New Page for Janome Artistic Quilter Information!

 

Just wanted to create a quick post to let you know about a new page on my website.  Midarm quilting continues to be one of the most popular categories here at the Caffeinated Quilter, so I’ve built a page to corral all the wonderful information about the Janome Artistic Sit Down machine in one easy-to-find place.  Please let me know if I’m missing important information. Y’all have chimed in with lots of great tips and tricks in the comments of blog posts, and I want to make sure those tips are accessible to others as well.

And if you’d like to be part of a new facebook group I’m starting for Janome Artistic SD Quilter owners, e-mail me and I’ll add you to the beta list!  It’s going to be a great place to share ideas, help each other troubleshoot problems, and share quilting pictures.

What do you think of the new page? And the overall website changes lately?

Happy Stitching!

 

Tiny Wildflowers Tutorial

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to clean up and improve my website, and this little tutorial needed to move from its own page to a simple post format.  So enjoy this little “throwback” tutorial from 2011! Here’s hoping I get the whole redirect link thing right!!

 Supplies needed

Using your Texas Wildflower Mix Set I directions, you can make these wonderful wildflower pins.  You will need:

  • 1/4″ precut hexagons
  • scraps of blue, white, yellow and brown fabric
  • coordinating all-purpose thread
  • basting glue (I recommend Roxanne basting glue for this)
  • 18 gauge cloth stem wire
  • 1/4″ wide ribbon
  • tacky glue
  • small pin back
  • Texas Wildflower Mix Set I pattern
  • hand sewing needle, thimble, scissors

Create the flowers

First, cut squares from your fabric scraps,  7/8″ on each side, in the quantities listed in the pattern.  I recommend using inexpensive fabric for this project. I love the quality of quilt store fabric, but it’s a little too thick for hexagons this small.  JoAnn’s fabric and batiks lend themselves well to these tiny hexagons.

Next, baste these squares to the paper hexagons (you will NOT be removing the hexagons) using basting glue.

Follow the directions for the Bluebonnet and Coreopsis in the Texas Wildflower Mix Set I pattern to sew the hexagons together.  You do not need to trim your thread between seams, just run your needle through the seam allowance to where you want to start the next seam.  Take tiny stitches, you only need about three or four on each side of the hexies.

Before joining the two sides of the bluebonnet together, sew a small pin back to the front of one of the bluebonnets.  Then try it on to make sure the pin opens and closes in a way that’s easy for you to attach to your garment.

Then, finish the flowers as described in the pattern, using a 3-4 inch single length of the cloth-wrapped wire for the stems.  After you’ve finished the flower, trim the wire to a suitable length and put a dot of glue on the end to keep the cloth from unraveling.

Tie the bluebonnet and Coreopsis together with ribbon.  Finally, put a dot of glue over the ribbon knot to keep it secure.

Enjoy!

Color Options for Texas Wildflower Mix Set I

Follow the bluebonnet pattern, but substitute four shades of burgundy for the four shades of blue to make an Aggie maroon bluebonnet.  Otherwise known as an Aggiebonnet.  No, I’m not making this up!  See Aggiebonnet  for a picture of the real thing.

Follow the primrose pattern, but subsitute yellow for the pink for a Beach Evening Primrose.  Or, you can substitute dark fuschia for the pink to make a Winecup.

Studio Organizing with Purpose

Over New Year’s weekend, I decided to start organizing my studio.  As you can see from the picture below, it was getting a little embarrassing, and the mess was completely killing my creativity.  What started with simply trying to put fabric away turned into a complete studio overhaul. Along the way, I discovered that the more I tried to turn my studio into my “private quilt store”, the better I was able to understand how to put things away in a manner that made sense for me.

before-picture

Organizing Fabric

I started out with seven 56-gallon tubs filled to OVERFLOWING with fabric. I did not sort all of it.  That would have taken me months, and I probably would have gotten discouraged along the way and quit.  To start, I dumped out three bins worth of fabric. One of those bins became my “warm” color bin, the second my “cool” color bin, and the third my “neutrals and prints” bin.  Then, my daughters and I started sorting the piles of dumped out fabric back into the bins.  I gave away some fabric that I knew I would never use.

As we came across large pieces of fabric (more than one yard), we folded it over magazine boards.  I got this idea from So Sew Easy. My husband was going to the comic book store anyway, and he got this pack of 100 boards for about $13.  I think about 50 folded bolts fit into this 56 gallon tub.

folded-fabric-minibolts

For smaller pieces of fabric, we used the folding video tutorials from In Color Order, and made a little display of fabric in a wire bin from the Container Store. Just like with the larger fabric folded bolts, I picked fabrics for the small bin that I wanted to use sooner than later.

small-folded-fabric

Over the years, I have accumulated a precious stash of Alison Glass fabrics, and I wanted to keep these together for an upcoming project.  So I arranged them all in a pretty basket, along with the EPP papers I’ll be using.  This looks much more inviting than the previous pile on the floor!

alison-glass-basket

Finally, I dealt with a bin of fabric for an ongoing baby quilt project. Each year, my kids’ school makes baby quilts for moms in crisis pregnancies. I make two quilts a year, and the kids bring in special fabrics for the quilts. They usually bring in much more than the recommended 8” square. After doing this for 10 years, I have a huge stash of baby quilt fabric.  I keep meaning to go through it and make additional baby quilts, but the magnitude of fabric overwhelms me.

In the spirit of making my own private quilt store, I pulled out my favorite quick-quilt pattern, Yellow Brick Road.  Then my girls and I chose fabrics from the donation bin and made six “quilt kits.” Each ziploc has enough fabric to make a baby quilt from the Yellow Brick Road pattern.  Now, whenever I need an easy, mindless afternoon of sewing, I can pull out one of these bags and make a quilt without having to worry about choosing and measuring fabrics.

homemade-quilt-kits

 

Now, my fabrics are “organized enough” to motivate me to start sewing.  And all of the bins close without sitting on them!  Once I go through some of the “featured fabrics” shown above, I’ll go back to the bins and fold and sort more to feature. I love how manageable this system feels, and how inspired I am everytime I see the pretty fabrics on my new shelves.

Organizing Projects

Confession: I have enough UFO’s to complete TWO APQ resolution pages. Yes, 24 UFO’s. That has to change, and I am bound and determined to whittle that list down this year. Again, I have to “see” what I’m working on to stay motivated.  So I made a couple of mini-design boards by pinning batting to artist canvases.  I also use leftover lids from broken plastic bins to store projects I’m working on.

project-boards

During the overhaul, my husband got me a set of sturdy wire shelves to store fabric. Now I can just pull out the bin I need (instead of unstacking boxes all the time). Even better, the shelves have just enough room to slide a project board on top of each box, so I can keep my UFO’s in sight, but not too cluttered.

Organizing Notions

Last but not least, I FINALLY found a way to organize my most-used rulers. These are usually out on my sewing counter, or propped up on the floor near my sewing counter.  Which means I’m always losing them, tripping over them, or worse, cutting my toes along the edges of them. (true story). I bought some inexpensive coffee cup hooks at World Market, and hung them from the sides of the new shelves.

hanging-rulers

Now they’re easy to find, and impossible to trip over. I also hung a roll of masking tape on one of the cup hooks, which I guesstimate will save about 20 minutes per quilt.  Everyone in the house uses masking tape, so I can never find it when I’m ready to baste a quilt. Now my roll is hung high enough that the kids will never snag it.

So that’s my studio makeover.  I estimate it cost me about $70 for the shelves, magazine boards, and cup hooks. Here’s how the studio looks now:

after-picture

 

Still far from perfect, but FAR more inviting and accessible than it has been. I love my new private quilt “store”, and spent the entire past weekend in it, sewing with my girls.  Now, to tackle those UFO lists. .  . .

What’s your favorite way to organize your quilting space?

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

Introducing: Adventures in Hexagons

I would like to introduce you to Adventures in Hexagons, my very first published book.

adventuresinhexagonscover

Yesterday I received the spring C&T catalog in the mail. Seeing the book images and marketing text was like holding my dream in my hands. It’s real. And in May 2017, it will be a reality in book stores and quilt stores too.

 

Adventures in HexagonsMy goal with this book was twofold- to help readers learn to sew hexagon in the manner best suited to them, and to help quilters design their own hexagon quilts. So the book essentially has three sections.  The first is devoted to explaining English paper piecing, hand sewing with templates, and machine sewing with templates. The second section includes 11 quilt patterns of varying sizes and skill levels.  Every one of them can be pieced by EPP, or by hand or machine with templates. If you’re an Inklingo fan, I’ve included finished shape sizes with all of the cutting instructions to make navigating the patterns simpler for you.

The final section of the book is a Design Primer. With it, you can take any of the blocks in the book, or your own hexagon block creations, and turn them into unique, fantastic quilts.

Here are a couple more pages from the C&T catalog where they show images of the quilts from the book.catalog-page2

catalog-page3 I can’t wait to share more about the book and the quilts in the coming months. I’ll also host a blog tour next summer, and a special quilt along for an entirely new quilt inspired by the book.

But before all of that, I want to extend a very, very heartfelt thank-you to you, dear readers. Throughout this adventure in hexagons, you have been my support and encouragement.  Your comments on the blog and interactions on social media, and your friendship made this book possible, and I am truly blessed to know you. Thank you.

 

 

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

Digital Patterns Now Available Through UpCraftClub!!

I am so excited to introduce a new option for purchasing my digital patterns, UpCraftClub!!  This company is filling a huge need in the quilting market- the option for quilt stores to sell patterns digitally.

 

For quilters

If you’re a quilter, you can buy digital patterns directly from their website and start sewing right away.  If you buy lots of digital patterns, you may want to look into their membership levels.  All of these come with the option to download a pattern of your choice free each month, plus savings on additional pattern purchases.

For shop owners

If you’re a quilt store owner, this company provides awesome tools for you to sell digital patterns in your shop with no upfront costs.  Customers can pick up UpCraftClub pattern cards from your shop, complete with fabric requirements.  You then help them pick out/purchase fabric, and then get a portion of the pattern cost when they use the code on the pattern card to purchase it.

For quilters in the EU

And if you are in the European Union, this is the only way to purchase my digital patterns. I had to quit selling to the EU through my Craftsy store last year due to all of the complications with EU VAT. Ever since then, I’ve been looking for a format to sell in those countries, and UpCraftClub is the answer!

 

So, as you’re supporting Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday this year, I hope you’ll consider picking up a couple of TCQ titles through the UpCraftClub! HINT: They’re all on SALE this weekend!!

And, I’ve got a new pattern (and mini-version) coming out very soon, so stay tuned for more news on that front!

 


Happy Stitching!!

emily

Quilt Market Fall 2016 Recap

I hope you enjoyed the IG and FB updates as I was at  Quilt Market last weekend, I’m so excited to finally have those accounts linked (Thank you, Cheryl Sleboda!!) And it’s taken me the rest of this week to mull over everything, and try to present the most pertinent highlights of Market in this blog post.  I know a bunch of amazing fabric lines came out, and lots of quilting rockstars attended the show.  Here, however, I wanted to share about things that are most relevant to me, and hopefully interesting for you as well.

Japanese Quilting

This sector of market is GROWING! I saw a Japanese bag vendor selling wonderfully unusual handles and bag hardware, spectacular new fabrics from Lecien, and an entire “Wa” exhibit in the special exhibits hall.  Of course, Japanese quilters were well represented in the juried competitions as well.  This quilt was my favorite.  I could stare at it for hours.

Japanese Quilt, Quilt Festival 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up a copy of Scrap Valley, Yoko Saito’s newest book, from the delightful ladies at Quiltmania.  Speaking of staring at something for hours. . . . .this book is a treasure.

Yoko Saito Scrap Valley

Perhaps most exciting — Lecien and Stitch Publications announced that Yoko Saito will be attending Quilt Market AND Quilt Festival Fall 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She will have a special exhibit, and be teaching classes. I’ll pass along more details as soon as I have them, but how cool is that???  I’m hoping she has tons of attendees and folks stopping by her booth, so she knows exactly how much American quilters adore her.

Hand Piecing

Aurifil kicked off this year’s Quilt Market with an amazing Schoolhouse presentation, replete with video of how they make their threads.  It was absolutely fascinating.  They also announced a new line of 80 weight threads.  I was so excited to see “English paper piecing” and hand sewing listed as several of their recommended uses for the new threads.

While attending schoolhouse sessions and walking the Market floor, I saw no less than FIVE new methods of English paper piecing and sewing hexagons. FIVE.  I’m hoping to purchase some of the tools to test out these methods, look for blog posts coming soon!

hand-quilting-supplies

I also picked up a copy of Millifiori Quilts 2, which promises to be as lovely as the first book.  The little turquoise pouch is an organizer from Yazzii.  It’s filled with little clear zipper pouches.  I think it will hold at least two hand-piecing projects at a time.  No more losing my thimble when I’m out and about!

The thread cutter in the picture will get it’s own blog post soon.  It is AWESOME!!

Marti Michell templates and news

I always enjoy seeing what’s new in Marti’s booth, and this year I got to take some classes from her as well.  So fun!  Her new Starry Path templates look incredible.  As you can see, I’m already testing ideas with the coloring pages provided in the template instructions.  I can’t wait to get in my studio and bring that design to life.

starry-path-templates

In one of her classes, Marti talked about a fun new Hexie Club for quilt stores.  I know I will be talking to my local quilt store about running the program, and you should too!  It promises to be a terrific way to build up your hexagon piecing skills, and the accompanying pattern previews we got to see were beautiful!!

Other Quilt Market Highlights

I think the coolest booth we saw this year featured a technique of quilting on leather. Cathy Wiggins created the quilts, and Olde City Quilts has the supplies. Please check out Cathy’s website for more pictures.  It was spectacular.  My husband took a picture of this quilted dragon.  Her name is also Emily. How fun is that?

Quilt Market 2016

Sometimes, with social media, you become friends with people you’ve never met.  That’s what happened on IG with me and Wendy Sheppard.  I went to her schoolhouse presentation, and can attest that she is as sweet and vivacious in person as she is online. Then we got to visit over coffee, and my admiration for her grew even more!!  Can’t wait to share her new book with you next spring!

Finally, I took a class on social marketing with Cheryl Sleboda. I learned more in that one hour than in WEEKS of culling through internet tutorials and classes.  It was a fabulous, funny, understandable presentation.  I would highly recommend the webinar on her website, it’s worth every penny if you’re a store owner or designer looking to grow your online presence.

Whew.  Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this lengthy blog post!  If you went to Quilt Market, what were your favorite parts?  If not, what things would you like to learn about for next year’s markets?  (Yes, I am absolutely already planning that far ahead, and would love to know what kinds of information you’d like!!)

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS- There are a bunch of links in this post to provide you with additional information about the products referenced.  These ARE NOT affiliate links.   If you’d like to support my blog, please visit my Craftsy store. Thanks!

 

Three Little Birds QAL- a Finished Pouch!!

Welcome back to the Three Little Birds Quilt-a-Long! I have to confess, I stalled out  on this project. Adding the seam allowances confused me, and so the pieces got pushed aside to a corner of my studio.

The instructions specified cutting the front portions of each piece with a 1/4” seam allowance, and the backing and batting with slightly larger allowances. And the back inside lining piece was enormous compared to the rest of the pouch.

Three Little Birds pouch

Last night, however, I decided to just muddle through and see how it worked.  I figured, if all else fails, all I have wasted is a little time and fabric.  But it did work, and I’m so pleased with the results.

I promise, for next month’s installment of the quilt-a-long, I will have in-progress pictures as I work through a second pouch.  Part of getting over my hang-up with this pouch, though, was just sewing without worrying about setting up a photo shoot for each step.

If you’d like to join in on the Three Little Birds quilt-a-long, you can find the pattern at One World Fabrics.  They also have a gorgeous selection of Japanese homespun fabrics to make your pouch.

After finishing this pouch, I think I have a better understanding of WHY Japanese patterns don’t include seam allowances.  It’s kind of a personal preference, not a set rule.  On this project, I used a slightly larger seam allowance for the lining, because it made it easier for me to bind the inside seams.

What’s your preference– you prefer a pattern that gives exact finished measurements, or templates with seam allowances already included?

Happy Stitching!

emily

Free-Motion Quilting the Louisiana Quilts

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been working hard to finish the quilts that I blogged about in September for our family members hit by the flooding in Louisiana.I have had so much fun seeing how these quilts look with different free-motion quilting designs.  I wouldn’t say they change the look of the quilts drastically, but they do make a difference.  Here’s a little visual recap, courtesy of my newly-discovered ability to embed IG posts on the blog.  How cool is that?

 

Loving this quilting design- flower power, from a tutorial on @theinboxjaunt . One quilt down, five to go. . . . #freemotionquilting

A photo posted by Emily Breclaw (@thecaffeinatedquilter) on

Flower Power quilting!  Check out this tutorial on the Inbox Jaunt for a step-by-step explanation of how to use this free-motion quilting design.

 Paisley flower free-motion quilting design inspired by a video from Amy’s Free Motion Quilting adventures.

And this one is just a simple hook and loop swirl.  I’m pretty sure I picked up this design from one of Jamie Wallen’s tutorials on youtube.

I had so much fun with the paisley flowers that I used that motif on two quilts.  Now I’m working on binding, and quilting the boys’ quilts.

Hopefully all of these will be finished and off to their new homes by the end of the month. And then I can get back to normal quilting routines, like finishing up a couple of new patterns.

I’ve also been working behind-the-scenes on some exciting new partnerships. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some big announcements!!

Happy Stitching!

emily

Three Little Birds QAL- Applique

Welcome to month two of the Three Little Birds Quilt-a-long! Have I mentioned that we’ll be working through this project at a leisurely pace?

For this month, we’ll be focusing on the applique pocket of the pouch.  It’s not the first step in the pattern, but it was what I wanted to do first because, well, hand applique intimidates me. I figured if I did this first, I’d be more motivated to finish knowing the hardest part was over.

three-little-birds

There are loads of applique tutorials online. For this size and scope of project, I picked this one from Suppose Create Delight.  The prep work is time-consuming, but well worth it in my opinion.  I loved that all the pieces were glued into place so I could take the applique with me and sew.  I stitched down my three little birds while sitting in the car waiting for my kids to get out of school.

As I mentioned before, I’m making a second pouch using the cherry blossom motifs from another Yoko Saito pattern.  The pictures below are some of my in-progress steps of prepping the blossoms.

flower-templatesstarching-petalsflowers-ready

So, how about you? What’s your favorite applique method?  Have you started stitching your Three Little Birds?  I can’t wait to see!! Please link up your in-progress photos below.  (Your pictures can be from a blog, Facebook page, Flickr stream, or Instagram.)

Speaking of IG– did you know Yoko Saito herself is on Instagram now? Check it out @yokosaito_quiltparty.

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quilting up a Storm

This past weekend, my 11-year-old daughter and I spent a LOT of quality time in the studio. The recent flooding in Louisiana has hit three families of our extended family hard. While I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer, I really wanted to be DOING something to help as well. And, well, yeah- the natural progression of that thought process is make quilts! (Shocking, I know).

So we started rummaging through our stashes, and pulled out every scrap of cheerful bright pink in the house, to make 4 coordinating girls quilts. We decided to use a fun pattern from Me and My Sister designs called Simply Cakes 1,2,3. My daughter ironed fabric, I cut pieces and pinned, she sewed them together, and soon we had quilt tops all over the place!

We also needed fabric for two boy quilts, but our stash didn’t yield much in the way of good choices there. So we went shopping for superhero fabric.  We’re using the same pattern for these two quilts, but they’re going to look very different!

boy quilt2

Now I’m starting to play with quilting designs.  I was going to keep life simple and snuggly and meander quilt all 6 of these quilts. But I’m a longtime follower of Lori Kennedy’s blog, and it seems like she’s been reading my mind lately.  As I was basting quilts, she was writing a blog post about “meander no more.” To top it off, she then suggested  alternate free motion designs, one perfect for girly quilts, and one suitable for boys. So, I guess I’m going to learn some new designs on these.  Here’s one of the girl quilts with my sketchbook attempt at Lori’s “Flower Power” design.

girl quilt

I foresee quite a bit of quilting in my future, but it’s going to be a great opportunity to practice!  Does your weekend forecast include quilting?

 

 

 

Happy Stitching!

emily