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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

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

 

Three Little Birds Quilt-A-Long

I’m so excited to finally launch my first Quilt-A-Long!  We’re going to be working with a gorgeous Yoko Saito pattern, the Three Little Birds Pouch.

Three little birds pattern

Each month, I’ll share progress on my pouch (or pouches. . . .I’m seriously thinking of making several of these), along with tips and hints for construction. At the end of each post, you’ll have the opportunity to link up your progress as well.  If you choose not to make the pouch, then please link up your progress on any Japanese style quilting project.  You can also share pictures of Japanese quilting books or tools.

You can find the Three  Little Birds Pouch pattern at Willow Lane Quilting Company and One World Fabrics.  Both sites also have lovely collections of Japanese fabrics to make your pouch.  The pouch is tiny, so you will probably be fine with 4 fat quarters and some assorted scraps.

So, let’s get this linky started!  For this month, link up with your Japanese fabric collection, or whatever fabrics you plan to use for your pouch.  Next month, we’ll be cutting into these beautiful fabrics and prepping the pieces for applique.

patterns and fabric

Here’s my pattern, and a bundle of taupes I plan to use with it.  And a Yoko Saito pattern I’ve admired for years.  I’m not sure I have the skill to tackle this one yet, but I’m going to make a second pouch, using the cherry blossom appliques from the wallhanging pattern in place of the birds on the pouch.

 

I can’t wait to see what you’re creating!!

emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

Making Place Mats!!

Earlier this summer, we bought a new kitchen table.  It has a lovely solid wood top, and my husband immediately suggested we get some place mats to protect it from the kiddos during mealtime.  I thought it would be far more fun to make place mats, and a great way to use up some batting and scraps in the process.  Turns out, this was pretty economical. .. .place mats sell for more than $12 apiece!!

I found some cute tutorials online, and created a pinterest board with ideas. I decided to start with this tutorial from Alissa Haight Carlton– it’s fantastic!! Here’s how they turned out:

stack of mats

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great chance to practice my ruler work.  And my oldest daughter quilted all the horizontal lines on the teal stripe using the walking foot on my domestic machine. I love these-all my favorite colors, and with the scrappiness, each one is a tiny bit different. But they all still work together.  Here’s the table all set:

on the table

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t long before these needed washing (before I’d finished the set, in fact.  Kids.) We all got a chuckle out of how much they shrank in the wash.  In this picture, the washed one is lined up with the bottom left corner of an unwashed one. Yikes!  Guess they’re all getting tossed in the wash now for consistency’s sake.  I do love the crinkly after-effect, though.

shrinkage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though these took longer than expected to make, I am planning on making more sets.  It’s just such a fantastic way to use up batting and create something useful and pretty.  Do you have any favorite place mat tutorials or patterns?  I’d love to know. . . my pinterest board needs more pins!!

 

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

Another Mini-Quilt Finished!

If you follow me on Instagram, you have already seen some progress pictures and the first finished picture of this mini-quilt.

It’s Mini Prism Parkway from Sassafras Lane Designs, one of my purchases from the May is for Makers Campaign.

Here it is, all happy teal and turquoise in my studio.

studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just love this mini-quilt.  It makes me smile when I walk into the room.

Close-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It also makes me smile, because I know two little secrets about it.

Secret #1- I was in such a hurry to finish that I accidentally sewed the hanging triangles on the bottom of the quilt.  Now all the little faces in the backing are upside down.  OOPS. Secret #2- this quilt hangs proudly in my studio by a chopstick, because I had no dowels in the house when I went to hang it. Whatever works, right?

 

chopstick!

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I want to turn some of my own patterns into mini-quilt patterns, because these are just so much fun to make. Would you mind popping over to my Craftsy store, and letting me know in the comments which pattern(s) you’d like to see as mini-quilts? Feel free to also share your experiences with mini-quilts, I’d love to know!

Happy Stitching!!

emily