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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!!

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 5- Wrap-up!

Welcome back to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long! If you’re new to the series, please check out the previous posts (cuttingpiecingpiecing rows,  pressing). You can find the pattern for the quilt in my book, Adventures in Hexagons.

Today we’re wrapping up the series.  I’m not quite finished with mine yet, as you can see by the binding clips.  But I really wanted to hand-sew these bindings, so it’s taking me a little longer to finish. Here’s both of my Loverly versions I’ve been working on, plus the original.  Isn’t it fun to see how color changes the look of a quilt?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the fall color version, I stitched an allover leaf pattern.  It was so fun to stitch out, and an open enough design that I could avoid seam intersections easily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my patriotic version, I quilted free-form feathers.  This was my first real attempt at quilting feathers, so I’m glad I used a subtle colored thread. But overall, I’m tickled with how it turned out. It definitely kept the theme of the fabric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How is your Loverly turning out? Please post pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #loverlytablerunner, and tag me @thecaffeinatedquilter. You can also join the Adventures in Hexagons facebook group and post pictures there.  I love seeing your creations!!  Thanks for sewing along with me!

Stay tuned to the blog over the next couple of weeks, I’ve got some special Market updates to share with you (warning: it’s almost all about Yoko Saito.  My goal is to make the blog posts feel as if you were actually at her schoolhouse sessions and the evening event with her.) And next week will be my stop on the Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks blog tour, so lots of giveaway fun there.

 

Happy Stitching!!!

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 4- Preparing to Quilt

Welcome back to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long! If you’re new to the series, please check out the previous posts (cutting, piecing, piecing rows,  pressing). You can find the pattern for the quilt in my book, Adventures in Hexagons. This week we’re talking about quilting your table runner, and next week we’ll wrap up the series with some photo finishes! And after that, I can start telling you all about Quilt Market. It will be the return of the Japanese Quilting Study Group series. I met Yoko Saito, and boy, do I have a lot of wonderful information and images to share with you!

But for today, let’s focus on Loverly.  We will meet our goal of finishing before Christmas! Last week I said I was curious whether hand or machine piecing really was faster. I sewed the rows of the orange version together by machine, and it took me 40 minutes to sew two entire rows. Hand-piecing on the blue one took me 40 minutes for one row. So, for me at least, machine piecing is twice as fast. However, I have to note that it took three days before I had a 40 minute block of time to sit at my sewing machine, by which time I had finished several of the rows in “found moments” by hand. Food for thought!

 

I’ve been thinking long and hard about quilting designs.  I quilted the original Loverly in curliques, and I love the flexibility of that pattern (i.e.- you can avoid big seam intersections pretty easily, as I did in this close-up shot. If you can avoid quilting through those star points, do!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately I’ve been having fun with big pebble quilting, so that’s a contender, but doesn’t really seem to fit the piece. . .. .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These blues look so romantic, I’m tempted to go all swirly on this one. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaves would be a challenge for me, but they would help tie the fall-themed fabrics together. . ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many fun choices! What are your favorite quilting designs? Be sure to check out my Instagram feed for progress pictures as I start quilting these this week. (not on Instagram? No worries- the bottom of my shop page always shows the most recent posts, so you can see them there too!) And next week, we’ll have a finishing party. Wahoo!

Happy Stitching!!

 

Update on the Loverly Quilt-a-Long

Soo, I decided to give y’all an extra week to finish up piecing your Loverly table topper!  (Yeah, that’s it. .  .and I’m kind of too swamped with Quilt Market prep to finish a real post this week. . . ) My apologies for the delay, but we’ll get back to quilting on it next week, I promise!

In the meantime, piecing leads to pressing, and if you’re hand or machine piecing, you may be wondering how to press your seams (if you’re English Paper piecing, you can skip this, you’re all set to press in the direction you basted).

C&T to the rescue!  Check out my new video on the C&T website, and coming soon to my youtube channel, to get all of your pressing questions answered!!  (Get it? Hah! Sewing pun!!)

Happy Stitching, and PLEASE, follow me on FB and IG for lots of behind-the-scenes fun from Quilt Market this weekend!!

 

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 3

Welcome to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long!  If you’re just starting out with us, please see here for the original blog post, here for the first week’s cutting instructions, and here for piecing tips and tricks.

Originally scheduled, this week was supposed to be about quilting your Loverly table runner. I was a little overambitious in assuming I could piece two of these in a week. Although I got close, sick kids (and sick me), threw the schedule off a bit. So we’ll talk quilting next week, if that’s all right with you.

I did get both of my tops sewn into rows. After piecing the hexie blocks by hand, I sewed the straight seams of each row by machine to speed up the process.  I’m still debating whether to sew the rows together by hand or machine . . Maybe I’ll do one of each to test out which goes faster. Here’s my progress:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How is your Loverly quilt coming along? I’m loving the pictures I’m seeing on Instagram and Facebook, y’all are amazing!! And speaking of Facebook, I set up a shop page on The Caffeinated Quilter, where you can order my book or print patterns without ever leaving Facebook.  Pretty cool, huh? Have a terrific weekend!

Happy Stitching!

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 2

Welcome to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long!  If you’re just starting out with us, please see here for the original blog post, and here for the first week’s cutting instructions.

Today we’re going to start piecing our table runner.  If you’re English paper piecing, or sewing by machine, you’ll find lots of helpful information about those methods in my book, Adventures in Hexagons.

If you’re hand-piecing (there’s lots of good information in the book about that too) I’ve created two video tutorials to demonstrate the basics of hand-piecing. And without further ado, here they are:

If these are helpful to you, please consider sharing them with friends on social media.  I’m really excited about delving into video tutorials, and would greatly appreciate subscriptions on my Youtube channel.

And now, a bit of progress on my patriotic themed Loverly table runner.  I like piecing the “single” blocks first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a picture of the backs of those blocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re just finger-pressed right now, so not flat yet. I’ll press them with an iron once they’re sewn into the complete quilt, which gives me freedom to move seams out of the way as I’m attaching the blocks together.  You may note that the two star blocks are pressed in opposite directions.  While I did not do that intentionally, it won’t matter in the final quilt.  What matters is making sure all the bigger hexagons are pressed the same way.  I’ll be posting pictures of how that looks on Facebook and Instagram later this week. Creating and editing videos takes a LOT more time than I originally planned, so I’m a little behind this week.

How’s your Loverly quilt progressing? I’d love to see on IG- tag it with #loverlytablerunner and @thecaffeinatedquilter so we can see your beautiful work.  I’ve also created an Adventures in Hexagons Group on Facebook, so please join and share your pictures there as well.

Happy Stitching!

 

Loverly Quilt-a-Long Week 1

Welcome to the Loverly Quilt-a-Long! This post is part of a series, and you can read all about the series here. Hopefully you have your copy of Adventures in Hexagons, your fabrics chosen, and you’re ready to dive into the fun of cutting fabric!!

As I mentioned in my book, this project can be made in multiple different ways.  I’m hand piecing mine with acrylic templates from Marti Michell.  However, you can follow the exact same cutting instructions to English paper piece the quilt!! (Hint:  save time by purchasing the Loverly paper pack from Paper Pieces!)  All of the strip widths in the book yield shapes with a 1/4” seam allowance.  If you prefer a little more wiggle room when English paper piecing, cut your strips about 1/8” wider than the dimensions listed in the book.

For the quilt-a-long, I’m making a fall version of the Loverly table runner.  Here are all my background strips cut and ready for templates.

 

Tips for Cutting Patches

I wanted to share a trick for cutting house-half-hexagons with you.  These shapes are not specifically included in the acrylic template set, but you can cut them easy-peasy with the hexagon template. First, cut a clean straight edge at the end of your strip, using a regular rotary cutting ruler.

Now you have a good clean edge to align with the left side of the hexagon template. Make sure the point of the hexagon just touches the top of the strip.

Cut the remaining side and the “roof” of the house, and voila! A house-half-hexagon!!

Another tricky shape is the jewel. At first glance, it doesn’t appear to fit correctly on the strip, does it?  The strip width in the pattern minimizes your cutting time. First, align the jewel with one long edge of the jewel along one cut side of the strip.

Trim the long edge of the jewel as neatly as possible, and move the strip out of your way.

Next, rotate your cutting mat to cut the remainder of the jewel sides.

Now return that strip to your rotating mat, and line the template up with the long angled cut edge and the edge of the template. Trim remaining sides. Continue alternating the jewel template as needed to efficiently cut shapes from the strip.

 

Other than those two shapes, the cutting for this project is pretty straightforward.  (As you can see here, I still have a bit of that work left to do! Time to make more coffee. . . )

 

Prep Shapes for Sewing

After you’ve finished cutting, it’s time to prep your shapes! If you’re hand sewing or machine sewing, take a few minutes to mark the dots from the templates on the back of each fabric shape.  I do this with a regular, plain ole’ mechanical pencil.  I’ve tried the fancy shmancy quilt marking mechanical pencils, and find those leads break way too often. If you’re English paper piecing, baste your fabric to the paper shapes.  In my book, I’ve included three different basting methods, so check that out if you need help with the basting.

Tune next week as we get this table runner sewn together!!! (Spoiler alert: next week’s post may include the world premiere of The Caffeinated Quilter youtube channel. There. I said it. Now you’ll hold me accountable to make it happen, right?!)

If you’re quilting along with me, PLEASE share your progress on the Adventures in Hexagons facebook page, and tag your photos on instagram with #loverlyquiltalong #adventuresinhexagons, and tag me @thecaffeinatedquilter.  I can’t wait to see your creation!!

Happy Stitching!!

 

Millefiori Quilts 3 Book Review

Have you been eagerly anticipating the release of Millefiori Quilts 3?  I have been stalking my mailbox since I received the e-mail that my copy shipped, and this week, it finally arrived!  And boy, was it worth the wait.

Basic information about the book

This is not a method-based book, and if you’re new to hand-piecing complex shapes, or English paper piecing, you’ll probably want to get a basic book on those methods to go along with Millefiori Quilts 3. However, the book is absolutely chock-full of lavish, inspiring quilt photographs, easy-to-follow full color diagrams, and thorough block explanations.  If you’re making your own templates, you’ll appreciate that each quilt’s template set fits on a single page. Just remember to add your preferred seam allowance around each template!

Regardless of your favorite shape, you’re bound to find a quilt that suits your preferences.  All the basic blocks in the patterns are radial. Four quilts are based off of pentagons and five-pointed stars, nine of the designs feature hexagons, four of the patterns are similar to the traditional Jack’s Chain combination of squares and hexagons, and one uses 8-pointed stars and octagons. This adds up to a total of 18 spectacular designs to fussy-cut and piece, a true hand-sewist’s dream book.

 

Differences from Millefiori Quilts 1 and 2

Three main differences immediately set Millefiori Quilts 3 apart from its predecessors, Millefiori Quilts 1 and 2. First, Millefiori Quilts 3 is written entirely in English, while the two previous books have French and English instructions side-by-side. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the mix in the first two books, but the third is undeniably easier to read and follow the diagrams.

Second, Millefiori Quilts 3 comprises quilts that have fewer block variations.  For example, in the first book, the famous La Passacaglia has eleven different rosettes, each repeated in varying quantities throughout the quilt.  In the similar quilt, The Can-Can, in book 3,  there are two rosettes, and a handful of color variations to make from each.

Finally, Millefiori Quilts 3 gives an overall simpler impression than the first two books.  There is minimal instruction on piecing and cutting techniques, placing all the emphasis on the book on the patterns themselves.  It’s like a graduate level course in complex piecing.  The instructor knows the students understand the basics, and provides minimal guidance so the students can have time to explore and create.

 

Starting a project from the book

While you can make your own templates from the pages in the book, all of these quilts have more patches than I can even comprehend cutting individually. Paper Pieces to the rescue! They have already created paper packs and acrylic templates for each quilt in the book. I especially love that they make their acrylics in two sizes, one with a 3/8 inch seam allowance (ideal for English paper piecing) and one with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, perfect for hand-piecers like me!  I think I’m going to make Ietsie Pietsie Pizzicato. Anyone know what that name means?  I stumped google translate trying to figure it out! But I dearly love this amazing combination of 10-pointed stars and Jack’s Chain blocks.

So for me, the only choices left are what fabrics to use? Do I pull from my stash and play with fussy-cuts? Or do I really try to let the shapes shine, and make this all out of, say, ombre fabrics? Which would you use?  Stay tuned for progress pictures!!

 

Happy Stitching!

 

Blog Tour Winner and Announcements!

blog hop winner!

Thank you for everyone that stopped by for the blog tour!  Kathie L, you won a copy of my book, Adventures in Hexagons!  Please check you e-mail for more details. Congratulations!

announcement!

So excited to share a little secret with y’all today. . . .

American Patchwork and Quilting Radio, Emily Breclaw, August 16, 2017

Please tune in next Monday, August 14, to hear all about Adventures in Hexagons and some of my pre-quilting background.  You can listen here. You don’t need a special app, or downloads, or anything, just press the play button! Then please head back here and tell me what you thought about the show.

sale!

This week only,  use the code DIGITAL25 to receive 25% off of all digital downloads, including digital pattern bundles, in my online shop! What a great time to start on a new project as the kids head back to school!!

Happy Stitching!

Adventures in Hexagons- Blog Tour Conclusion and GIVEAWAY!

Hello! What an exciting couple of weeks! I hope you all enjoyed the blog tour and met some new friends. I am overwhelmed by the fantastic response, and wanted to thank each of you who participated in the tour, by writing posts, commenting on the blogs, following on Facebook and Instagram. . . you guys rock!

Design Possibilities with Adventures in Hexagons

In case you missed the Instagram takeover, I wanted to share one image of a class plan I developed for use with Adventures in Hexagons. It’s called Hello, Rosy.  If you’re a shop owner, you can find the directions for this wallhanging on the C&T website.  If you’re a quilter, please ask about it at your favorite local quilt store.

Bright hexagon wallhanging featuring a bouquet of brightly colored flowers and leaves

Also, here’s a fun little quilt I made to show how easy it is to change the scale of the quilts presented in the book.  It’s called mini-Starburst. I made it following the layout diagrams for the Starburst quilt featured on the cover of the book, but using two alternate blocks. This pattern is not included in the book, however, a layout diagram for it is featured in the Design Primer. I won’t say this was a quick finish, but it kept me busy during lots of volleyball practices and piano lessons!

mini-Starburst quilt, featuring blue, orange, white and pink colors, from the book Adventures in Hexagons

 

At the start of the tour, I mentioned a freebie pattern for a block that works with all the others in Adventures in Hexagons.  It’s called Sea Star, and you can download it by signing up for my newsletter, on the right side of this page.

Sea Star mug rug pattern, blue and cream hexagons, free pattern by Emily Breclaw

Stay tuned for more Adventures!

Seeing everyone’s perspectives on Adventures in Hexagons has been so much fun! I just don’t want the party to end with the blog tour. So I’ve created a special facebook page for the book.  Please like and follow to share in even more Adventures! I’m planning a Loverly quilt along, starting in September, so you have plenty of time to get the book before it starts. We will be sharing tips and progress photos during the quilt-a-long on Facebook and Instagram, but you’ll be able to get all the information about the project right here on the blog. Here’s a sneak peek of one of the color options I’m working on for the quilt-a-long:

blue and red hexagons showing an alternate colorway for the Loverly quilt pattern

 

giveaway time!!

We’re giving away a copy of Adventures in Hexagons today too!!  Please comment below for a chance to win: what was your favorite stop on the tour?  I’ll randomly draw a winner on Tuesday, August 8.

Cover image of the Book, Adventures in Hexagons, by Emily Breclaw

 

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT: Of course, wordpress would choose today to mess up commenting abilities.  If you don’t see the comment availability below, please click on the title of the post, and then scroll down again, the comments should be available there.  I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience!!