier, and more fun every step of the way!

    See more from The Quilter’s Quick Reference Guide; get the eBook for only $9.99 through June 22.


    What new quilting technique have you tried lately? Tell us about it in the comments!

    Subscribe to Stitch This!Make sure you see every post from QUILT TUTORIALS WEEKSubscribe to our blog posts.


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  2. Quilt tutorials week, day 2: scrap-quilt ideas

    Posted by on June 17, 2014, in quilting & sewing, ,

    Welcome to day two of QUILT TUTORIALS WEEK!

    We’ve organized some of our most popular quilting tutorials from the past year into a week of posts that you can refer to again and again. Bookmark them, pin them, however you save them—but keep these posts handy for the times when you need them!

    Today’s quilt-tutorial roundup: scrap-quilt ideas
    .

    Choosing scrap fabrics--3 ways
    Perfect blocks for scrap quilts
    Smart patterns for scrap quilts
    18 tips for your quilt scraps

    Scrap FrenzyDo you have a special collection of scrap fabrics, such as plaids, florals, or batiks? Find ideas for creating quilts with your unique stash in Scrap Frenzy. Sally Schneider will show you how to make the most of the scraps you have—plus she shares all of her quilt patterns in multiple sizes, from wall-quilt to bed-quilt size.

    See projects from Scrap Frenzy; get the eBook for only $9.99 through June 22.


    How do you typically start scrap quilts: with a quilt pattern, with a block pattern, or with a scrap? Tell us in the comments!

    Subscribe to Stitch This!Make sure you see every post from QUILT TUTORIALS WEEKSubscribe to our blog posts.


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  3. Quilt tutorials week, day 1: easy quilting

    Welcome to day one of QUILT TUTORIALS WEEK!

    We’ve organized some of our most popular quilting tutorials from the past year into a week of posts that you can refer to again and again. Bookmark them, pin them, however you save them—but keep these posts handy for the times when you need them!

    Today’s quilt-tutorial roundup: easy-does-it quilts

    Commence saving, sharing, pinning…and quilting!

    The easiest quilt pattern ever
    12 super-simple quilt blocks
    Quilts with squares and rectangles only
    3 cool quilting shortcuts
    Ideas for large-block quilts
    Cheat sheets for bed-quilt sizes

    The Casual QuilterLooking for a stash of easy quilting patterns that you can use again and again? Try the trouble-free quilts in The Casual Quilter by Robin Strobel. No need to stress about perfect points or stick-straight seams in these classics—the patterns are simple, the piecing is quick, and the results are rewarding.

    See projects from The Casual Quilter; get the eBook for only $9.99 through June 22.


    Got a quilting question? Make a tutorial request in the comments—our aim is to answer every quiltmaking query you can come up with!

    Subscribe to Stitch This!Make sure you see every post from QUILT TUTORIALS WEEKSubscribe to our blog posts!


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  4. Amigurumi + your home = BIG fun

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    From Amigurumi at HomeIf you’ve got kids (or if you’re a BIG kid at heart), you have the perfect excuse to fill your home with fun and happy accessories!

    Everything from ladybug ottomans (left) to cheerful cloud pillows fill the pages of Ana Paula Rímoli’s brand new book, Amigurumi at Home—along with plenty of tips for bringing smiles to your living space.

    Ana designed many of the projects in Amigurumi at Home to pull double duty. They’re adorable and huggable, as amigurumi are, but they’re also happily functional. Take a look at a few of Ana’s favorite oh-so-useful projects.


    Keep Feet Happy and Warm

    From Amigurumi at Home“Our little dogs, Santiago and Federico, are not allowed upstairs because of my daughter Oli’s allergies, but I’ve always thought it’d be amazingly comforting to have one of them sleep on my feet in the winter. So I made these Dog and Cat Foot Warmers for the end of the girls’ beds—it will NOT be the same at all, but at least their feet will be extra warm.”

    See more bedtime amigurumi, including a Robot Pajama Holder that doubles as a foot warmer, in Amigurumi at Home.


    Tote Anything: Books, Toys, or Yarn

    From Amigurumi at Home

    “My girls Oli and Martina love to read, which is great. But what’s not so great is that whenever they bring their books downstairs, they forget to put them back in their bookcases. I figured it was time to do something about this mess, so I made a basket and added the mushroom in the middle. This way they can put their books inside and take it upstairs to put everything back in its place. You could also use it for magazines or toys, or my favorite, lots of yarn!”

    Quick Tip--choosing stuffing for amigurumi
    Need more organization? Check out more cute catch-all characters in Amigurumi at Home.

    Make Chores a Little More Fun

    From Amigurumi at Home“This one’s for your kitchen! My relationship with dishwashing is definitely complicated. It’s not about the amount of dirty things piled in the sink, or the time of day, or my mood—sometimes I just do not want to wash dishes. Period. Still, I’m positive that a smiling cup will make it a lot easier on the ‘hate days.’ ”
    (Finished size of “Little Teacup Rug,” right: approx. 13″ x 19″.)

    How about a cute rug for your playroom, living room, or bedroom? Check out more happy rugs in Amigurumi at Home.


    Amigurumi at HomeYou can get your copy of Amigurumi at Home right now at ShopMartingale.com! And remember that when you buy the book, you’ll get the eBook version for FREE right away. Happy nesting!

    Which room in your house could use a happy new accessory? Tell us in the comments and you could win an eBook copy of Amigurumi at Home! We’ll pick the winner one week from today and notify you by email if you win.


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  5. Quilt the summer away with cool-weather quilts

    From Tis the Autumn Season
    From ’Tis the Autumn Season

    Summer’s here—and boy does it fly! With a steady stream of town parades, music festivals, farmer’s markets, and fireworks, it’ll race by in the blink of an eye. So how do you carve out some beloved quilting time?

    There’s an easy solution for avoiding a time crunch: start stitching for the next season now. Indulge yourself! Schedule short blocks of time throughout your summer to devote to making memories for seasons on the horizon. Days are longer (at least daylight is!). Can you squeeze in 10 minutes to sew at the beginning and end of each day? Just a few stitches a day will go a long way, and you’ll be proud to display what you’ve made when the first cool breeze or snowflake makes its debut.

    From Tis the Season
    From ’Tis the Season

    But what to make first? We’re glad you asked. Because we have some inspiration for you—and it all comes from books included in this special offer:

    Save 50% on Urban Country Quilts

    Choose a theme—winter, Christmas, or autumn—then enjoy 50% off Urban Country Quilts, jam-packed with quilts for any occasion!

    See all 15 projects in Urban Country Quilts

    Choose a project from Here Comes Winter to make in time for the first snowfall:

    Projects from Here Comes Winter

    See all 19 projects in Here Comes Winter 

    If you look forward to surrounding yourself with the earthy hues of fall, create one of these beauties from ’Tis the Autumn Season:

    Projects from Tis the Autumn Season

    See all 12 projects in ’Tis the Autumn Season 

    Or, get an early start on cozying up your home for Christmas! Take a look at the merry quilts and more from ’Tis the Season:

    Projects from Tis the Season

    See all 14 projects in ’Tis the Season 

    The special offer on these four books ends June 18, so select a favorite season and start your summer sewing!

    Here Comes Winter Tis the Autumn Season Tis the Season Urban Country Quilts


    When do you typically start cold-weather quilting: spring, summer, fall, or “oops, I started too late”? Share your seasonal quilting habits in the comments!

    Also from Jeanne and Shelley—Decorate with quilts: tips to use today


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  6. Winter quilts to warm your heart (+ giveaway!)

    A Few Good Men quilt

    Welcome to our celebration of cute and cozy quilts from the design duo of Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks! Today we’re showing off adorable quilts from their new book, Here Comes Winter. Plus, Shelley is here as a guest blogger!

    BUT FIRST… we have a very special offer for you today on ALL FOUR of Jeanne and Shelley’s books:

    Save 50% on Urban Country Quilts

    Choose a book featuring your favorite theme—winter, Christmas, or autumn—and then enjoy 50% off Urban Country Quilts, jam-packed with quilts for any occasion. (Discount applied at checkout.)

    See all 15 projects in Urban Country Quilts

    Now, on to the newest quilts! We’re thrilled to welcome Shelley, who’s here to give us the scoop about Here Comes Winter. Take it away, Shelley!


    Hello from Saskatchewan, Canada, where the winters are long and our spring was especially chilly as well! Around here, people would rather we’d written a book titled Here Comes a Long Hot Summer! (Maybe for the next book…) But Jeanne and I adore winter quilts. We love snowmen and mittens and all the fun things that go with cold weather. (We could possibly do without the snow!)

    Winter on the Saskatchewan prairie
    Winter on the Saskatchewan prairie

    Shelley Wicks and Jeanne LargeAfter complaining about our cold winters, I do have to tell you that our summers can be very hot—not something people associate with where we live! When we had our photo taken for this book, it was actually a very, very hot day. We had the photography done in Jeanne’s house—no air conditioning, wearing sweaters to match the winter feel of the book. We were broiling!

    Both Jeanne and I have favorite quilts in Here Comes Winter. Jeanne’s favorite is the “Run, Run, Rudolph” lap quilt:

    Run Run Rudolph quilt
    “Run, Run, Rudolph” with coordinating table topper

    While my favorite is “Hang to Dry,” featured on the front cover:

    Hang to Dry quilt
    “Hang to Dry” with “Joy” and “Peace” pillows

    There are so many fabulous projects in this book that we’re sure quilt lovers everywhere are going to enjoy! And although both Jeanne and I love appliqué, we also like to make sure our books include strictly pieced quilts for those who enjoy that aspect of quilting.

    I think the most versatile quilt in the book has got to be “Crosswalk.”

    Crosswalk quilt

    While the pattern is done in a red colorway to fit the flavor of the book, I’ve made this quilt in dark espresso browns on a beige background, and in greens on a black background too.

    See all 19 projects from Here Comes Winter

    We’ve been waiting so patiently for Here Comes Winter to arrive. We’ve been sitting on pins and needles waiting! When you get your hands on a copy, please let us know what you think—we always love to hear your feedback! You can find us online here.


    Here Comes WinterThanks for being here, Shelley!

    What kind of quilts take up the most room in your home: winter quilts, Christmas quilts, autumn quilts, or everyday quilts? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Here Comes Winter eBook! 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 Carrie, who says:

    “Every day quilts even though I have some for different holidays.”

    Carrie, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!



     


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  7. Change the way you do fusible-web applique (video tip)

    Detail of Petals for the Table quiltHave you tried fusible-web appliqué? If you’ve avoided the technique because of the stiffness that can result, don’t leave this page until you watch the video below. It just might change the way you appliqué!

    We had the pleasure of meeting author Geralyn Powers at Quilt Market, where we asked her to share a favorite tip from her book Patchwork Plus. When Geralyn demonstrated her tip, several of us had a slap-your-head, “Geez, why didn’t I think of that?” moment. Here she is explaining how to do “window appliqué.”


    Reading this in email? See the “Fusible-web appliqué: window method (no stiffness!)” video at the Stitch This! blog or watch it on YouTube.


    What a great tip! Just one extra step and fused-appliqué pieces become stiffness-free.

    Patchwork PlusThe quilts in Geralyn’s book Patchwork Plus are perfect for quilters who dabble in appliqué, and even for those who’ve never tried it before. If you’re already an appliqué pro, the projects will be a breeze. But the best thing about the book? The quilts!

    Geralyn’s easy appliqué quilts (with even easier patchwork backgrounds) will put a smile on your face. They’re so cheerful, and they’re perfect for special occasions throughout the year. Find designs for seasons, family events, and holidays, like this pretty quilt called “Freedom Waves.” Definitely doable by the Fourth of July!

    Freedom Waves quilt

    An adorable “Step into Halloween” quilt was a huge crowd pleaser when it hung in our Quilt Market booth. Notice how simple Irish Chain blocks add to the whimsical vibe.

    Step into Halloween quilt

    See more quilts from Patchwork Plus 

    Here’s one final fusible-appliqué tip from Geralyn:

    QUICK TIP--fusible web

    Join us on Facebook!Making a quilt from Patchwork Plus? Share a photo of your work in progress this Friday (and every Friday) on our Flaunt It Friday post on Facebook!


    What’s your favorite way to appliqué: by hand, by machine, or by fusing? Share your #1 choice in the comments!


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  8. Hundreds of eBooks, 9.99 each—today!

    Posted by on June 9, 2014, in quilting & sewing, ,

    Great Big eBook Sale--9.99 each

    Looking for a new project or pattern? Start your search today with brand-new eBooks full of inspiration!

    One week only—get your choice of 225+
    eBooks for only $9.99 each.

    Have you tried eBooks yet? Now’s the time! There’s no waiting for the mail and no shipping costs. Simply choose your eBooks, download, open, and commence creating—all in a matter of minutes!

    What will you create today? Browse eBooks by category below, or click here for a full listing of all eBooks on sale!


    Fresh and Fabulous Quilts Celebrations! Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts Perfect-Fit Pieced Borders Start with a Sweatshirt II

    Felting for Kids Together or Separate Bag Boutique Quilter's Happy Hour Top-Notch Knits


    Sew One and You're Done Wonder Blocks Instant Bargello Sew Fun, So Colorful Quilts Time-Crunch Quilts


    Triangle Tricks Scrap Frenzy Scrappy Duos Simple Strategies for Block-Swap Quilts Spotlight on Scraps


    More Nickel Quilts Clever Quarters Fat Quarter Quilts Bits and Pieces Nickel Quilts

    SHOP ALL eBOOKS


    Quilter's Bounty Favorite Traditional Quilts Made Easy Big 'n Easy Coffee-Time Quilts Quilts from the Heart II


    Cottage-Style Quilts Modern Primitive Quilts Quilting in the Country Everyday Folk Art Little Quilts All Through the House


    Applique Takes Wing Flowers All Around Artful Applique Tea in the Garden Easy Applique Blocks


    Quilting for Joy Bed and Breakfast Quilts Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures The Best of Black Mountain Quilts Fig Tree Quilts: Houses

    SHOP ALL eBOOKS


    Color for the Terrified QuilterThe Quilter's Quick Reference GuideLong-Arm Machine Quilting The Joy of Quilting A Fine Finish


    Quilt-Block Bonanza Showstopping Quilts to Foundation Piece Spellbinding Quilts Machine-Stitched Cathedral Windows The Quilter's Home: Fall


    Sweet and Simple Baby Quilts Let's Pretend Handprint Quilts Growing Up with Quilts Jack and Jill Quilts


    Stack the Deck! Out of the Box Points of View Out of the Box with Easy Blocks Dream Landscapes

    SHOP ALL eBOOKS


    Knitted Shawls, Stoles, and Scarves Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified The Pleasures of Knitting Knits from the Heart Sensational Knitted Socks


    Crochet from the Heart Contemporary Crochet Crocheted Socks! Crocheted Sweaters Crochet for Tots


    Offer for retail customers and online orders only. No wholesale or other discounts apply. On select eBooks only. Sale ends Sunday at midnight, June 15, 2014.


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  9. 5 portable projects for Knit-in-Public week

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    World Wide Knit in Public WeekAre you ready? It’s almost time to paint the town red (or whatever color your yarn happens to be) by enjoying your favorite fiber craft on park benches, at the beach, in coffee shops, stadiums, or any public place you can think of. We’re talking about World Wide Knit-in-Public Week!

    Want to join the fun? This year World Wide Knit-in-Public Week is June 14–20. Like us on Facebook to follow our knitting-in-public adventures and to share your photos from KIP week. Follow us on Instagram and tag your photos with #martingaleKIP.

    If you can’t wait to get your stitch on, tomorrow is International Yarn Bombing Day. Check out this post for yarn-bombing tips and ideas.

    Looking for a portable project for your stitchin’ adventures? Check out these five small knitting and crochet patterns:

    From 50 Yards of Fun 1. Stitch an adorable robot from 50 Yards of Fun by Rebecca Danger with just a bit of scrap yarn. See over 30 small, portable projects from the book here.
    From Knit Pink 2. A hat for a friend is a great portable project! Try this chic beanie from Knit Pink by Lorna Miser. Find more small projects and gift ideas from the book here.
    From Ocean Breezes 3. Get the pattern for this colorful shawl in Ocean Breezes by Sheryl Thies—a digital download you can carry with you on your mobile device! See more scarf and shawl projects from the book here.
    From Amigurumi Two! 4. Amigurumi makes for great on-the-go crocheting—how about these cute mushrooms from Amigurumi Two! by Ana Paula Rimoli? Find more adorable projects from the book here.
    From Crochet Bright 5. Crochet these colorful slippers, from Crochet Bright by Kristin Spurkland, for yourself or a loved one during Knit-in-Public Week. The pattern includes sizes for the whole family! Find more portable crochet projects from the book here.

    So don’t leave home without it—your yarn, that is! Pack up your portable project, grab a few friends, and get out in public!

    SNEAK PEEK: Stay tuned next week for a fabulous eBook sale at ShopMartingale.com. You can store eBooks on your mobile device—perfect for on-the-go stitching. Make sure you’re subscribed to get the first word on sale events!

    Would you rather knit or crochet with friends, or alone? Tell us why in the comments!


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  10. Want a lifetime of happy quilting? Know these basics (+ giveaway!)

    All quilters know it’s true: it only takes a few threads to knock a quilt block off its game.

    Muddled cutting and sewing can quickly have a domino effect. One block is too small, another is too large, and all of a sudden no block wants to play nice! But here’s the good news:

    When you learn to cut and piece with precision, you’ll clear the way for a lifetime of quilting creativity—instead of frustration.

    Quiltmaking Essentials IBestselling author Donna Lynn Thomas has taught quiltmaking since 1981. She’s seen (and fixed) it all. Now she’s gathered her know-how into a must-have book: Quiltmaking Essentials 1. In it, you’ll discover time-tested techniques for rotary cutting, pressing, and machine piecing—the trio of techniques that lead to well-behaved quilt blocks!

    If you want patchwork blocks that promise to play nice every time, it’s well worth the effort to learn (or re-learn) the essentials. Today we’re thrilled that Donna is here as a guest blogger to tell us more about her latest book. Welcome, Donna!


    Donna Lynn ThomasI’m SO excited about Quiltmaking Essentials 1 and hope you will be too. Bet you noticed that little old “1” sitting at the end of the title, eh? As an astute reader I bet you noticed that subtitle too. Well, volume 1 is all about cutting, piecing, pressing, and block construction. And Quiltmaking Essentials 2 is on its way. It’ll be in your hands in early 2015 and takes you to the last stitch on your bindings.

    Yes, I admit—I’m all about precision! Precision is getting a bad rap these days, dismissed as an obsessive thing. To correct this undeserved image, I explain to my students that precision isn’t about pleasing the quilt police. It’s about developing good skills and habits to make the piecing process more enjoyable.

    After all, Van Gogh first had to learn how to prepare his canvas, use and care for his brushes properly, mix paints, use the right paints for the desired effect, and much more in order to create his masterpieces. Once his essential skills were mastered and became second nature, he could focus completely on the creative process.

    Tip box from Quiltmaking Essentials IBy the same token, a quilter will enjoy creating her own masterpieces if she isn’t frustrated by pieces and blocks that don’t fit together properly. Her skills should be second nature as well so she can enjoy hours of frustration-free and happy sewing. This is where Quiltmaking Essentials 1 comes in.

    Loaded with tip boxes (see right), the book will travel with you as you learn and grow as a quilter, teaching the basics but also delving into essentials beyond the basics such as cutting and sewing diamonds, set-in seams (they are NOT as scary as people think they are), and much more. And lefties are not forgotten either.

    Quilt how-to for left-handed people
    From
    Quiltmaking Essentials I: illustrations for righties AND lefties!

    But of all the things we need to master, there’s one skill that’s often neglected or underplayed: pressing.

    Quilting with a pressing planPressing you ask? What’s there to know about pressing? An iron, a surface, some electricity, and away you go, right? Well, there’s more to know about pressing than you might think! How wonderful is it when all the seams meeting at an intersection end up pressed in opposite directions? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if strip sets didn’t curve and those half-square-triangle units stayed square? Ever wonder if you should press seams open as opposed to one side?

    In Quiltmaking Essentials 1, mysteries of the quilt-pressing universe are revealed! You’ll learn how to make a pressing plan for all your seams before setting out on that trip. You’ll learn things you didn’t know you needed to know.

    Beyond pressing, you’ll find so much information on all aspects of piecing packed into this 48 page book—oops, that’s wrong—it increased to 64 pages to fit everything in! You’ll want to keep it handy every time you set out to make a new quilt and try new skills.

    My hope is that your copy of Quiltmaking Essentials 1 will become so tattered and worn over the years that you’ll have to buy multiple copies, thus ensuring my ability to retire some day… Well actually, I truly do want you to enjoy many years of happy sewing!


    Donna, thanks for getting us fired up about adding smart techniques to our quilting tool belt!

    A pressing plan: always, sometimes…or never heard of it? Share your answer in the comments and you could win a copy of the Quiltmaking Essentials 1 eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I love patterns which tell you how to press. If they don’t, I fumble around pressing and undressing. I would love to learn how to develop a pressing plan.”

    Riley, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!


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