"Fresh Start Quilts" Sew-Along (Week 4)

It’s week 4 of the "Fresh Start Quilts" Sew-Along!

Let’s hear from authors Connie Tesene and Mary Etherington!

Greetings from Iowa! Today we are going to talk about sashing and finishing the Fresh Air quilt from our "Fresh Start Quilts" book. Hopefully you’ve finished 20 blocks and are ready for these final steps. If not, no problem. The posts will remain on the Martingale blog, and you can easily access them from the Sew-Alongs tab on ShopMartingale.com.


In the original Fresh Air quilt (left) that was featured on the cover of "Fresh Start Quilts", Mary chose a light, scrappy sashing and included a variety of colors in her cornerstones. Since I wanted to offer a different look, I used a unifying dark gray sashing and one color for the cornerstones in my quilt (right) .


I also put a 2” border around the whole quilt. I really didn’t want to put a border on it, but I think it looked odd with the dark sashing ending so abruptly. The border helps frame the quilt center and finish the design.


Here are some more pictures of my quilt. Yes, it is KING size, and notice every “ugly” block was used. I put them on the edges and corners, but I had more challenging blocks than would fit along the outer edge, so they also appear in the center of the quilt!


Mary is still working on her blocks.  She said, “Once again I’m looking for that perfect combination of fabrics!”


I had fun making a small pillow using one dark background instead of light fabrics. I thought it was fitting to make a pillow since we made 3 small pillows for the "Fresh Start Quilts" book.


Be sure to watch this trunk show video to see all the projects (11 quilts and 3 pillows) included in "Fresh Start Quilts".


Now, let’s talk about quilting!  Mary quilted her version of Fresh Air using a very low loft batting and simple straight lines. After adding the binding, Mary washed it to give it a soft look and feel.


Here are a few pictures of some of the quilts in the book. Mary took these photos this summer. From left: Betty’s Big Red House (Finished Wall Hanging: 34-1/2″ x 24-1/2″), Spring Days (Finished Quilt: 84-1/2″ x 96-1/2″), and Iowa Roads (Finished Quilt: 52-1/2″ square).


Mary writes a blog nearly everyday about life on the farm. She shares a lot of pictures of her animals and quilts. No politics, no drama, just Iowa life. Visit our blog, Chicken Scratch Country Threads, to learn more about our quilts, quilts from our readers, and Mary’s beloved animals.


I’ll close with one more picture of my quilt. It isn’t perfect – but I have the wonderful memory of doing this sew-along with you, and it will be quilted and on my bed this spring!!!

My best,



Have you been sewing along and sharing your photos? Use these hashtags #FreshStartQuiltsQAL, #madewithmartingale, and #martingaletpp, and tag us @martingaletpp on Instagram. Martingale staffer Karen Soltys shared a photo of her finished quilt top and we reposted it on our Instagram page this weekend. Did you see it? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss out on any posts! Next up for Karen’s version of Fresh Air–quilting and binding!


Do you have quilt tops that need to be quilted? You can do it! We have a variety of books that walk you through the process of machine-quilting and finishing your own quilts.

Happy stitching!

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