1. ⏰ Flash sale! 20 go-to patterns for quick quilting

    What happens when you find a quilt pattern that is beautiful, exciting, inspiring, fun . . . and F-A-S-T?

    You do what we do: the happy quilter dance! Emoji-dancer-1

    Quick quilting projects that take your breath away aren’t always easy to find. But you’ll get a bounty of sensational quick quilting projects in Fast Favorites from McCall’s Quilting, featuring a specially curated collection from the editors of McCall’s Quilting and McCall’s Quick Quilts magazines.
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    Make the most of your precious sewing time with 20 classic, cozy designs that look like they’d be complex to make. But don’t be fooled—these patterns are as simple and speedy as can be. Take a look at just a few of the quick quilts you could start sewing this weekend:
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    💨 Speed up sewing the Starring Repos quilt with:
    precuts (28 to 30 fat quarters)
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    💨 Speed up sewing the Basically Batik quilt with:
    a single repeated block, stitched in three different sizes
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    💨 Speed up sewing the Simply Fabulous quilt with:
    squares and rectangles only

    Which of these quick quilts will make your favorites list? See all the quilts in Fast Favorites from McCall’s Quilting here.
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    More quilts from
    Fast Favorites from McCall’s Quilting
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    ClockFast Favorites from McCall's QuiltingHurry—this flash sale ends March 28 at noon (PST). Don’t miss your chance to own this fun resource for fast favorites at an incredible price!

    $16.99 NOW ONLY $6.00

    What’s your go-to method for making quick quilts: precuts, repeat blocks, triangle-free designs? Tell us in the comments!
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  2. Tame those tees! How to make a t-shirt memory quilt (+ giveaway)

    The T-shirt: it’s a classic American collectible. Most everyone owns a stack of tees they can’t bear to part with. And why would we? So often, the logos and images on t-shirts capture events or times in our lives that are precious to us. T-shirts are filled with memories!

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    So we beg you—DON’T say goodbye to the stack of t-shirts that you, your family, or your friends own. Instead, pick up the new book Terrific T-Shirt Quilts, pair it with your sewing skills, and create a cuddly keepsake!
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    Too Precious to Pitch t-shirt quilt

    In Terrific T-Shirt Quilts, you’ll first learn tricks for taming t-shirt fabrics, from cutting motifs and sewing knits to choosing interfacings and stabilizers.
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    How-to examples from
    Terrific T-Shirt Quilts

    Then, you’ll transform tees celebrating sports, vacation spots, concerts, fundraisers—even children’s onesies, bibs, and jammies—into cute quilted mementos that friends and family will adore. And thank you for!
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    Winning Combination t-shirt quilt

    Terrific T-Shirt QuiltsSo far, two Martingale staffers have made t-shirt quilts using the instructions in Terrific T-Shirt Quilts. We asked them to share their terrific-tee sewing experience with us. Here’s what customer-service representative Sheila said about her quilt, which turned out so terrific that it was chosen to grace the cover of the book!

    “One day a while back, when Terrific T-Shirt Quilts was still a ‘book to be,’ I was asked by our acquisitions editor if I’d ever made a t-shirt quilt. My answer was, “Uh, no, why?”

    “Would you like to?” she asked.

    I thought about it for a minute and answered, “Sure, why not!”
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    Sheila’s Tween Dreams quilt

    Today I can tell you that I’m glad I said yes. The tips and techniques in the book are wonderful. I’d never even attempted to design a quilt, much less a quilt mixing stretchy cotton knits and woven quilting cottons. The tips on stabilizing the t-shirt fabrics worked perfectly—no ripples, waves, or tears.

    My first challenge was figuring out which t-shirts to use. Who in our house would be willing to allow me to use their t-shirts in a quilt? My daughter was the lucky winner. I only had to negotiate for a few t-shirts that she thought she might want to keep wearing; the others didn’t fit any longer.
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    Sheila with her Tween Dreams t-shirt quilt

    I ended up going with a ‘t-shirts and jeans’ theme, which allowed for a wide variety of t-shirt motifs. I enjoyed the whole process, from choosing fabrics to use with the t-shirts to figuring out the layout and seeing it all come together. Would I make another? You bet!

    If you’ve ever wondered if you could make your own one-of-a-kind t-shirt quilt—you can! Grab a copy of Terrific T-Shirt Quilts for inspiration and guidance, gather your collection of t-shirts, and dive in!”

    Here’s what Publisher and Chief Visionary Officer Jennifer Keltner had to say about her experience with Terrific T-Shirt Quilts:

    “I’m a quilter, not a knitter. In fact, I tell people my knitting is so bad, I can only serve as a bad example in class. So what’s a non-knitter to do when she wants a hand-knitted item? Trade with a buddy, of course! I made a t-shirt quilt for a knitter while she knit something for me in return.
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    Jennifer’s t-shirt quilt for her knitting friend, made with a scrappy assortment of Bonnie & Camille prints from Moda.

    Detail-of-Jennifers-t-shirt-quiltCotton prints and knit tees aren’t my usual quilting combo, so I was happy to have a refresher course in keeping things smooth and not-so-stretchy as I joined pieces. Pages 5 to 11 in Terrific T-Shirt Quilts are chock full of tips and tricks for doing just that. Easy to follow, and spot-on in the advice given, it made piecing my version of the Too Precious to Pitch pattern a cinch to sew. In fact, I was surprised by how easily it came together, even with the occasional odd-ball size t-shirt logo in the mix. Though it was only the second time I’ve sewed a quilt with t-shirts, I wouldn’t hesitate to try any of the quilts in the book. Armed with the necessary details from the front of the book, I’m tee-riffic at t-shirt quilts now!”

    Well said, Jennifer! Anyone can learn how to make a t-shirt memory quilt—customized to any collection of tees, no less—when prepared with the step-by-step strategies in Terrific T-Shirt Quilts.

    A third Martingale staffer, content director Karen Soltys, is getting her first t-shirt quilt underway. Here are some of the tees she’ll be featuring:
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    Karen’s been saving tees from 5K events she’s participated in—her quilt is sure to cross the finish line a winner!

    Who would you make a terrific t-shirt quilt for—a child, a family member, a friend? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Terrific T-Shirt Quilts eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Buy-it-NowWant to start cutting into that t-shirt stash today? You can buy the book ($18.99 with free eBook) or the eBook ($13.99) at ShopMartingale.com right now.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I would love to learn how to make these T-shirt quilts for my grandchildren to highlight their favorite T-shirts.”

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

    231 comments (read all)

  3. Keep it simple: quilt patterns with squares (+ sale)


    Quilt-patterns-with-squaresToday, we’re highlighting quilt patterns that start with the most basic of shapes—the square! All you need to get started is a stack of 5″ or 10″ squares (precuts or from your own stash—it’s your choice) and one of our sale books, and you’ll be on your way to making a fabulous quilt.

    First up, we have two books by Carrie Nelson, Moda quilt designer extraordinaire and the creative mind behind Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company. Each quilt can be made in two different sizes depending on whether you start with 5″ or 10″ squares. Choose a size and ready, set, quilt!
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    Schnibbles Times Two Another Bite of Schnibbles
    Schnibbles Times Two and Another Bite of Schnibbles by Carrie Nelson

    What is a Schnibble? According to Carrie and the Dictionary of American Regional English, this quirky little word actually means “a scrap, small bits of cloth, or leftover bits of fabric.” Perfect!
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    Short Story, large and small versions, from
    Schnibbles Times Two
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    Roundabout, large and small versions, from
    Another Bite of Schnibbles

    The authors of our next two books are Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene, the former owners of the popular shop and pattern company Country Threads. Their “charming” approach to the patterns in these two books came about when charm packs started appearing in shops. Mary and Connie saw charm packs as an opportunity for their customers to break out of their fabric comfort zones and try something new.
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    Country Threads Goes to Charm School Back to Charm School
    Country Threads Goes to Charm School and Back to Charm School by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene

    Here’s a wonderful bit of quilting wisdom from the pages of Country Threads Goes to Charm School: ever get going on a quilt and feel less than encouraged by how it’s coming together? Me too! Mary and Connie say, “This is not the last quilt you’ll ever make. Just sew it and enjoy the process. If you don’t like it, give it away—someone else will love it.” Thanks, Mary and Connie!
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    Don’t Talk with Your Mouth Full (left) and Dress for Success (right) from
    Country Threads Goes to Charm School
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    Order Coffee Every 60 Minutes in a Coffee Shop (left) and Identify Yourself to the Person Who Answers the Phone (right) from
    Back to Charm School

    Do you have a bit of quilting wisdom to share? We’d love to hear it! Tell us in the comments.


    Free shipping to the US and Canada only. Must sign in or register first; free shipping will apply at checkout.

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  4. 🎁 A National Quilting Day gift for you: 24 quilting tutorials

    National-Quilting-DayTomorrow is National Quilting Day!

    We got a gift for you.

    Close your eyes! 😄

    It’s a whopping two dozen of our latest quilting tutorials, all organized and categorized in one practical place. Right here!

    Pin, bookmark, or do whatever you do to keep track of handy quilty stuff online, but be sure to save this post for yourself—and share it with your quilting buddies too.

    Sending you our biggest wishes for a quintessentially quilty weekend!























    4 smart tips for quilting with strips






    goofproof way to choose quilt colors












    what to write on a quilt label


    how to join quilt binding ends no tuck technique




    finish quilting that quilt




    What are your plans for National Quilting Day: a day of sewing bliss, a trip to your local quilt shop, a visit with a quilting friend? Tell us in the comments!

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  5. How to paper piece quilt blocks – once and for all (3 expert tips + giveaway!)

    We are SO excited to share the latest book from prolific author, celebrated teacher, talented designer, and all-around fabulous person Nancy Mahoney today. Why? Because we’ve tested her new how-to ourselves—and we can’t wait to reveal the results!

    Learn to Paper Piece
    Four Martingale staffers, ranging from complete beginner to occasional paper piecer, made blocks from Nancy’s new book, Learn to Paper Piece. See how we did below.

    Katherine, Copywriter
    In the past, I’ve had very bad luck with paper piecing. Then I decided to try it once more using Learn To Paper Piece. Success at last!
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    Katherine’s Synergy block unit

    Beth, Senior Editor
    Before trying Nancy’s method, I’d only paper pieced one block and felt somewhat befuddled by the process. However, the first block I made following Nancy’s instructions turned out perfectly. I was so proud! Her tips for prepping your pieces and trimming as you go really do make it hard to make a mistake. If you follow her steps and techniques, you’ll end up with beautiful quilts.
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    Beth’s Split Star block

    Jenny, Content Editor
    The last time I paper pieced a quilt was for my brother’s wedding in 2000. My sister and I worked on it together. During construction she sliced off the tip of her finger and I slashed my leg open—we thought paper piecing was cursed! I hadn’t revisited the technique until I found out Nancy Mahoney was writing a book about it. Learn to Paper Piece re-familiarized me with paper piecing and broke the curse for good. I absolutely LOVE how my block turned out, and it was fun and easy to do. So many perfect points…there’s just no other way to get them!
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    Jenny’s Lobster Stew block

    Jennifer, Publisher and Chief Visionary Officer
    Over the years, I’ve tried more than once to get the knack of paper piecing. And more than once I’ve walked away saying, “That’s not for me. While I appreciate the results, my brain just doesn’t work that way.” Well, maybe I was just in need of a teacher like Nancy Mahoney. The step-by-step instructions in the front of the book that walk you through every pace of paper piecing are remarkable, easy to understand, and yes, I can say it, foolproof! This fool wasn’t able to goof it up, and believe me I’ve goofed up plenty of paper piecing in the past. So, if you want to not only learn to paper piece, but SUCCEED as well . . . you need a copy of this book!
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    Jennifer’s Crazy Pinwheels block

    Now that you’ve seen our paper-piecing success using Learn to Paper Piece, we hope you’ll be inspired to try too! Nancy is our guest writer today—below you’ll find just a few of her dos and don’ts for paper piecing. Whether it’s your first paper-piecing experience or your 101st, you’ll learn something new from Nancy. And from Learn to Paper Piece!

    Nancy-MahoneyFoundation piecing is often described as “sewing by number” and is a wonderful method for creating accurate patchwork blocks, especially for beginners. With paper piecing, the pieces are sewn to a paper foundation that’s marked with numbered pieces. Often the finished block is a mirror image of the paper pattern. So, when paper piecing, you’ll sew upside down and backward—other than that, it’s easy! Don’t worry, Learn to Paper Piece will prepare you with visual how-tos and step-by-step guidance.
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    Example of how-to photos from
    Learn to Paper Piece

    To get you started, here are my TOP THREE paper-piecing dos and don’ts:

    1. Do use paper made specifically for foundation piecing, such as Papers for Foundation Piecing from Martingale. You can also use vellum, tracing paper, or blank newsprint. Don’t use regular copy paper.

    Lobster Stew from
    Learn to Paper Piece

    2. Do use a Microtex Sharp 80/12 needle. Don’t use a Universal 90/14 needle. A larger needle can make it hard to sew accurately, especially when stitching small sections and short lines. It’s the stitch length that’s important for tearing away the paper after stitching, not the size of the holes.

    Gaggling Geese from
    Learn to Paper Piece

    3. Do use a shorter-than-normal stitch length. Don’t make the stitches too small. Use a stitch length of about 16 stitches per inch or 1.7 mm for stitching through paper foundations. The shorter stitches perforate the paper and make it easy to remove.

    Crazy Pinwheels
    from Learn to Paper Piece

    You’ll find LOTS more of my tips for paper piecing in Learn to Paper Piece—come learn with me!

    QALBIG NEWS! This just in—Nancy will be hosting her first-ever quilt-along with Learn to Paper Piece as the guide! Pick up the book and a package of Papers for Foundation Piecing; then follow Nancy on Facebook to join her #learntopaperpiecequiltalong beginning in June. She’ll be revealing her a-ma-zing quilt-along design soon. (The quilt is under wraps for now, but she gave us a sneak peek. WOWZA!)

    Thanks for those great tips, Nancy!

    Rate your paper-piecing skills: tried it and love it, tried it and still learning, or ready to try for the first time? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of Learn to Paper Piece PLUS a package of Papers for Foundation Piecing! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.
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    Buy-it-NowCan’t wait to start paper piecing with Nancy at your side? Buy Learn to Paper Piece for just $18.99 and instantly download the eBook for free. Or, buy only the eBook for just $13.99.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I have tried to do paper piecing more times then I care to admit. I have dubbed myself beyond hopeless. I am trying to convince myself to try one more time, and of course my husband (the most wonderful man in the world), tells me all the time, ‘If you want to try it again, go ahead.’ Maybe.”

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

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  6. 🌺 Flower quilt-block patterns – no green thumb needed (+ sale)


    Spring arrives on March 20—can we get a hooray? There’s no better time to create flower-filled quilts for decorating the inside of your home than while Mother Nature decorates the outside.

    The only question is: what’s your favorite flower of the fabric variety? Choose from the sale books below and start “sewing” the seeds of a quilt to display every year—or heck, why not every day? Any season is a reason to display flowers!

    Cutting-Garden Quilts🌺 Fusible Flowers

    Cutting Garden Quilts: Fabulous Fusible Flowers
    Melinda Bula

    How do you quilt by number? Pretty much the same way you paint by number. Follow a simple color chart to place colors in these painterly designs—but instead of paint, choose fabric! Because you use fusible web, it’s easy to get your pieces positioned just right. Learn Melinda’s “renegade thread play” technique too. Read more about how the process works in this post.
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    Peach Rose quilt. See more from
    Cutting-Garden Quilts >>>

    Flowers All Around🌺 Pieced and Appliquéd Flowers

    Flowers All Around: Garden-Inspired Quilts
    Cindy Lammon

    Inspired by botanical art and her own garden, Cindy created charming pieced and appliquéd flowers and plants that bring out the beauty of not only floral motifs, but floral fabrics too. Stylized flowers, from spring tulips and summer lilies to holiday holly and poinsettias, offer ways to stitch showy blooms year ’round.
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    Flower Garden quilt. See more from
    Flowers All Around >>>

    Tea in the Garden🌺 Hand-Appliquéd Flowers

    Tea in the Garden: Quilts for a Summer Afternoon
    Cynthia Tomaszewski

    Flower-filled quilt patterns, a guide to making the perfect cup of tea, and a bounty of scrumptious muffin recipes too—what a lovely way to start a new springtime project! Along with her jaw-dropping quilt designs, Cynthia includes a seven-page introduction to both freezer-paper and fusible appliqué, so your work will shine no matter which method you choose.
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    Les Fleurs quilt. See more from
    Tea in the Garden >>>

    The Quilter's Home: Spring🌺 Paper-Pieced Flowers

    The Quilter’s Home: Spring
    Lois Krushina Fletcher

    Celebrate the best of spring—from tulips and butterflies to birds and bees—in a bounty of quilted home accents! A pretty sampler quilt provides the block designs needed to make wall hangings, place mats, a table runner, and more. Use paper piecing, fusible appliqué, or a little of both in cheerful designs that will help you ring in spring each year.
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    Out on a Limb wall quilt. See more from
    The Quilter’s Home: Spring >>>

    What favorite flower would you like to “grow” in a quilt this spring? Tell us in the comments!

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  7. 🎉 Anniversary fun!: huge sale, 12 hours only (+ fabric giveaway!) 🎉

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    Boy, this month is awesome.

    The year 2016 is a big one for us—it marks 40 years in business and four years right here on the blog! And celebrating our anniversaries during National Quilting Month? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake. What more could we ask for?

    There is one more thing we could ask for . . . would you let us thank you for your support with a special sale?


    For one day only—TODAY—everything at our website, ShopMartingale.com, is 40% off. Kim Diehl books? Yes. Civil War books? Yes. Books about scrap quilts, appliqué, fat quarters? Yes, yes, yes! How about knitting and crochet books? YES!

    Whatever your favorite quilting, sewing, knitting or crochet topic—today, books about that very topic are 40% off. And not just books: tools, gifts, and calendars too.

    But hurry—time’s a-ticking! Sale ends at 8:00 p.m. tonight (PST).

    Shop Now


    What’s an anniversary celebration without gifts? Answer our question at the bottom of this post and you’ll be automatically entered to win:

    One of these yummy Layer Cake bundles from our friends at Moda: Wild Rose by Blackbird Designs (their latest fabric line, Hyde Park, is available now) and Kansas Troubles Favorites by Kansas Troubles Quilters (their latest fabric line, Cozy Cottage flannels, is available now).
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    OR one of these fun About a Boy/About a Girl bundles by Anni Downs, courtesy of our friends at Henry Glass. (Anni’s latest fabric line, All in a Day, is available now).
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    We have our all-time favorite blog posts, and so do you! Here are your five favorite blog posts—the ones you voted for every time you clicked. Have you pinned them yet?
















    Look for another BIG tutorial roundup next Friday! Subscribe to Stitch This! emails so you don’t miss a thing.

    Which posts do you look forward to most at our Stitch This! blog: new book releases, special sales, tutorials, author interviews, staff show + tell, giveaways, freebies? Tell us in the comments and you could win one of the four fabric bundles from Moda and Henry Glass PLUS an eBook of your choice! We’ll choose four random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Good luck—and many thanks for celebrating our anniversaries with us!

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    • Claire, who says, “Oh how I love to sneak a peek at your new books!”
    • Sylvia, who says, “I enjoy the sales. I am very new to quilting and I am trying to build up a stash of material.”
    • G, who says, “Tutorials are awesome, love learning. To make new stuff and who wouldn’t love giveaways and the chance to win beautiful items to create with. Thank you for the chance to win and looking forward to more, love this site.”
    • Susan, who says, “I like reading all the posts. Usually always something interesting to me. I also like the tutorials and giveaways.”

    We’ll email you about your prizes. Congratulations!


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  8. How to make a scrap quilt – with precuts! (+ giveaway)

    Fabric fanatics rejoice: Kim Brackett is back with a new collection of spectacular quilts that’ll perfectly pair up with your precut piles OR your scrap-basket beauties. In Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares, you get the best of both worlds!
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    Details of quilts from
    Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares

    Scrap-Basket Strips and SquaresThe four-time best-selling author of the Scrap-Basket series of books reveals how to make a scrap quilt with Jelly Rolls, charm squares, and Layer Cakes—or your scrap stash. Got traditional prints? Florals? Batiks? Solids? Whatever your fabric fancy, Kim’s new quilt patterns celebrate them all.

    We invited our Facebook and Instagram followers to ask Kim about her quilts, her design methods, and her creative inspirations. So how does she get that cheery, scrappy look at the heart of her signature style? Read on to get a peek into Kim’s creative process!
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    From @cindynixdorff via Instagram: Where do you find your inspiration for all your quilts?

    Kim BrackettHi, Cindy! Sometimes I’m inspired by color combinations, but I typically don’t just imagine quilt designs. Most of the time, I draw designs in Electric Quilt 7 using only two colors to separate the background from the main fabrics. Once I have a design that I like, I color in the pieces with digital fabric swatches. This gives me a preview of what my finished quilt will look like.
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    Touch a Star

    From @punkydoodle53 via Instagram: So excited to see a new book by Kim! What inspires you and how do come up with a name for your quilts?

    I’m so glad you’re excited, PunkyDoodle! Naming quilts is never easy for me. In fact, there’s an explanation in Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares about why I named a quilt “Woodruff.” Some names are inspired by fabric collections; others are inspired by what I think the blocks look like or something that I’m reminded of the most while making the quilt.
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    From Nancy via Facebook: What is your most favorite aspect of quilting? If you were to design a quilt just for you, what would you envision it to be?

    Nancy, I love all aspects of quilting! A lot of quilters complain about cutting, but that part of the process is very relaxing and satisfying to me. Other than the quilts from my books, the only quilt I still own that was made by me is the first quilt I made. So I’ve been thinking it’s time to make a just-for-me quilt! And it’s going to be my first bed-size quilt. It will have lots of small pieces and will be wildly scrappy. Although I usually never make the same quilt twice, it may be a larger version of the Wildflowers quilt from this book.
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    From Karen via Facebook: What spurred you to write your first book? And what advice do you have for aspiring designers?

    Karen, my first book was the result of having accumulated way too many scraps! You can read more about how it happened here.  My advice to aspiring designers (especially those who have a collection of designs they would like to publish in a book) would be to submit a proposal. You’ll find a few tips at the link, and you can download the proposal form.
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    Magnolia Bay Gazette

    From Sidney via Facebook: What was your first quilt like and what mistakes did you make? What did it teach you?

    Sidney, instead of saying that I started quilting in 1988, I should say I started practicing quilting in 1988. I learned to cut pieces for blocks using Mylar templates and scissors, learned to sew a straight quarter-inch seam (by hand and machine), and I pretty much just played for almost 10 years. I sewed blocks but never joined them into a quilt.

    When I moved to Florida and started working at a law firm where I met a fellow quilter, we each began working on a pieced and appliquéd quilt. By the time I started working on a real quilt, I had already developed a lot of skills—everything but color skills! Fortunately, the quilt was incredibly scrappy, so all the weird fabrics and colors looked more like an old-fashioned scrap quilt. Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about choosing fabrics that play nicely together.
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    Precut or stash fabrics? Your choice! See more from the book >

    Thanks to our social-media followers for submitting some great questions for Kim—and many thanks to Kim for answering them!

    What would your first quilt from Kim’s new book be made with: scraps or precuts? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Can’t wait to get started? Buy the book now and instantly download the eBook for free. Or buy the eBook for just $16.99.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I would definitely use precuts as I’ve only made a few quilts so I’m building up my stash. Kim, thank you for this opportunity to win a copy of your new book.”

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

    379 comments (read all)

  9. Guesswork be gone: patterns for YOUR favorite fabrics (+ sale)

    Save 20% on select books plus free shipping

    Today we’re making YOUR favorite fabrics the focus! With the right patterns and advice, any fabric can be sliced, sewn, and transformed into a beautiful quilt you’ll be proud to display. And with this week’s books on sale, you can take the guesswork out of using fabrics in your stash that you love but aren’t quite sure how to incorporate into a quilt.

    Take a look at your stash; then take a look at the featured books below. Get inspired to start a stash quilt today!

    Fabric focus: Big motifs

    Big-Print PatchworkBig-Print Patchwork: Quilt Patterns for Large-Scale Prints
    Sandy Turner

    Got pictorial fabrics, but not sure how to use them in a quilt? The how-to in Big-Print Patchwork will help you create show-stopping quilts that easily adapt to the large-scale prints you can’t resist at the quilt shop. Remember that fabric with the mega-huge flowers…the exotic animal images…the [fill in the blank] extra-large motif? You just had to have it. Here’s your opportunity to use it!
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    Around the Orchard

    See more quilts from Big-Print Patchwork >
    $24.99 $19.99
    PLUS free shipping

    Fabric focus: Neutrals

    Spotlight on NeutralsSpotlight on Neutrals: Quilts and More for Any Decor
    Pat Wys

    Black to white, brown to cream, and all the shades in between—those are neutrals. But if you think neutrals are drab, boring, and only for guys, you haven’t seen best-selling author Pat Wys’s jaw-dropping neutral quilts! Pat says if you want to build your color confidence, make an all-neutral quilt. Neutral fabrics are timeless, always available, and not necessarily “line specific”—and they blend beautifully in any decor.
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    See more quilts from Spotlight on Neutrals >
    $24.99 $19.99
    PLUS free shipping

    Fabric focus: Batiks

    Quilt Batik!Quilt Batik!
    Cheryl Brown

    Do batiks grab you at the quilt shop and not let go until they’re happily riding home with you? You need Cheryl’s book! Her striking quilts show off batiks in classic quilt blocks you’ll quickly recognize. Learn fascinating tidbits about batik fabrics too, including their history, waxing and dyeing techniques, and more. Cheryl’s designs make it easy to use your batiks in a quilt—not just as a sewing-room decoration.
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    Examples from
    Quilt Batik!

    Watch a video of how Cheryl chooses batiks for her quilts >
    $24.99 $19.99
    PLUS free shipping

    Fabric focus: Anything goes!

    Fabric PlayFabric Play: Change the Fabric, Change the Quilt
    Deanne Moore

    Got a hodge-podge of fabrics just waiting for their chance to shine in a quilt? Deanne will show you how to dramatically change the look of a quilt with a change of fabrics. With helpful tips, ready-to-color design sheets, and make-in-a-weekend patterns, you simply can’t go wrong—no matter what your fabric collection contains! Take a look at the 13 Fabric Play quilts Martingale staffers made—we had so much stash-happy fun!
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    Examples from
    Fabric Play

    Spotlight all the fabrics YOU love in Fabric Play >
    $24.99 $19.99
    PLUS free shipping

    Which type of fabric dominates your stash: pictorial prints, batiks, neutrals…or is it an eclectic collection? Tell us in the comments!

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  10. Machine-quilting ergonomics: set up for comfort


    Machine quilting on a home sewing machine is becoming the norm for more and more quilters. With designers and teachers like Christa Watson leading the way, the process has been vetted and—aren’t we lucky—they’ve share their tried, tested, and true techniques with us!

    For Christa, author of Machine Quilting with Style, enjoying the process is as important as enjoying a finished quilt. That’s why she’s dedicated a section of her book to setting up your quilting space for maximum comfort. And we’re sharing part of that section with you today.

    So the next time you feel yourself getting tired, achy, or agitated during machine quilting, check your space and your technique using Christa’s tips below. Your body—and your quilts—will thank you.


    Christa WatsonWork surface, ergonomics, and hand position all play a part in making the quilting process smooth and enjoyable. When quilting on a home machine, the surface you work on should be even with the bed of your machine, and you should have as much work surface behind and to the left of your machine as possible. This surface will help hold the weight of the quilt, give your arms a platform to rest on, and eliminate drag, which can cause uneven stitching.

    A drop-in sewing table is an excellent investment if you’ll be quilting a lot of quilts. I’d venture to say that the table is even more important than the machine! Drop-in sewing tables feature an opening that the machine sits into, keeping the machine bed flush with the table surface. Custom-made inserts are available to fit around the machine to cover the opening.
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    Most drop-in tables can be fitted with a custom insert made specifically for your machine.

    If you work on a surface where the level of the machine can’t be adjusted, such as your dining room table, you have other options. You can build up the area around the base of the machine instead. Many companies make acrylic extension tables, which slide into position around the machine, to create the same effect as having a drop-in table and to give you more work surface. Or, instead of using extension tables, get creative and try Styrofoam or books to add height behind and to the left of the machine. It’s also helpful if you can position another table to your left, creating an L shape. An adjustable-height ironing board works in a pinch, as does a portable tray table.

    Once your work surface is set up, make sure your body and hands are positioned correctly. Quilting ergonomics are very important: your feet should rest comfortably on the floor with your arms resting comfortably on the bed of your machine. If you have to quilt in less-than-ideal circumstances, be sure to take breaks often and stretch. I find that if I quilt for more than two hours at a time, my neck and arms can become stiff and sore, which means it’s time to move on to something else.

    When quilting, try to “puddle” the quilt by scrunching it up near the area you’re quilting so that your immediate workspace is flat and moves freely. Stop often and reposition both your hands and the quilt to keep it feeding smoothly under the quilting foot at all times. Position the quilt so that the least amount of bulk is under the arm of the quilt at any one time.
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    Hand positions for machine quilting:
    Some people like to “drive” their quilt by grasping the edges of the quilt with their hands while they stitch (left); others like to tiptoe over the top by using their fingertips to gently guide their quilt under the needle (center). I’m most comfortable using my hands as a hoop, palms flat on the quilt, using the weight of my hands to move the quilt around (right).

    Don’t be afraid to rotate or squish your quilt as needed to get the bulk out of the way as much as possible. I call this the “scrunch and smoosh” method of dealing with the bulk.
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    Rather than rolling or folding the quilt neatly, I “scrunch and smoosh” it out of the way as needed.

    There are products available that will aid you in the machine-quilting process. Two products I like to use are:

    • Quilting gloves. They give me an extra bit of grip on the quilt, allowing me to control the movement.
    • A slick silicon mat. A slick mat temporarily sticks to the bed of my machine, making for a more slippery work surface and easier movement. If you can’t drop your feed dogs for free-motion quilting (or if you get better tension when they’re up), the mat also serves to cover up the feed dogs so you can freely move the quilt in all directions.

    Now that you’re all set up, you’re ready to begin your machine-quilting adventure with Christa! Pick up the print or eBook edition of Machine Quilting with Style at our website. Here are just a few Amazon reviews about the book:

    Machine Quilting with StyleFive-stars “This book successfully fills a void that other quilting books miss. The reader can really accomplish a project from start to finish and gain confidence with each project.”

    Five-stars “THIS is the book I wish I had in my library when I first got started quilting, to give me real ideas and inspiration that I can finish on my home sewing machine. Love the fresh ideas for patchwork AND quilting in the same book!”

    Five-stars “I know it’s hard to spend money on books rather than fabric, but I’m telling you—pass up that charm pack and buy this book instead! You can thank me later.”

    Machine quilting on a home-sewing machine: mastered it, learning it, or like to try it? Tell us in the comments!

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