You’ll Love Carol’s New Club, Its Backstory, and Our Giveaway!

This month, we introduce “It’s Not a Square” an exciting new program we know you’re gonna love! It’s a 12-month Club by reproduction expert Carol Hopkins, with AMERICAN SWATCH BOOK prints by Judie Rothermel. Best of all, we timed the fabric production to coincide with Carol’s new book, The 4″ x 5″ Quilt Block Anthology: 182 Blocks for Reproduction Fabrics (Martingale, March 2017).  We chatted with Carol to uncover some of the interesting backstory that led to this exciting Club concept:


  • The rectangular shape of the blocks is a big feature of the book. What brought that about?

I’ve been a part of a block exchange group for about 25 years.  Four of us had just finished a year-long exchange of 6” weather vane blocks and were looking for an easier, and less time consuming, block.  We decided to frame a 3” x 4” rectangle with a 1” border—easy cutting, two fabrics, done!  However, on her way home from our lunch meeting, Linda Koenig had a brainstorm which she followed up on with a note to all of us, suggesting that instead of just framing a plain rectangle, we create designs that would fit inside a 4” x 5” rectangle.  She tempted us by enclosing a set of four blocks she made and we jumped in, not realizing just how challenging it would be to come up with block designs that weren’t square!CarolHopkins

  • Your new book is titled, “The 4” x 5” Quilt Block Anthology: 182 Blocks for Reproduction Fabrics”. How long did it take to amass such a variety of designs, and how did you know you were “done” at 182?

We each agreed to design four blocks a month for a period of nine months.  Since we make identical blocks for each person in the group, that meant we each sewed 16 blocks a month.  That’s a lot of sewing, but the good news is, we each had 16 new blocks at the end of the month!  When Linda showed our blocks to members of another group she belonged to, they, too, decided to design blocks; however, they did not exchange blocks.

AmerSwatchGiveawayAt the end of nine months, 182 different blocks had been created.  The quilt on the cover of The 4” x 5” Quilt Block Anthology, contains all of the blocks designed by the two groups, and was made by Linda, who, sadly, passed away shortly before the book went to press.  Other quilts in the book and its companion on-line photo gallery vary in size from wall hangings to bed quilts and showcase a variety of fabric designs and colors.

  • Tell us about the color palette – any special significance?

In our block exchanges, my group always uses fabrics that look old–Civil War reproductions, pink-and-brown prints, blue prints with shirtings, plaids /checks/stripes, and red-and-green combinations.  Linda suggested the 1880s color palette of red, blue, black, pink, and shirtings because it was one that we had not used before.

While we were able to select fabrics from our decades-old personal stashes, I was concerned that there was not a fabric collection in the marketplace that captured the look of the blocks in the book.  Martingale’s Chief Creative Officer and I approached Pati Violick from Marcus Fabrics about the possibility of asking Judie Rothermel, the pioneer designer of reproduction fabrics, to create a fabric line in our color palette.  Thus, the collaboration between a book and fabric company emerged, and I had the rare opportunity to help curate a collection of 22 prints from Judie’s personal collection of antique fabrics that resulted in the AMERICAN SWATCH BOOK line.

CarolBlogGuideBlocksI’ve taken the book and fabric collaboration a step further to create the It’s Not A Square Club that will debut in quilt shops this summer.  Using the American Swatch Book fabrics, The 4” x 5” Quilt Block Anthology book, and detailed monthly block guides, club members will make six different blocks a month to create a 57” x 78” sampler quilt of 72 rectangular blocks.

  • CarolSpoolsAside from quilts, how do you see quilters using blocks of this size and shape, either individually or grouped together?

I envision quilters using individual 4” x 5” blocks for things like mug rugs, purses, fabric postcards, and even pockets on clothing.  A grouping of just a few blocks could make unique doll quilts, basket liners, table runners, wall hangings, or mini samplers.  One of the most fun things I can think of is getting a group of friends together to work on blocks for themselves or to swap with other quilters.  The book includes tips and guidelines to help you set up a block exchange or organize a club.


AmerSwatchGiveawayLooks like one you’ll want to add to your project list this summer!  And to get one lucky winner stared, we’ve again teamed up with Martingale to offer this book-and-fabric bundle. To enter the random drawing, subscribe to our blog (at right), and tell us in the COMMENTS what you would love most about making this quilt… Comments received by next Wednesday, April 12, 2017 are eligible for the drawing…  Go!

Sneak Peek: Join Carol Hopkins’ New Club!

AmerSwatchBLOCKS CarolHopkins
It’s a rare occurrence in the quilt world to introduce a coordinated effort, where the book and the fabric are released together — It’s Not a Square is a new club designed by repro expert Carol Hopkins, with the AMERICAN SWATCH BOOK collection by Judie Rothermel! It ensures quilters will have the fabrics AND the inspiration at the same time, for maximum enjoyment.

“The unique feature of these blocks is that they aren’t square – they finish at 4″ x 5″. We recreated some classic blocks and also designed more than 50 original blocks that no one has ever seen before, ending up with 182 different blocks.” Carol says about her new book for Martingale (co-authored by Linda Koenig). “The 4″ x 5″ Quilt Block Anthology: 182 Blocks for Reproduction Fabrics” contains instructions for making all of the blocks!

We’ll unveil these gorgeous fabrics online soon*, but we couldn’t wait to partner with our friends at Martingale for the first of TWO joint book-and-fabric giveaways!  Enter the first giveaway now at Martingale, then watch this blog for the Marcus giveaway to follow.  And be sure to add It’s Not a Square to your creative schedule – the 12-month Club begins  August 2017!

(*Retailer-Only – log-in now to preview the collection and Club details)


#MarcusMarketMania – “Tributes and Treasures” Signing

Were you among the lucky recipients of a signed copy of Tributes and Treasures? The new book by Paula Barnes (seated right) and Mary Ellen Robison (seated left) has won rave reviews already, and we enjoyed hosting a book signing in their honor today at Booth 1022.  Fans stopped by the entire time to meet and greet the new Martingale authors. ..I hope Mary Ellen got a cool pen for the occasion as I suggested  ; )

3marcusmarketmania, Red Crinoline Quilts

Red Crinoline Quilts fabric and book giveaway

#MarcusMarketMania – Who Won the Giveaway?

First things first…  With all of the “#marcusmarketmania” in the office, I haven’t had a chance to pick our Red Crinoline Quilts giveaway winner!  It truly warms our hearts to read Red Crinoline Quilts fabric and book giveawayall of your wonderful comments about Paula and Mary Ellen, the fabrics, patterns and more! Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts.  And so, without further delay the winner is…

Peggy Smith, who shared:  Whenever I attend a quilt show with a vendor mall I look for the Red Crinoline booth. I stand and try to absorb the wonderful quilts I always see there. I look forward to seeing Paula and Mary Ellen’s new patterns!” Congratulations, Peggy!

PaulaMaryEllen***REMINDER**** If you’re a shop owner attending Quilt Market
in Houston this weekend, be sure to visit us in Booth 1022, especially during our book signing for Paula and Mary Ellen on Sunday, October 25 at 12 noon!

#MarcusMarketMania   #MarcusFabrics  #QuiltMarket2015  #RedCrinolineQuilts  #reproductionfabric

The Tributes and Treasures GIVEAWAY Begins NOW!

Since our last post about the new book by the ladies of Red Crinoline Quilts, an office copy has arrived, and it just as fabulous as we knew it would be!  As promised, we’ve partnered up with Martingale for a fabric-and-book double giveaway, both here and on the Martingale blog.  

Red Crinoline Quilts fabric and book giveaway

Are you already a fan of Paula Barnes fabrics, or just now discovering them?  Maybe you’ve already been collecting the patterns from this design duo.  Either way, you’ll love these designs, and the lucky winner will receive a great fabric bundle of assorted prints by Paula to get started!  Just leave a comment below, and be sure you’re subscribed to the Marcus Mentions blog (scroll down to the sign-up box on the right).  Subscriber comments received by next Wednesday, October 14 will be eligible for the Marcus drawing.

REMINDER: If you’re a quilt shop owner attending Quilt Market in a couple of weeks, Paula and Mary Ellen will sign a limited number of free copies at our book signing on Sunday, October 25 at 12:00 noon (Marcus booth # 1022).  Join us, and be sure to arrive early!

#MarcusMarketMania  #makeitwithmarcusfabrics

Paula + Mary Ellen = Newly Published Authors!

PaulaMaryEllenCongratulations to Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts on the publication of their first book, TRIBUTES and TREASURES! Published by Martingale, its official release date is October 6 and of course, it’s full of projects just perfect for showcasing Paula Barnes’ gorgeous fabric prints!

And even more exciting, we’re joining in the celebration with this design duo and our friends at Martingale for a fabrics-and book blogpost giveaway on October 8, so be sure to stop by again, comment and subscribe to our blog to be eligible to win.

These are just a few of the beautiful projects included in the book.  We’re sew proud of you, ladies!!


So, Who Won the “Christmas In July” Goodies??

We really enjoyed all of your holiday project ideas and comments – it seems like table runners and toppers, and small gifts lead the list of seasonal sewing projects this year.  It HolidayBloomsGiveawayCOMPlooks like Sandy Allen of St. Louis, MO will have a nice head start on her projects, as the winner of the HOLIDAY BLOOMS & eBook giveaway!

Maybe she’ll use her 24” panel with light metallic touches and coordinates as a table topper – it’s designed to be a quick project just as it is – just add a border and backing — or embellish it with fringe, braid, or even some custom embroidery in the light ground areas of the panel.  Faye Burgos also designed the poinsettias to be multi-directional, for equal visual appeal from any position at the table.

ChristmasApronPatiPati even suggested (and semi-modeled) the panel as a beautiful apron – just gather, finish the edges and add two ties in a coordinating print to tackle those holiday baking marathons in style!  Hmm….with so many gifts and decorative items to make, versatility is key…

Thanks to our friends at Martingale for another great giveaway, congratulations to our winner, and Happy Holiday Stitching to All!!  — Now, get to work  ; )    — lisa

Christmas in July Double Giveaway!

For some of us, getting a jump on all of those Christmas gifts & decorating projects in the middle of summer is the only way to get it all done, and with that in mind, we’re partnering again with our friends at Martingale for a double giveaway to get you started!


You could win the eBook Tis the Season – Quilts and Other Comforts by Shelley Wicks and Jeanne Large, along with a bundle of HOLIDAY BLOOMS by Faye Burgos.  We know you’ll love this stack of FQs plus the coordinating 1-yard panel, and you’ll be inspired by the projects in Martingale’s #1 best-selling Christmas book.

To be eligible for this drawing, just SUBSCRIBE to the Marcus blog (if you haven’t already) and COMMENT on your favorite holiday projects below for a chance to win!  Then visit the Martingale post for a second chance  ; )

— lisa s

Keep Sewing Along… You Just Might Win This!


This week I thought I’d unveil the Grand Prize basket of excitement, which will be awarded to ONE Sew-Along participant, following our Big Reveal….Goodies were donated by our participating designers, along with our friends at Martingale and Misty Fuse!


Oooohhh, right?  There might even be an item or two that didn’t make the photo, so be sure to comment in the final week for your chance to win it all!  We hope you’ve been keeping up week-by-week,including WEEK 7 by Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts, and WEEK 8 by Dolores Smith of Homestead Hearth.  Both are shown below.


Block 7 by Mary Ellen Robison / Red Crinoline Quilts


WEEK 8 by Dolores Smith / Homestead Hearth

And stay tuned for the final block (designed by me!) this Friday, September 26, as well as the Big Reveal on October 3!  Keep stitching! — lisa

So, Who Won Those Gorgeous Wools & eBook?

MarcusWoolBundleCROWSThanks to everyone for your enthusiastic comments about the Quilted Crow Girls’ wool collection and new book by Martingale!  We learned that many of you  have never tried wool applique on cotton, so we hope you’ll enjoy this new creative endeavor with some help from the Crows, Martingale and Marcus.  We’re pleased to announce that the winner of the wool bundle and eBook is Faith Stanton of Trenton, FL!  Congratulations, Faith — your autumn-toned FQ pack from THE SEASONS WOOL COLLECTION and eBook are on the way to you!

CrowBundlesAll other quilting friends, watch for the full 20-color range of these juicy wools and coordinating POMEGRANATE LANE cotton prints in your local quilts shops now!