27 December 2012

It's official!

I can now be found at


Hope to see some familiar "faces" popping up there!


11 December 2012

New Home

The website is still most definitely under construction, but it's gone active!

SOON there will be a proper Surroundedbyscraps.com
RIGHT NOW, it is a Square Space page found at:

I'm just waiting for my brother to help me link my domain name to the site before doing too much advertising.

However, that being said, I have started a blog through that site (which may or may not continue... Blogger makes things so easy that I am having trouble building my page there. I'm happy to take any pointers that any one of you experienced bloggers can give!!)

My newest post can be found at the following link:

Oh, and I've also added a Facebook page for Surrounded by Scraps! I was hoping to approach this in a more stream-lined way, but as you can see, that has failed. Or perhaps it's I that is flailing. However we look at it, I apologize for my jumping around over the next couple of weeks and hope that those of you who have been enjoying my posts over the last couple of years will continue to do so on the new platform. And when I figure out how to post an email or subscription list there, even better!

Thanks for your patience, and as I mentioned, I am open to both constructive criticism and suggestions on the new site!

All the best,

04 December 2012

A possible redundancy - back to back

It's recently come to my attention just how many quilt TOPS have accumulated in my studio over the last year or so that have yet to be truly finished. In some cases I've been itching to get them quilted and see how they really turn out, but have just not been able to find the right backing fabric.

So, this past week I was on a mission.

And thanks to the help of some wonderful gals, namely Marie at Cool Cottons, and Linda and Michelle at Pioneer Quilts, I was able to come up with some stunners!

As in most of these cases, it was evident that I'll have to piece the backing, and that little taupe fabric fit perfectly with the vine stripes in the other piece. A combo about which I am most excited!

A top started in a class nigh on 7 years ago, taught by Portland quilt artist Lee Fowler. It took me until this past year to finish the top, but hopefully won't be nearly as long to see it quilted!

And then we get to the white whale(s)... I've made a couple of these 60° diamond quilt tops in the last couple of years, HOPING that they'll turn out as well as the twin crib quilts I did originally. But it seems there's no good way of knowing until I get them quilted. But look at this combo that Marie helped me find...

And how could I doubt that ultimately it would be Philip Jacobs to come through with the winning number here? Courtesy of Pioneer Quilts.

Is anyone else out there scrambling to bring some of their UFOs a step closer to completion as the calendar year is winding down? What's at the top of your "unquilted top" list?

25 November 2012

Baby steps

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!

04 November 2012

Putting a hand to it

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.

30 October 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

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!

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!!