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Not Too Soon to Plan Our Shop Hop Quilt Design

This is the time of year that I am working diligently on our quilt and pattern for our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest. The event is earlier this year (October 19-28), so I have to work even faster. As was the case last year, I want to share with you the planning and designing of the project.

The first step is to plan the color scheme. This year, since we selected the cruising theme “Anchors Aweigh,” we chose colors that are often reminiscent of warm tropical waters and sea glass found on the beach.

The next step was to decide on the size and amount of the fabric swatches each shop would have available for the customers to either purchase or receive for free, depending on the amount of their purchase. This year we selected six 2 ½” by the width of the fabric strips. Each shop selected six fabrics that would fit within the color palette shown here.

At our next meeting, everyone brought 10 sets of their chosen 2½” strips and we participated in a “swatch swap.” Each shop went away with 10 sets of fabrics, one set from each shop for a total of 60 different fabrics.

 

The lovely fabric swatches from all the shops.

 

Now is when the fun begins. Each shop must make a quilt using as many of the swatches as they can. They can also add other fabrics if they wish. One of the perks of the Quest is that you receive a free pattern for a shop’s quilt when visiting during the Quest. Participants can collect all the swatches and decide which of the Quest quilts they like the best. Most shops have “finishing kits” available to make their version of the quilt.

Since the cruise destination for our shop is Hawaii, I wanted to design a quilt that would fit in with that theme, and thought the beach at Waikiki with its high rise hotels seemingly emerging from the sea would be a perfect inspiration.

 

Photo courtesy of staffer Nancy Fallone.

 

Sixty-degree diamonds are one of my favorite shapes, and since they are very easy to cut from 2 ½” strips, a fragmented, shaded diamond design seemed a perfect choice for the Studio’s quilt. Value placement is so important in this type of design so I always do preliminary designing in black and white. I tried shading the diamonds in two ways, dark to light lengthwise and dark to light sideways. I played around with the configurations of these two block units until I arrived at a design I liked. It is actually a takeoff on one of my personal quilts from several years ago…I will share this with you when the finished quilt is revealed.

 

 

Stay tuned. Next week I will share with you how I sorted and shaded the fabrics.

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Garden Club of Virginia

It has been a year since the Garden Club of Virginia asked if we would be willing to have our house and gardens on the annual Historic Garden Week tour which takes place each year at this time. I have been working ever since getting the house and gardens in tip top shape.

 

Hellebore and boxwood abound.

 

With the tour taking place after a spell of unusual weather, I worried that there might not be any color, that it would be after the redbud and dogwood bloom and before many of the perennials, peonies and other flowering trees and shrubs were out. But we have had a late and cool spring and with the redbuds just starting to bloom, the dogwoods are beginning to open their flowers, late daffodils are still out and my ever-favorite spring perennial, the hellebores, are still in full glory.

 

Redbud encircling the property will be in full bloom.

 

I thought those of you who cannot come on the house and garden tour might like a little preview of some of what is blooming. Also, you can get a sneak peak at some parts of our house in this video clip that was filmed a couple of weeks ago. The shop owners who are all a part of our annual Quilters’ Quest Shop Hop met at my house for some of the planning for this year’s event.

 

Come and see the cherry blossoms…

 

 

and the lilacs…

 

I will be at the shop tomorrow from 10-4 on April 24th to greet people from the tour and others who would like to take a drive and enjoy our beautiful spring.

 

and the daffodils…

 

 

and don’t forget the Virginia bluebells!

 

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Looking Ahead to the New Year

The new year has started off with a flurry of activity. After a great week over the holidays with the grandkids out west (Polly loves her Ever Sewn Sparrow 20 sewing machine and has already put it to a lot of work and Emmett loves his drum set…given after I checked with the parents first) and a week recovering from the bug everyone has, I dug in and started preparing for all that lay ahead this year.

 

 

First off, I’m putting the final touches on our 2018 Block of the Month program. Everyone loved the mystery quilt theme last year so we decided to do another this year. Several of you asked for the quilt to be a little larger so it could be used as a lap quilt or throw so we have made it both rectangular and larger. The size of the quilt is 58” x 63”.

 

 

Once again there are video lessons to go along with each clue and the pattern and lessons are free to subscribers of our newsletter. If you do not receive our free monthly newsletters, be sure to sign up on our homepage. The first clue will appear in the April newsletter.

I have designed this year’s quilt in four colorways and we will have kits available. Information on ordering the kits will be in our February newsletter.

On another note, we have already had our first meeting for the 2018 Quilters’ Quest, our annual shop hop. The most important thing for now is to mark the dates on your calendar. Because Quilt Market and Festival in Houston are a week later this year we didn’t want to push our dates any closer to Thanksgiving. Therefore, the 2018 Quest is scheduled for October 19th through 28th. The weather should be warmer, the fall colors beautiful for your drive, and we will not yet have set our clocks back so it will be lighter! All good and we look forward to another successful year.

 

 

This past Quest we had many people attend from out of the area. In fact, we had people from 32 of our states and four foreign countries. We hope to see even more of you this year. Each of the shops will be having at least one bus. So, leave the driving to us and sign up for one of the two-day bus tours. More information on the days of the buses will be available soon.

In this cold winter, at least here in the states, bundle up and have fun quilting!

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Travel the World With Us!

This summer seems to have flown by and as usual I have been busy with garden, family and quilting. Sadness for all of the extended family was the passing of my sister, Linda. She had fought a long battle with cancer and finally lost. But her amazing spirit through it all was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. I feel so fortunate that I was able to fly to the west coast in June and spend a quality week with her.  I returned in July for another week for the celebration of her life.

As usual in the summertime we start gearing up full tilt for the Shop Hop in November. This is our annual “Quilter’s Quest” which takes place for 10 days in November from the 9th to the 18th.

Each year we plan a color scheme and each shop selects a group of fabrics that fall within the range of those colors. As participants go to each shop they can purchase the swatches for $4.00 or if they spend $30 they can get them for free! This is our 2017 color palette.

 

Quest 2017 Colors
This year the “Quest Cuts” are eight six inch squares. We all get together and trade our sets with each other so every shop ends up with a complete set of 80 swatches. Then comes the fun part. Each shop designs a quilt based on the Quest Cuts. As you go to the shops you will receive a free pattern for that shop’s quilt.  Many of the shops offer “finishing kits” so that you can make a quilt from the pattern you like the best!

We have decided to have a “movie” theme this year and each shop has selected a movie and will enhance their shop according to the movie they select. We chose the movie Around the World in 80 Days.

It is a great event and all 10 shops have put together a fun video that tells you all about it.

In the past I have shared with you the progress of the quilt as I work on it over the summer. I wanted the design of our quilt to reflect on the movie theme. The 1956 film is about a Victorian Englishman who bets he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. Here is a little sneak peak of the progress.

 

Sorting the Fabrics

 

You all know how much I love shading fabrics together, so that was my first task. I needed four groups with 12 values of colors in each one, going from light to dark.

 

Sorting the Pieces

 

While the pattern for the quilt will be foundation piecing, I worked with templates, because I needed to move pieces around as I created the design. The hardest part was drafting the pattern, from there the rest was easy. Here is just a small portion of some of the pieces arranged on a design wall. It took me more than a week to get the pieces the way I wanted them and then only about a week to hand piece.

The quilt is now in my quilting frame and I work on it as I watch the Washington Nationals’ baseball games. Here is a small portion of the quilting in progress. I will share the complete design when the quilt is finished.

 

Quest 2017 Quilting on Quilt

 

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Visiting Sacred Threads – A Unique and Inspirational Quilt Exhibit

Neon Image One
With my friend Carole Nicholas holding “Neon” by Laurie Cessay

 

This morning I was given the wonderful opportunity to visit the Sacred Threads exhibit as finishing touches were added. If you are not familiar with Sacred Threads, I would guess that you’ve probably never seen anything quite like it.

 

“Pyrite Ammonites” by K. Lacy
“Pyrite Ammonites” by Kimberly Lacy

 

 

Pyrite Image Three

Back in 1999, fellow quilter, Vikki Pignatelli, gathered a small group of women to discuss their idea to present quilts with topics that you wouldn’t ordinarily see at quilt shows, giving quilters a venue to freely express themselves.  Their idea was to create “a dignified exhibit of artwork that would touch all those who viewed it on both spiritual and personal levels.”

 

Sandy Goldman and I discuss “Winter Solstice” by Seminar staffer Ricki Selva featuring many of my fabrics.
Sandy Goldman and I discuss “Winter Solstice” by Seminar staffer Ricki Selva featuring many of my fabrics.

Since 2011, we have been fortunate enough to have this exhibit here in Northern Virginia.  Four former members of the Studio and Seminar staffs are on the committee and they invited me to take a sneak peek.

 

Members of the committee fine-tuning the exhibit.
Members of the committee fine-tuning the exhibit.

 

 

Waiting for the final drapes and labels.
Waiting for the final drapes and labels.

This biennial exhibit is divided into the themes of Joy, Spirituality, Inspiration, Grief, Healing and Peace/Brotherhood and does not focus on any particular religion or faith.

As I first stepped in, my eye was caught by a quilt so obviously filled with joy.

 

Happy Image Seven
You can certainly feel the joy in “Bali Boys” by Linda Anderson.

Throughout the exhibit, the quilts told the stories and experiences of life but it was also fascinating, as a quilter, to see how these artists expressed themselves whether their work leaned towards the traditional or abstract.  The workmanship of so many of these pieces amazed and impressed me.

 

“Florida: Black Skimmer” by M. Wolfe
“Florida: Black Skimmer” by Martha Wolfe

 

 

Honor Image Nine
“In Honor of My Father” by Joan Bratton

There was even a special exhibit in honor of Yvonne Porcella who passed away last year.  I was able to look through these quilts before they were hung and they certainly brought a smile to my face as they reminded me so of Yvonne.

 

Tribute to Yvonne Porcella by Susanne Miller Jones
Barb Hollinger & Jinny with a tribute to Yvonne Porcella by Susanne Miller Jones

 

 

Tribute to Yvonne Porcella by Lisa Ellis
Tribute to Yvonne Porcella by Lisa Ellis

The exhibit runs July 7th through July 23rd at the Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia. Visit their website, www.sacredthreadsquilts.com, for hours and directions.  You’ll also find information about “Meet the Artist Weekend” including dinners and more, plus location and dates for the traveling Sacred Threads exhibit. I encourage all who live in the area or who will be visiting during the time of the show to see the spectacular, inspirational exhibit.

 

“A New Dawn” by R. Schwartz
“A New Dawn” by Roxanne Schwartz

 

 

“Fall Was Her Favorite Time of Year” by H. Wilmarth
“After the Rain” by Rosanne Flack Williamson

 

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Happy Summer

RJR Booth Spring Market 2017

 

It is always exciting to go to the spring and fall quilt markets. This year was no exception. There are always old friends to meet and I even ran into Maria, one of my Ukrainian friends, who promised to give my best to all my friends in Ukraine.

 

Maria and Jinny at Market

 

I held a schoolhouse segment where I introduced my new mini stripe fabric, and the Amber Waves and Miyako fabric collections which will be arriving soon. When they do I will share some new projects to make with these collections.

 

2017 Quilts in Booth
Miyako and Arabic Tiles in the booth at RJR Fabrics

 

There were lots of great patterns that I brought home to make with some of my fabrics. Look for these in future web specials.

 

With Alex Anderson at market.
With Alex Anderson at Market.

 

 

With Edyta Sitar in the Laundry Basket Quilts booth.
With Edyta Sitar in the Laundry Basket Quilts booth.

 

Being gone this time of year is difficult. I came home to an abundance of strawberries in my garden. I plan to make one of my favorite pies for our Memorial Day family get together.

This is the time for fresh strawberries so give my recipe a try.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Single layer 9-inch pie crust
6 cups freshly picked strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
½ cup water
4 oz cream cheese at room temperature

Bake pie shell. Mash enough berries to measure 1 cup. Mix sugar and cornstarch in two-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in water and mashed strawberries. Bring to boil, stirring constantly and once it is boiling continue stirring and cook for one minute. Set aside to cool.

Carefully spread cream cheese in the bottom of the pie shell. Fill the shell with the remaining  berries and pour the cooled sauce over the berries to completely cover them. Let set in the refrigerator at least three hours.

When raspberries and fresh peaches are ready try this same recipe with either one of those fruits, or try a combo with peaches and raspberries. For the combo, I make the cooked sauce from peaches only and then put both fresh peaches and raspberries in the pie shell and garnish with raspberries…….delicious!

Happy Summer!

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Never a Dull Moment

This is one of my favorite times of the year. The Virginia bluebells are in full bloom along the Potomac River in Great Falls National Park. Our native redbuds are announcing spring with their brilliant violet flowers, the onions, potatoes and early vegetables are planted in my garden and we are already enjoying the early spring greens and winter onions in salads.

 

Virginia Bluebells
Virginia Bluebells

 

 

Redbuds
Redbuds

 

 

Early Veggies
Early Veggies

 

That is not to say we don’t get surprises. Last week, I was teaching my Diamonds class at my shop. We had just begun the class when all of a sudden our shop phone rang, I received one of those alerts on my cell phone and I received an urgent text message from my son-in-law in Oregon (who works on mapping at the U. S. Geological Survey)…all of these simultaneous alerts (including alerts on phones of the students) were telling us that there was a tornado warning for Great Falls and we were to seek immediate shelter.

 

Teaching One

 

Class Work Three

 

Class Work Two

Now we were all on the second floor of our building and could see the suddenly ominous black sky. We all hastily retreated to the basement of our building which houses the utilities. Space was crowded and we got to know each other up close and personal. It was amazing how, not only calm, but jovial the students and staff were in this cramped and dusty place.

 

Basement Hiding Four

 

Basement Hiding One

 

Basement Hiding Two
It was definitely cozy!

 

Basement Hiding Three

 

Student Karen made me laugh at the essentials she brought with her--her fabric and sewing supplies.
Student Karen made me laugh at the essentials she brought with her–her fabric and sewing supplies.

 

Within 15 minutes the danger was over and we resumed the class. The two Canadian ladies, two from West Virginia, and one from California who had traveled here for the class along with the locals were quite excited to let all their friends know about our little adventure. We did learn that several small tornados did touch down not too far from us.

 

Bonnie and Joan from Canada.
Bonnie and Joan from Canada.

 

 

Susan from California.
Susan from California.

 

 

Malloy from Maryland
Mally from Maryland

Working with diamonds is one of my favorite classes to teach and they all made great progress. It is a wonderful opportunity to work on both design and color. Here are some photos of them hard at work and some of the results.

 

Class Work One

 

Student Work One
Susan has come from California several times to take classes from Jinny and this is at least the second (or third) time she’s taken Diamonds. The quilt is the result of what she learn from Jinny before. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

 

 

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Lights, Camera, Action!

Many of you are familiar with our annual shop hop we call Quilters’ Quest. What you may not know is that we start the planning for it as soon as the previous year’s Quest ends, meeting at least once a month throughout the year. We are always looking for new ideas and ways to make it even more fun for you.

 

Group in Gazebo

Last week our meeting took place here at the Studio. Besides normal business, we decided to put together a little video for you about us and the Quest. More on that after I tell you a bit about the Quest itself.

Every November our ten shops, located in Maryland and Northern Virginia, join together and open our doors for ten days of fun, fabric and friendship. This year’s theme is “Lights, Camera, Action.”  We have each selected a movie and will transform our shops so you can experience the magic of Hollywood!

 

Quest Colors 2017

 

From November 9th through the 18th, 2017, you will be able to participate in this FREE event that sends you on an adventure to explore each of our shops. You also have the opportunity to win fabulous prizes.  If driving from shop to shop seems a bit daunting, you can leave the driving to us and take one of the buses leaving from various shops.

 

Tote Bag One
Every finisher gets a cool mesh bag and more!

Tote Bag Two

Hosting the shop owners at the Studio and preparing for the video involved meeting with the videographer, set design (aka, rearranging the classroom) and preparing lunch where I proceeded to nearly cut off my finger. (Don’t worry—it was only a pinkie finger and not needed for sewing.) Thankfully, I did not bleed on lunch.

 

Jackie from Patches Quilting and Sewing
Jackie from Patches Quilting and Sewing

 

Rhonda from Crazy Cousin
Rhonda from Crazy Cousin

Filming began inside with a script written by Amy from Material Girls and Kelly Ann from Kelly Ann’s Quilting. It can be intimidating sitting under the lights with cameras on you, text to read aloud with others watching but soon silliness erupted from our many flubs and miscues.

 

Quilt Group One

 

Quilt Group Two

 

Quilt Group Three

After lunch, we moved outside for more filming.  I don’t know if it was the fresh air and bracing wind or that we had full tummies but everyone relaxed and the silliness increased.

 

Silly Two

 

Silly One

 

Silly Three

 

Silly Four

Our color Palette is fresh and new and each of our shops has put together a unique set of eight 6” squares in the Quest colors. Collect them all and all 10 of our FREE quilt patterns. I think it is safe to brag a little and say that our shops design beautiful quilts each reflecting its own style.

 

Here are the Colors of the 2017 Quest. Each shop will choose their own fabrics.
Here are the Colors of the 2017 Quest. Each shop will choose their own fabrics.

Sign up for the Quilters’ Quest newsletter! In addition to staying up to date on our breaking Quilters’ Quest news (such as the premier of our video), bus schedules and sign ups and fun previews, you will also gain access to the monthly Quest Block of the Month quilt pattern. Stay tuned, the results of our fun day will be ready soon and we will share the video with you!

Sign up now at http://www.quiltersquest.org/

We are looking forward to seeing all of you soon!

Final Pic

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And the Hustle & Bustle Continues!

We continue to make kits non-stop here for our 2017 Mystery Quilt BOM, Moroccan Mystery. We’ve made so many that we have run out of the border. See video clip here that explains where we are with the BOM kits.

 

 

One day we sent out so many packages that our packages alone filled the entire postal truck.

 

The staff at the Studio have been busy getting your BOM quilt kits out the door.
The staff at the Studio have been busy getting your BOM quilt kits out the door.

 

In the middle of all this, we had a planning meeting for Quilters’ Quest at Traditions at the White Swan in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Dick and Wendy, the owners, have a great shop and a new addition…three adorable miniature donkeys. How many quilt shops can boast that?

 

Miniature Donkeys

 

We are planning lots of new and exciting things for the Quilters’ Quest shop hop this year. We have decided to have a theme-based event and have selected “movies”. Each shop will choose a movie and will have fun things in the shop relating to the theme.

This week I also finalized my next batik collection, worked on the new replacement fabrics for the Palette collection and received strike-offs for a new collection that will be shown at spring market, Miyako. I also began doing colorings for another collection that is in the pipeline.

On top of all this, we changed our business email account from one company to another. This led to a lot of angst, but all is well now.

Not that I didn’t already have a lot to fill my head, there is always the antics of our dog, Luke. My husband made split pea soup for dinner the other night. I came home around 5:30, walked through the house, took one look at Luke and knew something was wrong…ears were down, eyes were practically shut and he was just sitting there looking miserable.

 

Sad Luke

 

I asked if Luke had gotten into anything, and my husband said he ate some split peas. The two packages of dried split peas had been soaking for a while and John was getting ready to pour them into the broth when the pan slipped and half the contents went on the floor. As always, Luke was in the kitchen hoping something would fall to the floor.  Sure enough, he was right there and cleaned up the entire mess. John didn’t realize that those peas would expand in his stomach.

Those of you who own dogs will probably know that when you need to make a dog throw up something he or she shouldn’t have eaten, hydrogen peroxide can be a life safer…literally. But did you know that hydrogen peroxide has an expiration date? I certainly didn’t.

We still had a bottle that we kept on hand when we had our Greater Swiss Mountain dog, Gretchen who ate everything. But a turkey baster of the peroxide down Luke’s throat didn’t do the trick, so we realized it might have gone bad and ran to the pharmacy to get more and tried again. Two minutes later, it worked and I had a big mess to clean up. I asked the vet about the peroxide and she said it has a certain shelf life and once the bottle is open it does not last long at all. Our bottle expired in 2010…oops.

This little tidbit of information might help someone else who has an animal that likes to eat things that they shouldn’t. Hopefully, the week ahead will be a little bit less exciting.

 

Coming soon to a mailbox near you!
Coming soon to a mailbox near you!

 

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Busy, Busy Week!

What an incredibly busy week I have had! We launched our new Block of the Month for 2017. We have been overwhelmed by the response and the excitement this has generated.

 

Graphic for Blog

 

When planning for our Block of the Month we always think ahead as to how many kits we may sell. We make sure to have available fabric for that amount of kits. Because of the smaller size and the “mystery” aspect, we thought we might sell twice as many kits as last year and ordered accordingly.  Well in just one week we have sold all the kits that we thought we would sell in an entire year!

We have reordered fabric from RJR but there was not enough border print so they are reprinting it. From the time we order it until we receive it is about three and a half months. So, our new border shipment will not arrive until the end of April.

As of this blog, we are out of border print for the Peacock version and will run out of some of the others very soon. Not to worry. If you like one of the colorways that is currently waiting for the border print, we are offering two choices – save on shipping by placing a backorder for the Complete Kit for end of April delivery, or begin working on the quilt now by ordering the kit in two parts: “Kit Without Border Print” to be sent now and a backorder for the 3 yards of border print to be sent end of April or early May.  The border print is not used until August, so you could keep up with the clues starting in February.

 

Tired Kitmakers
Tired Kitmakers

 

Mind you, we are a very small business with all part time employees and limited space. This week we have turned into a kit making mini-factory. I have been at the shop helping out in every spare moment.

 

Video Image for Blog

 

If you want to know more about the Moroccan Mystery quilt, here is a short video that gives more information.