Staff Blog - Part 4

Piece & Play: February

In the February 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, designer Jean Wells teaches us how to expand our piecing horizons with a new technique — freehand curved piecing — and shows us how to play with color. The editors were so excited to learn this technique and create their own projects. See what they made below and share your own creations inspired by Piece & Play using the hashtag #apqlearnalong on Facebook and Instagam. And follow along with new projects and inspiration at


CORRECTION: If you order the Palette Box fabrics from The Stitchin’ Post as shown in the February issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, you will receive 1/4 yard (fat quarters) of the solids instead of 1/2 yard solids and 1 yard of the theme print for $65 plus shipping.


Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, editor of American Patchwork & Quilting


Elizabeth says: “I had so much fun making this pillow! I’m not an art quilter at all, so I was a little intimidated by the improvisational nature of this technique, but I ended up getting addicted to it! (I was only going to make a pincushion but got so wrapped up in this that I made the entire Four-Patch Pillow!). I chose my Palette Box by starting with some multicolor batiks that had an interesting mix of brown and pink combined with bits of coral, orange, and green.”




Jill Mead, editor



Jill says: “I find color and fabric inspiration in collections. I love the colors in this collection of Aurifil embroidery floss from a stitch kit from Moda Fabrics. It makes me think of spring. Using the threads as a visual guide, I select matching solids from my stash. Then I fill out the basic collection with lighter and darker, more saturated/less saturated solids.




Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor



Lindsay says: “I started with a fat quarter bundle of the Hadley collection from Dear Stella. I chose one colorful print and pulled in tone-on-tone teal, purple, orange, pink, and brown to pull out colors from the main print. The darker teals play nice with the lighter pinks. The brown tones the bright prints down and offers an unexpected color to the palette. I loved playing with color placement and the freeform cutting technique. It felt so creative to cut without a ruler and use colors outside my normal palette! It was a very forgiving project and I felt like I could experiment without fear of failure!”

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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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We Heart It, It’s Free

Once a month, we highlight our favorite free quilt and sewing patterns around the web!



Peppermint Kisses and Solstice Dreams Quilt by The Tilted Quilt for Moda Bake Shop

It’s beautiful, it’s festive, and it’s the perfect way to use scraps of your holiday prints! Whether you sew it to curl up under or as a seasonal gift, this quilt will have you in the Christmas spirit.

Get the free pattern here.

Quilted Box Pouch Tutorial by Simple Simon and Company

This quilted zipper pouch is so easy to make! It’s the perfect size for traveling and it makes a great gift for anyone on your list.

Get the free pattern here.


Charmed to Meet You Scarf by Fleece Fun for Shannon Fabrics

Using Cuddle charm squares, this scarf is not only super soft and warm, but also really quick to make! It’s perfect for last minute gift ideas or to fend off winter weather!

Get the free pattern here.


DIY Holiday Ornaments by Jennifer Jangles

There’s nothing quite as special as handmade ornaments for your tree. And these are so cute! We love using leftover ribbons and embellishments to add a special touch to each ornament you hang on your tree!

Get the free pattern here.


Figgy Pudding Quilt by Vanessa Goertzen for Moda Bake Shop

The hardest part of this quilt is narrowing down your fabric choices to 10 fat quarters! This quilt is fresh, festive, and sure to be treasured.

Get the free pattern here.

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Make It Tonight: Easy Fabric Ornament


Fabrics: Holiday Hoot Flannel collection by Deborah Edwards for Northcott


Make a list and check it twice for must-have holiday ornaments you can finish in a snap using festive novelty prints. This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.



  • 3-1/2″ square fabric (ornament back)
  • 3-1/2″ square fabric (ornament front)
  • 3-1/2″ square batting
  • 6″ length of ribbon: (hanger)
  • Pinking shears
  • Circle Template (see bottom of blog for download)


Finished ornament: 3″ diameter



Assemble Ornament


1. Layer ornament back right side down, batting, and ornament front right side up.


2. Using the circle template (click here), trace around the circle with a marking tool. Pin all layers in place if desired.


3. Using a decorative stitch on your sewing machine (we used a zigzag stitch), sew layers together about 1⁄4″ from edge of each circle.


4. Using pinking shears, trim around edge of the circle, cutting through all layers, to make an ornament.


5. Fold a 6″-long piece of ribbon in half. Position raw ends on ornament back about 3/8″ from top edge of unit. To attach hanger and complete ornament, hand-stitch ribbon ends securely to back and batting only, making sure no stitches show on front of ornament.

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2014 Quilting To-Do List: Update 9

I can’t believe October is over! With only two months left to finish the quilts on my to-do list, I’m starting to panic! I finished one of my quilts this month and am really close to finishing two more, which will take a little stress off. I’m, of course, still enjoying the process, but my goal was to FINISH these five quilts and I don’t want to fall in the trap of putting them off until next year. I can tell you that I already have a long list of things I want to start in 2015, and don’t want a stack of “need-to-be-quilted” projects weighing on my conscience! See my list for making time to get projects done below.


On my to-do list this year:


I got one more of my APQ Quiltalong blocks done. I have six more to go before I can sew them all together. I’m still deciding if I want to do sashing or not. I’ve seen the quilt both ways on Instagram and love them both! This decision might come down to how much time I have left to finish this!



I finished the setting and borders for the Globetrotting Block of the Month.  I absolutely love the way this quilt turned out! Since I’m quilting this one myself, I need time to sketch out a quilting design. I’ve never quilted such a large quilt on my home machine, so it’ll be a fun challenge!



I cheated and took the pattern for the Quilts and More Winter Welcome Home door hanger a little early (the issue is officially on sale November 4). I’m making one for my mom for Christmas, since she loves snowmen. I have almost half of the appliqué done on one of the door hangers. A few more days of work on these and they should both be ready to go!


I have some tips for prioritizing projects. (See my tips for making your list here.)

1. Make a list. Although this seems like an obvious tip, writing down what you need to sew and any supplies you’ll have to buy can really help speed up the process. You’ll cut down on your number of shopping trips. Then organize your projects by how long they’ll take and when you need them done by. Then you can prioritize by deadline or squeeze in a project that will only take a few hours when you have a free afternoon.

2. Work before play. Although this isn’t something we love to hear, the quilts that you’re doing for yourself might need to take a backseat to any gifts or decor you need to make. And even though you may think you can always do your “work” projects tomorrow, my experience says that pushing back those type of projects can make you panic last-minute. Better to get them done as early as possible and if you have extra time, you can always do your “play” projects.

3. Recruit a friend. Did you decide to make holiday gifts for all the grandkids this year? Or did you get asked to make a few quilts for a charity auction? If you have fast deadlines or are overwhelmed with your to-do list, ask a sewing buddy to help out! Make an evening out of it with some snacks and a movie. Even if they don’t help you finish everything, they’ll at least make a dent and you’ll get some stress-relilef from the hangout.


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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