Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tips: Steam Punk Quilt

That little flower scrap from Flights of Fancy by Paula Prass makes me happy today!

The process of making these blocks is so satisfying.  I like choosing the fabrics for each one, carefully cutting out the pieces, slowing down an pinning those curves and stopping to press as I go.  Each step holds my attention and I am consciously making each block.

If you don't sew curves often, this pattern can be challenging.  I'm learning what works for me as I go and each block is getting easier and faster to make.  Here are some of my tips:

1) Starch
Spray starch is your friend.  Spray the fabric before you cut it, and another light spray to help the assembled block behave.  Since there are a lot of curves and bias edges, things can get stretched out fast.  The starch adds a temporary stiffness that makes it easier to handle your fabric.

2) Dry Iron
Set your iron to no steam.  The steam relaxes and distorts your fabric and it effects the way the pieces fit together.  Use spray starch, a dry iron and remember to press (lift and press down) and don't iron (back and forth).

3) Fabric Grips
I use a couple of these sandpaper dots on the back of my templates to keep them from sliding around.  They make for safer and more accurate cutting.  

4) Circle Cutter
I am terrible a cutting out circles with a template and even worse cutting them out with scissors.  Mine end up looking like an ameoba!  If you have something to help you cut out those circles, use it.

5) Scant 1/4"
These blocks fit together so much better if you use a scant 1/4" seam.  You want it just a little under 1/4" to allow the fabric to bend around the seam when pressed.  On my Janome Horizon I set the stitch width to 4.3 and I use 1/4" foot. Test your settings on some scraps and find your own sweet spot.

6) Instagram
This is the best tool of all!  These blocks are intense and it really helps to be able to take a break and see what your friends are up to.  Also, getting positive feedback on your blocks will help you get to the next one, and the next, and the next. #steampunkquilt or find me at Little Bluebell on Instagram.

Images from Amazon: Starch, Iron, Fabric Grips, Easy Circle Cut Ruler, Janome 1/4" Seam Foot

There is even more helpful advice, tips, and questions in the Steam Punk Quilt flickr group.
Quilt Pattern: Steam Punk by Jen Kingwell Designs
Read more about this project here

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Steam Punk by Jen Kingwell

Well that didn't take long.  I was going to put the stack of fabric away yesterday, but right next to it on the cutting table was this pattern by Jen Kingwell.

It's called Steam Punk and I was lucky enough to see the original quilt in Jen's booth at quilt market.  Her quilts are full of beautiful details, they invite you in to take a closer look.  I really admire her mix of fabric and her use of hand quilting.  Kind of a modern homespun look?  I don't know if that is even the best description for it.  Her work is really beautiful and inspiring.

So inspired by these ladies! @gehringroad @heidigb30 @badskirt @lucyandnorman  I made a steampunk block. #steampunkquilt
Steam Punk Block #1

Several friends have already been making blocks and posting them on instagram and flickr and they are so gorgeous!  There is such a beautiful variety and each one feels like a celebration of fabric and pattern.

My circles need some work but I'm loving the colors! #steampunkquilt
Steam Punk Block #2

I didn't pull the fabric with this pattern in mind and it doesn't look anything like the original, but I thought why not?  Let's play.  

Block 3 has a bunny!!! #steampunkquilt
Steam Punk Block #3

There was a bumpy start using the templates and curves, but by block three, things were coming together nicely.  I don't have a plan for these yet, but I am really enjoying process.

I bought my pattern from the Intrepid Thread (US) and she has a few more, but they are going fast. You can also buy them at Jen's quilt shop, Amitie Textiles (AU).

Jen Kingwell Designs
Steam Punk Flickr Group
#steampunkquilt on Instagram

Friday, May 24, 2013

Inspiration is Everywhere

Image from Starbucks

I was standing in line for coffee yesterday (as you do) and out of the corner of my eye I saw this display of coffee beans.  The colors on the packaging were so gorgeous together and I thought they would make a great quilt!  I brought a bag home with me, made a pot of coffee and started pulling fabrics.  What?  Doesn't everyone do that?  : D

The first color I saw and I kept looking at it, was the coral.  I don't have very much coral in my stash, but I started choosing anything that had a hint of that sherbety pinky-orange color.  I have a few new prints from Aneela Hoey's line, Posy, that were perfect.  Luckily I found a couple more that didn't quite match, but played nicely together.

Next I picked out some deep teals.  I was looking for really saturated tones and a variety of motifs.  Arrows, paisleys, fans and of course, pezzy!  

There are a lot of greens in my stash and they range from sour yellow-greens to serene blue-greens.  I was looking for something similar to the leaf in the lower right of the package.  Kind of a citron with a bit of an earthy edge to it.  What would you call that anyways?  Asparagus??

The aquas were easy because I have so many of them.  I held each one up to the teals to help narrow it down.  At the top of the coffee bag is this really pretty soft lemony yellow color.  I almost didn't include it, but I realized that as an accent it really helps the coral, teal and citron colors shine.

These colors are very fresh and summery and they would look good on a white background.  Look at how pretty they also look against the silvery gray of the package.  I added some grays and this pretty stack is as far as I've gotten.  Now I just need to decide what to make.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quilt Market Favorites, Spring 2013

Collage by Such Designs, Windham Fabrics
Echino, Kokka
Hello Tokyo by The Red Thread, Robert Kaufman
Nordika by Jeni Baker, Art Gallery
Tule by Leah Duncan, Art Gallery
Wallflowers by Allison Harris, Windham Fabrics
Waterfront Park by Violet Craft, Michael Miller
Briar Rose by Heather Ross, Windham Fabrics
Florence by Denyse Schmidt, Free Spirit Fabrics
Acacia by Tula Pink, Free Spirit Fabrics

Here are some of my favorites from Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Or.  There was lots to love from Free Spirit Fabrics, Windham Fabrics and Art Gallery.  It's interesting to watch the colors, the designs and even the booths evolve over time.  Manufacturers are expanding more and more into contemporary and modern designs in all areas (fabric, patterns, tools).  I love it!  

My very favorite thing was meeting and talking with people.  There is never enough time to catch up with everyone.  Portland was an excellent host city and transportation was especially easy.  I can't wait to go back and explore some more.  

Coming home I feel exhausted in the best possible way.  I'm fired up to create and get my ideas out there.

More pictures in my Quilt Market gallery on flickr

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fly Away Home

This is my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Thank you so much to Amy for creating and hosting this event again and again.  I love participating, seeing quilts posted from all over the world and reading the stories behind them.  The festival has always been full of inspiration and new quilty friends.  Cheers to Amy!!  : )

Name: Fly Away Home
Fabric: Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller, Carolina Chambray in black
Original design by: Adrianne Ove
Quilted by: Adrianne Ove
Finished Size: 34" x 47"
Category: Wall Hanging

I made this quilt as part of a challenge through the Modern Quilt Guild.  My local guild was given yardage to share by Michael Miller.  This is my most personal quilt to date.  Yes, Madrona road is a pretty fabric line. Fresh colors, bold florals, herringbone, sketchy tonals and a great text print thrown in for good measure. I love it all, but for me, creating this quilt goes much deeper.
The text print, "memoir", tells a story of living, loving, heartbreak and a longing for home. This resonated so deep in my soul, it gave me goosebumps and tears as I read it the first time. I've been more of a tumbleweed than a gypsy, moving from one place to another for years, and finding myself stuck in a place that I don't want to be. Now that my kids have started school the ache for a home instead of a house, the search for roots and happiness is more urgent than ever. I haven't found my Madrona Road yet, but one day, I will take my family and fly away home.
*You can read "memoir" on Violet's blog,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Super Tote Pattern by Noodlehead

I bought this fabric to make a bag to take with me to Quilt Market.  I knew I wanted some as soon as I saw those butterflies and it's even prettier in real life!  The question was, which bag to make?  I decided on trying this pattern after seeing so many cute versions online.  It's a brand new one called Super Tote and it's by Anna of Noodlehead.  It's a .pdf pattern too so no waiting when you want to start sewing after 8pm!  : )

The main fabric is a linen/cotton blend called Ghost Wing by Anna Maria Horner.  The dotty fabric on the side is an oldie but a goodie called County Fair by Denyse Schmidt.  You can still find it around online if you look for it.  I used Pellon SF101 on all of the exterior pieces as suggested in the pattern.

I forgot how long bags can take to make.  For some reason, they feel like a 1-2 hour project.  Not!  This one took me about six hours (with Mama/kid stuff inbetween). Maybe longer?  I started cutting and fusing last night and stitched all day today.  Normally this isn't a problem, but I've got packing to do!


Speaking of Quilt Market, I will be posting pictures onto Instgram and Facebook as I go.  You can find links on the top right hand side of the blog.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mood Board: After Midnight

Mood Board: After Midnight

There is a garden I know of, filled with posies and fairy rings.  An old bicycle rests against the garden shed.  It's still and quiet after midnight, but the garden does not sleep.  Spider webs are laced with dew.  Snails leave hidden trails along the pathways.  Gossip can be heard amongst the crickets.  Insect wings glimmer in the moonlight and tiny seeds dance in the crisp night air.  Sit and watch long enough and you will see the golden rays of sunlight cut through the ink filled sky.  Dawn is coming and a new day is about to begin.

  1. Indie Chic, Woven in Yellow
  2. Tsuru, Blossom Festival
  3. Tsuru, Old Lace in Cerulean
  4. Avingnon, Houndstooth in Orange
  5. Ride, Wheels in Teal
  6. Glimma, Kulla in Orange Nut
  7. Constellations, Stars in Black
  8. Pearl Bracelet in Peach
  9. Stitch Square in Navvy
  10. Glimma, Korkek in Jade
  11. Piper, Scallops in Orange
  12. Oval Elements, Vintage Blue

Fabric swatches from The Intrepid Thread

Monday, May 13, 2013

To Boston with Love

A teeny-tiny dresden plate block

Sunny scraps

Love from California

When I heard that the Vancouver MQG was collecting flags for Boston I knew I wanted to send one.  There is still time to contribute, the deadline to receive flags is May 21st.  More information including flag measurements and suggested colors are on the Vancouver MQG blog.

"The overall idea is to provide Boston with an uplifting experience from quilters and sewists around the globe. " - Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild

Here is a little something to Boston with love from California.  For the fabric, I choose some sunny scraps and a pretty aqua solid.  I couldn't find a template for the shape and size dresden plate I wanted, so I drafted my own based on a block from EQ. The back is a mix of simple applique and hand embroidery.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Finished Quilt: Sunny Stargazer

Here is my third and final quilt for Jacob's Heart.  I had a few extra blocks from making the Baby Stargazer quilt and it didn't take long to piece a few more.  It only takes 12 blocks to make a small quilt.  Aren't teal and yellow good together?  I don't think I will ever get tired of this color combo.

I have a confession.  The day I went shopping for backing fabric, I was one tired Mama.  I headed over to Julie's shop and I was having the hardest time choosing a fabric.  It was one of those days and as silly as it sounds now, it was almost too much.  Julie rescued me by suggesting this print from Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry and it was so perfect!  I  was so relieved, I think I might have hugged her.  Yep, I'm a hugger.  : )

To keep it crinkly and snuggly, I quilted it with an allover stipple.  I had one last piece of Quilter's Dream batting that was just big enough for this quilt.  It's so wonderful, especially fresh out of the dryer.  Oh man, heaven!!

Name: Sunny Stargazer
Size: 36"x48"
Quilt Pattern: Stargazer by Adrianne Ove
Pieced and Quilted by: Adrianne Ove
May 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finished Quilt: Squares and Rectangles

Squares and Rectangles (front)

Here is another finish.  This is the quilt that my five-year-old daughter and I worked on together.  She had a lot of creative input and I love the way it turned out.  After she sketched her squares and rectangles, I had to figure out a way to make that into a quilt.  

I was inspired by this quilt on flickr.  I liked the way the prints floated on the background instead of stacking them all together.  I was planning on a space between every colored piece, but my daughter insisted on stacking a few of them.  Good call, right?  The quilting is inspired by Jacquie Gering and Malka Dubrawsky.

Squares and Rectangles (back)

It was a fast and furious finish to get these bound before Tuesday night's meeting.  If it feels like these came out of nowhere, trust me they didn't.  The three quilts I finished for Jacob's Heart has taken every spare minute and lots of support from my family.  There may have been a few Instagram breaks in there too.  I could not do this every month, but I am so happy I took the time this month.  

I have one more to share with you tomorrow.  It turned out to be the snuggliest one!

Name: Squares and Rectangles
Size: 48"x60"
Quilt Pattern: None
Fabric: Roar by Marie Perkins for Robert Kaufman and assorted Kona solids
Pieced and Quilted by: Adrianne Ove
May 2013

See my daughter's original design sketch and read more about how this quilt started here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Finished Quilt: Skittles

After binding late into the night last, the Skittles quilt is done.  I made this quilt as part of a charity drive with the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild.  Our goal was to make 31 quilts in 31 days to give to Jacob's Heart.  This group of quilters have some of the biggest hearts I know and it looks like we are going to meet that goal!  All of these quilts are going to children in Santa Cruz County fighting cancer.  It was incredibly emotional to make this quilt.  I hope this brings brightness, light and love to it's new owner.

I choose fabrics that made me smile.  It's named Skittles after my husband said it reminded him of skittles candies.

Skittles Quilt Front

Size:45" x 58"
Fabric: A stash assortment including fabrics by: Denyse Schmidt, Kate Spain, Erin McMorris, The Quilted Fish, Sandi Henderson, October Afternoon and Lotta Jansdotter
Pieced and Quilted by: Adrianne Ove
May 2013

Read about the beginning of this quilt here.

Skittles Quilt Back

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Palette Builder 2.0 by Play Crafts

Play Crafts just launched an updated version of their Palette Builder tool. They have made it so simple to create color palettes and share them with just a few clicks. I love the flexibility of this tool. You can move the color pickers around to find just the right shade or tone.

Juicy Palette
Juicy Palette

I was making dinner the other night and I thought these juiced limes looked interesting. Later on, I uploaded it to the Palette Builder and came up with this color scheme.

Rings of Saturn
Rings of Saturn Palette

I took this photograph of a roll of binding recently. The swirled shape was interesting, but it was the rings of color that I wanted to capture. There was no pink or navy in the actual fabric, but there are so many complimentary colors lurking in the shadows and highlights of a photograph. The navy and watermelon pink are great additions and would add a secret sparkle to a quilt top.

Palette Builder 2.0 by Play Crafts
Share your palettes and see others on the Play Crafts flickr page

-There are even more features being built into the tool, but you can start using it now.  
-It works with Chrome, Firefox and Safari
-If you're using IE, you need IE 10+
-It doesn't not work with mobile devices or iPads, yet (exciting!!)

I know Anne, Gillian and Jane from the South Bay MQG and they are passionate about building this tool for us to use.  There is a feedback button in the tool and they want to hear all of your suggestions and questions.  You can also email Anne directly,


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