Monday, July 31, 2017


Welcome to my stop on Emily Breclaw's blog tour for her new book,
Adventures in Hexagons! 
The book was released in June and I got a copy of it as soon as I could. 
Here's a QUICK LINK to order your own copy (just in case you don't win it)!
For those of you who already follow my blog, you know how I love a y-seam!!
 I was delight to be invited to participate in this introduction to Emily's book.
If you've been following the blog tour over the past few days, you already know that Emily connected with one of my piecing mentors, Marti Michell early in her planning for the book and suggests template Sets G and H plus the Kite and Crown sets for cutting most of the shapes in her designs.

And if you are a regular reader here at my blog, you know I'm mostly all about machine piecing and that several years ago, I stumbled onto an awesome approach to stitching y-seams by machine!!

This is Emily's design, Meteor Shower.
I pieced my own version to give the book a test drive.
I began by labeling all the template diagrams at the end of the book with Marti's template numbers to make it easier to pick up the right template. 
Then I created a "cheat sheet" marker for the pattern page I used to make it even easier. 
To make things interesting, I used Set G (the 2" set) rather than Set H (the 3" set) for this design.  My finished piece will be smaller than Emily's but there was NO MATH INVOLVED -- that's one of the beauties of Marti's hexagon template families -- resizing is simple!
As a teacher and former shop owner, I typically make samples in a different color way than the book/pattern to help students see more possibilities and teach them to consider the merits of a design rather than just the color palette or fabrics used.
This pile of rejects from my Maker's Tote project was still laying on the floor
in my studio, so why not? 
That was easy!!
The large floral will be my background.
I appreciate Emily's clear diagrams which break her designs down into working units and made for a quick start on organizing my stitching!  This is the center unit (after a few fabric auditioning sessions) ready to stitch!  The most important aspect of using a different color palette while maintaining the original designer's concept is to mimic the contrast of values -- I simply reversed it -- lights for the background, darks for the sparkly bits.
Happily it worked quite nicely as you'll see!
I've dubbed the exciting y-seam piecing technique I teach
In my view, that says it all. 
I'll always be grateful that a student (Mary O'Keefe) shared her discovery with me during a workshop in April 2012. It started me on a journey that has produced a dozen amazing quilts and a half dozen workshops I love to teach!

If you've tried machine or hand piecing y-seams, you know that you have to "stop on the dot" to keep the end of the seam open so you can "set-in" a third piece.
It's fiddly work and not conducive to chain-piecing on the machine with all the stopping and starting.
Or so I thought.
Mary's idea changed all that as she discovered how to chain-piece through y-seams!
You just need to pivot at the dot!
So with the combination of Marti Michell's templates which make "dotting" easy and Mary's idea, I've been going to town ever since!
Here's the first phase -- stopping here would be a nice table-topper!
The book has quite a few interesting blocks and I'm looking forward to trying some of the others.
While working on this piece, I was able to keep the chain going easily as I built the units that Emily laid out in the book, working on six of them simultaneously.  Here I'm working through the units that fit around the center star.
Three "dot-to-dot" seams are needed to attach these two sections together and there are six sets, so using Mary's idea, I can chain-piece through all 18 seams efficiently in about 45 minutes.
Once those were built, I began to add them to the center star and build the corner units as my "leaders and enders" to keep the chain going. Those units were ready to add by the time the center of the piece was assembled. 
I find that leaving most of the pressing go until near the end makes the process easier.  It makes the final pressing a bit tedious but it's so easy to push an unpressed seam allowance to the side during the stitching process!
When I ran out of pieces to use as "leaders and enders" from the design, I worked on a mug rug for my studio -- the pattern is available from Emily for signing up for her newsletter!  I could have picked up one of the piecing UFO's laying around my studio for this purpose but it's always more fun to start a new project!!
I think I need something to replace the tissue that resides on the corner of my sewing table anyway!?!
All pieced, ready to finish later today! 
So back to Meteor Shower!
As is often the case when working out of my stash for projects, I ran out of fabric.
One yard of the background fabric wasn't quite enough and so you'll see in the finished piece, there are two extra little stars in the corners -- short just two hexagons -- but I think it works!
And since I was out of background fabric, I needed to chose a border fabric.
After much auditioning, I went with a teal as it really made the swirling center design pop!
The quilt is layered and there is a quilting idea in my head.
Maybe there will be a finished quilt in a few days.
My version made with Set G is about 36" square.
The design in Emily's book made with Set H is 54" square. 
I began cutting my version on July 12 so the time frame is good especially since it's summer here and I spend a good deal of everyday outside -- love that machine-piecing!!
So are you curious about this technique?
There are three ways to learn all the ins and outs of Set-In Piecing Simplified.
My favorite is taking one of my workshops but that's not practical for most of you.
The next best option is the DVD I produced a couple years -- it's a collection of all the workshop demonstrations.  It's 30 minutes long, divided into two parts, and available for $15.95 HERE.  That price includes shipping in the US.
Finally, I have just released a downloadable PDF with step by step instructions and photos to walk you through the process. It's available in my Etsy shop HERE!  The introductory price of $8 will be available through Saturday, August 12 after which time the price will be $10.

And now for the three giveaways!
C&T Publishing is providing a copy of the book, Adventures in Hexagons for one of my commenters -- they will send a hard copy to a US winner, or an electronic copy to an overseas winner. 
Marti Michell will send another lucky winner their choice of Set G or Set H.
And I'll send a third winner a copy of my DVD, Set-In Piecing Simplified!
Winners will be chosen on Saturday, August 5 at 9 p.m. EST.

Leave a comment below (one per person) and tell me how long you've been following my blog and how you really feel about y-seams!!
Love them? Hate them?
Good luck!!


Here's a complete list of all the participants in the tour in case you missed any of them:
( if links aren't active, copy and paste them)

July 24- C&T Publishing
July 25- Generation Q Magazine
July 27- Marti Michell
July 28-Clothworks Fabrics
July 29- Cathi Godwin,
July 30- Paper Pieces ,
August  1- Mary Huey,
August 2- Linda Franz,
August 3- Patty Murphy,
August 4- Cheryl Sleboda,
August 5- Wendy Sheppard,
August 6- Emily Breclaw,


  1. I don't mind y seams since I finally learned to mark the angles, and sewing between the dots. Would love to win your book!

  2. Don't have a problem with y seams but they're not my favorite. Thanks for the giveaway! Keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. I recently played with y-seams and was quite happy with the end results. Love your colourway!

  4. I have been following your blog for at least 2 years....maybe more. I must say you have one of the best blogs. Great detail in pictures and words. Beautiful color choices on all of your projects too. I can only hope to win any of your give aways. They are all on my wish list.

  5. I don't mind Y seams by hand but machine piecing them intimidates me.

  6. I've just met you via this blog hop. I plan to subscribe. I love your color version of this quilt.

  7. I am "relearning" Y seams! I only got to visit your shop one time shortly before you closed it. I was so disappointed I did not get to take any classes with you! Especially when I learned we were both Home Economics majors at Miami University! I had a stroke and have had to relearn how to sew- it has been tough, but just as fascinating as the first time around. Hexagons are my latest passion.

  8. I'm a machine piecer, and my y seams match pretty well. Would love to try your y seam technique! EPP is just to slow for me! Found your blog thru IG some time ago.

  9. The last two years I have done four machine quilts with y seams and one hand pieced. The more I do it the more confident I become.

  10. This is one technique I really want to give a try to. Love the way the designs turn out! I've only ever done y-seams by hand. Don't mind'em at all that way. Never had the need to learn them on a machine ...

  11. Pat Yetman: I am new to this type of piecing and find it very difficult. Just discovered your blog! :-) Love all the pics to help with the piecing!

  12. I don't seek them out! I would like to try your method !!!
    Thank you.

  13. I am a brand-spanking new Bloglovin' follower of yours! I avoid Y-seams at every chance...hate them, but am willing to try your technique!

  14. Willing to try your system for y seams. Really want to master this technique.

  15. c'est un gentil je serais ravie d'essayer moi aussi

  16. I like them as a challenge, and I love the quilt blocks you can make with them. I once made an entire quilt chock full of Y-seams--but after being laundered a few times: whoops! All the Y-seam intersections are coming apart. Guess I need to refine my technique, huh?

  17. I'm not sure how long I've been following your blog - a couple of years? :)

    Y-seams are easy if you use the pivot-point method that you describe. I never hesitate to make them.

    :) Linda

  18. Y seams are easy now that I have your DVD. I also have the sets of templates. Thanks for the chance to win the book.

  19. I just started following on Instagram today, yay! Y seams don't scare me a bit, nor do curves-bring it on! Your tutorial is really well written - saving this to teach my niece, thanks so much.

  20. I've avoided Y seams so far because I suspect I would hate them.

  21. I don't use y-seams often enough to be really comfortable, but I have noticed a big difference depending on which machine and which foot I'm using-I really need to be able to see well, and stop and start exactly where I want to. And your DVD helped me learned where that magic spot is!

  22. I am new to your blog. Y seams look manageable with your technique. rozz01 at cox dot net

  23. I've been following your blogs for several years. I haven't tried your method yet. I can handle y-seams, but I don't feel like I'm very good at them!

  24. This is the first time I've seen your blog. And the first time I've seen the tip to pivot at the dot. Will have to try that.

  25. This is the first time I have seen your blog. I am bookmarking it to come back and explore it more.

  26. Well that sure got you alot of comments.
    Love your color variation!

  27. I just start following you on Bloglovin. Thats what I like about blog hops you get to know new people.

    I'm scared to death of Y seams but I'm taking a class in the fall to learn how to do them. I've read and tried to do it on my own but have failed.

  28. I just found your blog through this hop. Looking forward to learning more about your technique for piecing Y seams.

  29. I've been following your blog for a long time (2 years?) with Feedly.
    I am intrigued by chain piecing y seams but I don't understand how it can be done, even with pivoting

  30. Hi Mary - I've been following your blog for several years. I never would have attempted working with hexies without your set-in piecing simplified dvd that I bought a couple years ago. The system works great!

  31. I just now found your blog but am going to subscribe. I have an uneasy truce with y seams and would love to make peace with the process. I am seriously looking at least one hexie project to take on an upcoming cruise. I would love to win any of the prizes.

  32. Just found your blog through the hop. I don't have a whole lot of experience with y seams. I use the Inklingo method but just draw my own markings.

  33. I'm seriously scared of Y seams, but I hope to overcome my fear! 😃

  34. New to your blog and try hard to omit y seams in my quilting.

    Have had to do them no fun...


  35. I'm not sure how long I have been following your blog,but I do know you always seem to make the process of sewing Y seams look easy. I would be happy to win any one of these prizes.

  36. I just started following your blog. I'm no expert at Y-seams, but I'm gaining confidence. I'm trying to resist the techniques designed to avoid them, and instead focus on mastering them.

  37. I am a new follower. I found your blog through Needle and Thread Thursday. You are so organized. Maybe these projects wouldn't seem quite so daunting to me if I were as organized as you. It's been a while since I've worked with Y-seams, but I am thinking of doing a project with them in the near future. Have a great day! Andrea

  38. I have recently become a fan of hexagons and hand piecing. Looks like Emily has created some fun patterns for us to enjoy. C&T Pub publishes some of my favorite books!

  39. Beautiful quilt! I love the way your version turned out, especially since it is machine pieced. I'm intrigued by your y-seam technique.

  40. I would be so excited if I win this book!

  41. I am going to sign up for your blog as soon as I finish this comment! I am not a fan of y seams, although I have done a few! Thanks for a chance to win all the "goodies"!

  42. I'm a new follower. I happened upon this blog hop and found several new blogs to follow! Not a fan of Y seams but I'll to them.

  43. Thank you for the lovely giveaway. I follow you on IG. I'm not a fan of y seams (I guess most of us aren't). Although I have been staying to get along

  44. Just found this hop and guess I am a hour late for the drawing! I will start following you as I love the quilts I have seen so far on your blog.