French Braid Quilts with a Twist!


I’m sure you’re familiar with Jane Hardy Miller’s fabulous first book French Braid Quilts. Well, the quilts in her newest book, French Braid Quilts with a Twist, are even more exciting! She has taken the traditional French braid pattern and made some simple-but-exciting tweaks and changes by adding more center accent squares, changing the placement of the accent squares, changing the length and width of the strips, adding pieced blocks . . . and even more. So, take your French braid quilts a whole new direction with these easy-to-follow project instructions!

Add more center accent squares
Change the placement of the accent squares
Change the placement of the accent squares
Change the length of the strips
Change the width of the strips
Change the width of the strips
Add pieced blocks
Add pieced blocks
Posted in Quiltmaking, Sewing | 1 Response

Your Imagination’s the Limit: Creative Image Transfer with Lesley Riley

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When I was assigned as the production editor on Lesley Riley‘s new TAP Transfer Artist Paper book, I didn’t know what TAP was. (Are you a newcomer to TAP like I was? Read about it here.)

Granted, I had just joined the C&T team, and I would soon hear TAP‘s praises sung by my coworkers. But for a brief period of time, I was in the dark—and then I got a box in the mail.

When we first get subjects—the finished projects that authors send to us to be photographed—we check them in, which is essentially like Christmas morning. We open the boxes and lay out all the subjects. For the most part, this is the first time we’ll see the projects in the book, so it’s always a surprise!

Checking in the subjects for Creative Image Transfer—Any Artist, Any Style, Any Surface was a new experience entirely! I unpacked a whole range of surfaces and textures—from various fabrics to metal to wood to ribbon to canvas to cork to paper to faux bone—all with words or images printed on them.

Lesley Riley’s TAP Transfer Artist Paper virtually allows you to transfer any design to any surface. So why wouldn’t the book’s projects show off this versatility?

Lesley and her contributing designers have created a world of possibilities for image transfers in the projects for this book. I fell in love with all the subjects I unpacked, but especially the following ones.

 Take a look and tell me you don’t love them too!

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Reindeer mixed-media art card

The background is a photograph that Lesley took and TAPped onto a card. Then she added the vintage deer image and glitter!

I love that TAP can be used on multiple surfaces that can then be put together as one composite image. You can get great results from this—it’s kind of like a multiple-exposure photograph (or a hands-on Photoshop experience, if you’re new school).

I’ve been planning a special card for a friend’s wedding, and TAP is definitely going to come in handy!

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Lesley’s friend Sandy Lupton made these gorgeous pendants. I love her attention to the other parts of the necklaces, too—she used beads, chain, and ribbon to really enhance the transferred images on the pendants.

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My personal favorite has to be the boat pendant. Those sea glass–like stones and the beautiful copper-wire chain are just my style! When I make jewelry, I am always bummed by how hard it is (for me) to find unique, affordable pendants. Problem solved!

Mixed-media altered book

Mixed-media altered book

I love book arts, so how could I not be drawn to this altered book made by Lesley’s friend Seth Apter? He took an old book and removed the pages, then decorated the cover with TAPped copyright-free Latin text and some great die cuts. Once he was finished with the cover, he added new pages to the book.

Okay, a handmade journal with a metal-and-patina cover? Awesome.

Yes—there are tons of possibilities! (The hard part is keeping yourself from TAPping every surface within reach.) Lesley also provides tons of tips and techniques about how best to transfer your images. Who better to teach you than the creator of the product?

Suddenly inspired by mixed-media options? If you could transfer anything onto anything, what would you do? Let us know in the comments!

Posted in New Releases, Papercrafts | 1 Response

Giveaway Winner!

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Congratulations to Karen Lawson on winning the iTunes promo code Start Quilting with Alex Anderson, 3rdEd. (Enhanced Edition)! Please e-mail us at to claim your promo code!

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In Bargello


Days Of Pie

I love a good twist to an old classic, a nice spin on an good story, a new look for an old style. Bargello quilts have been around for years… decades. They are based on a type of needlepoint embroidery that got it’s name from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence, Italy.

Since I’ve been on the acquisitions team at C&T, I’ve seen quite a few Bargello Quilt book proposals in different stages of completion. In the past they haven’t been quite right. They have featured beautiful quilts, no doubt, but they haven’t included the good twist, the nice spin, or the new look.

 But now we have Ruth Ann Berry’s take on Bargello. Talk about twists and spins… her quilts do both at once and the result is beautiful! In Bargello—Quilts in Motion the author offers you 8 projects to choose from, but it also teaches you how she (and how you can, too) designs the optical illusion of the ribbons weaving forward and back and around.

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A Sneak Peek at Quilting…Just a Little Bit Crazy


If you cross traditional crazy quilting, some favorite pieced quilt patterns, and today’s machine-quilting methods, what do you get? Crazy fun for all kinds of quilters, even those who don’t like handwork. Allie Aller and Valerie Bothell’s guide offers an exuberant mixture – of vintage and modern, of hand and machine work – and clever ways to make traditional quilts a little crazy.

Serendipity is responsible for the genesis of Quilting … Just a Little Bit Crazy, a happy accident that became a most pleasant surprise for us. Valerie Bothell hosts the Victorian Stitchery Retreat every year in her hometown of Wichita, Kansas, and in 2011, Carole Samples and I were teachers. Carole had asked if she could give a lecture that week, and Val was more than happy to say yes. The room was packed as everyone eagerly anticipated Carole’s lecture. Just who do you think happened to sit together?

Carole gave the most moving lecture Val and I have ever heard, bringing the Victorian crazy quilters of the 1880s so vividly to life; both of us were almost in tears, soaking in her passion for her subject. It turns outs that we both shared a deep love for historical quilts, for Carole Samples and her legacy, and our own work—for giving those old quilts a new, modern life. The very next morning, we vowed to write a book together. Who would have ever thought that two girls from different states and different crazy quilt styles would come together to write a book?…Serendipity!

The fruit of our labors is now published and will soon be in your hands. We want this book to serve you by combining both of our styles and offering you as many choices and techniques as we can, so crazy quilting will come alive for you too.

11010_A083We hope it becomes a ”go to” resource for traditional, as well as innovative crazy quilting skills. You will find several ways to piece and appliqué your crazy-quilt blocks and whole-cloth crazy quilts too. Val presents an extensive section with step-by-step photos of the basic crazy quilt embroidery stitches, as well as a few basic silk ribbon stitches for the beginner. I explore combining machine embroidery with hand work in new ways, to speed things up, and open up new possibilities for those who are not as enamored with handwork. We offer several techniques for finishing your crazy quilts using unusual batting supplies, and tying or quilting your quilts, and unique binding strategies, as well.

One of our major goals was to cross the quilting genre boundaries, to show that crazy quilts can be functional. There are small, bed, and lap quilts offered here, some of which incorporate lots of machine quilting. Truly, any traditional quilt can incorporate elements of crazy quilting, and any crazy quilt can include quilting…our aim is to show you how.

11010_V144We each created our own version of each of the five themes presented. We hope to demonstrate how crazy quilting can reflect very different aesthetics and working methods. We also aim to show that you do not need a large stash, or even fancy fabrics, to make a crazy quilt,. (There is a lot of cotton in evidence here.) While my projects reflect decades of collecting fabrics, Val’s fabrics were purchased specifically for her projects. Either approach works great and yields a lovely quilt.

It is our final hope that you find as much joy in creating these projects as we have.

Posted in New Releases | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed
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