"Fresh Start Quilts" Sew-Along + Flash Sale on Appliqué Freezer Papers and Foundation-Piecing Papers

Welcome to week 1 of the "Fresh Start Quilts" Sew-Along!

We’re sew glad you’re following and stitching the cover quilt with us! Today, and for the next few weeks, we’ll share tips, our versions of the Fresh Air blocks, plus Connie Tesene and Mary Etherington–the authors of "Fresh Start Quilts"–will share their (new!) blocks in this sew-along. Fresh Air is a 20-block quilt that finishes at 51-1/2″ x 64-1/2″. It’s a fabulous design to use up some of your scraps and try out different color variations.

Guest blog from Connie Tesene:

Mary made a quilt called Fresh Air for "Fresh Start Quilts", our latest book from Martingale. It’s the cover quilt! When I first saw her quilt, I knew I wanted to make one for myself. Since we were planning a sew-along for our blog, ChickenScratchCountryThreads.com, it made sense for me to choose a different color palette and quilt size.

I based my fabric choices on my extensive collection of Fig Tree & Co. fabrics and I’m making my quilt king size. (Mary thinks I’m nuts.)

Here is where Karen Soltys from Martingale comes in. She wanted to join in on the fun and is helping to organize this sew-along for everyone. She’s sewing along too, using fabrics from Minick & Simpson for Moda Fabrics.

Let’s get started!

First you need a copy of the book "Fresh Start Quilts". The book is available at your local quilt shop or you can order your copy from ShopMartingale.com or wherever you like to buy books. Next you need fabric. Sometimes picking fabric for a scrappy quilt might seem daunting. Mary told me she was looking for the perfect combination of fabrics when sewing her blocks. She felt that she never achieved her goal, so she just kept making new blocks. Now when I look at the quilt as a whole, it all goes together beautifully. That is the joy of a scrappy quilt! There are at least 5 or 6 different fabrics in each block.

If you want to make your version using Mary’s colors…great, but here are a few other color options for inspiration.

Tip #1: Using Different Colors

If you find it hard to switch things up and use different colors than those shown in a quilt photo, try this: make a black-and-white photocopy of the quilt photo in your book, or take a picture of it using your phone’s camera and change the settings to black-and-white. This will help you see where Mary placed dark, medium, and light fabrics in the quilt while disregarding her color choices. You’ll quickly see that not all blocks have exactly the same values in the same places.

Next, take a black-and-white photo of your planned fabrics. This will help you sort your options by color value (darks, mediums, and lights) rather than by the actual colors. To get a good mix in your quilt top, you can compare the values in each quilt block on the black-and-white photo to black-and-white images of your fabrics. In the end, your blocks won’t match colorwise to the quilt in the book, but you will have just as fabulous of a mix of values for a great scrappy quilt layout in your own favorite colors!

Tip #2: Keeping Your Fabrics Organized

Because you need 4 different medium or dark fabrics and 2 different light fabrics, it’s easier to keep track of which fabric would go where by labeling.

I like to simply keep my pieces pinned together. Karen labels hers with office-supply sticky tabs, but you can use lettered or numbered pins or Post-It Notes, or whatever works for you.

The materials list, cutting list, and sewing instructions starting on page 63 of "Fresh Start Quilts" are very clear. Here’s a quick visual of how the pieces go together to form the block, but you’ll want to refer to the instructions in the book for specific measurements and instructions.

The sewing goal for this 4-week sew-along is to make 5 blocks each week, so we suggest that you cut fabrics for five blocks at a time. At this pace, we can finish our quilt tops before Christmas. (Of course, it’s not a contest, so you if don’t have as much time, it’s OK to make fewer blocks per week.)

Here’s a peek at one of my blocks and one of Karen’s blocks:

I’m not quite done with the blocks for my king size quilt, so I better get sewing. We’ll share more tips and pics next week!


Stock up on Appliqué Freezer Paper and Foundation-Piecing Paper Packs!

Visit ShopMartingale.com to take advantage of our flash sale: Buy 3 packs (or more) of papers and get 50% off each pack! You can mix and match Applique Freezer Papers and Foundation-Piecing Papers. Why do you need these papers? Scroll down to learn more! Act now, this flash sale is only valid through Thursday, November 17.

Appliqué Freezer Paper

Re-create the look of Kim Diehl’s world-famous appliqué with ease. Why choose Kim Diehl’s Best Appliqué Freezer Paper?

  • 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheets can be used with inkjet printers and photocopiers
  • Flat, single-page sheets make tracing, cutting, and storage easy.
  • The ideal weight makes preparing and stitching appliqué motifs for both machine and hand techniques a snap!
  • The waxy side of each sheet has just the right amount of "hold" when pressed onto fabric, yet it releases easily once your stitching is complete.
  • The updated value pack includes 50 sheets!

Use the same paper that best-selling author Kim Diehl uses for her invisible machine-appliqué method. Add these books to cart–they include patterns that utilize the appliqué freezer paper.

From left: "Simple Appeal – 14 Patchwork & Appliqué Projects for Everyday Living", "Simple Whatnots – A Batch of Satisfyingly Scrappy Little Quilts", and "Simple Whatnots III – A Third Serving of Satisfyingly Scrappy Quilts", all by Kim Diehl.


Papers for Foundation Piecing

Play with paper-piecing whenever you wish with the quality and convenience of That Patchwork Place’s foundation-piecing papers! Print your favorite paper-piecing patterns easily and accurately with the convenience of your home computer or a photocopier. Our papers give such fast, precise results, you’ll be paper-piecing your next project–with the finest, quilter-tested papers–in no time. Plus, you can use them with any paper-piecing book or magazine pattern on the market!

Check out these Martingale books that are perfect for pairing with foundation-piecing paper.

From left: "You’ve Got a Point – Stunning Quilts with Triangle-in-a-Square Blocks" by Anna Dineen, "Learn to Paper Piece – A Visual Guide to Piecing with Precision" by Nancy Mahoney, and "Little Gems – 15 Paper-Pieced Miniature Quilts" by Connie Kauffman.

Happy stitching!

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