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Quarantine Quilts Part III

I hope you can forgive me if I brag a bit about the talent of the quilters who work here.  In the past two blogs we have shared some amazing quilts from a few of our staffers and now we have more on the way.

Julia

Not every quilt shop can talk about the beautiful quilts from their accountant but we can.  Here are just a couple of projects our accountant, Julia, is working on.

 

 

First is this small quilt top (33″ square) which is the “Liberty Squares” pattern by Toby Lischko.  It was started in a workshop with Toby around 7-8 years ago. Only a couple of the 4″ blocks were completed at the time.  It was started with fabric from Jinny’s Northern Lights collection.  In February and early March, Julia finally completed the rest of the squares.  This past week she added two Bedfordshire fabrics for the borders.  For the binding, she is using the same green as the inner border.  She’s at a loss right now as to how to quilt it but it will probably be by machine to get it done.

 

 

The second quilt many of you may recognize as it is from the recent Quarantine Quilt-along by Gudrun Erla on Facebook.  Julia’s stack of Andalucia fat quarters was close at hand so that was what she used.  It was a very quick quilt top to assemble, finishing at 49″ x 63″ and now, she says, it joins the growing pile of tops to quilt.  

Kelley

 

 

There are several projects Kelley is working on at the moment.  First, she’s piecing the final border (Delectable Mountains) of this medallion quilt from “The Quilt Show.” It is called “Halo Medallion” designed by Sue Gardner. Kelley says it’s been labor intensive and she is excited about finishing it. She used mostly Jinny’s fabric with the exception of the focus fabric and the background.

 

 

Apparently, Kelley is not one to shy away from tough projects.  Several of the staffers have challenged each other to make Jinny’s Moon Glow quilt and Kelley just finished sewing the blocks together and is ready to quilt it.  That is quite an accomplishment.

 

 

An easier project is  this “Easy Threesy” table runner from a Karen K. Buckley workshop. It has all Jinny Beyer fabric except for the woven black background. Kelley is just about to quilt this one, too.

Finally, Kelley has also been working on a new project, the Quilter’s Trek block for the Studio. We can’t show it to you now.  We will reveal it in a couple of months but we are all happy with how it is turning out.

Judy

 

 

Speaking of Moon Glow, Judy is using this time to get back to hers. This group project was started last February; some have finished or made more progress than others. Judy is making hers larger so she’s not finished but here is her progress to date.

 

 

Judy, like Julia, followed the quilt-along with Gudrun Erla and here is her version of “Elvira.”  She started with a few fat quarters and then had to hunt up more to complete it.  What a difference between the two quilts.

Those were lots of beautiful quilts but we will have even more for you next time.

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Keeping Busy

 

It is very hard to comprehend what has happened to our world in just the last month. All of us have been affected in one way or the other. Many have been ordered to shelter in place, food and toilet paper have disappeared off grocery shelves, events have been canceled or postponed, air travel has been disrupted and we worry about the well-being of those who have come down with the virus and the health care providers who are treating it. We mourn those who have succumbed to it. We all react differently to such circumstances. For me, I’ve had to postpone the memorial service we were planning for my husband.

To take my mind off of so many things I keep myself busy with other activities. Weather permitting, I walk every day. We’re lucky that we live close to the Potomac River and I’m able to walk along the river.  I have been watching the bald eagle in her nest that I see from the riverbank.  I’ve also watched the bluebells pop from the ground and now growing so tall and full of buds that are ready to burst open at any moment. The Dutchman’s Breeches and trillium are about to bloom as well.

 

 

I am also baking bread. Just the process of kneading the dough is somehow therapeutic. I have a sourdough starter that I began from Water Buffalo milk when I lived in India. That was 50 years ago, and it is still alive and thriving today. The sourdough boule is one of my favorites to make.

 

 

In times like this sometimes it is just calming to design or start a new sewing project. Many of you who have traveled with me on one of the Craftours trips I have taken in the past know I always plan a sewing project to work on during “found moments” on the trip when our hands and eyes might otherwise be idle. So, I decided to finally plan the project we will be working on during my Greece trip. Originally scheduled for this May, the trip has been rescheduled for May 15-25, 2021. Hopefully all traces of the virus will be gone by then and we can relax and enjoy a wonderful trip to this magical place.

For the project, I wanted to have a design that would cover all of the basic techniques of hand piecing so that even a beginner would be comfortable tackling it. I also wanted to incorporate the traditional Greek Key motif into part of the design. I selected one of my favorite traditional blocks, Rolling Star, (Block 59 in our Quilters’ Block Library free pattern section) and drafted it into a 20” square for the central motif and used the Greek key design as a border.

 

 

This year I am doing a series of on-line tutorials on working with border prints and the first lesson is Border Print Squares (See the five minute video here). I used that same technique for making the square designs around the Grecian Star.

 

 

This might be a good time to try something new since so many of us are spending a great deal of time in our homes. Watch the video shown above and check out the free Tips and Lessons on my website. Then, pick up a needle and thread, a few fabric patches and give it a try. I hope you will find this simple task as soothing as I do.

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Thank You

 

Photo of our family in Costa Rica celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.

 

I want to thank all of you so much for your heartfelt wishes and condolences on the passing of my husband, John. I know many of you have faced similar circumstances and understand how our family is feeling. We were married for 58 years and had many wonderful adventures during our lifetime together. We have lived in several foreign countries, traveled extensively to other places around the world. I will miss him dearly but I’m very grateful for all the support from my family and so many of you from around the world.

Needless to say, with all that has been going on I have not been able to keep up with my blogs, or tell you about our special events that will be happening this year. Be sure to check our monthly newsletter for the first part of our border print series…Border Print Squares… Each month we will show a video with a different way to enhance your quilts using border print fabrics. And this week for our web special, to get you started, we have border print bundles on sale.

 

Close up of the new colorway of Border Play that is featured in Saturday’s newsletter.
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Celebrate National Poinsettia Day

One of my favorite things to do is to find a beautiful Image, extract the colors from the image and then find fabrics to go with those colors. It’s a great way to experiment with color and to select a beautiful palette for a new project. So, in honor of National Poinsettia Day on December 12, I worked with a photo taken at a local business, Merrifield Garden Center, by one of our staffers, Nancy, and created a bundle of fabric that is also this week’s web special.

 

 

In addition to the fabrics, I wanted to give you a suggestion for a project which uses these fabrics. I’ve chosen the block, Triangle Charm, from our Quilters Block Library . This is a free pattern which can be downloaded in a 6, 10 or 12-inch block. I selected a 10-inch block. This allows you to easily cut the triangles from 3-inch strips.

 

 

A half yard bundle will give you plenty of fabrics to make sixteen 10 or 12–inch blocks with leftovers for other projects. You will need additional fabrics for your choice of border.

The block is an easy one made with a simple right triangle. The final outcome of the design is reflected in the amount of each color used. The secret is in the shading and there are a variety of ways to shade it. For this blog, I have chosen two variations. Block 1 has more darks with the lights giving the sparkle and Block 2 has the color shading reversed so there are more lights in the quilt. Both have exactly the same fabrics from our Poinsettia bundle.

 

Block one and block two

 

Select the block you prefer then layout and arrange one block to use as a fabric placement reference for the remaining ones.

In the layout I have used, half of the blocks are made one way and the other half are reversed. Block 1 is used here.

 

 

First, four of the regular blocks are pinwheeled. Make two of these regular pinwheel units.

 

 

The reverse blocks are also pinwheeled as shown below. Make two of these.

 

 

Arrange the regular and reverse pinwheel units as follows:

 

 

In past blogs I have talked about proportions of color and how different a quilt can look depending on how much of each color is used.  The color impact of this same design, using block 2, which contains more light colors is quite striking.

 

Quilt made with block one and quilt made with block two

 

To me, adding a border to a quilt, is like putting a frame on a painting. It finishes off the design. Like paintings, some quilts do not call for a final “frame” but for the most part, I like to add some sort of border, usually a “border print”. Click here to see a video demonstration of how to put a border print frame on a quilt and achieve perfectly mitered corners.

Here are four different border print frames. Two yards is sufficient if using the 10” version of the block. Some borders suit the darker version of the quilt and some the lighter version.

 

Casablanca red border, 2795-04

 

Casablanca brown border, 2795-02

 

Sophia border, 1280-05

 

Ashford border, 1695-41

 

I hope you enjoy playing with these fabrics.  Let us know what you choose to do with them.

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Join Me for Inspiration from Around the World

Craftours has now posted the details of the three trips in which I will be joining them over the next 13 months. What better Christmas gift to receive or to give yourself than a trip to a wonderful place full of design ideas, color, beauty, nature and so much more. For those who want to participate, we will have a unique hand piecing quilting project inspired by the art, architecture, crafts and spirit of each country. You will be given full details of the project as we get closer to the trip.

I hope you will join me for one or all of these great trips:

Treasures of Ancient Greece May 16 – 26, 2020

For details on the trip to Greece, click here.

Exotic Uzbekistan Oct. 3-14, 2020

For details on my trip to Uzbekistan, click here.

Ultimate Kenya Safari Jan. 15-23, 2021

For details of my Kenyan safari trip, click here.

 

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Last Rainbows’ End Bundle

For some quilters, choosing fabrics for a scrap quilt can be a daunting and confusing process.  Any of our grand bundles work very well for scrap-type projects and designs. The web special this week features the last mini-bundle of the Rainbows’ End Grand Bundle. If you have collected all five of the mini-bundles you have a great collection of fabrics for any scrap project.

A very good example of this would be the quilt I designed for this year’s Quilters’ Quest shop hop. For that quilt, we chose colors of fabric bound books and I called our quilt “Open Book.” (See my October 1 blog.) But the design will look equally good in other color schemes, including the Rainbows’ End  Grand Bundle.

We are in the process of reworking the Open Book pattern for a scrap quilt project, so even if you did not attend the Quest you will still be able to make the quilt. The pattern will be available within the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, make sure you have all five of the bundles because these colors and fabrics would be perfect made into Open Book.

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Catching Up Blog

It seems like the last month has been a whirlwind. I can finally take a deep breath. Sadly, the baseball season is finished but what an amazing, or should I say “Astronomical” finish it was with the Nats winning the World Series. Being an avid Washington Nationals fan, I went to many games including several of the post-season games. In addition to that excitement, our Quilters’ Quest Shop Hop is over, I have just returned from Quilt Market in Houston and now I can play catch up.

 

Beautiful blue and white exhibit at Market.

 

 

Longtime customers Don & Sandy Gholson from NC with Sandy’s sister as they finished the Quest.

 

For those of you who have asked, we are working on a revision of our Open Book quilt pattern that we gave out during the Quest. (See last months’ blog.) The new pattern will be geared to a scrap quilt. In my mind, for a quilt like this, the more fabrics the better. I will let you know as soon as the new pattern is ready and give you some suggestions for fabrics to use.

One of the exciting things on my agenda is that I have agreed to be the guest quilter on three incredible trips with Craftours over the next year and a half. Full details are not yet available but I will let you know as soon as they have been finalized. Meanwhile you might want to put a tentative mark on your calendars for a wonderful experience exploring the treasures of ancient Greece, May 9-19, 2020, or join me October 3-14, 2020 on an exotic trip to Uzbekistan where we will discover the history, textiles, traditions and crafts of the Silk Road. The third trip is an ultimate Kenya Safari expedition, January 15-23, 2021.

 

 

 

 

For those who would like to participate, I am planning a small hand sewing project for each trip based on design influences from that country. We will have a three hour workshop at the beginning of the trip and informal sewing sessions during the trip. Details will be given in advance so you do not have to bring a lot with you…after all, we need to save space in our bags for shopping! I hope you can join me on one or even all three of these exciting experiences.

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Quilters’ Quest 2019 is Right Around the Corner!

This is a very busy time for us at the Studio. We are in the middle of our retail shop anniversary sale which is followed soon after by our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest, from October 11th through the 20th.

The theme for this year’s shop hop is books. Each shop has chosen a favorite book and will use that particular book to decorate the shop. We’ll have special related items available for the people who take part in the Quest.

Our Quest colors are traditional ones reminiscent of a long-established library that fit the “book” theme. Each shop has put together a pack of six 10” squares using those colors. All of the shop owners got together and traded fabric squares and then created a quilt using those fabrics. Many shops have finishing kits to help you in making their quilt. You will collect a free pattern for each shop’s quilt as you travel the Quest, then have fun deciding on which quilt you would like to make!

 

 

I wanted our quilt to fit the book theme. I tried a variety of designs that all seemed too complex, then one of my staffers suggested a design like my quilt Inner City which she thought looked like books. I took the idea, elongated the pieces and created my new version calling it Open Book.

 

Inner City

 

 

 

Don’t panic! While the design looks involved with lots of angles, it is actually very easy to sew with all straight line sewing.

All the shop owners agreed that our fabrics would be in the mid-range with no super lights and no very darks. That way each shop could add what they wanted to fit their design. The first thing I did was to sort the fabrics into groups – very dark, dark, medium, and light. I added a few fabrics in the very dark and light ranges. The lightest fabrics would be the pages of the books, the others the book covers.

 

 

Then the fun started. I found C See’s 18” portable design mat invaluable as I laid out the pieces one section at a time. Then I could roll it up and the pieces would stay in place until I was ready to sew. The pattern writer, Elaine Kelly, did a masterful job in breaking the design down into easy assembly instructions.

 

 

Once the inside was complete I had to decide on a border for the quilt. Such a bold design needed a strong border. I opted to set the center off by adding a border of two stripes from my mini-stripe fabric, followed by the wide stripe of the Casablanca border print.

The finished top is 52” x 56”. I am now in the middle of hand quilting it and I hope to have all the quilting complete by the time Quest starts.

 

I continue to quilt on Open Book each evening.

 

It was such fun creating Open Book but I had lot of leftover pieces that were already cut and waiting to be sewn. I also had the narrow stripe from the Casablanca border and leftover mini stripe. So, I decided to make a “bonus” quilt from the extra pieces. The result of that is Stacks. One complete set of swatches collected from each shop and our finishing kit will make both quilts.

 

 

The Quest is fast approaching. I hope you will be able to join us.

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Backgrounds Make a Difference

Last month we introduced Group 2 of the Rainbow Grand Bundle. Using my quilt pattern Night and Day as an illustration, I wrote a post about the proportions of colors, how they can change the appearance of a quilt design and how different a design looks with either a very light or a very dark background.

 

Night and Day with a light background.

 

This month, going a step further, I illustrate the same fabrics in the same strip configurations but with a medium color as the background. The second border had to be changed to one of the dark fabrics because there was not enough contrast between it and the background fabric used in the remaining borders.

As promised, the revised pattern using 28 fabrics rather than the original 14 is now ready for you to download for free.

 

Last month’s versions of Night and Day.

 

Which version of the designs shown this month and last is best? We all have different opinions so it is up to you to pick your favorite!

Jinny

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Proportions of Color

With the second mini-bundle of our Rainbow’s End Grand Bundle coming out this week as part of our web special, it seemed a good time to talk about how the proportions of colors used can dramatically affect the overall image of the quilt.

When you look at a palette of colors you might say to yourself that you do not like it because there’s too much of this color and not enough of that. But keep in mind that you’re seeing equal amounts of each color. And how your quilt appears will depend on the amount of each color that you use. So I decided to illustrate this with one of my designs, a long time favorite, Night and Day.

 

 

I created Night and Day several years ago and it is a perfect design to experiment with. The original design was based two different of sets of strips with seven fabrics in each set. The colors shaded within each set from light to dark. I wanted to use more fabrics for the Rainbow’s End version so I created four different strip sets shading from light to dark instead of two as in the original. This new version has 28 of the 35 fabrics in the complete Rainbow’s End Grand Bundle.

 

 

The idea of a Day and a Night quilt came about after cutting identical triangles from each strip set. The leftover triangles didn’t get used. The triangles cut from one side of the strip set had larger pieces of the lighter fabrics than those cut from the other side which had more of the darker fabrics. So from just these four strip sets, I created one quilt with the lighter triangles and a second one with the leftover darker ones.

 

 

I deliberately put a light background on Day  and a dark one on Night, as shown above, but look how different the quilts look where I swap borders and background.

 

 

To make these quilts, you will need either the 1/2 yard or full yard bundle. Next time I will show you more background possibilities and I will also have the new revised Night and Day pattern ready for you to download.