Staff Blog - Part 3

100 Modern Quilt Blocks: Month 7


Since I’m nearing the end of this project, I thought I’d give a quick recap on my Tula Pink‘s City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks! I now have a total of 80 blocks and the last 20 cut out. I’m racing toward the finish line on this project and can’t wait to get the last blocks done and start on this scrappy bed quilt! (See my previous posts for my progress and tips for choosing color and patterns.)


Here are pictures of my 80 blocks separated into colorways:



Here are my last 20 blocks cut out in dark green. I cut out three blocks, label them with the block number on a post-it note, and store them in plastic sandwich bags. It makes it easy to me to stay organized and break down sewing time into manageable chunks.


Reading List

Every year, we receive hundreds of books in the office to feature in our magazines. And although we try, it’s impossible to showcase each book. In the fall issue of Quilts and More magazine our staff is announcing a blog hop to highlight the books that we couldn’t review in the magazines, but that our staff absolutely loves! We pulled around 20 books to review for the blog hop (watch for that August 12) and narrowed it down to include a variety of topics and publishers. But we can’t totally forget about the books that weren’t chosen for the blog hop. Below we give a shout-out to those books and encourage you to read a few before we announce our editor’s choice books for fall next month!



Quilts for Sweet Jane: Easy Quilt Patterns Using Precuts

By Sue Pfau for Martingale

Fun to start and quick to finish, these enticing quilts simplify the fabric-selection process. Almost all projects use one set of precut fabrics plus a neutral background fabric, such as white or cream, with terrific results. The collection of 10 easy quilt patterns appeal to a wide range of tastes. And you’ll discover doable projects that even beginners can make successfully!

Buy this book here.


I Love Color! Quilt Collection

By Marcia Harmening of Happy Stash Quilts for Leisure Arts

If you love happy hues and pretty patterns, Marcia’s gorgeous designs are for you! The quilts include a wide variety of quilting techniques, such as curved borders, applique, and little flanges for a dimensional touch.Designs include throws, table runners, and crib quilts.

Buy this book here.


Quilting-on-the-Go: Taking It Further

By Carolyn Forster for Landauer Publishing

Carrying a block or two with you to piece and quilt wherever and whenever you have time is the heart of Carolyn’s quilting-on-the-go techniques. Choose one of the 11 projects and enjoy the freedom of quilting-on-the-go, including learning how to piece and quilt borders on-the-go!

Buy this book here.


Patchwork Quilts: Traditional Scandinavian Designs for the Modern Quiltmaker

By Trine Bakke for Skyhorse Publishing

Learn the art of traditional Scandinavian quilt-making by following Trine’s simple designs and detailed instructions. Here readers can learn how to use traditional block patterns in new ways that make for beautiful results! Trine believes that a good quilt is a well-loved quilt—one that can be used, washed, and loved again. She also gives tips on how to find both beautiful and durable fabrics to piece together amazing creations for the bedroom, kitchen, and the rest of the home.

Buy this book here.


Jelly Roll Jambalaya Quilts

By Jean Ann Wright for Landauer Publishing

Stitch along with author Jean Ann Wright as she creates easy, fun projects with jelly roll pre-cuts. Ten bright, easy-to-complete, colorful quilts encompass a variety of techniques, including y-seams and speed strip stitching.

Buy this book here.



Patchwork Plus: East One-Block Quilts with Seasonal Applique

By Geralyn J. Powers for Martingale

Find quilts for all seasons–and other fun reasons! Create nine projects for year-round giving and home decor. Each trouble-free quilt pattern uses one basic patchwork block to create a background for a dash of appliqué.Find appliqué accents to customize your patchwork patterns for springtime, patriotic holidays, Halloween, Christmas, and more.

Buy this book here.

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Blogs We <3 This Month

Once a month, we highlight blogs our staff is reading right now!



Melly Sews

Melissa’s blog is one of our go-to blogs for clothing pattern and inspiration (hey, we may be quilters, but we enjoy looking at cute clothes, too!). From sewing for girls and boys to adult sizes, Melissa’s free patterns and tutorials are easy-to-follow and super stylish! She also has easy pillow, place mat, and other small patterns available. And if you visit her site now, you’ll be summer ready with her 30 days of sundresses blogs and cute swimsuit coverups!

Read her blog here.



Amy’s Creative Side

Amy’s blog is perfect for all those sewers who want to be in the know! Not only is her blog a smorgasbord of gorgeous projects and giveaways, but she also features a weekly quiltcast, where she (and friend April Rosenthal) share tips for getting things done, the tools that work best for them, and other quilting and piecing tricks!

Read her blog here. 



Simple Simon and Company

Written by two Elizabeth’s, this blog is perfect for everyone trying to make more time for sewing! They’re both two busy moms, so their patterns and tutorials are easy, quick, and super fun! From clothing to bags to great sewing tips (especially on topics that we’ve all wondered, but never asked), their personalities shine through, inspire, motivate, and most importantly, make us feel like it’s ok to take time to enjoy family and life in addition to the creative process.

Read their blog here. 

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Perfect Your Skills: Two-Color Binding

Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to make a two-color binding for a quilt that looks just as pretty on the front as it does on the back!


French Braid designer Becky Cogan in American Patchwork & Quilting April 2013


To make two-color binding that finishes a scant 3/8″ wide, complete the following steps:

From binding fabric that will show on quilt front, cut:

  • 7/8″-wide binding strips in number and length specified in your pattern

From binding fabric that will show on quilt back, cut:

  • 1-5/8″-wide binding strips in number and length specified in your pattern


1. Sew together 7/8″-wide strips with diagonal seams to make one continuous front binding strip. In same manner, join 1-5/8″-wide strips to make one continuous back binding strip.

2. With right sides together, join front and back binding strips on a pair of long edges with scant 1/4″ seam to make a pieced binding strip. Press seam toward darker print.

3. Fold pieced binding strip in half lengthwise with wrong side inside. Sew pieced binding strip to quilt, placing front binding against quilt front.


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2014 Quilting To-Do List: Update 5

It’s official. 2014 is half over! And I have to say I’m proud of how much creative time I was able to schedule into my past 6 months. Making a larger effort to take time to work on my own projects (rather than just gifts or work) is not only relaxing and expanding my creative boundaries, but is also pushing myself to learn new techniques and discover more about my own quilting style. (Find out more about my goals this year in my resolutions blog – read it here.)I was able to get a lot done in June. This month I’m taking a week long vacation and play to give work and sewing a rest to enjoy my family and the beach! I made pretty lax goals for this upcoming month, but hopefully I can continue my momentum on these projects!


On my to-do list this year:


I got 10 more blocks done for the City Sampler quilt, finished off the light green bunch. Only 20 more blocks to go! Can’t wait to get this one crossed off my list and on my bed! (I blogged about these 20 blocks and about color choice tips. Read it here!)



I got four more of the  American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt Along blocks done. I have some darker reds and oranges coming to help balance the Irish chains a bit more. These blocks take about an hour each (unless I work ahead on some strip-piecing). I love the process of picking out the fabrics that go together, but it’s hard for me to do more than one every few days unless I have a lot of extra time on my hands. Only 11 more blocks to go! Check out everyone’s blocks on Instagram if you need motivation or ideas (search: #apqquiltalong).



Seven of the blocks for the Globetrotting Block of the Month are done (I snuck the July one in before writing this blog)! Each month I’m loving this quilt more. As I lay each new block done and take a picture I’m so surprised at how it’s coming together and balancing the lights and darks of this quilt (especially since I deviated from the instructions choice of prints).



I finished the Welcome Home door decor from Quilts and More Summer (except sewing on the buttons…they’re just posing in place for this picture!). Since the Fall issue doesn’t come out until August, I get a month off from this project while I work hard on the others on my list!



I have some tips for keeping your motivation going when life gets busy. (See my tips for making your list here.)

1. Schedule it into your day. Work and life get busy. Sometimes the thought of squeezing sewing in after a long day does not sound appealing–especially on days when the weather is nice. This month, I made an effort to go into work 30 minutes earlier each day, so I could use the extra 30 minutes at the end of my day to sew. Making a conscious effort to set my alarm earlier and reward myself with creative time after a productive day was just what I needed to keep my motivation going.

2. Mix it up. It’s hard to keep yourself interested if you’re working on just one project or if you’re only cutting/only sewing. In order to make sure I can make progress on something, whether I have 10 minutes for cutting or a few hours to sew binding on, I keep a variety of projects in different stages, so I can always work on something that fits my time-commitment and mood.

3. Make it (more) fun. I’m a huge fan of combining hobbies when possible. So instead of making time to watch my favorite TV show AND time to cut my fabrics, I do them both at the same time. Or take some applique to the beach so you get some fun in the sun at the same time you’re making progress on a quilt. It’s amazing how time flies (and how much you get done) when you can enjoy all your favorite things at once!


Happy quilting in 2014! Share your own quilting to-do list in the comments and make sure to check back to  see my progress.


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