1. Patterns for pennies—so you can stock up!

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    From Easy Crocheted Hats and ScarvesDo you like to stock your stash with beautiful yarn or fabulous patterns? Even if you’re on a budget, you can do both!

    Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves is a collection of popular patterns—bundled together into a nifty budget booklet that will cost you less than 90 cents per pattern. Yes, you read that right: 11 crocheted scarves and 4 crocheted hat patterns for just $12.99.

    What this means for you and your stash: more cash to spend at the yarn shop! Check out these three patterns from Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves and some yummy yarn suggestions (have your shopping list ready; you’ll want to write these down).


    Windy City Chicago crocheted hat and scarf Try this pattern: Windy City Chicago

    Crochet an extra-warm scarf and rolled-brim cloche for chilly days. You’ll want to use a rich wool fiber for maximum warmth! Find the pattern + 3 more hat and scarf combinations in Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves.
    Wool of the Andes Tweed yarn Try a new-to-you yarn: Wool of the Andes Tweed

    Neutral specks of Donegal tweed give a rustic texture to this worsted-weight wool.

    Silver and Gold scarf Check this out: Silver and Gold

    Chevrons and tassels make a fun holiday scarf if crocheted in sparkly yarn, or a trendy accessory in bright solids. Try it in both! Find this + 10 more easy scarves in Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves.
    Cascade Cherub Aran Sparkle Yarn Add sparkle: Cascade Cherub Aran Sparkle Yarn

    Metallic threads and bright colors, oh my! This yarn is machine washable AND eye-catching.

    Lovely Lace crocheted scarf Oo La La: Lovely Lace

    Scalloped edges and lattice lace is an elegant combination in a simple scarf. Find this + 3 more crocheted lace scarves in Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves.
    Spud and Chloe Sweater yarn The perfect blend: Spud and Chloe Sweater

    Available in a deliciously unique color palette, this worsted-weight yarn is a soft blend of wool and organic cotton.

    Got your wish list? Get the patterns shown above and more when you buy Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves right now at ShopMartingale.com for just $12.99 (and get the eBook version for free right away!). Then it’s time to go yarn shopping with the money you saved!

    Looking for more deals? Check out these other $12.99 booklets available now at ShopMartingale.com:

    Tunisian Crochet Today Knitted Scarves


    Do you spend more money buying new patterns, or buying more yarn? Tell us in the comments and you’ll be entered to win an eBook copy of Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves. We’ll pick a winner one week from today and notify the winner by email.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    More on patterns. I just wish I had more free time.”

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


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  2. Strip piecing gets spectacular: must-see quilts (+ giveaway!)

    Posted by on August 7, 2014, in quilting & sewing, , ,

    Spectacular geometrics. Mind-bending curves. Brave, bold designs.

    Sound like a best-of-show winner in a national quilt competition? Here’s a little secret about the quilts in the new book Remarkable Rectangles:

    Robin's Butterfly
    “Robin’s Butterfly”

    They’re 100% strip pieced.

    Remarkable RectanglesAuthor Robert DeCarli’s quilts are graphically stunning, featuring illusions of curves, diamonds, and more. Upon first glance—or even after careful scrutiny—they may seem nearly impossible to replicate. But if you’ve done a little strip piecing, you’ve got all the skill you need to make them.

    Robert is a former math professor who became happily hooked on quilting when his wife asked him to help her make a wedding quilt. Since then, he’s spent many years hunting down woven coverlets, which inspire his quilt designs. And although Robert’s quilts have a Bargello vibe, his method for sewing them is strictly block by block.

    Add stress-free color choices—just 2 to 5 fabrics per quilt, with a focus on contrasting lights and darks—and these rectangle-only quilts become even more enticing to sew. Below you’ll find the basic steps for making a few of the quilts from Remarkable Rectangles:

    Ezekiel's Wheel quilt Starting up: “Ezekiel’s Wheel”

    • Create 4 strip sets using 2 colors
    • Cut strip sets into varying strip widths
    • Sew resulting strips into 16 blocks
    • Finished size: 36½” x 36½”
    Sunny South quilt Adding colors: “Sunny South”

    • Create 9 strip sets using 4 colors
    • Cut strip sets into varying strip widths
    • Sew resulting strips into 16 blocks
    • Finished size: 24½” x 24½”
    Red Lion quilt Going big: “Red Lion” (Yes, there’s a story behind the name of this quilt! Find it on page 60.)

    • Create 4 strip sets using 2 colors
    • Cut strip sets into varying strip widths
    • Sew resulting strips into 36 blocks
    • Finished size: 70½” x 70½”
    Kathy's Star quilt Making motifs: “Kathy’s Star”

    • Create 16 strip sets using 4 colors
    • Cut strip sets into varying strip widths
    • Sew resulting strips into 36 blocks
    • Finished size: 49½” x 49½”

    .
    See 11 more Remarkable Rectangles quilts >

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    Ready to give strips a whole new spin? Buy Remarkable Rectangles today and instantly download the eBook for free. Just minutes from now you could be reading Robert’s story about how his wife started him on the road to becoming an award-winning quilter. You’ll be charmed!


    Strip-piecing skills: confident, competent, or completely absent? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Remarkable Rectangles eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “My strip-piecing skills are pretty good after 24 years of making quilts, but my goodness, the quilts in this book are so spectacular, I think my confidence just dropped an inch or two. Absolutely breathtaking!”

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


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  3. One quilt block, so many possibilities: day 3, Maple Leaf (+ sale)

    Select eBooks 40% off this week!


    Welcome to our final day of one-block wonders! This week we’ve covered resourceful Snowball and Nine Patch blocks. Today’s block is more versatile than you might think: the Maple Leaf block. It’s not just for autumn anymore!

    Twist and Turn Leaves quilt
    “Twist and Turn Leaves”

    Maple Leaf QuiltsIf you’ve struggled with sewing accurate half-square triangles—which Maple Leaf patterns rely on for pretty, pointy shapes—Maple Leaf Quilts will help you put those struggles in the past. Ilene Bartos walks you through nine inventive ways to make half-square triangles. Imagine having so many different techniques for making this essential patchwork unit at your fingertips!

    We’re blown away by one particular technique: the Bias-Strip Method. In 5 steps, you can turn two squares of fabric into 14 half-square triangles.

    Half-square triangles--bias-strip method
    Bias-Strip method: get the how-to in
    Maple Leaf Quilts.

    Once you get the hang of making Maple Leaf blocks, you can easily repeat them in quilts like these:

    Starburst Leaves quilt
    “Starburst Leaves.” Pick a favorite leaf print for the border; then add four leaf colors that coordinate with the border fabric. Easy!

    Canadian Winter quilt
    “Canadian Winter.” Bright red-and-white fabrics create dynamic contrast. Ilene chose eight different reds and whites for this quilt.

    Scrappy Leaves quilt
    “Scrappy Leaves.” Ten dozen different fabrics pack this scrappy Maple Leaf pattern with color. Gather up your 2½” strips—this beauty is Jelly-Roll friendly.

    > See all 12 projects in Maple-Leaf Quilts

    BONUS: Make sample blocks to try all nine half-square triangle techniques and you’ll have the blocks you need to make this Maple Leaf table runner.

    Maple Leaf Table Runner

    Inspired to sew? Download the Maple Leaf Quilts eBook now


    Quilter's Block-a-Day CalendarWant more blocks? Repeat or mix and match 366 block designs
    Designer Debby Kratovil is an avid block-pattern designer and collector. Her Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar includes pieced and appliquéd block patterns that spotlight traditional, pictorial, seasonal, and holiday themes. The pages are listed only by day of the month, not by day of the week, which means it can be used year after year.

    Also available: Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar Companion CD
    Print each block from the calendar in two different sizes.


    What’s your favorite way to build a quilt: repeat a block, use alternating blocks, or go all-out with a sampler? Tell us in the comments!


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  4. One quilt block, so many possibilities: day 2, Nine Patch (+ sale)

    Posted by on August 5, 2014, in quilting & sewing, ,

    Select eBooks 40% off this week!


    We’re back with more one-block wonders! Yesterday we showed off the versatility of Snowball blocks. Today we’re talking about what may be the most-made quilt block ever: the humble Nine Patch.

    From The Blue and the Gray
    From The Blue and The Gray

    The term “Nine Patch” refers to the tried-and-true quilt block pattern, but did you know it also refers to an entire category of blocks? Any block that has seams that divide units equally into nine sections falls into the Nine Patch category (like the “Baby Sukey” block below).

    Baby Sukey quilt pattern
    Baby Sukey

    Nine by NineNine Patch quilts can be simple and straightforward or spectacularly stunning—a testament to the design’s versatility. In her book Nine by Nine, Cyndi Hershey explores the potential of this time-honored block. Take a look at all the different ways you can play:

    .

    .

    Arrange basic Nine Patch blocks in simple settings

    Nearly Neutral quilt
    “Nearly Neutral”

    Use Nine Patch blocks in sashing and borders

    Sky Gems quilt
    “Sky Gems”

    Combine Nine Patch units in Nine Patch blocks

    Winter Blues quilt
    “Winter Blues”

    Combine a riot of Nine Patch blocks in a Nine Patch setting

    Sudoku Sampler quilt
    “Sudoku Sampler”

    You can even use Nine Patch as a quilting design

    Metro runner
    “Metro Runner”

    See 9 more ways to use Nine Patch Blocks in Nine by Nine 


    50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced StarsMore ideas for one-block wonders: stars

    Stitch your choice of 50 striking star blocks with the “Queen of Paper Piecing,” Carol Doak. Original designs in 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars—one for each US state—finish to 12″ and are easy to set as repeat blocks or combine for surprising secondary patterns. Includes a bonus CD: watch Carol demonstrate her paper-piecing technique step by step!
    .


    Nine Patch: made it as a newbie, made it later on, or going to make it soon? Leave your answer in the comments!

    Coming Wednesday: More one-block wonders—meet the classic Maple Leaf block.


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  5. One quilt block, so many possibilities: day 1, Snowball (+ sale)

    Posted by on August 4, 2014, in quilting & sewing, ,

    Select eBooks 40% off this week!


    Snowball blocks from the book Snowball Quilts

    What’s one of the most useful tools a quilter can have?

    A favorite quilt block.

    Why? Because specializing in one block offers the twin benefits of familiarity and surprise. Once you’ve made a block repeatedly, construction is a breeze. When you want speed and predictability, your block delivers. And when you want to try something new, your favorite block provides a gentle springboard into the unknown—whether that means a new-to-you color scheme, a novel style of border, or an untried companion block.

    Join us this week as we celebrate the glories of versatile quilt blocks—those wonderful patterns we can sew, and sew again, without running out of beautiful quilts to make from them.

    The Snowball block

    Snowball QuiltsToday’s focus is the quick and classic Snowball block. To get a feel for the possibilities, we turned to Tammy Kelly’s book Snowball Quilts. Tammy uses the folded-corners technique to make her Snowball blocks, and it’s super easy. Just place four small squares at the corners of a larger square, and then stitch across the diagonals. Trim, press, and you’re done!

    How to make a Snowball block using folded squares - from the book Snowball Quilts
    How to make a Snowball block
    .

    Snowball quilt patterns, option 1: Make a block, repeat

    A simple quilt can make a striking statement, as in the colorful Snowball-block quilt pattern below. An easy repeat-block design, it wows through pops of color on a blue background. And you even get to use the trimmed-away triangles from your Snowball blocks in the borders!
    Snowball block quilt pattern from the book Snowball Quilts
    .

    Snowball quilt patterns, option 2: Make a block, and make a friend

    You can see why “Wings of a Dragonfly,” below, is one of our most popular ePatterns. A sew-in-a-day quilt, all it takes is pairing straightforward Snowball and Bright Hopes blocks to get the look of intricately woven circles.

    Snowball quilt pattern with Bright Hopes blocks from the book Snowball Quilts
    .

    Find your next Snowball-block quilt pattern

    .


    501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy HopkinsGet the Block You Want in the Size You Need
    Looking for more pieced block patterns? You’ll find gobs of them in Judy Hopkins’s 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks. Judy’s gargantuan quilt-block reference offers 501 block patterns in 6 sizes each!

    .


    Coming Tuesday: Don’t miss tomorrow’s post, where we explore timeless Nine-Patch quilts!

    Do you stick to a favorite block, or do you like to change it up? Tell us in the comments—we love to hear from you!


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  6. Perfect knitted scarves for your stash! (+ giveaway)

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    From Knitted ScarvesWe know it happens. You were browsing the local yarn shop and ended up buying a few special skeins with no pattern in mind—gasp!

    No need to worry—even if those skeins have been sitting in your stash for months, we’ve just released a new booklet of popular designs by Sheryl Thies that can be knit in a variety of yarn weights. Show off that special fiber!

    We’ve paired patterns from Knitted Scarves by Sheryl Thies with four common yarn weights (you’ve probably already got them in your stash!). If you’re not sure what weight yarn you’ve got, check out this handy chart from the Craft Yarn Council.

    Worsted Weight

    Fishnet scarf from Knitted Scarves Knit a fishnet-inspired design. Find this + 4 more ocean-inspired designs that are perfect for worsted-weight yarn in Knitted Scarves.

    TIP:
    Add an extra skein to turn this scarf into a wall hanging instead. Embellish with shells for a nautical theme!

    DK Weight

    Scallop shell scarf from Knitted Scarves Show off your DK-weight yarn with lovely scallop shells or one of 3 more designs in Knitted Scarves.

    Sport Weight

    Goldfish tail scarf from Knitted Scarves Sport-weight yarn is perfect for delicate goldfish tails. Find this pattern in Knitted Scarves.

    Bulky Weight

    Cabled wrap from Knitted Scarves Balance bulky weight with a tasseled and textured cabled scarf. Find this pattern in Knitted Scarves.

    Knitted Scarves

    You’ll get these patterns + 7 more designs inspired by the sea when you buy Knitted Scarves at ShopMartingale.com. For just $12.99, you’ll get the book + the eBook version for free right away.


    Which comes first for you: the yarn or the pattern? Tell us in the comments and you’ll be entered to win an eBook copy of Knitted Scarves. We’ll pick the winner one week from today and notify them by email.

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    It depends on what I’m doing. If I see a pattern I really want to try, the pattern comes first; if I’m using yarn I already have, then often the yarn comes first and the pattern second.”

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


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  7. A girl finally becomes a quilter—thanks to YOU!

    From Simple Quilts from Me and My Sister DesignsIn February, I shared my love-hate relationship with wanting to become a quilter. I told you how my first attempt went (spoiler alert: not so great) and how I was fearful of trying again—until authors Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson showed me a couple of techniques that made it seem so easy (you can see the techniques here).

    In my previous post I asked you what you wish you’d known before you started quilting, and while many helpful tips and tricks were mentioned, one resounding sentiment was shared by most of you: “I wish I’d known how much I would love it!” you cried. “If I had known that, I would have taken the leap much, much sooner.”

    This left such an impression on me (the same way Barb and Mary’s four-patch method did!) that I shared it with Karen Johnson, our director of sales and marketing. She asked what we were waiting for, and offered to sew with me on a couple of afternoons.

    And guess what? With her help, I did it! I actually finished a quilted pillow from start to finish: cutting, pressing, and stitching; trimming, quilting, and binding. The verdict? It was a million times more successful than my first attempt, thanks to Karen’s help along the way, and I suddenly realized the quilting monster in the closet was not just imaginary, but was quite a friendly imaginary monster as well.

    Here’s a photo of my first four-patch blocks using Barb and Mary’s method:

    Sarah's first four-patch blocks

    Not too shabby! Within a few hours I had my pillow top:

    Sarahs-pillow-top

    I’m beaming because I’m so happy I got this far! Check out my quilting and binding skills—I’m super proud of my results:

    Pillow-details

    I’m so grateful to Barb and Mary for sharing their wonderful beginner-friendly tips with me, Karen for taking me under her wing, and to YOU for encouraging me to explore something I might love. You were right—I did love it! I’m eyeing this one for my next project, from Simple Quilts from Me & My Sister Designs:

    From Simple Quilts from Me and My Sister Designs


    Who taught you to quilt? Who could you teach to quilt? Tell us in the comments—then go plan a sewing day with them, stat! Simple Quilts from Me & My Sister Designs is a great place to start and will take beginners through all the basics.


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  8. Secrets for improv quilting: start with a road map (video)

    Quilt details from Becoming a Confident QuilterSew two pieces of fabric together and see where it leads you.

    Think that defines improvisational quilting?

    For some, that approach may feel like a safe place to start. But if you’re like many quilters, no matter how cool an improv quilt may look, the thought of rules-free quilting can seem overwhelming.

    But what if you could learn more about improv quilting in baby steps—just a few exercises to warm up to common improvisational techniques?

    Becoming a Confident QuilterFor author Elizabeth Dackson—a self-proclaimed Type-A personality—the key to making your first improvisational quilt is to start with a road map: a start-to-finish pattern (yes, a pattern with instructions and everything!) that lets you try wonky quilt blocks with angled seams and shows you how to twist and turn blocks to get that carefree, improv look.

    When we met up with Elizabeth at Quilt Market, she told us about one special project in her book, Becoming a Confident Quilter, that lets quilters try their hand at what seems like a spontaneous, unplanned kind of design. Her secret: it doesn’t have to be! See what she says about her quilt “Wonky Fences” in the video below.


    Reading this in email? See the “Improv Quilting: with a Roadmap!” video at the Stitch This! blog or watch it on YouTube.


    Cutting charts and placement guides are all provided—you get the look of spontaneity and the comfort of a predetermined plan.

    Wonky Fences quilt
    LEARN IT!
    Try improv piecing in “Wonky Fences” (make the full-size quilt or the smaller version)

    Improv quilting is just one of the techniques to try in Becoming a Confident Quilter. Check out more techniques that Elizabeth covers in her book:

    Lattice of Stars quilt
    LEARN IT!
    Sew half-square triangles and Flying Geese units in “Lattice of Stars” (try the full-size or smaller version)

    Deconstructed Beads quilt
    LEARN IT! Embrace negative space in “Deconstructed Beads”

    Wham! quilt
    LEARN IT! Try paper piecing in “Wham!”

    Find 14 skill-building quilt patterns in Becoming a Confident Quilter 

    Stock up your quilting tool belt and see where it leads you!


    Improv quilting: dive in, dip a toe, or stay ashore? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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  9. Back-to-school cool: cute sewing projects

    Is it me getting older or do the days seem to go by faster all the time? Just when I get into the swing of summer the stores start advertising back-to-school supplies. But if the season is changing that quickly, then it’s time to think about stitching up something special to help your little ones (or big ones) start the year off right.

    Check out these fun-to-make, fun-to-use school sewing projects. Some are super quick and easy for you busy moms (who might be counting the days until the kids are back in school, but we won’t tell!); others are perfect for grandmas like me who may have a little more sewing time available. Whatever you choose to stitch, you’ll be sending the kids off with a bit of yourself, like a warm hug to get them through the day.

    Time for Class

    Keep pencils and pens organized with this colorful pencil pouch from Sew Gifts!. Add the matching book cover for a really special set.

    From Sew Gifts!

    If your student carries a tablet or laptop to class, check out the quirky “Mustachioed Man” tablet case (made from easy-to-sew felt) from Everyday Handmade or the “Color-Block iPad Cover” from Sew Gifts!.

    Mustachioed Man tablet case Color-Block iPad Cover

    Lunch Time

    Girls of all ages will love keeping their lunch money safe in this adorable “Ladybug Coin Purse” from Everyday Handmade. And for kids who carry their lunch from home, these quick-and-easy reusable snack bags from Sew the Perfect Gift are easy to clean and oh-so-green. Be sure to tuck a little note in with their favorite snacks!

    Ladybug Coin Purse Lunch Break Reusable Bags

    Nap Time/Nighttime

    Does your little preschooler need a nap quilt? “Monkey in the Middle” from Fast, Flirty, and Fun makes great use of novelty fabric and strips (it’s also available as an ePattern). “Head in the Clouds” is a soft, pretty design sure to encourage sweet dreams. Find the pattern in Everyday Handmade.

    Monkey in the Middle quilt Head in the Clouds quilt

    No need to stop with nap quilts: why not make a new quilt for everyone who’s starting a new school year, whether it’s for cuddling under at home or carrying off to college? These two versatile patterns from Young at Heart Quilts can be adapted easily to different fabric styles.

    From Young at Heart Quilts
    Also available as ePatterns: “Brickwork” and “Cherry Blossoms

    After School

    Many kids let themselves into the house after school. Here are two great ideas for keeping track of that important house key. The “Wristlet Key Holder” from Sew Gifts! is a clever way to carry a key and some lunch money. Also featured in Sew Gifts!, the “Card and Key Wallet” has a place for a driver’s license, student ID card, and a little cash.

    From Sew Gifts!

    What’s your favorite back-to-school tradition? Tell us in the comments!


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  10. Easy as 1-2-3: 250+ ePatterns for $1.23 each!

    There’s something so satisfying about easy quilt patterns. You have your fun, and then you’re done! So today, we’re making EASY our theme:

    This week only, choose from 250+ digital quilt patterns that will be easy on your time and your budget. Pick up as many ePatterns as you like for only $1.23 each!

    What’s also easy? No coupon codes and no shipping costs. Click on a link, drop your favorite ePatterns into your cart, and proceed to checkout (at just $1.23 a pop, you can pile ’em up). Download ePatterns instantly and start a project minutes from now.

    Stock up on ePatterns in every category below—think decorating, holidays, housewarmings, birthdays, picnics, and more. And “just because.” After all, they’re easy as 1-2-3!

    Sale ends August 3 at midnight.

    Fruit Basket quiltMatilija Poppies quiltGriddle Cakes quilt
    Fruit Basket,” “Matilija Poppies,” “Griddle Cakes

    Browse 150+ quick-and-easy ePatterns

    Flying Shuttles quiltChristmas Goose quiltVintage Cherries quilt
    Flying Shuttles,” “Christmas Goose,” “Vintage Cherries

    Stash too fat? Stock up on 20+ fat-quarter friendly ePatterns

    Bali Sea Star quiltSlushie quiltCircles and Chains quilt
    Bali Sea Star,” “Slushie,” “Circles and Chains

    Unroll and you’re ready to sew: browse 50+ Jelly Roll ePatterns

    Ladybugs! quiltBeginner's Luck quiltNickel Bricks quilt
    Ladybugs!,” “Beginner’s Luck,” “Nickel Bricks

    Stitch up those squares! See 16 charm-square ePatterns

    Dripping Diamonds quiltSunny Days quiltFarmer's Favorite quilt
    Dripping Diamonds,” “Sunny Days,” “Farmer’s Favorite

    Strip, strip, hooray! Browse 75+ strip-piecing ePatterns

    Little Dominoes quiltBinky Squares quilt Framed Square quilt
    Little Dominoes,” “Binky Squares,” “Framed Square

    Small size, quick to quilt: see 60 ePatterns for little ones

    Mocha Stars quiltSerendipity Sampler quiltOld-Fashioned Hospitality quilt
    Mocha Stars,” Serendipity Sampler,” “Old-Fashioned Hospitality

    Invisible machine appliqué: learn how with Kim Diehl ePatterns

    Pastel Pinwheels quiltAmericana Nine Patch quiltJapanese Circles quilt
    Pastel Pinwheels,” “Americana Nine Patch,” “Japanese Circles

    Fun to start, quick to finish: browse 17 small-quilt ePatterns

    Rings and Things quiltCharming Garden quiltVintage Bow Ties quilt
    Rings and Things,” “Charming Garden,” “Vintage Bow Ties

    It doesn’t get easier than this! Browse ePatterns for beginners


    What makes quilting easy for you: size, speed, or simply finding the time? Tell us in the comments!


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