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!

 

Reflections on Hurricane Harvey

This has certainly been an intense week!  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been glued to facebook, searching for news and updates on friends and family.  Most of my family lives on the gulf coast, either in Corpus Christi or Houston.  Having lived both places myself, it has been all the more unsettling to see familiar places underwater.  Thankfully, everyone we know is okay.  Not all of their homes are, but the people are.  For that, I am very, very grateful.

Seems like just last year I was posting about flooding in Louisiana that impacted my husband’s family.  I don’t think I ever posted pictures of the six quilts we made for kiddos in our family who lost their homes, but here is how they turned out:

Just one month ago, we went with my husband’s family for a quick vacation on the beach in Port Aransas. That city is completely gone.  I’m heartsick for all the people who called that city home, and can’t imagine what they must be going through, as they literally seek to rebuild their lives from the ground up.

 

I know as quilters, we often turn to fabric in crazy times like these, creating with our time and our hands a special keepsake to show loved ones, and even complete strangers, how much we love them and are thinking of them.  Seeing all the posts on instagram of quilt drives for those affected by the storms heartens me. That’s the magic of quilts.  You can channel all of your well-wishing, heart sickness and empathy into a gift that the recipient immediately recognizes as having incredible value.  It’s not just money, or essentials, it’s a warm, snuggly treasure they can wrap themselves up in and feel loved. Times like these, I’m proud to be a quilter. Glad to have something to contribute.

Speaking of contributing, I wanted to do something more this time around to help out.  So for now, through the entire month of September, you can buy my Going Places Tote Bag through my online store for $2.  All of that $2 will go to a reputable charity in the South Texas area working to help people rebuild.

 

I hope that you make the tote bag.  Make it for yourself to show your support of Texas. Make it for someone you know who has gone through the storms, as a reminder of our strong state spirit and beloved wildflowers. Fill it with little essential items and pass it on through one of the donation collection facilities.  For an afternoon’s sewing, you can remind someone that we will get through this, together.

 

If you want to make quilts like I made for the kiddos in Louisiana, I used this pattern from Me and My Sister Designs. It’s quick, easy, and a great scrap buster.

I hope your weekend is filled with time to sew.  Here in North Texas, people are going a little crazy over a non-existent gas shortage.  So instead of waiting at the pumps in insanely long lines, I’m going to stay home and stitch.  That’s a great way to conserve gas, don’t you think?

Happy Stitching, my friends!

 

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!!

Adventures in Hexagons Blog Tour Update- and Giveaways!!!

Have you been following along this week with the Adventures in Hexagons blog tour?  I hope so! So many fun bloggers, and incredible giveaways.

And we’ve had a couple of updates to the tour, so please refer to the revised schedule below when you’re hopping.  Note especially the revised address for Marti Michell’s stop on the tour.  She’s giving away a hexagon template bundle in addition to the book giveaway, and running a special sale just for the blog hop on the hexagon templates to use with the book quilts. Please be sure to check it out and leave a comment, the odds of winning are fabulous right now!!

 

July 24- C&T Publishing www.ctpub.com

July 25- Generation Q Magazine http://generationqmagazine.com/

UPDATED!! July 27- Marti Michell http://frommartimichell.blogspot.com/

July 28-Clothworks Fabrics www.clothworks.com

July 29- Cathi Godwin, https://quiltobsession.blog/

July 30- Paper Pieces , www.paperpieces.com

August  1- Mary Huey, http://maryhueyquilts.blogspot.com/

NEW!!! August 2- Linda Franz, www.inklingo.com

NEW!!! August 3- Patty Murphy, https://pattymurphyhandmade.com/

August 4- Cheryl Sleboda, www.Muppin.com

August 5- Wendy Sheppard, https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/

August 6- Emily Breclaw, right here!!

 

And, be sure to sign up for my newsletter (on the right of this page) to collect your FREE mug rug pattern.

 

Hope your weekend is full of hexies and time to stitch with friends!!

Adventures in Hexagons Blog Tour Starts Tomorrow!

Oh, boy do we have a fun-filled blog tour planned for you! I am so excited about the wonderful bloggers who have graciously agreed to help me spread the word about my book.  So please join me on the days and sites listed below, it’s going to be a fantastic adventure. And be sure to comment on each post for a chance to win a copy of Adventures in Hexagons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you on the tour!!

July 24- C&T Publishing www.ctpub.com

July 25- Generation Q Magazine http://generationqmagazine.com/

July 27- Marti Michell https://www.frommarti.com/

July 28-Clothworks Fabrics www.clothworks.com

July 29- Cathi Godwin, https://quiltobsession.blog/

July 30- Paper Pieces , www.paperpieces.com

August  1- Mary Huey, http://maryhueyquilts.blogspot.com/

August 4- Cheryl Sleboda, www.Muppin.com

August 5- Wendy Sheppard, https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/

August 6- Emily Breclaw, right here at the Caffeinated Quilter

 

 

 

Check out the New Online Shop

After what feels like months of behind-the-scenes work, my online store is now open and ready for business! You’ll find digital versions of all of my self-published patterns, print versions of most of my designs, and autographed copies of my book.

Click the “Shop” tab in the menu above, and have a look around. I’d love to know your thoughts on the design and navigation.

Use the code DIGITAL25 to enjoy a 25% discount on all digital patterns, including the bundles!

Oh, and be sure to sign up for my newsletter while you’re there.  As a thank you, I’ll send you a free copy of my Sea Star Mug Rug pattern!

 

 

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!!

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

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!