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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!!


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.


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.

How to Fix Puckers While Free-Motion Quilting

While working on my Little House on the Prairie quilts for Market, I accidentally messed up the quilting.  Badly. You know how they always say to work from the center of your quilt outwards while machine quilting? I missed a spot.  Literally one little 4 1/2” block smack in the center of the quilt.  And when I went to fill it in, it created a huge pucker as I moved toward a densely quilted area.


The seam ripper is pointing at the impending pucker.  The two-dimensional photograph does not do it justice, this was turning into a huge ridge.  And you can see how wonky my stitching was leading up to it as I noticed the problem.  So I took the quilt off the machine, and ripped out that ugly stitching.  Then the block was completely unquilted.





pucker2Then I pinned that block down with straight pins (not the curved safety pins I usually use for basting).  I tried to mitigate the puckering by spacing it out between each of the pins. Then I put it back on the machine, and quilted SUPER SLOWLY.  I was terrified of running over those pins.  I also started on the side of the block where the pucker was worst (on the right hand side, instead of on the left where I started the first time).




pucker3When it was finished, it still didn’t lay perfectly flat.  But it was hardly noticeable when I stepped back from the quilt.  Whew!!

Do you ever get puckers when free-motion quilting?  How do you avoid them in the first place, or fix them once they’re inevitable?




Happy Stitching!



Craft Fair and Pattern Display Mini-Tutorial

I officially survived my first craft fair!  Overall, it was a lot of fun, and I learned a ton.  And came home and promptly fell asleep on the couch.  It’s amazing how exhausting standing and smiling can be!

finished booth








In all my internet and pinterest searches of craft fair displays, I found very little about how to display patterns.  So I brainstormed ideas with my friend Elizabeth, and we came up with this simple and effective way to display patterns.  I purchased a portable easel from JoAnn’s with a 40% off coupon, so the display came out to less than $30.

First, I took a foam core board, pack of stick-on hangers, and several patterns to get a sense of the hanger placement.

supplies for pattern board






I set up the patterns on the board, and visually estimated spacing between them.  Then I stuck on the hangers, using the lines on the foam core as a guide for hanging them straight.  After applying the hangers, I waited for the half-hour recommended on the packaging before testing out the new board.







It worked wonderfully!  Best of all, it’s reusable, and I can switch out whatever patterns I want to highlight.

patttern display








And finally, I used this fun tutorial to make a little half-apron for the event.  It was perfect for holding change, a calculator, and a pen.  Yes, I could have bought a plain one.  But it was fun to make, and the coffee fabric was another visual connection to my brand.  The tutorial was pretty simple to follow.  I’ll definitely be using this again!







The best part of this show was the opportunity to talk to people in person about quilting.  I love the online community, and the ability it provides to interact with quilters around the globe.  But it was a real treat to watch people come up to the booth, touch the quilts, and talk about memories they had of family members and quilts.

And now that I’ve been through the craft show process on a small scale, I’m looking forward to vending at local quilt shows. . . and maybe Quilt Market, someday!

Stay tuned for more fun coming soon on the blog.  I can’t wait to show you some progress on the Hexagon and Rail Fence quilt, and next Wednesday is my tour stop on the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 Blog Tour!!!!  Happiness 🙂







Here’s the magazine cover:  My block  is in under the letter “B” in “Blocks”,  third block down.








Can’t wait to share more with you soon!

Happy Stitching!





Simple Bowl Cozy Tutorial

Back before Christmas, I posted about making some fun bowl cozies.  I made a bunch more for Christmas gifts.  Which was all well and good, except for one major problem.  I broke TWO of my heavy-duty, Titanium sewing machine needles on the final round of topstitching.  Not cool.

So I started wondering- was there some way to make the cozies WITHOUT having to turn them right-side out and topstitch the opening closed over all those layers of batting and fabric?

Bowl Cozy






Yes.  There is.  And the added bonus to this method is you get a schnazzy little border along the top of the cozy that makes it look all spiffy.  So here’s my tutorial for simple bowl cozies.  A huge thank-you to Andover Fabrics for providing the lovely Allison Glass Sunprint fabrics that you see in the pictures below.








  • One 10″ square fabric (leftover layer cake squares work great)
  • One 12″ square fabric (this will be the outside of the cozy and the border layer)
  • Two 10″ squares of Pellon Wrap ‘n’ Zap batting (hint:  a one yard package will make six cozies)
  • 100% cotton thread
  • Template plastic- this is optional, but may be handy if you’re going to make a bunch of these.
  • Clover wonder clips- also optional, but they certainly make life easier


1. Layer one square of batting and the 10″ square of fabric- wrong side touching batting.  Pin baste.


2. Center second square of batting on the wrong side of the 12″ square of batting. Pin baste.

basting 12 inch







3. Quilt both squares.  On the 12″ square, don’t quilt beyond the batting (i.e.- on the fabric that extends past the batting). You can free-motion quilt these, or do straight lines, anything goes here.







4. Make a dart template from my dart template (it’s free, just a little one page document I created instead of explaining the dimensions of the triangle). You can make yours with template plastic, or just cut it out from plain paper.

5. Fold the 10″ square in half through the middle of the sides right sides together, and line up the template along the folded edge.  Mark a dart on the top and bottom sides.  Make sure the top of the dart is aligned with the middle line of the template.  Unfold the square and refold through the middle of the other two sides.  Mark darts on each end of the fold again.

10 inch template






6.  In the same manner, mark darts on the 12″ square.  This time, however, align your template top with the top of the fabric square.

marking darts







darts marked 12 inch








7.  Sew darts, stitching on the line you traced in steps above.

sew darts






8.  Trim excess fabric from darts, leaving about a 1/4″ allowance between your seam and cutting line.

clip darts






9. Press dart seam allowances open.

10.  Take both squares and line them up so that the batting squares are aligned.

wrong sides together















11.  Now you’re going to double fold that extra fabric from the 12″ square to create your border.  I find it easier to start this at a dart.  Fold the extra fabric so that it touches your 10″ square.

center first fold







12.  Now fold the 12″ square fabric again so that the fold overlaps the 10″ square fabric.  Pin in place, or hold with clover wonder clips.  Continue folding and pinning until you reach the corner.

center clip







13.  As you turn the corner, fold the next edge of fabric into a small triangle that touches the 10″ square.  Fold again to create a mitered corner.  I like to pin at the very edge of this corner so that when I’m sewing the border down, I don’t have to remove the clip until my needle is in the fabric on the second side.

corner fold






corner clipped







14. Continue folding and pinning around the other three sides of the cozy.

all clipped







15. Topstitch all the way around your cozy, keeping your needle a scant 1/8″ from the fold line.

finished two







16.  Enjoy your new bowl cozy!

17.  Try it with a yummy bowl of baked oatmeal from this terrific recipe.








Cozy can be machine washed and dried.

Happy Stitching!





Blog hop and “Pin it” Pincushion Tutorial

Hello!  If you’re stopping by from the Quilting Gallery Give Thanks blog hop, welcome to the Caffeinated Quilter!!  I’m so glad you’re here.  (And if you’re a regular, I’m really glad you’re here too!  Bear with me through the introduction, and we’ll get to some fun stuff and a giveaway!)

This blog is home to fun quilting and crafting tutorials, quirky patterns, all things hexagon, and the occasional accounting of my adventures in quilting while caring for five small children.  Click on the tutorials category to the right to see some of my posts, mostly pertaining to mug rugs and kanzashi flowers.  You can click on the Craftsy icon on the right to explore my downloadable patterns.  And you can stay right here for today’s tutorial and giveaway!

I’m so excited about this silly little pincushion tutorial.  It makes me smile each time I look at it.  Matter of fact, I’m renaming it.  Not a pincushion, but a pun-cushion.   Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, my “Pin it” puncushion:

Pin-it-pincushionYes, I did get permission from Pinterest to make this, although my use of their logo in no way means they endorse my blog or anything like that.  Would you like to make one too?  Here’s how I did it.

First, visit the branding guidelines pinterest page and download the graphics- you may need to scroll down the page for the pin-it graphic (you can get a grey and white version too, if you don’t have a color printer).

Next, copy the graphic into your favorite software.  I used Adobe In-Design, but you could use Word, Publisher, or any format that will let you place a picture and print.  Make sure you have ample white space all the way around the logo.  For the one pictured, I used an image size of 1″ by 2.75″, and cut the rectangle 3.5″ by 5″.

Then, get a sheet of printable fabric paper.  After trying June Taylor and Electric Quilt versions, may I recommend the EQ version?  You can see how badly the ink bled on the June Taylor one.  Although, to be fair, I used the June Taylor for an entire quilt this summer, and had no such problems.  Print your logo and follow the injet fabric paper instructions to set the ink.


Next, cut out your rectangle, and a second piece of fabric for the backing.  I cut mine to 3.5″ by 5″.

Place the two pieces right sides together, and sew around the rectangle with a quarter-inch seam allowance.  Leave an opening on the side for turning (much less obvious than leaving the top or bottom open).


Clip corners.

Turn right side out, and push out the corners with a bamboo stiletto.  Press.  Press the open edge as well, matching up the quarter-inch seam allowance.


Fill pincushion with stuffing, using your stiletto again to get the stuffing into the corners.  I used some Sweet Dreams stuffing from Quilter’s Dream batting.  I got this as a free sample at Market.  It’s really soft and lovely.  I recommend it!


Hand sew the opening shut with a ladder stitch.  I don’t recommend machine topstitching to close the gap because the printable fabric is a bit stiffer than normal fabric, and topstitching makes big, noticeable holes.


Enjoy your puncushion!

And please leave me a comment below telling me your favorite fall beverage.  (Mine is a Starbuck’s gingerbread latte.  Seriously yummy!)  I’ll randomly pick one comment on Monday, November 26.  The winner will recieve his/her choice of one of my latest patterns (Metacognition, Japanese Garden, or Colossal Peppermints).  Make sure you include your e-mail address so I can contact you!  Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Happy Stitching!


Hugs and Kisses Coasters


Earlier this week, I recieved a lovely e-mail from someone looking for easy English paper piecing ideas.  She needed a project that could be finished in less than two hours with a group of sewists.

So my brain started spinning on all sorts of fun ideas.  Hexagons were an obvious choice, except that to really explore hexie possibilities, you need a bunch of them.  Suddenly, the 1″ honeycombs I had bought for my Patchwork of the Crosses quilt came to mind, and the mini-tute below is the result of that inspiration.  All told, the two coasters took me about three hours to design and finish, but that also includes time spent with my two youngest kiddos, who of course needed play time, lunch and naps as soon as the ideas struck.



2 1/2″ strip of fabric

Felt in two colors, 5 x 10″ rectangle of each

1″ honeycomb papers

fusible webbing

glue pen

hand sewing supplies

rotary cutter and mat (rotating works wonderfully for this)

Acrylic ruler (4 1/2″ square makes life super easy, but any size will work)

1. Place a paper piece on your fabric strip and cut approximately 1/4″ away from the paper on all sides.  Please ignore the pink fabric for anything but demonstration purposes, I did not end up using it in the finished coasters.  Cut out 8 honeycombs.


2.  Baste honeycomb fabric pieces to paper pieces.  I used a sewline glue pen for this step, but any basting method works.  Below you can see my basted honeycombs with my first layout idea (yes, directly from Lucy Boston’s patchwork of the crosses.)  I then scrapped the pink honeycombs for a simpler coaster.


3.  Sew shapes together, either in a cross or circle pattern.  Press thoroughly.  If you used a glue pen, you can then starch the back of your sewn piece, press again, and the glue should come right off.  The starch also helps keep your edges nice and crisp.


4.  Cut out two 4 1/2″ squares of felt from one color.  Applique your cross from step 3 to one square, and the circle to the other square.

5.  Trim up your felt (just in case you didn’t get the design on perfectly straight.  Mine were kinda wonky at first), so that the felt extends 1/4″ beyond the straight edges of the design.

6.  Cut the other piece of felt into two 4 1/2″ squares.  Using fusible webbing or a running stitch (I used fusible webbing), attach the backing felt squares to the squares from step 5.

7.  Ta da!  A cute and fun coaster set.  Wouldn’t these be great in red and pink for Valentine’s day?  Or you could make four of each, and have a tic-tac-toe board all ready for your coffee table. . . .


Happy Stitching!



Sweet Strawberry Pincushion Tutorial


I’ve been on a bit of a pincushion kick lately.  Today I’ll show you how to make a darling little strawberry with a couple of great tools.  These are so quick and easy to make!  My daughter and her best friend made the “blueberries” (as pictured in the top of the picture above).


Let’s get started!  You will need:


A 4 1/2 inch square of red or pink fabric, a 2 1/2 by 7 inch scrap of green fabric, stuffing, a Clover heart shaped yo-yo maker (I used the large size), a small Kanzashi flower maker (daisy, pointed or gathered shape), a bottle cap (found in the jewelry section of most craft stores), a ball chain or ribbon, hot glue, hand sewing needle, strong thread and thimble

1. Make a heart yo-yo according to the Clover instructions, using the square of red fabric and a LONG thread, and stopping once you’ve partly gathered the yo-yo.


HINT:  you can use the outer part of the yo-yo maker to “fussy cut” a motif on the center of your strawberry.


2.  Fill the yo-yo with about a silver dollar sized wad of batting.  Be sure to get batting in the curved upper part of the heart.


3. Gather the stitching tightly, and knot the thread near the opening on the yo-yo (it’s okay if the batting shows here, just focus on a pretty shaped heart from the other side).



4.  Make three Kanzashi petals from the green fabric.  The second picture in this step shows how the pointed, daisy, and gathered petals look, respectively.

leaves leaf-options

5. Hand sew the petals to the back of the strawberry.


6. Hot glue the strawberry to the bottle cap.  HINT:  Place the bottle cap on a flat surface.  Apply hot glue to the back of the yo-yo and petals, then press firmly onto the bottle cap.  Resist the urge to pick up the bottle cap and press it to the petal, because hot glue + metal= burned fingers.  Don’t ask how I know this!


7. Attach a ball chain or ribbon to the loop on the bottle cap, fasten to your sewing box, and you’re ready to roll!


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  If strawberries aren’t your thing, check back early next week for another cute pincushion tutorial.

Happy Stitching!



Designing Octagon Quilts with EQ and Inklingo- Part 3

For the past week, I’ve showed you how to design a small octagon quilt in Electric Quilt, and print the shapes from the Inklingo free shape collection and Periwinkle Octagon collection.  Today, we’ll assemble those pieces into a cute little tabletop quilt.


Let’s get started!

1. Assemble kites and diamonds into units.  For the four pointed stars, sew two kites together along a short side.  Repeat for a second pair.  Join the two pairs along the straight side.  For the octagon kites, sew a diamond to each side of the star (this seam can be sewn continuously).


2.  Press the center seam of the kites clockwise.  Then press the seams with the diamonds counterclockwise.


3. You will also need to sew partial kites for the edges of the quilt.  In the first row, sew two sets of three white kites, one set of three light blue kites, and two pairs of light blue kites.


4. Join the first row as shown. This seam can be sewn continuously. Pay careful attention to your star layout as you sew each octagon into the quilt.  It’s very easy to turn the stars around.


5. Layout kites for the second row.


6.  Join kites to first row.


7. Repeat for the rest of the quilt following the EQ layout.



8. Now you’ll need to trim the edges of the quilt to square.  Press your quilt THOROUGHLY so the extra edges of the kites are straight.  Then take a clear ruler with quarter inch markings and line the quarter inch line up with the center of the kites.  Trim along this line.



9.  Layer your quilt top with batting and backing, and quilt as desired.  I quilted wavy lines that stopped where the fabric changed colors to enhance the “woven” idea of the quilt.



10. Bind your quilt.  I used two strips, 1 1/2″ by width of fabric to bind the quilt with a single fold binding.



11.  Now your quilt is ready to enjoy, in plenty of time for Flag Day and the Fourth of July!

If you make a quilt from this tutorial, I’d love to see it! E-mail me a picture at emily@thecaffeinatedquilter.com


Happy Stitching!


Designing Octagon Quilts with EQ and Inklingo- Part Two

Have you been playing with the blocks we designed last week?  I did some searching on Pinterest, and found lots of great periwinkle quilts.  Check out my board for some great inspiration.  These shapes have so many more possibilites than I’d first realized.  I think I’ll be doing a full-sized design one of these days.  But for now, let’s play some more with the “Long May She Weave” table topper.

Today we’ll take the block from last post, place it in a quilt and cut out our kites and diamonds.

1. Open your EQ file from last week. Click the Work on Quilt button, and set up a quilt with a horizontal layout, 4 by 4 blocks.

2. Place your block from last week in the 16 block spaces (you can do this all at once by holding down the control key as you place a block in the first space.)

3. Recolor your patches as desired.  I used the layout below to create a woven effect.


4.  For my quilt, I used red, dark blue, light blue and cream.  However, when I colored the quilt in EQ, I used two shades of red and two of cream, since both of those colors have kites and diamonds in my layout.  I used one shade of red and cream for the kites, and a different one for the diamonds, to make the next step simpler.

5. To calculate how many shapes you’ll need to print with Inklingo, go to File>Print>Fabric Yardage>Preview.  This will show you all the patches of each color in the quilt.



6.  For all the kite shapes, divide this patch count by two (remember, in the EQ block we’re technically using “half kites” to make the block edges simpler, but in the actual quilt you’ll be working with full kites).  I love using this patch count in simple hexagon quilts, but for this quilt I had to really double check the numbers against the diagram.  For example, the light blue kites have lots of partials in the corners and borders of the quilt.

7.  Here are my adjusted patch count totals:

40 light blue kites

20 Red kites

32 Dark blue kites

20 Cream kites

32 Red diamonds

32 Cream diamonds

8.  You can make this quilt really scrappy if you like, but if you go with four colors like mine, you’ll need:  12″ by 40″ light blue, 12.25″ by 40″ of red, 12.25″ by 40″ of cream, and 12″ by 20″ of dark blue.

9.  Print your shapes on your fabric with Inklingo.  If you need help with this step, there are LOTS of good tutorials and advice on the Inklingo website.

Later this week, I’ll show you how I turned all these fun kites and diamonds into a finished table top quilt.

Happy Stitching!