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Spring is Here With Design Inspiration!

Luke, 3 months and Gus, 8 years
Luke, 3 months and Gus, 8 years

Spring is in full swing here in northern Virginia. How do I know this? Well, it could be the warmer temperatures or cherry blossoms blooming. But it’s not. For me, I know it’s spring because my 14-month-old dog, Luke, has been trying desperately to catch a frog since they have reemerged with the nicer weather.

We have always had dogs. I like having two. The older dog teaches the younger one and they keep each other company. Luke is our newest puppy. He came to cheer Gus up after we lost our Swissy, Gretchen. I have to say that Luke is one of the funniest dogs we have ever had. I will not be able to resist periodically sharing some of his and Gus’s antics.

However, for most of you, spring is about warmer temperatures and whatever it is you have blooming around you. I’m very fortunate that I live close to the Potomac River. I walk along the river three or four times a week. Monday of this week had to be the most gorgeous day of the year. Greeting me was a spectacular array of native flowers—bloodroot, toadshade, Dutchman’s breeches, toothwort.

wild flowers sm
Bloodroot, Toadshade, Dutchman’s breeches

The most amazing, though, were the Virginia bluebells which were at their peak. There was a carpet of bluebells stretching into the woods as far as one could see and reaching in the other direction to the banks of the river.

Bluebells woods and river smI came back fully inspired.

I often take colors from nature and use them in my quilt and fabric designing. Here are the colors of the Virginia bluebells.

colors of Virginia bluebells sm

I think these colors make a beautiful palette for a quilt. How did I get them from the image? It’s pretty simple if you have Photoshop.

  1. Open the image in Photoshop.
  2. Go to the top menu bar to Image/Mode/Indexed Color. Select the number of colors you want to see from the pop-up menu. You can go up to 250.
  3. Next go to Image/Mode/Color table. The chart with all the colors will come up.

bluebells in palette colors

Once you can clearly see the colors in the image, it is easy figure out your fabrics. I’ve used my Portable Palette which has swatches of all 150 of my Palette fabrics.

So take a walk and get inspired. Oh, and Luke? He’s still out there trying to catch a frog.

I know I could catch that frog if he'd just sit still!
I know I could catch that frog if he’d just sit still!
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Me & Heartbleed

heartbleedAlthough I use a computer all the time when designing my fabrics and quilts, my staff will be the first to tell you that I’m not really a very technical person. So all the chatter about the Heartbleed bug on the internet had me confused and concerned.

Fortunately, I have very good technical people working for me and they were able help me understand what was going on AND take care of the issue quickly. I thought you might be interested in what I learned:

1) Heartbleed is the name given to a bug in a key piece of internet security software that about two-third of websites use — including jinnybeyer.com.

2) The bug was discovered BEFORE any known attacks were made taking advantage of that bug.

3) Most banks and financial services companies, and some super-big online stores such as Amazon, were never vulnerable to Heartbleed.

4) The bug is relatively easy to fix.  Many large websites (such as Google) have already made their fixes. We made the fix to jinnybeyer.com last week, on April 11. I knew that we do not store credit card information on our website and was relieved to learn that the company which takes care of that for us was never vulnerable to Heartbleed.

5) Some security experts are suggesting changing passwords on websites once the fix has been made to that site. As a result, we are suggesting to customers who have accounts on jinnybeyer.com that they change their passwords.  If you have an account on jinnybeyer.com, you can change the password here.  And I guess I’ll be changing passwords on some of my favorite websites, too!

I love what technology brings to my quilting world, and I’ve certainly done my share of shopping online. But I really do wish that we could somehow get only the good from the internet and not all the negative possibilities.  That being said, I am grateful to my crack staff who keeps me in the know on these issues and to the people and companies I rely on to keep our website running safely and reliably.

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Yesterday, Today, & Temari

I have an incredible group of people who work at the Studio. It is always hard to find suitable ways to tell them thank you for all they do. It is particularly hard at holiday time to come up with an unusual gift.

photo 2

Last fall, my husband’s college roommate and his wife came for a visit and stayed with us for a few days. The woman loved my quilting and shared that she was a temari ball maker. She brought up several web sites and showed me photos of balls she has made.

How could a quilter not be enthralled with these amazing geometric pieces of art? I was definitely intrigued. I went to Quilt Market in Houston shortly after their visit and my publisher had a couple of temari ball books written by a well known temari ball maker, Barbara Suess.

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Bottom line, I decided to invite Barbara to come teach at my shop for two days. One day would be for the general public and the other day would be a special workshop for all my staff. I decided that this would be a perfect Christmas present. So when we had our holiday staff dinner, I presented them with Barbara’s book, Japanese Temari, gave them a Yazzi bag to house their Temari project and told them the date of the workshop.

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We had the workshop last week and it was fabulous! Barbara and her two protégés were wonderful instructors.  Starting with a knee-high stocking filled with rice hulls, the wrapping then began, with yarn first followed by thread. Soon the design took form with colorful perle cotton. Kristi finished her ball first and I made the biggest mess. We all had a great time and each of us produced a beautiful temari ball.

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If you have made any of my patchwork puzzle balls you will definitely be intrigued by these.

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Welcome to My Blog

I’m so excited to launch my blog, Jinny’s Corner!  Each week we’ll share news, tips and techniques, stories and other quilting-related information.  I hope you’ll visit here often.

photo (23)

Since this is a new feature, I thought I would answer some questions that you might be asking.

Can I receive new posts via email? Yes! To receive links to new Jinny’s Corner blog posts, just provide your email address in the box at the right on the blog home page. Each time we publish a new post, you’ll get an emailed link. It’s that easy.

You can also add our RSS blog feed to Live Bookmarks, MyYahoo, MyGoogle, MyMSN, Google Reader, etc. by clicking on the Subscribe to our Feed box at the right on the home page.

What if I have questions or comments on a particular post? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave us your comments in the box provided at the end of each post.

Can I catch up on posts I’ve missed?  Yes! A list of recent posts and complete blog Archives can be found at the right on the blog home page.

I hope you enjoy my blog. Please let me know what you think, and if there’s any particular quilting topic you’d like to read about.

My studio in historic Great Falls, Virginia
My studio in historic Great Falls, Virginia

Happy Quilting!

Jinny Beyer blog

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How to Cut Perfect Diamonds

feature photo ruler diamonds blog

In the last few years, I’ve been revisiting the diamond shape in patchwork, exploring new design possibilities and experimenting with shading and color. Although I love my chalk and scissors, I had to admit that rotary cutting fabric strips and patches was much faster. But I soon became convinced that there wasn’t a good ruler available to streamline the cutting, trimming and marking of diamond patches. (Trust me, I tried a bunch!)

Finally I decided to design my own ruler, which I call the 60 Degree Perfect Cut Ruler.  With it, you can measure and cut up to six inch diamonds, as well as equilateral triangles for six-pointed stars, that come out perfect every time.

 

Just line up the ruler with the strip to cut perfect diamonds
Just line up the ruler with the strip to cut perfect diamonds

 

You can also use the ruler for strips, so you don’t need one ruler for diamonds and triangles and another for strips. This ruler is great for cutting strips of the desired width, cutting out diamond or triangle patches, and trimming points. You can even mark intersecting angles when cutting Y intersections: simply mark the dots with a chalk mechanical pencil and then sew between the dots. It’s so easy! (There’s a video on my website where I demonstrate how to both machine sew and hand sew inset seams.)

 

It's easy to mark intersecting angles
It’s easy to mark intersecting angles

 

The ruler is small enough to slip into your bag when you travel but large enough so you can cut up to six inch fabrics at 1/4 inch intervals.

 

The ruler works well on any color fabric, light or dark.
The ruler works well on any color fabric, light or dark

 

Some people have asked me why I chose the green color for my ruler. The color may seem bright, but we experimented with many different colors, and this one shows up on any light or dark fabric – including prints.

My latest quilt, Florentine, includes 60 degree diamonds you can quickly and accurately cut and mark using my Perfect Cut 60º Diamond Ruler. The pattern is a free download from either RJR Fabrics or our website, and you can choose from two rich colorways. The quilt is made from fabrics from my Milan fabric collection, which is available from your local quilt shop.

 

My Florentine Quilt comes in two colorways
My Florentine Quilt comes in two colorways

 

I also make two additional sizes of diamond templates for cutting, trimming and marking seam intersections when cutting diamonds from 2 1/4″ or 2 1/2″ strips. They are available separately, as a set of two or in combination with my Perfect Cut 60 Degree Ruler.

To get more tips on using your Perfect Cut 60 Degree Ruler, visit the Tips section of our website.

Happy Quilting!

signature Jinny

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A Star is Born: More on the birth of our 2014 Block of the Month quilt

Starstruck quilt with light background
Starstruck quilt with light background

In my last post I talked about how the design elements for Starstruck, our 2014 Block of the Month quilt, changed along the way to completion. Today I thought I would share how I arrived at the rich color ways upon which the quilt was produced.

I started with my Renaissance Garden fabric collection, selecting the rich, warm tones of black, cinnabar and cream, which feel right at home next to a fireplace on a chilly evening. Although the effect is quite different, the quilt’s individual blocks look equally at home nestled against the dark or light background.

Last year we saw that our customers really enjoy being able to choose from several different color ways, so decided that this year we would give you that option again in our Block of the Month quilt.  If you’re looking for a more vibrant color scheme, I reworked the Starstruck design using cool blues and vivid yellows with teal accents, with either a blue border and light background, blue border and dark background, yellow border with light background or yellow border with dark background.

 

Cool blues add new vibrancy to the pattern
Cool blues add new vibrancy to the pattern
Brilliant yellows give a whole new feel.
Brilliant yellows give a whole new feel.

 

Each of these color variations really brings the quilt an energetic feel that will have you ready for Spring!

One thing you’ll notice about the design for this quilt is the fussy cut border. All 13 blocks have a fussy cut border print that really takes advantage of the convergence of the design elements to create a kaleidoscope effect.

My pattern includes helpful tips on how to work with fussy cuts. For example, if you’re working with your own fabric, make sure your fabric has a stripe that is 1 and 3/8 wide to use in your alternate blocks.

The inspiration for the paisley fabric and border print came from artwork of a paisley shawl design from the late 1800’s that I found in a design house. My border print came from manipulating that shawl pattern in new ways.

 

My border print was inspired by this drawing of a shawl.
My border print was inspired by this drawing of a shawl.

Happy Quilting!

signature Jinny


 

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Introducing Starstruck, Our 2014 Block of the Month Quilt

Starstruck quilt, dark and light backgrounds
Starstruck quilt, dark and light backgrounds

I’m really excited to introduce our 2014 Block of the Month quilt, called Starstruck, and thought I’d share how this particular quilt came to be.

Designing my quilts is an iterative process. Often, what I envision at the start takes on a life of its own, and by the time my design is completed it looks very different from how I thought it would look. I enjoy the journey, and when the design is finished I have learned along the way.

When I first created the blocks for Starstruck, I wanted 12 star blocks alternated with a “setting” block. The setting blocks were completed filled in. The blocks looked lovely by themselves but when I put them together with the stars in a repeated pattern, they looked choppy.

 

Original setting block
Original setting block
Original setting block with star blocks
Original setting block with star blocks

 

Wanting more flow to my design, I changed  the alternate block. I experimented with different options and finally took some of the small squares away from the setting block so that more background showed. That improved the design tremendously.

 

Final setting block
Final setting block
Dark quilt
Final Setting Block with Dark Quilt

 

Next I changed the dark background to a cream to give you variety.  But when I added the light background I lost the design continuity I had with the deeper color, and the blocks again looked too “individual” and static.

 

Quilt with light background loses continuity
Quilt with light background loses continuity

 

This time I consulted with my staff, and together we added small dark corner triangles to each of the stars.

 

Adding corner points to the stars is a subtle but effective change.
Adding corner points to the stars is a subtle but effective change.

What a difference! Now the squares harmonize and look great together and the overall effect is just what I had hoped for.

 

Light quilt with revised corners has continuity
Light quilt with revised corners has continuity

 

What makes this quilt so enjoyable to make is that each alternating block is different to give you added variety and a new challenge each month!

In my next post I’ll talk about how the Starstruck quilt’s color ways came to be.

Happy Quilting!

signature Jinny

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Free 2014 block-of-the-month quilt pattern launched

Jinny Beyer has designed a brand-new BOM quilt for 2014.

The patterns for the quilt, dubbed Starstruck, are free for subscribers to her monthly email newsletter. The first pattern was released on February 1 and patterns for new blocks will follow each month during 2014.

The quilt features twelve different original star blocks, set off with a beautifully shaded alternating block. Jinny shows the quilt with both a light and dark background, and in an alterative colorway (while supplies last). Quilt kits are available exclusively from Jinny Beyer Studio.

To receive the free patterns, subscribe to Jinny’s free monthly email newsletter at the link below.

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Jinny’s Lapis & Jade quilt featured in McCall’s Quilting magazine

Lapis & Jade is a new Jinny Beyer quilt featured in the March/April 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine.

The quilt features the batik fabrics from Jinny’s Malam collection, artfully shaded in diamond blocks. Kits are available exclusively from Jinny Beyer Studio.

Photo courtesy of McCall’s Quilting magazine.