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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

Filtering by Category: Use It or Lose It

Let the Games Begin, part 2

Linda Nussbaum

I left my last post about my UIOLI (Use It Or Lose It) stash challenge with an enticing "To be continued..." didn't I? So let's pick up where we left off. 

I was considering adding some warmer and lighter prints to the original group of deep earth-tone fabrics. After looking at a possible arrangement on the design wall I felt that I was missing something:

So I pulled a bunch of lighter oranges and more greens, dipping into my Kaffe Collective stacks. I think the instinct worked in my favor, if I do say so myself. 

I know the difference is subtle, but it's effective. That extra shot of a different value really made the whole thing look less monotonous to me. So I kept going with it:

That should end up being a good-sized throw! So far I've got the top 1/3 or so of the rows sewn together and thankfully had my trusty studio partner keeping me company for the chain-piecing.

And since this project is now well under way it allows me to start picking for the NEXT UIOLI project!! The neo-Nouveau print was the jumping off point for this one:

The strips are cut, with a few changes in selections, and I'm thinking I'll be replicating a quilt I made a few years ago for a friend's first child. One I've always meant to try again. Here's my chance!

Let the Games Begin!

Linda Nussbaum

And we're off. I have officially begun digging into the Use It or Lose It Stash Challenge (#useitorloseitstashchallenge) here at Surrounded by Scraps. And as any fabric addict will do, I began with the inspiration print that I was most hesitant to give up - a lovely little faerie fabric in warm earth tones from Hoffman (pictured at the bottom of the following photo). The only reason this particular fabric ended up on the chopping block in the first place is a combination of little factors: I purchased it easily over 7 years ago; although I have used it in several projects over the years, I have passed it by in recent years when looking for kid-friendly prints; the palette is terribly out of vogue (but among my favorites). I still think this fabric has some great potential and am not willing to let it go!

So using the sweet faeries as a jumping off point I started gathering some coordinating fabrics, 5 of which were also pulled from the UIOLI (Use It Or Lose It) pile. At the time I put this collection together, I still had no ideas of WHAT to do with them, just that something must be started and soon.

Thank goodness for Pinterest! I was able to spend part of an evening reviewing my Patchwork Inspiration board and was hit with an "Aha!" moment. I knew my plan for these as soon as I saw this awesome triangle quilt by CoraQuilts:

Click photo to see original link at

Click photo to see original link at

And then this quilt photo from the Fancy Tiger Crafts website:

I decided to dive in and start cutting triangles.

This was me trying to be conservative with the number of prints I use. I really tried dialing it back from my usual super-scrappy default. I can play with these on their own, right? Let's see how they look up on the design wall...

Enh, it's okay, but it's missing something. Too many prints? Can there really be such a thing?? Maybe too many prints that are all the same value. That must be it. And maybe I should throw in the alternate contrast blocks like Carla's use of the blue solids.

OR... maybe I just need to spice it up with some Kaffe and friends!! be continued.

Trying Something New

Linda Nussbaum

It's no secret that I fell out of touch with the online community at some point last year. A few weeks ago I started noticing some great design graphics popping up on Karen - CapitolaQuilter's IG feed. She used a hashtag #qdad, which I tried in all my linguistic brain power to identify but eventually had to simply ask for the answer. "What does #qdad stand for??" The answer was embarrassingly straightforward, and one that many of you probably already know... Quilt Design A Day.

As a concept this is not new to me. But as an organized group with a Facebook page sharing themes and color palettes and inspiration posts I was completely oblivious. So I checked them out.

Image by Amy Gunson. Individual motifs by members of the FB group: Gillian Smith, Carolyn Canterman, Karen Foster and Allison M. Olander.

Image by Amy Gunson. Individual motifs by members of the FB group: Gillian Smith, Carolyn Canterman, Karen Foster and Allison M. Olander.

These quilters are doing some seriously cool things with design software!! The about page offers several software options depending on what machine one is using. At the time I first read the page I didn't have any design software activated on my computer. In November my tech-expert brother helped update my Mac OS to where we backed up the pertinent files, replaced my relatively old drive and ran the update. This made my already outdated Adobe Creative Suite 2 completely obsolete. It wiped out the old Parallels I was running (when it actually would run) for the sole purpose of using EQ7. It left me with options for new softwares I am not familiar with, or new versions of the previous softwares in formats I don't agree with (don't get me started on Adobe switching exclusively to Cloud-based subscriptions...). And then I remembered that Electric Quilt Co. finally released a Mac-friendly version of EQ7! I paid the transfer fee (about 1/8th of the cost of the new software) and downloaded the new version this morning. NO WINDOWS O.S. NECESSARY!!

Like almost any skill one learns, EQ7 is best when the gears are kept active, you keep pressing buttons whether or not you know what they do and basically continue to use as many features as you can. I have done none of these things. I find the tools I use most, become conversant with those and ignore all the rest. Anything I can't figure out in the program I can either find another program to accomplish the desired results or go back to my trusty paper and pencil. Today I decided to play with EQ7 for the first time in months using the daily inspiration photo and palette posted onto the FB page by Karen. I don't love my results, but I love that I gave it a try.

I also applied skills long-since gone rusty to something non-quilt related earlier today:

To be honest, this pair of rollerblades was the initial inspiration for the #UseItorLoseIt challenge... we're starting to straighten up the basement after months (years?) of it serving primarily as dumping ground and storage. Several weeks ago I saw these guys lying on the floor and thought, "I haven't used these in YEARS. I should go ahead and give them away (along with my unused tennis racket and lacrosse stick)." Then the thought crossed my mind that this would be a great way to exercise the dog since I HATE running and we steer away from off-leash parks. But first I have to get my sea-legs back, so to speak. A few spins around the patio and tripping up the bumpy driveway were very instructive. But the journey has begun... they get to stay here as long as I continue to work on using them. This might be a 2015 theme.

So here's to revisiting and sharpening old skills, applying to new endeavors. I think that's part of growing, right?