About Lisa Shepard Stewart

Hi - I'm the Marketing Manager for Marcus, and I handle the online content and general marketing communications, including our blog and most of the social media... We hope you'll enjoy the blog and we welcome your comments! - lisa

Trip Around the Sun BOM Inspires Hope

At this point, we all need something to look forward to, and fear not, quilting friends, we’ve got you covered! Our new BOM combines vivid batiks, themes of seasonal change, hope and renewal, and fun techniques you’ll love to recreate, all in TRIP AROUND THE SUN.

“This year, 2020, has been especially challenging and will not likely be a Trip Around the Sun we will forget. Remember to count your blessings. There is so much beauty within each season. Let go of fear and worry and hold tight to what is good and beautiful,” says Lisa Norton of Material Girlfriends.

The Material Girlfriends

Lisa and her twin sister / design partner Lora Zmak have found strength and optimism in this year’s events, resulting in a beautiful, colorful, and inspiring BOM quilt called Trip Around the Sun. It features colorful new PRIMO BATIKS in a quilt design created with piecing, applique and paper piecing, representing some of Lisa’s favorite elements of the four seasons. Shops can begin the program with any season, and the design duo will also support the program with online video tutorials!

The colors of the beautiful batik designs are enough to inspire – in a range of medium brights that span the seasons, these new PRIMO BATIKS provide the right palette for the theme of the quilt.

The program begins in September, and we can’t wait to bring it to you through your favorite local quilt shops and online resources! Until then, #staysafeandcreate!

Thank the World with Our “Heroic Hearts” Tote

Hey, sewing & quilting friends! How are you doing? We know many of you have been working tirelessly, sewing masks for local medical staffers, first-responders, friends and family, and beyond. At the same time, you’re stitching to express yourselves, occupy some newly-found free time, and reap the therapeutic benefits of needle and thread. And so, we invite you to join us as we Thank the World with a new and equally meaningful project — the Heroic Hearts Tote

Sarah Maxwell of Designs by Sarah J, in conjunction with Marcus Fabrics, has designed a 6” pieced heart block, incorporated into a 17” tote bag, to pay tribute and give thanks to these very special people in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ideally, a quilter would stitch up the bag, then add a “Thank You” gift, which could be baked goods, fruit, self-care items, a gift of fiber art, etc.

“We’re challenging all of our quilting friends to Thank the World along with us, by making Heroic Hearts Totes and presenting them to any heroes they choose — hospital staff, teachers, neighbors, first responders and others”  Sarah explained.

Marcus designers are also joining Sarah in the program by designing their own versions of the tote, with the 6” Heroic Heart block as the common design element. Each will provide instructions for her own variation, allowing quilters to recreate their favorites. 

Designers and quilt shops will be sure to offer kits, and we also invite you to dig into your fabric stashes for this challenge. Use your own choice of fabrics and customize the bag as you like. It’s a fun and practical way to build community, show appreciation, and connect with other stitchers both near and far!

“The focus here is on showing encouragement and support to the many thousands of people who are getting us through this unprecedented crisis,” said Stephanie Dell ’Olio of Marcus Fabrics.

And while competition isn’t the goal of this challenge, we can’t wait to share everyone’s inspiring photos of the totes and their makers, to be considered for fun fabric prizes throughout the challenge, rewarding creativity in both the tote design and the tote bag contents!  Makers should include any or all of these hashtags when posting:

#heroicheartstote       #heroichearts       #heroicheartsblockstars       #heroicheartswithmarcus   #marcusblockstars         #staysafeandcreate      #staysafeandcreatewithmarcus

DOWNLOAD the FREE TOTE PATTERN!

And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates, shared photos from our designers and friends, and more. Thank you for everything you do! Stay Safe, and Create…

#staysafeandcreate – Designer Updates

It’s interesting how differently the current COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent shelter-in-place regulations are affecting people. As quilters, we can’t imagine how anyone could be “bored” at home. As one quilter’s social media meme said, “Bored? This the moment we (quilters) have been training for all of our lives!” Can you relate?

We asked our Marcus & Studio 37 designers how they are spending their time at home. With their travel schedules suddenly cleared for the time being, they, like many of us, are making the best of the situation quite well…

Cindy Staub of Quiltdoodle Designs has been “busy making facemasks for our local hospital and experimenting with different embroidery stitching on my Blue Ribbon and Woodland Getaway panels. (Facemask Pattern) I did do a three day quick scrappy quilt with my followers. I’m planning on blogging about some smaller projects too. I also have designed a scottie dog quilt as an additional project using the Aunt Grace Apron fabric. Need to get around to cutting and sewing…. Been spending a lot of time in my sewing room listening to audio books as I stitch.” Whew!! Impressive, Cindy ; )

Vicki McCarty of Calico Patch Designs also checked in with this update: “Here are a couple of things that I am working on. Barn Stars Runner using my Black/Tan Patch-Its and Tan/Tan Patch It’s. Just one cut using MSQs Rhombus Ruler and the stripe on the Patch-It!    Patterns and kits on my website. Also making a Periwinkle Quilt using my entire Patch-It collection!  6” squares.” Beautiful as usual, Vicki!

And Pam Bud of Heartspun Quilts celebrates today’s release of her new book, Vintage Treasures (Martingale). ” My new book is actually began shipping to shops yesterday and today.  Perhaps this is a good time to say….if you ordered one from your LQS, time to have it mailed or arrange a curbside pickup.  If you haven’t do so now to support our LQS.  If you don’t have a shop nearby, you can order it from me.” Congratulations, Pam! And of course, she’s working on a new collection, too…

How are you spending your time? Tell us in the comments… and watch for more fun designer updates soon. Until then, #staysafeandcreate !!

How to Support Your Local Quilt Shops NOW…

Hello! How is everyone navigating the new reality of COVID-19? We’re being challenged in so many ways, and now more than ever, we all realize the comfort and therapeutic value we can derive from quilting and sewing. Whether your “quarantine quilting” time is spent catching up on UFOs, participating in a virtual quilt-along or mastering a new technique, hopefully you’v ebeen able to devote some time to a creative endeavor.

We know you love your local quilt shops as much as we do, and we want to remind you that while most have been forced to temporarily close their brick-and-mortar locations due to varying state regulations, we can still show them our support. Many are still operating via phone orders, online stores, curbside pickup service and more! 

Other ways to help:

  • purchase gift cards now for post-pandemic redemption
  • forward shop emails and promotions to friends to out-of-town friends if the shop is now shipping nationwide
  • quilt guilds can Adopt-a-Shop (larger guilds can divide the membership among several shops so that all local retailers are supported)
  • ASK your local quilt shops how you can help since each will have different needs!

Stay safe and healthy, and enjoy your creative outlets as much as possible. At Marcus, we’re looking beyond this current situation with enthusiasm, and we’re continuing to ship to quilt shops, and create beautiful new fabrics for your future enjoyment!

Got Kids at Home? Let Them Quilt!

With schools closed indefinitely and an increasing number of work-from-home parents and guardians due to the COVID -19 situation, planning daily activities for your favorite little people will obviously be key for the well-being of all involved!

Once their online schoolwork is complete, try using your own interest in sewing and quilting to keep them occupied. Depending on the age group, they could be happy gluing colorful scraps to cardstock to create collage artwork.  Older kids might want to stitch together fabrics in their favorite color (by hand or machine) to make a simple pillow or tote bag.  

Whether they’ve expressed an interest in learning more about the needle arts, or the suggestion is yours, we’ve gathered a few tips for quilting with children to make the process both fun and successful!

  • Keep it simple – begin with a single block that can be made into a decorative pillow, a bed pillowcase, tote bag front, or accent block for a denim jacket back or a T-shirt. It can also become a simple art piece suitable for framing.
  • Mending is Trendy!  Show them how to creatively mend their clothes and/or add decorative patches with hand stitching and easy embroidery stitches.
  • Take into account the child’s personality when planning your quilting session. For younger kids, keep it fun (and safe) by avoiding projects that require precise measuring and cutting. Instead, pull out some precuts from your stash, focusing on the fun of design and the creativity of blending colors and patterns.  
  • For older kids, or those who are naturally inclined to math and geometry might be open to the more precision-based aspects of quilting, where templates & rulers are used.
  • Remember that children’s taste levels are more sophisticated than ever; have a variety of fabrics and embellishments available for experimentation. Provide the opportunity to work with batiks and other cool “adult” fabrics that aren’t strictly juvenile in design and coloration.
  • Let the child work with scraps of one of your own current projects, to create a small “featured block” you can use as the back label for your quilt. The label can include both of your signatures.
  • Remember, creative expression can help to relieve some of the stress of the situation for people of any age – with any luck, you might also create a budding new fiber artist in the process! Have a follow-up project in mind to keep up the momentum and encourage their efforts as they work. The follow-ups can introduce new techniques to gradually increase their quilting skills. 

Stay safe, and keep creating!

Video: Make This “Joseph’s Coat” Project with Patch-It Fabrics!

We know you’re gonna love Vicki McCarty’s expert tips for creating with her Patch-It fabrics! These pre-printed 5″ stripe designs are designed for fussy cutting and creative piecing. Watch above to see how she creates a modified (and simplified!) Joseph’s Coat design.

You’ll find three of Vicki’s Patch-It collections in quilt shops now: Patches of Autumn, Patches of Joy, and Patches of Americana. Each includes a coordinating panel along with the 5″ stripe fabrics, for more easy project options.

Enjoy, and be sure to visit Vicki online at Calico Patch Designs for her patterns, rulers, kits and more…

Designer News: Magazine Mania!

Our designers are always up to something fun, and to get the year started, we’ve got three designers with winter magazine features…let’s see what everyone’s been up to:

First, Pam Buda reveals her “Most Cherished Quilt” in the April 2020 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, as the most recent entry in their new column of the same name. Can you guess what it is? And how could she possibly choose from among all of her gorgeous works!!??

Vicky McCarty / Primitive Quilts Spring 2020 COVER!

We’re thrilled to see Vicky McCarty’s “Rabbit Patches Runner” project gracing the cover of the Spring 2020 issue of Primitive Quilts & Projects magazine! Of course, it features her own PATCH-IT pre-printed stripe fabrics. Although the official collection is called Patches of Autumn, it’s easy to see the transitional appeal of Vicky’s palette, right into spring ; ). She adds applique for a beautiful table topper or wall accent. Look for the fabrics in your local quilt shops, or visit Calico Patch Designs for kit info.

Plus… Sarah Maxwell’s PEACEFUL PETALS collection is featured in the February 2020 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, in her gorgeous quilt design called “Gray Area”. We love the decorative accents of mustard to bring out the warm and cool neutral tones in the quilt. It would work just as well with your favorite accent colors – think brick red, teal, black…or whatever works with your decor.

More Designer updates to come… Stay tuned!!

Welcome, 2020!

Thank you, quilting friends, for another year of support and inspiration! So, how did you do in 2019, creatively speaking? Did you learn any new techniques, complete some long-standing UFOs, take on a favorite BOM quilt, attend any cool retreats or expos? If so, Bravo! and if not, we’ve got a fresh new year to indulge ourselves (not to mention a fresh new decade) so there’s still hope ; )

We wish you a Joyous, Healthy and Creative New Year! One filled with your favorite Marcus and Studio 37 fabrics, great patterns, handy notions and fun gadgets — and of course, some time to enjoy it all… Happy 2020!!

Stitch Up “Woven Heritage” Baskets by Red Crinoline

“Woven Heritage” by Red Crinoline Quilts / HILL COUNTRY HERITAGE Fabrics by Paula Barnes

When Paula Barnes designed the HILL COUNTRY HERITAGE Collection, she and Mary Ellen Robison knew that the elaborate border stripe was too great to be used in just one quilt! And so, following the Hill Country Heritage BOM release comes “Woven Heritage”, a quilt pattern that beautifully showcases Paula’s elegant border stripe.

To create the 92″ x 94″ quilt, Mary Ellen highly recommends using Star Singles HST paper for the half-squre triangles that make up the basket blocks. “They provide the accuracy you need for piecing.”

Fabrics are available in your favorite quilt shops now, and the Woven Heritage quilt pattern is available through Red Crinoline Quilts.

Great Additions for Your Quilting Library!

Looking for fresh inspiration as we enter the best part of the quilting season? Check out these new and upcoming titles by some of your favorite Marcus fabric designers! The variety of themes and styles make it easy to choose holiday gifts for your quilting buddies.

Or, add them to your own gift wishlist. And, for those titles being released after the holiday season, gift cards are the obvious choice! Which titles are on YOUR list this season?

Vintage Treasures by Pam Buda (Martingale) includes miniature quilt projects done with Pam’s reproduction collections. Coming in April! DETAILS
Calico Patches features Vicki McCarty’s own “Patches” series of fabrics, using these pre-printed stripes and beginner-friendly panels in easy and creative ways. Available now. DETAILS
Blue & White Quilts (Martingale) includes Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison among its many featured designers. Available Dec 2019. DETAILS
Morse Code Quilts by Sarah Maxwell (Fox Chapel Publishing) features 10 projects that express the aesthetic of modern quilts while communicating special messages. DETAILS