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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.

Blogger Archive

Baby steps

Linda Beth

It's been quite a month or two. Good stuff, not-so-good stuff, and in the midst of it all I have slacked with both the blog and in the sewing room. But that being said, soon there may be a new address for my blog. If I am not able to link this URL through to the new site, I will let you all know where to find me next!

But we're here now, so let's see what I've been able to do in the last couple of days.

When all else fails, bee blocks are always a safe bet! And I have more than my share to catch up on! So, without further ado:

Bliss do.Good Stitches for November

These are fun, easy blocks, guided by a tutorial found here.

Friends + Fabric blocks for November

I liked the option of making them a little more scrappy with the 4-patch in the center - because we all know that scrappy is my style. It looks like Nico will have a bright, fun assortment of stars to play with!

Next in line is trying to catch up on my Design Camp 2 blocks. Jacqueline really stumped me with her theme of Wisconsin for October's block. Now, my connection with WI is pretty much limited to the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where my mom attended, as did a couple of my friends from HS. But Madison is NOT where Jacqueline's world is. Finally I did find a beautiful inspiration photo, also not from the area where she is, but hopefully a closer representation than state capitol / city life. I still have a lot yet to work on, but here's a peek at the block so far:
Still playing around.

And once I get that block under my belt I'll feel ready to move on to the November block for the same bee, a Drunk Love block, much more within my comfort zone! More on that when I get there.

I hope to find my way back to more inspiring projects soon, and will be sure to share said inspirations. Until then, I hope each of you is finding your inspiration and running with it!

Putting a hand to it

Linda Beth

Once upon a time I almost exclusively hand quilted my quilts. Using the tools I had at the ready. Don't get me wrong, it was not, nor has it become a skill of mine, just a tool and a means to an end.

The last project that I decided to hand quilt is a queen sized bed quilt I made for myself. That is the death toll to timely finishes, let me tell you.

I finished piecing this quilt, I dunno, some time in 2007 or 2008 I would guess. Once I had cleared enough floor space to baste it, that went pretty smoothly. And then I put it in the quilting frame.

And worked on it a few inches at a time.

And then it sat. Untouched. Gathering dust and taking up space in my living room.
For way too long until I finally dismantled the whole operation some time last winter (or was it the season before??) and stowed both the quilt sandwich and the frame in my basement.

I am not sure what hit me during the last week or so besides the change in weather, but I was suddenly inspired to bring this puppy out of retirement and make some tracks.

So back in the quilting frame it goes, positioned in front of my super-comfy arm chair.

Just getting back into the swing of things...

A close-up of the needle in action

Now, as I stated before, I am no expert at hand quilting. I will never win any awards or even get more than 5 or 6 stitches per inch, but I AM reminding myself of the calming quality it has, unlike machine quilting for me.

I have no doubt that this will take me another year or two to ultimately finish up, but I am looking forward to the process. And as long as I have the space beside the chair for the frame, I shall stitch on.

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Linda Beth

As many of you know, I am not always on top of the blogging and often come late to the party.

Last spring some time I checked in on my blog feed and noticed a whole bunch of the blogs that I follow had posts titled "Blogger's Quilt Festival" followed by some beautiful stories written about even more beautiful quilts they had done recently.

But this time, I'm just under the wire for Amy's link up at her blog, Amy's Creative Side.
Amy's Creative Side

I didn't have to think too hard about what quilt I want to share here. It's the Jewel of Friendship, a collaborative quilt done with the members of the Friends + Fabric {a modern stash bee} through Flickr.

This bee is kind of special to me, in that it represents a group of very talented women whom I've never actually met, but feel quite close to. The organizer of the group, Jenn {SunnyInCal}, is a member of the LAMQG and first brought together an online quilting bee via flickr at the beginning of 2011, of which I was fortunate enough to become a part. As that bee was wrapping up for the year, she extended an invitation to continue in a new year with a new group of quilters (and a fair amount of overlap). Our group for 2012 is an inspired, creative, adventuresome crew, which made me want to challenge them with an inspired, creative, adventuresome block!

Last fall or winter I spotted a group of bee blocks done by Jill Stemple {fallingforpieces} that I just fell in love with, pictured here. When I was revving up for my month with the F+F bee, I asked her if she had any problem with my using her blocks as a jumping off point, and was thrilled to hear back that she had no problem at all and had not used a specific pattern, just improvised it. PERFECT.

I played around for a bit, using a specific Alexander Henry print as my inspiration piece and came up with a few sample blocks.

As I was working on these I put together a little online tutorial, which can be found here, and made it available to the other bee members through my blog. And boy did they run with it!!

Once I got the last of the blocks and worked out a pleasing layout I ended up having to scurry to finish the quilt, having committed it to be entered at the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in July. I auditioned a number of different fabrics for the backing:

and ended up choosing a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton in Bluejeans, with a strip of stripe going through it. Have I mentioned how much I love using these shot cottons on the backs of quilts - they show off the quilting beautifully!

I quilted on my home machine, mimicking the wonky diamonds in the blocks, but trying not to match too closely as to seem off on any one of the blocks and bound the quilt in another great stripe fabric.

I truly would not and could not have completed this quilt without the help of the following talents (and certainly wouldn't have had such a wonderful variety of fabrics and styles and personalities to the blocks even if I had tried):
Jennifer (sunnyincal)
Maria (mpress studio)
Karen (capitolaquilter)
Lee (Mimi Lee2)
Eileen (bluebirdluxe)
Nicole R. (idreaminfabric)
Brianna (bribaby2007)
Petra (Petra Rosa)
Emily (CanyonGurl {Emily})
Nico B. (woodbines creep)
Nichole R. (n.ramirez)

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and this quilt deserves its title Jewel of Friendship.

Photo taken just this evening, with this quilt bringing me warmth and comfort while I await a replacement furnace!!

Quilt Measurements: approx. 55" x 65"
Special Techniques used: improv log cabin
Quilted by: me, myself and I on my Viking Lily.
Best category: Group or Bee Quilt, Scrap Quilt, Throw Quilt
Entry #500

Another baby quilt!

Linda Beth

I sometimes feel like I am the only quilter out there who has trouble motivating myself to do projects that I'm actually excited about doing - like baby quilts for dear friends. Does anyone have a theory on why it can be so difficult to get inspired to start on something that you're happy to do??

Another couple of good friends of mine are expecting their first child - sex TBD at birth. I've been working on sketches, playing with possibilities, but nothing really lit that flame for me...


Becky {MyFabricObsession} posted this block to our Bliss Circle for do.Good Stitches this past month. She found her inspiration from this photo on Rita's {red pepper quilts} flickr photostream.

I initially did my blocks for the do.Good Stitches bee and discovered that not only are they easy-peasy, but are a great way of using an assortment of fun prints without it looking too busy.

So, I decided to work with this and pull some fabrics to put together my own quilt. I don't generally like using a lot of white in quilts, especially for babies, so I switched my "background" color to a dark blue - a great contrast for the fun colors in the blocks, and can work for either a boy or a girl.

Since the basic construction is a 9-patch, I chose 9 prints each in 6 different color ways, varying the number of squares I cut of each to get the desired number of blocks. I also tried to select a decent mixture of values within each color family to get some variation in the blocks. Once the fabrics were chosen and cut out, the chain-piecing was smooth sailing. Only took me a couple of hours to sew the blocks, and then a little bit more to put them all together.


and shown with the backing beside it...

Now I just need to restock my batting supply and I'll be ready to finish this one up - hopefully JUST in time for baby's arrival!!

The Pajama Debut!

Linda Beth

I cranked out the first pair of PJ pants this past week! I actually cut 2 at once, which took a little more figuring out than I had anticipated, and ultimately I forgot one major tenant of garment sewing that differs from quilting... the idea of mirror image as opposed to symmetrical! As it turns out, I cut out 4 right legs (at least I think they're the right leg) instead of 2 rights and 2 lefts. Thankfully the pattern is quite forgiving and you can hardly notice the mistake once they're on.

This pair uses a print from the Andover fabric line "The Red Thread" by Marisa and Creative Thursday.
(please excuse the "just out of bed" hairdo!)
Oh, and here's a blatant promotion for my friend and former classmate Blue Mitchell and the fruits of his creative labor. He has spent the last several years developing and publishing Diffusion Magazine (among many other endeavors!), an annual publication highlighting non-traditional photography created by artists using a wide variety of techniques from digital manipulation to 19th century wet emulsion processes and everything in between.

I have to admit that I am on the fence about whether I should go ahead and sew the pair I cut out from the Birch Fabric "Scamper" fabric. I was considering buying another 2+ yards and cutting out two left legs and making 2 pairs of the same PJs, but that is EXPENSIVE fabric (though absolutely lovely)!!! However, I suppose I could find a friend of a similar size who might enjoy them, or consider it an advance finish for a holiday gift... Hmmm, I might have struck upon something there.

Well, in the mean time I now have cute new PJs to take with me when I go visit HS and college friends and their families this coming weekend - so much better than boring old yoga pants!

Thanks to J for taking these lovely photos of yours truly this morning so I can share with all of you out in blogland!

A new inspiration... PJs!!!

Linda Beth

For ages I've been meaning to make myself pajama bottoms from cute fabric. Ages, I tell you! Somehow there's nothing like visiting with friends to get the spark afire.

Sitting over morning coffee with a childhood friend whom I've known since we were about 10, both hanging in our respective PJs, we discuss what we want to do for the day. I ask her if there's anything special she would want to do or look for in her brief visit to Portland (we had already done our damage at Powell's the day before!). She says that if we should happen to pass a boutique that carries cute pajama bottoms, she's in the market.

Well, we didn't end up going shopping, but I offered to try my hand at making some myself. I went online to find a free pattern, but that is only relative... I found several free, downloadable patterns this one from Simplicity and this link from Martha Stewart, but apparently once you try printing out the pattern pieces it adds up!

I also found a couple of sites/articles that show instructions for drafting your own pattern based on an existing pair, such as this one. However that's no help if you want to make them for someone with a completely different body type, or for various folks.

So, after leaving work I headed to Fabric Depot and searched the BIG pattern books for something. And lo and behold I found the perfect pattern (or so it seems) for unisex adults from Simplicity - and for only $2.49! Less than it would have cost to print out 20 sheets of paper and then the tape and time to put them together!

Of course I have to test out the pattern before making something for anyone else, right? And this is the perfect excuse to allow myself to buy some organic fabric I've been eyeing since it arrived at Cool Cottons...

Aren't those raccoons freakin' adorable??? The yellow one with the raccoons is from Birch Fabric collection "Scamper". And the darker one with the little bunnies from Andover collection "The Red Thread" just came in in the last week or two and spoke to me LOUDLY. Apparently I'm on a critters kick. So, why make just one pair when I can double up and make two at the same time?? I'll post photos when I have something to show for my efforts. And this may just lead to inspiration for this year's holiday presents, too.

As yet untitled

Linda Beth

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post on some EQ7 mockups of a new pattern I've been working on. I got an overwhelming amount of encouragement for a particular colorway I showed, which was especially exciting since I had already begun pulling fabrics to work on that version.

And though I haven't had a whole lot of time in the sewing studio in the past week, I did manage to finish piecing the blocks for this, and got them all arranged on the design wall ready to put together next time I'm in the area.

In addition to this project, I've been working on arranging and/or completing a couple of bee quilts I have going. The first order of business is putting together a back for my green and brown spiderweb quilt, made last year by the members of the Seams Perfect flickr bee. I had a few orphan blocks left over which I'd like to add on the back, as well as the signature blocks done by the other members of the bee, so it's on its way to being a very scrappy looking backing.

And though this is just getting underway, I started playing around with the blocks I've been getting back from last month's Design Camp 2 Improv bee. One general arrangement so far is:
There's obviously a lot more work yet to happen on this one, but I'm having fun playing around with it and looking forward to working it out over the next few weeks (or however long it takes)!

NW Quilting Expo, pt. 2

Linda Beth

The few days it's taken me to get around to this follow-up entry on the awesome 2012 NW Quilting Expo is kind of a scale sample of the break I needed after taking in all of those amazing quilts before attacking the vendors. But at the time I didn't have 3-4 days of recovery time to work with, so Maria and I just went for it!

One of the great pleasures I had while walking around the Expo Center was seeing faces that I had not seen in a long time and getting to reconnect with old friends and former coworkers in the field. One of those reunions occurred on our first of about 3 passes by the Pioneer Quilts booth. While Jolyn was surrounded by fans I spotted my former coworker Michelle, of whom I had grown very fond during the few months we worked together nearly 2 years ago. I had lost track of where she might be, but have now learned that she joined the great staff at Pioneer Quilts in Happy Valley, OR.

So, next on the list is... ??? My first purchase of the day, and I didn't even get a receipt nor did I mark the name of the shop (visiting from somewhere in California, I think). But they had a huge selection of novelty fabrics with them - something that never ceases to get my attention.
And though by these days I have learned an immense amount of self-restraint, I'm still a sucker for things I think people I care about will love. This made me think immediately of my 7 yr. old nephew (or was it my (nearly) 37 yr. old boyfriend?) Not sure what this will eventually become, but it was most definitely a find!!

Next we found a retailer of Aurifil, my all-time favorite brand of thread, who had traveled all the way from Massachusetts! After spending about 5 minutes or so in her booth going on and on to Maria about how much I love this thread, I felt obligated to make a purchase even though I have plenty of thread already. Love to support the independents!!

And who in the area isn't familiar with the "Hip to be Square" pattern from Busy Bee Designs?
It was such a great, completely unexpected bonus to see Michelle's booth set up there and to get a chance to catch up a little with this lovely, creative woman. And of course to see some of her exciting, new patterns that I had not previously seen. Please take a look at her website and you'll no doubt be inspired.

Our next stop was at the Shibori Dragon booth. This is where I made my final purchase of the day, though we were certainly not finished shopping!

In our first walkthrough we spotted a beautiful booth that both Maria and I wanted to revisit at length.
A Quilter's Dream patterns.

And last, but not least, as the day was drawing to a close (at least for us) we made our way to Metropolitan Quilt, a labor of love created by a former coworker of mine, Debbie Kemp and her partner Jeff Pellissier. It was great to see the both of them and the beautiful patterns and works they've created over the last couple of years.

All in all it was a wonderful experience I won't soon forget. I was honored to be a part of it all, and hope to make my way to another great show before too long!

2012 NW Quilting Expo, pt. 1

Linda Beth

What a fabulous time I had wandering in a state of overstimulation at this year's NW Quilting Expo this past weekend at the Portland Expo Center.

Maria joined me for the initial PMQG meet-up, but then we got so eager to get started we kind of separated from the group.

We decided to begin by viewing the quilts in the exhibit, then doubled back to look at all of the goodies that the vendors offered... and where better to start than with our guild's mini-exhibit! Following are a few that I wanted to document, though do not be mistaken, I loved most everything there!
(designed and pieced by Kristan Collins, quilted by Nancy Stovall)

(a collaboration based on a challenge to the PMQG community using Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabrics, the quilt on the left called "linear" that on the right is "improv", both quilted by Nancy Stovall... missing is the "graphic" quilt, hanging a few steps away.)

(designed and pieced by Brittany Scott, quilted by... can you guess it??? Nancy Stovall!) Brittany's quilt was not technically hanging with the rest of the PMQG exhibit, but we do call her one of our own so I include it here!

(pieced and quilted by Anne Whiting, pattern by Elizabeth Hartman)

(pieced and quilted by Heather Lott, pattern by Cherri House)

And then, of course, I had to take a photo of my own quilt hanging (Maria wanted to take a pic of me standing in front of it, but that was an honor I happily declined).
(mine on the left... designed and pieced by yours truly, quilted by the lovely Melissa Hoffman).

Next I'm going to share some of the quilts that stood out to me in the general exhibit, though unfortunately I have to edit so that this post doesn't get unwieldy.

(constructed and quilted by Cheryle Jolivette)

(pieced and quilted by Betty Davis Daggett)

(pieced by Suzanne Waldrop, quilted by Cathy Frank Quilting, pattern by Cara Gulati)

(made by M. Jill Sullivan)

(constructed and quilted by Judy De Meire)

(Made and HAND quilted by Terri Doyle... that ribbon is for 2nd place in the hand quilted category)

(designed, constructed and quilted by CarolAnne Olson... in conjunction with the "Cover to Cover" quilt group illustrating the classic Peter Pan).

(made by Sara Shayne Miller)

(designed and made by Margaret Miller - I think... please correct me if my information is wrong.)

(made by Mary Goodson)

(designed, pieced and quilted by Sara Horner)

(piecing, applique and quilting by Jean Ludeman, pattern by Karla Alexander)

(made by Joanne Roth, quilted by Joanne Roth and Karen Saltzberg)

(pieced by Cristina Pera, quilted by Elegant Expressions, pattern by Pie in the Sky)... this pattern, Bouillabaisse, has been in my possession for many years - one of those that I loved at first sight and is a perfect pattern for using scraps and strings!

Phew! My feet are killing me just revisiting the photos and labels! That must be why we felt it necessary to break for snacks before continuing on to shop. In that respect, even though the post will be considerably shorter, I think it's wise to leave the vendors info until a later date... but tune in and you'll get to see my swag!!

Dusting off my design program

Linda Beth

I have had EQ7 for close to 2 years now and I actually have a few projects plugged into it that I'm looking forward to trying out.

But at heart I'm a graph paper and pencil drafter. So I might go months without opening the computer program.

This past week I was compelled to revisit what I had been playing with once upon a time - and I'm glad I did!

Now, I did decide to abandon the pinks and yellows and work in more of a fall/winter palette at this stage. While visiting in Montana earlier this year I picked up a selection of great fabrics from Michele D'Amore for Benartex, Leaf Haven. And they've been sitting up on the shelf waiting for just the right project.

But even before I started working on that version, I started pulling fabrics for a slightly larger version of the same pattern, in cool purples and taupes - a mellow winter feel.

I still have a couple more fabrics to find in order to bring this puppy to fruition, but I am super-psyched to get started on it! And I have to admit, I love feeling super-psyched about new projects again. Love it.

WIP Wed. once more

Linda Beth

After taking a much-needed hiatus from the record-keeping, I've decided to join the festivities again at Lee's blog Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sadly, I've also decided to abandon my initial list of UFOs on this forum. It seems that projects for the present and future are taking precedent, which is just fine by me.

So, here goes:

bee blocks
solid improv blocks for Friends + Fabric bee on Flickr


Blooming 9-Patch
Talked about in more detail in this blog post.

In Progress

One more set of potholders, destined for Etsy
just gotta get those bindings stitched down, looped around and off they go!

Custom order holiday place mats
(this is my first sneak peek of these guys... the customer has seen the fabric choices, but not the finished product yet)

I've also been receiving blocks from the Design Camp [think outside the block] improv bee, so I'll be looking forward to playing around with those in the coming weeks!

And this quilt top waiting to be basted and quilted:

So, what's the final count?
Completed - 1
New - 1
In progress - 4

(man, I like the look of those numbers so much better than the 14 and 16 including UFOs dating back 5+ years!!!)
Thanks for bearing with and taking a look at what I've got going on! If you haven't already, go check out the other updates linking up at Lee's blog!

A New Bloom

Linda Beth

About a year and a half ago I posted a photo of an "upcoming project."

Last Friday I was in the studio putting away some fabric yardage on the shelf and it occurred to me that of late I seem to be doing projects that either use scraps almost exclusively or are placemat sets that had been decided for me a while back. I don't feel like I've been taking advantage of my actual stash! And it's a sizable one, in dire need of being whittled down and put to good use!

I also realized that I've kind of veered away from some of the designs I've thought of doing over the last couple of years - things I played with in graph paper AND EQ7, like the project pictured above. Maybe it's time to revisit some of those older inspirations that got lost in the shuffle. Have any of you had that feeling - you've moved forward with things and have been making stuff that you're happy with, but looking back realized that there were projects you considered but hesitated on and then forgot to get back to??

So I pulled open my little wire basket with that same stack of fabric neatly folded together along with that same piece of graph paper, but as I looked at the pattern I was less inspired. Plus, I couldn't even remember which fabric I had envisioned in which position, which to me says it might be time to reconsider. I've been wanted to do another Blooming 9-Patch and these fabrics seemed to be a great starting point!

I started with those focus fabrics, Larkspur from Alexander Henry, plus the Kona Solid and Shot Cotton and an Australian print I had grouped with them originally. To those I added just 4 more fabrics to round out a nice progression for the alternating 9-patch and plain fabric blocks: another Alexander Henry blender from about a decade ago (one I've used in bits and pieces in MANY quilts over the years!), a batik I bought and used in a Trip Around the World variation I made for my father in 2005 or 2006, a coveted Joel Dewberry print from his Modern Meadow collection and a perfectly coordinating Anna Griffin print also from years ago. Did you notice that? Using fabric I've had for years and coveted fabric?? That's something to be proud of, yes?

I got all of these together at some point on Friday, with enough time to get everything except the setting triangles cut out, and began piecing the 9-patch blocks. When I left the studio, it was starting to look a little like this:

By Sunday I was rarin' to get going again on this puppy. My friend Maria came by the studio for a sewing day together, and while she was playing around with a stunning new quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's newest book Modern Patchwork, I continued on my 9-patch journey. By the end of the day I had all of my diagonal rows pieced together!

My next day in the studio is Thursday and I am holding myself to high standards to finish piecing this top by the end of the day. Will I be able to do it?? That's a fair number of corners to match up...

Firemen, camping beauties and solid scraps

Linda Beth

So, in my previous post I gave a little hint about some birthday gifts for this week (which admittedly became just one single birthday gift, with something waiting in the wings). Of late years, my friends and I rarely exchange birthday gifts beyond maybe a bottle of wine, a dinner out, or some silly token if at all, but yesterday was a milestone birthday for one of my closest friends here in Portland - the first friend I made after moving here 11 years ago, in fact. She loves throwing parties, baking, board games and for nearly as long as I've known her she has one consistent (if somewhat facetious) request for her parties, "Feel free to invite any firemen you might know!"

As far as I know I never did see any firemen at these get-togethers, but that was gonna change this time around! Maybe not as exciting as she had envisioned, but darnit I decided to bring her some firemen!
I think this surprised her new man, but he took it in stride ;-) Perhaps I should have offered him the camping centerfold version... maybe when his birthday rolls around, we'll see (or maybe I'll have to save that one for J to go with the camping babes flannel quilt his mom made him many years ago!)

And changing tack entirely...

For some reason my response time on bee blocks has slowed down tremendously over the months. I think earlier this season I actually was late on 2 different bees. I don't think I'm alone in this at this stage, but it is certainly different from how I started out on these guys. This month I got in just under the wire for Bri's block in the Friends + Fabric Bee. She asked us to make improv blocks using only solids, inspired by this quilt from Ashley of Film in the Fridge.

A gorgeous inspiration, wouldn't you say??
So, as I was working on a few other things over the weeks I was weeding out all of the scraps of solids I came across. Finally yesterday I took the afternoon and sat down to attack that pile, small cutting mat and rotary blade to my left, Cut 'n' Press and iron to my right.

I actually enjoyed this process much more than I thought I would (though it did, obviously, take me a few weeks to work up to it), and in fact was struck with the idea to make a baby quilt kind of like this. How fun and cool would that be?? I'm on the fence about using only solids - we know I do like my busy prints! I might play around with mostly solids, throwing in just a few tone-on-tones here and there to add another dimension, but let me tell you I'm excited by the prospect, so thank you Bri!

Stitching and Camping

Linda Beth

To begin with, I have FINALLY gotten a couple of new items up in my Etsy shop, also titled Surrounded by Scraps. It had been way too long since I had updated that little venue so I am glad to have a little momentum back.

But in order to get a few of the newer items up sooner rather than later, I did have to take some binding work away with me camping this last weekend. My reasoning was twofold: we were going camping primarily to celebrate 2 friends' birthdays and I had intended to sew up a little gifty for the birthday kids before the trip, but fell short on time. But here's a little hint on what I had in mind...
(both part of the Alexander Henry collection)

The second part of this equation is that I had spent the time I had in my sewing studio before the trip trying to make some new potholders and get the bindings machine sewn on to take with me, INSTEAD of working on the birthday presents, so I figured I'd better actually have that handwork with me to have SOMETHING to show for the oversight!

and with a little fire going

trying to smile for the camera - feeling a bit foolish, I have to admit!

Now, thankfully I wasn't the only one playing at hobbies. J was trying his hand at starting fire without matches or flint, simply with the power of the sun! He got the bark smoking, but no flames to be had this time around...

The first night it was just J and myself at a campground on the east side of Mt. Hood with a creek running right by. The following day we drove around, back toward Portland to meet up with the rest of our party at a campground on the Sandy River. Fun was had, horseshoes were thrown, pinecones were fetched and breakfast was quite a to-do!
(look at all of those camp stoves in action!!)

It was a great weekend, and I even have new potholders that survived (and will be in the next load of laundry to be sure there are no remaining campfire fumes attached - I promise!)

Sunny Day Dress

Linda Beth

A while back I posted a photo of an upcoming garment project

I have had it in my mind that I want to try and make more clothing and at the beginning of the summer season I looked through my closet for a fun little sundress to wear during the day and realized that I don't have one. Well, what's a seamstress to do about that? Though it's been a really long time since I've considered myself a seamstress, technically I do have the training. There was one pattern in particular at Cool Cottons that kept catching my eye, the Sunny Day Dress and Skirt by Jamie Christina.

The fabric I chose is a print from Andover, trimmed with just a plain solid white. I was hoping to finish the dress by the time I went on my trip to the east coast in late June, but didn't quite meet that deadline. For the most part the construction went pretty smoothly, though I did have a couple of problems losing track of top/bottom of some of the pattern pieces that were either truly rectangular or (in one case) nearly so. Even with the markings I was unsure if I put the bodice and waistband together properly. The only other problem I had with the pattern/construction is that the trim for the top of the waistband came up short. Not by much, but it did leave unfinished edges on that tiny little flange just before the gathered back.

I also made just a couple of adjustments for size and length as I was putting it together. For one, the pattern definitely errs on the short-waisted side of things, which I am not. But even with that being the case, the measurement for the elastic for the back of the dress was a little long and had to be shortened to stay where it should in order to keep the bodice and waistband hanging correctly. I also made a really tiny hem on the skirt in order to keep the length below my knee.

But I finished it, and FINALLY got up the nerve to wear it to work earlier this week.

We've been having temperatures in the upper 80s and into the 90s here in Portland, but the day I chose to wear the dress was one of the cooler days of the week - perhaps hitting 80°F at the most. Which worked out perfectly so I could be comfortable wearing my little short-sleeved cardigan over it, covering up the amply exposed back this dress offers. I thought I'd be happy to have a fun garment that actually shows a little of my mid-back tattoo, but am thinking not one for work, perhaps. Does this mean I'm getting old??

All in all, I am definitely glad I made the effort to get this finished and was able to wear it at least the once. I'll keep my eye open for more of her patterns as long as I feel I'd be able to alter the bodice length to fit me better. But it is cute, isn't it??

Is this what a quilt top looks like?

Linda Beth

Okay, first off, it seems I might have to dedicate some time to a little blog redesign... either Blogger is having issues, or my computer is having issues, but all of a sudden my page template seems bleak. I'll try to get around to it soon.

But first I just have to say I think I am finally over the inertia hurdle (though I probably shouldn't speak TOO soon). Last week I managed to piece my first quilt top in several months. Yay!

As I've mentioned, there are a couple of baby quilts on my radar and I've finally started pulling fabrics.

and playing with some not-too-complex designs emerging from my sketchbook, and the results so far are:

I'm looking forward to getting the others under way, but had to at least get this first one under my belt. Phew.

Summer Giveaway Winner!

Linda Beth

So, we have a winner of those luscious Rowan fabrics! Since my HTML is a little rusty, I can't figure out how to get rid of this ridiculous pause before the widget, so...

...wait for it....

RANDOM.ORG - Integer Widget

True Random Number Generator

Powered by RANDOM.ORG

COMMENT #5 - Jennifer Gail
I have discovered ID discovery channel on tv. Don't laugh it's really addictive.

and thanks to her insightful comment J and I discovered that I DO get that channel as well, and had an interesting evening of watching a show called Blood, Lies, and Alibis. Oh yes! (I can totally see the addictive quality, too)

So, congratulations, Jennifer, and thanks to everyone who shared their what-ups! It's fun to get a little window into what interests others and how we are enjoying spending our time both in and outside of the sewing room!

August's Improv Inspiration

Linda Beth

August is my month as Camp Counselor for Design Camp 2 [think outside the block] Improv Bee. I've actually been collecting images onto a Pinterest board for the last few months in anticipation of this very thing! The new twist for me in this online bee is that each of the hosts chooses his or her own fabrics and sends packets out to the other members of the bee for their month. I've only ever participated in scrap/stash busting bees up to this point, so this is a whole new challenge for me!

I'm starting with this:

then breaking it down to groupings more like this:

Because this is an improv bee, we're not working with a specific pattern, but more of a guideline. In the past there has been a request for improv robots, drunk love log cabin blocks and in one of the other camps an interpretation of shipping containers. The guidelines I'm asking folks to follow are to stick to a more linear construction (though not necessarily straight lines!) OR to do a wonky or drunk love log cabin construction. Again, my pinterest board and Flickr favorites have a variety of examples.

Here are a few photos of my process with making a single block, using the fabric cuts I showed above:

and once a grouping seems sufficient, I join it with another group, end to end:

...and just keep going until it feels "done" (or at the very least, a decent size).

Once I finished that first block I still had enough fabric left to throw together a log cabin block. Don't think I need to go through my process with that one, but here's a photo of the finished product:

Sooo, the fabric packets will be going out by next weekend and I'm hoping that my fellow Design Campers will just have fun with this! Feel free to be creative!

A Grey Summer's Morn Giveaway

Linda Beth

I am sure I am not alone among us quilters/sewists in losing a little focus and motivation when the sun finally peeks out from behind the clouds and temperatures allow us to put away the hoodies and drag out the tank tops.

As some of you may know, one of my summer endeavors is my little veggie garden. Portland can be tricky with that, however. For all of the green, sometimes the late-season sun and buckets of rain make the growing season for novices like myself a bit short.

But thankfully, this year things seem to be on their way!

That said, there's also a new kind of distraction in my world this year...
I've actually had the bike for more years than I should say, since I've only started using it somewhat regularly in the last year or two, so I consider it a new distraction. And last Thursday I was so excited to finally get a chance to take it out of the basement and into the fresh air after weeks of traveling and house guests. On the way up the stairs from my basement to the back yard THIS happens:
...and about 1/2 way from my house to my sewing studio I notice the rear tire is flat - and I mean FLAT. Not yet being part of the smartphone world, I had to call J at work and ask him to look up the closest bike shop to where I was. He found Velo Cult, a shop in the Hollywood District of NE Portland (backtracking from where I was). I had never been there before, but am glad he found them online! They were awesome! Attended to the flat immediately, and had it been a little later than 10am I might even have partaken in one of the beers they have on tap while I waited! But, I stuck with my iced coffee and left with a new tube and a mini-crush.

(photo from their website... it was a quiet morning when I was there)

Okay, so there's the setup! In the spirit of spending time on new things and celebrating the lushness that is this part of the world in this season, I have a little giveaway treat...

The rich colors and lush blooms of Philip Jacobs and Kaffe Fassett, balanced out by the bold geometrics of Brandon Mably - what better way to celebrate??

Leave me a comment sharing something new you've discovered (or fallen in love with) or something you've rediscovered this season or this year. This can be quilting related, but certainly doesn't have to be!!

For any Followers out there, leave a second comment for an additional chance to win.

I'll leave this open through Thursday 8/2/12, 5PM PDT and announce the winner over the weekend. I'm looking forward to hearing what's inspiring the rest of you!

If you are a no-reply blogger leaving a comment PLEASE leave contact info in the comment, otherwise I can not send the goodies your way!

A short list of upcoming goals

Linda Beth

As I was saying to Heather of joy of all crafts just a little while ago at the quilt shop (Cool Cottons), I've been too long out of my routine and feel like today was my day to push the "RESET" button and get back on track.

This leaves me with a big ol' ZERO on accomplishments this past week, but a list of things I've put aside recently and am eager to get back to.

I have 2 friends who are each expecting their second child in the next month or so, and a couple of friends who are expecting their first later this fall! Inspiration has been slim, but I am sure that will change when these little guys (or rather, girls) start arriving!

Thankfully Chris deemed July as a "catch-up" month for the Bliss Circle of do.Good Stitches, which means I'm off the hook on that one.

Nicole asked us to have fun with some polaroid blocks. I've begun gathering some possible focus fabrics for the centers, but definitely have a few more to go, then getting the borders and settings down.

Design Camp [totb]
Leanne sent out some brilliant pinks and greens for July's block, using the Mod Mosaic tutorial from Elizabeth Hartman at Oh, Fransson. Of course, being on the off-schedule I've been on, that packet hasn't even made its way to my studio yet :-(

And it also occurred to me that next month is MY month to host Camp 2 of this improv bee. I've been gathering inspiration photos for the style of "blocks" I am aiming for in a Pinterest board, and just this week started pulling fabrics to play with.
August will be my first time hosting a bee where the host sends out fabric to the others, so this will be interesting!

There are definitely some other things I will be working on in the next couple of months, but don't know how much I'll be moving ahead until these items are ticked off the list.

Wish me luck!