contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

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: seams perfect scrap bee

F+F Bee Blocks

Linda Beth

All of you who check in here from time to time have no doubt seen mention of one of the Flickr bees I have the honor of being a part of - the Friends + Fabric [A Modern Stash Bee] . It is made up of 11 thoroughly talented and inspiring quilters, plus myself, gathered together by our hive mama, Jenn (a.k.a. Sunny in Cal).

This month Lee requested spiderweb blocks using red, pink, aqua and B/W prints. We all know I do like the spider web design, since that was MY choice for the Seams Perfect Bee, the previous bee I did organized by Jenn last year!

Lee's colors are quite different than mine, however, and what a different effect it has! I went from a pile of this:

to this:

and this:

which go together to look like this:
Hopefully these will work with the other blocks popping up on the group page. I'm a little uncertain about that Kaffe Fassett I used in the center of the darker block, but we'll see.

I also got a chance to play around on the design wall with the blocks from MY month for the Friends + Fabric bee, now that I have them all in my little hands. I think I might have actually made a change or two after I took this shot, but essentially this is the layout I think I'll be going with.
And I'd better decide soon, since I committed this quilt to go to the Sister's Outdoor Quilt Show in just over a month or so!

actual UFO count (oh my!!)

Linda Beth


Okay, do any of you get a certain amount of motivation and inspiration from sitting down (figuratively) and cleaning up, sorting through and reorganizing your sewing space? I find it so strange that I can actually enjoy doing this at my sewing studio, but to clean and straighten at my house?? Hardly ever happens like this.

Thursday I went into the studio and was kind of in a funk. I'd been struggling with getting quality photos of the quilts I was hoping to submit for the MQG showcase at the Houston International Quilt Festival, which was seriously stressing me out. At least I had plans with J for him to bring his studio photo equipment to help me out - in the 11th hour, mind you. To say that I was distracted seems like an understatement, but we'll stick with it.

So, to help me focus and to get my mind off of the stressful photos, I decided to clean out the drawers and shelves and bags that held projects in progress, collections of fabric that I had selected at some point I can't remember to put together in an impending project, those sorts of things.

The count --- a whopping 17 UFOs! This does not include the 6 stacks of fabric simply set aside for specific projects, but not yet begun. Nor does this include the 15 or so quilt tops I have completed just hanging out waiting to be quilted.


A modest sampling of what I came across:
a starburst block that perhaps one day I'll try again


the semi-girly hourglass toddler quilt I began a few years ago for a friend's daughter, but decided to change course.


A quilt I drafted in early 2011, using the Kaffe Fassett print as the focus, but after piecing a few of the blocks, something fell short...

...so I auditioned another focus fabric for the pieced blocks


a set of reversible QAYG place mats


my personal sampler from the members' block selections for the Seams Perfect Scrap Bee.


a work in progress, with a particular recipient in mind


intended for my brother and his partner, using a Gail Kessler line from a couple of years ago.


another 60/30 diamond quilt started a while back that I've been meaning to finish up...

...and am one step closer to that goal as of this afternoon!


One of my goals in the coming months is to decrease this list considerably. And I mean to take an active approach, I tell you! So I am hoping that y'all will keep me on task if I seem to stray.... and would love to hear about any projects that you consider ready to come off your UFO list, so whadya got??

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?

Sampling of Stars

Linda Beth

For my second block for August's Seams Perfect Scrap Bee I decided to play around with a star sampler within the 12" finished block.



The larger star on the lefthand side is from a pattern in an older Alex Anderson book, Simply Stars - Quilts that Sparkle. I used the 6" Variable Star pattern, found on page 48.

In addition to that I decided I wanted to try a 6 point star, a cross between a Star of David and a Seven Sisters. I started with a sketch in my sketchbook and went from there. I had no finished size worked out, just aiming for smaller than 9".

I began with a hexagon for the center of the block. I was lazy and used a template I had cut a couple of months back to make these blocks for Cruz (knitla), for the same bee. With seam allowances, the hexagon measures approximately 1.75" on each side. I estimated that the equilateral triangle star points should be about 2.25" on each edge, and so I cut (2) 60 degree triangles each from 3 different fabrics. It took me a while to figure out a way to piece this block WITHOUT any inset or Y seams, but doggonit, I figured it out! Again, there is little that is precise about these instructions, but I got to where I needed to be.

After cutting my 6 itty-bitty triangles, I cut background pieces from the Bella Solid fabric that Theresa supplied. I cut (4) each at 2.5" x 4" for the top and bottom "corners" of the block, and (2) each at 2.5" x 3.5" for the side settings.

I began the piece work making a top and a bottom row using the 4 corner background pieces and a pair of matching triangles. I began by placing one of the triangles face down on one side of the 2.5" x 4" rectangle, making sure the triangle corners overlap the edges of the rectangle at a 60 degree angle. Stitch along the triangle edge using a 1/4" seam allowance and trim off the excess on the background piece.


Flip the triangle open and press seams toward the background.


Now, take this unit and place it face down over another of the background rectangles, matching the opposite edge of the triangle across the corner of the rectangle.


Press seam toward background piece. Repeat with matching units.

Next, piece a second pair of the little triangles directly to opposite sides of the hexagon. Press seams toward the triangles and trim. At this point you should have 7 total units, the triangles centered in background pieces, the hexagon with 2 triangles attached, the 2 remaining triangles, as shown below, plus the 2.5" x 3.5" background pieces for the side settings:


With that last pair of triangles, it's time to start the tricky stuff! Place the rectangles for the background side settings just alongside the hexagon and other pieces for the star. Take one of the last pair of triangles, place it face down across the corner of the background piece, along the edge of the hexagon still unoccupied be a triangle unit. As you did with the top and bottom rows, be sure to have your corners overlap by approx. 1/4" for seam allowance, with the seam at a 60 degree angle to the bottom edge. Stitch in place, flip open and press.


Place the hexagon unit face down over this last section, lining up the edge of the last triangle with the open edge of the hexagon, and extending the triangle already attached onto the background block. The seams on the respective triangles should overlap by 1/4".


Press open. Repeat for the opposite side. You see you will have tails of excess on the background pieces. Just trim those off to be even with the upper and lower edges of the center hexagon.




Now you are ready to add those original top and bottom rows, respectively.


From here, trim your block to your desired size, just keeping in mind you need at least 1/4" of background beyond the star points.


Mine ended up measuring about 4 7/8" x 5 1/4". Given the improvisational approach to this whole block, I was not too concerned with ending up with a perfect square - I just got to make up the difference in bits and pieces of the background later on...


And after working through the two main stars in this block, I decided to use the classic Friendship Star for the smaller sparklers. Based on a standard 9-patch construction, I worked with 1" units to get two different blocks that would finish at 3" and work as filler in the larger block. All in all I had a lot of fun playing around with this one! Don't know if I'll be rushing to do more like it, but I am certainly glad I tried my hand at something new! Thanks for the impetus, Theresa!

STARting with a star

Linda Beth

This month in the Seams Perfect Scrap Bee on Flickr is Theresa's (terrikuns') month. Her theme is stars... any type of stars, wonky, whimsical, 12" or multiple smaller ones... AND, she set us up with some of her fabric choices: Sanae's Chrysalis by Moda and a Moda Bella Solid.

We were invited to use some or all of the fabrics she sent, as long as we used the solid at some point in each of the blocks, and were welcomed to supplement with a coordinating fabric as well. As luck would have it, I just bought some pieces from that collection a little over a week ago while visiting Pioneer Quilts in Happy Valley, OR.

So, my adventure began with an improv, wonky Ohio Star variation. Very easy to make, and rather flexible, so I thought I would share with you all:
*these measurements are for a 12" finished block*

I began by cutting a center square 2.5" x 2.5". I decided that the solid would be an inner border around the center square, so from that I cut (2) 2" x 2.5" and (2) 2" x 5.5". And from the background fabric (for which I used one of the small-scale prints from the Chrysalis collection) I cut (4) 4" x 4" squares for the corners and (4) 4" x 5.5" rectangles to be the backgrounds of the star points.


Start by attaching the solid 2" x 2.5" rectangles to opposite sides of the center square. Press seams toward the "borders." Next, add the 2" x 5.5" rectangles to the remaining sides, to make a 5.5" square.


For the next steps I took a somewhat improvisational approach to a stitch 'n' flip flying geese block, making 4 units measuring 4" x 5.5" each. By starting with the background piece at that size, I could use various scraps to make up the geese, or star points.

Place a rectangle at an angle face down on top of the background block. Be sure that when you press it open it covers as far as the bottom corner of the piece. Stitch down using a 1/4" seam allowance.


Trim the corner from the background piece, using the seam allowance as your guide.


Press open.


Trim the edges flush with the background piece, maintaining the original 4" x 5.5" dimensions.


Repeat the last 4 steps for the other corner on the same side of the rectangle. Try to alter the size of the scrap piece and the angle at which you place it, for more variety on the star points.




Repeat these steps on the other (3) 4" x 5.5" rectangles.


Now, arrange all of your block units in a 9-patch formation, as pictured below:


Piece in horizontal rows, pressing seams toward the square units.


Sew the 3 rows together, press seams open and VOILA!

A Bigger Spiderweb

Linda Beth

July is my turn to host the Seams Perfect Modern Scrap Bee on Flickr. For months I've known more or less what I would like to do, but have struggled with ways to convey it to my bee-mates. I have my mind set on a spiderweb quilt, primarily in greens and browns.


I want to make this as easy as possible for the girls to have the templates they need without too much extra work or wasted fabric, but I am finding that this might be a losing battle. There are several good resources online for tutorials and paper-piecing templates for the spiderweb block, but most that I have found either run smaller, or have the wrong orientation, or just don't fit, for some reason. That said, here are some links to a couple of the resources that have caught my eye:

Quilter's Cache - Easy Spider Web has what she says is a 12" paper template here, but I've found it actually FINISHES at 12.5". I've added a detailed description of how to adjust this so that it comes back down to a 12" finished block, for those who prefer paper-piecing. Also, the orientation of these blocks is opposite of what I envision, but I think that can be easily remedied by joining the paper-piecing templates on a different edge.

Heather Bostic's tutorial at {House} of A La Mode - http://alamodefabric.blogspot.com/2010/06/spider-web-quilt-block-tutorial.html

Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew - http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/2010/04/spiderweb-block-sew-along/

Now, to achieve my optimal goal, I'm going to combine a couple of different techniques. The ladies at Seams Perfect are welcome to choose whichever suits them best (and I'll be sending out little helpers at some point next week).

For doing Fabric Foundation:
In looking through some of the different tutorials, I found Heather's at A La Mode Fabrics to be the clearest for me. She and Elizabeth use a similar foundation piecing method, but the dimensions in Heather's tute (and the overall finished look of her blocks) is much more like what I have in mind, and she does a great job with the photo illustrations and explanations. Now, for my bee-mates who do choose to follow Heather's tutorial here, we are going to make a couple of adjustments:
*First of all, if you prefer to do paper-piecing instead of fabric foundation just follow her instructions on a piece of newsprint or other light-weight paper product. The only real difference is that you will need to start by cutting out pieces of your fabric for that center "kite" section. I will be sending templates for that step shortly.
*We are going to be doing a slightly different size than this tutorial. Where she begins with a 12.5" square of foundation fabric (which is the fabric that shows as your center star or kites), we are going to increase that to 13.25".
The only other change that comes along with this increase is in marking the 2 shorter sides... she says to make marks at 6" up from the bottom corner, but if you could please use the templates I send as your guide, that way everyone has a consistent gauge, regardless of which method she chooses. The easiest way to do this is to line up the right angles at the top and the center point at the bottom inside the 1/4" seam allowance, and mark the long edges along the template. (this SHOULD also be the equivalent of marking 3 3/8" from the top corner (the 90 degree angle) on each side.)

(using Heather's tutorial, but started with a square just slightly too big)
(my second attempt using the same method, with the dimensions listed above)

For printing a Paper-Piecing Template:
I did a test run with the paper-piecing template from Quilter's Cache at this link, and though I did have to make a couple of minor adjustments, it was pretty easy to get it. So, if you prefer using a paper-piecing method, I do ask that you either go with those printouts, following the adjustments I am about to go over, or use Heather's fabric foundation method converted onto newsprint.

The page as it prints from the website - you will need 4 of these for each block

Cut the two triangles apart, leaving the seam allowances intact EXCEPT along the side of section 3 on the piece that does not have the website ID written over it... the piece on the right in the photo above.

Mark a guide line 1/4" INSIDE the printed line on section 2 of the other piece.

Take a glue stick and apply from that line you just marked out to the edge of the paper. Place the other triangle on top, lining up the edge without a seam allowance to the guide line you drew on.

As you can see, because we've changed the size of the template, the center kite guide lines are now uneven. We are going to utilize the fabric foundation piecing method for the next step, just to get back on track. Start by folding the triangle in half so that your points match up accurately. Crease the center, then unfold.



Make a mark where the center crease meets the inside line along the bottom of the template.

Now, using the template I will be sending (or have sent), match the bottom points and the top 90 degree angle and edges, then mark along both sides of the template. This will give you your paper template to start sewing with! (trust me, this process is much quicker than it appears in this step-by-step explanation!!)


Next, choose your solid fabric for your center star on your block, and using the (to be) sent template, trace around, keeping the seam allowances intact, and cut out on your traced lines.



Start your block by lining up the edge of the center piece along the right guideline you marked on the paper template (fabric facing up), then lay one of your strips face down, with the raw edge along that same line. Continue working out from there, pressing open after each strip.
(the finished paper-pieced block)

I had drafted this on my EQ7 program, which has had its benefits, but one of the drawbacks is, though I can access a printable paper-piecing template myself, it won't let me convert into a PDF or JPEG file, nor could I get it to print accurately when I selected Legal paper, in the hopes that I could just print for everyone without having to tape different sheets together (and wasting a ridiculous amount of paper, the way they align the pattern!)
(made with the EQ7 paper-piecing printouts... but couldn't find a way to replicate)

So, we are going with alternate options. Hopefully this post has made some sense, and allows everyone to work within a good comfort zone, but still giving enough guidelines to be clear. If anyone has any questions, do not hesitate to ask me!


Happy quilting!

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!