1. “Block” out your calendar: Worldwide Quilting Day March 15 (+ sale)

    Posted by on March 10, 2014, in quilting & sewing

    Happy Worldwide Quilting Day!
    (In five days and counting…)

    Worldwide Quilting DayIt only comes once a year—the grandest justification for setting aside all commitments, responsibilities, and obligations in order to dedicate your day to just one love: quilting! Worldwide Quilting Day is Saturday, March 15. This handy excuse to put your creativity above all else transpires only once every 365 days, so use it or lose it! (At least until next year.)

    If you haven’t decided how you’ll celebrate just yet, we’ve gathered a few ideas for infusing your Saturday with quilting fun.

    For the social butterfly: host a patchwork party!

    In this post you can get ideas for throwing together a party featuring one of three themes: a newbie party, a charity-quilt bee, and a fabric swap. Then gather your friends for a few hours of stitching. Get inspired by the free downloads below.

    Free quilt party downloads
    Download free printable invitations, a free “Rocky Road to Dublin” quilt-block pattern, and a free party-friendly recipe for Rocky Road Snack Cake.

    Check out our “Patchwork Party Ideas” board on Pinterest

    For the quilting scholar: teach someone to quilt.

    Know someone who admires your work? How about someone who’s expressed a curiosity about quilting? Set aside some time to teach him or her the basics. Download our free how-to-quilt booklets and spread the joy of quilting to others!

    How to quilt: free downloads
    See more free downloads on our How to Quilt page.

    For the casual quilter: start a spark—make just one block.

    Prefer to stay at home and snuggle up to your stash? We have a challenge for you: sew just ONE block. Choose your favorite quick-to-make block, or let the block collections below (all 40% off this week) inspire you. Whether you sew for 15 minutes or enjoy a quilting marathon from dawn ’til dusk, use Worldwide Quilting Day as a reminder of why you’re a quilter—every day of the year.


    Quilt Block Bonanza: 50 Paper-Pieced Designs
    by Nancy Mahoney

    • 50 paper-pieced block patterns
    • Sew by number
    • Simplify classic designs
    • Guarantee accuracy
    Quilt-Block Bonanza

    Quilt blocks from Quilt Block Bonanaza
    See more quilt-block patterns from
    Quilt Block Bonanza.


    Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes
    by Kay Mackenzie

    • 50 block designs for appliqué lovers
    • Hand, machine, or fusible appliqué
    • 5 sizes for each block (from 6″ to 12″)
    • eBook links to printable patterns
    Easy Applique Blocks

    Quilt blocks from Easy Applique Blocks
    See more quilt-block patterns from
    Easy Appliqué Blocks.


    Gathered from the Garden: Quilts with Floral Charm
    by Cindy Lammon

    • 39 patchwork and appliqué quilt blocks
    • Cindy’s preferred hand-appliqué techniques
    • Tips for appliquéing stems, circles, and more
    • Includes eight quilt projects
    Gathered from the Garden

    Quilt blocks from Gathered from the Garden
    See more quilt-block patterns from
    Gathered from the Garden.


    Dutch Treat: 196 Appliqué Blocks Inspired by Delft Designs
    by Judy Garden

    • Vast library of 196 block patterns
    • Learn recessed and reverse appliqué
    • Inspired by 17th-century delft ceramic tiles
    • Includes instructions for two quilts
    Dutch Treat

    Quilt blocks from Dutch Treat
    See more quilt-block patterns from
    Dutch Treat.


    Are you planning to make a block (or more) on Saturday in honor of Worldwide Quilting Day? Tell us what your plans are in the comments!

    You might also like: Celebrating National Quilting Day: 9 ways


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  2. Quirky Question: your week, the highlights (+ sale)

    Posted by on March 7, 2014, in crochet & knitting, ,

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    Thanks for coming back for the monthly Quirky Question! The question is just for fun, answers are always welcome, and you could get an eBook for free.

    From Contemporary CrochetLeft: from Contemporary Crochet by Sys Fredens. SALE ALERT: only $8.39!

    Imagine you’re a reporter and your editor has asked you to write a feel-good story about your week. What would you write about?

    We really want to know! Kick off the weekend by telling us:

    What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

    Post your answer in the comments or in our Ravelry Group before noon (PST) on Friday, March 14, for your chance to win. The winning answer will be posted on Friday, April 4, along with the next question.

    Last month’s Quirky Question was, “How would you profess your love for yarn?” Carmen had a clever scheme:

    “I would buy my yarn a box of chocolates… but then it would get dirty, so I better just eat it myself.”

    We’re guessing that your yarn won’t mind sharing. Enjoy your free eBook, Carmen!

    Knit and crochet books on sale

    SALE ALERT: 40% OFF

    During the entire month of March, get any of these four eBooks for 40% OFF. Instant downloads equal instant gratification! Click on the cover to see each book’s projects in the gallery. This offer is good until Monday, March 31, at midnight PST.

    Contemporary Crochet Crocheted Sweaters
    Easy Cable Knits for All Seasons The Pleasures of Knitting


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  3. Can YOU quilt it? You bet—learn how now (+ big giveaway!)

    Wedding QuiltIf you ever wondered, “How did she quilt that?,” you’ve been in the same boat as Kim Diehl’s preferred machine quilter, Deborah Poole. A hand quilter for years, Deborah taught herself how to free-motion quilt, step by tiny step. Now she’s sharing her own brand of shortcuts and secrets for free-motion quilting in her new book, You Can Quilt It!—and you won’t want to miss her clever revelations!

    Deborah gives you in a matter of pages what took her several years to discover. Written for quilting on a long-arm or home sewing machine, the book offers easy-to-follow instructions for oodles of free-motion quilting patterns plus eight techniques for how to quilt feathers—the pinnacle of classic quilting motifs.

    Today Deborah is here to share the story about her leap from diehard hand quilter to machine quilter to the stars. Let’s all join cyber-hands and chant the positive affirmation together as we read her tale: “YES—I can quilt it!”

    (Don’t miss stunning examples of Deborah’s quilting in the slideshow below.)



    Superior Threads gift-certificate giveawayGIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Superior Threads—makers of Deborah’s preferred machine-quilting thread—are giving THREE $25 gift certificates to three lucky winners today! Find out how you can win one along with a copy of the You Can Quilt It! eBook at the bottom of this post.



    Deborah PooleIt all started a little over seven years ago. I’d been teaching classes on piecing and appliqué for years and swore I would never quilt by machine. But one of my students bought a Gammill and told me, “You have to get one!” I laughed and told her I was doing just fine quilting most things by hand—I had actually broken down and quilted a few tops on my Bernina 1230—but a long-arm? NEVER! I ate my words about six months later when I ordered my Gammill.

    It was delivered in January of 2007. And then it sat there for over six months. Oh, I did a baby quilt or two, but really, for the most part, it just sat there, a big, room-filling, $16,000 dust catcher. I avoided it like it was a machine in one of the Transformer movies that was going to come alive and crush me to death. What had I done? I was foolish to spend all that money on this.

    Finally my dear husband, Jace, the all-knowing, ever-present monitor of my innermost secrets (whether or not I want him to be) calmly looked and me and said, “You know what? I think you’re afraid of that machine.” And without another word, he left the room.

    What? How dare he accuse me of being afraid of a sewing machine, even if it were true! He wasn’t supposed to say it out loud. Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t think there is a long-arm/mid-arm quilter out there who hasn’t had the same feelings. At some point we all think, what have I done? Well, those two sentences from my husband launched me into action. How dare he accuse me of being afraid. Darn him anyway! So I strapped on my best “I’ll show you!” armor and went to war on my insecurities.

    My first show quilt was “Rosa Sharon”—it’s a reproduction of an antique quilt I viewed online, maker unknown. It’s this quilt that taught me what I needed to know to get where I am now. I learned so much from quilting that quilt. When I finished, I knew the things I learned would need to be passed on to others. The problem was, who would listen to little ol’ me? Well, that question was answered in the fall of 2008.

    Rosa Sharon quilt by Deborah Poole
    “Rosa Sharon.” This quilt has special meaning for me. My Aunt Sharon was my quilting mentor. I ordered my Gammill the month she died of lung cancer. I’m saddened to this day that she wasn’t around to laugh and cry with me while I learned how to make the darn thing work for me. So I named the quilt after my mother (her sister) and her. My mother’s name is Patrica Rosa, hence Rosa Sharon. The quilt helped me heal from her loss but the hurt will never leave.

    I went to a guild meeting toting a local quilt-shop sample I’d finished for the owner. I hadn’t been to the guild in some time and I wasn’t aware that night’s speaker was going to be Kim Diehl. The quilt I had in my bag was one of Kim’s designs. Honestly, I was a bit embarrassed. I’m not really one to put myself “out there,” so I quietly slipped the shop owner the quilt and walked away. She took the quilt out, Kim saw it, and she wanted to know who had quilted it. Everyone pointed at me. I was overjoyed and honored that she asked me to quilt her next quilt. She and I have been working together ever since.

    Detail of Checkered Past quilt
    Deborah’s quilting on “Checkered Past,” from Kim Diehl’s book,
    Simple Charm

    During our time together, Kim would tell me about all the students who would look at her quilts and my quilting. They would snap pictures or draw sketches of my quilting. One day I suggested to Kim that perhaps she and I do a book together—she would make her beautiful quilt tops but then we could highlight exactly how I quilted them. She said, “Let’s do one better and you put in a book proposal of your own.” Well of course I did and, as they say, the rest is history.

    You Can Quilt It!I’m thrilled that Martingale gave me the opportunity to write my book You Can Quilt It!, because at heart I am a teacher. I want people to be successful and not be afraid. To that end, I want the book to help people understand how to quilt the hard stuff. I think one of the best parts of my book is that I reveal the exact thread path for each design, something most quilting books don’t offer. Seeing a wonderful design is all well and good, but not knowing how to stitch it out is heartrending.

    I hope my book opens a window in the minds of its readers, allowing them to take the information within it and apply it to all their quilting needs.


    Deborah, thanks for sharing your story with us! See more of Deborah’s beautiful work (that—believe it or not—you can do too!) in the slideshow below.

    How would you rate your machine-quilting skills—proficient, pretty good, or in need of further instruction? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the You Can Quilt It! eBook PLUS one of three $25 gift certificates to spend at the Superior Threads website! You can win one of three ways:

    1. Answer the question above in the comments section of our blog.
    2. “Like” Superior Threads on Facebook; then let us know you did in the comments below.
    3. Leave a comment on Superior Threads’ Facebook post about You Can Quilt It!

    Enter all three ways to increase your chances of winning; winners will be randomly chosen one week from today and will be notified by email.

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winners are Jaci, Janet, and Melody. We’ll email you about your prizes—congratulations!

    Dresden's Dilemma quilt by Sharon Del Pino; machine quilted by Deborah Poole

    "Dresden's Dilemma" quilt by Sharon Del Pino; machine quilted by Deborah Poole.

    Jelly-icious quilt pieced and machine quilted by Deborah Poole

    "Jelly-icious" quilt pieced and machine quilted by Deborah Poole.

    Nearly Insane and Totally Nuts quilt by Doris Coffey; machine quilted by Deborah Poole

    "Nearly Insane and Totally Nuts" quilt by Doris Coffey; machine quilted by Deborah Poole.

    Oh Good Gosh quilt by Sharon Del Pino; machine quilted by Deborah Poole

    "Oh Good Gosh" quilt by Sharon Del Pino; machine quilted by Deborah Poole.

    Salmon Splendor quilt by Beverly Hindman; machine quilted by Deborah Poole

    "Salmon Splendor" quilt by Beverly Hindman; machine quilted by Deborah Poole.

    Wedding Quilt by Editha Van Orden; machine quilted by Deborah Poole

    "Wedding Quilt" by Editha Van Orden; machine quilted by Deborah Poole.


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  4. Quirky question: who have you helped become a quilter?

    Posted by on March 5, 2014, in quirky question

    Martingale's Quirky Question

    Thanks for stopping by for the weekly Quirky Question—where questions are just for fun, your answers are always welcome, and you could win an eBook for free!

    Bears in the Berry Patch quiltRight: “Bears in the Berry Patch” by Deanne Eisenman, from That Patchwork Place Quilt Collection. Get the eBook for $11.99 this week only; see a slideshow of quilts from the book below.


    Last week we asked you about your quilting mentors. From mothers and grandmothers to friends and authors—and from entire quilt guilds to the entire Internet!—you developed your quilting skills in myriad ways. This week, we turn that same question on its head. Tell us:

    Who have you mentored in the art and craft of quilting?

    Post your answer in the comments before noon (PST) on Monday, March 10, for your chance to win. The winning answer will be posted on Wednesday, March 12, along with the next question.

    Last week’s Quirky Question was, “Who has been your quilting mentor?” Here’s the winning comment, from Janet:

    “My mom was my mentor. She talked about it and shared secrets with me whenever we were together. I started quilting about three years after she passed on. But it was her passion for fabric, designs, patterns and sewing that influenced me. I think of her whenever I start a project. Sometimes I hear her voice in my head… “Now, Janet. You should really pull that seam out and do it over.” When I finish a project, I spread it out on the floor so she can ‘see’ what we’ve accomplished. And now my dad is quilting too! What a legacy she began!”

    Thanks for sharing your story, Janet—look for an email about your free eBook.

    Matilija Poppies quilt by Barbara Brandeburg and Teri Christopherson

    Matilija Poppies quilt by Barbara Brandeburg and Teri Christopherson

    Small Starburst quilt by Lori Buhler

    Small Starburst quilt by Lori Buhler

    Oatmeal Spice quilt by Retta Warehime

    Oatmeal Spice quilt by Retta Warehime

    Orange Wonder quilt by Ilene Bartos

    Orange Wonder quilt by Ilene Bartos

    Midnight Madness quilt by Gayle Bong

    Midnight Madness quilt by Gayle Bong

    Nickel Bricks quilt by Claudia Plett and Le Ann Weaver

    Nickel Bricks quilt by Claudia Plett and Le Ann Weaver

    Loose Arrows quilt by Karla Alexander

    Loose Arrows quilt by Karla Alexander

    Picnic Bouquet quilt by Cyndi Hershey

    Picnic Bouquet quilt by Cyndi Hershey

    Spring Showers quilt by Cynthia Tomaszewski

    Spring Showers quilt by Cynthia Tomaszewski

    Mezmerize quilt by Tammy Kelly

    Mezmerize quilt by Tammy Kelly

    Purple Passion Pineapple quilt by Jo Parrott

    Purple Passion Pineapple quilt by Jo Parrott

    Peony Garden quilt by Nancy Mahoney

    Peony Garden quilt by Nancy Mahoney

    Gathered from the Garden quilt by Cindy Lammon

    Gathered from the Garden quilt by Cindy Lammon

    Around the Town quilt by Nancy J. Martin

    Around the Town quilt by Nancy J. Martin

    Fruit Basket quilt by Cheryl Brown

    Fruit Basket quilt by Cheryl Brown

    Broken Star quilt by Nancy J. Martin

    Broken Star quilt by Nancy J. Martin

    Be Mine quilt by Sandy Klop

    Be Mine quilt by Sandy Klop

    Lemon Twist quilt by Cyndi Walker

    Lemon Twist quilt by Cyndi Walker


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  5. Making a quilt sandwich: step-by-step tutorial

    Dresdens Dilemma from You Can Quilt ItIn a recent Quirky Question we asked what one quiltmaking skill you’d like to get better at—and we were surprised when so many of you chose the same thing! Can you guess what so many quilters want to improve upon? If you guessed quilting your own quilts, you’d be as right as a 90-degree angle.

    So, what strikes fear in the hearts of so many quilters who have yet to quilt their own quilts? Perhaps it’s the thought of sewing puckers, pleats, and wrinkles (or worse) into the back of your quilts while quilting on the front. That’s why today we’re starting with step one—the step that stops those puckers from forming in the first place: making a solid quilt sandwich. Read on to learn the basic technique, and then give it a try on a small project for practice.


    Tutorial--making a quilt sandwich
    by Robin Strobel

    The quilt “sandwich” consists of backing, batting, and the quilt top. First, you’ll cut the backing and batting 4″ to 6″ longer and wider than the quilt top. Then you’ll baste the layers together, using thread if you’ll be hand quilting or safety pins if you’ll be machine quilting. To complete the sandwich, you’ll quilt either by hand or by machine.

    When you quilt a quilt yourself, the main challenge is to keep all the layers flat, without wrinkling or shifting. I end up basting on the floor or in my friendly neighborhood quilt shop’s classroom, where I can push several tables together. Of course, I time this for when the shop doesn’t have a class, and they are happy to accommodate me because I always spend some money on fabric I can’t live without.

    How to assemble a quilt sandwich1. Lay the freshly pressed backing wrong side up. Smooth it out so it’s flat. I find it helpful to use masking tape or painter’s tape, taping the edges to the floor or table about every 6″ to 8″ so the backing doesn’t shift. Arrange the batting on top of the backing, patting it smooth. Be careful not to tug and twist, just gently loft it up and down to get it straight on the back. (If you’re using a packaged batting that’s been folded, take it out of the package the day before and fluff it out to let the creases relax before you start to baste.)

    2. Center the pressed quilt top, right side up, on the batting and backing. Check to be certain that both the backing and batting extend several inches past the quilt top on all sides.

    3. Starting at the center, baste the three layers together—either with a needle and strong thread or with nonrusting safety pins. If you know how you’re going to quilt the project, place the pins and stitches where they won’t interfere with your quilting. Often people use thread to baste quilts that will be hand quilted, and safety pins to baste quilts that will be machine quilted. That’s because pins tend to get in the way of a quilting hoop, but thread is hard to remove when it’s been repeatedly stitched over by a machine. Stitch or pin baste every 3″ to 4″.

    Making a quilt sandwich

    4. Once everything is securely basted, remove the masking tape. You’re ready to tackle quilting or tying the layers together.


    The above is an excerpt from our Making a Quilt Sandwich tutorial; download it from our How to Quilt page and get step-by-step instructions for piecing backings, choosing batting, and quilting or tying your quilts.

    Now that you’re on your way to building a delish sandwich, it’s time to read up on step two—the actual quilting! You can learn more about quilting your own quilts in these books:

    You Can Quilt It! Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting

    Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy Machine Quilting Made Easy

    Subscribe to Stitch This!In future posts we’ll tackle the basics of hand quilting and machine quilting; subscribe to Stitch This! to make sure you don’t miss them.


    Do you have a quilting triumph—or terror—to share? Tell us about it in the comments!

    More about quilting: How to quilt a quilt: 6 quick ideas


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  6. Celebrate National Craft Month with stash busters + sale

    Posted by on March 3, 2014, in quilting & sewing, ,

    Purple quilt from Spotlight on ScrapsDid you know that March is National Craft Month? What better way to celebrate than by sewing a quilt! Better still, make that new quilt serve your spring cleaning. Make a quilt that will shrink your stash.

    Because let’s face it. If you quilt, there’s a good chance you’ve amassed an impressive fabric collection. And maybe that collection is starting to seem a little…unwieldy? Are the stacks of beautiful yardage making it hard to see across the room? Would the combined contents of your scrap baskets fill a swimming pool? If so, it’s okay. We understand. One way or another, if you quilt and sew, there’s bound to be a pile of fabric waiting. Now’s the time to use it. Sew. Quilt. Celebrate! National Craft Month is here. Let’s sew a quilt!

    For stash-busting inspiration, we’ve gathered tips from the experts. Read on to learn:

    • How blender prints make unfriendly fabrics play nicely together
    • Why your fat quarter may not measure what you think it does (and exactly how many strips and squares you can cut from any fat quarters you have)
    • Which fabric-selection strategies guarantee color success

     


    Building a Successful Palette

    Spotlight on ScrapsFrom Spotlight on Scraps: 10 Pretty Quilts by Cyndi Walker

    Many quilters struggle with color. Some actually dread choosing fabrics—enough so that many quilt shops have staff members who will gladly help out in a color-choice pickle.
    To conquer fear of color, start by working with colors you are comfortable with, and then slowly build up to more adventurous color combinations.

    Broaden your horizons. If you have chosen the “perfect” yellow to use in your quilt, try substituting four different yellow prints in the same shade. Suddenly you have gone from using a single fabric to adding four new prints to your quilt. If you are feeling particularly brave, you can even try varying the value of these four new fabrics slightly—perhaps taking one a shade lighter and one a shade darker. Be a fabric rebel! This approach can work with any color and is often the way I delve into my projects.

    Make friends with blender fabrics. Multicolored fabrics often find their way into my quilts as “blender fabrics.” A blender fabric is one that allows me to create harmony between colors that might not otherwise go together. Imagine, for example, that you have fallen in love with a selection of pink and green fabrics at your quilt shop. The fabrics look OK together, but will they make a good quilt? If you have to ask yourself that question, the answer is usually “not quite.” Here is where the blenders work their magic. Find a beautiful fabric with both pink and green in the print, and see how it works with the various pink and green prints. Suddenly, one piece of fabric can make two other pieces of fabric “play nicely” together.
    Fabric selection tips from Spotlight on Scraps
    Below, see the sparkling depth of Cyndi Walker’s scrap quilts in projects from her book Spotlight on Scraps. Through March 9, take 40% off and get the instant-download eBook for only $16.95 $10.17!

    Quilts from Spotlight on ScrapsClick here to see more quilts from Spotlight on Scraps.


    How big is that fat quarter?

    Clever Quarters - Quilts from Fat-Quarter CutsFrom Clever Quarters: Quilts from Fat-Quarter Cuts by Susan Teegarden Dissmore

    Not all fat quarters are created equal. The standard width of quiltmaking fabric from selvage to selvage is 42″. When a half-yard piece is cut in half along the fold, the resulting two pieces should be 18″ x 21″ each. This measurement will vary when the yardage width is more or less than the standard 42″ and the half-yard itself is cut more or less than 18″. Always check the measurements of your fat quarters before you start. Should you come up short, remember that you can always add a fat quarter to your project. If you happen to have more than 18″ x 21″, consider it your lucky day and breathe easy.

    I prewash every piece of fabric before I use it in a quilt project. Prewashing adds another alteration to the final dimension of your fat quarter. You could conceivably lose up to an inch all the way around, changing the dimension to 17″ x 20″. Once you straighten that fat quarter, the width will shrink a little more. The projects in Clever Quarters assume that the final width of your fat quarter is 17″ and the length is 20″ (although a length of 21″ is specified in cutting lists to be on the safe side).

    Fat Quarter Yields - from Clever Quarters
    If your stash is overflowing with fat quarters, put them to use with inspiring patterns from Clever Quarters (below). Through March 9, take 40% off and get the instant-download eBook for only $16.95 $10.19!

    Quilts from Clever QuartersClick here to see more quilts from Clever Quarters.


    Tips on Selecting Key Fabrics

    From Colorful Quilts: A Journey through Fabric by Cynthia LeBlanc Regone
    A Walk in Provence from Colorful Quilts
    When you look at a quilt, what catches your eye first? The fabric, right? After that initial glance, you might notice the blocks, the workmanship, and the quilting designs. But it’s the fabric that stands out and makes you want to take a closer look. Choosing the right fabric for each quilt project is so important.

    After 25 years of quilting, I still get excited over each project. It may take me two years or more to accumulate just the right combination of fabrics, but the rewards are priceless. Here are a few tips on choosing the right fabrics for your quilts.

    Making a quilt is like building a house: it starts with a sound foundation. Sometimes the design comes first, but that was not the case with “A Walk in Provence” (above). For this quilt, the colorful striped border fabric was the foundation that started my creative juices flowing. I carried a sample of the border print to as many quilt shops and shows as I could to collect fabrics for this quilt. Because the border print included so many colors, it was easy to pull fabrics together to make this project. When I had enough varieties of yellows, greens, blues, and reds, I was ready to start the quilt.
    How to use striped fabrics - from Colorful Quilts
    Experiment with backgrounds. Gone are the days when cream, off-white, and white were our only choices. Spice up your quilts with color by choosing backgrounds that are tone-on- tone but not too busy. (I find lime green to be a great neutral. Don’t you agree?) Study the examples below. Avoid using stripes, large checks, and other geometric designs as backgrounds for pieced blocks. These directional fabrics are just too distracting.
    Good and poor choices for backgrounds - from Colorful Quilts
    Have fun with prints. High contrast is the key to making these quilts work, so don’t be afraid to mix prints in the blocks and in the borders. You’ll notice that I’ve mixed checks, stripes, dots, and florals in several of my quilts and borders, but the colors are all compatible with the foundation fabric. Keep scale in mind, particularly when picking fabrics to use in small pieced blocks. Large-scale prints will be lost when the pieces are cut.

    Successfully mixing prints in quilts - from Colorful Quilts

    Got a rainbow’s worth of fabrics in your stash? Below, check out eye-catching quilts you can make, all from Colorful Quilts. Through March 9, take 40% off and get the instant-download eBook for only $16.95 $10.17!

    From Colorful Quilts
    Click here to see more projects from Colorful Quilts.


    Crafty reader, what are you making during National Craft Month? Will your project shrink your stash or increase it? Tell us about it in the comments!


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  7. Lace knitting for the rest of us (+ giveaway!)

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    Detail of Rainstorm and Desert Dusk shawlAre you a lace knitter or just a wannabe? Do you gaze longingly at gorgeous lace scarves and shawls displayed in your local yarn shop, proudly posted on Ravelry, or fashionably tossed around the necks and shoulders of your friends?

    If you’re intimidated by the thought of even attempting to knit lace, you can relax now. We’re here to help. We believe that inside every knitter there’s a lace knitter in the making, and we have just the tool to help you succeed. It’s called Lavish Lace.

    There was a time when nearly all knitted lace patterns involved small needles and very fine yarn (that’s why it’s called lace weight, right?). Fortunately, those constraints have been tossed aside, and even chunky yarns are being knit up in open, airy designs. But thicker yarn doesn’t always make those designs less scary.

    The late Carol Noble was an extraordinary knitter and teacher. Her passion was knitting lace and her mission was to make lace knitting accessible to everyone who longed to attempt it. She achieved her goal brilliantly in Lavish Lace, which is available again after having been out of print for several years.

    In this gorgeous book, Carol and her coauthor, the amazing colorist Cheryl Potter, combined their talents to create a range of lovely projects presented in stunning colorways and a variety of yarns. But this is so much more than just a book of scarf knitting patterns. Carol shared volumes of lace knitting knowledge gained over years of study and practice. In addition to the step-by-step instructions, each project includes elements designed to ensure success and build confidence. For example, “Learning through Swatching” photos demonstrate how using different yarns can completely change the look of a design.

    Knitted lace swatches from Chancay Morning
    These two swatches of the “Chancay Morning” pattern (above right) show the effect of yarn choice on the finished piece.

    The “Learning Curve,” “Technical Tips,” and “Beginner’s Edge” sections in each project provide detailed information and guidance for that project.

    Then there are the yarns! The authors worked together to find the ideal fiber for each of Carol’s designs. When they were satisfied they’d found it, Cheryl developed the colorway that would perfectly express Carol’s vision. She shares her inspiration for each colorway and even provides an explanation of the various dyeing techniques.

    Yarn-dyeing techniques
    Cheryl’s basic dye methods, from left: immersion dye, dip dye, space dye, hand paint, and potluck.

    Lavish LaceThe projects increase in complexity so that working your way through the book is like taking a course in how to knit lace. This is a book to be read, used, and returned to again and again as your experience and confidence grow. Carol writes: “…even in lace, rules are made to be broken. By now, you must realize that Cheryl and I are leading you down the path of creativity with lace where, after you learn how to get the most out of both yarn and colorway, personal preference will become the only rule not to break. As you progress, it will become second nature to consider the character of a yarn, see the colorway, feel the texture, pull together a complementary pattern, and utilize your sharpened technique to achieve a successful garment.”

    So, how about you? Are you ready to follow Carol and Cheryl down the path of creative lace knitting? Have a look at the projects in the slideshow below and you’ll see why this book is back by popular demand.


    Have you tried your hand at knitting lace? Share your experience in the comments and you could win a copy of the Lavish Lace eBook! We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Parrot House

    Parrot House

    Peacocks Pride

    Peacocks Pride

    Ocean Moods

    Ocean Moods

    Sangria

    Sangria

    A Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

    A Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

    Rosebuds and Climbing Roses

    Rosebuds and Climbing Roses

    Irish Mists Peat Moss and Gorse

    Irish Mists Peat Moss and Gorse

    A World Lit Only by Fire

    A World Lit Only by Fire

    La Waytacha

    La Waytacha

    Rainstorm and Desert Dusk

    Rainstorm and Desert Dusk

    Chancay Morning

    Chancay Morning

    Falling Leaves

    Falling Leaves

    Frost Flowers

    Frost Flowers


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  8. 501 quilting design motifs + 8 ways to mark a quilt (+ giveaway!)

    Silver Plume quilting motif

    If you quilt by hand or machine—or if you’re one of many quilters who is ready to try her hand (or machine) at quilting your own quilts—you simply must get to know our #1 bestselling book on the art of quilting. Why now? Because it’s finally available in paperback for a new low price!

    Bird and heart quilting motifsWhether you’re looking for hand-quilting designs or machine-quilting designs, 501 Quilting Motifs is one of those books that will inspire you for as long as you quilt. The collection comes from the editors of Quiltmaker and features more than 26 years of designs from the magazine. Got specific-sized blocks that need quilting? Consult a handy size index for loads of ready-to-stitch ideas. Get tips for selecting, adapting, and transferring motifs to any quilt top you’ve finished, plan to finish, and even those you may never finish (seriously—there are that many motifs). Just know that whatever quilt top you do finish, you can rely on this indispensable reference when deciding how to quilt it.

    Now, the idea of getting motifs from paper to fabric can be a mystery to quilters who haven’t done their own quilting before. Below is handy chart from 501 Quilting Motifs that explains the pros and cons of marking quilt designs with different tools, so you can experiment and find your favorite.

    Tools for marking quilting motifs--chart
    Feel free to print the chart above and use it for your personal reference.

    The book features lots more handy tips about the process of quilting a quilt, but let’s face it: 501 Quilting Motifs is all about the FIVE-HUNDRED-AND-ONE MOTIFS you can play with! Designs are broken down into eight chapters:

    Quilting design motifs
    Chapter examples, from left: Feathers, Flowers, Geometric Shapes, and Children/Teens

    Quilting design motifs
    Chapter examples, from left: Vines and Leaves, Hearts, Holiday/Seasonal, and Foods

    Quilters who own the book give it extra-mega-bonus points for one more valuable feature: in the example below, you can see how motifs come with additional ideas for quilting blocks, corners, and borders. With these variations, you can create well over a thousand different arrangements.

    Feather quilting motifs
    Example of the “Cocheco” feather motif

    501 Quilting MotifsSo, what do quilters who own 501 Quilting Motifs have to say? Here are just a few reviews from Amazon:

    • “I never thought there were so many easy motifs I could sew in a quilt. I’m sewing like crazy! It’s amazing how much fun I’m having with this book’s help.”
    • “A friend referred me to this book…she had loaned her copy to me, but then I realized I must have my own.”
    • “Don’t get in a rut quilting the same old thing on every quilt…this book will expand your quilting and keep it fresh and interesting.”
    • “This book is so wonderful in its simplicity and I look forward to using it over the years.”
    • “Worth the money, quite a resource.”

    Ready to invest in a quiltmaking staple that will lead to a lifetime of inspiration? Buy the paperback edition of 501 Quilting Motifs right now and download the eBook instantly for free. Or, buy the eBook only and save even more!


    What motifs have you used to quilt your quilts? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the 501 Quilting Motifs eBook! We’ll choose a 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 randomly chosen winner is Patty, who says:

    “Being a quilting newbie this would be a great addition to my small (but growing) container of information. The ebook edition would be great because then I can read it on my laptop right where and while I am ‘working’ on my quilting (tho I wouldn’t call it working because it is something I am learning and enjoing it without a doubt).”

    We’ll email you about your prize, Patty. Congratulations!


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  9. Quirky question: your quilting mentor

    Posted by on February 26, 2014, in quirky question

    Martingale's Quirky Question

    Thanks for stopping by for the weekly Quirky Question—where questions are just for fun, your answers are always welcome, and you could win an eBook for free!

    Ocean Waves quiltLeft: “Ocean Waves” from Fast Fat Quarter Quilts. Get the printed book for $6.49; get the eBook for $3.99. See a slideshow of quilts from the booklet below. Offer ends March 2.


    They say no man is an island. And no quilter quilts on an island (except for quilters who, well, live on islands). But you know what we mean! No one has become a quilter completely on her own. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or some other form of teacher, we all have someone to thank for cultivating our love of quilting. Tell us who you’d like to thank in this week’s question:

    Who has been your quilting mentor?

    Post your answer in the comments before noon (PST) on Monday, March 3, for your chance to win. The winning answer will be posted on Wednesday, March 5, along with the next question.

    Last week’s Quirky Question was, “Which colors play a leading role in your stash—and which are a no-show?” Here’s the winning comment, from Donna:

    “Orange is my neutral! Freddie Moran was very influential in my early quilting journey. That said I like scrappy and there is not a color I have not used at least one time. Bonnie Hunter said it best: ‘If it’s still ugly, you haven’t cut it small enough.’” –Donna Adams in sunny/rain/snow covered Oregon

    Congratulations, Donna! Look for an email about your free eBook.

    Sherbet Punch quilt--20 fat quarters

    Sherbet Punch (20 fat quarters)

    String Beans quilt--36 fat quarters

    String Beans (36 fat quarters)

    Glory Boxes quilt--12 fat quarters

    Glory Boxes (12 fat quarters)

    Lost and Found quilt--12 fat quarters

    Lost and Found (12 fat quarters)

    Not Manly Enough quilt--24 fat quarters

    Not Manly Enough (24 fat quarters)

    Bright Bullion--12 fat quarters

    Bright Bullion (12 fat quarters)

    Cocoa Cakewalk quilt--10 fat quarters

    Cocoa Cakewalk (10 fat quarters)

    Strip-Pieced Puzzle quilt--13 fat quarters

    Strip-Pieced Puzzle (13 fat quarters)

    Ocean Waves quilt--10 fat quarters

    Ocean Waves (10 fat quarters)


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  10. 14 awesome quilting tutorials—from our authors!

    14 awesome quilting tutorialsIn nearly two years at Stitch This! we’ve put together quite a few quilting tutorials (see a roundup of 52 of them here). But we’ve yet to share one massive network of helpful, clever, eye-opening tutes from a group of true pros: our exceptionally talented authors!

    From how-to-make-a-quilt basics to smart ideas for specific projects, you’re about to enjoy plenty of lightbulb moments. Click though to see each designer’s take on a technique; then follow them via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Keep in touch! And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to Stitch This! for alerts to more tutorial roundups in the future.

    Subscribe to Stitch This!


    QUILT TUTORIALS: BASIC TECHNIQUES


    Prewashing fabrics Pre-Wash or Not? Quilting’s Perennial Question
    Authors: Darra Williamson (Cuddle Me Quick, A Year in the Life of Sunbonnet Sue) and Jennifer Rounds (A Dozen Roses)
    Blog: See How We Sew
    Choosing Fabrics for a Quilt Choosing Fabrics for a Quilt 101
    Author: Amy Smart (Fabulously Fast Quilts—coming April 2014)
    Blog: Diary of a Quilter
    How to Square Up Fabric How to Square Up Fabric
    Author: Amy Ellis (Modern Neutrals, Modern Basics, Modern Basics II)
    Blog: Amy’s Creative Side
    Podcast: The Quiltcast
    Adding Borders to Quilts Adding (Not Wavy!) Borders to Quilts
    Author: Cheryl Brown (Quilt Batik!)
    Blog: Quilter Chic
    How to Sew Mitered Corners How to Sew Mitered Corners
    Author: Nancy Mahoney (see all of Nancy’s books)
    Blog: Nancy Mahoney
    Quick Quilt Labels Tips for a Quick Quilt Label
    Author: Cheryl Lynch (Sew Embellished!, ¡Quilt Fiesta!)
    Blog: Cheryl Lynch Quilts
    How to Make a Pieced Quilt Back How to Make a Pieced Quilt Back
    Author: Julie Herman (Skip the Borders)
    Blog:
    Jaybird Quilts
    Tying a Quilter's Knot Tying a Quilter’s Knot—the Video!
    Author: Rebecca Silbaugh (Seamingly Scrappy)
    Blog: Ruby Blue Quilting Studio

    QUILT TUTORIALS: TECHNIQUES FOR SPECIFIC PROJECTS


    Scrap-Busting String-Block Tutorial Scrap-Busting String-Block Tutorial
    Author: Stephanie Dunphy (Uncommonly Corduroy)
    Blog: Loft Creations
    Easiest Way to Sew Chevrons Easiest Way to Sew Chevrons
    Author: Cindy Lammon (Simply Modern Christmas, Flowers All Around, Flower Pots, Gathered from the Garden)
    Blog: Hyacinth Quilt Designs
    How to Make and Use Bias Tape How to Make (and Use) Bias Tape
    Author: Jill Finley (Home Sweet Quilt)
    Blog: Jillily Studio
    How to Sew a Zipper into a Pillow How to Sew a Zipper into a Pillow
    Author: Katy Jones (25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks, 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks Volume 2)
    Blog: Monkey Do
    Free-motion quilting--Baptist Fan pattern Free-Motion Quilting: Baptist Fan Pattern
    Author: Elizabeth Dackson (Becoming a Confident Quilter)
    Blog: Don’t Call Me Betsy
    60-Degree Quilt Tutorial 60-Degree Quilt Tutorial
    Author: Kim Brackett (Scrap Quilting, Strip by Strip, Scrap-Basket Beauties, Scrap-Basket Sensations, Scrap-Basket Surprises)
    Blog: Magnolia Bay Quilts

    For more quilting how-tos, visit our How to Quilt page.


    Which author has given you a lightbulb moment? Tell us in the comments!


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