November 1, 2013

IQA Show Winners

The prizewinning quilts at the IQA show are terrific!  This show is always a favorite.  And aren't we lucky that the Internet makes shows like this open to everyone!

"Come on down" and see the quilts!

And here's a new quilt that we made!  It's our new BOM called "Bordered Rows."

October 29, 2013

Greetings from Quilt Festival!

We're in Booth 1525 if you're here in Houston -- come by and say hello!  And be among the first to see Volume 5 -- Yes, it is finally here!  

5 is Fabulous! is about 5-inch finished units made with Sets T and R and 2-1/2 inch sub-units made with Set Q. There are 16 projects, large and small, plus a dozen fresh sampler blocks.

Bigger units means covering a bed with bigger blocks and fewer of them -- and you will be surprised by how nice 15- or 20-inch blocks look on a bed! Or on a wall or on your lap! Some of the quilts are shown below. You can see all the quilts in the book on our website here. We had fun making them and hope you'll love the book as much as we do!

Come by the booth and ask about our Volume 5 show special! And if you aren't at Festival, you can still get the special! Details will be in your email tomorrow if you're on our email list and on our site.

Other news -- I have a new fabric line! It's called Tomorrow's Promise. Here's a link to the Maywood Studio page where you can see these new prints.

October 1, 2013

A "consolation prize"

There were so many great comments on my Moda blog post!  It was really fun to read everyone's comments and to see that Log Cabin is still a first quilt for so many people. Log Cabin never seems to go out of style or wane in popularity.

And tomorrow on the Cutting Table blog, Moda will announce one winner from the September comments on my post and that person will receive Log Cabin Ruler #8037 and my Log Cabin ABCs book!

There can only be one winner, so we have a "consolation prize" for everyone else - place an order through our website that is over $30 that includes a Log Cabin product and we will ship it for free. This offer expires at midnight your time on October 3, 2013.

The fine print: Free shipping applies to domestic addresses; foreign addresses will be charged actual cost of shipping less $5.95. Shipping adjustment will not show online but your order will be adjusted at the time it is processed by Customer Service.

September 27, 2013

I'm Moda's Guest Blogger Today!

Moda's Cutting Table has been celebrating National Sewing Month every day of September with a new guest blogger.

Today that's me! I was so happy to be invited. Head over there quick to learn 2 tricks for Perfect Log Cabin Blocks, with photos and videos! Including a demo on why it's important to cut patchwork on the lengthwise grain -- Grainline Geeks Unite! :)

I hope you enjoy my blog post. Be sure to comment for a chance to win blog candy!  The winner will be announced on the Moda Cutting Table blog Oct. 2.  Just click the measuring tape:

Update: The contest is over, but you can still read the blog post on Moda's Cutting Table. :)

September 3, 2013

Fabulous Edge Finish -- Our No Binding, No Bulk Finish

Quilters are raving about this great new way to finish placemats, table runners and small wall quilts. It is especially nice on some quilts, such as art quilts, where a traditional quilt binding actually disrupts the flow of the design.

But remember, it is done before you quilt, not after!

It is similar to what some people call a pillowcase finish, but without the bumpy, bulky edge. That bulk in a pillowcase finish is caused by the batting seam allowance that is sewn in the seam piling up when the piece is turned right side out. With our method, we prevent any batting from ever being sewn into the seam.

Let me show you how with this small decorative table mat.

The secret ingredient is Marti's Choice Fusible Tape. It is a light-weight, fusible, non-woven interfacing repurposed from the sewing industry and conveniently packaged in 30-yard rolls, either 1" wide or 2" wide. For this process, I like the 1". We call it tape because it is narrow and comes in rolls, but it is not adhesive tape. It is heat fusible and must be permanently positioned with your iron.

This is what you need:
  1. Your quilt top
  2. A prepared backing piece (read on for details!)
  3. Batting
  4. Marti's Choice 1" Fusible Tape

To prepare the backing, cut a backing piece that is a little wider than the front and at least 3 inches longer. Cut it in half horizontally. Put the two sections right sides together and join them with a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a few inches unstitched in the center. The opening is where you will turn the quilt inside out later! Press both seam allowances in one direction.

Layer the pieces and, using the top as a template, cut away excess batting and backing so they are exactly the same size as the top. BUT we don't want the batting to be the same size as the top. We want it to be 5/16" -- just a little more than 1/4" -- smaller all the way around. We could cut 5/16" off all four sides, but instead, separate the batting from the other two pieces and cut off 5/8" on two adjacent sides of your batting piece.

Bonus Tip: "Worth the Price of Admission"
You know how cutting batting can leave fibers in your cutting mat? But did you notice that when you trimmed the backing fabric and batting away there were no fibers in your mat? Any piece of paper will protect your mat the same way. Use just one layer of newspaper, printer paper, etc., and don't worry -- one sheet of paper every now and then won't dull your rotary cutter blade.

Now it is time to secure the batting to the wrong side of the front of the quilt. With the front face down, center the batting on the wrong side of the front. One side at a time, cut a strip of batting tape as long as the batting. (No need to measure, just do this at the ironing board, unroll the tape and cut to length!)

With your iron at a medium heat, press into place. I like to run the tip of my iron along the edge first, just securing the batting tape to the seam allowance -- it creates a tiny ridge. (Increase heat if tape did not secure -- iron temperatures vary!) Then go back and press the rest of the tape to the batting. (Cover polyester batting with a scrap of fabric, especially if you have raised the iron temperature.)

Continue with three other sides. The batting is never going to curl up or pull out of place -- you could call it permanently pinned!

Because the fusible tape and batting are the same color, we added the orange lines to define the edge of the batting tape.

Put the prepared front and prepared back right sides together and stitch all the way around using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Again, in the close-up, you can see the orange line shows the edge of the fusible tape and the green arrow points at the stitching line.

Turn the project inside out through the opening in the center back. It looks awful in the process...

But suddenly, it is flat. Give it a light press, especially along the edges. NOW you can quilt. I'm showing the back since I only quilted in the ditch and you can't see anything from the front. If you quilt enough, the quilting secures the opening, or I use a little strip of paper-backed fusible web on the seam allowances.

Ask for Marti's Choice 1" Fusible Tape, product #8220 (60 yards) at your favorite quilt shop or go to Also available in 2" width, product #8221 (30 yards), which is more desirable for joining batting sections on full size quilts.

UPDATED Dec 2014

For some reason, my reply to Robyn's comment will not post. The answer to her question is the method above is almost the same as the method in the booklet that comes with the fusible tape. In between this post and that product packaging, we realized we could eliminate a step, which is why the instructions are a little bit different -- but either way works great!  :)

March 15, 2013

International Quilt Day

It's International Quilt Day and as a featured artist on a past episode of The Quilt Show, I wanted to let you know about a gift that Alex and Ricky have put together for quilters around the world. 

Beginning today, Friday, March 15 through Sunday, March 17, everyone who signs on to The Quilt Show will have free access to over 120 of their internet shows, including my episode #504.  You can watch the shows, check out the great tutorials, browse the gallery of over 19,900 member quilts, visit the forum for answers to the most burning quilt questions and lots, lots more. And if you missed my show, you can see it now.

You can also enter the TQS prize drawing with fantastic prizes from companies we know and love like Bernina, Gammill, Superior Threads, AccuQuilt, C&T Publishing, RJR Fabric, and Ricky and Alex will have gift baskets to give away too.  The grand prize is a new Bernina 550QE sewing machine!

I wanted to make you aware of this amazing event so you can take advantage of everything this exciting weekend has to offer without leaving home and all for free.

Please share this news with your quilting friends, fellow guild members, social networking friends and local quilt shops so that they don’t miss out on this fun weekend.  And feel free to post an abbreviated version of the details on your Facebook page. I want everyone to know about this amazing 3-day celebration of all things quilting.

So check in at and enjoy the shows and exploring The Quilt Show website and all it has to offer!

And I’d love to have you view my show, Episode #504.

January 10, 2013

Free Conversion Charts for the original Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt

Edit: If you are interested in receiving the conversion charts described below, use the "newsletter" link on our website  The 1920s conversion chart mailings do not follow the same format as the new 1930s Quilt Along. Please note that this blog post is dated 2013 and refers to the original Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book.  If you're interested in the 1930s Farmer's Wife Sew-along, there is info about that in my blog archive in the January 2018 files. Note that the same basic template sets are used to make the 1920s and the 1930s Farmer's Wife blocks. :) Thank you.

Probably every time you hear someone mention the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt, you think one more time, "I would like to do that someday." Well, now is the time! We can make it easy for you to cut small blocks accurately, which makes them super easy to sew.

The great thing about a sampler quilt is that you can learn a new method or technique by making one block vs. one quilt. It is a great way to fast forward your quiltmaking skills! I always try to remind quilters who use the From Marti Michell templates that their use is not restricted to quilts that I design. Our templates are very versatile and can be used to cut at least 80% of the classic patchwork patterns you will see in a book or magazine.
So, when I picked up Laurie Hird’s book, The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt, published in 2009, I could tell in one quick look that it was a great collection of classic blocks and most of them could be cut with our templates. 

I also liked the story behind the book. Laurie included a collection of prizewinning letters from the Farmer's Wife magazine's contest, "Would you like your daughter to marry a farmer?" along with 111 block designs to make a sampler quilt. My mother was a farmer’s wife at the time the Farmer’s Wife magazine was published, and she had two daughters. I couldn’t help but wonder if she might have entered that contest. For the record, my sister and I both married engineers. If you're married to an engineer, you'll understand when I joke, “I’m thinking of running a contest:  'Would you like your daughter to marry an engineer?'”  Here Mary and I are laughing at that idea!

Because the magazine contest was held during the 1930s, I chose ’30s reproduction fabrics for my blocks rather than Civil War prints. But the blocks are fun in any fabrics, batiks, brights, blue and white, etc. I admit, ’30s fabrics aren’t my favorites, and I had never used them for small blocks like these -- I learned why solids were so popular during that time! Depression era prints and reproductions are almost all the same density and value, so without solids, it's hard to get the contrast you need to see the patchwork. 

I was able to cut 101 of the blocks in the book with our templates! Here are a few of my blocks:

I have always loved diagonal set quilts so I will probably use the layout in the book. The hard part is deciding what color to make the sashing strips. “That green” of the 1930s was so popular because it was almost a neutral to the popular pastels of the time—just like leaves go with flowers, that green goes with almost everything. Or maybe I'll use creamy off-white with green cornerstones, or lavender for my mom -- she loved to tell how she was the talk of the neighborhood when she painted a bedroom that ’30s lavender! I’ll let you know when I decide.

The Original Farmer's Wife Template Conversion Charts (book cover shown above) 
At quilt shows, people were asking if our templates could be used to make the Farmer's Wife blocks. So, with the permission of the publisher, I put together a set of instructions for using templates to cut 101 of the blocks in the book, cross-referencing the template numbers in the book. In other words, our instructions mean nothing if you don’t have the book. Rather than follow the book numerically, we have sorted blocks so they have something in common. Usually, they share the same shapes or piecing procedures. 

A typical chart
We have put the blocks into groups of ten and periodically, we create a new mailing list and send PDF charts for cutting 10 blocks with our templates every two weeks. If you want to cut all your blocks with templates, we offer options for another 10 blocks, too.

Because the block designs are created from all different grids (3x3, 4x4, 5x5, etc), it takes several template sets to cut them. The great thing about our templates is that they are common shapes in common sizes, so you can make many different block sizes with the same template sets. 

More Details about the Original Farmer's Wife Conversion Charts
Many people ask us for "the" Farmer's Wife template set. There isn't one template set, because we have been making the template sets since 1995 and each template is unique; we don't duplicate sizes from set to set (except for a piece in the Feathered Stars sets, which is also in one of the A-B-C sets). If you have purchased our templates in the past, you probably already have some of the templates we used to cut our blocks.

The way it works out (because the 6-inch blocks are 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, etc), 101 of the 111 blocks in the Farmer's Wife book can be cut with several different sets of our templates. I substituted 10 other blocks that can be cut with templates, like LeMoyne Star and a 5-patch basket, and made a really cute little block with 3 rows of mini Tumblers.  

The most frequently used sets are A, B, D, N and S.  The "most" blocks you can make with one set is Set B, followed by Set A. Occasionally a piece or pieces from another set is used, like 2 pcs. in Set M come up once or twice, one from C. If you own the 1"-2" Log Cabin Ruler, or the small Kaleido-Ruler, they're handy for a few other blocks. That kind of thing.

A few times a year, we start a new email program where we send a PDF every 2 weeks to a new Farmer's Wife mailing list.  There are 10 charts, so it takes a few months to get them all; each one has about 10 blocks grouped by which of our templates they can be cut with, and the first one is Set B.  The 2nd uses Sets B and A, as I recall. The 10th PDF has 6 or 7 blocks to cut with Set S, and the PDFs in between use a mix of templates.  

The best thing about the PDFs is that we eliminate seams wherever possible, so you get used to looking at a block design and thinking about ways to cut/sew more efficiently. Then you can "scale up" the same kind of planning for making bigger blocks more easily and accurately. 

Visit our website to check on the date when the next mailing will begin. If we're in the midst of a mailing program, bookmark the page and check back later, or write to the office.

Thanks for reading this far!  :)