Posted on

Watch and Learn Online

We often receive questions and comments from quilters about a wide range of topics and often those questions will pertain to a wider audience and seem a good topic for a blog.

We received the following comment from Rosemary:

“Please consider creating online hand quilting classes or DVD-based classes for those of us who live far away and can’t get to your studio.”

While I do have two classes coming up at the Studio next week, including Hand Quilting, I certainly understand that our website reaches quilters around the world and most of you will never be able to visit the Studio.  This was one of the reasons that I began my mystery quilt series and include video lessons with them.

We do currently have classes based on our mystery quilts both last year and this year. Our mystery quilt lessons are free to subscribers of our newsletters during the length of the class. Each newsletter has the link both to the written pattern and to the video lessons. The classes cover a wide variety of techniques that I teach, including hand and machine piecing with topics such as sewing curves, joining odd angles, applique, foundation piecing, etc. We also discuss color, quilting, using borders prints and more. Once the year is up and we go on to the next project, the previous year’s quilt pattern and videos are available for sale.

Currently, last year’s project, which covers a wide variety of techniques, is available for sale as a pattern and DVD. That project is Moroccan Mystery.

The current year’s project is Kyoto Mystery. Those patterns and video lessons are free if you are a subscriber to our newsletter. Even if you start now, in each newsletter, there are links to the previous months’ lessons and videos. 

 

 

Kits are available for both of these quilt projects, but even if you do not want to make the quilt, the video lessons are valuable on their own as they cover many of the techniques that I cover in my classes.

Our web site also has many free videos and quilt tips on a wide variety of subjects. Click here to visit our “Tips and Lessons “page.

Posted on

The Background Makes a Difference

With our new BOM, Kyoto Mystery, fresh in my mind and as I was working on a quilt design for a new fabric collection, I couldn’t help but think of the very first Block of the Month quilt that I created, Moon Glow, back in 2000. It has undoubtedly been the most popular quilt pattern and kit I have designed.

But I have a little story to tell you about Moon Glow. I’m telling you this because I was struggling with what to do for a background on the new quilt I am working on for the upcoming Denim collection.

Moon Glow has 12 different compass style blocks alternating with a log cabin style block. My friend, Carole, was helping me with the quilt so we could meet the deadline for RJR. I pieced the compass blocks by hand and Carole did the other blocks by machine.

 

 

Once all the blocks were complete we laid them out to see how they all looked. We were very disappointed. There was just too much contrast between the compass blocks and the alternate blocks. The design seemed more disjointed than cohesive. All that work and the design just wasn’t looking right. We finally determined that it was the light background behind the compass blocks and that they would look better with a black background. It was too much work to take out the light and replace it so we decided we needed to make a new set of blocks with a black background. We donated the discarded blocks to a fundraising venture and started again. Here you can see an image of the light background versus a dark background. Do you agree with our decision?

 

 

So, as I was working on Denim Star, I had the same problem. There was just too much contrast between the background and the rest of the design. I’ll have images to share with you as soon as RJR releases the collection and the quilt pattern is ready sometime in late summer or early fall. It will be a free download.

Posted on

Busy Month – At Least We Are Not Bored

 

It has been a super busy month. We started selling kits for our new Block of the Month (BOM) mystery quilt, Kyoto Mystery, as soon as the March newsletter went out and have been busy getting the kits in the mail. Judging from the response, you are as excited about this as we are. Be sure you are signed up for our free monthly newsletter because the first clue and video lesson will appear in the April newsletter which will go out on April 7, around 5:30 PM EDT.  If you are not yet signed up, you can sign up on our website here.

 

 

Adding to the hustle and bustle going on is that we are in the throes of launching a new web site. In 1990 my son, who had started a fledgling web site development business, said I needed a website and proceeded to set one up for me. He eventually sold his business and we have been with that company ever since. Now they are handling much larger clients with more sophisticated software and can no longer continue supporting our site. So, for the last year we have been in the process of developing a new site. We are letting you know this so you won’t be shocked when one day you come to find us and will be greeted with a new look.

 

 

Many of you may be like me. I hate it when I go to a site that I visit often and find it all changed around. We are working hard, though, to get everything moved over to the new site. Have patience and you’ll find that all of the tips, lessons, products, etc. are still there. It may take you a few minutes to get acclimated to the new look.

And with all of this going on, we had some truly unusual weather. The big east coast windstorm hit our area and knocked out power to many homes and businesses. Our shop was without power for two days and at my house, it was four days before we got our power back. I couldn’t help but think of the poor people in Puerto Rico who are still without power and count my own blessings that it was only four days for us. So many people north of Virginia have been hit worse by the storm and another is on the way.

 

 

Have heart. Spring is on the way. I always know it is close when I am greeted with the beautiful blooming Hellebores in my yard.

 

 

 

Posted on

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!

Posted on

‘Tis the Season…For Quilting!

It is hard to believe that fall is past! Winter Solstice is upon us. This fall was such a whirlwind of activity beginning with visit to Oregon to see our grandchildren (and of course their parents), the Studio’s anniversary sale, then all of the preparations for our annual shop hop with Quilt Market sandwiched in. We also flew to California to spend Thanksgiving with one of our sons and his wife and are preparing to fly to Oregon for the Christmas holidays. It should be lots of fun.

A few weeks ago my 9 year old granddaughter informed me that she wants a sewing machine for Christmas along with lots of fabric…so how could I resist? She and her younger brother, Emmett,  did such a great job a year ago when they came to visit and I introduced them to the sewing machine. She took to it so quickly that I think she is ready. I got her a good beginner machine, the EverSewn Sparrow 20. I’ll keep you informed on how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

Amidst all of this I have been busy preparing for our 2018 Mystery Quilt. We had such a great response to this year’s quilt that we decided on the “mystery” concept again. I have designed the quilt in four colorways and there are a variety of techniques covered. As I did last year, we will film video lessons to go along with each clue. We have listened to your feedback and will once again have a smaller quilt. This time it will be a little larger, rectangular in shape and will be suitable for a throw, lap quilt or wall hanging. We are still finalizing the lessons and patterns and plan to have the first clue in either March or April.

On another note, I have a great gift or decorating idea. As the new year approaches, many of you will be in full-on mode planning weddings and either baby or bridal showers. During the 29 years of my annual Hilton Head Seminar, one of the decisions that always had to be made was what to do about the centerpieces at the banquet tables. Depending on how large the event, centerpieces can be quite costly.

 

 

This year at Quilt Market we found the Vase and Vessels Pattern by Amy Barickman for Indygo Junction. I came home from market with the pattern in hand and made a couple of vases using border print fabrics. The technique is similar to English Paper Piecing except the fabric is fused over the Fabriflair stabilizer instead of basted over papers. As I was working, the idea suddenly hit me that this would be a perfect project for a centerpiece for an event. Use the event colors and select fabrics to match those colors. Depending on the size of your vase, put a pint or quart Mason jar inside the vase and then select flowers in similar colors, as I did in the picture above. At the end of the event, one lucky person at the table could be the recipient of the centerpiece!

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy holiday season! If you are going to be in the Washington D.C. area over the holidays, we would love to see you. We will be closed both Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Jinny

 

Posted on

Don’t Miss the First Clue

The whirlwind at Jinny Beyer Studio continues. There is so much excitement about our new Mystery Quilt Block of the Month Moroccan Mystery. Our testers have finished their samples and all colorways have turned out great! David, one of our testers took some great photos along the way and we will show you his progress each month. He selected the Peacock color. You can also see the progress on my quilt through the video lessons that will be presented each month, I’m working on the Coffee colorway.

 

BOM 2017 Staff

 

The pattern for the quilt and the video lessons are free downloads from our BOM link in our monthly newsletter. Don’t miss the first clue! It goes out on Saturday, February 4th.  You still have time to sign up for the newsletter. If you read this blog and it is after February 4th, don’t worry! You will have to wait for the first Saturday in March for our next newsletter, but each month’s newsletter will have all the clues and video lessons for all the previous months.

I hope you will join us and many others around the world for this fun new program…stay tuned.

Posted on

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!

 

Posted on

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.

Posted on

New Block of the Month for 2017

Graphic for Blog

 

For the last several years I have been offering a free block of the month quilt pattern to subscribers to our monthly newsletter.

A few months ago, we sent out a survey asking what type and style of project you would like to see for next year’s Block of the Month and we have taken your suggestions to heart. The most popular design ideas were:

  • Wall hanging
  • Medallion style
  • Piecing and appliqué
  • Mystery quilt

For 2017, we have listened and took your suggestions. Instead of a full size quilt, the project is smaller, only 47” x 47”. It is medallion style and it is a mystery quilt with both appliqué and piecing. Instead of a block each month there will be portions of the design to put together.

I have designed the quilt to be a learning experience and it incorporates various piecing techniques so that by the time you finish you will be able to tackle any patchwork project.

Many of you know that I sew all my quilts by hand. One of the reasons is that handwork is portable and you can take it anywhere you go. I have seen a real resurgence of interest in hand piecing the last couple of years and this quilt is a great project to do by hand even if you have never tried hand piecing before. Each clue is a learning step to the next one and, if you choose to sew by hand, by the end of the year you will be an expert. If you prefer sewing by machine, the pattern is written for both hand and machine sewers.

 

Taping Take Two
Our classroom was transformed into a film studio to produce the videos for the new BOM mystery quilt. We were lucky to find a videographer right in our neighborhood, Adam Vogtman.

 

We will begin with simply sewing a straight line, then joining four points, curves, eight points, setting in seams, appliqué and so on. There will be video clips to go along with the clues with links to these in each newsletter. The quilt is not a huge project and you should easily be able to complete each clue during the month.

I have designed this quilt in the four colorways shown above. You can pre-order your kit and it will be shipped starting January 20th, so by the time the first clue comes out in February you will be ready to start!

In order to receive all the clues for the BOM, you must be a subscriber to our free monthly newsletters. The links to all patterns and videos will only be in our newsletter. If you have not yet signed up you can do so here.

Watch for more information on this program in Saturday’s newsletter. I hope you are as excited about this as we are.

Posted on

Sewing to Dots

Quiltmaking by HandIt has been exciting to see the recurrence of interest in hand piecing. At the turn of the century with everything geared to machine piecing I was determined to try and keep hand sewing alive into the new millennium. My Quiltmaking by Hand book was the result and I am happy to say it has even more popularity today than when it was published.

However, there are often questions people have and one appeared on Facebook recently that I thought would be a good subject to address in a blog post. Here is the question:

“Cosmos is my first ever hand piecing project, and I’m so enjoying it. I am looking for an answer I haven’t been able to find, either in your tips, videos or last year’s Craftsy BOM. I understand sewing dot to dot, but some template points don’t include dots and I’m wondering if in these cases I should sew to the fabric edge? E.g. Block 5 step a and b, or where the final edge of the block is.”

This is a very good question. First of all I’d like to address dots on the templates. Some fabric pieces are cut with templates, some are cut with measurements for rotary cutting. Some templates have dots, some do not. “Dots” are often placed at the intersection of seam allowances on templates. These are guides for sewing pieces together. The pieces should be pinned so that the dots meet when the pieces are sewn together.

Let’s take template “N” in the Cosmos block 5. The dotted line is the sewing line and you can see that a dot is placed where those lines meet. These dots should be transferred to the wrong side of the cut pieces to act as a guide for getting the pieces matched up for sewing.template nDots can be marked on the fabric in a few different ways:

  1. Use a 16th inch hole punch and punch out holes in the template at the dots. Then place the template on the cut piece and mark the dots with a mechanical chalk or lead pencil.
  2. Perfect piecerThe Perfect Piecer is a tool I developed to aid in marking onto the pieces. It has all the common angles used in piecing along with holes where the seam allowances intersect. Use it to transfer the dots to the cut piece.
  3. Using the Perfect Piecer or a ruler with ¼ inch marked on it, draw the quarter inch sewing line on the back side of the pieces.

The next question is, do you stop at the dots or sew through the dots to the edge of the fabric? What if there are no dots? The answer depends on the pieces you are sewing. If the pieces you are sewing result in an inward angle that will require a set-in seam, then you must start and stop at the the dots or, if there are no dots, at the place where the seam allowances intersect. My preference is to sew to the edge. Using block 5 from Cosmos is a good illustration and we can take it step by step.Block 5 CosmosIn Step a, there is no inward angle created when sewing the pieces together, so you can sew to the edge. In Steps b, c and d, once again there are no inward angles created, only outward angles, so you can sew to the edges.

However Step e is different. When the N/Nr pieces are sewn you must stop at the dots to leave the “y” seam for adding the Fabric 9 square. The same is true for Step f. You must stop at the dots in order to add the P patches in Step g.

Thank you to Coleen who sent us that question and, hopefully, like Coleen, many of you are giving hand piecing a try. If you are unfamiliar with Cosmos, it is our free block of the month. A new block pattern is available in our newsletter each month. You can sign up at www.jinnybeyer.com.