Home » Great products

Category: Great products

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Winner and SALE

A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by for the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks volume 16 Blog Tour!! So much fun!!!

Congratulations to Diane P., who won a copy of the magazine!

And my new shop means that I can join in the fun of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday with a special TCQ coupon code.  Just enter “turkey17” in the shop to enjoy 30% off ALL my digital patterns AND digital pattern bundles. After purchase, your downloads will be immediately available, so you can get right to the fun of picking fabric and starting a new project.  I can’t wait to see what you create!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you and yours a very lovely Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for YOU!

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!

 

Playing with the Sizzix Big Shot Pro

Well, helllloooo friends! Long time no post, I know.  Spring Market, end-of-school and start of summer have all blended together in my world for one heaping pile of craziness.  I hope you’re following along with me on Instagram and Facebook.  I actually posted a couple of Facebook Live videos during Market (with the hubby’s help!), and I’ve been trying to post a little progress to Instagram daily.  Sometimes those quick and easy networks are more manageable than a full fledged blog post.

And most of my time on the computer has been spent working with a web designer to set up my very own online store! How cool is that?  I had no idea how much time it would take to format images and get everything all set up just perfectly, but stay tuned!  It should be live in a couple of weeks, and I’m just delighted with how it’s working.

But for today, I wanted to share a little bit about a new tool that’s been invaluable to me lately.  At schoolhouse, I attended a couple of presentations about new Sizzix dies.  I was so thrilled when I won Kid Giddy’s new doll backpack die! Seriously, it’s the cutest little backpack ever.  But the die’s not made for my little Sizzix Big Shot.  So what’s a girl to do? After much deliberation, I decided to “go big or go home” as we say in Texas.  I bought a Sizzix Big Shot Pro. And the two new Kid Giddy doll clothes dies.  And a rag quilting die for good measure.

 

Now I’m making backpacks for all the Our Generation dolls in the house (of which there are 8!)  And, a backpack for kiddo #5.  He wants one in black for his toy lion. My oldest daughter has been making doll clothes with the other two dies.  She’s made a top and a pair of shorts already!

 

Another doll backpack finished! I quilted the fabric for this one before assembing, and I love the extra sturdiness.

A post shared by Emily Breclaw (@thecaffeinatedquilter) on

The next backpack in progress– love that you can run a quilt sandwich through this die to make a quilted backpack.

And that rag quilting die?  I wasn’t sure if it would work well.  When you run fabric through the die cutter, the square comes out ALREADY FRINGED. Then you just layer with batting, sew an “X” through the layers, and sew together like any other rag quilt.  Then you toss it in the wash and YOU’RE DONE!!  No hours spent cutting the fringe along every single seam.  I’m not kidding.  It’s that easy.  I spent two hours on this baby quilt.

This die might actually help me make a dent in all my boxes of fabrics that people have given me to make quilts for others.  And it will certainly help with culling my bins of batting scraps.  From now on, I’m just going to precut batting scraps that are too small for other projects into 6” squares for rag quilts.

Now, of course, I’m wondering what other dies may make my cutting life easier.  I might need to get the one for cutting 2 1/2” squares, those seem to be the most used scrap shape in my studio. Do you have a die cutter?  What are your go-to shapes for it? I’m also looking for recommendations for a permanent table for this machine.  It’s currently sitting on the dining room table, and that’s not the sturdiest set-up.

Happy Stitching!!

New Pattern: Quandry

Happy Thursday, Friends!  Today I’m so excited to be sharing with you a new pattern, Quandry!

This is an intermediate level foundation paper pieced pattern.  I provide step-by-step directions, lots of diagrams, cutting templates, and of course the printable foundation paper templates.  But if you’re completely new to paper piecing, you may want to look online for basic tutorials to get started.  I love this tutorial from Fresh Lemons quilts.

Quandry measures 53” by 71”, and makes a gorgeous wedding gift.  I need to make a third quilt from this pattern, as the two shown in the pictures have already found new homes with newlywed family members. (I can assure you, this is a MUCH easier wedding gift to make than a double wedding ring!  All straight seams, but you still get the lovely effect of curves!) Isn’t it fun how changing the background fabric from light to dark makes different elements pop?

You can purchase a digital copy of Quandry from UpCraftClub or Craftsy.  This week, it will be discounted 25% in both shops.  For those of you in EU countries, please use the UpCraftClub website, as they are equipped to handle VAT.

What colors will you use to make your Quandry quilt?  Please share in the comments below, and be sure to tag your instagram pictures with #quandryquilt, and tag me, @thecaffeinatedquilter, so we can all see your beautiful work!

Happy Stitching!

Daylight Company Slimline LED Table Lamp and Wafer Light Box Review


At Quilt Market last fall, I met the lovely folks from the Daylight Company.  I almost walked right past their booth, as I’ve had my trusty OttLight for over 10 years, and have been quite content with it. But I’m so glad I did not walk past. These products have been true game changers for me.  Read on to find out why! (And if these sound good to you, there’s a special discount code at the end of the post, just for you!)

Slimline LED Table Lamp

Since I bought my Janome Artistic SD, I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to light the space.  The incandescent light that comes with the machine is cheaply made, and installation requires splicing wires. I got little stick-on LED lights to light under the arm, but that’s not where I need the light. I’ve used an Ott Light floor lamp, positioned to the left of the needle, but it’s always in my way, and wobbles when the quilt knocks into it. So, not the best circumstances for quilt lighting.

All that changed with the Daylight table lamp.  I was able to set the light up in under five minutes, and it came simply packaged with easy-to-follow instructions.  At first, I worried about the clamp.  I thought it might eventually vibrate loose.  I’ve quilted five quilts with this lamp, and the clamp has not budged a bit, so it’s quite secure. On my first quilt, I intended to switch between the Ott Light and the new light with every bobbin change, to see if the light was really different. But I quickly abandoned that plan, as the Ott Light simply was not bright enough after using the Daylight.

Some features I love about the Daylight lamp:

-Very slim design, so it doesn’t interfere with my ability to see the quilt.

-Super bright light, making it easier for me to see the thread and subtle tension issues

-Comfortable light, even though it’s bright,my eyes don’t feel strained even after a couple of hours sewing.

I even started hand sewing at my quilting table because of that light.  I know, it looks silly to have hand piecing by a midarm quilting machine, but the light is simply THAT GOOD.

Wafer Light Box

Confession: I did not previously own a light box of any type.  My idea of using a light box was taping a paper to a bright window, holding fabric on top of the paper and tracing. Was it comfortable? No. Cheap? Yes. Frustrating? Absolutely. I have five kids. Let’s just say, that if I’m trying to trace something precisely  onto fabric for embroidery or applique, my chances of achieving that on a bright sunny day while the kids are around are nil. Most of the time, my opportunities for tracing something onto fabric were between 11 pm and 1 am.  And it’s kind of tough to find a sunny window at that time.

I LOVE the Wafer Light Box.  It’s thin, and lightweight, so it stores easily. Just like the LED lamp, the light is bright but easy on the eyes. I used it to trace lettering for a baby announcement quilt.  (At night, I might add!). It was super-easy to see the paper through the fabric, and tracing went quickly.  Last time I used the bright window method, I discovered the light was insufficient to trace onto saturated fabric, like the Moda Grunge  that I adore using.  However, I could see the lettering no problem through the same fabric using the Wafer. My kids love using the Wafer for their school projects too. It even has a dimming feature, so you can adjust the light to whatever intensity works best for you.

In the picture above, I have an applique layout under the fabric. Then I can lay the pieces out on the fabric exactly where they need to go.  I’m still learning on the applique, but this is SO much easier than trying to line up the patches any other way.

I’ve been using both this light and light box in my studio for several months now, and I’m absolutely thrilled with both of them. The folks at the Daylight Company gave me both of these products to try out. But if you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you know I don’t review products unless I use them myself. So, if you’re interested in trying out their products, you can go to the Daylight Company website.  Using the code TCQ0217 will give you a discount on the Wafer 1 lightbox, the Wafer 2 Lightbox and the Slimline S LED Table Lamp. (This is a little smaller than mine, the Slimline LED table lamp- but that one’s out of stock right now).

Now, back to work on that applique!

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

 

Introducing: Adventures in Hexagons

I would like to introduce you to Adventures in Hexagons, my very first published book.

adventuresinhexagonscover

Yesterday I received the spring C&T catalog in the mail. Seeing the book images and marketing text was like holding my dream in my hands. It’s real. And in May 2017, it will be a reality in book stores and quilt stores too.

 

Adventures in HexagonsMy goal with this book was twofold- to help readers learn to sew hexagon in the manner best suited to them, and to help quilters design their own hexagon quilts. So the book essentially has three sections.  The first is devoted to explaining English paper piecing, hand sewing with templates, and machine sewing with templates. The second section includes 11 quilt patterns of varying sizes and skill levels.  Every one of them can be pieced by EPP, or by hand or machine with templates. If you’re an Inklingo fan, I’ve included finished shape sizes with all of the cutting instructions to make navigating the patterns simpler for you.

The final section of the book is a Design Primer. With it, you can take any of the blocks in the book, or your own hexagon block creations, and turn them into unique, fantastic quilts.

Here are a couple more pages from the C&T catalog where they show images of the quilts from the book.catalog-page2

catalog-page3 I can’t wait to share more about the book and the quilts in the coming months. I’ll also host a blog tour next summer, and a special quilt along for an entirely new quilt inspired by the book.

But before all of that, I want to extend a very, very heartfelt thank-you to you, dear readers. Throughout this adventure in hexagons, you have been my support and encouragement.  Your comments on the blog and interactions on social media, and your friendship made this book possible, and I am truly blessed to know you. Thank you.

 

 

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

Digital Patterns Now Available Through UpCraftClub!!

I am so excited to introduce a new option for purchasing my digital patterns, UpCraftClub!!  This company is filling a huge need in the quilting market- the option for quilt stores to sell patterns digitally.

 

For quilters

If you’re a quilter, you can buy digital patterns directly from their website and start sewing right away.  If you buy lots of digital patterns, you may want to look into their membership levels.  All of these come with the option to download a pattern of your choice free each month, plus savings on additional pattern purchases.

For shop owners

If you’re a quilt store owner, this company provides awesome tools for you to sell digital patterns in your shop with no upfront costs.  Customers can pick up UpCraftClub pattern cards from your shop, complete with fabric requirements.  You then help them pick out/purchase fabric, and then get a portion of the pattern cost when they use the code on the pattern card to purchase it.

For quilters in the EU

And if you are in the European Union, this is the only way to purchase my digital patterns. I had to quit selling to the EU through my Craftsy store last year due to all of the complications with EU VAT. Ever since then, I’ve been looking for a format to sell in those countries, and UpCraftClub is the answer!

 

So, as you’re supporting Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday this year, I hope you’ll consider picking up a couple of TCQ titles through the UpCraftClub! HINT: They’re all on SALE this weekend!!

And, I’ve got a new pattern (and mini-version) coming out very soon, so stay tuned for more news on that front!

 


Happy Stitching!!

emily

Quilt Market Fall 2016 Recap

I hope you enjoyed the IG and FB updates as I was at  Quilt Market last weekend, I’m so excited to finally have those accounts linked (Thank you, Cheryl Sleboda!!) And it’s taken me the rest of this week to mull over everything, and try to present the most pertinent highlights of Market in this blog post.  I know a bunch of amazing fabric lines came out, and lots of quilting rockstars attended the show.  Here, however, I wanted to share about things that are most relevant to me, and hopefully interesting for you as well.

Japanese Quilting

This sector of market is GROWING! I saw a Japanese bag vendor selling wonderfully unusual handles and bag hardware, spectacular new fabrics from Lecien, and an entire “Wa” exhibit in the special exhibits hall.  Of course, Japanese quilters were well represented in the juried competitions as well.  This quilt was my favorite.  I could stare at it for hours.

Japanese Quilt, Quilt Festival 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up a copy of Scrap Valley, Yoko Saito’s newest book, from the delightful ladies at Quiltmania.  Speaking of staring at something for hours. . . . .this book is a treasure.

Yoko Saito Scrap Valley

Perhaps most exciting — Lecien and Stitch Publications announced that Yoko Saito will be attending Quilt Market AND Quilt Festival Fall 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She will have a special exhibit, and be teaching classes. I’ll pass along more details as soon as I have them, but how cool is that???  I’m hoping she has tons of attendees and folks stopping by her booth, so she knows exactly how much American quilters adore her.

Hand Piecing

Aurifil kicked off this year’s Quilt Market with an amazing Schoolhouse presentation, replete with video of how they make their threads.  It was absolutely fascinating.  They also announced a new line of 80 weight threads.  I was so excited to see “English paper piecing” and hand sewing listed as several of their recommended uses for the new threads.

While attending schoolhouse sessions and walking the Market floor, I saw no less than FIVE new methods of English paper piecing and sewing hexagons. FIVE.  I’m hoping to purchase some of the tools to test out these methods, look for blog posts coming soon!

hand-quilting-supplies

I also picked up a copy of Millifiori Quilts 2, which promises to be as lovely as the first book.  The little turquoise pouch is an organizer from Yazzii.  It’s filled with little clear zipper pouches.  I think it will hold at least two hand-piecing projects at a time.  No more losing my thimble when I’m out and about!

The thread cutter in the picture will get it’s own blog post soon.  It is AWESOME!!

Marti Michell templates and news

I always enjoy seeing what’s new in Marti’s booth, and this year I got to take some classes from her as well.  So fun!  Her new Starry Path templates look incredible.  As you can see, I’m already testing ideas with the coloring pages provided in the template instructions.  I can’t wait to get in my studio and bring that design to life.

starry-path-templates

In one of her classes, Marti talked about a fun new Hexie Club for quilt stores.  I know I will be talking to my local quilt store about running the program, and you should too!  It promises to be a terrific way to build up your hexagon piecing skills, and the accompanying pattern previews we got to see were beautiful!!

Other Quilt Market Highlights

I think the coolest booth we saw this year featured a technique of quilting on leather. Cathy Wiggins created the quilts, and Olde City Quilts has the supplies. Please check out Cathy’s website for more pictures.  It was spectacular.  My husband took a picture of this quilted dragon.  Her name is also Emily. How fun is that?

Quilt Market 2016

Sometimes, with social media, you become friends with people you’ve never met.  That’s what happened on IG with me and Wendy Sheppard.  I went to her schoolhouse presentation, and can attest that she is as sweet and vivacious in person as she is online. Then we got to visit over coffee, and my admiration for her grew even more!!  Can’t wait to share her new book with you next spring!

Finally, I took a class on social marketing with Cheryl Sleboda. I learned more in that one hour than in WEEKS of culling through internet tutorials and classes.  It was a fabulous, funny, understandable presentation.  I would highly recommend the webinar on her website, it’s worth every penny if you’re a store owner or designer looking to grow your online presence.

Whew.  Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this lengthy blog post!  If you went to Quilt Market, what were your favorite parts?  If not, what things would you like to learn about for next year’s markets?  (Yes, I am absolutely already planning that far ahead, and would love to know what kinds of information you’d like!!)

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS- There are a bunch of links in this post to provide you with additional information about the products referenced.  These ARE NOT affiliate links.   If you’d like to support my blog, please visit my Craftsy store. Thanks!

 

Quilting up a Storm

This past weekend, my 11-year-old daughter and I spent a LOT of quality time in the studio. The recent flooding in Louisiana has hit three families of our extended family hard. While I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer, I really wanted to be DOING something to help as well. And, well, yeah- the natural progression of that thought process is make quilts! (Shocking, I know).

So we started rummaging through our stashes, and pulled out every scrap of cheerful bright pink in the house, to make 4 coordinating girls quilts. We decided to use a fun pattern from Me and My Sister designs called Simply Cakes 1,2,3. My daughter ironed fabric, I cut pieces and pinned, she sewed them together, and soon we had quilt tops all over the place!

We also needed fabric for two boy quilts, but our stash didn’t yield much in the way of good choices there. So we went shopping for superhero fabric.  We’re using the same pattern for these two quilts, but they’re going to look very different!

boy quilt2

Now I’m starting to play with quilting designs.  I was going to keep life simple and snuggly and meander quilt all 6 of these quilts. But I’m a longtime follower of Lori Kennedy’s blog, and it seems like she’s been reading my mind lately.  As I was basting quilts, she was writing a blog post about “meander no more.” To top it off, she then suggested  alternate free motion designs, one perfect for girly quilts, and one suitable for boys. So, I guess I’m going to learn some new designs on these.  Here’s one of the girl quilts with my sketchbook attempt at Lori’s “Flower Power” design.

girl quilt

I foresee quite a bit of quilting in my future, but it’s going to be a great opportunity to practice!  Does your weekend forecast include quilting?

 

 

 

Happy Stitching!

emily