I have been very lucky to have been quilting, teaching, writing books and designing fabrics for quilters for more than forty years. This past year, while there have been many things I haven’t been able to do, the Studio continues to operate, as an internet only business.
One positive we have found in the past several months is an influx of new quilters and others who have just “found” us. We welcome you all!
Since many of you are not familiar with me and my work, we have decided to add a feature to our newsletter called “Get to know Jinny Beyer” and each month I will answer a question you may have about me or my work.
One question I get asked all the time is “How did you get into fabric designing?” My answer has always been that I got in through the back door, not the front.
I have been sewing all my life and lived for several years in Malaysia, Nepal and India where I collected batiks and hand block printed fabrics. I began quilting while living in India and used scraps from all my sewing projects for quilts. Of course, I had to buy more specifically for quilts!
Upon returning to the States in the early 1970’s I was very disappointed in the fabrics that were available….mostly cutesy calico prints done in primary colors. After a few years of disappointment in what was available I decided that maybe I could tell fabric companies what kinds of fabrics quilters would like. I took it upon myself to put together a portfolio of prints and colors that I liked and how I would change them and made appointments with three different fabric companies. I took the train to New York full of optimism and came back home full of disappointment. At each place I got basically the same questions and the same treatment before they even looked at my portfolio. “Where did you go to design school?” “Were you a textile major in undergraduate school ?” “Have you studied color and color theory?” and on and on. I had never had that kind of an education. I had a master’s degree in special education. I felt like a little kid getting a pat on the top of my head as I left through the front door of each place.
I decided fabric designing was not in the cards for me.
Then out of the blue one day in the late 70’s, I received a phone call from Nancy Puentes and Karey Bresenhan, the founders of the International Quilt Market. By this time my quilt, Ray of Light, had won the Good Housekeeping Magazine’s “Great American Quilt Contest” and my name was becoming known by quilters outside my own area.
Nancy and Karey were concerned that independent quilt stores were struggling to stay in business because they were competing with large fabric chain stores who could buy the fabric in bulk for better prices and offer them at a discount.
They had approached VIP, a New York basked fabric manufacturer, and asked if they would be willing to create a line of fabric that would not be sold to chain stores and that was exclusive to independent fabric retailers. They felt a quilter’s name should be associated with the collection and thought of me. Thus, their phone call.
I worked with VIP for three years, but in the early 1980’s they decided that quilting had reached its peak and they were going to get out before the interest waned and they dropped my line. That is when RJR contacted me and the rest is history. I have been working with them ever since.
My textile education has been learned through being immersed in the actual designing and creating for more than 40 years. I have yet to take a design or color course. As I like to say, “I got in through the back door, not the front.”
On March 16, 2020, the governor of our state issued orders to help curb the Corona-19 virus. In compliance with those orders and in the interest of the well-being of our staff and customers, I closed the brick and mortar portion of our business and went strictly to online sales. This was also two months to the day since my husband passed away.
I took a walk around my yard that day, noticing the signs of the rebirth of spring. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The hellebores were in full bloom, daffodil buds were beginning to open, and it was a good time to reflect on what was going on around me.
As I was walking up the steps to my kitchen door, a plant, right under the bay window and near the bird feeder, caught the corner of my eye. It looked like a large weed. I went back down the steps prepared to pull it up and stopped myself. If it was a weed, it was a rather more important weed. The stem was quite strong and the leaves quite large. It was about 10 inches high. We feed the birds shelled sunflower seeds and I wondered if one of those seeds had sprouted. I decided not to pull it up and see what would happen.
The plant proceeded to grow at least a foot every three weeks. By mid-June it was four feet tall. I still thought it might be a sunflower and what a nice treat that would be for the birds once it flowered. Also, about that same time, I spotted this newly born fawn camouflaged amongst my pachysandra. I sent the photo to my grandchildren and my daughter wrote back “It won’t be so cute when it is big enough to start eating your perennials.”
On July 16, exactly four months from when I first saw the plant, it was now taller than me and halfway up my bay window. I now determined for sure that it was definitely not a sunflower. I made up my mind that it had to be Jack’s Bean Stalk, reaching up to the clouds.
Also, the fawn was now definitely big enough to enjoy my plants.
By August 16th the “bean stalk” was almost up to the gutters and the leaves were so huge some of them were as much as 25” across.
I decided to get serious and see what on earth it was. I followed my granddaughter’s advice. “Just ask Google. Google knows everything.” And sure enough, according to Wikipedia:
“Paulownia tomentosa, common names princess tree, empress tree, or foxglove-tree, is a deciduous tree in the family Paulowniaceae, native to central and western China. Wikipedia”.
The tree been used for centuries for medicinal, ornamental and timber uses. It was imported to Europe in the mid 1800’s and shortly thereafter introduced to the Eastern United States.
In April or May the tree sends out beautiful purple foxglove-like fragrant flowers.
I did a little sleuthing and discovered that a neighboring farm has for years been planting the trees as a crop. I guess one of the birds at my feeder also visited the farm and brought a seed to plant in my garden.
By September 16, it was reaching towards the chimney and by October 16 it was literally at the chimney.
Now, the middle of November, my pandemic tree is rather sad looking, having dropped all its leaves. It is as though it is crying for all those lost in this “lost year.”
Paulownia Pandemic tree will be moving soon to a location where the fast-growing roots won’t destroy the foundation of our house and where it will have plenty of room to grow to its eventual height of 50-70 feet.
As I watch it go into its dormancy stage, it brings me hope that this “lost year” will be in the past and that when my tree awakens in the early spring, the world will also begin a rebirth and that we will get our lives back to some kind of normalcy in 2021.
This is a little diversion from quilting but most quilters also love to cook.
Like so many of us during this pandemic, I have pretty much been hunkering down and staying home. One of the things I have been doing is baking sourdough bread. I have talked before about my 50 year old sourdough starter that I began while living in India. I have been keeping it alive all these years and recently have been doing more and more experimenting.
Last year a friend told me about Breadtopia.com and that web site has changed my sourdough bread baking forever.
When the pandemic hit, grocery shelves were devoid of bread, so for that reason I decided to make bread more often but then flour and yeast were hard to find. I didn’t need yeast because I had my sourdough starter but I needed flour. So, I decided to grind my own flour from a variety of wheat berries that Breadtopia sells. They also sell the home mill. The benefits of freshly milled flour are many but mainly there are no preservatives and it uses the whole wheat berry which is so much more nutritious
I now use solely whole grain freshly milled flour that I mill myself in my Mockmill 100 home mill that my son gave me for my birthday.
The web site has many recipes and videos showing every step of the way and they sell all of the best products used in breadmaking, including the clay bakers and wheat berries. One of my favorite recipes is this Whole Spelt Sourdough Bread, shown below. If you are interested in trying this bread for yourself, here is the link to the recipe along with the video tutorials.
In honor of National Homemade Bread day on November 17th, I took a photo of one of my loaves and with the Photoshop trick that I showed in this blog post, I extracted the colors. I have often said that a perfect color palette for a quilt also includes neutrals. These colors make the brighter colors stand out.
Red Fort and Snowbirds are good examples of quilts with lots of neutrals worked into the colors.
In your next quilt project see if you can include neutrals in your color palette.
If you are interested in trying this bread for yourself, here is the link to the recipe along with the video tutorials.
In my last post, I discussed my Day Lilies quilt and how to plan fabric and color schemes for this and any “scrappy” quilt. Today, I’m continuing that discussion.
For any scrappy quilt, I think it would be impossible to try and plan the placement of every piece in advance. I like to work in units, making sure that the balance of color and fabric placement within each unit is satisfying to me.
For Day Lilies, my unit was one petal. I made stacks of brown, red and purple petals, using a wide variety of different fabrics.
Depending on your pattern, you may have just random placement of dark, medium and light within the units such as is done with Thousand Pyramids.
Or you may have colors shaded light to dark within each unit such as Day Lilies above or Urban Sunset shown here.
When working with shaded units, I have a little trick to make easily get several different units. Lay out a group of fabrics in a “run,” light to dark. Here I have such a run which I might use for Day Lilies. There are 11 fabrics.
I only need seven fabrics for a Day Lilies petal so I could make one unit using in order fabrics 1-7, for another petal I could use 2-8, then 3-9 and so forth. This will yield five different petals. Continue doing this with different runs of shaded colors.
For Urban Sunset, some of the nine-diamond units are shaded light to dark lengthwise and some are shaded light to dark sideways as seen above.
For these units, I did the same thing as shown above on Day Lilies. I arranged several “runs” of fabrics such as this one which contains nine fabrics shaded light to dark.
Since only five fabrics are needed for each unit in this quilt, there are five possible units that can be made shading them lengthwise and five sideways for a total of 10 different units. The lengthwise shaded ones are shown here.
When I find a unit with colors that I like, I will make at least two of the same colors. They will be used in different parts of the quilt so that the same units are not adjacent to each other. The Urban Sunset Pattern shows how the smaller units are formed into the increasingly larger units.
Once I have a good amount of what I call the “base” units, I will start arranging them into larger units. For Day Lilies, it is the large flowers by color – purple, red and brown.
For Urban Sunset, it is the larger units that are built according to the directions in the pattern.
For Thousand Pyramids you will make two sets of units one with the dark triangles at the bottom and one with the light triangles at the bottom. These are then alternated in the layout of the units.
After the larger units are sewn together then is when I finally like to lay them all out on either a design wall or the floor and arrange them to my liking. You will find that if you are satisfied with the base units and then the larger units, you will be pleased with the overall arrangement.
I find that if all the pieces of the quilt are decided upon in advance, it does not allow for the quilt to “speak” to you. Some of the spontaneity is lost and for me part of the pleasure of making a scrappy quilt with lots of fabrics is the discovery along the way.
We had a huge response to my quilt, Day Lilies, when we placed it at the top of our Facebook page. There were many requests for a pattern and kit to make it. There is a pattern available. It is in my book Quiltmaking By Hand, along with several other patterns. But I will tell you why there is no kit and give you hints on how to plan color schemes for any “scrappy” quilt.
First and foremost, I used more than 120 different fabrics in Day Lilies and most other scrappy type quilts I have made. It would be impossible to make kits with that many fabrics and have them at an affordable price. Furthermore, some people want to know the placement of each and every fabric. It is better to understand how to do it than to try to copy something exactly.
Selecting the Colors
Why so many fabrics in Day Lilies, for example? The base design is a hexagon which means that If you look carefully at the quilt you will see that there are three colors of lilies—reds, browns and purples. Because of the hexagonal arrangement, the lilies are arranged so that no two flowers of the same color touch, thus the three colors.
Now, a closer look reveals that each lily is made up of six petals and each petal has seven pieces. Those pieces are shaded light to dark.
Even if you used exactly the same fabric in each petal of a color you would need 21 different fabrics—seven reds, seven purples and seven browns.
Then you would have “spotlights” of colors without any blending or variance of the pieces once they are assembled.
A closer look at my quilt shows that within any one flower each petal is different. Sometimes a red petal might shade into a hint of brown or purple, or a purple might shade into a hint of red and so forth. This achieves a better blending of the colors in the final quilt.
So how do you select the colors in the first place? Rather than repeat myself and write it all here again, I urge you to watch the two following videos which explain my basic philosophy of color and how I put fabrics together. Go to the “Tips and Lessons” page of my website and choose “Design and Color.” Then watch these two videos:
“Jinny’s Color Secrets”
“Choosing Quilt Colors with the Portable Palette”
Now try these steps in selecting a palette of colors for your scrap quilt.
Select the colors you would like to use and have several values of those colors ranging from light to dark.
Add whatever additional colors you need to shade those colors together.
Make sure you have a “deep dark” fabric, an “accent” and several neutrals.
If you are uncertain where to begin, take a look at the pre-cut section of our web site.
There you will find several bundles of 30 or more color coordinated fabrics that are shaded together. Find one that appeals to you and once you have those fabrics, go to your stash and pull out any fabrics within that color range, the more the better. Here are some that I recommend:
Indian Marketplace is a good start if you like the colors in Day Lilies. Urban Sunset is the one I used for the Urban Sunset quilt.
Take some time to look through your fabrics and make selections. Next week, I will talk about placing those fabrics in the quilt.
When I received this photo of my grandson holding up his stuffed toy, I didn’t know whether to cry or to be proud of his sewing skills and ingenuity. It is a sad commentary that our children have resorted to making masks to protect their favorite stuffed animals.
Who would have thought a year ago that the world would have been turned so upside-down? All of us have been affected by the Covid-19 virus in one way or another and I want to send my deepest sympathies to all of you who have lost loved ones or are having hardships because of this pandemic.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank all of you for the kind comments you made about my decision to close the JINNY BEYER STUDIO retail shop. So many of you sent such heartfelt messages about your visits to the shop over the years and how much you will miss it. I will miss it, too, mostly because of all the wonderful people I have met over the years. But we are still here.
Thanks to my excellent staff and all of their efforts, our move to our new mail order space went smoothly. We continue to do “curbside” pickup for anyone who places an on-line order and prefers to pick it up in person.
When it is safe to travel again I look forward to seeing many of you on one of the Craftours trips I currently have scheduled for Greece, Uzbekistan and Kenya.
Remember when those of us in cold climates looked forward to “snow days” where we couldn’t go out and would have the day to do whatever we wanted? I would usually start a new project. This is a lot of snow days.
Please stay safe and start a new project. It will be good for your soul.
In this time of change for all of us, I would like you to know that I have decided to close my “brick and mortar” retail shop. Only our physical store in Great Falls, VA will close. Our internet business will continue. You will still be able to order my fabrics, products, kits and patterns online. Our weekly website specials and monthly newsletter will continue.
I want to emphasize that I am not retiring but just easing up a bit by eliminating the demands on me that the retail shop requires. I plan to continue designing fabric, growing the internet business, creating a succession of online YouTube video lessons such as we have been doing this year and, when the virus circumstances permit, I will also continue the Craftours trips that I had scheduled and may schedule in the future.
In August, we will move to a new location, still in Great Falls, that is more suitable to a mail-order business. Curbside pickup for local customers and visitors who order online but want to pick it up at the Studio will continue at our current location until then, and subsequently at our new address.
Our Shoppers Reward cards for in-store customers will be valid until August 31st. If you have a fully-stamped card that you were waiting to redeem, mail it to us and we will apply it to your next online order, providing it is placed before August 31.
When I opened the retail store as part of my business, JINNY BEYER STUDIO, I thought it would be great if I could have it go for 20 years — which would also coincide with my 80th birthday. As that time has approached I have been wishy washy about what to do. I loved having the shop but also wanted more time for traveling, working on my personal quilts and visiting family and friends. This year is the 20th anniversary of the opening of the shop and next year I will turn 80.
Covid-19 has definitely forced my hand. We have been closed since March 16 and I don’t see us opening any time soon. Even if we get the word from our Governor that we can reopen with some restrictions, I could not with a full conscience do so. With cases still rising in Virginia, I would not want to expose my staff or my customers to the possibility of contracting the virus because of my decision. Those of you who have been to the shop know that is not conducive to “social distancing”. So, with the uncertainty of when our lives will return to normal, the virus cemented my decision.
I want to thank all of you for your support during this pandemic and pray that everyone stays healthy. I will be in touch!
If you have any questions, please click here for answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ)
People from all over the world are finding ways to say thank you to the healthcare workers, the first responders, people who are keeping the essential stores open. It’s one way they find that they can make even a small contribution to the pandemic that has hit our world. My daughter is an ER doctor. She had a malfunction of her protective gear while performing CPR on a COVID 19 patient. She is now in a 14 day quarantine and cannot leave her bedroom.
Friends came by and wrote this thank you on their sidewalk . She could see it from her window. Other friends brought cookies and left a thank you note. She’s receiving thanks in many ways. As quilters, we also look for a way we can do something and make a small contribution to what is happening all around us. There’s not one of us who hasn’t been touched in some way by COVID 19.
In the past when national disasters have occurred, we’ve gotten together at the Studio and had sew-ins making quilts for the victims of the disasters. We are not able to get together this time. We all have to stay home. We have been told that everyone should wear masks for protection when they are apt to encounter other people. Many of my extended family members do not sew and do not have access to purchased masks. So, I asked a simple question of my staff “is anybody making masks and if so what pattern are you using.” I received back a barrage of emails. They are ALL making masks…for friends, neighbors, family, health institutions, homeless shelters, nursing homes, etc. There is a wide variety of patterns that have been used and styles and techniques. If you feel inclined to make some masks (I know many of you already are) I hope you find this information helpful.
I can’t tell you the best mask pattern to use. It all depends on what the needs are, how much time you want to take, what supplies you have available, etc. But I can pass on to you some of the staff comments and tips.
There are basically two kinds of mask patterns available: ones that are molded to fit the face and ones that are pleated rectangles.
Securing the masks:
There are also different ways to secure the masks. Some have elastic bands that fit behind the ears. Others have ties that go around the head and neck. Ties can be made of bias binding, cording, ribbon, etc. My favorite (and easiest) is to cut ties from old t-shirts. Cut one-inch strips running parallel to the hem. Pull them and they curl into a cord. The stretchiness helps to make a more secure tie. I keep the tie all in one piece. The loop goes over the head and the ties are tied behind the neck.
Fabric to use:
Quilting fabric has been recommended by many experts because of the high thread count. Amongst quilting fabric, batiks are especially good because they are made with fabric with an even greater thread count. Either type will work very well.
Here’s what some members of my staff have been doing.
I’m using the pattern for the Olson mask. There is even a pattern for a child aged 2-5. The Olson mask is made up of 6 pieces. The insides should have two different colors to identify the place where you can insert a heppa filter.
So far, I have not gotten beyond making masks for family and friends. I’m using a combination of two patterns with pleats, primarily one from Erica Made Designs. So far, I have lined them with a lightweight interfacing and will be moving on to flannel lining next. I’m impressed with the studies which say that these masks made of quilting fabric have a 70 to 79% filtration rate.
Here is mine and my husband’s. I’m sure you can tell whose is whose.
I’ve made two styles of masks so far for friends and family. They’ve been shipped as far as Atlanta! Both of them have two layers of fabric (I’m using a batik and white sheeting, both of which are the higher thread count recommended and the inside/outside is obvious); both have nose wires (also recommended); one has a pocket for a filter. Both patterns call for elastic but I’ve been using WOF double-fold straps (cut on the straight- grain) which is apparently more comfortable and can allow for a better fit.
The first pattern is the fitted style; very comfortable. Takes a bit longer to make. Second is the pleated mask; I think this will be my go-to pattern as it is faster.
I have joined the mask making brigade also but am working on family and extended family (workers at our family’s restaurant) for now. Some of the ones I make are custom ordered like the Willie Nelson bandana and the wolf mask. Each family member is as unique as their mask.
One quick tip I found to make it easier is to zigzag stitch the wire or pipe cleaner in the seam allowance on the top of the mask BEFORE you turn the mask right side out….this makes the placement and guidance easier so as not to worry about hitting it with my needle. Doesn’t matter which pattern you are using.
I have used several different patterns and have modified most of them to reduce the cutting and numbers of seams to sew. The ties seem to be better for fitting.
I am using muslin or colored cotton for the inside lining. Most of them have the pocket to add some kind of additional filter if needed. My stash is finally serving a valiant purpose although it may not make a significant dent. Having fun and sewing with a purpose: the 2020 version of Rosie the Riveter with a sewing machine
I am using T-shirts for straps – really a time saver.
I have been making masks for Johns Hopkins Hospital (pattern here), where my son-in-law works, my allergist’s practice, as well as family, neighbors and friends. To date, I have made over 400!!
I did have to try one with border print fabric. I centered the mirror image motif of the fabric in the middle of the rectangle.
I have made some masks for my family and some friends who have asked. I tried to find some “manly” fabric scraps for the guys and fun fabrics for the girls! Although, I did have to make a mask for my husband and he wanted cats – go figure! I will probably be making more for him to go to work (he is a DC police detective) as they are not providing these essential things due to the lack of resources and will be sending along any extras for other people in his office as needed.
I used quilting cottons for the outside and a Jinny batik for the inside (coordinating of course)! I had read that using batiks was good as the weave is tighter than other fabrics. I also had some extra interfacing that I added to the inside as an extra layer of protection.
I tried a few patterns but found that I liked this one the best. It can be secured around the neck and head without having to take it off and constantly be setting it down or touching it.
I have been making masks for family. I am using the Olson Mask tutorial that Diane used. I have found the long loop is more comfortable than my ancient, scratchy elastic. I made my loop tie from cotton fabric cut at 3/4” then I fold it in half lengthwise, iron it flat, then run it through my serger. So far, it is working well. I use one layer of quilting fabric and the lining is from a sheet.
I am using the patterns from millionmaskchallenge.com, which was started by a group of women in our area. There are two kinds – one is a cover for an N95 mask, and the other is a basic mask for people in their daily lives. (How weird is it that this is part of our daily lives?!)
Two indispensable items: Wonder Clips and the ByAnnie stiletto!
I started by using some old bias and twill tapes I got from my mom, but have run out of those. After two painful evenings making bias tape, I read about the T-shirt strips. Genius!
Here is a photo of the masks I made for family in Colorado, a mix of the Olson Mask using ponytail holders for the ear elastic (more comfortable and readily available at my grocery store), and pleated masks with ties made of cross grain cut 2″ strips.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from my contact at Operation Homefront, a non-profit to which my quilt guild donates baby blankets for the baby bundles they give to new military moms. I was asked if I could ask my quilting friends to make masks (any kind, ties or elastic, formed or pleated) for distribution at Walter Reed Hospital.
Off to the loft to make more masks.
I’ve been making masks for my family and friends and both my sisters are doing the same. I have found doing the masks very calming and a way of thinking about each person as I sew for them. My son is a woodworker so he got hammer and nails, my husband sails so boats on his, my friend is a gardener, so gardening tools for her. My granddaughter, Ruthie, is learning how to ride her new bike so hers has bicycles! Here’s the pattern I’m using. I’m making version #2 in the video but not doing the pocket, just one whole piece replacing it.
Now for me…
I used the same video that Lura used above and also made #2. I have so far made the masks for family and friends. I used fusible interfacing inside for extra protection. I have a couple of tips.
Cut the interfacing about 3 inches shorter on one end then center it over the rectangle and iron it down. The extra bulk won’t be a factor in making and sewing the pleats and casing.
If you are going to make a casing to run your ties through, it can be difficult to get a safety pin through all those folds. I decided to use a medium-size metal crochet hook. It went through the casing easily and I hooked the t-shirt ties and pulled it right through.
I folded the pipe cleaners over about half an inch on each end so that the metal wouldn’t cut through the fabric with repeated washings.
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.
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.
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 Garman. 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.
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.
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.