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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

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.

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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. 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

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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!

One-Patch, Many Options — YACQAL #3

Linda Nussbaum

Okay, so this will likely be the last of my preliminary posts leading up to the launch of my first ever quilt along: You're a Charm Quilt-Along! If those ideas aren't swimming yet, hopefully this will help kick them into gear so you have a plan for beginning in just a couple of weeks.

And if you haven't already, add this blog to your reading list so you don't miss the launch or any of the installments once we get going! I'll also try to post notices via instagram on @surroundedbyscraps  and on my Surrounded by Scraps Facebook page (this will definitely be a social-media learning experience for me!)

So far I've offered a little bit on the background and concept behind charm quilts, and today I'll be presenting a list and examples of some of the most common shapes to be found in one-patch charm quilts. Let's start with defining a one-patch quilt: A patchwork quilt where each piece is a uniform shape and size. Pretty straight forward. Now, for it to work properly, those shapes need to fit together into an overall pattern that maintains a flat plane. There are LOTS of shapes from which to choose.

Squares/Rectangles

We'll start simple. We can all picture quilts made up of the same sized squares or same sized rectangles all over, from postage stamp quilts (traditionally 1"-2" max. squares throughout), to brickwork patterns with larger rectangles to showcase bold prints. And of course, the contemporary use of the term charm quilt fits into this category, using commercially manufactured 5" charm pack squares pieced together.

An Amish wool 1-patch. Click image for source.

An Amish wool 1-patch. Click image for source.

Checkerboard quilt by Red Pepper Quilts. Click image to read her blog post on it!  

Checkerboard quilt by Red Pepper Quilts. Click image to read her blog post on it!

 

Scrappy Rectangles by KatyQuilts. Click image for her original post.

Scrappy Rectangles by KatyQuilts. Click image for her original post.

Side Braid Quilt by Jeni Baker, via Flickr. Click for original image source.

Side Braid Quilt by Jeni Baker, via Flickr. Click for original image source.

Found on Pinterest, could not locate maker for credits.

Found on Pinterest, could not locate maker for credits.

Triangles/Diamonds/Parallelograms

Another common one-patch category. This is where we have the 1,000 Pyramid quilts, 60° diamonds, and more complex arrangements such as Seven Sisters and Tumbling Blocks (not to be confused with Tumblers, which come up in our next category). As with all of these quilts, the scale you choose for your shape will have a huge effect on how the finished quilt looks and feels. Larger patches are appealing for those with less of a stash to work with (or less time for piecing), but generally will look much more contemporary, not to say you can't get a very contemporary look with smaller pieces, as you'll see below.

Thousand Pyramid, found on Flickr via Pinterest - SurrendrDorothy.

Thousand Pyramid, found on Flickr via Pinterest - SurrendrDorothy.

Carnival Quilt by Ashley Newcome. If you click the image, you will find a whole bunch of great triangle quilts and a link to some free patterns!

Carnival Quilt by Ashley Newcome. If you click the image, you will find a whole bunch of great triangle quilts and a link to some free patterns!

Pyramid quilt by Hyacinth Quilts. Click image for her post.

Pyramid quilt by Hyacinth Quilts. Click image for her post.

Diamonds & Ice, by yours truly. (sorry for terrible photo)

Diamonds & Ice, by yours truly. (sorry for terrible photo)

The Little Red Hen, via Pinterest. Here we have what appears to be a true 1-patch tumbling block charm quilt!

The Little Red Hen, via Pinterest. Here we have what appears to be a true 1-patch tumbling block charm quilt!

Another tumbling block quilt, by ariane's crafts, via Pinterest.

Another tumbling block quilt, by ariane's crafts, via Pinterest.

Seven Sisters block by Q is for Quilter. Click for source.

Seven Sisters block by Q is for Quilter. Click for source.

An example of a Seven Sisters design, by Stephen Sollins, via Pinterest. 

An example of a Seven Sisters design, by Stephen Sollins, via Pinterest. 

Trapezoids (a.k.a. Tumblers)

And here we start getting into some of the traditional one-patch shapes that are harder to get without making (or buying) a template. The previous categories I tend to prefer using my rotary ruler and tools, but with the less common angles and sides that are no longer parallel, having a template to work from will save you much time and frustration. Take my word for that ;)

I'll Tumble for You, by Penny, Sew Take a Hike. On Flickr, via Pinterest.

I'll Tumble for You, by Penny, Sew Take a Hike. On Flickr, via Pinterest.

Modern Tumblers by Frances Meredith. Click image for source.

Modern Tumblers by Frances Meredith. Click image for source.

Half-hexagon Trapezoid. A little harder to create proper illusion with charms, but with the right color and value placements...

Half-hexagon Trapezoid. A little harder to create proper illusion with charms, but with the right color and value placements...

Scrapapalooza 1-patch. I love her process blog post on Quilting is More Fun than Housework. Click image for post.

Scrapapalooza 1-patch. I love her process blog post on Quilting is More Fun than Housework. Click image for post.

Hexagons

We've all seen the hexie craze take over, and sure enough this is a natural fit for a one-patch quilt. And there are many methods for getting those hexes made, whether pieced using Y-seams, English Paper Pieced (EPP), or as a combo of smaller triangles (which is effective, but one has to be careful when combining with a charm quilt). There are also several different scales and "shapes" of hexagons that work as a one-patch.

Vintage Hexagon quilt, maker unknown, via Pinterest.

Vintage Hexagon quilt, maker unknown, via Pinterest.

Stretched Hex, by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Templates on her website, just click the image.

Stretched Hex, by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Templates on her website, just click the image.

My Blue and White, by Prosivana Deka. Large, bold, pieced hexagons.

My Blue and White, by Prosivana Deka. Large, bold, pieced hexagons.

By Inspired by Vintage, via Pinterest.

By Inspired by Vintage, via Pinterest.

Apple Cores/Clam Shells

Now we enter into curves, curves that nestle together just so. There's no doubt some mathematical formula for getting these just right, but again, I would go with finding a template for one of these guys. Piecing curves is not my strong-suit, but they can be so beautiful and effective all together!

Jumbo Applecore, by Thimbleanna. Click image for source.

Jumbo Applecore, by Thimbleanna. Click image for source.

Apple core color wash, maker unknown.

Apple core color wash, maker unknown.

Double Hammerhead 3, maker unknown. Via Pinterest.

Double Hammerhead 3, maker unknown. Via Pinterest.

Large scale Clam Shell using Anna Maria Horner, by Melissa at My Fabric Relish. Click image for original post.

Large scale Clam Shell using Anna Maria Horner, by Melissa at My Fabric Relish. Click image for original post.

An alternate layout for clam shell. From Accuquilt, via Pinterest.

An alternate layout for clam shell. From Accuquilt, via Pinterest.

Neon and Neutral II, by Latifah Saafir. On flickr. One of my favorites!

Neon and Neutral II, by Latifah Saafir. On flickr. One of my favorites!

There are others much less common, and with a good internet search you can find them, but I thought this gave a good selection of shapes from which to get inspired. I found Pinterest to be an invaluable resource for finding all kinds of samples, and have compiled a selection into a board called One-Patch Quilt Ideas. And in case there is any question, you are invited to work with any shape you like... you don't even need to do a one-patch to join the YACQAL, but my demos will focus on one-patch, while I try to show a couple of different techniques for marking, cutting and piecing shapes as we go.

Oh, and have I mentioned that there will be a sweet little giveaway when all is said and done?? More details on that will be revealed at the launch , but let's just say I'm looking forward to connecting with more of you and seeing what we can create in our own styles from the same prompts. Again, follow my blog, instagram and/or FB page to keep up to date on this fun adventure we're about to have!

A Quilting Adventure!

Linda Nussbaum

In less than 2 weeks I will be heading down the coast to join my mom for a quilting class. We're signed up to take a class from Jean Wells at Empty Spools Seminars, more commonly known by its venue name, Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, CA.

Not only will this be my first time taking a class with Jean Wells (and the irony is not lost on me that I live in the same state as one of the top contemporary quilt artists and teachers but am traveling out of state for her class), but it will also be my first time at Asilomar. I am super-excited and a little apprehensive. My mom has attended Asilomar many times in the past and seems to always enjoy the experience. She has tried to get me to go with her time and again, but this is the first that I've come through. At least for this particular venue. 

The class for which we are signed up is entitled, "Exploring Your Own Personal Theme," and one goal is to work toward creating a quilt series based on said personal theme. It draws from the design principles and techniques that Jean puts forth in a couple of her books, most closely (to my knowledge) in "Intuitive Color & Design" and "Journey to Inspired Art Quilting."

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My biggest problem so far is that I just cannot seem to focus on or decide on a main theme. I started by going through photos I've taken over the last few years, many while traveling or on hikes, There are so many interesting shots that I think would translate into cool quilts, but one thing that I've learned about myself in my many years of artistic endeavors is that I tend to get quite literal in my interpretations. And for this class I do NOT want to be literal, or at least not literally pictorial. That requires too much detail, and I'm lazy. So I decided to steer away from landscape photos as my compositional inspiration. I think. Now color scheme is a whole other issue! And that leads me to a shout-out once again to Anne for her ever-so-helpful Palette Builder tool on her website play-crafts.com, and while you're there, she has a number of other great design tools available under the "tools" tab on the home page.

Brazil, 2004

Brazil, 2004

Clackamas River, 2014

Clackamas River, 2014

OR coast, 2015

OR coast, 2015

So then I started going back a little further and looked again at some of the images I created back in my CreativEntropy days, when I was studying photography at Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC). I am still fascinated by the wearing down of urban surfaces, the textures and colors that come out of the process. I'm not sure I'm prepared to create good quilt compositions based on those inspiration images, but that's what taking a class is all about, right? It's time to expand my experiences and let someone guide me into territory that I would otherwise find extremely daunting. 

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So now the task of gathering inspiration images, narrowing the theme I'd like to pursue, and pulling fabrics to take with me is at hand.

A few of the images above are not mine... there are 2 Edward Burtynsky and 2 Janet Little Jeffers.

A few of the images above are not mine... there are 2 Edward Burtynsky and 2 Janet Little Jeffers.

I actually collected even MORE piles before starting to go through and slim them down again. The task is still ongoing...

I actually collected even MORE piles before starting to go through and slim them down again. The task is still ongoing...

And there's still much narrowing that has to happen in order to get this stuff down to California for a week, especially keeping in mind my carry-on will be my sewing machine. 

Oh and bonus... not only will I be spending a few days after the workshop with one of my oldest friends and her family, but while in PG I have a date to meet up with one of my newer, online quilty friends for the second time IRL and I'm so looking forward to it!