1. Celebrating Mom: 8 handmade gift ideas for Mother’s Day

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner—Sunday, May 14!

    Remember when we were in school and our teachers would always come up with a wonderful crafty item that we could make for our moms for their special day? I know my mom always treasured those childlike (but oh, so cute) elementary-school gifts, just as I treasured the gifts I received from my kids. Now that we’re adults, we have to come up with our own ideas. Below, you’ll find some suggestions to get you thinking and creating for Mother’s Day!

    Simply Simple table runner
    Simply Simple from
    The Big Book of Table Toppers

    Table runners and toppers are always welcome gifts. This table runner is super quick and easy to make—just start with a focus print in Mom’s favorite colors or motifs and you’ll have the perfect gift in no time!

    Spring Mosaic quilt
    Spring Mosaic from
    Moda All-Stars: Lucky Charm Quilts

    This sweet quilt designed by Sandy Gervais could be a topper or a wall hanging. Start with a couple of charm packs and voilà!

    Little Love quilt
    Little Love from
    Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels

    Your gift doesn’t have to be large; it just needs to be from the ❤! Mom will most certainly get the message with this little fabric love letter.

    Little House Pincushion
    Little House Pincushion from
    Cottage-Style Charm

    Is Mom a fiber fanatic? If so, then a handmade pincushion could be the answer. They’re just irresistible! How about this cutie in Mom’s favorite colors?

    Buttoned Napkin and Tea Bag Holder
    Buttoned Napkin and Tea Bag Holder from
    Simple, Fun & Quickly Done

    Is Mom a tea lover? If so, why not whip up a matched set of caddies for her table? Fill the tea-bag caddy with her favorite teas. Then, make it extra-special by including a package of her favorite tea-time cookies.

    All Squared Up Tote
    All Squared Up Tote from
    Sew This and That!

    Is it possible to own too many bags? I think not! This great little tote uses 2½" squares (or mini charms) so that you can do a little scrap-busting while making Mom a happy shopper!

    Squeezed for time (aren’t we all)? Any of the books above would make a dandy gift as well. Here are some other ideas for great Mother’s Day gifts:

    If Mom needs a little eye candy, our series of beauty books from superstars of the maker world might be just the thing.

    Minick and Simpson Blue & White A Common Thread Stitches to Savor

    Our Big Book series gives YOU a lot of bang for your buck and gives Mom a variety of projects to choose from.

    The Big Book of Strip Quilts The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts The Big Book of Fat Quarter Quilts
    See more books in our Big Book series!

    Hopefully we’ve armed you with great ideas for the greatest Mom ever!

    How do you celebrate Mother’s Day: brunch and a stroll outdoors, a backyard get-together with family, a day of relaxation and pampering? Tell us in the comments!








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  2. 🎉 It’s a splendid day: The Splendid Sampler book is here 🎉 (+ BIG giveaway!)

    We’ve been waiting to share this book with you since it was just a gleam in Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson’s eyes—and it has been a looong wait! But finally . . . The Splendid Sampler has arrived!

    The Splendid Sampler book

    Pat and Jane started The Splendid Sampler Sew-Along in February 2016 to bring the whole world together to quilt. More than 25,000+ quilters from all walks of life joined the sew-along, and more are still joining today (you can join too!). One hundred quilt blocks, 80+ designers, and a year of sewing fun—and we’re overjoyed to be the publisher of the beautiful companion book!

    Whirling in Circles block by Debbie RobertsAll 100 block patterns from the sew-along are included (with close-up photos of each design; see right), along with ideas for setting your blocks. Make a few blocks or make them all! The Facebook group and the Splendid Sampler website are still going strong, so get the book, share your progress, and experience the joys of quilting with a very special community of quilters.

    We asked members of the Splendid Sampler Sew-Along Facebook Group what they’d most like to ask Pat and Jane about their splendid journey; Pat and Jane share their answers below. You can learn even more about Pat and Jane’s experience in Pat’s weekly podcast for American Patchwork & Quilting—the splendid chat starts at 29:38!

    Stitch This!: How did you come up with the idea for The Splendid Sampler? And did you have any idea how successful it was going to become?

    Pat: I had an idea for creating a project with a lot of designers, and I knew it would be more fun to run it with a partner. Jane is experienced at managing large projects, so I asked if she wanted to do the project with me, and she did!

    Jane Davidson and Pat Sloan
    Jane Davidson and Pat Sloan

    From there we sent lots of emails. When we met at Spring Quilt Market in 2015, we had a wonderful time working through the idea over coffee. It was Jane’s idea to make 6″ blocks and to design 100 of them. You can listen to our podcast chat for more details.

    ST!: What were the easiest and most challenging parts of creating and managing the Splendid Sampler group, and of creating The Splendid Sampler book?

    Pat and Jane: The easiest part was asking the designers to work with us. We both know a lot of people, so we made up a list of designers to contact. A wonderful array of “Yes!” emails came back.

    Splendid Sampler designers
    Some of the Splendid Sampler designers at Quilt Market, 2016

    The most challenging part was getting everything ready so that the book could come out soon after the sew-along ended. We had to hustle to write patterns and make quilts, most of which were done before the sew-along even started. There was so much going on behind the scenes before we even revealed the first block!

    ST!: Do you have any favorite blocks? And did you, as seasoned quilters, learn something new?

    Pat: Oh, not a fair question! Our designer friends really knocked it out of the park for us. The book includes embroidery, English paper piecing, paper piecing, patchwork, and appliqué. The creativity is amazing! So to pick one is hard. But I think I’ll pick Jane’s pencils. I love how creative the block is, and how it’s a tool many of us started our quiltmaking with, drawing or sketching designs.

    Jane Davidson's Pencils quilt block

    Jane: Please forgive me, Pat! While I love all your blocks, my favorite was Anne Sutton’s block, Sunday Best. What can I say—I love bunnies and the challenge of needle-turn appliqué. I find appliqué very relaxing.

    Anne Sutton's Sunday Best quilt block

    ST!: Did you require the designers to follow guidelines, or did you just let them bring their own ideas to the table?

    Pat and Jane: We gave the designers only two rules: use a technique that you’re known for, and let sewing and creativity inspire the theme of your block. This allowed the designers to explore sewing, quilting, and creativity in their own ways.

    Quilt blocks from The Splendid Sampler
    A closer look at some of the patchwork blocks from
    The Splendid Sampler

    ST!: What was the easiest and the hardest part about working together?

    Pat: Jane and I have talked about this. The easiest is that our skill sets turned out to be super compatible. You don’t know how things will go until you work with someone, but we trust and respect each other. We’re also both good at delegating and working on teams. So our team of two rocked this project! We had our own tasks and then cross-checked and helped each other out with other tasks.

    100-Block Splendid Sampler quilt

    The biggest challenge we faced was the time-zone difference. Jane, in Australia, wakes up at about 3:30 in the afternoon my time. My evening is her daytime. Often we couldn’t chat much in a day. We wished that we lived near enough to each other to have gotten together in person to experience things, at least a little bit.

    ST!: Once the book is out, do you still have plans to continue the Splendid Sampler Facebook group? What will you be doing there during the next year?

    Pat and Jane: Yes! We are super excited—now that the book is out, we already have our amazing Facebook group up, running and vibrant! In a few weeks we’ll start assigning one block a week from the book to sew—sign up for our newsletter to be notified of those details. Now is the perfect time to tell your friends and your local quilt shop that you want to have a sit-and-sew to work on Splendid Sampler blocks. Along with making friends online, many quilters have started groups in-person and enjoy sewing together. We can’t wait to see quilts being made for years to come!

    Splendid Sampler quilts
    Quilts in the works from Splendid Sampler designers, clockwise from top left: Celine Perkins, Sherri McConnell, Lynette Anderson, Melissa Corry, Katja Marek.

    Pat and Jane, it’s been an incredible journey—thank you for sharing your part of it with us!

    And now it’s time for a . . .

    SPLENDID GIVEAWAY! Pat and Jane called on their industry partners to put together a BIG giveaway today:

    Splendid Sampler big giveaway!

    Enter today’s giveaway and you could win . . .

    One of FIVE prizes from Moda Fabrics: five winners will receive a fat eighth bundle or a Jelly Roll plus a charm pack! Bundles feature fabrics from Minick & Simpson, Lella Boutique, Sweetwater, Kate Spain, Blackbird Designs, and BasicGrey—all contributors to The Splendid Sampler!

    One of TWO prizes from Aurifil Threads: two winners will receive Pat Sloan’s Let’s Go Sew! thread collection or Jane Davidson’s Everyday Escape thread collection!

    One of TWO prizes from Reliable Irons: two winners will receive a Velocity 200IR Compact Vapor Generator Iron—the water is heated internally so it turns into steam before it reaches the sole plate—the steam it delivers will astonish you! (Please note: Reliable Irons prizes are for US addresses only.)

    One of FOUR prizes from Schmetz Needles: four winners will receive two packs each of Schmetz Microtex (Sharp) Needles, Schmetz Quilting Needles, and Schmetz Universal Needles, plus a handy pocket guide to home sewing-machine needles!

    And of course, each winner will also receive a copy of The Splendid Sampler book from Martingale!

    That’s 13 lucky chances to win—why not throw your hat in the ring? To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments:

    The Splendid Sampler bookWhich chapter of The Splendid Sampler will you dive into first?

    a) The patchwork chapter
    b) The appliqué chapter
    c) The foundation-piecing chapter
    d) The embroidery chapter

    Or have you already been sewing along?

    We’ll choose 13 random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck to all! And remember, when you buy The Splendid Sampler at ShopMartingale.com, you’ll instantly be able to download the eBook for free. Get started on block #1 (or #21, or #61, or #91) today!






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  3. Stop embroidery “shadowing” with this quick tip (video + giveaway!)

    From Cottage-Style CharmDo you embroider?

    It’s such a simple skill. You can learn just a few embroidery stitches or learn them all—and there are hundreds of stitches to choose from!

    In Cottage-Style Charm, designer Natalie Bird uses just five embroidery stitches to make the embroidery projects in her beautiful book: a back stitch, French knots, a satin stitch, a Lazy Daisy stitch, and a running stitch. These basic stitches couldn’t be easier to master!

    True Friend Tote
    True Friend Tote

    Natalie relies on a few tricks to make her embroidery extraordinary. One tip from Cottage-Style Charm shares a secret for eliminating embroidery “shadowing”—when the threads on the back of your work can be seen from the front, creating unsightly “shadows” that disrupt the motifs. In this quick video, we share Natalie’s shadow-stopping solution:

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

    Not only does Natalie’s method prevent shadowing; it also adds stability to your work as you stitch. A fix that’s twice as nice!

    Natalie’s simple patchwork-and-appliqué projects blend with embroidered stitcheries and sayings that will tug at your heartstrings.

    Heart and Bloom Mini Quilt
    Heart and Bloom Mini-Quilt

    Round Table Topper
    Round Table Topper

    Little House Pincushion
    Little House Pincushion

    Give Natalie’s shadowing tip a try and stitch her sweet embroidery projects (perfect for decorating and gifts) in the process!

    And because Natalie’s got something else to share with you today, we’re having a . . .

    FABRIC GIVEAWAY! Our friends at Clothworks gave us a beautiful bundle of Natalie Bird’s new fabric line, called All Afloat, to give away to you!

    Cottage-Style CharmHead over to the Clothworks blog today for another great giveaway: two copies of Natalie’s book and a fat-quarter bundle of All Afloat are up for grabs!

    To win the All Afloat bundle plus a copy of Cottage-Style Charm here at Stitch This!, tell us:

    What’s your experience with hand embroidery?

    a) total newbie
    b) committed a few stitches to memory
    c) my brain is overflowing with embroidery stitches!

    Share your answer in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered to win the pretty All Afloat bundle from Clothworks plus a copy of Cottage-Style Charm! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    And remember, when you purchase Cottage-Style Charm at ShopMartingale.com, you can instantly download the eBook for free. (Also twice as nice!)

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I’ve started an embroidery piece but it got relegated to the back of the cupboard while I quilt. I need to pull it out and stitch some more on it.”

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












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  4. Kim Diehl’s 5 tips for perfectly centering your appliques

    If you have a question about appliqué, you look to the pros for an answer—and when it comes to appliqué, Kim Diehl is the pro-est of the pros! Appliquéing oodles of beautiful quilts through the years (while writing 11 best-selling books and counting), Kim’s perfected her appliqué techniques and shares them all in her book Simple Appliqué.

    Detail of Scrap Basket Blossoms quilt
    Detail of the Scrap Basket Blossoms project from
    Simple Appliqué

    Kim knows that just a few quick prep steps before beginning to sew will result in a more efficient—and more fun—experience. So today we’re sharing a tip from Simple Appliqué that will set you on the road to appliqué success. It’s a tip that goes right to the center of it all: namely, how do you center your appliqués before you start sewing, anyway? We’ll let Kim explain!

    Kim DiehlAs you begin each new appliqué project, take a moment to evaluate how the design is positioned on the block or unit to be stitched. Very often, you’ll see designs centered, whether from side to side, top to bottom, or diagonally, but occasionally you’ll have a design that requires measuring from a given point or simply placing the elements to create a visually pleasing design. Before you lay out your design, pressing creases into the cloth will act as registration marks to simplify the process of positioning your appliqués.

    When adding creases to serve as registration marks for a block background or unit, it’s best to press the creases using a hot, dry iron (I usually use the cotton setting). Using steam can make creases difficult to “un-press” after the stitching is complete.

    Simple AppliquePressing the fabric with right sides together will produce inverted creases, making it much easier to position and stitch the appliqués, as opposed to folding the fabric with wrong sides together, which will produce raised creases with peaked centers.

    To add a perfectly centered crease (in any direction needed), fold the background fabric in half to find the center position, aligning the raw edges to ensure the piece remains square, and use the heated iron to press the resulting center crease. I’ve found that for nearly all appliqué projects, adding one or more of the creases described below can be tremendously beneficial when laying out the design.

    Vertical design. If the majority of your design is based on a center vertical position, crease the block through the vertical center.

    Horizontal design. For designs that are based on a horizontal position, crease the block through the horizontal center.

    Vertical and horizontal design. For designs that feature both vertically and horizontally centered elements, crease the block through both the horizontal and vertical centers, refolding the cloth as each crease is added.

    Diagonal design. If the project features a diagonal design, fold the cloth in half diagonally and crease the fold, and then unfold and refold the cloth in the opposite diagonal direction to add the second crease.

    Combination. For designs that include all of the above elements, press horizontal, vertical, and diagonal creases, unfolding and refolding to add each new crease.

    Fold, crease, and unfold—you’ll be certain that your appliqués are sewn in just the right place every time!

    Kim Diehl's Best Applique Freezer PaperAnother helpful tool that Kim uses is one that she developed to ease appliqué prep even more: Kim Diehl’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper. If you’re still using cumbersome rolls of freezer paper from the grocery store, Kim’s appliqué papers will change your sewing life for the better! The papers come in flat 8½" x 11″ sheets and they can run through ink-jet printers. Kim even includes a free pattern for trying out her papers:


    Folk-Art Dish Garden quilt
    Folk-Art Dish Garden: free pattern when you purchase Kim’s papers

    Here’s a review of Kim’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper that came to us via email:

    “Kim’s appliqué freezer paper holds its shape well when pressing the seam allowance around the edge of the paper to prepare each piece for hand or machine appliqué. I use starch in my appliqué prep, and Kim’s papers hold up well, even though the starch has water in it. I love it!”

    We hope you’ve enjoyed Kim’s appliqué prep tips!

    How do you center your appliqués?

    a) Just like Kim—fold, crease, and unfold. Voilà!

    b) I’ve used rulers and marking tools.

    c) I usually eyeball it!

    Tell us your methods in the comments!




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  5. How to display quilts on a wall? Try a mini-quilt gallery!

    Mini-quilt mania is upon is! In our last post we shared six tips from Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels for making mini-quilts. But one question we often get asked is: once you have a stack of mini-quilts, how do you display them?

    Answer: make a mini-quilt gallery!

    We love the mini-quilt gallery idea so much, we started one in our office sewing studio:

     Mini-quilt gallery at Martingale
    Do you like it so far? We’re already working on adding more!

    We were inspired to create our gallery by a special section in Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels that offers wall-layout ideas for small quilts. If you’re not sure how to display quilts on a wall—particularly mini quilts—perhaps this layout from the book will inspire you!

    Mini-quilt gallery idea
    Arrangements tend to work best when you group elements in odd numbers—as a rule, odd numbers of objects are more visually pleasing. Even with different-sized quilts, you can create continuity by keeping the vertical and horizontal spaces between quilts equal.

    We mocked up a mini-quilt gallery using the template above and the quilts in Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels:

    Mini-quilt gallery how-to

    Simply adapt the groupings in the template above for the mix of minis you make. Family and friends will marvel at your collection!

    Moda All-Stars: Mini MarvelsThere are three more fun layouts in the book, including how to hang a trio of mini quilts, how to mix other elements (like photos or art) with your quilts, and even how to lay out a mini-quilt gallery on a wall next to a staircase. So many options!

    Now all you need are a few mini-quilts to make, and you’ll find lots in Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels—take your pick!

    Mini quilts from Mini Marvels

    Ready for more mini-quilt tips? Check out this post and this video about Moda All-Stars Mini Marvels. Add a *little* more fun to your quilting life!

    How many mini-quilts have you made?

    • None yet . . . but you’ve got me thinking.
    • Definitely enough for a mini-quilt gallery!
    • So many, I could wallpaper my house with mini-quilts.

    Tell us in the comments!







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  6. Sew ’em small, sew ’em all: 6 mini-quilt tips from Moda designers

    Mini-quilts are BIG right now! They’re fast to finish, they provide an easy way to try new techniques, and let’s face it—they’re adorable. Plus, you can display them in so many ways:

    Quilts from Mini Marvels
    Spread, tucked, hung, or framed—mini-quilts can shine almost anywhere!

    Sewing minis can mean a more quickly completed quilt—but there are a few tips that can help you have even more fun and success making them. That’s why we’ve rounded up six smart tips from Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels for making mini-quilts—and we put them in a quick *little* video for your viewing pleasure!

    Viewing this post in email? Watch the video here.

    You’ll find lots more tips for making mini-quilts in Moda All-Stars: Mini Marvels, along with 15 beautiful quilts from popular Moda designers, including:

    Mini Medallion mini quilt
    Betsy Chutchian (Mini Medallion mini-quilt)

    Fly Away Home mini quilt
    Jen Kingwell (Fly Away Home mini-quilt)

    Midnight Garden mini quilt
    Lisa Bongean (Midnight Garden mini-quilt)

    Spinner mini quilt
    Me and My Sister Designs (Spinner mini-quilt)

    Moda All-Stars: Mini MarvelsIf you’re inspired to make a stack of mini-quilts, you won’t want to miss Friday’s post, when we’ll be sharing ideas for making your own mini-quilt gallery! We’ve started one of our own in the office and we can’t wait to show you how it’s turning out!

    What do you like most about mini-quilts?

    • So speedy
    • So simple
    • So sweet!

    Tell us in the comments!





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  7. Wish list day! Jo’s sequel, sweet Santas, stunning stitches + a little something (giveaway!)

    Our favorite day of the month is here again: Wish List Day! Get a peek at new books coming from Martingale in May—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.

    Jo's Little Favorites IIJo’s Little Favorites II
    A Classic Collection of 15 Small Quilts

    Jo Morton

    Quilting icon Jo Morton is back with more exquisite little quilts that have only been available to her devoted club members—until now! Gorgeous styled photography captures 15 quilts reminiscent of days gone by, while close-up photos reveal every scrappy choice Jo makes so you can follow her lead. Get oodles of ideas for displaying small quilts, along with Jo’s favorite techniques for making small quilts—the voice of experience when it comes to working with smaller pieces. You’ll be inspired to start right away with Jo’s wise approach to quiltmaking: if you want to make them all, make them small!

    Jo's Calico Surprise quilt
    Jo’s Calico Surprise Quilt

    See more spectacular small quilts from Jo >

    >>>Also see: Jo’s Little Favorites

    A Little SomethingA Little Something
    Cute-as-Can-Be Patterns for Wool Stitchery

    Roseann Meehan Kermes

    Transform bits of wool and thread into “a little something” to show off and share! These hand-sewn treats are oh-so sweet—if you’ve ever wanted to try wool appliqué, this happy little book is the perfect place to begin. Easily portable projects make it a cinch to sew whenever you have a few precious moments. You’ll fall in love with Roseann’s petite, practical designs, including a sewing kit, coasters, a jewelry bag, pincushions—even a satchel for your cell phone! And if you’re looking for great gift ideas that are quick to make, you’ll find oodles inside. A section on wool-appliqué essentials gives you all the confidence you’ll need to stitch every adorable project in the book—and most can be finished in a weekend or an afternoon.

    From A Little Something
    A Little Something

    Get a bigger peek into A Little Something >

    Just Be ClausJust Be Claus
    24 Jolly Holiday Embroideries

    Robin Kingsley

    Stitch up a holly-jolly Christmas where Santa is the star! If you loved Robin’s Snow Happy bluework embroidery, you’re in for a treat when you see what she’s done with Mr. Claus! Transform your holiday home into Santa’s village with delightful Santa motifs in classic redwork embroidery. Easy-to-make projects include wall hangings, pillows, ornaments, kitchen linens, and a joyful quilt starring six of Robin’s one-of-a-kind Santa stitcheries. Learn Robin’s transfer methods, finishing techniques, and clever tips for making your embroidery look flawless (even on the back). Believe in these Santas—they’ll bring a whole new magic to your holiday!

    From Just Be Claus
    How cute would these tea towels be as holiday-party hostess gifts?

    See more Santas! >

    >>>Also see: Snow Happy

    Stunning StitchesStunning Stitches
    21 Shawls, Scarves, and Cowls You’ll Love to Knit

    Jen Lucas

    Best-selling knitting author Jen Lucas is back to share more stunning stitches! Jen chose seven of her all-time favorite stitch patterns; then she designed three different wraps highlighting each stitch pattern in all its stunning glory. Choose from 21 projects in a variety of yarn weights, from fingering weight to bulky, and knit every style of wrap: shawls, scarves, cowls, a poncho, a hooded scarf, a Mobius scarf, and more. Jen’s wraps make wonderful gifts—one size fits all—and they’re so luxe, you’ll feel like royalty when you wear them.

    From Stunning Stitches
    Stunning Stitches

    See more from Stunning Stitches >

    >>>Also see: Cozy Stash-Busting Knits

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








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  8. Join our book club and save BIG (+ get $40 to spend right now – yes, now!)

    If you follow our Stitch This! blog, we know something about you: you love books that inspire your creativity! And if you do, the Martingale Insider Book Club may be just right for you.

    Martingale Insider Book Club

    When you log on to our website as a book-club member, you’ll instantly see how much you can save:

    The 4" x 5" Quilt Block Anthology

    All our brand-new books, all our best sellers, all 35% off, all the time—that’s a lot of saving! And you’ll save on other special items too—our gorgeous coffee-table books, foundation papers, even Kim Diehl’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper (you can never have too much). For book-club members, everything is on sale, every time you visit us online! Plus, you’ll get a $40 gift certificate to ShopMartingale.com as soon as you join!

    So, how does the book club work? It’s easy:

    1. Free $40 gift certificateJoin the club for just $14.99 per year. You’ll immediately get that back, plus more, in books and other merchandise—remember that free $40 gift certificate?* Yahoo!
    1. Buy 4 or more books in a year, always at 35% off. We’ll send monthly emails to you about our hot-off-the-press books. Choose the format you like best: printed books or eBooks. You can accept our Featured Selection, decline it, or choose something else. It’s entirely up to you.
    1. Purchase 6 or more books or other products during the year. When you do, we’ll waive next year’s membership fee!

    Joining is easy! Visit us at ShopMartingale.com and add the Insider Book Club membership to your shopping cart. We’ll send your $40 gift certificate by email as soon as you’ve joined the club. Then you can enjoy a little spending spree at our website—it’s on us!

    Have more questions? Click here for more information, or email us directly at bookclub@shopmartingale.com and we’ll be glad to help.

    Find out more about the club: FAQs | membership terms | sign up!

    *Please note that gift-certificate purchases do not count toward your membership obligation.







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  9. Easy free-motion quilting motifs, simple as 1-2-3 👍 (free tutorial + giveaway!)

    If you’ve tried free-motion quilting but you’re still in beginner mode . . .

    If you’re ready to try some fun new motifs . . .

    If you simply aren’t sure how to progress from where you are . . .

    Let machine-quilting pro Lori Kennedy take you by the hand and teach you everything she knows!

    Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
    Lori’s new book,
    Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

    Let us tell you about Lori: she’s a BERNINA Ambassador, a two-time Craftsy star, and she regularly writes machine-quilting tutorials for American Quilter Magazine. She’s also filmed a two-part series about her machine-quilting techniques for Sewing With Nancy, which you can watch this September.

    In short, she knows her sewing stuff!

    Square Flower Variations quilt
    Fun flower variations from
    Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

    Lori’s book, Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3, is chock-full of easy free-motion quilting motifs that you can add to your quilts. You’ll see more than 60 designs close up throughout every step of the process, all in detailed photographs—not illustrations—so you can clearly see what you and your quilt should be doing under the needle. More than 400 photos will guide you to success!

    From Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

    Learn to quilt flowers, leaves, tiny houses, and many more pictorial motifs, along with lots of easy-to-learn loops, spirals, circles, and squares. If you want your quilting to be as much a part of your quilt’s personality as your piecing, start with this book!

    Speaking of personality, we love this quiltmaking quote from Lori:

    Personality is more important than perfection

    Don’t you agree?

    As you’ll see in her guest post below, Lori’s enthusiastic and easygoing approach to free-motion quilting will inspire you to stitch right along with her. Welcome, Lori!

    Lori KennedyI’ve been machine quilting on a domestic sewing machine for more than 20 years, and in that time I’ve concluded two things:

    Free-motion quilting should be FUN!


    Quilting motifs should add personality to our quilts.

    Do YOU love machine-quilted feathers and stippling? Then you should cover your quilts in feathers and stippling galore!

    But if you’re like me . . . I simply cannot stipple. I cannot stitch a wavy line that doesn’t cross over any other line and makes a quarter-turn every so often.

    And I want more than feathers. I want my quilting lines to tell a story. However, I do NOT want to do a lot of marking.

    I started designing my own motifs and sharing them on my blog, The Inbox Jaunt. Together, my readers and I quilted leaves and flowers as well as spirals and circles. But we didn’t stop there. We quilted stars, sailboats, hearts, and roses. We added schools of fish and little houses and trees surrounded by picket fences. All these motifs helped tell our quilting story.

    Sailboat, fish, wave, and bubble quilting motifs
    Sailboat, fish, wave, and bubble motifs

    On my blog I’ve offered tutorials that are easy to follow and easy to commit to muscle memory. Suddenly, challenging motifs seemed simple—just one step at a time!

    Spiral bindingThat’s how Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 was born—one “Tuesday Tutorial” at a time.  The book includes more than 60 motifs with step-by-step photos, all organized in six chapters for quick reference. A spiral binding allows the book to lie flat next to your sewing machine while you are stitching.

    The first chapter will have you stitching in less than five minutes with my 12-step setup. Not sure about thread, batting, or marking pens? It’s all in here.

    Next, you’ll find skill-building exercises to help you create the perfect stitch, as well as instructions on creating four different knots to tie off your quilting. You’ll discover why stopping points are important, as well as other tips that will refine your technique and elevate your machine quilting to the next level.

    the perfect machine quilting stitch

    Then the fun begins—stitching the motifs and variations! Find motifs to tell YOUR story—from beginner to advanced, modern to traditional, pretty to whimsical.

    Motifs from Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
    Motifs from
    Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

    Not sure how to begin? Here’s a tutorial from the book that you can start with, and it’s my favorite: Flower Power!

    Free tutorial for Flower Power free-motion quilting motif
    Download Lori’s Flower Power tutorialprint it out and try it for yourself!

    Meander no more—happy stitching!

    Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3Thanks for sharing a peek inside your book, Lori!

    Which free-motion motifs from Lori’s book are you excited to try on your quilts?

    • Loops, lines, and spirals
    • Leaves and flowers
    • Circles and squares
    • All of the above!

    Tell us your pick in the comments and you could win a copy of Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck—and remember, when you buy the book at ShopMartingale.com, you can instantly download the eBook for free. Easy as 1-2-3!

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I love Lori’s leaves and flowers!”

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











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  10. VIDEO: How to cut teeny fabric appliques quick, quick, quick! ✂

    Bird applique from A Change of SeasonsTrue story: a couple of years ago, I was prepping a project and realized that I was nearly at the end of my roll of freezer paper. When I actually remembered to pick up another roll, I was so impressed with myself! A few weeks later, I was ransacking my pantry and what did I find? You guessed it, another brand-new roll of freezer paper. These words actually came out of my mouth: “What is this doing here?” I’ll bet my “helpful” hubby put it there—silly of him to think that it belonged in the pantry, wasn’t it?

    Speaking of freezer paper, here’s a fantastic video tip from Bonnie Sullivan, author of A Change of Seasons. Have you ever looked at an appliqué pattern and been intimidated by the sheer number of tiny pieces in it? Bonnie’s tip will help you cut those tiny berries and leaves quickly and accurately.

    Reading this in email? Click here to watch the video.

    Now that you know how to prep your appliqué pieces easily, take a look at some of Bonnie’s spring-inspired projects from A Change of Seasons:

    From A Change of Seasons - Spring
    Spring Blossoms and Spring Fling

    From A Change of Seasons - Spring
    Spring Has Sprung and Spring Chick

    Spring has definitely sprung in Chapter 1 of A Change of Seasons! Bonnie devotes a chapter to each season in her book. Take a look at more of her projects here.

    Kim Diehl's Best Applique Freezer PaperBy the way . . . those freezer-paper rolls for appliqué are now history (at least in my sewing room!). I switched to Kim Diehl’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper. You get thirty 8½" x 11″ sheets that lie flat for easy tracing and cutting. You can even run the sheets through an inkjet printer or photocopier. They’re great for both hand and machine appliqué. You’ll never go back to grocery-store rolls again!

    What kind of appliqué technique do you use most?

    1) Hand appliqué

    2) Machine appliqué

    3) Fusible appliqué

    4) A combination of all three!

    Share your appliqué style in the comments!








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