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Portland, OR


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 Tag: PMQG

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.


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):


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. 


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.

A Day with Jacquie Gering!

Linda Nussbaum

As many of you quilt blog readers are aware, today marks the set-up and preview for this weekend's International Spring Quilt Market 2013, here in Portland, OR. Which of course means that professionals from around the world – designers, distributors, shop owners, fabric manufacturers and teachers – have descended on the Rose City (a.k.a Stumptown, Rip City, PDX) for a full weekend of shopping, ogling, and meet & greets.

Spring Market consists just of the trade show, whereas the Fall Market in Houston is a week long festival with quilt show and classes in addition to the closed trade show. However, apparently if you have the right timing and the right space a local shop can luck out and get some of the visiting teachers to do a class while in town. Modern Domestic did just that, arranging one class with Jacquie Gering and two classes with Carolyn Friedlander, bookending the official Market events.

And pretty much as soon as I was made aware of the fact that Jacquie would be teaching a class here in town, I marched on out to Modern Domestic to sign up! And SO glad I did!!

I was first aware of her work maybe a little over two years ago, seeing some photos online and catching a glimpse or two at her blog, Tallgrass Prairie Studio. At the time she was the president of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild, and just before she relocated to Chicago one of our Portland local designers, Susan Beal, made a trip out to KC to promote her then newly published book Modern Log Cabin Quilting. During that trip Susan organized a pot holder swap between the KCMQG and the PMQG. And lucky me, the person who drew my name from the hat was Jacquie!


She did her research and matched the colors of my kitchen to a tee! AND, these are no pot holders... I have one lovely table-topper and two generously sized trivets! And I love them all!

Now to the class. Those of you who periodically read my blog probably know that I am no stranger to improv piecing. But one of my hang-ups is simplifying. I tend to take the same approach I do with more traditional scrappy piecing and pull as many fabrics and prints that I feel work within the palette range and often end up using everything I pull. This class was centered around Jacquie's "Slice and Insert" technique, creating compositions of clean backgrounds broken up by linear strokes in a dynamic, graphic, uncomplicated way. It's that last one that always evades me! So this was a good exercise for me!

A few days ago I posted a photo of my fabric pulls to take to class:


It was good to have so many options to work with, but I definitely learned a little about editing while in the class. I didn't touch most of those oranges, and only used 2 of the navy background fabrics (so far).

my blocks from the first 2/3 of the 6 hour class.

my blocks from the first 2/3 of the 6 hour class.

And it was also great to see what the other folks in the class were creating! So helpful and interesting to see how others interpret the same instructions and technique.

Kathy's blocks

Kathy's blocks

Cathy working on her blocks, with Rachel's to the left

Cathy working on her blocks, with Rachel's to the left

Jen's on the left, Jenny's on the right. I LOVE what both of them created!

Jen's on the left, Jenny's on the right. I LOVE what both of them created!

Jacquie demoing the impact of different backgrounds on Suzanne's project.

Jacquie demoing the impact of different backgrounds on Suzanne's project.

Not wanting to over work my project I jumped in on a second set of blocks for the last hour or so of the class.


I have to say that this was such a treat for me! There's nothing better than getting to spend a day learning a new approach to something you love, taught by a truly lovely, easy-going person with an extremely creative vision. Thank you for your time and your insight, Jacquie!

Jacquie will also be tonight's featured guest speaker at the PMQG monthly meeting at PNCA, to which I am very much looking forward. A great start to the upcoming weekend, if you ask me!!

WIP Wed. - 4/24/13

Linda Nussbaum

I am happy to report that I actually got my butt to the studio EVERY day last weekend - and my definition of weekend here is Thursday through Sunday. Yay me! So that also means that I have a few things to share from this past week :-)



There's a new Pillow Talk Swap under way on Flickr, and I've decided to throw my hat in the ring for this round. I've only participated in one other round of this swap, maybe 2 years ago, and received one of the best swap items that have come my way, pictured here. And on a sweet little turn, though this is an international swap, my pillow-fairy was a local quilter whom I have since gotten to be friends with thanks to the Portland Modern Quilt Guild (I still love this pillow, Brittany!)


It looks like you've seen this before, but really you haven't (unless you were at the PMQG meeting last week). In the neon challenge we were given the option to either do a block to go into a group quilt (or quilts), OR to make an item that we could keep. I chose to make that iPad cover, but was asked if I could make a similar block for the quilt, too. I have trouble saying "no" sometimes. I wish I would have had more of the polka dot to work with, but other than that I was happy to oblige. 

In Progress:

Made a couple more samples for next month's Simply Solids - Falu block, blogged about in my previous post here. I can already tell I'm gonna be happy with this one!


Got this quilt top finished. I'm hoping to quilt it around the same time as my "By Air, Land or Sea" quilt. Now that I've begun organizing my strip scraps I had fun using selective colors for the piano key rows!


And speaking of strip scraps... I started putting together strip sets and testing out some triangle units for this wedding quilt commission. I've got a long way to go here, but it will be an inspiring journey I have no doubt!

Quilting by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts.

Quilting by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts.

And last Thursday night I received this quilt back from Jolene Knight, a fellow PMQG member and longarm quilter (click the photo above to see her website). This is the first quilt I've had someone else quilt for me in several years, and I couldn't be happier with the results! (There will be a dedicated post about this in the next couple of weeks, I promise). I managed to get this 72" x 90" quilt trimmed and just bought fabric for the binding yesterday.

AND I am ticking more quilt tops off my list of needing quilting... revisited a classic quilting stitch that I haven't used in a long, long time – the good, ol' meander. That said, let's move on to the last category...



Phew! It's in the washing machine as I type this post. I actually marked the quilting lines on this one! (another thing I haven't done in ages)

and two more sets of pot holders.

No Progress:

navy/beige HST

Design Camp 2 Improv quilt

By Air, Land or Sea

Dollhouse quilt

and there are probably others I just can't think of right now...

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and please be sure to pop over to Lee's blog Freshly Pieced to see a whole lot more inspiring and motivating posts linked up!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

A neon anachronism

Linda Nussbaum


Is it wrong to be channeling my '80s pre-teen and teen years while making an iPad cover? Back in a time when Atari and Apple II were the height of consumer electronics and Cyndi Lauper, Boy George and George Clinton all had hair in these colors? (Okay, so George Clinton's hair doesn't narrow down the decade, but you all get my drift, right?)

Michael Miller Fabrics is joining with Portland Modern Quilt Guild to do another challenge, akin to the Cotton Couture block challenge from last year. This year it's to introduce their new (or upcoming?) neon fabric line. And WOW! These guys are true to their word... especially that yellow, just seems like it could be bottled up and set in a window to attract visitors!

the initial swag

the initial swag

Each of the due-paying members of PMQG who wished was generously given a stack of 10 fat eighths with which to work, combining both the new neons and a few neutral solids from MM's cotton couture line. We were asked to either make a quilt block to be judged and potentially included in a group quilt for future display as a Michael Miller promo, or we could opt to make an accessory or item, as long as it incorporates both patchwork/piecing and some quilting.

I thought about what I might make for just a couple of days. For some reason making a quilt block just didn't appeal to me - I knew I wanted to come up with a thing to make. But what? I don't know why the iPad cover hit me, but it seemed like a good way to use these fun fabrics in a self-contained project that I might actually USE.


I started by mapping out general dimensions and thankfully was able to put this together without buying ANY extra supplies... well, that's not quite true, unless I want to use ugly beige velcro as the closure I do need to buy a cute button and some round elastic or something. Details, details. I had just about 1/3 yard of Timtex on hand, and as I was going through the process I would probably have preferred Craft-Fuse, but this worked just fine with a little basting around the edges along with the "back" and the fleece or batting all sandwiched.

As for the design, I knew I wanted to go more or less improv style with the bolder fabrics slashing across the grey polka dots. I had to mix it up a little bit to make sure the fat eighths would last. I'm glad I was working within that constraint, because I am really happy with what came out of it!

And on the "inside" I went simpler, since 1/3 of it would be covered by the device anyhow, but still had fun playing around. And I actually think I'll be glad I chose to use the orange for behind the iPad... it's not blinding, nor is it such a contrast to mess with the light or reflections near the screen.

One of the biggest challenges was doing the outside edge joining all of the layers, plus the elastic strips and then flipping it right side out with that long piece of Timtex inside. I had to just bite my lip, smoosh it up and force it through the opening in the hopes that I didn't mess up its stabilizing effect.


As you can see, it definitely got a little distorted in the process, but not to fear! Once I flattened out those outside seams and top stitched around the edges it was apparent that with the addition of the quilting I'd have a flat, secure cover. At least I was keeping my fingers crossed that that would be the case! My test run...

So on with the quilting!

I knew I wanted to try something geometric and graphic that would not necessarily follow the improv piecing but emulate some of the shapes and designs from that decade of my youth. Hope I did justice to that idea.


And all together...


I have to admit, I am actually much happier with the outcome than I ever thought I would be. I may actually carry this thing around with me and be proud! How could I have just skimmed this trend back in the day only to be pulled into it at this age?!? I'm craving my earth tones now, let me tell you!

Exciting Reveal, #2 (and giveaway!)

Linda Nussbaum

I don't yet have one of these guys in my grubby little hands, but the announcement can now go public... At least I got the "official word" of the go-ahead, just haven't seen the fruits yet.

That spring issue of Quilt Magazine's Simple Quilts & Sewing that will be popping up in quilt shops, bookstores and magazine shops officially today, March 19th, will be featuring one of my quilts! ON THE COVER!!

stolen from the website

stolen from the website

This is my first quilt ever to get publication and I am so thrilled! And they even catered the title colors to those of the quilt!

The genesis of this little gem is actually quite a simple one. Last spring (2012) I decided to design something from scratch for the juried PMQG exhibition within the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, the largest such show in the country, I believe. I have to say that given the amount of talent and drive within our Portland chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild I was honored to have my Lock 'n' Bolt quilt among those chosen to exhibit.

And certainly could never have imagined what would come of it. At the most I thought maybe someone would take note of my name and add me to their blog roll or something. Maybe. (this was before I realized that the guild had spelled my name wrong!Ooops.)

But what does a person do with this momentum? Run with it, of course. The question is, how? As those of you who have been following my blog are aware, I am approaching 2013 in a pro-active, positive, get-things-done sort of way, and this is perfect fodder for that fire.

And in celebration of that energy, I'm offering a little GIVE-AWAY. A copy of the magazine (which always has a whole bunch of fun projects included!), plus a little fabric bundle bonus. Leave a comment letting us all know either what project of your own has been the fire in your belly, or if someone else inspired you, please share your inspiration (and the credit) and perhaps where you hope to go with it. One thing I love about being involved in the quilting world right now is that we are truly a community - both online and in the real world. One that shares its experiences, its loves, its questions and difficulties, its techniques and its inspirations. So please share with me as I am so eager to share with you! A winner of the give-away will be announced one week from the magazine release date (March 19), on Tues. March 26th.

Oh, and if you want to enter the giveaway, please be sure to leave an email address in your comment. International entries welcome.

The Addiction of Something New Again

Linda Nussbaum

I just had to revisit my initial post for the Quarter 1 Finish-A-Long, hosted by Leanne at She Can Quilt. I couldn't remember all the things that I said I'd work on finishing. And as mid-February is sneaking up on us, I can quite definitely say that I'm headed for failure.

On those items.

There is something about the appeal of a new project. Or at least one unearthed after many moons.

I hit a rather arduous deadline on Thursday which had been causing me more stress than I like, and to celebrate I spent all day Friday working on 1.) bee blocks, 2.) the PMQG block-of-the-month from the January meeting as well as pressing fabrics that I prewashed up to 2 months ago (if not more). 

For the  Simply Solids  Bee on Flickr

For the Simply Solids Bee on Flickr

PMQG Jan BOM - Has anyone NOT yet done the scrappy trip along blocks??

PMQG Jan BOM - Has anyone NOT yet done the scrappy trip along blocks??

When that was all complete I stood looking around for something to inspire me. Oh yeah, I keep forgetting to bring back the extension cord and power strip for the sewing machine I'm using to quilt my icy-cool diamond quilt AND my secret wall-hanging, so those are on hold until I get myself together enough to bring those back to the studio. Time is ticking, too.

And sitting there, in the little fabric drawer just underneath the one from which I took the wadded up fabrics to press nicely, was the bits and pieces from my improv bee quilt, for my month of the Design Camp 2 [Think Outside the Block] bee last summer. At some point last fall I played around with the blocks I had thus far on my design wall, but not having them all back it was just a test.

one possible arrangement...

one possible arrangement...

It's now been a couple of months since I received the last of the blocks from my bee-mates, and it all went straight into the drawer for future consideration. Apparently that future is now. The blocks and fabrics beckoned to me, the iron was hot (literally and figuratively)... it's time to break these bad boys out!

A little more refined in my eye

A little more refined in my eye

The next step is to start filling in the blanks. I want to keep a fair amount of background "negative space" going on, but also have so many prints that I still want to incorporate. This will be one heck of an organic process and I wish there were a good way of keeping the block arrangement and size more or less as is without dominating my design wall for weeks. Is that going to be the motivation to busta move on this quilt top?? I left yesterday evening with one little corner coming together, and am looking forward to playing some more with the rest of it in the next few days!


Am I the only one getting completely sidetracked from the lists I made a mere month ago?? One thing to remember is that we do this for the love of it, and if we're lucky to have something to create using that energy, all the better.

Madrona Road Challenge late-comer

Linda Nussbaum

The Modern Quilt Guild has introduced its winter challenge for this year. Well, actually, they introduced it close to 2 months ago, but due to my inactivity with the guild last October and November I missed the first sailing of that boat. But, thanks to forums like Flickr, friendly blogs and the fact that the designer at the heart of this challenge, Violet Craft, happens to be a member of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, I got a deferred chance to participate. That is, once I could pick up a bundle of fabrics at our January meeting for PMQG.

Participating guilds were given yardage of certain prints from Violet's collection for Michael Miller, Madrona Road, which were then cut down to fat-eighths to distribute among guild members.


From what I've gathered, the official challenge from The Modern Quilt Guild is relatively open-ended, the only requirement being that individuals may ONLY use prints from Madrona Road plus any solids they deem. However, each of the individual regional guilds were open to making more specific challenges within their groups. For instance, PMQG specified a size restriction and to use an inspiration word which should then be incorporated into the actual quilt. This challenge did not inspire me so much. But then, at our guild meeting earlier this week it was made clear that we did not HAVE to comply with those restrictions in order to enter the greater challenge category. Now we're talkin'! So, I picked up one of the last available packets of fat-eighths and started thinking.

And put fabric bits up on my design wall.


Now, the real challenge here is the timing. Completed submissions are due on the flickr page by January 31. There is also a flickr page for the larger pool of photos related to this challenge including process photos, but it was emphasized to us that in order to be considered for display at the Michael Miller QuiltCon booth photos MUST be in that first group. I might end up with something smaller than I'd like simply by necessity. Ah well. I've started playing around with a design, but I can tell you now that it doesn't compare with so many of the great pieces already submitted! But part of the joy is just playing along, right?