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Check out the New Online Shop

After what feels like months of behind-the-scenes work, my online store is now open and ready for business! You’ll find digital versions of all of my self-published patterns, print versions of most of my designs, and autographed copies of my book.

Click the “Shop” tab in the menu above, and have a look around. I’d love to know your thoughts on the design and navigation.

Use the code DIGITAL25 to enjoy a 25% discount on all digital patterns, including the bundles!

Oh, and be sure to sign up for my newsletter while you’re there.  As a thank you, I’ll send you a free copy of my Sea Star Mug Rug pattern!

 

 

Happy Stitching!

 

Japanese Quilting Study Group- Focus on Hand Piecing

Welcome to a brand-new year of the Japanese Quilting Study Group!  For those of you new to the blog, this is a post series focused on Japanese quilting. You can see all posts in the series by clicking on the tab above. In years past, we’ve discussed lots about Yoko Saito and other Japanese master quilters, and even tried our hand at making quilts from Japanese patterns.  For those of you who have followed this group for years, my apologies for the lapse in posts.  I knew I wanted to try a new direction with this blog series, and it has taken me a while to figure out that direction.

I’ve been to several quilt shows with examples of Japanese quilts, and they’re even more amazing in person than in pictures.  What always impresses me most, though, is that they’re typically HAND PIECED. Seems crazy in today’s high tech world, doesn’t it? So my big question is, how do they hand-piece quilts so meticulously? And how do they consistently make dozens of quilts that way in a single year?

So, this year I’m working hard to improve my hand-piecing skills. One night while cruising on pinterest, I found an image of a Japanese quilt from the Tokyo show that captivated me.  I don’t know the name of the pattern, but imagine a 12-pointed star with pentagons and triangles as filler.  Or a completely pieced (no applique) dresden plate.  That’s kind of the look of the block.  I’ve found three different quilts made with this design, but so far I’ve had no luck in figuring out the name.  You can check out my pinterest board devoted to the subject here.

 

Eventually, I drafted my own templates to emulate this design in Adobe Illustrator.  Then I started cutting and marking fabric.  (If you follow me on IG, you’ve already seen some of these).  Here’s how far I’ve gotten on this little project.

So far, I’m loving it.  I’m not too worried about the centers of the stars aligning, as they’ll be covered with little fabric circles. The units piece together quickly. I wish I could find a good tutorial for matching the centers with this much fabric, but I haven’t come across one yet.

Soon after I started this project, I discovered patterns by Karen Tripp. And I just HAD to make her Obsession quilt.  Instead of doing it with EPP (too time-consuming for me, although she has lovely tutorials on EPP curves), I’m using her templates and hand-piecing.  Again, my points aren’t perfect.  But they’re improving with practice.  Here’s an in-progress photo of my blocks so far. The tricky combination of curves and points is intriguing to me, and it’s fun to piece.

But that’s enough about me and my questions about Japanese quilting. What do you admire most about Japanese quilts? Are you trying out any new techniques this year? Please share in the comments below so we can all encourage each other along this journey!

 

Happy Quilting!

 

Quilty Goals and Finishes for January

February is here already, and in my little corner of Texas, it feels more like April.  However, I’m certainly not complaining about sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s! Quite a bit has been happening behind the scenes here at the Caffeinated Quilter, and I wanted to catch you up on January’s adventures, and progress made on my quilty goals.

 

Quilt Finishes!

First, the fun!  January is always a bit quieter with the kids’ schedules, and I get a little time to catch up on projects.  I was super excited to finish this Spin! quilt I started last May.  All it needs now is a label and a ride to its new home.

Second, I finished this year’s kindergarten quilt project for the kids’ school.  Every year, the kindergarten classes bring in special squares of fabric from home. Then they make handprints in class. I get to take the fabric and handprints and turn them into baby quilts.  Our church’s Gabriel Project then delivers the quilts to expectant mommies in tough situations.  I know the babies will love the bright colors, and I hope the moms and dads will feel wrapped in the love and support of our community when they use the quilts.

Finally, I made some long-overdue progress on my sister’s double wedding ring quilt.  I am NEARLY halfway to having all of the blocks made.  Hey, it’s all about the degrees of doneness, right?

 

 

Business Goals Accomplished!

By now, I hope you’ve noticed some new changes to the website.  I’m working hard to really develop consistent branding between the website, my patterns, and upcoming book.  I’m certainly still learning, and would welcome your comments and suggestions for ways to improve the website. Next month, I’m planning to refresh the Japanese Quilting Study Group pages and make them easier to navigate. Then I hope to set up a more user-friendly means of accessing all the fun tutorials I’ve created over the years.  There’s a bunch of them, some even I had forgotten about!

I’m also really stoked about our new facebook group for Janome Artistic Quilter SD users.  If you haven’t yet, please sign up!  Even if you own a different sit-down longarm, I think the group will be beneficial as we all share tips and tricks to make using these machines simpler and more fun.

 

What’s on Tap for February?

If you’re following along with the 2017 UFO Challenge from All People Quilt, the number for February is 8.  I admit, I groaned at that one.  My #8 is quite literally the oldest UFO on my list.  I inherited this quilt top from grandmother. She started making it in the early ’80s for my aunt.  It’s all hand applique, and way out of my usual comfort zone.  However, I know both my aunt and I will be tickled pink to see this quilt complete.  This is the year, and I am determined to complete this quilty goal!

Along with my UFO progress in February, I will start sharing some sneak peeks of my book, Adventures in Hexagons, coming out in May.  I will also post about a couple of FANTASTIC products from the Daylight company. Finally, I’ll be releasing a new quilt pattern, and a mini-version of the pattern. Here’s a little sneak peek of the mini version:

 

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the blog, and follow along on social media so you don’t miss out on any of the fun stuff!

What are your quilty goals for February?

Happy Stitching!

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

 

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 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quilting in Boxes

This is my first time to write a post from my cell phone, so it will be brief. We’re in the middle of a move, and don’t have computers set up yet.

Studio and kitchen, however, are functional! Here’s a sneak peek of the new studio. I love all the space, and the lighting is amazing!new studio

Hopefully I’ll have more fun stuff to share next week, but right now my progress is limited to an un-photogenic stack of empty boxes.

Happy Stitching!

Happy New Year- and EU VAT Update

Wow, 2015 already!! I hope you’re spending the new year sewing.  I’ve got a pile of little taupe hexie flowers all ready for stitching, so I think I’ll ring in the new year with them!!

And before I forget to mention it, I did find a way (with a LOT of help from PayPal customer service) to allow international non-EU digital sales.  If you’re in the EU, please know your favorite quilt stores can still order paper copies of my patterns for you.  And I will be keeping close tabs on these new laws to figure out if and when I can resume digital sales there.  But if you live anywhere else in the world, my digital patterns are still available to you through Craftsy!

So, back to the bright new year. . . .I have so many exciting plans for this year.  The Japanese Quilting Study Group will continue, and I’ll be featuring three prominent Japanese quilters, and their excellent books shown below.  As soon as Teresa Wong’s lovely book is released, we’ll be posting about that one too.

2015 books

 

 

 

 

 

New patterns are already in the works.  I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Andover again on some of these. And my one real resolution for the new year is getting back to tutorials on the blog again.  I really dropped the ball on that last year, but I’ve got some fun projects in the wings all ready to photograph and share.

And finally, I need you to hold me accountable on something. . . I’ve been lurking on Spoonflower for months, admiring all the beautiful designs.  And I really, really want to start designing my own fabrics. How cool would that be?  I know posting this on the blog will inspire me to post updates along the way, and actually commit to this idea.  But if you don’t see anything on this subject for a couple of months, e-mail me and say “hey!  Where’s the fabric design ideas?!?”  If this is something you want to try too,  I highly recommend A Field Guide to Fabric Design.

So what are your hopes and goals for the new year?

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

New EU VAT Regulations

Less than a week until Christmas, and I have no handmade project pictures for you! I am working on gifties, but several recipients read this blog, so most are going to be shown in the new year.

Much of my time this past week has not been spent sewing, unfortunately.  Through blogging friends I learned about some imminent changes in European Union tax laws that even effect American designers. These laws place several new responsibilities on me as a seller, which include assessing the exact location of the buyer, storing personal information about each customer for ten years, and making sure that taxes assessed get to the correct country.

Until I understand these responsibilities fully, I have to suspend all digital sales to EU customers. At this time, my only means of preventing those sales is to block ALL non-US transactions on my Craftsy platform.

If you don’t live in the US, and would like to purchase one of my Craftsy patterns, they will only be available for purchase until December 27 (and of course, if you’ve bought one already, it will always be available to you!) 

I sincerely hope to find a way through this situation soon, and that I can go back to offering digital international sales.  That’s the whole reason I went digital in the first place!

In the meantime, I wish you a weekend of fun sewing, and time with friends!  I’m planning to baste a quilt (or three!), sew microwave cozies (my own tutorial coming soon!), and get our home decorated for Christmas!

Happy Stitching!

emily

Follow Me on Bloglovin’

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’ve been using Bloglovin for the blogs I read since Google Reader went away.  But it wasn’t until my good friend Teresa mentioned putting the widget on the blog that I realized people could sign up with a single click! When I find blogs I want to follow, I go into my feed, edit blogs I follow, search for the new one I want to add, then follow.  This is SO much easier!!

Happy dance!

So, if you’d like to follow me on bloglovin, now you can just click the link above, or the button to the right.