Book Review | Staff Blog

Book Review

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Take 5 Fat Quarters Blog Hop

Today is the final day of the blog hop for Kathy Brown’s latest book (her 6th for Martingale).

I’ve known Kathy for several years. I think we first “met” when the Take 5 die she designed for AccuQuilt was featured in the Favorite Finds column of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine in 2008. Her energy and joyful spirit are showcased in quilts in her latest book Take 5 Fat Quarters: 15 Easy Quilts from Martingale.

This collection of quilts includes designs that are terrific, no matter if your taste in fabric is modern, Civil War-inspired, solids, or batiks. There is something for everyone.

As I thumbed through the book, I enjoyed reading Kathy’s inspiration for each of the quilts. I find the back-story and the behind-the-scenes info of how a quilt came to be fascinating.


I decided to make Crisscross Applesauce, above. Plus sign-inspired quilts are very popular right now and this pattern, with 6″ blocks, was just the right size.


I have been collecting blue and white prints from designers Polly Minick & Laurie Simpson for Moda Fabrics. I thought this pattern would make a very striking two-color quilt. I used more than five fat quarters. What can I say? I love scrappy and I know Kathy would understand my need for more fabric!


I can’t decide how to set blocks together. Alternate light and dark blocks, set them on point, or group darks and lights in groups of four.


I also have my next quilt picked out, Farmhouse Favorite, above. I love Log Cabin variations and I think I’ll use some Kim Diehl fabrics for Henry Glass & Co I have in my fabric stash.


All images from Kathy’s book are courtesy of Martingale and photographer Brent Kane.

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Reading List

Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg

Revel in 400 years of quilt history through the pages of Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg by Linda Baumgarten and Kimberly Smith Ivey. Colonial Williamsburg’s collection includes roughly 250 quilts from around the world. The 360+ page hardcover book follows progression of quilting styles, trends, and the impact of quilts around the world. The chapters are split into locations throughout the world (Indian, European Calico, and Polynesian), technique (Early Appliquéd, Pieced 1840-1910, and Make), and specific blocks (Mariner’s Compass, Star, and Baltimore Album). The book’s historical references are supplemented with spectacular full-page photos as well as close-up detail photography.

Buy the book here.



Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000

In Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000 author Roderick Kiracofe shares nearly 150 quilts from his personal collection that break from the general rules of traditional quiltmaking. The collection showcases utilitarian quilts made by everyday quiltmakers—often without the structure of a pattern. Contextual essays contributed by textile experts, including quilt designers, a museum curator, and a quilt historian, accompany photos of Kiracofe’s collection.

Buy the book here.


Handfuls of Scraps: Pieced into Amazing Quilts

Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts is known for her amazingly scrappy quilts that combine a wonderful mix of fabrics, including many fabrics that don’t seem like they would work together, including reproduction prints and batiks. Now, in Handfuls of Scraps: Pieced into Amazing Quilts, we get to see some of what inspires Edyta’s scrappy quilts. Three dozen antique quilts, most from Edyta’s collection, are eye candy for anyone who enjoys quilts with hundreds of fabrics and tons of tiny shapes. If you’re ready to try one of these quilts yourself, the second chapter includes patterns for 15 scrappy quilt patterns inspired by the antiques.

Buy the book here.



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Reading List

Each month, we highlight the books we’re reading in the office. January is the month to make crafting resolutions and be inspired and renewed in your creativity! These books will help you reach a sewing goal, learn a new skill, or just take more time to be creative!


The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity

By Carrie Bloomston for C&T Publishing

Ignite your inner creative spark with the 30 engaging exercises, fun activities, inspirational images, and motivating ideas in this book. Learn what your Little Spark of creative passion looks like, how to capture it, and how to make room for it in your life. Use it as a month-long creative roadmap or just dip into the exercises as your time and inclination allow. Either way, you will change your life.

Buy this book here.



Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners and Those Who Think They Can’t

By Molly Hanson for Martingale

Been dragging your feet on learning to machine-quilt? This is the year! Learn to free-motion quilt on your home sewing machine. Try 10 different quilting designs, including stippling variations, pebbles, square meander, and swirls. Then master the fundamentals of free-motion quilting on manageable fat-quarter-sized fabric pieces and turn the pieces into projects you’ll love.

Buy this book here.



Savor Each Stitch: Studio Quilting with Mindful Design

By Carolyn Friedlander for Lucky Spool Media

Explore how selecting materials combined with playing with the design can help you slow down and enjoy the process of quilting. This book contains eight quilts each with a multitude of color way options. Projects range from table runners to full-size quilts each encouraging readers to play with design possibilities to create unique quilts of their own. Hand quilting, needle-turn appliqué, thoughtful design choices, and experimentation replace the fast and easy counterparts found in many pattern books.

Buy this book here.



Quilting the New Classics: 20 Inspired Quilt Projects

By Michele Muska for Sixth & Spring Books

No matter what their style, all quilters draw inspiration and creative vision from quilts of the past. This book reinterprets 10 traditional quilt patterns into two gorgeous designs — one a traditional interpretation, the other modern. Along the way, it also presents galleries of quilts both past and present, demonstrating how quilters can use visual inspiration to transform traditional patterns into unique quilt designs.

Buy this book here.




Sewing to Sell: How to Sell Locally & Online

By Virginia Lindsay for C&T Publishing

If starting a crafting business was on your to-do list this year, this book is a must-have! This practical guide from professional sewist Virginia Lindsay includes everything you need to know to start sewing for profit. From  creating a product line to identifying customers, pricing and selling your work, marketing yourself, handling the business and legal side of sewing and more, this book gives you all the tool to start making money from your passion. And that’s not all! You also get 16 projects that you can start sewing and selling right now.

Buy this book here.


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A Flair for Fabric Blog Hop

Buy this book here!


Fabric is essential to every quilter’s life! We buy it, we hoard it, and we spend a ton of time thinking about it. From the initial fabric choices of our quilt, to piecing, to adding the binding, fabric is so important — and can enhance your project (or make you shake your head at your design wall). And although we work with fabric all the time, sometimes it’s hard to know which colors and prints will make a beautiful quilt that you’re proud of! A Flair for Fabric: Creative Sewing Projects from the Designers at Henry Glass is an amazing resource for fun projects, as well as tips for mixing and matching fabrics with success.


Published by Martingale and compiled by designer Linda Lum DeBono, this book features 14 beautiful projects by Henry Glass designers. Each designer gives a peek at how they design fabric and provides several tips on choosing fabric and matching colors. Plus, six in-depth lessons throughout the book give greater insight on how to make your fabrics play with each other and solves some common problems with fabric choice. Here’s a look at a few of the projects from the book.


Starburst Maple Delight by Janet Nesbitt and Pam Soliday 

Funky Flowers by Heather Mulder Peterson 

Days Gone By by Little Quilts 


All royalties from this book are being donated to Red Cross.


Here’s tips for choosing fabric from the staff of American Patchwork & Quilting and Quilts and More magazines:


“I’ve been challenging myself to break my tried-and-true fabric selection habits — one large-scale print and three to five smaller scale prints that generally match the colors in the larger print. As part of the challenge, I’ve chosen solids as backgrounds that aren’t a color pulled from the prints. I’ve also combined bold larger-scale prints in a quilt, tossing aside the “does that match?” voice inside my head. These little changes make a difference and teach me a new lesson every time.”

–Linda Augsburg, editorial content chief


“When selecting fabrics for a project, I like to start by choosing a simple and controlled color palette. For inspiration, look around you at the objects you surround yourself with. Color combinations can be drawn from a favorite piece of artwork, a book cover or even a favorite outfit. I was once inspired by the packaging on a Starbucks coffee bag!”

–Elizabeth Stumbo, assistant art director


“Color choice depends on the size block I’m making. I like to make small blocks – ideally 4 or 5 inches square. When making smaller blocks it is better to choose fabrics with fewer patterns and colors. Because fabrics get cut into small pieces, a large scale print with lots of color looks very different when it’s chopped into tiny pieces. If you want to maintain definition in your pieces, choose fabrics that have a tone-on-tone or a mottled appearance. Batiks are also great choices when making small blocks. They are tightly woven and pieces are less likely to fray.”

–Jody Sanders, editor of Quilts and More


“I love scrappy quilts, so I usually go overboard by choosing WAY too many fabrics when I’m gathering fabrics from my stash for a new project. But I purposely try NOT to limit myself, because even though I may have gathered three times what I need, I always end up further refining the selection a few days (or months!) later when I come back to start cutting out the quilt. That way I’m still left with plenty of fabric for the project I’m working on.”

–Elizabeth Beese, senior editor of American Patchwork & Quilting


“I find color and fabric inspiration in collections. I love the colors in collections of Aurifil embroidery floss. Using the threads as a visual guide, I select matching solids and prints from my stash. Then I fill out the basic collection with lighter and darker, more saturated/less saturated fabrics.”

–Jill Mead, editor


“Let the fabric designer do the work! Buying fabric from a single fabric collection ensures that your fabrics will not only match, but also have a variety of prints, scales, and colors to work with. If you need to add fabric from your stash, look at the color dots on the fabric selvage to guarantee that whatever fabric you pull will match perfectly!”

–Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor


Follow along with the blog hop! Each blog will have a fun fabric giveaway and great tips for choosing fabric!

Tuesday, November 18: Launch at Martingale’s Stitch This! blog

Wednesday, November 19: Dana Brooks

Thursday, November 20: Leanne Anderson

Friday, November 21: (It’s us!)

Saturday, November 22: Janet Nesbitt

Monday, November 24: Linda Lum DeBono

Tuesday, November 25: Anni Downs

Wednesday, November 26: Kim Diehl

Friday, November 28: Jill Finley

Saturday, November 29: Amy Hamberlin

Monday, December 1: Margo Languedoc

Tuesday, December 2: Little Quilts

Wednesday, December 3: Lizzie B Cre8ive

Thursday, December 4: Heather Mulder Peterson

Friday, December 5: Jacquelynne Steves

Saturday, December 6: Wrap up at the Henry Glass blog


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Reading List

Each month, we highlight the books we’re reading in the office. The holidays are coming quick! These books are full of festive holiday and winter projects, and also make great gifts for any sewers on your list!


Celebrate Christmas: 22 Festive Projects to Quilt and Sew

From Martingale

Spread holiday cheer with 22 fabulous projects! This beautiful book features inspiring Christmas and winter-themed projects as well as a table runner for Hanukkah. From smaller projects like ornaments, stockings, and pillows to larger wall hangings and throws, this book is full of projects for decorating your home and creating gifts to suit any taste.

Buy this book here.


Cozy Quilts: A Charming Blend of Wool Appliqué and Cotton Patchwork

By Tara Lynn Darr for Kansas City Star Books

Nothing adds warmth and texture to quilts like wool appliqué. Tara Lynn Darr shows you how to spice up your quilts with a cozy mix of wool hexagons, stars, blooms and more. This charming collection of 11 small scrappy quilts is a great way to put your scrap basket of cotton and wool fabrics to use. No matter your taste in appliqué, you’ll find the perfect project in this diverse medley of designs.

Buy this book here.


Red, White & Quilted

By Linda Baxter Lasco for AQS Publishing

Twelve traditional patterns from antique red-and-white quilts become fresh ways to enjoy the classic color combination. See ideas for beautiful quilting to highlight white space and escalate your quilts to heirloom quilts. A gallery of even more red-and-white beauties tops off this beautiful book.

Buy this book here.


A Quilt for Christmas

By Sandra Dallas for St. Martin’s Press

It is 1864 and Eliza Spooner’s husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Conferedates, leaving her with their two children and in charge of their home and land. Eliza is confident that he will return home, and she helps pass the months making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter in the army. When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie amongst the women of her quilting group.

Buy this book here.


Here Comes Winter: Quilted Projects to Warm Your Home

By Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks for Martingale

Make your home cozy all winter with decorative projects ranging in size and shape from pillows and banners to wall hangings, table runners, and lap quilts. Inspired by the frosty winters of Saskatchewan, Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks showcase whimsical designs that are enchanted. This cheery collection is packed with 19 festive projects showcasing fun wintertime motifs including Christmas trees, lights, reindeer, snowmen, and snowflakes.

Buy this book here.


Memories of Christmas Past

By Betsey Langford and Carolyn Nixon for Kansas City Star Books

Celebrate the holiday season with this festive sampler quilt dressed in the classic yuletide colors of red and green. Based on traditional designs, each of the 12 sampler blocks features a Nine-Patch twist. Searching for a creative holiday gift idea? Use the blocks in six smaller projects.

Buy this book here.

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