1. Knit to flatter: 14 plus-size knitting patterns

    Posted by on September 19, 2014, in crochet & knitting, , ,

    Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

    From Style at LargeAccording to Women’s Wear Daily, size 14 is the average for American women—yet most knitwear designers neglect larger sizes.

    If you’re looking for women’s plus-size sweater knitting patterns, you shouldn’t have to settle for baggy styles or solid colors. The late Carol Rasmussen Noble, well-known author and designer, became disillusioned with the lack of plus-size knitting patterns in books and magazines:

    “For many years I have been designing sweaters for myself because the only patterns large enough for me in knitting books and magazines were those for men’s sweaters. I am not interested in faddish clothes that have the wrong lines for me. I look for classic chic.”

    Knitwear from Style at Large

    Her book, Style at Large, presents a beautiful collection of her designs for sizes medium to 2X—with flattering lines, bold and beautiful colors (inspired by her background in textiles), and an entirely new set of design principles to flatter every body. Carol shares her design tricks to make each pattern special, as well as the figure-flattering aspects of each pattern. Take Carol’s inspiring advice:

    “Forget the stereotypes. We are beautiful, so explore the possibilities!”

    Find these and more beautiful larger-size knitting patterns in Style at Large by Carol Rasmussen Noble, available now as an eBook at ShopMartingale.com.

    Which do you knit (or crochet) most often: clothing or accessories? Tell us in the comments!

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  2. 5 tips for precuts – 64 quilt patterns – fabric giveaway!

    Got precuts?

    From Perfect Quilts from Precut Fabrics

    If you’ve got precuts, we’ve got a fabulous new pattern collection for you!

    Perfect Quilts for Precut FabricsPerfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics is a must-have book for precut fans: 64 quilt patterns for fat quarters, fat eighths, charm squares, Layer Cakes, and Jelly Rolls.

    (Don’t own precuts? No problem! Simply cut your stash fabrics down to size.)

    Large and small, traditional and modern, pieced and appliqued—you’ll find them all here, waiting for you and your precuts to play.

    Popular projects from bestselling books feature the work of Kim Brackett, Amy Ellis, Country Threads, Me and My Sister Designs, and many more.

    Get ready with the primer on precuts below, plus 5 essential tips. Then unwrap a bundle, pick a pattern, and start stitching!

    FABRIC GIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Moda have provided us with four beautiful Layer Cake bundles to give away to you, including:

    •    Lexington by Minick and Simpson
    •    Blue Indienne by French General
    •    Autumn Lily by Blackbird Designs
    •    Collection for a Cause: Community by Howard Marcus (benefiting the Libby Lehman Medical Fund)


    Learn how you can win a Layer Cake plus a copy of Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics at the bottom of this post.

    Moda Layer CakesModa Layer Cakes
    Packet of  10″ squares, 40 per packet.

    Precut tip: Resist the temptation to wash or even rinse precut fabrics. Washing can cause fabric to fray, ravel, or shrink, resulting in pieces that are no longer accurately cut.

    > See 10 Layer Cake quilts in Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics

    Spin City quilt
    “Spin City” by Carrie Nelson

    Charm squaresCharm Squares
    Packet of 5″ squares, usually 35 to 40 per packet, but numbers can vary from 22 to more than 50.

    Precut tip: Tempted to trim the pinked edges off precuts? Leave them intact to make sure you have enough fabric. When aligning fabrics for sewing, use the outer points of the pinked edges as the edge of the fabric.

    > See 23 charm-square quilts in Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics

    Jamie's quilt by Claudia Plett
    “Jamie’s Quilt” by Claudia Plett

    Fat eighthsFat Eighths
    Half of a quarter-yard of fabric; generally measures 9″ x 21″. Fat eighths are usually sold in bundles, but some shops sell them individually too.

    Precut tip: Precut bundles typically “go together” because they’re from the same fabric line—and that makes it easy to create a quilt where all the colors instantly coordinate. Many patterns in Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics contain additional guidelines for sorting fabrics into colors or values.

    > See 3 fat-eighth quilts in Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics

    Everything's Coming Up Rainbows quilt by Krista Fleckenstein
    “Everything’s Coming Up Rainbows” by Krista Fleckenstein

    Fat quartersFat Quarters
    Half of a half-yard of fabric; generally measures 18″ x 21″. Fat quarters may be purchased individually or in bundles of varying sizes, from four coordinating fat quarters to 35 or 40—a full fabric line.

    Precut tip: “To convert a half-yard into two fat quarters, fold the fabric in half and match the selvage edges. Make a crease along the fold. Open up the fabric and cut on the fold with a rotary cutter or scissors. You now have two pieces of fabric that measure approximately 18″ x 21″. ” — from the book Clever Quarters

    > See 15 fat-quarter quilts in Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics

    Ray of Light quilt by Regina Girard
    “Ray of Light” quilt by Regina Girard

    Moda Jelly RollsModa Jelly Rolls
    Bundle of 2½” x 42″ strips, cut across the width of the fabric. They generally contain 40 strips, but read the label to be sure.

    Precut tip: To keep long strips from tangling, gently ease the roll open and clip or secure the strips at one end. Pin the ends of strips to your ironing board to hold them in place, and then fan them apart and choose the strips you want by easing them away from the rest.

    > See 14 Jelly Roll quilts in Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics

    Whoo's Your Baby? quilt by Karen Costello Soltys
    “Whoo’s Your Baby?” by Karen Costello Soltys

    Which precut do you collect most? Tell us in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered to win a Layer Cake bundle from our friends at Moda, along with a copy of Perfect Quilts for Precut Fabrics! We’ll choose four random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    Coco, who says, “Jelly rolls more than charms or layer cakes. Moda’s bundles of fat quarters are superb for making large quilts. The convenience of having the fabric collection already coordinated saves me a lot of time in mapping out my quilts – don’t have to agonize over color selection!”

    Theresa, who says, “Fat quarters are my favorite pre-cut. Easy to handle and store.”

    Sandy, who says, “I alternate between Jelly Rolls and Layer Cakes, depending on whether I’m working in ‘strip mode’ or in shape mode. I’m obsessed with hexies these days, and Layer Cakes can easily be sub-cut into the size square I need for a given project.”

    Terry, who says, “I’m starting a quilt now with Layer Cakes and Jelly Rolls and I have to say I love the two of them together. Jelly rolls add so much versatility to quilt styles and used with charm packs or Layer Cakes, you can get such a different look for your quilt.”

    We’ll email all of you about your prizes. Congratulations!

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  3. How to quilt: all the answers, one place

    Looking for a quilting reference that has it all? Trust the skill-building chapters, how-to instructions, and patchwork-packed pages in The Simple Joys of Quilting to guide you toward becoming a better quilter.

    Whatever your skill level, there’s something new to learn—and a timeless quilt pattern to fall in love with—in this beautiful eBook by celebrated designers Joan Hanson and Mary Hickey.

    From The Simple Joys of Quilting

    One of our favorite tips from The Simple Joys of Quilting is how to get pesky triangle points to match—not just sometimes, but every time! See how Joan and Mary do it below:

    Quick tip: X marks the spot
    You’ll find dozens more indispensible tips like this in The Simple Joys of Quilting. Stock your quilting tool belt with lessons on:

    • Rotary cutting
    • Conquering the ¼” seam
    • Chain sewing
    • Pinning
    • Pressing
    • Unsewing (two easy ways)
    • Making strip sets
    • Making folded-corner, half-square, and quarter-square triangles
    • Sewing big triangle blocks and much more

    You’ll also find a comprehensive chapter on quilt-finishing techniques—something every quilter needs.

    Then…there are the quilts! Choose from a whopping 30 classic quilt patterns featuring a library of traditional quilt blocks. Take a look at just a few of the designs from each section in this 160-page book, organized by technique:

    Section 1: Quilts with squares and rectangles

    Lickity Split quilt
    Red, white, and blue beauty: “Lickity Split”

    See 7 more square and rectangle quilts in The Simple Joys of Quilting >

    Section 2: Quilts with big triangle blocks

    Sherriff's Log Cabin quilt
    Triangles for beginners (or those in need of a brush up): “Sherriff’s Log Cabin”

    See 2 more big-triangle quilts in The Simple Joys of Quilting >

    Section 3: Quilts with folded corners

    Friendship Stars quilt
    An easy-to-master technique: “Friendship Stars”

    See 3 more folded-corner quilts in The Simple Joys of Quilting >

    Section 4: Quilts with half-square triangles

    North Wind quilt
    Make ’em in batches the bias-strip way: “North Wind”

    See 7 more half-square triangle quilts in The Simple Joys of Quilting >

    Section 5: Quilts with quarter-square triangles

    Floral Symphony quilt
    Let lavish floral fabrics do all the work: “Floral Symphony”

    See 3 more quarter-square triangle quilts in The Simple Joys of Quilting >

    Section 6: Quilts with templates

    Tilted Pinwheels quilt
    Ease into templates: “Tilted Pinwheels”

    See 3 more template-based quilts in The Simple Joys of Quilting >

    Is there one quilting technique that trips you up? Share it in the comments—we may feature a tip about it in a future post!

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  4. National Sewing Month: turn fabric strips into beautiful bowls

    Posted by on September 16, 2014, in quilting & sewing, , ,

    National Sewing MonthSeptember is National Sewing Month! We’re celebrating all month long with ideas for out-of-the-box sewing. Watch for fun posts each week about making all kinds of fabulous stuff with your fabric.

    Today’s focus: your fabric strips—in 3D! Learn how to make fabric bowls, baskets, purses, and more with just two materials: fabric strips and common clothesline.

    Bowl from It's a Wrap II
    Bowl with knotted handle from
    It’s a Wrap II

    The basic technique is easy to learn—and it’ll transform your fabric into items unlike anything you’ve sewn before!

    Once you get the hang of the technique, you can create endless varieties of bowls, baskets, purses, and more on your home sewing machine. Experiment with sizes, shapes, and colors—the creative choices are completely up to you. Here are just a few examples from It’s a Wrap:

    Projects from It's a Wrap
    Round, oval, and urn shapes: projects from
    It’s a Wrap

    It's a Wrap< See more from It’s a Wrap
    Print book: $19.95 / eBook $14.95


    Susan dreams up new shapes and more options for customizing projects in her second book, It’s a Wrap II. Have fun adding fitted lids, handles, and embellishments to your creative containers.

    Projects from It's a Wrap II
    Lids, handles, and embellishments: projects from
    It’s a Wrap II

    It's a Wrap II< See more from It’s a Wrap II
    Print book: $24.99 / eBook $16.99


    In Sewing Pottery by Machine, Barbara Warholic adds another step to the basic bowl-making process—joining pieces—which results in curvy pots, vases, jugs, and other shapes that resemble pottery.

    Projects from Sewing Pottery by Machine
    Join pieces to create necks, rims, handles, and even a teapot spout in
    Sewing Pottery by Machine.

    Sewing Pottery by Machine< See more from Sewing Pottery by Machine
    Print book: $22.99 / eBook $14.99


    What kinds of dimensional items have you made (or would you like to make) with fabric? Tell us about them in the comments!

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  5. How to make a scrap quilt sing? Go solo (+ sale!)

    Look at your pile (drawer, closet) of scraps. Is it a hodgepodge of colors and patterns?

    When you look at a quilt pattern that might be a good match for your scraps, you likely see a quilt where the colors are composed, the arrangement is balanced, and the finished design is stunning.

    A question arises: how do I get from the hodgepodge stage to the stunning quilt stage?

    There’s one trick many designers rely on to simplify the scrap-quilting process:

    Stick with a solitary or single-block pattern.

    Checkered Past quilt from Simple Charm
    Thirty-two fabrics, one block pattern: “Checkered Past” from Simple Charm.

    Single-block quilts remove the distractions of other design elements so you can focus on fabric choice. And when it comes to finding a home for precious scraps, that’s where the focus should be.

    Let the options below lead you to a solo block; then start stitching up those scraps! And every time you consider tossing your scrap pile, remember this advice from scrap-quilt connoisseur Lynn Roddy Brown:

    Advantages of scrap quilts

    Single-block option 1: any color, any pattern…any scrap you’ve got!
    From Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts by Lynn Roddy Brown

    Bow Tie Circles quilt
    Choose shades of white and off-white for the backgrounds of these simple Bow Tie blocks; then get creative with anything-goes prints for the bow ties.

    More quilts from Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts
    More solo blocks from
    Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts

    Simple Strategies for Scrap QuiltsSee more single-block scrap quilts
    from Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts

    eBook: $16.95

    > 16 gorgeous traditional quilt patterns
    > Start with one scrap size—a 5½” x 20″ strip
    > Dozens of tips on color, value, design, and more

    Single-block option 2: country colors
    From Flannel Quilts by Sandy Bonsib

    Almost Amish quilt
    In “Almost Amish,” solid flannels combine with spunky plaids in a Square Within a Square block variation. Blocks are sewn, cut, swapped, and sewn again, so the imaginative color placement happens by happy accident!

    More quilts from Flannel Quilts
    More scrappy single-block designs from
    Flannel Quilts

    Flannel QuiltsSee more from Flannel Quilts

    eBook: $16.95

    > 17 quick-to-make quilts
    > Lots of large, simply sewn blocks
    > Make these fun quilts with flannel or cotton fabrics

    Single-block option 3: reproduction prints
    From Link to the ’30s by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine

    Double Windmill quilt
    With only two pattern pieces, this Double Windmill block can showcase a large collection of prints. Karen used unbleached muslin for the background.

    More quilts from Link to the 30s
    More scrappy solo blocks from
    Link to the ’30s

    Link to the '30sSee more from Link to the ’30s

    eBook: $18.99

    > 9 authentic designs from the 1930s
    > Unique block patterns come from 1930s newspapers and antique quilts from the era
    > Perfect for your most cheerful scraps

    Scrap-Basket BeautiesGot lots of scrappy strips?

    Gather fabric strips for these pretty quilts from your scraps, your stash, or your Jelly Rolls. Single-block designs feature a variety of fabric styles, from traditional prints to batiks, florals, and more. See the quilts in Scrap-Basket Beauties.

    What style of fabric dominates your scrap stash? Tell us in the comments!

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  6. Knitting tip for easy Fair Isle knitting

    From Fair Isle Sweaters SimplifiedFair Isle, or stranded, knitting is a way to create beautiful, colorful patterns in your knitted fabric. It looks complicated—but it doesn’t have to be!

    Here’s how Ann and Eugene Bourgeois, authors of Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified and owners of Philosopher’s Wool Company, make Fair Isle projects quicker and easier—and it takes only a few tries to master:

    Quick tip: Fair Isle knitting
    For more tips and detailed instructions for two-handed Fair Isle knitting, check out Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified by Ann and Eugene Bourgeois at ShopMartingale.com.

    Which do you prefer: solid or multi-colored knitting (or crochet)? Tell us in the comments!

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  7. Table-runner treats from Fons & Porter (+ giveaway!)

    A bare table is like a blank canvas; it begs to show off something beautiful.

    Flying South table runner
“Flying South” by Terry Albers

    Big or small, square or skinny, old or new, tables offer a space to express our creativity as quilters—and making a table topper can stretch our creativity just as far as a painter’s canvas. Not only can you add a stroke of beauty or a pop of color; you can also use a table topper’s small size as a stress-free way to:

    • Try new color palettes
    • Learn new techniques
    • Create with your scraps
    • Highlight the seasons
    • Make a quick gift
    • Show off your hand or machine quilting

    Marianne Fons and Liz PorterCelebrated quilters Marianne Fons and Liz Porter love the utility and charm of table-sized quilts, and they’ve teamed up with us to bring you a gorgeous collection of toppers and runners to keep you creating throughout the year. Whether you want to wow a crowd at a seasonal gathering or simply catch someone’s eye on an end table, Table Toppers gives you the opportunity to play on a small scale.

    Take a look at what Marianne and Liz have selected from the pages of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine to include in Table Toppers. Enjoy one topper from each season below—click on any photo to see them all!


    Pumpkin Patch table runner and hot pad
    “Pumpkin Patch” table runner and hot pad by Kelly Mueller


    Oh Christmas Tree table topper
    “Oh Christmas Tree” by Sue Marsh


    Dresden Daisies table runner
    “Dresden Daisies” by Debbie Beaves

    See three more flowering projects in Table Toppers >


    Watermelon table runner
    “Watermelon” by Sandy Gervais


    Fluttering By table runner
    “Fluttering By” by Betsy Smith

    See all 12 projects in Table Toppers >
    Print book: $19.99 / eBook: $14.99


    Table TopperWhat’s your favorite time of year to display a table topper—or is your table topped all year long? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Table Toppers eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

P.S.: Another Fons & Porter book debuts this month—save your fat quarters for it!

    Comments are closed for this post.

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

    “I love table toppers. Fall colors and themes are my favorites. This book is one I would so enjoy. Table toppers work up quickly and give me a chance to use smaller pieces of fabrics in my stash.”

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

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  8. Craft Book Month blog hop! A quilt goes viral

    Craft Book Month with Craftbuds

    Practically every Monday around here is show-and-share day. When we complete something over the weekend, we bring our projects to the office to share with each other. Usually there’s squealing and “where’d you get that fabric?” chatter.

    When Karen Burns, our acquisitions editor, brought in her finished quilt top from the book Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe, it was ADORABLE! I loved the pattern, designed by Krista Fleckenstein, but I especially loved Karen’s fabric choice, Bluebird Park’s Kate & Birdie for Moda. The little woodland creatures in a city park setting were so sweet.

    Karen Burns's quilt top
    Karen Burns’s quilt top

    I teased Karen and begged her to give me that quilt top! I figured she had so many unquilted projects, she wouldn’t know it was missing. Instead, she gave me the name of the fabric collection so I could buy it myself (next best thing). Which I did, instantly. The only difference was our choice for the fabric background—Karen went with a tan textured background; I chose yellow.

    I had my quilt cut and pieced in no time. It’s a super fast and easy pattern! The following Monday I was the one sharing my finished quilt top with my coworkers.

    Karen Johnson's quilt top
    Karen Johnson’s quilt top

    This time it was Mary Green, our former editor in chief, who admired it. She especially loved the lemony yellow. Teasingly, she asked me to give it to her. See a trend here? We always beg, but it never seems to work around here…until this time. You see, Mary was making plans to retire. I knew the minute she asked for the quilt, I would have it quilted in time for her retirement party. And I did.

    Mary was shocked and ecstatic over my gift to her. I give quilts away often, but rarely to quilters. Because quilters can make their own quilts, it’s easy to forget how much they appreciate receiving one. I was surprised and touched by her appreciation. My little “pay it forward” act was well received. Here we are together at her retirement party with the finished quilt.

    Karen presenting Mary with her quilt
    The finished quilt, with Mary Green (left) and Karen Johnson (right)

    Thanks to Lindsay at Craftbuds for letting us be a part of Craft Book Month!

    Have you made a quilt for another quilter? Tell us how it was received in the comments!

    Visit more bloggers who will be showing off their projects made from craft books, all month long:

    Monday 9/1: Fabric Mutt / Lindsay Sews
    Tuesday 9/2: Rae Gun Ramblings / Craftside
    Wednesday 9/3: The Feisty Redhead / The Fabric Studio
    Thursday 9/4: Marci Girl Designs / Small Town Stitcher
    Friday 9/5: LRstitched / A Prairie Sunrise
    Monday 9/8: Hopeful Threads / sewVery
    Tuesday 9/9: 13 Spools / Lisa Liza Lou
    Wednesday 9/10: Stitch This! / My Sewcial Hour
    Thursday 9/11: The Littlest Thistle / Fabric Seeds
    Friday 9/12: Sew Sweetness / Clover + Violet
    Monday 9/15: Inspire Me Grey


    Link Up

    Craft Book Month with Craftbuds9/1–9/30: Link up your craft book project at Craft Buds from your blog or Flickr account, and enter to win prizes. To participate in the month-long contest, just link up any project you’ve made from a pattern in a craft book. That easy! You’ll tell us a little about the book, the project, how you personalized it, etc. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, October, 1!


    1) One entry per person.

    2) Your craft book project must have been completed in 2014.

    3) Create a new blog post or Flickr photo (dated September 1, 2014, or later) and link back to Craft Buds/Craft Book Month in your post or photo description. In your post or photo description, make sure to list the craft book you used and provide a link if possible.

    4) All winners chosen via Random.org. Some prizes available to international winners, so please join us!


    Visit Craft Buds and link up your craft book project during the window of Sept 1–30 and you’ll automatically be entered to win some fantastic prizes from the Craft Book Month sponsors!

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  9. National Sewing Month: sewing for the home

    National Sewing MonthOur celebration of National Sewing Month continues! Watch for fun posts throughout September and get inspired to make all kinds of fabulous stuff with your fabric.

    Today’s topic: our homes. So often we make things for the homes of family and friends. But when was the last time you sewed something for your own home?

    Even one simple handmade item—a table runner for dining, a pillow for lounging, a lap quilt for snuggling—can infuse a room with softness and warmth.

    From Urban Country Quilts
    A lap quilt for the living room: Don’s Goose from
    Urban Country Quilts

    Today we’ve gathered sewing ideas for key rooms in your home—places where people tend to spend lots of time. Choose a room in your home that needs a little lift. Then let that space reflect your creativity!

    Pretty and practical: projects for the kitchen
    From Kitchen Stitches

    Projects from Kitchen Stitches
    Clockwise from top left: “Double-Handed Pot Holder” by Natalie Barnes; “Circle Blooms Tea Cozy” by Amy Struckmeyer; “Too Hot to Handle Pot Holders” by Kim Niedzwiecki; “Cartwheels Table Runner and Napkins” by Amy Ellis.

    Brighten your kitchen and dining area with these projects plus:

    • Aprons, dish towels, and tablecloths
    • Cozies for casserole dishes and slow cookers
    • Super-quick wine-glass charms, coasters, and memo boards

    Kitchen StitchesSee more from Kitchen Stitches
    (<<< including the baguette tote on the cover)
    Buy the book, get the eBook free!


    Rest and renew: sewing for the bedroom
    From Sew Decorative

    Projects from Sew Decorative
    Clockwise from top left: rick-rack-embellished pillowcases and top sheet; fussy-cut embellished lampshade; bed skirt attached with Velcro; coordinating-print sheet and pillowcases.

    Find more bedroom projects in Sew Decorative, plus:

    • Table runners, place mats, and pot holders
    • A clever bathroom organizer made from two hand towels
    • Ten different decorative pillows

    Sew DecorativeSee more from Sew Decorative
    (<<< including the “Sunroom Seating” pillows on the cover)
    Buy the book, get the eBook free!


    Curl up and cuddle: quilts for every room
    From Sew a Modern Home by Melissa Lunden

    Quilts from Sew a Modern Home
    Clockwise from top left: “The Bee’s Knees Picnic Quilt,” “Dancing Chevrons,” “Desert Morning,” “Sharp Turn.”

    You didn’t think we’d skip quilts, did you? If a room in your home is without a cozy quilt, it’s time to get sewing! With Sew a Modern Home you can make a stylish quilt for every room plus:

    • A flying-geese inspired table-linen set
    • Quilts for big-boy and big-girl bedrooms
    • Playmats and plushies for the nursery

    Sew a Modern HomeSee more from Sew a Modern Home
    (<<< including the pieced pillows on the cover)
    Buy the book, get the eBook free!


    Who typically gets to keep the projects you sew: family, friends, or you? Tell us in the comments!

    You might also like:
    National Sewing Month: branch out – sew bags!

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  10. No-fail tip for colorful quilts

    Posted by on September 8, 2014, in quilting & sewing, , ,

    Energetic. Cheerful. Lively. Vivid. COLOR!

    From Colorful Quilts
    Detail of “Bali High” from
    Colorful Quilts (ePattern available)

    If you gravitate toward using bright colors in your quilts—or if you have a stack of colorful blocks you’re not sure how to use—read on. Today’s tip will help you rein in those larger-than-life colors.

    When working with brights, the authors of the three books featured below agree on one thing: it’s all about the background fabric. Whether you add one color or 100 to a quilt, the right backdrop will keep your design controlled, instead of progressing toward chaotic (raise your hand if you’ve been there, made that!).

    From Quilts from the Heart II
    Color riot! Softly patterned backgrounds offer a resting place for the eyes, capturing the energy of colorful quilt blocks without overwhelming the viewer. From
    Quilts from the Heart II.

    So, how do you choose the right background fabric when you want to show off a rainbow of quilt blocks? Here’s a smart tip from author Cynthia LeBlanc Regone:

    Quick tip--brights and backgrounds
    Ready to dig into the most colorful section of your stash? Get inspired by the quilts in the hue-happy eBooks below.

    From Colorful Quilts by Cynthia LeBlanc Regone

    Quilts from Colorful Quilts
    Left: Cynthia exchanged Basket blocks with three friends, uniting many colors with a calm yellow background. Right: In another exchange, scrappy Cake Stand blocks pop against a subtly patterned black background.

    Colorful Quilts< See more from Colorful Quilts

    (ePatterns available)


    From Quilts from the Heart II by Karin Renaud

    Quilts from Quilts from the Heart II
    Left: Bright squares are randomly pieced into a sea of mottled-blue fabrics in an off-center Jacob’s Ladder design. Right: Karin packs the entire color wheel into Snowy Owl blocks, surrounding brights with solid white.

    Quilts from the Heart II< See more from Quilts from the Heart II

    (ePatterns available)

    From Sew Fun, So Colorful Quilts by Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson

    From Sew Fun, So Colorful Quilts
    Left: Fussy-cut rows of cat blocks alternate with multicolored Bow Tie blocks; the pop comes courtesy of a peach background fabric. Right: Got a collection of one cheerful color? Show it off in this easy grid quilt. Simply cut same-size squares and add solid sashing.

    Sew Fun, So Colorful Quilts< See more from Sew Fun, So Colorful Quilts


    Patchwork PaletteGot lots of colorful scraps?

    Create dazzling scrap quilts with three of Donna Lynn Thomas’s simple methods for choosing fabrics: the Rainbow, Color Family, and Mixed methods. Make 13 color- and print-packed quilts with Donna’s eye-opening ideas—you’ll use her advice again and again. See more from Patchwork Palette.

    What’s your all-time favorite color to use in quilts? Tell us in the comments!

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