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A LOVERLY Valentine’s Day to You!

Today I would like to introduce you to Loverly, a sweet and simple table runner featured in my new book, Adventures in Hexagons!


Although this table runner appears at the beginning of the book, I designed it at the end of the book creating process.  When I started reviewing projects and instructions, I realized that I needed a simple project to introduce concepts before leaping straight in to larger quilts.

Here’s a picture from IG when I first started working on the project. Hard to imagine that was already more than a year ago!  Such a challenge to keep projects a secret!!

 

Multi-Size hexagon blocks

Loverly plays with two block sizes from the book: Singles and Triples. I love the ability to feature different sizes of design elements in a hexagon quilt.  No one-patch layouts here! The mini-quilts below illustrate the concept of varying sizes of hexagon motifs. I’ll introduce you to the other three motifs in later posts. Every quilt in my book draws from this concept of using fabric placement to convey the idea of multi-sized elements.

 

This fall, I hope to start teaching classes from my book.  I’m making two more color versions of Loverly: one patriotic, and one in harvest colors, to use as class samples.  I’m piecing mine by hand, because I love the simple rhythm of hand-sewing. However, you could just as easily make this runner with Inklingo, English Paper Piecing, or by machine.

What’s your favorite way to sew hexagons?

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

 

 

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.

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

 

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

 

May is for Makers Week 4

We are in the home stretch of getting kiddos finished with school for the year, and after this week, it will officially be summer around here.  I’m looking forward to the less-structured routines.  Can’t honestly say it will be calmer though, with all 5 of my kiddos home full-time 🙂 But it will be wonderful.

I’ve really been enjoying this May is for Makers campaign.  Usually, I can only justify buying a pattern if it’s for something I’m making to give away.  Most of these purchases are turning into quilts I want to keep, and today’s buy is no different.

Prism ParkwaySassafras Lane designs always catch my eye.  I have the full-size Prism Parkway from an old Quiltmaker issue, which I fully intend to make. . .someday.  When they published a mini-version, it was just too cute to resist.  Plus, it will help thin my overflowing turquoise and white scrap bins.  These paper pieced blocks are so tiny, I figured I could use them as leaders and enders for two bigger paper pieced projects in my near future.

 

 

 

rebeltopMy Rebel mini-quilt from two weeks ago is progressing well.  All it needs now is a rockin’ quilt job, and it will be ready to hang in my studio.  This was a FUN project to work on.  I didn’t stress overmuch about perfect piecing, but these little 2” blocks still turned out pretty evenly, if I do say so myself.

 

SpinAnd the Spin! quilt from my first purchase is still moving along, albeit slowly.  12 blocks done (shown), and the remaining 24 are nearly halfway done.

That’s it for me this week!  So glad I’m just doing fun stitching for now, and not on any big deadlines, because the time in the studio has been sparse these past couple of weeks.  How about you? Are you kicking the summer off with fun new projects, or wrapping up older stuff?

Happy Stitching!!

emily

 

 

May is for Makers- Week 3

Woo hoo, I’m blogging on a Monday!!  AAAND, I’ve already made up the pattern I bought for this week’s May is for Makers purchase.  It’s just a little something, really.

bird

I saw these patterns from Tiny Toffee Designs on someone else’s May is for Makers post, and instantly fell in love.  Paper pieced hexies?!? Yes, please! (And no, I did NOT piece this by hand– but my thimble was the best visual reference I could come up with to show you the small scale of this project– that’s a 1” hexagon!!)

 

There are several other paper pieced hexie collections besides this one that are all equally darling in the Tiny Toffee Designs Etsy shop (link above).

Tiny Toffee Designs pattern

I struggled a little with the pattern.  I’m not a veteran foundation paper piecer by any stretch of the imagination, and there’s not a ton of instruction besides the actual foundation paper pattern.  Next time, I think I will color in my foundation before I start to piece.  I sewed the tiny orange scrap in two wrong places before I finally figured it all out.  But that may just be me.  Thankfully, there’s not a lot of unstitching to do when you sew one of these seams wrong.

I also made some progress on my mini-Rebel quilt.  I can’t wait to have this one finished and up in my studio.  It’s been a really fun pattern to piece, kind of like a puzzle coming together.  And the instructions are fantastic.  She does a really good job of keeping you organized with all the different blocks, even when the colors are different from her sample.

 

Rebel mini progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what are you stitching this week?  Something fun, I hope!  Stay tuned, I’ve almost got a linky system set up for the blog, which means we’ll start the Japanese Quilting Study Group Sew Along VERY soon!!!

Happy Stitching!

emily

Japanese Quilting Study Group- A Quilt Finish

If you’ve been following this series, you’ve seen a LOT of pictures of my Hexagon and Rail Fence quilt (made from a Yoko Saito design in her book, My Quilting Life).

Journey quilt

Today, that quilt is finished, and I am both happy and sad.  Happy with the way it came out, and with all I learned through the process of making it. Sad that it’s finished and will no longer be my quiet stitching” project at the end of each day.

I decided to call the quilt “Journey”, for a number of reasons.  One, it has been a long journey to make this quilt, much different from the journey of following an American pattern.  Believe it or not, the instructions for this quilt were about 5 pages long, including diagrams.  Especially since I made the quilt bigger than the directions, and because the pattern was written in metric measurements, there was quite a bit of math involved to get it all right.

Journey label

And the other reason for the name is that this quilt is going on a journey.  It will be traveling with my good friend Teresa Wong as she presents book tours across the country for her wonderful new book.  Sometimes I wish my quilts could talk, and tell me all about their adventures!

 

Journey detail

Here’s a close-up, both of the quilting and my favorite flower in the whole quilt. That little plaid flower with the pink center just seems to twirl every time I see it, and it makes me smile.

 

 

Happy Stitching, my friends! I’m off to start a few new quilt journeys.. . .

emily

 

 

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 Blog Tour

QMMS-150044-cover_200_66012

Howdy, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour!  I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the gorgeous quilts and blocks this week.  Hard to believe we’re already halfway through the tour!

 

 

 

hexadaisy for QuiltmakerMy block, Hexadaisy, can be found on page 30.  It’s a fun combination of English paper piecing and simple pinwheel patchwork.

 

 

 

Since the daisy petal shapes are a bit different from normal hexagons, I thought I’d share a tip for basting:

bastingCut out a rectangle roughly 1/4″ larger than the petal shape, and baste the rectangle instead of trying to cut out 1/4″ all the way around the shape.  It’s much easier to work with! Also, basting with thread (instead of glue), and NOT basting through the paper works best for this project.  Since the petals will be appliqued to the base, you can press the paper piecing and pull out the papers.  The basting stitches remain in place to make the applique easier.

My original block was made from all American Made Brand solids.  I love the vibrant colors.  Solids are also fantastic for EPP, because it doesn’t matter which side of the fabric gets basted.

I’m also a huge Downton Abbey fan, so when the time came to make a quilt from my block, I delved into my treasured stash of Downton Abbey fabrics from Andover.  I wanted to make a whole quilt of hexadaisy blocks, but time was against me.  So I made one block and surrounded it with a fun arrangement of 6 inch half-square triangles.

Hexadaisy close-up

 

 

 

 

 

Hexadaisy quilt

 

 

 

To make the pinwheels twirl, I quilted them with large spirals, and filled in the spaces with stippling for a bit of texture. Even with the EPP, this quilt went together surprisingly quickly.

Hexadaisy quilting

So, how about you?  Are you ready to take your own hexadaisy for a spin?  Quiltmaker will be giving a copy of the current issue to one reader from my blog.  To enter,  leave a comment below.  Are you a fan of English paper piecing? Or English period dramas? Or both?

 

For an extra chance to win, “like” The Caffeinated Quilter on Facebook, and let me know in the comments below.

Happy Stitching!

emily

Hexagon Troubleshooting

The other evening, I decided to sew some of my hexagons together for the Hexagon and Fence Post quilt.  (You can read more about that quilt here.)

You would think, by now, that I know how to sew hexagons together correctly.  But this layout is kind of weird, in that you sew rows of flowers together along two hexagon sides, and then lay them on an angle for the border.

So I sewed two rows.  Each time, I lined up the rosettes so I was sewing two hexagons on each rosette.  Here’s how it looked:

orientation wrong

 

 

 

 

 

I spent a good thirty minutes looking at those two rows.  They were not going to fit together, and I was completely baffled as to why they wouldn’t fit.  Then my sweet husband asked what was wrong, and figured it out in about thirty seconds.  (He’s an engineer.  And far more detail-oriented than me, evidently).

Apparently, you can sew two rosettes along two hexagons two different ways. If you look only at the center hexagon, it’s easier to see, at least for me.  In one of my rows, the centers were on point. On the other, they were flat across the top.  So essentially, that row of three was sloping up, while the longer (correct) row was sloping down.  Here’s a picture with the centers oriented the same:

centers same

 

 

 

 

 

Truth be told, I’m glad to have this all settled out now, instead of a couple of months down the road, when all 130 hexie flowers were sewn together.  I made a new row of three:

corrected row

 

 

 

 

 

Took the old one apart, and then kept on rolling.  Now I have the entire top left corner of the quilt done.

upper corner

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever sewn hexies together wrong?  Or is it just me?!

Happy Stitching!

emily

2014 Fall Quilt Market Impressions

Fall Quilt Market was fantastic.  I’m still mentally processing everything, and taking notes about conversations I want to remember. Today I wanted to share some of my personal favorite Market moments, and I’ll post more in a couple of days on specific topics (like my hands-on research of various mid-arm quilt machines, and detailed information about new products.)

First up, some fun pictures.  I made a beeline for the Clothworks booth, and finally got to meet the lovely Candice Hoffman in person.  She’s just as exuberant in person as she is over e-mail.  Here’s the American Made Brand display:

AMB booth Fall 2014 Quilt Market
AMB booth Fall 2014 Quilt Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, that’s Pinwheel Jam on the right-hand wall.  So fun!!!  And they’re introducing 12 new solids next year.

In other American Made Brand news, I got a picture with the license plate quilt from last summer’s blog tour.  It was so incredible to see all the blocks up close, especially after reading about each participant’s inspiration and design process during the blog tour.

AMB blog tour quilt
AMB blog tour quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the delightful things about Market is getting to wander the quilt exhibits in relative calm and quiet.  During Festival, there are so many people admiring the quilts that it’s hard to just experience the displays.

Here’s my Hoffman Challenge quilt.  I still can’t believe I actually have a quilt on display at International Quilt Festival.

Emily Breclaw Hoffman Challenge Quilt 2014
Emily Breclaw Hoffman Challenge Quilt 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also got to meet up with Teresa Wong and see her ah-maz-ing hand appliqued quilt in the “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs” exhibit.  Pictures fail to convey the intricacy of this gorgeous quilt.  For more about the exhibit and her design inspiration, check out her blog post here.  Getting to meet Teresa in person and visit for a while was one of the absolute highlights of the weekend.

Teresa Wong with her quilt, "Wanna Cookie?" in the "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" exhibit
Teresa Wong with her quilt, “Wanna Cookie?” in the “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs” exhibit

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last, but not least, a sneak preview of the stuff that came home with me from Market. I picked up the book from Quilt Mania, and plan to include some extensive reviews of it for next year’s Japanese Quilting Study Group posts.  The thread came from Colonial Needle.  I had a chance to visit with the fabulous owners of that company while also meeting up with Anne Beier of Hudson Valley Quilts.  (Again, so wonderful to meet up with a friend from the online world!)

Fall 2014 Market goodies

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left. . . yes, those little templates are getting their own blog post.  Soon.  Marti Michell made hexagon kites and thirds!!!I am over-the-moon about these templates.  Now you can make Doodlebug Garden entirely with acrylic templates!! (Before, you had to use my paper templates for the crowns to make the ladybugs.)  So very, very, very exciting!!  My mind is spinning on all sorts of new design possibilities with these shapes.

So, that’s my *brief* recap of Market experiences.  More soon.  But for now, I have a bit of hand-sewing left to do for this month’s Japanese Quilting Study Group.  Post by Friday, I promise 🙂

Happy Stitching!

emily