Akemi Shibata- Quilted Bags and Gifts

We are overdue for a Japanese Quilting Study Group adventure! I recently learned of a new-to-me Japanese quilter, Akemi Shibata, and got her book, Quilted Bags and Gifts. It’s a delightful book.

I LOVE how she pairs taupe fabrics with little pops of saturated color. It’s a gorgeous combination. She uses lots of red and turquoise especially. There are 36 projects in this book, each one cuter than the last.


And she features hexagons in so many of her projects. In the very first project description of the book, she says “In fact, I love English paper piecing hexagons so much, that I often forget to stop and eat lunch while in the midst of sewing these cute little shapes together.” Woman after my own heart!


I am working on several quilts with Lecien Fabrics for Spring Market (so stay tuned, that means some super-cool FREE patterns for you!), and I wanted to do something special with the leftover scraps.

So many fun choices, but I decided to make Akemi Shibata’s Two Way Hexagon Purse.


Once I had the pattern chosen, I couldn’t wait to start prepping hexies. Look how well the hexies fit onto the triangle scraps!! She uses EPP for this project, but I’m going to hand-piece them instead.

So excited to see how this starts that I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. .. . marking hexies and sipping coffee. My happy place.

If you’d like to follow my progress, please check out my instagram feed, I’ll be posting lots more there.



Now I’m ready to start sewing hexies together.  Even though it has an inset zipper, the pattern has lots and lots of diagrams and it looks achievable. If it works, I think I’ve got the fabric to make two! Now I’m off to find coordinating fabrics for the rest of the purse, and hardware.  Do you have a go-to source for purse supplies? Please share in the comments, I’d love to know!

Happy Stitching!

2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar Review

Happy February! Anyone else wondering how January has already passed?! Today I wanted to share with you a little about a lovely planner just for quilters! It’s called the 2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar, created by Becky Jorgensen of Patchwork Posse.

Just in case you don’t have time to read this whole post, I’ll tell you the best thing about the 2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar up front: it has everything you need to keep up with your projects, without being overwhelming or including lots of random pages you won’t ever use.

Every January I buy a planner with the intention of getting organized. Big ones, small ones, expensive ones, cheap ones.  They all have on thing in common: I fill out the pages for January, and the rest of the book stays blank. Why? I think I get bogged down in the idea that I have to write on every page, whether it helps me out or not. So I love the streamlined, achievable feel of this planner. February is already filled out, and I’m feeling encouraged instead of stressed.

Let me show you what I mean. First up, you get a page to check out the whole year in one glance. Between projects for Market, a yearlong swap, and my APQ Resolution goals, I already have a lot of my year planned out.  This helps me stay on track to keep up all year.


Next, check out the monthly pages. I love the project tracker.  I usually end up hand writing something like this for every project, losing it, and rewriting it several times throughout the year. Now I just have to fill it in once! I love checking off boxes as I complete each step of a project. It’s all about “degrees of doneness”, and seeing those checks reminds me that I’m accomplishing something, even when the project as a whole seems endless.

And now, perhaps my favorite page in the whole calendar. A reference page! Y’all. It’s awesome. I don’t know how many times in a year I google “standard quilt sizes”, but it’s in the triple digits. Same for precut sizes. You’d think by now, I’d have these memorized, but I’m constantly trying to remember yardage dimensions. And I’m typically pattern drafting on the go, playing with an idea while waiting to pick up my kids, and I don’t often have easy access to google.  I have a suspicion that this page of the planner will be dog-eared and ragged by the end of the year. But it looks pretty now, doesn’t it?

Finally, I wanted to show you the swaps pages. Have you ever done an Instagram swap?  They’re LOADS of fun, and you meet such delightful people.  I did two last year, and am looking forward to participating in a few again this year. But often, the swap rules and information are on a specific IG post, or a direct message. Finding the information when you need it can be tedious. Now I have a place to write it all down as I receive it, and can keep up with due dates, addresses, and hashtags all in one easy spot.


It’s like Becky’s a quilting mind-reader. Or perhaps after managing a 700 member quilting group for years, she’s just really in-tune with quilters.


And she’s currently offering  a special pdf download bonus to go along with her 2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar. I would encourage you to pick one up, it’s not to late to plan for a great year of quilting!!


Happy Stitching!







PS- And yes, I should add a disclaimer that Becky sent me a copy of the planner so I could review it for you. Would I buy one on my own? In a heartbeat. It’s a terrific resource, and significantly more affordable than other planners on the market. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I don’t do paid advertisements, affiliate links, or anything else to undermine the content here.  If I share a product, it’s because I think it’s terrific, and I would recommend it to my friends and family face-to-face.




Giveaway Winner and Valentine Fun

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway last week. According to random.org, the lucky number was 7. . . Tu-Na quilts!!  Congratulations!! (And may I recommend that you click that link and visit her delightful blog? I was intrigued by her name. . . . Lovely work and fun posts!!) Karen, please check your e-mail so I can send your book!

Since you guys have me all heart-eyes with your kind comments, I thought I would do a little Valentine’s Day round-up of cute heart stuff you can find around The Caffeinated Quilter. Some are free tutes, some are patterns from my shop. All come with me just an e-mail away if you need help making them! It’s fun and a little nostalgic looking back through tutorials. I find it hard to believe I started this blog nearly seven years ago!  So please join me in a little reminiscing.  And if you’ve made any of these projects, send me a picture!

Free  valentine Projects







Hugs and Kisses Coasters– a fun, easy little tutorial to make your own X’s and O’s in time for Valentine’s Day. Perfect for someone just learning EPP.







Sweet Strawberry Pincushion– no, really, it is a heart!  Uses the Clover heart-shaped yo-yo maker.


Patterns for purchase










Loverly quilt-a-long– A multi-week blog series to help walk you through the Loverly table runner in my book Adventures in Hexagons.


Looking for a cute and quick EPP project? Check out my sweet little Conversation Pieces pattern.

A post shared by Emily Breclaw (@thecaffeinatedquilter) on

Conversation Pieces– one of my first, and still favorite EPP patterns. Equally adorable in reds and whites, as my dear friend Elizabeth proved.

Heart of the Prairie










Heart of the Prairie– a lap-sized quilt pattern using simple rail fence blocks as a backdrop for big hearts. Quick to piece!


Happy Stitching, my friends!!

Book Review: Hexagonal Tilings and Patterns + GIVEAWAY!

Well, January seems to be the month for good books and hot coffee. And watching old movies with sick kidlets, but we won’t go there. . . .

Today I want to share with you a fun book that you probably won’t find in quilt stores. Several months ago, Richard Hollos contacted me after he saw my book, Adventures in Hexagons, at his local library. He asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his book, Hexagonal Tilings and Patterns. Intrigued, I said I’d be delighted to, and I’m glad I did.











This book shows lots of tessellating hexagon patterns.  Each of the 132 pages has a unique tiling design on it. Some of them would make great quilts!










Others are very complex,  or have open-ended shapes that wouldn’t work so well for quilts. But they’re inspiring, nonetheless.










And a feature of the book that I thought was pretty clever is the creative license agreement in the front of the book.The authors give you permission to use the tilings in any way you want to (including quilt designs!) so long as you reference them as the tiling source. I may take them up on this, several of their designs look like fabulous quilts.

They also gave me a second copy of the book to share with one of you! If you’re interested, leave a comment below. (I apologize for the weirdness of my wordpress theme.  If you can’t see the comment box, scroll back to the top of the page, click on the title of this post, and then scroll back down, where the comment box has magically appeared.) For an extra chance to win, head over to Instagram and follow me there. . .Then come back and leave another comment telling me you’re following on IG. I’ll select a winner randomly next Thursday, January 26, and post the winner’s name on my next blog post.

Happy Stitching!

Book Review: Cotton and Indigo From Japan

Happy New Year! As you may have seen on my Instagram, I have been spending a lot of my time lately snuggled under extra blankets, hot drink and good book in hand.  One of my favorites has been Teresa Duryea Wong’s new book, Cotton and Indigo from Japan.










It’s a book to savor. The photography is gorgeous, the stories and information are fascinating. . . . When Teresa’s first book came out, I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.  This one I made myself spread out over a couple of days so I could enjoy it a little longer. If you know anyone who loves all things Japanese, they will enjoy this book.  While the book talks quite a bit about quilting, it’s also a wonderful insight into many intriguing aspects of Japanese culture.

I also attended one of Teresa’s lectures about the book last fall.  I’d never been to a guild meeting before! At the time, I was wishing I had brought pen and paper to take notes on her lecture, but all the wonderful information is in the book too. Check out her website for a lecture near you!








She also brought an amazing quilt to share.








Teresa made it from her own collection of lovely indigos and Japanese fabrics, and she hand stitched it in the chiku-chiku style. (What is chiku-chiku? Check out the book to find out! Me, I just might have to learn the technique, because chiku-chiku is loads of fun to say!)








What’s on your reading list right now?

Happy Stitching!


Christmas Round-Up

I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying a lovely holiday!  My kids finished up school today, so I’m taking a much-needed break, and dedicating the next week to baking, decorating, and crafting with my kids and family.  I’ll be back to regular blog posts in January. Until then, please enjoy this round-up of tutorials and patterns for Christmas celebrations, drawn from my past 6 and a half years of blogging!

Quick Craft Tutorials

Perfect for last-minute gifts!

Bowl Cozy Tutorial









Hugs and Kisses Coasters

Mug Rug from Sizzix Big Shot Scraps

Kanzashi Flower Candle Coaster

Christmas Quilt Patterns

Buy now, get Christmas fabric on sale next week, and start quilting for a finish by 2018!

Tumbling Snowflakes









Colossal Peppermints



Peppermints and Snowflakes 











Christmas Whirlwind

My own Coconut Bundt Cake








Wishing you the very best of this Christmas season.  I’m so grateful that YOU are a part of my quilting journey!!

Happy Stitching!

Quilt Market 2017 Yoko Saito’s Schoolhouse Presentation on her New Fabric Collection









At Schoolhouse this fall, Yoko Saito introduced her fans to her gorgeous Centenary 23 fabric line, available in 2018. You can see all 61 fabrics in the collection on Lecien’s website. As she showed the fabrics, she gave wonderful tips about how she incorporates the various fabrics into quilts.

Yoko Saito’s Tips for Appliques

The Centenary 23 fabric line included several fabulous brown prints, suitable for trees. Saito-san recommended using the prints vertically for tree appliques, and horizontally for representing paths or streets.









She was also insistent that quilters use more than one fabric for tree appliques, because no tree has just one color!









Several of her fabrics incorporated leaves and trees, and gave completely different effects when viewed up close or from a distance.








Saito-san encouraged us to consider using both sides of the fabric, as sometimes the backside of the fabric provides the right amount of color and a softer design.

Using Fabric as a Design Element

Saito-san is renowned for her extremely detailed, intricate appliques and quilting, so I was delighted with her tip about selecting background fabrics. She said that using a subtly busy print for the background makes it look like you appliqued more than you really did.









The Centenary 23 collection includes a basket print in several color options. She created this print because she loves Nantucket baskets. She recommends using the basket weave print in sashings.









One of my favorite prints from the new collection is this stunning black and red print.  It’s such a contrast to most of her palette, but it works perfectly with the other fabrics.









The new collection also includes new Etoffe Improvue linens for clothing.  Here is Saito-san modeling one of the three new linen prints in her gorgeous tunic.









Saito-san hinted that one of her new quilting books will also include patterns for making clothing, and knitting! I’m starting to learn knitting NOW  so I’ll be ready by the time this book is available in English (a couple of years down the road!)

So, that’s it for my Schoolhouse recap! Next week I will be sharing photos from Saito-san’s exhibit at Market and Festival.

Happy Stitching!!


Quilt Market 2017- Yoko Saito’s Schoolhouse Presentation on her Favorite Projects









If you’re on Instagram and Facebook, you already know that I was INCREDIBLY excited to attend Yoko Saito’s schoolhouse presentations this fall. For the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing photos and notes I took throughout the weekend, over her presentations, her exhibitions, and even getting to meet her personally.  It was an amazing experience.

So, first up, her presentation with Priscilla Knoble of Stitch publications about her favorite books and projects. Saito-san was an absolute DELIGHT to listen to, even if you couldn’t understand her words, her enthusiasm and excitement were evident throughout.

Saito-san publishes two books PER YEAR, each with 25-30 projects. She typically makes these projects in about 6 months, and ONLY uses her sewing machine for sewing the bases to her bags. Now that’s productive. She also teaches 400 students, and prepares special patterns just for them.

Yoko Saito’s Favorite projects

One of the first projects she showed was her hand-sewing kit.









The audience giggled when Priscilla pulled a clover needle threader out of it. When asked about her choice of needles, Saito-san said she uses Clover black needles to get her tiny stitches.









Next up, a darling turtle pincushion, from her wool work book.


Then she showed a tote bag she designed for carrying piano books, based on a sketch of Mozart that she drew while watching a show about him on television. The top section with the notes on it is a zippered pencil pouch.









She said one of the reasons she makes so many bags is that Japanese people don’t always have a lot of room to store lots of quilts in their home. But they use public transportation frequently, and enjoy having bags to take with them on the trains for their shopping.









The tote bag below is from a new book that she published with a publisher in Taiwan. Stitch publications will have an English version available next year. Quiltmania already has it in French, so of course I impulse bought a copy.  It lives up to expectations!!  I love the pop of red on this tote, which is also on the book cover.









The detail on this scallop tote is mind-blowing.









And last, but not least, here’s a project from her Japanese Taupe Theory book.









fun facts

We had a chance to ask questions at the end of the presentation.  Someone asked what Saito-san’s home studio looked like. She replied that she never worked on quilting or sewing projects at home, only at her store workshop. She said she can’t even think about designs if her husband is around. How cute is that!?

Finally, Saito-san also talked a little about her inspiration for the Scrap Valley book.  She said that she loves antique American designs, and wanted to incorporate them into some larger projects.

Saito-san’s journey into fabric design

Saito-san started designing fabric for Lecien about 20 years ago.  She was having trouble finding Japanese fabrics that gave the effects she wanted, so when Lecien approached her about designing, it was a win-win for both of them. Some of her designs are based on a 100-year old book of patterns from Lecien.

Next week, I’ll be posting about her second schoolhouse presentation. It focused on her upcoming line from Lecien, and included some tips for using fabric creatively to achieve realistic textures.

Happy Stitching!

(And if you’re new to my site, you can check out the Japanese Quilting Study group tab at the top of this page for lots more information about Yoko Saito and Japanese Quilting!


Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Winner and SALE

A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by for the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks volume 16 Blog Tour!! So much fun!!!

Congratulations to Diane P., who won a copy of the magazine!

And my new shop means that I can join in the fun of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday with a special TCQ coupon code.  Just enter “turkey17” in the shop to enjoy 30% off ALL my digital patterns AND digital pattern bundles. After purchase, your downloads will be immediately available, so you can get right to the fun of picking fabric and starting a new project.  I can’t wait to see what you create!!

























Wishing you and yours a very lovely Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for YOU!

Happy Stitching!





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!!