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linda@surroundedbyscraps.com
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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.

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Filtering by Category: do.good stitches

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!

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...

UNTIL...

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.

Ta-da!!


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!!

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.

1. BABY QUILTS!!
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!

2. BEE BLOCKS
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.

F+F=AMSB
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!

I think I really mean "Never Again"!

Linda Beth

Okay, so I think I ought to begin this post by saying I mean no disrespect. However, for the first time since I began doing the online bees I was presented with a block that kicked my butt!! And by that I mean it tried my patience more than I can say, and by the second one (which took me a week and a half just to decide on the fabrics) I really was chanting the "Never Again!!" mantra.

For our May blocks in the Bliss circle of do. Good Stitches Carol chose to go with a block tutorial that Elizabeth Hartman posted for the Modern Quilt GuildOctagonal Orb Block.




Now don't get me wrong... the tutorial is EXCELLENT! Like every single one of Elizabeth's patterns I've tried out, which can be found at her blog Oh, Fransson or at Sew, Mama, Sew!, it is written impeccably, is as clear as can be and is very well organized. However, this one block just calls for too many fabrics, too many pieces, too much precise cutting, and let me just say right now that if you ask me to press my seams open in the future, I may just ignore the request. And I LOVE scrappy quilts! Perhaps if we had gone with the scrappier option of the block construction I wouldn't have had so much difficulty. Who knows.

And though I didn't mind cutting from the template, this felt SO GOOD...


But now I can say I gave it a shot, and am looking forward to packaging them up and sending them on their way (which I am sure will also please Carol). And I'll likely think a bit more about what to choose next time it's my turn as a Queen Bee.

Finding my way back

Linda Beth

The trip was excellent, and I'll be posting more photos in the coming days, but now it's time to get back to the sewing room.

I spent my first day back in the studio catching up on all of my April bee blocks — and redoing the one I had actually put together before the road trip.

Friends + Fabric [AMSB]
April is Karen's month, and she wrote a stellar tutorial for making up a variation on a quilt she made previously, seen here.
My first try... at a glance looks good, but I put the rectangles together backwards. That'll teach me to follow a tutorial after only printing out the first 2 pages, preparing for sewing without access to my computer, but wanting to save paper!

So, I began my work today picking out stitches while re-watching an episode of Greek through Netflix.
Hopefully with the right orientation this time!

Block #2

Seeing the two side by side gives a great view of the value contrasts (which is something Karen was looking for in these blocks and will make a stunning, stunning finished quilt!)

Design Camp [think outside the block]
This is an improv swap with a relatively loose format, but this month Mary gave us some guidelines within which to work. She sent out packets with strips of yummy autumnal Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs prints along with some Kona Butter solid and a strip of one other solid. She shared a tutorial for making up chevrons (or french braids) to be encorporated into the blocks, but left the overall layout up to each of us.



do. Good Stitches - Bliss Circle
This year seems to be starting off with the representational blocks for this group! Marian pointed a tutorial by Heather of Olive and Ollie for these sweet little house blocks.
I was going for a little mid-century masonry and an ivy covered roof on this one!

I love how the pattern on this Joel Dewberry fabric looks like we're peering through a beautiful ironwork fence!
Unfortunately, these blocks didn't end up exactly the target size, but thankfully Marian is being super flexible about it! And on these guys my problems with pressing all of these seam allowances open is much more evident than in the other bee blocks for the month. I can certainly understand the benefit of that technique in bee blocks, but it's not always the most efficient method.

All in all I think today went pretty well, and as an added bonus, I got to finish it off by meeting a friend for dinner at Ya Hala, a spectacular Lebanese restaurant in SE. And now I am {enjoying?} a pretty intense film that keeps drawing my attention away from this post, "The Bang Bang Club," about a group of photojournalists in South Africa in the mid-'90s. Holy _ _ _ _! Worth watching, to be sure!

WIP Wednesday - it's been a whirlwind!

Linda Beth

I seem to have missed last week's check-in and link up over at Lee's blog, Freshly Pieced... which means this entry might be a bit on the long side of things. That's good, right?? So, after checking out my doings, head on over there and see what everyone else is up to on this WIP Wed!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

So, let's start with:
New
Bee Blocks
do. Good Stitches - Bliss Circle
fun pinks and oranges in Drunk Love log cabin blocks were Amanda's choice.

Design Camp [think outside the block] swap
Can't help but LOVE the fabrics that Yolanda is using for her quilt! Gorgeous, rich tans and taupes, even a linen and crossweave thrown in there for depth and texture.

Flannel throw quilt
I still have some fabric substitutions to work in, but might start snuggling under this thing right around May or June, just in time for temps in the 70s!

New block designs for PMQG/Michael Miller challenge AND MQG Quiltcon block challenges
The colors AND rules for these challenges are surprisingly similar, though I have been playing with a few different designs, thanks to EQ7!
one consideration...

Completed
do. Good Stitches November Bliss quilt.
Finally!

One more quilt top off the pile of "unquilted"
Okay, so it's just a little wall hanging, and it still needs the binding on it, but it's been quilted and will be finished by tomorrow evening - that's a PROMISE!

Some Progress
Finished piecing the cream/blue/mustard/tan 60/30° quilt top (I'm REALLY going to have to come up with a better name for that! Any suggestions??)

Curved-piecing aqua/green
I decided to sash these blocks (obviously)... which I made using the same technique that I used in my Tangerine & Wine quilt. But now I think it also needs a border... so stay tuned! I have two possibilities just waiting for the next load of laundry to run!

"Black Beauty" Medallion quilt
another project from the UFO vault!

And now for the No Progress list:
Purple/Green Asian sampler
Seams Perfect Sampler
Batik Warm/Cool QAL
Lee & Glenn's quilt
red/brown/green I-Spy
girly hourglass
Judy Neimeyer double wedding ring
broken dishes
Trip Around the 9-Patch
Halloween Stack 'n Whack
leftover I-spys from Hopman quilt
tote bags
blue/green place mats


This week's tally:
New - 4 or 5 (depending on how one views the quilt block design projects)
Completed - 4 (2 are bee blocks)
In Progress - 15
Unquilted Tops - 14(?) (I'm never actually at my studio when I write this list... also, it's occurred to me that I don't include the quilts that I started HAND quilting but have set aside indefinitely. Oof)

do. Good FINALLY finished!

Linda Beth


The journey started over 4 months ago. A request went out last fall for a substitute quilter in the Bliss circle of do. Good Stitches. I volunteered. I posted a tutorial with my inspiration, and blocks filtered in over the following 2 months.

until I could see where I needed to fill in...

But, it being me... well, I procrastinated on quilting it.

And took my own... sweet... time.

But, once the quilting happened, the rest was in the bag! (Okay, I still have yet to deal with a label for it!)




I'll certainly be happy to send this little guy in his way to the proper recipient, through Wrap Them in Love.

A Month of Drunk Love?

Linda Beth

I think that most of us in the current Modern quilting world hear the phrase "drunk love" and rather than picturing a torrid bar scene or even a romantic dinner at a fancy white table cloth restaurant will automatically conjure images of bright, improv-style wonky log cabin blocks, inspired by modern quilting icon Denyse Schmidt.

And sure enough, that is what I'm talking about. This month not one, but TWO of the bees in which I'm participating have selected the DS drunk love block. No complaints here!

For Design Camp [think outside the block] Swap, Yolanda sent us a beautiful selection of tan and taupe neutrals with a snippet of a red and cream fabric to use. She did invite us to add bits from our own stashes, if they blended, and I couldn't resist taking her up on that. I hope she's not off-put by the bits of Rouenneries by French General.

(Oh, and that little bit of Lush woodgrain I found hiding in my scraps!)


This really is such a classy, beautiful palette, don't you think?? And she included some gorgeous fabrics, including a linen and a crossweave - I do love that crossweave!

And then for our circle of do. Good Stitches Amanda requested the same block design, but a completely different palette, and therefore look. Pinks and oranges. A color combination my stash is not currently lacking! And I loved the opportunity to pull almost entirely from the scrap baskets!!



So, though I don't see any more of these blocks in my immediate future, it's always fun to play in an intuitive way and see such effective results so quickly.

WIP Wed - a little catch-up

Linda Beth

As I sit here after a lovely dinner of mac 'n' cheese from a box, watching the last disc of Project Runway Season 1, I am trying to take stock of the activity of the last week or two. And then I'll be linking up with Lee at her blog Freshly Pieced.

I managed to get my tutorial up for the March round of the Friends + Fabric Stash Bee, a wonky diamond log cabin block

Also, along with finishing the quilting on the wall hanging I'm making for the For the Love of Solids swap on Flickr, I whipped up a small set of coasters from some of the scraps

And it has occurred to me that I have somewhat neglected my Etsy shop in the last few weeks. At the small craft bazaar that Saskia (the lovely and creative environmental chemist behind Base Natural) and I attended in December, I was asked if I had a wider selection of pot holders, and since then I've sold a couple of sets, so it's about time I replenish.


And as for continuing projects...
I finally basted and have started quilting the November quilt for the Bliss circle of do. Good Stitches

I've also added another quilt top to my growing pile of quilt tops awaiting quilting (though I suppose we can call it even with the previous project coming off of that pile!) - the Encapsulated quilt that I had started several years ago in a class with Portland quilt artist and teacher Lee Fowler.


And now there's the big sigh of relief. Coming in JUST under the wire is the already too often mentioned Tangerine and Wine quilt! Complete! However, not quite finished... I have it posted to the Flickr group for the Tangerine Tango Challenge but have been struggling with the photos for the MQG call for entries for the 2012 Fall Quilt Festival in Houston. Their photo requirements are strict! And I'm sure I'm overthinking it, but that's my nature. So, I have Wednesday and Thursday to get a couple of good photos of this quilt, with the perfect lighting and not needing any color correction (I've already taken dozens of photos, both full shots and details) in order to make that deadline.


So the final tally (and this actually spans a bit more than a week, since I missed last week...)
New - 3
Completed - 3
In Progress - 4 or 5
Unquilted tops - 14

Thanks again for showing interest! And if you haven't already, it's time to check out the other bloggers linking up for WIP Wednesday!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Over a hurdle

Linda Beth


This past Thursday I cleared a hurdle. It was one of those that you see for miles down the track, and upon approach you stumble, bump you shins, psych yourself out until you are SO CLOSE to giving up and walking around it in the hopes of just moving on, but for some reason that's not an option. And then it happens, you clear your mind and concentrate on each individual step as opposed to the whole picture, and the next thing you know you're on the other side.

That is what quilting the Tangerine and Wine quilt has been for me. I think I was putting undue pressure on myself, for various reasons, which only results in a worse performance. And on top of that, because I am working on a very tight deadline, I found it difficult to concentrate on any OTHER projects in the mean time. It was like having a hangnail... no matter what else you're doing, all you can think about is this little annoyance! However, I took a couple of days away from the studio, away from my broken machine (which I still need to take in for repair!), and came back with a more open mind.

I came into the studio Thursday morning, set up and just went for it. I still did a fair amount of ripping stitches, but nothing like the previous week and weekend! And before I knew it, I only saw one more line of quilting that needed to be added!

A detail:

I was so happy to be at this stage (and with a whole 5 days to spare before the submissions are due) that I almost even enjoyed cutting and stitching the binding strips to the front of the quilt (my 3rd least favorite part in the quilting process, behind basting and the actual quilting!) But now I have the weekend to sit and enjoy the hand stitching of the binding, which I DO very much enjoy! Call me crazy.

So, that one being mostly out of the way, I am finally able to work on things that have been on the back burner for the past month.

I've pieced the backing for and basted last November's quilt for the Bliss circle of do. Good Stitches


And completed my second long-standing UFO quilt top of the year, Encapsulated - from a class with Lee Fowler here in Portland MANY, MANY years ago!

I'm looking forward to ticking off many more UFOs throughout this year! Have you all got any UFOs that have been hanging around that you're hoping to finish up in the near future??

another WIP Wednesday arrives

Linda Beth

It's funny how keeping track of one's days like this makes it seem to go that much faster. But the time is passing regardless, no?

I've had a few things going this week, but the bulk of my time has been concentrated on... can you guess it?? Yup, the Tangerine and Wine quilt. So, I suppose I'll start with my continuations:

Some Progress
The aforementioned Tangerine and Wine Quilt. I finished piecing the top, backing, pin-basted and started quilting.



Finished quilting my main project for For the Love of Solids 2.
I have yet to put binding and hanging sleeve or loops on. Need to get more fabric when I head in to work today.

Bee Blocks
Friends + Fabric Stash Bee

do.Good Stitches Bliss


And an added couple of blocks for this request from another do.Good Stitcher:

I've also started working on blocks (and a tutorial) for next month's Friends + Fabric round. It's a block that's been in my Flickr Favorites for several months now, and I know it's in at least one other of my bee mates' favorites!
(a teaser)

New projects
Besides bee blocks, I think I only have one thing in this category... I started my smaller project for FTLOS2 swap. I haven't gotten very far, nor have I taken any progress photos yet, but I'm starting off with scraps from the main wall hanging.

No progress
Encapsulated
Bliss quilt quilting
Warm/Cool QAL
Starburst blocks (though this one might be on permanent hiatus... was my original idea for March F+F bee.)
place mats

Tally for the week:
New - 4
Completed - 2 (bee blocks)
In Progress - 8
Unquilted tops - 15

And if you haven't already, follow me on over to Lee's blog at Freshly Pieced to see all of the other progress in quilty blogland!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Meeting Expectations

Linda Beth

So, have you ever had such high expectations for a project that no matter how you try to put it together, it just doesn't seem quite right?? Well, that is how I was feeling yesterday about that Tangerine and Wine quilt. I made 4 different sets of blocks (each set has 6 blocks), and there's one group in particular that I don't really like. What's worse is that I love the fabrics but not so much the design once they were sliced and pieced back together. So, I've been playing on the design wall, arranging and rearranging blocks to see if I can get a good flow, but nothing sits quite right with me. So far, this seems to be the best arrangement in my eye (secrecy be banished!)

But that set which includes the tangerine polka dot fabric just seems blocky and stiff compared with the movement of the others. I've been trying to justify using them anyhow, but I am afraid I need to bite the bullet and just remake them. I hate to waste the fabric, but more than that I hate to have wasted the full day of work that each of these sets of blocks require. However, I guess I can think of it as having wasted a good portion of the afternoon yesterday just moving these around on the wall to no avail, always coming back with the same dissatisfaction. And I KNOW I am not alone by far in having been down that road!

So, to soothe my frail ego, I changed course for a while yesterday and played with some bee blocks! There's nothing like having a small, limited project that someone else chose for you to distract from frustration on another project, wouldn't you say??

I started relatively simple, with these half-rectangle diamond blocks for Maria, in the Friends + Fabric Bee (which I had cut out a couple of days earlier). She pointed us toward this tutorial on the Modern Quilt Guild blog, part of the 100 days of quilts they have going on.

From there I moved on to something a bit more challenging for me. Our do.good stitches group (Bliss) has undergone some changes in the new year, including a new host for the group. Michelle did a great job throughout 2011 keeping us going and motivated, but had to take some time off, and it seems our new leader, Chris, is filling the role admirably. HOWEVER, she did start us off with a doozy (though nowhere nearly as torturous as that Lynne Bob Square Pants block!) This month is sail boats.
I chose to do pieced blocks, improv-style, but did end up with one appliqued element on one of the blocks...
Block #1
Block #2
I had fun piecing the water section of this one! AND it got me in the mood to finally start on my smaller item(s) for the FTLOS2 swap. Oh, and enough curved piecing already... I did applique the boat hull on this block!

So, the day wasn't a total wash, which always feels good. Now I just have to drag my butt back to the studio and follow through with remaking those blocks (and I was planning on taking the day off today... maybe I'll just treat myself to brunch after going to the gym, and THEN to the studio and we'll call it even!

WIP Wed... not much progress

Linda Beth

As I've been glancing at several other people's WIP Wednesday blog postings I've learned that I am far from the only person who has been down with some winter bug or other. That's just such a bummer all around, so I am sorry for all of you out there feeling crummy this season - hope you get your health and spark back soon!!

That said, this posting is going to be pretty light on accomplishments. I work my tail off last Thursday before our monthly Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting, trying to finish piecing the do.Good Stitches Bliss top in time for show and tell. On Thursday I was only this far:
This was still in about 7 or 8 different sections on my design wall - not terribly portable;-)

Then, yesterday after spending Friday-Sunday not leaving my home, and Monday taking it somewhat easy, I got back to the studio and got the rest of this put together. Still have to trim the left side and bottom before basting and quilting, but glad to have gotten this thing together. It's a bit busier than I had anticipated, but hopefully won't be too much for whomever ends up receiving it in the end!

And just out of curiosity, who else is participating in this round of the For the Love of Solids swap? I wrote a short post about my progress a couple of nights ago, found here. So far I've gotten a couple of sketches done, and was able to gather some fabrics yesterday and today to play with.


Is it looking bright and rainbowy yet??

Unfortunately, that's about all I have! I did bring with me to work today the oval template for the Encapsulated quilt and some freezer paper to trace onto, so hopefully I'll be a couple of steps closer to a finish for next week! Oh, and I made a commitment and counted the actual number of finished quilt tops I have just waiting to be quilted (including a couple of minis): 15!

tally:
new - 1
completed - 0
in progress - 8
unquilted tops - 15

OH! And I took it upon myself during my down time on the couch to sort through my baskets and bags of yarn and knitting/crochet projects... we might start seeing a few of these popping up from time to time, too!

Now, scoot on over to Freshly Pieced to check out what the others are reporting this WIP Wednesday!

a match made in... THE STASH??

Linda Beth

Lists are effective. I'm not a list person, but I tried this past week and let me tell you – it's done what I had hoped. It's kept me on track. Is it silly that this is such a revelation to me?

I started the week with 3 big projects on my plate, plus a couple of smaller items to break up the days. I managed to finish 2 quilt tops (one of which was simply a matter of piecing 25 bee blocks together) in 2 days, and got quite a bit of footing on one other.

So, first on the priority list was getting together a baby quilt for friends of mine who recently had their first baby! The item on this list for Jan. week 1 literally reads, "work on Hopman quilt" with a continuation in Jan. week 2 reading "Hopman quilt top finish." I ended my day yesterday with this:

This not only allowed me to cross off week 1's list item, but to amend week 2 by crossing out "top finish" and replacing it with "quilting" (to read "Hopman quilt quilting")! Woo hoo! Ahead of the game, right?

Next on the list was to work on putting together the top for the Bliss circle of do.Good stitches November quilt as much as possible. As I've mentioned in previous posts, this was a first time stint for me in the role of "quilter" for the group, and I did give myself some challenges with this one, not having regular or uniformly sized blocks. I'm also still expecting a couple of more blocks to come in, but figured I should get moving on putting together what I do have.
There are still some gaps to fill in, but progress is progress, no?

This morning when I went to the studio I had both of those projects up on the design wall from the previous day. The plan was to pin baste the baby quilt, but first comes the issue of choosing the backing. As often happens when I am not working from a pattern, I didn't quite know the finished width of the quilt (I knew the length to be 52" only because of border strips), and wouldn't luck have it that it turned out to be just 40 1/2"!! My color inspiration for the background for this quilt was a piece of Valori Wells' "Fleurish" which I've had for a few years now
The fabric piece is approximately 43"x58". But then I looked over at the shelf where I had gotten this older piece and saw another possibility left over from my early days of quilting when I was WAY into Stack 'n' Whack quilts - a fabric piece that I have used here and there, but still have close to 3 yards untouched. I was holding it up to the design wall to see if it would be suitable as backing for the baby quilt (which it TOTALLY would have been!!!)
and something magical happened... I saw it up against the charity quilt. And what better to use for the backing of a charity quilt than a fun, beautiful fabric that's been on one's shelf for years simply because one might have changed course and moved away from that style over time?
And really, who can argue with kismet? That Valori Wells piece turned out to be the perfect size for my quilt, and honestly, I was choosing the sashing and background for the front with it in hand, so that should tell me something right?

That quilt is now basted, awaiting quilting, to be completed during January week 2. And here's real testimony to my blogging world - I forgot to photograph the other quilt top I completed this week! It's the green and brown spider web quilt I talked about last month here. it really looks very much like the photo of all of the blocks up on the design wall!

Okay, I notice I'm rambling, which means it is past my bedtime.

Post-holiday deadline post

Linda Beth

It feels as though I have hardly been in the sewing room at all in the last month, since returning home from my Thanksgiving travels, but I know that is not the case. However, my projects have been on short term, short turn-around time tables. Those projects are all now done.

The last week or so was dedicated to some presents, which are on their way to the recipients (if not already arrived). I'll post photos after Christmas ;-) But NOW I get to concentrate on new things! Yahoo! (of course there will always be UFOs hanging around, ready to be completed, but the new stuff is always more fun to think about!)

I've been eyeing this Alexander Henry fabric for months now... I finally succumbed today.

In 2012 I'll be participating in 2 new bees, continuing with one, plus I'm planning on taking part in Round 2 of the For the Love of Solids sewing swap on Flickr, hosted by my do.Good Stitches Bliss hive mates Megan and Elizabeth. With all of these great new adventures on the horizon, I've begun thinking about my inspirations for these various groups, and seem to have fallen in love with the color palette within that fabric. I've also started noticing other people's projects with those deep, wintery, somewhat earthy jewel tones (how's THAT for a contradiction in terms??). A couple of my favorites, found on Flickr are this quilt by Shelley Brooks and this one by rainyday*knitter.

I'm not sure yet how I hope to use this fabric, but while at work today (at the stellar Cool Cottons, of course!) I've been playing around with possible combinations...

Matched with Shot Cottons

Matched with Kona Solids

I decided to start out with a combination of the two, plus a couple of prints thrown in for good measure:

Oh, the possibilities!

NEVER say "never"!

Linda Beth

Wow. I can hardly believe that half of the month has gone by without my posting anything at all. I guess it's been one of those months so far.

I've fallen behind on the bees in which I participate - well, not exactly BEHIND, just running up against the latter part of the deadlines. So today, after spending the morning at home doing some homework while I was waiting for my appt. with the "tree guy," I decided I needed to take advantage of this gorgeous, sunny fall day. How could I not take my bike to the studio?!?

Oh yeah, I've been battling this stubborn old cold for about 3 weeks now. I forget how much that can take out of a person, even if you just think the worst symptom is the runny/red nose. I made it to the studio alright, a little out of breath, and had to stop a couple of times more frequently than I have in the past, but so it goes - time to do some sewing!!

I started by whipping up samples for next month's BLISS circle blocks for do.good Stitches - a project I volunteered to take on when our little circle lost a quilter.
(I'll expand on these in another post dedicated to the group and these blocks)

Once I got that out of the way, it was time to attack the block for THIS month's BLISS circle. Becky asked us to make blocks using this tutorial from Lily's Quilts. It's a stunning block, but OH MY GOODNESS!! As I was trimming all of those very very little HSTs, I was thinking to myself, "never again!" And then it hit me as I started laying the HSTs... I had only cut out enough for ONE STUPID BLOCK. Which means I will need to do it all over again, but it will have to wait for another day. But at least I have something to show on the group page:

I also have blocks to do for the Seams Perfect Bee. For some reason, the October hosts on both of these bees decided that lots of precise cutting and many, many seams was the way to go. Okay, so Becky (different Becky, coincidentally) chose a block with only semi-precise cutting,
but then you have to go back and trim the seam allowances before pressing...


I have plenty more work for both of these projects, but I am glad I at least got started. Which can also describe my ride home tonight... I only got started, but was too wiped out to make it very far, so I ended up dumping my bike at J's apartment (about a mile or so from my studio, as opposed to the 5+ miles for me to get home) and taking the bus the rest of the way. It was fortunate that I had that option, otherwise it would have taken me much longer to land and pour my glass of wine, and I would have been REALLY cranky! But thankfully, I arrived less cranky than I was when I got to J's, and have been enjoying that glass of wine. So, how do you all like to unwind after a long day, or feeling like you didn't accomplish all of your goals in the manner that you'd hoped?

do.Good Stitches for Sept.

Linda Beth

This month for the Bliss circle of do.Good Stitches, Carol, a.k.a. Orangebird242 requested a completely new kind of block to me. She requested blocks using a log cabin construction, but the logs are to be made using a strip-pieced fabric. Carol guided us to a blog entry by Joan, a.k.a. Wishes, True and Kind to get the pieced fabric swath together. This is how mine turned out:
Our fabrics are to be all solids, in medium to dark blues, greens and purples, EXCEPT the center squares, for which we were asked to use a contrasting color, and could incorporate a simple print. So, I started by slicing off a few strips from my pieced fabric
and then applying them to my chosen centers, going around, just like a regular log cabin block.
Until I ended up with 3 blocks, each approximately 8".
I decided to send the section of the pieced fabric that I did not use back to Carol, in the hopes that she might be able to use it if she needs to build out more blocks than what is received in the group. This was an interested technique for using up left-overs (though I actually had to cut strips from yardage for this particular project), but I'm not sure if it's one that I'll try again - only time will tell, I suppose.

A Past Project with New Intent

Linda Beth

Just when I was resolute in not joining any more swaps and not committing to another bee just yet, I came across an extension of one of the do.Good Stitches projects for this month. August is Natalie's month to design and quilt for her circle, and she asked to alter their recipient charity for this round, to instead contribute the quilts to the NICU at one of her local hospitals to go to preemies. She wrote a detailed account of her inspiration and intention on her blog, Threaded Mess. It's definitely worth checking out, even if you're not a quilter... just a way to think about doing little things for the community that can make a big impact to a few others.

Her block inspiration is from a tutorial by Anna Marie Horner, developed by her son during a block drive in 2010 to benefit the flood victims in the Tennessee valley, which she called Rainbow Around the Block. The idea being to collect an assortment of blocks using the same pattern, but each one having its own distinct color story - so together they become the rainbow.

Inevitably, I decided to make an effort to join Natalie's block drive and this morning began pulling focus fabrics and stacks to go with each:










I figure a couple blocks a week should be approachable, right??

Thursday is swap day

Linda Beth

Last week I came to the realization that I need more structure. Part of that process will be assigning different general projects to different days of the week. For instance, Tuesday is now a "merchandise" day, for making (primarily) place mats and pot holders:





My new schedule allots Thursdays to working on bee and swap projects. Last week I worked on blocks for the do.Good Stitches bee on Flickr. Megan, a.k.a. Canoe Ridge Creations, posted a tutorial on her blog for a simple as pie bow tie block.


She showed us an array of clear, saturated, rainbowy fabrics as inspiration for the palette... which seems to be a trend right now. Not an unwelcome one, I must say.

In addition to the bow tie blocks, I dedicated quite a bit of time to cutting squares for the Warm Cool Quilt Along hosted by Jeni at In Color Order. I shared a little more about this process in my previous post, found here.

This week, however, I moved on to working on 2 other projects, one of which I thought the deadline had passed me by. The Portland Modern Quilt Guild is putting together a banner to represent the group at the annual Sisters' Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, OR, along with a selection of member quilts which will be on display at the show this year (the second Saturday of July, for those who are interested!!). Admittedly, I did not get the memo in time to submit (have I mentioned that I am terrible at keeping up with my blog list and online newsletters??) so I do not have a quilt in the show, but several of my Portland colleagues will, along with hundreds of other Oregon quilters! However, I did get a chance to do a block to be added to the banner for the guild, which I dropped off at this evening's meeting.



I kept going back and forth about what design I would want to use to sum up my quilting style in one 6" block, sketching ideas, but came up with this simply by revisiting my own Flickr photostream. I originally did a quilt from one of Judy Hopkins' books (whose name escapes me right now, I have to admit) several years ago as a wedding gift for some friends.


A perfect way to combine string piecing and working with an awesome modern focus fabric (and this piece of Heather Bailey's Freshcut I have Jenn, Sunnyauh to thank for!!)

But the bulk of the day was dedicated to working on Cruz's blocks for the Seams Perfect Scrap Bee on Flickr. She pointed us toward this tutorial from Freshly Pieced.


I LOVED working on these blocks, though was thrown off by how long it took to actually select each round of 3 fabrics! And I do have to say that it was a challenge to keep my hexagon blocks even as I went around, as can be seen by the wonky angle of a couple of the strips, but hopefully it won't make too much of a difference. Next month is my month to host that bee, and I still have to get my sample blocks and templates together before the end of June, as I think I will have to send out bits for paper piecing... more to come on that one later. All in all, I think this will be a good schedule to keep to, assuming I am able to keep to it!