Coming soon–Kitchen Stitches

Kitchen Stitches cover

One of the neat things about being a designer is that you sometimes get a sneak peek at publications before they actually peel the printed pages off the press. Martingale’s new book, Kitchen Stitches, is due out soon, and the publisher is announcing its arrival in a big way. Sewing-tip videos, book giveaways, plus a $100 gift certificate! Check out Martingale’s Facebook page for details.

Part of what I like about contributing to a project book like this is seeing what other designers came up with. My personal favorite from this collection of cute kitchen crafts is this Shirt Tales Apron by Linda Turner Griepentrog. It’s a great way to re-purpose a shirt. Linda added extra zing by stitching a bit of rick rack down the front placket, and included extra idea-starters for taking things “one step beyond.”

Quick and easy apron designed by Linda Turner Griepentrog.

Quick and easy apron designed by Linda Turner Griepentrog.

I also like the Circle Blooms Tea Cozy and Place Mats designed by Amy Struckmeyer. The reverse applique lets bright bits of favorite prints peek through a basic background material, and the hand stitching adds just enough playfulness to the set. I could see using these techniques together to make a pillowcase edging or super-simple baby quilt.

Love the hand-embroidered accents in Amy Struckmeyer's Tea Cozy and Place Mats.

Love the hand-embroidered accents in Amy Struckmeyer’s Tea Cozy and Place Mats.

Another technique on my “to-do” list is the coiled, corded “piecing” that’s used in Jackie White’s Coasters with Curves. It looks like a fun way to make a cushy fabric, and I think it’d make a great hotpad as well.

Cotton cording adds extra 'cush' to these coiled coasters by Jackie White.

Cotton cording adds extra ‘cush’ to these coiled coasters by Jackie White.

My contribution to this collection of kitchen cuties? The Shattered Strips Table Runner and Place Mats. If you haven’t tried this improvisational quilt-as-you-go technique, you should! It’s super easy, and quick to do. Plus, it’s a great way to use up those scraps.

Color-sort scraps for extra-punch!

Color-sort scraps for extra-punch!

Preview all of the projects on Martingale’s website. (I’d love to know what your favorites are!) And don’t forget to check out the special giveaways on the Martingale Facebook page!

Have fun sewing!


On the bookshelf–Sew Gifts!

Fresh off the press and on the bookshelf is Sew Gifts!, a collection of 25 handmade gift ideas from Martingale. I’m thrilled to have a project in this book, and love the crisp, clean look of the finished book. Nice bright photos, easy-to-follow text, and cute, clear illustrations! I’m a bit of a book nerd, and love the extra little design elements that highlight each page. It’s a perfect balance of keeping each page fresh without overloading it.

From that Patchwork Place: Sew Gifts!

Perfect little gift ideas that you can stitch up quick!

There are a lot of cute–and useful!–projects in this book, and I know I’ll be making more than one. I’m long overdue for a new pencil case, and Adrienne Smitke’s put together a cute and colorful one. (Check it out on the cover, above.) I could really use a wristlet key holder, like the one Debbie Grifka came up with. And Linda Turner Griepentrog’s holiday apron would make a perfect gift for a certain someone this year.

Are you naughty or nice? Make this super-cute apron designed by Linda Griepentrog.

Are you naughty or nice? Make this super-cute apron designed by Linda Turner Griepentrog.

Seriously, there are such cute projects in this collection. You should really check it out. There are photos of all the projects on Martingale’s Stitch This! blog.

Two cute projects from That Patchwork Place's Sew Gifts!

Two cute projects from That Patchwork Place’s Sew Gifts!

And of course, I’d love to hear how your project turns out if you decide to make a Casual Crossed Hobo Bag of your own! I’m thinking of making a second one for myself!

I made it! My Casual Crossed Hobo Bag is in Sew Gifts!

I made it! My Casual Crossed Hobo Bag is in Sew Gifts!

Have fun sewing!


CIG Sewing

Hand sewn needlecase

Make this wool needlecase with just a few basic hand-sewing skills.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sewing finally arrived on bookstore shelves. It’s quite a process to bring a book to print, and I have to admit that this project had me hopping to get text, illustrations, and photos out the door. When the final touches finally flew from my fingers, I had to sit back and say “Whew!”

Some days were a crunch, to say the least, but I’m glad that I had the experience. I learned so much from my co-author, Rebecca, about both sewing techniques and editing, and I’m surprised at how many times I refer to the finished book for information as I’m working on new sewing projects. Every time I pick it up, I think “Wow. There’s a lot of information in here!”

Handy Hip Bag

This Handy Hip Bag is easy enough for beginning sewists to make.

CIG Sewing starts with hand-sewing essentials–basic sewing tools and stitches–then moves on to machine sewing. There’s a fun, fast project in nearly every chapter, so you can immediately practice each new skill. We included tons of techniques, so you have plenty of opportunity to add your own individual touch to anything you make. You’ll learn to re-work ready-to-wear, play with patterns, and how to draft a few simple patterns of your own.

I’d love to hear what you think of the book. Take a look inside at, and view an extra project online.

Double-Bind Pillow

Find out how to use a trim technique to accent a pillow top with the Double-Bind Pillow project.