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linda@surroundedbyscraps.com
Portland, OR

503-997-8958

Handmade quilts and home accessories by fiber artist Linda Nussbaum. See samples of past projects as well as pieces available for sale and inspirations for custom orders. To see what is currently available for sale, please visit my Etsy Shop.

Blogger Archive

Filtering by Category: quilt bee

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

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.

Two birds, One stone

Linda Beth


For Design Camp [think outside the block] 2, Michelle, the wonderful organizer and a fellow PMQG member, started our group off with a dry run this month. For a few of us this is our first improv quilting bee, and I think it just worked out that January was still open after the schedule was put together, so Michelle gave us some scraps of fabric (left over from our guild's Jay McCarroll challenge quilts last fall/winter, seen here and here) and a suggestion for a first exercise.

At the same time I have been trying to come up with 2 more blocks to make to work into my quilt from the 1-month Nubees block swap I participated in several months ago. I realized that by taking out the warmer colors of scraps, and using a grey as the "sashing" this block would fit in perfectly with the others I received back in September or October.

Now, to play around with that last block - getting much inspiration from a couple of books I just received for the holidays... more on that another time.

Return to the bee blocks

Linda Beth

November and December ended up being a kind of break for me from the online bees. And I have to admit, a rather welcome one... and I'm sure I'm not alone in that opinion! But, that break is over and I'm ready to get back to it! Thankfully the new bee I'm going to be doing with a great selection of women, with Jennifer at the helm again, got started a little early.

Jennifer directed us to this tutorial from Aneela Hoey, which she calls "Crazy Scrappy Block." She's planning to do this color box style, so we each got to choose a color for our blocks.


I chose to go with black - a great way to use up some of these B/W prints I've collected over the years (mostly several years ago, to be honest!) and a fun challenge.

Happy January (almost)!

Spiderweb blocks received!

Linda Beth

So, in mid-November I finally received all of the spiderweb blocks for my Seams Perfect Scrap Bee quilt (originally posted about here)! I actually ended up with a few more blocks than I had expected, due to some remakes for size issues as well as Jenn, our awesome fearless leader, stepping in and making angel blocks for a couple of the members.

So, yesterday I played around and arranged them on my design wall:

and I have about 3 or 4 orphans which will end up pieced into the back... but for now, I'm happy to have the top ready to put together. Yay!

And in addition, I FINALLY have a "new" quilt finished! The quotation marks indicate that the quilt top itself has been hanging around for, oh, I don't know, 2 years or so... but I just quilted it last week before heading up to the holiday bazaar so that I had some binding to work on while hanging out there last Saturday.


Step by step...

Linda Beth

I got to spend my Thursday working in the sewing studio, but again feel like I was less productive than I'd have hoped. However, I did manage to finish 4 out of 8 of my 6.5" blocks for October's Seams Perfect Bee.
which when things get pieced together, will look more like this:

Becky pointed us toward a quilt from Karen Griska, highlighted on her blog, Selvage Blog. Without a doubt it is an extremely effective and eye-catching quilt, but I have to admit I did not have fun trimming all of the strips down to 1.25" and fussying the seam allowances (though, I wasn't really TOO fussy, honestly). However, I am sure that some folks didn't love the technique that I chose for my month, so I was happy to do this for Becky!!

I managed to get the strips cut for the next 4 blocks (hopefully enough of them), but have put off the piecing until another day. Unfortunately that's not all that I put off as of yesterday. I had been planning to go to the guild meeting for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild (PMQG), but by 5:30 I was going through my new box of tissue at a rapid rate, and my energy plummeted, so the idea of hanging around an hour just to go downtown for a 2 hour meeting didn't jibe with me. Which is really too bad since I missed last month's meeting, and I'll be out of town next month. This also means I won't be participating in the holiday swap, but that's how life is sometimes, no?

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?

Half-Square Triangle Block

Linda Beth

Over the last week I was working on blocks for a quilt block swap on Flickr, which I've already mentioned in a couple previous posts, the Nubees Block Swap. The block design that I came up with is a half-square triangle configuration (I've been doing a lot of those HSTs of late, I notice!).

When I posted the photos to Flickr, I was asked where I found the pattern, so I answered as best I could, but in all honesty, I pretty much just played around in my sketchbook with different HST configurations until one jumped out at me as being able to highlight 3 main colors (with some inspiration from a great ol' book I've had for years - Spectacular Scraps, by Judy Hooworth and Margaret Rolfe).

So, here is a little tutorial on these blocks (measurements are for a 12" finished block):

Start with a background fabric, plus 2-3 main colors (I chose to use prints that combine the 2 or 3 colors for the center section, then focus the middle and outer sections on one color each). You will need a total of (8) 4" squares of the background - mine is the grey solid, and (12) 4" squares of your prints - I went with 4 prints for each of the 3 sections.

Now, I will preface this whole thing with the warning that there IS a fair amount of waste in this, unless you choose to do multiple blocks with the same fabrics (in which case you will need more squares of the background fabric), or you don't mind having triangles in your scrap basket. Myself, I prefer to keep my scraps to squares, rectangles and strips, so this was a little tough for me (I actually still have a pile of all of the extra triangles from doing the swap blocks that I can't get myself to discard or cut down just yet). Alrighty, on with the lesson!

Take your squares that will comprise of the center diamond and the outside corners only (4 background pieces and 8 prints) and cut them once, diagonally.


We will be using both halves of the background squares, but only one half of each of the prints. I

Stitch blocks together in pairs, one background triangle with one print triangle, stitching along the long side.



Now, for the middle section HSTs, take a slightly different approach, as we will be needing both sides of all of the 4 prints *(unless you choose to use a more scrappy approach, which I'll touch upon at the end of the tutorial). Instead of cutting the squares diagonally, just pair up a square of background with a square of print, right sides together,
and DRAW a diagonal line from corner to corner. There are many tools for this. I tend to prefer using either a blue water-soluble marker or one of the Bohn or Sewline ceramic chalk mechanical pencils.


(the marking lines are a little faint for the photos, but trust me I could see them!)

Use the pencil lines as guides for your 1/4" seam allowance. Stitch 1/4" on either side of the line.

At this point you should have: (4) 4" squares of a background and print fabric stitched together on either side of a diagonal center line and (8) triangle pairs of one background fabric and a print.

Next step, cut along the center line on the (4) squares, to get (8) more triangle pairs. Press open, with the seam allowances all going to the same side (background if you used a darker color, otherwise press toward the prints on each).



After your blocks are pressed, it's time to trim them down. They need to measure 3 1/2", and will likely need 1/16 - 1/8 inch trimmed to acheive that. The best way to trim and square up HSTs is to use a rotary cutting ruler that has a 45 degree guide line from at least one CORNER of the ruler. Line this guide up with your center seam, making sure the edges of the block extend beyond the 3 1/2" mark on every side.
Cut along two edges, then flip the block around, lining up the trimmed edges exactly to the 3 1/2" guides on the ruler. Trim the other 2 sides.

Now for the fun part! Lay out your blocks on the table, keeping your 3 sections separate - (4) HSTs making up the center diamond, (8) HSTs making the faux flying geese sections surrounding the center, and then (4) corner blocks. We will be making a block that is 4 rows of 4 blocks each. If you picture it in quarters, have all of the print fabrics pointing in toward the center. Play around with configuration until you land on a combination that feels balanced. Lay out the blocks with the final orientation on your sewing table.
You may choose to leave the blocks laid out as such, as you start piecing your rows across, but I like to make tidy piles, so that I can work on more than one block at a time (again with the chain piecing love!) I just stay consistent with how I stack my blocks, going from left to right, top to bottom.


Sew your blocks together into the horizontal rows, then press. For this swap I chose to press my seam allowances open, which allows the recipient more flexibility in putting his or her various blocks together. For myself, I would choose to press seam allowances to one side, alternating directions on each row.


Then piece your rows together, matching up block corners at the seams. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am not much of a gadget person - I have the basic tools and use them to the best of my ability and advantage. HOWEVER, I will say that I LOVE the Clover fork pins for matching seams and points.

Press seams (open) and VOILA!

*Coming back to that scrappier look... to do something like this guy:
...the only real difference will be in the number of print fabrics you start with - 16 total instead of just 12. And you will begin by splitting ALL of your initial 4" squares diagonally before stitching, since you won't need both sides of any of the print fabric (for just a single block).

Whew! I hope this doesn't leave anyone with more questions than they began with!! Have fun and do me a favor by leaving me a message if you try this tutorial and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping in!

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??