Book Reviews: Walk and Free Motion Quilting 1-2-3

So by now I hope you all know how much I love incorporating BOTH walking foot and free-motion techniques in my quilts. So I thought it would be fun to share two of my favorite books on those two techniques! Jacquie Gering’s WALK is THE definitive guide to Walking Foot Quilting, and Lori Kennedy is a whiz at showing you how to create fabulous free-motion motifs step by step.

Walk by Jacquie Gering

I ran into Jacquie at quilt market last year and we both swapped copies of our books. I love how encouraging the quilting community is, even when many of us are teaching the same subjects!

By far one of my favorite things about WALK is that Jacquie shares her “wall basting” method in step by step photos. This is similar to the method I used, and it’s worth it to own this book just for this section! Of course, the rest of the book is fab, too as Jacquie walks you through over 60 different designs that you can do, all with a walking foot (or dual feed).

I love it how Jacquie sets you up for success through a series of “test drives” to get you comfortable with her process.

Walk by Jacquie Gering

Take a look at these two exercises from the book, shown in the photos above and below (photography credit Lucky Spool):

Walk by Jacquie Gering

Jacquie’s methods involve marking and are a little more precise than mine, but I love it that there are a whole range of options to explore. She gets you comfortable first with basic straight lines, and then she moves on to gentle curves, decorative stitches, and several designs you can do incorporating the reverse feature on your machine.

Whether you are new to walking foot quilting, or want to expand your horizons with this fast and fun technique, I encourage you to give WALK a try – you’ll be glad you did!

Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3

Moving on to free-motion, take a look at Lori Kennedy’s debut book, Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3. Based on Lori’s step by step photo tutorials, this book is a beautiful center piece for you sewing room and I know you’ll spend time poring over its pages!

Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 features over 400 photographs plus oodles of trouble shooting tips. My favorite part of the book is where she shows the difference between good and bad tension, and what to do to avoid thread buildups (it’s all about the starting and stopping point of each design). Just having a visual guide is such a huge help when you are learning to quilt!

Take a look at just two of the 60+ designs that are shared in the book (photography courtesy of Martingale/That Patchwork Place and Brent Kane):

Free-Motion quilting loops

Loops are a perennial favorite and probably the easiest design to learn! Follow Lori’s step by step tips and you’ll be finishing your quilts with a flourish!

Lori Kennedy Spirals

Once you learn Lori’s basic spirals, you can then move onto Spiral Rose, Spiral Heart, Reverse Spiral, and more! It’s like anything new: learn the basics and build your skills from there.

So whether you prefer to quilt with your walking foot, or free-motion or both, these books have got you covered. After all, even though I teach similar techniques, I always recommend that my students learn from several different sources. You ever know when someone is going to explain an idea in a different way that will resonate you!

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Two Fun New Books To Share – I Have Quilts in Both

Like many of you I love making quilts! But what you may not know is that one of the reasons I love writing patterns and books is that the deadlines for completion motivate me to finish things! I’m excited to be part of two brand new books coming out in June, published by my favorite publisher, Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

I Love House Blocks from Martingale/That Patchwork Place

The first is called I Love House Blocks, and it’s part of Martingale’s “Block Buster Quilts” series where a ton of different designers each make their own interpretation of a quilt based on a traditional block. (Click here to see the last one I was a part of – I Love Churn Dashes.”)

I’m thrilled to have my house quilt shown on the cover! It’s the one on the left and it’s called “My Hometown.” I used bright and cheery by Moda fabric from Pat Sloan in my version, but think it would be just as cute your favorite fabric collection!

Click here to preorder I Love House Blocks.

Rock Solid book using Kona Solids

The second book I am thrilled about is called Rock Solid and it’s a collaboration between Martingale and Robert Kaufman. All 13 quilts in the book are made from Kona Cotton solids. I haven’t even seen the rest of them yet, but I can already tell I’m gonna love this book!

I’m excited to be a cover girl on this one, too. My quilt “Lanterns” is shown on the left, using my exclusive Christa Watson designer palette in 28 vivid shades of red, orange, yellow and green. My quilt is made from just two jelly rolls – My designer palette and Kona Coal.

Click here to preorder Rock Solid.

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Enjoy Quilt Fiction with Birds in the Air by Frances Dowell

I’m excited to tell you about a fun “quilt-fiction” book, Birds in the Air that was recently released by one of my on-line quilt buddies, Frances Dowell. If you don’t know Frances yet, she’s also a prolific children’s book author, and regular podcaster who regularly shares her real-life quilting escapades with a sense of quirky humor at The Off Kilter Quilt.

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Click here to order your copy of Birds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell.

In her own words, this is how Frances describes her novel:

“When Emma Byrd moves into the house of her dreams in the small mountain community of Sweet Anne’s Gap, she knows that making friends may prove to be her biggest challenge. Her husband loves his new job and her kids are finding their way at school. But Emma — no natural when it comes to talking to strangers — will have to try a little harder, especially after the sweet, white-haired neighbor she first visits slams the door in her face.

Luckily, a few of the quilters of Sweet Anne’s Gap adopt Emma and she soon finds herself organizing the quilt show for the town’s centennial celebration. But not everyone is happy to see the job go to an outsider, especially one who has befriended an outcast pursuing her own last best chance at redemption.

Birds in the Air is a warm, funny novel about fitting in, falling out and mending frayed relationships one stitch at a time.”

The novel is definitely a fun read, but what I love most about the story is that it is built upon the mystery of a quilt that the main character finds when she moves into her new home. Frances took the concept of Birds in the Air, and created a series of quilts around it, inspired by the title of the book. Check out these beauties:

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Civil Ward Birds in the Air quilt top – all hand pieced by Frances. She’s now hand quilting, it too. It was inspired by the quilt described in the novel.

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Modern Birds in the Air – original design by Frances and made in a series of weeks as she detailed her adventures week by week on her podcast. As a writer, she thinks of her quilts as “drafts” and will “edit” them as needed (un-sewing and re-sewing them until she’s happy with the final outcome.)

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Twilter Birds in the Air – a friendship quilt made from a block exchange of Frances’ online friends. It reminds me very much of something the quilting group in the novel might actually do.

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Bauhaus Birds in the Air – my personal favorite of the group! Frances had an idea she had to interpret into fabric and enlisted the help of a friend to draft the pattern so that she could execute her vision.

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Paper Birds in the Air – I love the literal interpretation of this one! I also love how Frances quilts all her own quilts and takes pride in doing so. 🙂

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Meeting of the Geese – pattern design by Silvia Schaefer for the Modern Quilt Guild pattern for the month series, January, 2016.

Aren’t those fabulous? Frances has recently launched a new website, QuiltFiction.com as a gathering place for those who love to quilt, and read (and write) about quilts in fiction!

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Frances loves to share her quilts, her writing, and the stories behind them.

Birds in the Air will make the perfect stocking stuffer or holiday gift for the quilter who already has enough fabric and supplies!

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My Quilt From I Love Churn Dashes

I’m so excited to finally reveal a secret sewing project I made last year! If you followe me on instagram  (@christaquilts), you can check out the hashtag #secretsewingchrista to see sneak peeks of my progress while working on this quilt, plus several others that I can’t reveal quite yet. Makers gotta make and sharers gotta share!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Churn Dash Slide, my contribution to I Love Churn Dashes, the latest book in the Block Buster Quilts series by Martingale/That Patchwork Place.

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Churn Dash Slide, by Christa Watson, 72″ x 78″. Photography by Brent Kane.

Although this book is more about the pieced design of the quilts rather than the machine quilting, I still loved quilting the heck out of it! I used a simple elongated swirl, quilted edge to edge across the quilt.

Here’s a machine quilting tip: when working with busy prints, where your quilting is NOT the star of the show, choose a simple quilting design that adds texture, but is relatively quick and easy to do. I used a light green from my Piece and Quilt thread collection from Aurifil to quilt it.

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I love adding texture to my quilts with lot of machine quilting!

So here’s a bit of trivia I learned when reading I Love Churn Dashes: The term comes from the design’s resemblance to the staff or pole (referred to as the dash) that’s used in a traditional wooden butter churn. I’ve also heard the block called by other names such as Monkey Wrench, or Hole in the Barn Door, but I think Churn Dash is the cutest name, don’t you??

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Partial quilts on the cover (clockwise) are from Amy Ellis, Me, Jo Morton, and Carol Hopkins.

I Love Churn Dashes include 15 fabulous designs from 15 well-known quilters (plus a bonus quilt in one of the patterns – so really, 16 quilts)! Plus it includes detailed instructions on making a basic churn dash block right at the beginning of the book. Once you have this block down, the variations are endless! In addition to the eye catching designs shown on the cover, here are a few more of my personal favorites:

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Block party by Jackie White – I love those white solids and the modern design!

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In reverse by Kate Henderson – the book includes intrucctions to make two quilts at once – this version, and an inverted version with a pieced background and solid block!

wavy-churn-by-gina-reddinWavy Churn by Gina Reddin – this one is all machine applique!summer-dash-by-april-rosenthalSummer Dash by April Rosenthal – so fresh and sweet!

I tend to go for the lighter brighter versions, but the book is so versatile. It includes several more traditional-looking Churn Dash designs, too. There’s truly something for everyone! Be sure to follow Martingale/That Patchwork Place’s blog for more fun announcements and new releases.

FYI, here’s the complete list of designers included in the book:

  • Tanya Alexander
  • Laura Beohnke
  • Kim Brackett
  • Kari Carr
  • Kim Diehl
  • Amy Ellis
  • Kate Henderson
  • Carol Hopkins
  • Kimberly Jolly
  • Jo Morton
  • Gina Redin
  • April Rosenthal
  • Tammy Vondershmidt
  • Jackie White
  • And ME!

Click here to pre-order your copy of Churn Dash Slide using my affiliate link. Thanks!

Check out 180 Doodle Quilting Designs – Free Motion Ideas for Blocks, Borders, and Beyond

I’m so excited to tell you about a brand new machine quilting book that I am privileged to be a part of. It’s called 180 Doodle Quilting Designs and it features a plethora of free motion quilting ideas for blocks, setting triangles, and borders. The book has been published by my friends at Martingale/That Patchwork Place (who published both of my machine quilting books.)

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This book is different from most machine quilting books out there, in that it is more of a reference book rather than a how-to book with patterns. This clever idea was the brainchild of acquisitions editor Karen Burns, and it features 60 different motifs from 9 talented designers. Each motif is shown how it would work 3 different ways, for a total of 180 possible designs. Check out fun free-motion quilting ideas from:

  • Yours truly – I’m so inspired by seeing my fellow contributors’ designs!
  • Vicki Ruebel – One of my super talented BQF’s (best quilting friends).
  • Karen Burns – Be on the lookout for more collaborations you are sure to love!
  • Melissa Corry – This girl can finish more quilts in a week than most can do in a month!
  • Lori Kennedy – Shh, don’t tell – I have a quilter’s crush on her!!
  • Maddie Kertay – Irreverent and awesome founder of the BAQS (you’ll need to google it… :-))
  • April Rosenthal – I want to be her when I grow up.
  • Sheila Sinclair Snyder – Amazing award winning quilter.
  • Angela Walters – Need I say anything more??

Here’s an example of how the information is laid out for each design:

2page_spread

Plus there’s some handy-dandy info at the front of the book with tips on how to use it, such as tracing over the motifs to get a feel for how each design will flow. I love adding books like this to my reference library. They are great to look through whenever I’m stumped for a machine quilting idea!

As of this writing, 180 Doodle Quilting Designs was ranked #1 new release on Amazon in quilting. To help it stay there, click here to purchase your copy and then be sure to leave an Amazon review. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂 Now I’m off to a do a little more doodle quilting of my own…..

Update – Video Tutorial

Check out this clever video that my friends at Martingale made, showing how to use the book. Simply trace, doodle and quilt! You’ll gain confidence in no time! (Press the play icon to view. )

Modern Sewciety Podcast Interview and Podcast List

Be sure to catch my interview with Stephanie from the Modern Sewciety Podcast episode 92. Stephanie and I have gotten to be great friends ever since I began listening to her podcast (and proclaimed myself her #1 fan!) This is actually the 3rd time I’ve been on her show (click here for the 1st interview on episode 37 and click here for the second on episode 77).

I think it was our most fun chat yet. Of course we talked about the new book and business type stuff, but we also had a fun discussion about Quilt Market and QuiltCon, too. And you know – mom stuff and not always being in the season of life where we can do what we want!!

modernsewciety

Stephanie threw in a fun little segment at the end, asking about some of my favorite podcasts since she knows I’m an avid podcast listener. I only mentioned about 5-6 of them in the interview so I thought I’d share links to all of the podcasts I’m currently listening to.

Quilting, Sewing and Creative Podcasts

In no particular order, these are the creative podcasts I’m currently listening to. Click each link to be taken to the podcast home page or host’s blog. These are all currently running with consistently released episodes.

Business Podcasts

Some podcasts overlap as they talk both about creativity and business, but I really like these ones below for business tips and advice. Click the links to learn more.

Additional Podcast Lists

My podcast list changes depending on my mood and whether or not a podcast is still current or not. For more recommendations, click this link for last summer’s podcast list.

Also check out Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams extensive podcast list for more fun listening!

christa_machinequilts

This is me on any given day in my studio: sewing and listening to podcasts!

If you know of any other fun podcasts I’ve missed, please let me and my readers know about them in the comments below!

Book Review – Intentional Piecing by Amy Friend

I’m excited to tell you about a brand new book by one of my quilting buddies, Amy Friend of During Quiet Time. It’s called Intentional Piecing: From Fussy Cutting to Foundation Piecing. As the title implies, it’s all about making thoughtful choices to make truly dynamic quilts.

Intentional Piecing

“Fussy Cutting” is isolating a specific motif in your fabric and intentionally cutting around the motif so as to place it exactly where you want it in your quilt or block.

Amy’s quilt, Tell Me a Story, is the perfect design to showcase a favorite collection of fussy cut pieces. To get you excited to make this quilt, or even a block or two, Amy is hosting a fun contest on Instagram to celebrate the release of her book. To enter, make a block, or group of blocks using this pattern in the book and then share them using the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #tellmeastoryquilt. Then share the fun story behind your blocks!

Tell Me a Story Blocks

Each instagram post with those hashtags will be entered into a drawing for two fabric bundles, and Amy will randomly choose a winner on June 1st – so you have plenty of time to make and enter your blocks. Above is a sampling of just a few blocks that are currently being shared on Instagram. They are so fabulous!

The rest of the book includes patterns for 6 additional quilts, 6 smaller projects, and 10 paper pieced blocks that you can play with to create an infinite variety of designs! All of the needed templates are included in a 40+ page section at the back of the book indicating enlargement percentages.

Circuitry Quilt

I think my favorite quilt in the book is actually one made from selvages. Something about the arrangement and color-blocking of the selvages really appeals to me. It’s called Circuitry and comes with helpful tips on working with selvages.

In fact, the entire book is sprinkled with helpful hints throughout, including a section on paper piecing essentials and tips on what to stash and how to work with the fabrics you already have.

Intentional Piecing Blocks

Finally, even if you are the type that usually likes to design your own projects, the beautiful photography in the book is sure to inspire you! Shot on location in New England, this book can also serve as a coffee table book, ensuring a visual treat each time you peruse it.

Pick up your copy of Intentional Piecing today!

Craftsy Class Review: Next Steps with Your Walking Foot

I was so excited to get the opportunity to review Jacquie Gering’s new Craftsy Class: Next Steps with your Walking Foot. This is a followup class to her earlier class, Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot, which I previously reviewed here

title

Although Next Steps with your Walking Foot is meant to follow the earlier class and Jacquie references it quite a bit, I think there’s so much good information in this class that it can stand on its own, even if you haven’t taken the first class yet.

The entire class runs for approximately 3 hours, and I had a great time watching it, coincidentally while doing my own walking-foot quilting for an upcoming quilt along!

decorative_stitching

Decorative stitches are so quick and easy to do – here’s my current WIP using them!

The class is broken down into 8 segments running anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes in length. I love watching a video this way because there are plenty of good stopping points. Jacquie is very thorough in this class, including many supplemental class materials which are a  handy reference as you are going through the class.

Twigs

Twigs – one of the designs Jacquie teaches using reverse quilting. So clever!

Here are the basics of what you will learn in Next Steps with your Walking Foot including what I enjoyed most about each section:

  • Lesson 1 – Walking Foot Basics
    Jacquie explains the anatomy of a walking foot along with how you can adjust your foot to work best for you. IDF (integrated dual feed) works basically the same as a walking foot. This is what I use on my BERNINA and I like that she affirms that what I’m doing is correct!
  • Lesson 2 – New Linear Designs
    Jacquie goes beyond straight line quilting by adding decorative elements to her straight lines to “fancy” them up a bit. It’s all about the amazing texture!
  • Lesson 3 – Decorative Stitches
    Jacquie explores many of the decorative stitches built into her machine. She also keeps a stitch journal with detailed notes on which stitches to use and what the settings are. I thought it was very clever of her to use something as simple as a blind hem stitch in a new way!
  • Lesson 4 – Concentric Shapes
    This was my favorite lesson of all! I loved learning Jacquie’s trick for quilting concentric geometric shapes by traveling in the ditch. I already have several great ideas brewing for how to incorporate these ideas into my quilts!
  • Lesson 5 – Spirals
    She shares her magic formula for marking guidelines when quilting geometric spirals like squares and octagons. She also shows how mistakes can often turn into happy accidents!
  • Lesson 6 – Designs with Reverse Stitching
    Jacquie shows how to combine reverse stitching with regular stitching for some really unique quilting effects. I have played around a bit with this myself and it was great to get validation that yes, this is an okay thing to do!
  • Lesson 7 – New Curved Designs
    With a bit of marking and planning, she shows how to come up with some really cool curved effects, building off of ideas she has taught in her previous class. Although I’m not one to mark much, this section gave me some ideas to branch off from. 🙂
  • Lesson 8 – Curved Remixes
    Clamshells, flowers, and circles, oh my! By the time you get to the last lesson you will be blown away by the sheer number of ideas of how to quilt with your walking foot!

spirals

I love Jacquie’s approach to teaching geometric spirals – it make so much sense!

Special Discount – Just for You!

For a limited time, my friends at Craftsy are allowing me to share this class with you at up to 50% off the regular price. It expires in exactly one week, at the end of the day on March, 30, 2016 so if you are thinking about it, don’t wait – enroll now. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Click here to preview Next Steps with your Walking Foot by Jacquie Gering.

 

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Lines by Design Quilts by Debbie Grifka – Blog Hop

I’m still recovering from the awesomeness that was QuiltCon 2016 and one of the amazing quilts I fell in love with was Clerestory by Debbie Grifka of Esch House Quilts. FYI I hadn’t heard this word before, so I looked it up. It’s an architectural term that refers to a section of wall that contains windows. Since many modern quilt designs are inspired by architecture, the name makes total sense. 🙂

clarestory

Clerestory – 64″ x 74″

Well, today, I’m excited to let you know that you can get the pattern for this awesome quilt, plus 16 others in Debbie’s brand new book, Lines by Design Quilts.

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Fault Line – 52″ x 52″

I have always admired Debbie’s original quilt designs, and now I really like the premise of her new book book: patterns that explore the clean lines often found in architecture, furniture and clothes.

Lines by Design Quilts is organized into four pattern sections: squares and rectangles, diamonds and hexagons, circles and curves, and pictorial. I think the pictorial section is my favorite! Just look at a couple of the dynamic designs patterned in that part of the book:

deep_blueDeep Blue – 36″ x 45″

In the book Debbie explains how she uses bias tape applique to “draw” some of the shapes in her book. That is such a clever idea for those of us who are lacking certain artistic skills!

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Cure-All – 30″ x 30″. I imagine some yummy hot cocoa as a cure-all for myself!

Lines By Designs Quilts has a nice mix of both pieced and applique quilt patterns – something for everyone! I love how Debbie encourages you to either make these quilts as given in the book, or to use them as a jumping off point to create something new and unique.

The book  includes plenty of clear illustrations, full size applique patterns and well written text, along with beautifully styled photography. I can totally imagine each of the quilts from this book in my home!

Your chance to win!

Each of the bloggers on Debbie’s book tour will be featuring  a different quilt (or 3) on their stop, so be sure to view them all. You’ll also be able enter for your chance to win a copy on each stop (hard copy for US winners, digital for non-US).

Wed, Mar 2     Christa Watson         (You are here)
Th, Mar 3        Casey York      https://studioloblog.wordpress.com/
Fri, Mar 4        Heather Jones http://www.heatherjonesstudio.com/blog/
Mon, Mar 7     Kate Colleran  http://seamslikeadream.com/blog/
Tues, Mar 8     Rossie Hutchinson      http://www.rossiecrafts.com/blog
Wed, Mar 9     Amanda Jean Nyberg http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com/
Th, Mar 10      Amy Ellis         http://www.amyscreativeside.com/blog/
Fri, Mar 11      Lynn Krawczyk            http://smudgeddesignstudio.com/blog/
Mon, Mar 14   Debbie Grifka  http://eschhousequilts.com/blog

Then leave a comment below telling me if you’ve ever done bias tape applique before. I haven’t, but now I’m inspired to try! Winners will be chosen on March 14th, at the close of the hop.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Lines by Design Quilts!

New around here? Sign up for my email newsletter and get my exclusive PDF pattern for free!

Book Review – Stash Lab by Tonya Alexander

I’m wrapping up my slew of book reviews (for now) with Stash Lab – Simple Solutions for Scrap Quilts by Tonya Alexander. If you are a scrapaholic, then this is the book for you!

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Stash Lab images courtesy of Martingale. Photography by Brent Kane.

Stash Lab opens with a wonderful introduction on using your stash, with an easy to understand simplified color theory and explanation of Tonya’s 3 “equations” for scrappy success!

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Tonya’s Stash Lab Equations – so clever!

The thing I love about any Martingale/That Patchwork Place book is that the quilts are beautifully photographed from a straight on angle so that you can see the whole quilt. The illustrations are in full color and the book is laid out so that it is very easy to read and follow.

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Sample page with step by step, clear illustrations to follow.

Each quilt in Stash Lab lists dimensions and finished block sizes along with a complete materials list with plenty of helpful tips sprinkled throughout each pattern. The book also includes a very thorough techniques section before you get started making the quilts.

Let’s dive in and take a peek at some of my favorite quilts from the book!

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Kaffe’s Garden at Night, 52″ x 65″

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Sunny Side Up, 76″ x 78″

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Loose Change 48″ x 64″

Stash Lab includes a range of styles from traditional to modern, showcasing a variety of techniques from traditional piecing to paper piecing to  applique. I recently learned a rule of thumb in the publishing industry – if you like at least 3 quilts in any book, it’s worth it to purchase. Well, I can say without a doubt that I could see myself making all 11 quilts from the book!

I recently heard an interview with Tonya on the American Patchwork and Quilting podcast. It was so fun to hear her story about how she fell into quilting. Give it a listen the next time you are quilting, and be sure to pick up your copy of Stash Lab today!