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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!!

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!!

Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop

Hello, and welcome to the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop, hosted by the vivacious Cheryl Sleboda! I’m so glad you’re here. Right now, my studio is an explosion of quilt market preparations, a  t-shirt quilt, and an applique quilt UFO from my grandmother. While I thrive in creative mess, this was getting out of hand.  So I’ve been spending a lot of time procrastinating (read: playing online video games) instead of creating. Yea for blog hop motivation!

Here’s a before picture of the studio.  Not much like the lovely clean-up that I posted about in January, is it? (oh, dear. . .actually it looks a LOT like January’s before picture!)

 

Cleaning Tasks

I tend to cover horizontal spaces (like the floor, and my midarm table) when I’m working through projects.  One of my big goals is to keep the midarm table free for basted quilts ONLY. Because when a project is sitting where it belongs, I keep working on it.  When the table is buried in projects, I don’t quilt much.

My second major cleaning task was piecing the t-shirt quilt. Yea for clear floors!

As I was cleaning, I found two of my daughters’ dresses in a pile, needing mending.  So I sat down, mended them, and put them away where they belonged.

Finally, I cleared my cutting table.

So, two days of clean-up (one to piece the t-shirt quilt, and one to wander around, tidying and vacuuming), and now my studio looks like this:

 

Keep it Clean!

Ahh.  Much better. Putting a quilt on the midarm table served two purposes:  a reminder to keep other stuff off the table, and an incentive to quilt that blue quilt, because I need those pins to baste the t-shirt quilt.  Hah!

Confession: behind this camera angle of a neat and tidy studio is an ironing board, piled high with two Quilt Market projects, the t-shirt quilt top with border and backing fabric, and the applique quilt pieces. Fortunately, Cheryl said it was perfectly okay if the entire studio wasn’t cleaned. At least now enough of my workspaces are clear enough for me to get back to work and make some good progress.

Thank you so much for tagging along with my little spring cleaning.  If you’d like tips on how to organize a studio space, be sure to check out the January clean-up post I mentioned earlier.  That included my sources for fabric folding solutions, a great way to hang rulers, and some fun tricks to help motivate you to organize your sewing space. If you’re new to the Caffeinated Quilter, please join in with all my adventures by subscribing to the blog, and/or following me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest. Finally, be sure to check out all the other stops on the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog tour listed below. What’s your favorite tip for keeping a clean studio?

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 1 – Teri Lucas – www.terificreations.com
May 2 – Tammy Silvers – www.tamarinis.typepad.com
May 3 – Emily Breclaw – www.thecaffeinatedquilter.com (You are here!)
May 4 – Amalia Morusiewicz – www.FUNfromAtoZ.com
May 5 – John Kubiniec – www.bigrigquilting.com/blog/
May 6 – Debby Brown – www.higheredhands.blogspot.com
May 7 – Melissa Marie Collins – www.melissamariecollins.blogspot.com
May 8 – Delve MIY – www.fronddesignstudios.wordpress.com
May 9 – Misty Cole – www.mistycole.com
May 10 – Sam Hunter – www.huntersdesignstudio.com/blog
May 11 – Dale Ashera-Davis – www.dalead.wordpress.com
May 12 – Sara Mika – www.mockpiestudio.blogspot.com
May 13 – Sarah Trumpp – www.Wonderstrumpet.com
May 14 – Carma Halterman – www.beanstrings.blogspot.com
May 15 – Jessica Darling – www.jessicakdarling.com
May 16 – Lisa Chin – www.lisachinartist.com
May 17 – Sally Johnson – www.sallysquiltingcorner.blogspot.com
May 18 – Mandy Leins – www.mandalei.com/blog
May 19 – Shruti Dandekar – www.13woodhouseroad.com
May 20 – Jane Davila – www.janedavila.com
May 21 – Ebony Love – www.lovebugstudios.com
May 22 – Cheryl Sleboda – blog.muppin.com

Introducing Meteor Shower

Well helllooo there! Another lapse in blogging, although this one’s not entirely my fault.  I upgraded portions of my website, which resulted in me being locked out of my site for days. No fun.  But now, I think, all is well again.  And I know more about websites than I did before.

If you follow me on IG, you know something crazy awesome happened.  The advance copy of my book, Adventures in Hexagons, arrived in my mailbox.  Holding that book in my hot little hands was an amazing experience.  Seeing the little details, like a tiny hexagon on the binding, made me ridiculously happy. It sounds silly.  I know every word and image in that book forwards, backwards, and sideways.  But somehow, seeing it all real and finished and bound, was like seeing it new all over again.

It should be shipping to stores in May, and I hope you love it as much as I do. (By the way, I just looked up the book listing on Amazon so I could link it for you and it’s on sale with a $10 discount at the moment.  You can also look inside it and see more of the book from that page now.  How fun is that?)

 

Today I wanted to introduce you to another quilt from the book, Meteor Shower.  This is a wallhanging size quilt.  It’s one that really shows off how you can play with shapes within hexagons.  See how the yellow and orange diamonds touch point-to-side?  It’s all about placement within larger block boundaries.

I’m especially proud of this quilt because I quilted it myself.  It’s not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but I really transcended my allover-quilting comfort zone and went custom on this one.

 

So what’s new in your world? Are you starting any exciting projects?  Have you seen something on pinterest that captured your imagination and made you want to learn a new technique? Besides prepping for Quilt Market, I’m kind of in a zone of finishing projects right now.  It needs to be done, but I’m also kind of ready to find something new and fun to play around with.  Any suggestions?

 

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS- I’ve created a new pinterest board to feature quilts people have made with my patterns.  If you’ve made one, will you comment below, or send me an e-mail with pictures?  I’d love to include your work!!

 

Quilty Goals and Finishes for January

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

 

Quilt Finishes!

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

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

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

 

 

Business Goals Accomplished!

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

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

 

What’s on Tap for February?

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

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

 

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

What are your quilty goals for February?

Happy Stitching!

Studio Organizing with Purpose

Over New Year’s weekend, I decided to start organizing my studio.  As you can see from the picture below, it was getting a little embarrassing, and the mess was completely killing my creativity.  What started with simply trying to put fabric away turned into a complete studio overhaul. Along the way, I discovered that the more I tried to turn my studio into my “private quilt store”, the better I was able to understand how to put things away in a manner that made sense for me.

before-picture

Organizing Fabric

I started out with seven 56-gallon tubs filled to OVERFLOWING with fabric. I did not sort all of it.  That would have taken me months, and I probably would have gotten discouraged along the way and quit.  To start, I dumped out three bins worth of fabric. One of those bins became my “warm” color bin, the second my “cool” color bin, and the third my “neutrals and prints” bin.  Then, my daughters and I started sorting the piles of dumped out fabric back into the bins.  I gave away some fabric that I knew I would never use.

As we came across large pieces of fabric (more than one yard), we folded it over magazine boards.  I got this idea from So Sew Easy. My husband was going to the comic book store anyway, and he got this pack of 100 boards for about $13.  I think about 50 folded bolts fit into this 56 gallon tub.

folded-fabric-minibolts

For smaller pieces of fabric, we used the folding video tutorials from In Color Order, and made a little display of fabric in a wire bin from the Container Store. Just like with the larger fabric folded bolts, I picked fabrics for the small bin that I wanted to use sooner than later.

small-folded-fabric

Over the years, I have accumulated a precious stash of Alison Glass fabrics, and I wanted to keep these together for an upcoming project.  So I arranged them all in a pretty basket, along with the EPP papers I’ll be using.  This looks much more inviting than the previous pile on the floor!

alison-glass-basket

Finally, I dealt with a bin of fabric for an ongoing baby quilt project. Each year, my kids’ school makes baby quilts for moms in crisis pregnancies. I make two quilts a year, and the kids bring in special fabrics for the quilts. They usually bring in much more than the recommended 8” square. After doing this for 10 years, I have a huge stash of baby quilt fabric.  I keep meaning to go through it and make additional baby quilts, but the magnitude of fabric overwhelms me.

In the spirit of making my own private quilt store, I pulled out my favorite quick-quilt pattern, Yellow Brick Road.  Then my girls and I chose fabrics from the donation bin and made six “quilt kits.” Each ziploc has enough fabric to make a baby quilt from the Yellow Brick Road pattern.  Now, whenever I need an easy, mindless afternoon of sewing, I can pull out one of these bags and make a quilt without having to worry about choosing and measuring fabrics.

homemade-quilt-kits

 

Now, my fabrics are “organized enough” to motivate me to start sewing.  And all of the bins close without sitting on them!  Once I go through some of the “featured fabrics” shown above, I’ll go back to the bins and fold and sort more to feature. I love how manageable this system feels, and how inspired I am everytime I see the pretty fabrics on my new shelves.

Organizing Projects

Confession: I have enough UFO’s to complete TWO APQ resolution pages. Yes, 24 UFO’s. That has to change, and I am bound and determined to whittle that list down this year. Again, I have to “see” what I’m working on to stay motivated.  So I made a couple of mini-design boards by pinning batting to artist canvases.  I also use leftover lids from broken plastic bins to store projects I’m working on.

project-boards

During the overhaul, my husband got me a set of sturdy wire shelves to store fabric. Now I can just pull out the bin I need (instead of unstacking boxes all the time). Even better, the shelves have just enough room to slide a project board on top of each box, so I can keep my UFO’s in sight, but not too cluttered.

Organizing Notions

Last but not least, I FINALLY found a way to organize my most-used rulers. These are usually out on my sewing counter, or propped up on the floor near my sewing counter.  Which means I’m always losing them, tripping over them, or worse, cutting my toes along the edges of them. (true story). I bought some inexpensive coffee cup hooks at World Market, and hung them from the sides of the new shelves.

hanging-rulers

Now they’re easy to find, and impossible to trip over. I also hung a roll of masking tape on one of the cup hooks, which I guesstimate will save about 20 minutes per quilt.  Everyone in the house uses masking tape, so I can never find it when I’m ready to baste a quilt. Now my roll is hung high enough that the kids will never snag it.

So that’s my studio makeover.  I estimate it cost me about $70 for the shelves, magazine boards, and cup hooks. Here’s how the studio looks now:

after-picture

 

Still far from perfect, but FAR more inviting and accessible than it has been. I love my new private quilt “store”, and spent the entire past weekend in it, sewing with my girls.  Now, to tackle those UFO lists. .  . .

What’s your favorite way to organize your quilting space?

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

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

 

Three Little Birds QAL- a Finished Pouch!!

Welcome back to the Three Little Birds Quilt-a-Long! I have to confess, I stalled out  on this project. Adding the seam allowances confused me, and so the pieces got pushed aside to a corner of my studio.

The instructions specified cutting the front portions of each piece with a 1/4” seam allowance, and the backing and batting with slightly larger allowances. And the back inside lining piece was enormous compared to the rest of the pouch.

Three Little Birds pouch

Last night, however, I decided to just muddle through and see how it worked.  I figured, if all else fails, all I have wasted is a little time and fabric.  But it did work, and I’m so pleased with the results.

I promise, for next month’s installment of the quilt-a-long, I will have in-progress pictures as I work through a second pouch.  Part of getting over my hang-up with this pouch, though, was just sewing without worrying about setting up a photo shoot for each step.

If you’d like to join in on the Three Little Birds quilt-a-long, you can find the pattern at One World Fabrics.  They also have a gorgeous selection of Japanese homespun fabrics to make your pouch.

After finishing this pouch, I think I have a better understanding of WHY Japanese patterns don’t include seam allowances.  It’s kind of a personal preference, not a set rule.  On this project, I used a slightly larger seam allowance for the lining, because it made it easier for me to bind the inside seams.

What’s your preference– you prefer a pattern that gives exact finished measurements, or templates with seam allowances already included?

Happy Stitching!

emily

Free-Motion Quilting the Louisiana Quilts

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been working hard to finish the quilts that I blogged about in September for our family members hit by the flooding in Louisiana.I have had so much fun seeing how these quilts look with different free-motion quilting designs.  I wouldn’t say they change the look of the quilts drastically, but they do make a difference.  Here’s a little visual recap, courtesy of my newly-discovered ability to embed IG posts on the blog.  How cool is that?

 

Loving this quilting design- flower power, from a tutorial on @theinboxjaunt . One quilt down, five to go. . . . #freemotionquilting

A photo posted by Emily Breclaw (@thecaffeinatedquilter) on

Flower Power quilting!  Check out this tutorial on the Inbox Jaunt for a step-by-step explanation of how to use this free-motion quilting design.

 Paisley flower free-motion quilting design inspired by a video from Amy’s Free Motion Quilting adventures.

And this one is just a simple hook and loop swirl.  I’m pretty sure I picked up this design from one of Jamie Wallen’s tutorials on youtube.

I had so much fun with the paisley flowers that I used that motif on two quilts.  Now I’m working on binding, and quilting the boys’ quilts.

Hopefully all of these will be finished and off to their new homes by the end of the month. And then I can get back to normal quilting routines, like finishing up a couple of new patterns.

I’ve also been working behind-the-scenes on some exciting new partnerships. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some big announcements!!

Happy Stitching!

emily

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