contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

linda@surroundedbyscraps.com
Portland, OR

503-997-8958

Handmade quilts and home accessories by fiber artist Linda Nussbaum. See samples of past projects as well as pieces available for sale and inspirations for custom orders. To see what is currently available for sale, please visit my Etsy Shop.

Surrounded by Scraps

A Facebook Message I Almost Didn't Read, But Am So Glad I Did

Linda Nussbaum

It has been a LONG time since I set “foot” in this blog. But this is a story worth sharing.

And there are a few lessons to be learned:

Lesson 1: Every once in a while, seemingly random things really do happen for a reason. Objects hold stories and the energies that have been near them, and those energies can be picked up by others.

Lesson 2: We are so used to seeing how people misuse social media, it is unexpected when a stranger uses it for a truly benevolent act.

(and this next one is for all of you quilters out there…)

Lesson 3: ALWAYS LABEL YOUR QUILTS! They should include date and city of origin as well as the maker’s name(s).


And now the Story…

Prologue — Back in 2005 or 2006 I made a quilt that I never planned to keep. It was created as a fundraising auction item for a cancer support center in St. Louis. At the time a dear friend of the family had been using their services, while around the same time another dear friend out on the west coast was undergoing chemo and radiation. **Spoiler alert — both of the aforementioned women are happy and healthy today and still dear friends respectively.

The quilt as I documented before sending it off into the world. Pattern from French Braid Quilts, by Jane Hardy Miller.

The quilt as I documented before sending it off into the world. Pattern from French Braid Quilts, by Jane Hardy Miller.

The printed label applied to the back of the quilt.

The printed label applied to the back of the quilt.

I sent the quilt, got notification of its receipt and that was that. The rest was up to the organizers of the fundraiser and I just hoped that the quilt found a home and brought some good. Goodbye to “A Flower Garden for Saskia.”

A Facebook Message I Nearly Missed — We all have that love/hate relationship with Facebook… at least those of us who don’t simply have the hate part of the relationship, or no relationship at all. When they separated the direct messaging into a different application altogether, I opted not to download that application, so only see messages when I access on my laptop. And even then, I only look at messages I get notifications about, which means messages from people among my friends list.

I had reason to go to my Messages the other day and saw that there was a small grouping of messages from strangers (or people not on my friends list) that had been filtered in a way that I had to click the list and accept or decline each individually. At the time I ignored them. This morning I decided to “clean out” those messages.

In this day and age of universally accessible social media I don’t think there is any one of us who has not been bombarded at some point by spam. There are the unwanted followers on Instagram who are just out to grow their accounts; robo-accounts with fake profile pictures; lame, lonely singles out trolling… At best it’s annoying, at worst it’s threatening. At the top of my message list was a notification that [name of man who is a stranger to me] sent me a photo. I was about to click a button to report this as spam, but decided it would be wise to check the content of the message before actually reporting it as spam. Good call, Linda.

What I Least Expected — The photos he sent were of my own quilt. At first I thought it was something posted on Pinterest, maybe, but quickly realized that the photos were snapped by the sender, and upon reading his message I was truly agog.

found_Garden_Quilt_label.jpg
found_Garden_quilt.jpg

There was a short message that accompanied these photos, stating that he found this quilt in a dumpster while out walking his dog. It was at an apartment complex in the greater St. Louis region, where he said items left behind in vacant apartments are simply thrown out. He adds that he “couldn’t let this happen to this beautiful work of art,” so he brought it home and washed it, which is when he noticed the label.

When was the last time you saw someone’s handiwork hanging out on the curb or by a dumpster and decided it was too nice to become garbage? I don’t have an answer for that myself, but I can tell you I’ll be keeping my eyes open from this moment on!

And from the information on the label (presumably my name and city) he set out to find a way to contact me. And THAT is one of the wonders of Facebook and this age we find ourselves in! After reading his comments and seeing the photos, I responded immediately (which, in all fairness, was about 3 weeks after his original message). An expression of shock, a genuine Thank You and an offer were sent back in his direction.

Finders, Keepers — Some say that there are people who cross your path in your lifetime that are meant to be there at particular moments. I suspect the same can be said of certain objects or even observations. This particular object was one that I had made with a fair amount of emotion involved, and as stated earlier, with a specific purpose with which to go out in the world. And that was all it was supposed to be for me. I was never meant to follow its journey and certainly not meant to have it return to me. So with that in mind, I wrote to this young man that if he would like to keep the quilt that he has been caring for, it is his. I also said that if he really didn’t want it we could arrange to ship it back to the west coast. I was so very glad to get his response saying he would love to have the quilt. So I thought it only appropriate to give him the short story of the genesis of the quilt, more or less what is in the “Prologue” of this post.

And you know what? His response brought tears to my eyes. With a genuine “Thank you,” he added his own quick story, sharing that as a teen he had lost his mother to cancer and that she, too, had made quilts. He said that as soon as he first saw this quilt he thought of his mom, and now would “love and appreciate its beauty for the rest of my life.”

I can only hope that the first “owner” found something in it, whether comfort, beauty, a sense of giving or a totem for a memory. Whatever its journey between 2006 and 2019, I get to know that this quilt that I made with love in my heart has found a true home. I’m not one to use the word “blessed” but I think this might be what blessed feels like. For today, I get this feeling.

Oh, and back to that last lesson… Remember to label your quilts (and other artistic endeavors, Makers)!! I’m not so good about that on the generic ones, but I think that will change now.

To Be Or Not To Be...

Linda Nussbaum

Early last year I was all gung-ho to participate in the Portland Modern Quilt Guild (PMQG) Word Quilt Challenge — the theme for the guild's special exhibition at the 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. I've once before submitted a quilt that has been accepted to the PMQG booth for this show. That was several years ago, and I had the great fortune of being asked to publish the quilt in a national magazine after the art director at the time saw it among the show photos.

Photo credit: Staff photographer, Simple Quilts & Sewing, June 2013

Photo credit: Staff photographer, Simple Quilts & Sewing, June 2013

As early as February 2017 I started making notes about what I might like to say in my #PMQGspeaks2017 (The fact that the hashtag includes the year should be a bell for y'all) quilt. Then I started making sketches in my sketchbook some time in April/May. Once I decided on which direction I'd like to go, I moved to mock-ups using Affinity Designer on my Mac.

The text is an excerpt from a Pink Floyd song, The Post War Dream, on the album The Final Cut.

The text is an excerpt from a Pink Floyd song, The Post War Dream, on the album The Final Cut.

Not sure exactly when I started piecing the letters, but my first in-progress photos are from late July. Then... nothing.

I got hung up on how to bring the bulk of the design to fruition. I toyed with a couple of different techniques theoretically (as in on graph paper and in my muddled head) until I landed on a way to break it down using muslin foundation-piecing. So I prepped the muslin strips, basted them together before drawing the lines on (so I could match points at seam allowances, again theoretically). And then I just put it off.

IMG_0009a.jpg

This Thursday I received the latest newsletter from PMQG which announced that the deadline for submitting our PMQG Speaks quilts is February 6th. WHAT??? How did that happen? To be fair, they've probably announced that half a dozen times in as many months, but it just didn't sink in. Up to that point this is all I had completed of the quilt (in addition to the muslin strips pieced into a partial top - seen above, but before even having the markings):

IMG_0014.JPG

So Friday I decided that if I want to throw my hat in the ring for this exhibit I'd better get down to it! Man, what a struggle THAT has been so far!! Even after so much consideration of how to go about building this quilt, it's proving to be quite a challenge. I'm also struggling with my fabric choices and placement — which admittedly is odd for me as I love mixing things up. But I've been second guessing myself all day, and it seems like I'm picking out stitches and seams more than I'm sewing them. 

IMG_0013.JPG

With the knowledge that I will only get one more day in the sewing room for over a week and a half I'm just not sure if this is worth the frustration to meet the deadline. Is it worth it to press on in order to solve the puzzle and come up with a solution on time if I'm not in love with that solution? As I write this, my inclination is to say, "Yes, it's absolutely worthwhile to keep going. the worst that happens is that you finish this top, don't find it up to muster and CHOOSE not to submit. In that case, there is always the option to remake it as you envision on your own timeline and know it's yours to present with pride." Or it could end up that it comes together and I surprise myself once again.

Creating a Beacon

Linda Nussbaum

This entry might get a bit personal and perhaps morose.  It's not my story to share, only my takeaway looking back.

Today I finished a quilt top that in essence has been 2 years in the making. I actually came up with the design not quite a year ago while participating in the inspiring "30 days of quilt design" challenge hosted by Rachel of Stitched in Color on Instagram. It began as a couple of sketches in my sketchbook, dated August 29, 2016 — what would have been my friend Brandy's 41st birthday (or maybe her 42nd). 

A simplistic sketch based on a striking photograph by Brandy.

A simplistic sketch based on a striking photograph by Brandy.

Brandy and I had consistently celebrated and acknowledged one another's birthdays over the years since we first became friends while working together in NYC in the late 1990s. Even when one of us moved clear across the country (first she to California, though she returned to NY before I made my move to Portland) we stayed in touch. And even when communication dropped off regularly, we ALWAYS sent cards on birthdays and texts or emails at the new year. Brandy and I became friends back when I studiously kept a Filo-fax with addresses and birthdays of everyone important to me. So August 29th has been on my radar for nearly 2 decades.

At the time of this challenge, that birthday was also commemorating a year (plus a couple of weeks) since she had taken her own life. I'm so thankful I got to see her and spend time with her the last time I visited NYC, almost exactly a year before that, and that J also got to meet her and enjoy a wonderful evening together. She seemed so happy with where her life was at the time, was raising an amazing, creative girl, talking about possibly moving out to the west coast with her daughter and her new husband if they could find the right work opportunities. The glimpse that I got into her world over the following year gave no indication to me of what would happen almost exactly a year after she and I last saw one another. I still have no idea.

But I know I miss her. I miss her often, not just on her birthday. I think about her when I pass a house in my neighborhood that goes over the top with Halloween decorations to which Brandy once responded when I posted a photo on Instagram. I think about her when I see a card she sent me a bit after I moved to Portland, that has been up on an inspiration board in what used to be my sewing studio. I think about her if I hear some Bjork (which isn't so often these days) or see a classically beautiful B/W landscape photograph... one of her specialties.

So back to the quilt. After playing around with those different sketches I made, I decided to expand on one of them, working out a mock-up in EQ7. I already knew that I wanted to bring this one to fruition — not something that happens with the majority of my sketches in my book or in EQ7. But this stayed in my mind.

Brandy's Quilt_watermarked.jpg

It was while cutting pieces from my black and white fabrics for my 2nd planned charm quilt for the You're a Charm Quilt Along that I instinctually started setting aside the fabrics with mostly blacks and dark greys.

It suddenly felt like the right time to start working on Brandy's Quilt, as it has been labeled in my computer since last August. And it really was the right time.

In less than a month I've created a quilt top that is pretty darn close to the computer mock-up I have, and which speaks to me of Brandy specifically and mourning as I know it. Several of the fabrics used have a significance to me, or an association I attribute to her, and the overall design speaks to seeing a loved one with depression. 

IMG_6225.jpg

Always make it known that a beacon shines...

Waking from a nap

Linda Nussbaum

It always amazes me to see how much time passes between posts, during which some things are put to bed while others continue their adventure and move forward. 

Recently the You're a Charm Quilt Along may have been put down for a bit of a rest (along with pretty much all other quilting projects, with one exception) to be awakened presently, while my sewing endeavors have turned to updating my spring/summer wardrobe... with both success and serious pattern fails, like the bizarre fit of the Colette Patterns Sencha top.

When I tried this on, among other potentially fixable problems, the neckline was cutting into my throat when I tried to get the shoulder seams to sit ON my shoulders as opposed to my collar bones. That doesn't address the slightly off proportions and too-full bust created by all the darts. And sadly, this particular pattern fail was strike 3 for me with their patterns. I've made the Crepe wrap dress in what, by their measurement chart, should have been my size, but is way too big (and it already uses a ton of fabric), especially in the bust and shoulders. I've worn that dress maybe twice, and only to work at the fabric store. Then there is the Clover capri pant... After trying at least 2 adjustments to my muslin, I fully gave up. I think one has to be pencil thin WITH hips, or brush off one's advanced dress-making skills and completely rework the pattern for a real body (in which case you might as well draft your own dang pattern). So yeah, as much as I admire the aesthetic of their clothes, and love the fact that it's a local Portland company, I have to accept that Colette, like Adidas and Nike shoes, just doesn't fit my body.

But then there was the absolutely perfect (and super-simple) Reversible Wrap Around Twirl Skirt by love jill... I now have 4 new skirts (in 2)! And I'll gladly make more in the future!

IMG_6128a.jpg

What kicked off this flurry of making new clothes was this first attempt at Made by Rae's Ruby top. I was actually going for the dress version, but miscalculated on how much I could skimp on the main fabric, so I ended up with something between a tunic and a dress — which means I still have to wear it over jeans or trousers. BUT, it turned out super cute and I would make another, though next time I might switch pattern size or seam allowances for the main fabric (the yoke in M fits like a gem, but the rest of the top is just a little poofy for my taste). And I DO really want a casual summery sundress, so next time I'll purchase the full amount of fabric she calls for.

IMG_6037.JPG
IMG_6038.JPG

It's been refreshing to work on fun, new garments and get to impulse buy some of those fabrics I had been eyeing at cool cottons for months, but in a somewhat uncharacteristic turn have been avoiding getting without a specific project in mind. Bring on the quick and satisfying projects!

Doubling Down on YACQAL

Linda Nussbaum

This past weekend I was compelled to dust off my rotary cutter and get back to work in my stash cutting fabrics for my charm quilts. Yep, that's a plural there. It was always my intention to make more than one version concurrently for the You're a Charm Quilt Along (#YACQAL), I just couldn't decide on what one-patch shape I was going to do in addition to my 60° triangles. At first I thought I might try trapezoids, but didn't like the color contrast I began with and ultimately established that I am just too lazy to mark and hand-cut each piece.

IMG_5732.JPG

Then this weekend I toyed with the idea of doing a tumbling block effect with diamonds, but again that lazy gene kicked in when I realized it would require Y-seams. One or two might be okay, but to do a whole quilt of them is definitely more than I can chew, which is a bummer because I think this one could have turned out really cool!!

FullSizeRender.jpg

So, I am sticking with simple shapes and playing with different sections from my stash. The triangle quilt will be made up of warm tones — all of my yellows, oranges and reds, with a few golds and russets thrown in there. The brickwork version is starting with my collection of black and white fabrics, then branching out into multi-color on both black and white backgrounds. Either that or going toward tans, grey and taupe with black and white. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_6035.JPG
IMG_6033.JPG

Now that I, personally, am back on track for this project, I am hoping to get more feedback from others who maybe were participating at the start, or at least interested in doing so. As I am sure I have mentioned before, I have never run a quilt along, and realize I might need some help here. Unfortunately, Squarespace (my website and blog home) does not support inlinkz or another link-sharing subscription, so I never figured out how to allow link-parties in the blog entry. But I still welcome comments and links in your comments to see what you are doing! And of course there's the #YACQAL hashtag on IG. 

I'll do my best to move forward on this in the hopes that others are inspired to do the same, or if nothing else, it brings me to my cutting table and design wall! Not to mention finding gems like this while going through my stash stacks one fabric at a time!

Inspired by the last couple of months in our charity bee circle, I've been cutting a single 2.5" square from all of the fabrics I'm taking out, as I go. Another charm quilt in the making...?

Inspired by the last couple of months in our charity bee circle, I've been cutting a single 2.5" square from all of the fabrics I'm taking out, as I go. Another charm quilt in the making...?

Step by Step, Inch by Inch

Linda Nussbaum

For those of you who have been following along so far on the You're A Charm Quilt Along, it may seem like things have been quiet... and well, they have been. BUT, I've been cutting more and more triangles, have YOU been getting some fabrics cut?? If so, we'd love to see them! I'm looking forward to the day when the #YACQAL hashtag on IG has more photos by other participants than by me (just sayin')! Thank you Cherie and Anne for working toward that goal so far :)

I have said that we'll be taking a leisurely pace on this QAL. My hope is that this will give participants a chance to take part and share while still acknowledging that we all have other obligations in our days and weeks. 

However, that doesn't mean we're at a stand-still. I am hoping to see a collection of fabric patches accumulate in the next couple of weeks, with a push to start some layout pics and maybe even begin piecing by mid May. 

I haven't counted these up, but I am sure I have many more to cut before I get anywhere near enough for a decent sized quilt top.

I haven't counted these up, but I am sure I have many more to cut before I get anywhere near enough for a decent sized quilt top.

Now, for what's been going on in MY days and weeks... It starts with transitioning my "sewing room" back into a semi-functional guest bedroom. That mattress design wall that seemed to spark such interest — well it's just a mattress again. ;) The not-in-laws were here for just a couple of nights last weekend for a too-quick visit which included a trip to Portland Art Museum to see the Rodin exhibit before it closed.

IMG_5784.JPG

And in just a few days from now we are expecting my brother and BIL for a couple of nights, so the guest room remains a guest room. And we're glad to be getting guests, so I am NOT complaining! I'll share more on that visit after the fact, but I will just say that their visit is tied in with a new event for horror film fans and industry folks happening at Timberline Lodge at the end of April, The Overlook Film Festival... and a new presentation of 2 live Tales from Beyond the Pale.

Found a card for the festival at a NE Portland neighborhood bar a couple of weeks ago. Happy to help promote!

Found a card for the festival at a NE Portland neighborhood bar a couple of weeks ago. Happy to help promote!

Oh, and not a week after this visit I will be heading back to my old hometown of St. Louis for my 25th (yikes!!) high school reunion. Psyched and freaked out at the same time. So much time has passed and yet I just don't feel like I've got my adulting down properly. Ever been there??

In my spring cleaning, wardrobe edition I cannot bring myself to get rid of this OLD t-shirt for the boys' HS lacrosse team (I let go of our girls' team shirt many, many years ago, as is appropriate).

In my spring cleaning, wardrobe edition I cannot bring myself to get rid of this OLD t-shirt for the boys' HS lacrosse team (I let go of our girls' team shirt many, many years ago, as is appropriate).

So yes, things are happening, and I hope that no one feels like the YACQAL is suffering for it. Would love to see more input and hope to get more photos going from those of you interested in participating! So bring on the questions, comments and suggestions!

Charm Quilts — Making the First Cut

Linda Nussbaum

Have you decided what form you'd like your charm quilt to take?? Started pulling some fabrics to cut into and get plastered on your design wall? This post will give a few pointers on techniques for slicing just a little bit from a whole lot of different fabrics. 

I'll start by making the assumption that there's no need for me to go over rotary cutting for squares or rectangles. Chances are, if you're a blog-reading quilter, you've got that one down. So let's jump to triangles. For 60° (equilateral) triangles I use either my 6" x 12" Omnigrid ruler or the handy-dandy Clearview Triangle 60° tool by Sarah Nephew. These same tools can help for cutting parallelograms as well.

FullSizeRender.jpg
Those angle markings are great for this, but just be sure you're measuring from the correct side of the ruler — it does sometimes make a difference.

Those angle markings are great for this, but just be sure you're measuring from the correct side of the ruler — it does sometimes make a difference.

Below is a quick look at cutting a triangle using the standard rectangular rotary ruler, followed by the super-easy demo with the triangle ruler.

My goal triangles are cut at 6" tall (convenient with the Omnigrid 6" wide rulers, but I could have gone smaller or bigger, just takes a bit more math). To start, I tested against my gridded cutting mat to see what the base length would be if I go with a triangle the size I was considering; turns out it would be 7".

When the 60° line is placed along the "base" or outer edge, you can see that the length ends up at the 7" mark on the mat. Again, this is assuming I am cutting the exact width of the 6" ruler. If you want 4" instead, move the ruler so that where the 60° line and the 2"/4" line connect matches the corner at 0 on the cutting mat. Your base will be the length to the edge f the ruler just as in this photo it hits at the 7 on the cutting mat.

When the 60° line is placed along the "base" or outer edge, you can see that the length ends up at the 7" mark on the mat. Again, this is assuming I am cutting the exact width of the 6" ruler. If you want 4" instead, move the ruler so that where the 60° line and the 2"/4" line connect matches the corner at 0 on the cutting mat. Your base will be the length to the edge f the ruler just as in this photo it hits at the 7 on the cutting mat.

So then I cut a 6"x 7" rectangle from my fabric. Place the 60° line across the 7" base of the rectangle from one corner to the center of the opposite side and cut along the edge. Then I flipped the piece of fabric once clockwise, placed the same 60° line along the newly cut edge, so the edge of the ruler should meet to opposite corner. 

If you have the tool below (or something comparable) it's easier to cut just a single piece from your fabric stash without cutting out a rectangular piece from it first.

On this ruler, the number at the base is actually the height of the triangle, so if you are going for 6" tall, as I am, use the line for 6.

On this ruler, the number at the base is actually the height of the triangle, so if you are going for 6" tall, as I am, use the line for 6.

For anything more complex I move directly to templates. For drawing your own, you can use a mid-weight to heavy card stock, mat board, or a thin template plastic, plus a ruler, pencil and Sharpie. When drawing a template, I prefer to start by drawing the size I want the finished piece to be, then add the 1/4" seam allowance guide around it before cutting out the template. It just helps me envision things better if I can see the outline of my goal. Here are some tips on how I approach this step.

Above is a selection of some of the options for shapes and orientations of similar shapes that can be done by making your own template. Tall isosceles triangles (2 sides same length, 1 side different), or various trapezoids, either squat or slim and tall, for instance. 

My approach is pretty loosey-goosey to begin with, but then follows some rules. I'll start by deciding how long I want the base of the shape to be. Let's draw a trapezoid to illustrate, and start with a 4" base:

I mark the outside points, as well as the mid-point on the line. Next, I choose what height I want it to be, and measure straight up from the mid-point, perpendicular to the first line. In this case I chose to also have it 4" tall.

And it seemed to be a pleasant proportion to make the top of the trapezoid 2" wide, which means taking that mid-point marking and extending a line 1" in each direction.

Sorry for the terrible lighting and shadow on these photos.., hopefully the lines are clear enough to see!

Sorry for the terrible lighting and shadow on these photos.., hopefully the lines are clear enough to see!

And then it's just a matter of connecting the dots!

And don't forget to add your 1/4" seam allowances before cutting out your template!!

In theory, you should be able to take the principles of how I drafted this template and apply to most one-patch-friendly shapes. The measurements can be relatively arbitrary as long as they are consistent and the angles fit together when pieced side by side.

This template can now be used as a marking gauge for all of your fabrics. I alternate between my ceramic chalk mechanical pencil (for darker fabrics), a water-soluble blue marking pen, or for this purpose, since we're marking our actual cutting line, even a permanent Sigma Micron pen works well.

Whew! That's a lot of photos for something that hopefully isn't all that complicated! So, let's get to this! In the next week or two let's see if we can get a minimum of 40 patches cut out. If you're confident with starting to piece them together and want to jump in there, be my guest, though there will be updates along the way to go step-by-step for that.

Leave a comment below, post to instagram using our #yacqal hashtag and let's see what everyone has decided to make!! I can't wait to see all of the fun, different tastes!!

You're a Charm Quilt-Along — Let's Begin!

Linda Nussbaum

It's time to get this party started! But how, you might ask? It begins with just stepping back and taking a look at your fabric stash, whether it's all shelved together or spread out among different bins, sorted by color or by collection. Take it in and think about how you want to use it. Do you want to go through in a methodical way cutting a piece from each fabric working your way through stacks? Are you currently working on an unrelated sewing or quilting project that you can cut patches from as they are already out on your cutting mat? Are you thinking of using smaller patches and going to raid your scrap bins first? What comes to mind when you gaze at your fabrics?

Just a portion of my stash... thinking about color and distribution.

Just a portion of my stash... thinking about color and distribution.

Also think about what general size you'd like to use for your patches. This will not only dramatically affect the character of the finished quilt, but will make a difference in how many fabrics you will need. I have to admit I am not counting as I go (so far), but then I know I can choose from my stash without doing any repeats and have enough fabric to make 5 different quilts (a guess, but a reasonable one)! If you aren't a hoarder like I am, this is something to take into account. 1.5" hexies are a great design element, but will require many more patches than if you do 6" equilateral triangles.

Personally, I think I am going to work on 2 different quilts during this QAL and my approach to fabric selection will be different. As some of you may already be familiar, I LOVE me a good color wash quilt! The flow of color and value across the whole thing is an inspiration to me. So I am thinking that my 1,000 Pyramid quilt will be a steady wash of warm hues: oranges, yellows, reds and maybe some lime green. For my tumbler quilt I am still giving it thought. I want to go scrappy, but am undecided whether I plan to do a complete mash-up of color and print or take a more planned approach with contrasting colors alternating throughout. The process will help me figure that out. 

IMG_5505.JPG

One discipline that this will bring up for me, and I imagine I'm not alone here, is the intention of cutting into even the "precious" fabrics in my stash. If you've been quilting and collecting fabric for as long as I have you no doubt have several pieces that you love SO much you only use them sparingly, or sadly sometimes not at all. What a shame to find a print so unique that you're afraid to no longer have it available so it never ends up in any project at all! Let's all agree to break free of that, if even with just one print. Be sure to include one or more of these "precious" fabrics in your first stack of fabrics when you begin cutting. You'll be glad you're getting some use from it and it will continue to be a favorite, so enjoy it in something you make!

Some examples of just a few of my "precious" fabrics. I will be sad when I use them up, but I'd be more so if I never used them at all.

Some examples of just a few of my "precious" fabrics. I will be sad when I use them up, but I'd be more so if I never used them at all.

The next big thing to consider is what block choice you would like to work with for this quilt. In my last post leading up to this QAL I presented a variety of some of the more common shapes often used in one-patch charm quilts. If you haven't seen that post, you can find it here or go to the Quilt-Along page from the top navigation bar on the website. As I've mentioned, I intend to work on both a 1,000 pyramid quilt using equilateral triangles (I do love the triangle quilts!) and a tumbler quilt (trapezoids), which will be a first for me. In both cases I am going with medium to larger scale (4" base on tumblers, 6" height on triangles).

My next post later this week I'll show some techniques on cutting using standard rotary rulers and drafting templates on card stock for tracing. There are also commercially available templates for various one-patch shapes. Here are just a couple sources available:

One-derful One Patch Templates by Marti Michell

Perfect Patchwork Templates by Marti Michell

Trace 'n Create Quilt Templates with Nancy

IMG_5491.JPG

Another approach for those of you who prefer hand-work is using an English Paper Piecing (EPP) method. Various sizes and shapes available.

Paper Pieces - precut paper shapes for EPP

So, are we ready to jump in?? One thing I will be playing around with for this QAL is setting up inLinkz so we can do a share of progress and prompts. I'm still trying to figure that one out, so it may take a couple of posts before it is up successfully, but I do want you all to share your process with us here. If a link-up is not available at the bottom of the post, then please leave a comment with any links to your own blog or instagram. Let's start with pictures of your stash from which you're working and/or a picture of any of those "precious" prints you're willing to cut into and include in your charm quilt. Use the hashtag #YACQAL on IG so we can keep it all together. AND the more times you link up the more chances you have of winning the give-away down the road!

Still have questions about how to begin? Let me know and I'll do my best to help out!