Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 16 Blog Tour

A big Texas “Howdy!” to all y’all stopping by for the blog tour fun!  I’m so glad you’re here!

If you’re a new visitor to The Caffeinated Quilter, let me introduce myself.  I’m Emily Breclaw, a pattern designer, C&T author, coffee fanatic, quilter, and board gamer. Most of the time, I’m a hand piecer, because, well, five kids means not a lot of dedicated time at the sewing machine, but lots of moments waiting in cars, sitting at sports events, and at the kitchen table helping with homework. Quilting means that no matter how busy the day gets, I can still carve out a little time to make something every day.

Today I’m excited to be sharing with you a super fun and fast little English paper pieced block, Diamond Wreath. I made this block entirely by hand during a road trip last year visiting family for Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the portability of EPP, and this design is just plain fun to stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The four little yo-yo’s can be holly berries if you do them in red like the sample block.  Or if you celebrate Advent, you can easily turn this into an Advent wreath by making 3 purple yo-yo’s and one pink.  That’s on my to-do list for this year.

 

Diamond wreath table topper

I also super-sized this block, using 3” diamonds, to make a fun table decoration.  This version is all hand pieced, and uses black diamonds to finish off the background, instead of the background square of fabric as explained in the magazine block. If you want to make your own, you can follow along with these images. . . I cut 24 black diamonds for the background. Please note that this is NOT the same piecing sequence as the magazine block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, I haven’t quilted and bound this yet, but I hope to in time for Christmas.  If you want to see quilting and finished pictures, follow me on IG.

Do you love EPP and hand piecing? Or are you more of a machine stitcher?  Either way, if you want to learn more about sewing hexagons, please check out my book, Adventures in Hexagons.  I cover all the basics of sewing hexies using English paper piecing, hand-sewing, or machine sewing.

Thank you so much for stopping by on your virtual road trip! Before you go, please leave a comment below and tell me your favorite place to visit in the whole wide world.  I’ll randomly pick one winner to receive a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks volume 16. My favorite place, and where I would go if I could choose to live anywhere, would be Yokosuka, Japan.  I spent two weeks there in high school, and was so inspired by the culture.  Plus, it’s close to Tokyo, where Yoko Saito’s Quilt Party store is located.  Are you a fan of Yoko Saito too?  Be sure to subscribe to the blog and newsletter, I attended several events with her this past month at Quilt Market, and I’m preparing a bunch of blog posts about it (just need to organize the 177 photos I took!)

 

EDIT:  If you don’t see the comment form below, please click on the title of this post, and then scroll to the end of the post. I apologize for the inconvenience, not sure why WordPress is acting this way all of a sudden.  A huge thank you to the folks who brought this to my attention by e-mailing me!

Happy Stitching!!

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 5- Wrap-up!

Welcome back to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long! If you’re new to the series, please check out the previous posts (cuttingpiecingpiecing rows,  pressing). You can find the pattern for the quilt in my book, Adventures in Hexagons.

Today we’re wrapping up the series.  I’m not quite finished with mine yet, as you can see by the binding clips.  But I really wanted to hand-sew these bindings, so it’s taking me a little longer to finish. Here’s both of my Loverly versions I’ve been working on, plus the original.  Isn’t it fun to see how color changes the look of a quilt?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the fall color version, I stitched an allover leaf pattern.  It was so fun to stitch out, and an open enough design that I could avoid seam intersections easily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my patriotic version, I quilted free-form feathers.  This was my first real attempt at quilting feathers, so I’m glad I used a subtle colored thread. But overall, I’m tickled with how it turned out. It definitely kept the theme of the fabric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How is your Loverly turning out? Please post pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #loverlytablerunner, and tag me @thecaffeinatedquilter. You can also join the Adventures in Hexagons facebook group and post pictures there.  I love seeing your creations!!  Thanks for sewing along with me!

Stay tuned to the blog over the next couple of weeks, I’ve got some special Market updates to share with you (warning: it’s almost all about Yoko Saito.  My goal is to make the blog posts feel as if you were actually at her schoolhouse sessions and the evening event with her.) And next week will be my stop on the Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks blog tour, so lots of giveaway fun there.

 

Happy Stitching!!!

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 4- Preparing to Quilt

Welcome back to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long! If you’re new to the series, please check out the previous posts (cutting, piecing, piecing rows,  pressing). You can find the pattern for the quilt in my book, Adventures in Hexagons. This week we’re talking about quilting your table runner, and next week we’ll wrap up the series with some photo finishes! And after that, I can start telling you all about Quilt Market. It will be the return of the Japanese Quilting Study Group series. I met Yoko Saito, and boy, do I have a lot of wonderful information and images to share with you!

But for today, let’s focus on Loverly.  We will meet our goal of finishing before Christmas! Last week I said I was curious whether hand or machine piecing really was faster. I sewed the rows of the orange version together by machine, and it took me 40 minutes to sew two entire rows. Hand-piecing on the blue one took me 40 minutes for one row. So, for me at least, machine piecing is twice as fast. However, I have to note that it took three days before I had a 40 minute block of time to sit at my sewing machine, by which time I had finished several of the rows in “found moments” by hand. Food for thought!

 

I’ve been thinking long and hard about quilting designs.  I quilted the original Loverly in curliques, and I love the flexibility of that pattern (i.e.- you can avoid big seam intersections pretty easily, as I did in this close-up shot. If you can avoid quilting through those star points, do!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately I’ve been having fun with big pebble quilting, so that’s a contender, but doesn’t really seem to fit the piece. . .. .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These blues look so romantic, I’m tempted to go all swirly on this one. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaves would be a challenge for me, but they would help tie the fall-themed fabrics together. . ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many fun choices! What are your favorite quilting designs? Be sure to check out my Instagram feed for progress pictures as I start quilting these this week. (not on Instagram? No worries- the bottom of my shop page always shows the most recent posts, so you can see them there too!) And next week, we’ll have a finishing party. Wahoo!

Happy Stitching!!

 

Update on the Loverly Quilt-a-Long

Soo, I decided to give y’all an extra week to finish up piecing your Loverly table topper!  (Yeah, that’s it. .  .and I’m kind of too swamped with Quilt Market prep to finish a real post this week. . . ) My apologies for the delay, but we’ll get back to quilting on it next week, I promise!

In the meantime, piecing leads to pressing, and if you’re hand or machine piecing, you may be wondering how to press your seams (if you’re English Paper piecing, you can skip this, you’re all set to press in the direction you basted).

C&T to the rescue!  Check out my new video on the C&T website, and coming soon to my youtube channel, to get all of your pressing questions answered!!  (Get it? Hah! Sewing pun!!)

Happy Stitching, and PLEASE, follow me on FB and IG for lots of behind-the-scenes fun from Quilt Market this weekend!!

 

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 3

Welcome to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long!  If you’re just starting out with us, please see here for the original blog post, here for the first week’s cutting instructions, and here for piecing tips and tricks.

Originally scheduled, this week was supposed to be about quilting your Loverly table runner. I was a little overambitious in assuming I could piece two of these in a week. Although I got close, sick kids (and sick me), threw the schedule off a bit. So we’ll talk quilting next week, if that’s all right with you.

I did get both of my tops sewn into rows. After piecing the hexie blocks by hand, I sewed the straight seams of each row by machine to speed up the process.  I’m still debating whether to sew the rows together by hand or machine . . Maybe I’ll do one of each to test out which goes faster. Here’s my progress:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How is your Loverly quilt coming along? I’m loving the pictures I’m seeing on Instagram and Facebook, y’all are amazing!! And speaking of Facebook, I set up a shop page on The Caffeinated Quilter, where you can order my book or print patterns without ever leaving Facebook.  Pretty cool, huh? Have a terrific weekend!

Happy Stitching!

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 2

Welcome to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long!  If you’re just starting out with us, please see here for the original blog post, and here for the first week’s cutting instructions.

Today we’re going to start piecing our table runner.  If you’re English paper piecing, or sewing by machine, you’ll find lots of helpful information about those methods in my book, Adventures in Hexagons.

If you’re hand-piecing (there’s lots of good information in the book about that too) I’ve created two video tutorials to demonstrate the basics of hand-piecing. And without further ado, here they are:

If these are helpful to you, please consider sharing them with friends on social media.  I’m really excited about delving into video tutorials, and would greatly appreciate subscriptions on my Youtube channel.

And now, a bit of progress on my patriotic themed Loverly table runner.  I like piecing the “single” blocks first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a picture of the backs of those blocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re just finger-pressed right now, so not flat yet. I’ll press them with an iron once they’re sewn into the complete quilt, which gives me freedom to move seams out of the way as I’m attaching the blocks together.  You may note that the two star blocks are pressed in opposite directions.  While I did not do that intentionally, it won’t matter in the final quilt.  What matters is making sure all the bigger hexagons are pressed the same way.  I’ll be posting pictures of how that looks on Facebook and Instagram later this week. Creating and editing videos takes a LOT more time than I originally planned, so I’m a little behind this week.

How’s your Loverly quilt progressing? I’d love to see on IG- tag it with #loverlytablerunner and @thecaffeinatedquilter so we can see your beautiful work.  I’ve also created an Adventures in Hexagons Group on Facebook, so please join and share your pictures there as well.

Happy Stitching!

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 1

Welcome to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long! This post is part of a series, and you can read all about the series here. Hopefully you have your copy of Adventures in Hexagons, your fabrics chosen, and you’re ready to dive into the fun of cutting fabric!!

As I mentioned in my book, this project can be made in multiple different ways.  I’m hand piecing mine with acrylic templates from Marti Michell.  However, you can follow the exact same cutting instructions to English paper piece the quilt!! (Hint:  save time by purchasing the Loverly paper pack from Paper Pieces!)  All of the strip widths in the book yield shapes with a 1/4” seam allowance.  If you prefer a little more wiggle room when English paper piecing, cut your strips about 1/8” wider than the dimensions listed in the book.

For the quilt-a-long, I’m making a fall version of the Loverly table runner.  Here are all my background strips cut and ready for templates.

 

Tips for Cutting Patches

I wanted to share a trick for cutting house-half-hexagons with you.  These shapes are not specifically included in the acrylic template set, but you can cut them easy-peasy with the hexagon template. First, cut a clean straight edge at the end of your strip, using a regular rotary cutting ruler.

Now you have a good clean edge to align with the left side of the hexagon template. Make sure the point of the hexagon just touches the top of the strip.

Cut the remaining side and the “roof” of the house, and voila! A house-half-hexagon!!

Another tricky shape is the jewel. At first glance, it doesn’t appear to fit correctly on the strip, does it?  The strip width in the pattern minimizes your cutting time. First, align the jewel with one long edge of the jewel along one cut side of the strip.

Trim the long edge of the jewel as neatly as possible, and move the strip out of your way.

Next, rotate your cutting mat to cut the remainder of the jewel sides.

Now return that strip to your rotating mat, and line the template up with the long angled cut edge and the edge of the template. Trim remaining sides. Continue alternating the jewel template as needed to efficiently cut shapes from the strip.

 

Other than those two shapes, the cutting for this project is pretty straightforward.  (As you can see here, I still have a bit of that work left to do! Time to make more coffee. . . )

 

Prep Shapes for Sewing

After you’ve finished cutting, it’s time to prep your shapes! If you’re hand sewing or machine sewing, take a few minutes to mark the dots from the templates on the back of each fabric shape.  I do this with a regular, plain ole’ mechanical pencil.  I’ve tried the fancy shmancy quilt marking mechanical pencils, and find those leads break way too often. If you’re English paper piecing, baste your fabric to the paper shapes.  In my book, I’ve included three different basting methods, so check that out if you need help with the basting.

Tune next week as we get this table runner sewn together!!! (Spoiler alert: next week’s post may include the world premiere of The Caffeinated Quilter youtube channel. There. I said it. Now you’ll hold me accountable to make it happen, right?!)

If you’re quilting along with me, PLEASE share your progress on the Adventures in Hexagons facebook page, and tag your photos on instagram with #loverlyquiltalong #adventuresinhexagons, and tag me @thecaffeinatedquilter.  I can’t wait to see your creation!!

Happy Stitching!!

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long!

Welcome to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long! I am so excited to start this project! For the next month, I’ll be walking you through this design from my book, Adventures in Hexagons, and sharing all kinds of tips and tricks to help you make it.  Best part is, we’ll be finished before the holidays, so you’ll already have a jump start on your handmade decorating or gift giving!

 

 

 

Supplies you will need to participate:

Your own copy of Adventures in Hexagons- I will not be providing fabric requirements or patch sizes in this quilt-a-long. You can get a copy of my book from my online shop, Amazon, or C&T Publishing.  (Digital and print versions available from Amazon and C&T, autographed copies available from my shop!)

Fabric- see below for the color options I’m playing with.  Basically, you will need a main (or background) color, and three accent colors

Templates of your choosing- I recommend From Marti Mitchell Shape Set G for hand or machine piecing, and Paper Pieces’ Loverly Paper Pack for English Paper Piecing.

Fabric choices:

I will be making two versions of Loverly for this quilt-a-long, one patriotic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and one with an autumn theme:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both will be Christmas gifts for family members, double score! Aren’t we going to be smug and hard to live with when we have handmade gifts finished before November?!

 

Quilt-a-long Schedule

September 27- TODAY! Introduction and Materials

October 4- Cutting Tips

October 11- Piecing Tips

October 18- Quilting Suggestions

October 25- Finished Quilt Party- please send me pictures of your finished Loverly table runner, to be included in this blog post!!

 

Any questions, please comment below, or drop me an e-mail, emily@thecaffeinatedquilter.com

I look forward to quilting along with you!!

Happy Stitching!

Millefiori Quilts 3 Book Review

Have you been eagerly anticipating the release of Millefiori Quilts 3?  I have been stalking my mailbox since I received the e-mail that my copy shipped, and this week, it finally arrived!  And boy, was it worth the wait.

Basic information about the book

This is not a method-based book, and if you’re new to hand-piecing complex shapes, or English paper piecing, you’ll probably want to get a basic book on those methods to go along with Millefiori Quilts 3. However, the book is absolutely chock-full of lavish, inspiring quilt photographs, easy-to-follow full color diagrams, and thorough block explanations.  If you’re making your own templates, you’ll appreciate that each quilt’s template set fits on a single page. Just remember to add your preferred seam allowance around each template!

Regardless of your favorite shape, you’re bound to find a quilt that suits your preferences.  All the basic blocks in the patterns are radial. Four quilts are based off of pentagons and five-pointed stars, nine of the designs feature hexagons, four of the patterns are similar to the traditional Jack’s Chain combination of squares and hexagons, and one uses 8-pointed stars and octagons. This adds up to a total of 18 spectacular designs to fussy-cut and piece, a true hand-sewist’s dream book.

 

Differences from Millefiori Quilts 1 and 2

Three main differences immediately set Millefiori Quilts 3 apart from its predecessors, Millefiori Quilts 1 and 2. First, Millefiori Quilts 3 is written entirely in English, while the two previous books have French and English instructions side-by-side. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the mix in the first two books, but the third is undeniably easier to read and follow the diagrams.

Second, Millefiori Quilts 3 comprises quilts that have fewer block variations.  For example, in the first book, the famous La Passacaglia has eleven different rosettes, each repeated in varying quantities throughout the quilt.  In the similar quilt, The Can-Can, in book 3,  there are two rosettes, and a handful of color variations to make from each.

Finally, Millefiori Quilts 3 gives an overall simpler impression than the first two books.  There is minimal instruction on piecing and cutting techniques, placing all the emphasis on the book on the patterns themselves.  It’s like a graduate level course in complex piecing.  The instructor knows the students understand the basics, and provides minimal guidance so the students can have time to explore and create.

 

Starting a project from the book

While you can make your own templates from the pages in the book, all of these quilts have more patches than I can even comprehend cutting individually. Paper Pieces to the rescue! They have already created paper packs and acrylic templates for each quilt in the book. I especially love that they make their acrylics in two sizes, one with a 3/8 inch seam allowance (ideal for English paper piecing) and one with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, perfect for hand-piecers like me!  I think I’m going to make Ietsie Pietsie Pizzicato. Anyone know what that name means?  I stumped google translate trying to figure it out! But I dearly love this amazing combination of 10-pointed stars and Jack’s Chain blocks.

So for me, the only choices left are what fabrics to use? Do I pull from my stash and play with fussy-cuts? Or do I really try to let the shapes shine, and make this all out of, say, ombre fabrics? Which would you use?  Stay tuned for progress pictures!!

 

Happy Stitching!

 

Reflections on Hurricane Harvey

This has certainly been an intense week!  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been glued to facebook, searching for news and updates on friends and family.  Most of my family lives on the gulf coast, either in Corpus Christi or Houston.  Having lived both places myself, it has been all the more unsettling to see familiar places underwater.  Thankfully, everyone we know is okay.  Not all of their homes are, but the people are.  For that, I am very, very grateful.

Seems like just last year I was posting about flooding in Louisiana that impacted my husband’s family.  I don’t think I ever posted pictures of the six quilts we made for kiddos in our family who lost their homes, but here is how they turned out:

Just one month ago, we went with my husband’s family for a quick vacation on the beach in Port Aransas. That city is completely gone.  I’m heartsick for all the people who called that city home, and can’t imagine what they must be going through, as they literally seek to rebuild their lives from the ground up.

 

I know as quilters, we often turn to fabric in crazy times like these, creating with our time and our hands a special keepsake to show loved ones, and even complete strangers, how much we love them and are thinking of them.  Seeing all the posts on instagram of quilt drives for those affected by the storms heartens me. That’s the magic of quilts.  You can channel all of your well-wishing, heart sickness and empathy into a gift that the recipient immediately recognizes as having incredible value.  It’s not just money, or essentials, it’s a warm, snuggly treasure they can wrap themselves up in and feel loved. Times like these, I’m proud to be a quilter. Glad to have something to contribute.

Speaking of contributing, I wanted to do something more this time around to help out.  So for now, through the entire month of September, you can buy my Going Places Tote Bag through my online store for $2.  All of that $2 will go to a reputable charity in the South Texas area working to help people rebuild.

 

I hope that you make the tote bag.  Make it for yourself to show your support of Texas. Make it for someone you know who has gone through the storms, as a reminder of our strong state spirit and beloved wildflowers. Fill it with little essential items and pass it on through one of the donation collection facilities.  For an afternoon’s sewing, you can remind someone that we will get through this, together.

 

If you want to make quilts like I made for the kiddos in Louisiana, I used this pattern from Me and My Sister Designs. It’s quick, easy, and a great scrap buster.

I hope your weekend is filled with time to sew.  Here in North Texas, people are going a little crazy over a non-existent gas shortage.  So instead of waiting at the pumps in insanely long lines, I’m going to stay home and stitch.  That’s a great way to conserve gas, don’t you think?

Happy Stitching, my friends!