Saturday, April 28, 2012

Winner: 37 Sketches by Gwen Marston

We have a winner!  Monica from Diary of a Quilt Maven in Training.  Congratulations Monica, I know you're going to love these books!!!

I've got a little sneak peek of my work space for you today. My quilt top is done and now I'm trying to decide how to quilt it.. Organized or random? That is the question. Since it's a quilt for me I kind of want to try something new. Why not?

Maybe with one of these new pretties?

Aurifil Thread

Happy weekend Peeps!! I hope you squeeze in some sewing time. : )

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mood Board: Sour Punch

Have you noticed the wave of sour green that's coming? It's grabbed a hold of me and won't let go. There are older fabrics that I've passed on several times that all of a sudden I must have. The Herringbone print from Modern Meadow is a good example. I own every color except green. What is happening to me?!

I already spent my fabric money this month, but that didn't stop me from window shopping. My cart looked so pretty that I decided to make a mood board and share it with you.

Introducing Sour Punch

  1. Herringbone in Green, Apple of My Eye by Quilted Fish for Riley Blake
  2. Circle Stripes in Cloud Gray, Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey for Moda
  3. Metro Living Lattice in Marigold Yellow by Robert Kaufman
  4. Napsack in Grass Green, Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit
  5. Eyelet Seeds in Gray, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit
  6. Grid Graph Paper Fabric in Black Smirk by Kyla May for Timeless Treasures
  7. Fly a Kite Floral in Yellow by October Afternoon for Riley Blake
  8. Herringbone in Grass Green, Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit
  9. Dash Stripes in Cloud Gray, Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey for Moda
  10. Herringbone in Yellow, Apple of my Eye by Quilted Fish for Riley Blake
  11. Metro Living Circles in Marigold Yellow by Robert Kaufman
  12. Eyelet Seeds in Green, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit
  13. Dumb Dot in Charcoal Gray by Michael Miller
  14. Mini Dots in Green, Love Bird by My Mind's Eye for Riley Blake
  15. Spots Dots in Sunshin Yellow, Half Moon Modern by Momo for Moda
At the time of this post, each fabric listed above is available at Pink Castle Fabrics

Sunday, April 22, 2012

37 Sketches by Gwen Marston: A Review and a Giveaway

After seeing my Liberated Habitat quilt, Gwen sent me a copy of her newest book, 37 Sketches to review and give away to one of you. Now that I’ve read it, I’m so jealous you get a chance to win this beautiful and inspiring book!

The first thing I noticed about this book is the beautiful cloth covered binding and the embossed title. Inside, the quilts, or sketches as Gwen calls them, come alive against a crisp white backdrop. It is a celebration of bold color combinations, inventive piecing and intriguing compositions.

It's no wonder that it won an award in the 2012 New York Book Show! It is truly a beautiful book.

37 Sketches by Gwen Marston

37 Sketches begins with a foreword by Gwen's long time friend, Jean Wells, setting the tone for an creative and intimate glimpse behind Gwen's quilt making process. There is also a section that explains Gwen’s philosophy behind 37 Sketches. It's a journey of exploration where one experiment leads to the next.

This is not a pattern book, there is not a template or cutting diagram in sight. Instead, it is a beautiful, high quality, art book, featuring many, many, small “sketches” by Gwen Marston. 
“ I specifically made the pieces featured in this book as experimental sketches with the intent of exploring and playing with technique, abstract design, and composition.  Making these small studies is just the place to risk an adventure.” p. 16


Risk an adventure. I just love that. Each piece is accompanied by a short explanation of what Gwen was working on, or what her goal was, either set in curved piecing, a different color palette, or pushing the familiar liberated log cabin. As an admirer of her other books, I really appreciated this glimpse behind Gwen's process.


As you look through 37 Sketches, it feels like you’re walking through an art gallery with your good friend Gwen as she shares insights into her process. It’s wonderful!!!
"All along the way, one purpose in making these small studies was to explore color use. Working with neutrals and limiting the design to thin horizontal lines interrupted by little (squares) was the idea for this piece." p. 49

I am a big admirer of Gwen’s work and her books, and this one does not disappoint. Her voice and her projects excite me to create, to push myself, and to be playful. She is such an inspiration.


"As I was just saying, I'm still working with the liberated log cabin format."


You can read more about Gwen on her website, Her books can be ordered directly through her. She travels throughout the year speaking and teaching. Maybe traveling near you? Gwen also hosts an annual retreat in Elk Rapids, MI. Someday I would love to go.

*** This giveaway is now closed ***

Gwen_8444GIVEAWAY: Gwen graciously sent me a signed copy of 37 Sketches as well as Liberated Quiltmaking II to give to one lucky reader. Due to the cost of shipping these books, this giveaway is limited to the US & Canada.  One winner will be chosen randomly on April 27th, 2012 and contacted via email.

**Please make sure your email address is either in your profile, or added to your comment.

1) Leave a comment below.  It can be anything!
  • Are you a fellow fan of Gwen?
  • Are you a liberated quilt maker?
  • Are you inspired by the glimpse of these sketches?
  • Have you ever taken a class from Gwen?
  • What quilting book is on your wishlist right now?
2) Leave a second comment if you follow Little Bluebell. I always take care of my readers. : )

Ready, set, go!  Good luck everyone!!! 
xx Adrianne

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Aurifil: Refining My Palette

I received some big new yesterday. My custom Aurifil thread collection was selected as one of the winners over at Lily's Quilts. Yahoo!!  I was very excited, hopping all around the living room, riling up the puppy and causing great confusion with my kids. There were so many beautiful and creative entries!! I never get tired of looking at pretty color combinations.

You have to see the many colorful heads of Alex by Hadley.  Ohmygosh!!

I had a fun creating two very colorful collections, one based on vintage surfer posters

Aurifil #s Top Row: 1158, 4093, 2810, 5005, 2845, 2860, Bottom Row: 2270, 2235, 3920, 4150, 5009, 1130

and one based on the Pantone Spring 2012 palette.

Aurifil #s Top Row: 1104, 2145, 5003, 2515, 2021, 2610, Bottom Row: 2740, 4020, 2882, 5005, 2340, 2630

Then I took a shower and I had an urgent, a-ha moment. What if I did win? What would I actually do with all of those colors? Shouldn't I pick thread that I would go out and buy right now and use for all of my projects?

Aurifil #s Top Row: 2021, Bottom Row: 2000, 2340, 2610, 2630, 2692

Enter "The Workhorse".  These are the thread colors I reach for again and again when quilting. Notice all of the white! I usually use that for piecing and quilting, sometimes grey depending on the project, and every once in a while beige or black.

I panicked a teeny bit because Aurifil is sending me thread based on my selections. You know how choosing colors online can be. Is the white, white? Is the grey, a warm grey or a cool grey?

Luckily, Aurifil is also one of the sponsors for the Zakka Style Sew Along, and I received a color card to play with. As a gut check for myself, I paired up my thread workhorses against my fabric workhorses (I buy these by the bolt when I can). Let's take a look...

1) Bella White, 2) Bella Snow, 3) Kona Coal, 4) Essex Grey

Aurifil #2024 and Bella White by Moda

Aurifil # 2310 and Bella Snow by Moda

Aurifil #2630 and Kona Coal by Robert Kaufman

Aurifil #2606 and Essex in Grey by Robert Kaufman

My palette was reworked and refined.  Here are my thread color choices, final answer. : )  Thank you so so much to Katy, Lynne and of course Mr. Aurifil himself, Alex!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Health and Happiness

Disclaimer: This is from last year because I didn't have any new pics of our cute foot warmer.

Yeouch!  My house got hit hard with the sick bug. Knocked everyone out. We were such a sad sight. At one point we had peanut butter but no jelly, crackers but no cheese, and coffee with no cream. Luckily DH and I weren't sick at exactly the same time and we could tag team emergency trips for DayQuil, Kleenex and soup. Oh yeah, and walking the dog! Poor Daisy wasn't sick at all, and for the most part was a sweet feet warmer, patiently waiting for her playmates to feel better.

I love my silly boy!

So today we're finally feeling better! Yay! You know when you finally emerge and you stand outside blinking because the sky seems so bright, and taking deep breaths because the air is so fresh? Yup, that was us today.

Robert Kaufman Essex in Sunshine, Grey, Hot Pink, Carrot and Medium Aqua

I'm looking forward to getting back to it. On the short list of thing to do...

  • 37 Sketches Review & Giveaway (This is first!  I hope you're as excited as I am!! )
  • Zig Zag Tote (I'm thinking of something with this colorful stack of Essex linen)
  • Sew together the Rows of my Me Me Me (Echo) Quilt
  • Tackle our uber pile of laundry
  • Grocery Shopping
Cheers to health and happiness,

Monday, April 2, 2012

On My Nightstand

Happy Monday Everyone!!

Did you have a good weekend? Relaxing? Busy? Productive? I spent part of mine happily reading. Here's a peek of what's on my nightstand.


There is Zakka Style for the sew along. Did you see Terri's tote bag this morning? So cute! I think I have enough essex in my stash to make a fun solid one.

I bought Transparency Quilts and A Field Guide to Fabric Design for my birthday...

See the top two? 37 Sketches and Liberated Quiltmaking II? Gwen Marston sent me copies to review and giveaway to one of my readers. Lucky ducks!! I have and love Liberated Quiltmaking II. Do you remember my Habitat quilt? I learned that technique from Gwen's book! I don't have her new one yet but it's high on my wishlist. Keep your eyes out for the giveaway later in the week.

I'm revisiting Material Obsession and Freddy & Gwen Collaborate Again, looking for some scrappy inspiration.

There is an Everyday Food magazine tucked in there too. It's actually last years April issue, but April is April, right? Ugh. I'm in a major cooking rut. I just want good food that my family will eat and I don't have to think about too much.

Asterisk blocks

I got in some sewing time too. Yay! I made a few asterisk blocks. I've never made these before and they were so much fun! I used this technique and my own measurements. I cut my main square 13" and my strips were 1.25" wide. The strips were a jelly roll and I cut it right down the middle. It was just enough for one block. Cool right? After I was done sewing the blocks, I trimmed them down to 12.5".

Liberated Asterisk Block

This one was almost liberated... I wish I pushed myself to take it a little farther. I'm definitely going to revisit the idea of liberated asterisks. Maybe with smaller blocks and a limited color palette?  Hmmm...

Any good books on your nightstand?  : )



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