Posted on 3 Comments

Escape to an Island with a Bundle of Fabric!?!

Opening Photo Blog

 

In quilting today, we have thousands upon thousands of fabrics in an ever-changing palette available to us. When we enter a quilt shop, we find that beautiful array of color and fabric irresistible. As a result, it is rare that we meet a quilter who does not have a substantial stash. Have you noticed, though, for many of us, when we go to put fabrics together for a quilt we never seem to have quite what we need? There always seems to be something missing but we don’t know what.

It is no secret that I love color and I love shading fabrics but I realize that not everyone does. Putting together a quilt with many fabrics can seem overwhelming. Because we recognize this, we have always made available a large selection of shaded bundles. We would, though like to help you to understand how you can do this yourselves or maybe just watch the journey as we do it for you.

Grand Bundle Complete for Blog
The complete Island Escape bundle.

 

With that in mind, we have put together a collection of 40 shaded fabrics called the Island Escape bundle. (It was very hot and steamy while we were putting it together so I may truly have been looking for an Island Escape.)

 

A starting point for the Island Escape bundle, the Portable Palette.
A starting point for the Island Escape bundle, the Portable Palette.

 

To gather the colors I wanted for this Island Escape bundle, I first went to my “go to” color tool, my Portable Palette. I worked with various groups of colors, shading them together until I had a palette I liked.  I came up with a palette of 27 colors. Next I looked all around the shop trying to find fabrics of different textures and designs that would fit into the color range shown on the palette. Sometimes they were a little brighter, a little darker or had had a slightly different cast. As long as they blended in they would work! Ultimately, in the 40 piece bundle, I only used a small portion of the original Palette fabrics, but of course all of those could be added as well for even more variety in the bundle.

We will start presenting them to you, one mini-bundle of eight fabrics at a time, over the coming months in our Weekly Web Specials. Along the way, we will share tips and pattern ideas for how you can use them. Each mini-bundle shades from one color to the next so at the end you will have an entirely shaded collection of fabrics for fun, “scrappy” quilts.

 

Bundle No One for blog
Mini bundle #1

 

This month’s mini-bundle shades from pale seafoam through brilliant blue to deep violet and it will be on sale for the week’s special beginning July 26 and ending August 1.  The next bundle will be released later in August.

For more information on how to use my Portable Palette, visit the Tips and Lessons page on our website.

Posted on 5 Comments

The Birth of a Fabric

Usually a fabric is chosen to work with a specific pattern or design. In the case of this story, the reverse was true.

As you all know, I love to work with border print fabrics and other prints with mirror imaged motifs. When we select a border print to go around the outside of a quilt or to use inside the quilt, we often have a lot of leftovers. I’m always looking for ways to use these extra bits.

About a year ago I decided it would be fun to use up border print scraps in six pointed stars. I used our 2 ½” acrylic template. Six identical pieces were needed for each star. I sorted through scraps to come up with a color scheme and began making stars. It was such fun to see all the different ones and how the design changed depending on the placement of the mirror images. All the kaleidoscopic results kept tempting me to do more.

 

1. origina bp stars

Then the question came of how to sew the stars together. I thought of joining them with black diamonds.

 

2. stars on black

However the stars kept calling to me that they needed a narrow border around them. So I thought of cutting a narrow border from one of my border prints. This Corsica border seemed perfect with my colors.

 

3. corsica boder print bold

I only wanted to use this small bit that is outlined here.

 

5. diamond
In order to get the border next to each star, I had to break the diamond into four smaller pieces so the diamond could be completely surrounded by the border. Two are cut one direction and two are reversed.

I began sewing the stars together with the “border print” diamonds.

After I sewed several together, I realized that if the quilt was going to be a decent size I would need anywhere from 12 to 15 yards of the Corsica border to get enough of that small stripe for all the diamonds.

That is when I thought of designing a fabric that was only made up of the small border with black in between. It takes about a year from the idea to the fabric and finally this week the Mini-stripe fabric arrived. I did it in five colorways.

 

Mini Stripe Borders on Bolts

I remade the quilt with a larger (3”) diamond template and the new mini-stripe. I am thrilled with the outcome.

I’m calling the quilt Arabic Tiles, have created a pattern and also made an acrylic template set to make cutting the diamonds easier.

 

Arabic tiles glamour- lighter

 

arabic tiles quilt queen

You can use all your leftover bits and pieces of border print, or we have also made a kit in the colorway shown here.  There are two sizes……wall and double

Margot, one of our customers, has already started using her scraps to make stars. She said it is addictive and so much fun to see how different each one can be.

 

10. margo with her stars

For the Arabic Tile quilt, you only need two yards of the fabric for the diamonds joining the stars instead of 15! I’m dreaming up all kinds of other ways to use the fabric as well. Stay tuned for more projects and let us know if you find innovative ways to use it as well.

Posted on 4 Comments

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?

 

 

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Sitges International Patchwork Festival

What a wonderful week I had. I just returned from the Sitges International Patchwork Festival put on by the Association Espana de Patchwork.

 

Outside the exhibit hall
Outside the exhibit hall

Sitches itself is a gem of a city about 20 kilometers south of Barcelona, on the Mediterranean, with narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful old architecture, seaside cafes, wide promenades along the water and extremely friendly people. The weather was perfect every day with highs in the 60’s and lows in the 50’s.

 

1. narrow streets
Narrow streets!
Beautiful buildings
Beautiful buildings
Seaside cafe
Seaside cafe

 

I was invited to be one of the guest artists and to have an exhibition of my quilts at the show.

 

5. outside exhibition hall

 

Preparing for the exhibit
Preparing for the exhibit

Since I did not want to ship the quilts or check them, my son, Sean, accompanied me and we packed all 12 quilts in carry-ons.  It was quite a feat getting them all in the small-enough bags that we would be allowed to take on the plane.

The hall that held my exhibit was in an old building right on the water. Large windows looked out onto the sea so the lighting was excellent. Once the show opened, I was amazed at the crowds of people. The organizers expected more than 10,000 people to attend.

 

Looking out from the hall
Looking out from the hall

 

 

8. inside hall

 

Other artists with exhibits included Anna Dolanyi, Katie Pasquini, Danny Amazonas, Maoli Lozaano and Willyne Hammerstein. Unfortunately, because of the classes I was teaching and the time spent in my exhibit greeting people, there was not time to visit all of the exhibits which were scattered around the old part of the city.

 

With Katie
With Katie Pasquini

 

 

With Danny
With Danny Amazonas

 

 

Danny's horse art quilt
Danny’s horse art quilt

 

 

The eye of the horse - spectacular!
The eye of the horse – spectacular!

 

In the room next to my exhibit was an exhibit of work by children and I was so pleased to see the effort the patchwork association was making to encourage quiltmaking by children.

 

13. children with quilts

 

When we arrived at our seaside hotel we were a little sorry to see giant tents being put up along the promenade opposite our hotel.  We thought what a shame it would spoil our view, but then we saw a large “Bernina” sign being put up and realized that this series of tents was the vendors area! The tents were full with people the entire time.

 

15. inside tent
Inside the tent

 

We had a fabulous time and I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to take part in it.

Posted on 190 Comments

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 4 Comments

Optical Illusions

One of our most popular quilt kits is the Optical Illusions design by Erin Underwood. This quilt is created by sewing strips of colors and background together and then cutting them out with a wedge ruler. The leftovers from one set of wedges creates the second alternating wedges. So, it is super simple to sew.

When you step back from the quilt design, you not only see the checkerboard, but also swirling petals. The effect is achieved with only six colored fabrics.

 

Original Colorway

 

I decided to do a new colorway of this quilt in the ever-popular teals, purples and blues. When I finished, I wondered what had gone wrong. I had my six colors. They shaded nicely together, but I was not getting the “petal effect.”

 

Teal Quilt One
First attempt

 

I studied the two designs and realized that the brightest and lightest colors needed to be at the center of the strips. I had done that with the original quilt but not with the new one. So, I went back to the drawing board and re-shaded the fabrics and created a second version of the design. This time I could see the petals.

 

Teal Quilt Two
The final peacock version with a dark background.

 

You can see here the two sets of wedges. In each set the fabrics are arranged exactly the same. The second wedge in the set is simply turned upside down. It is amazing how different the quilt can look by just changing the order of the fabrics.

 

 

Wedge Sets

Look how different the design looks with a light background instead of a dark. Are the petals more visible on the light background or the dark? Some eyes see it one way and some the other. This is where the “optical” effect plays tricks.

 

Optical Illusions Peacock

Posted on 2 Comments

A Gift of Temari in Nepal

I am just back from an awesome trip to Nepal with Sew Many Places and, as this blog is published, I am heading off to Houston for Quilt Market (and still jet-lagged). Yes, it can at times be quite tiring but the best part of my job is the wonderful people I meet along the way. I don’t have time to write much today but I just wanted to tell you a quick story about one of the ladies on my Nepal trip. I promise that next week I’ll tell you more about Nepal and, also, Houston.

 

Temair ball

 

I met Barbara Suess several years ago. Barbara is an expert on Japanese Temari. Temari is an ancient Japanese folk craft which came from the desire to entertain children with an embroidered toy thread ball. I have had Barbara to the Studio to teach and have carried her books. The designs are beautiful!

 

Handful of Temaris

 

Well, Barbara was on the trip to Nepal and brought along a bag of Temari balls she and some of her students had made. Barbara was graciously giving these balls away. One day, we were at a cooperative where local woman worked on crafts for sale (more on this next week) and Barbara gave her one of the Temari balls. The woman put it in her hair and proudly wore it for the day.

 

Nepali Hair Accessory

 

Despite language and cultural differences, it was special to see these two women, who love to create things of beauty by hand, share this moment.

Posted on 1 Comment

Hello from Nepal!

I’m having a great time in Nepal on the tour with Sew Many Places. Several of the people on the tour have traveled with me previously and I’ve also made many new friends.

 

Boats

 

 

I arrived early to Nepal with two quilting friends to get in a little additional sightseeing, the highlight of which was time spent with the elephants. (My thanks to Sandi Goldman for many of these pictures.)

 

Jinny and Elephant

 

Elephants Bathing

 

Our tour group gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city.

 

Nepal 5

 

Nepal 6

 

Nepal 7

The sadness for me is seeing the ever-present effect of last year’s earthquake with the total destruction of some structures and the shoring up of old historic landmarks.

 

Earthquake 2

 

Earthquake 1
Isn’t it amazing that this building is still standing?

But, of course, there are so many wonderful sights to see including the Nepali children who are always ready with a smile.

 

Nepali Children

 

And, since this is a quilters’ tour, there is always time for a lesson or two.

 

Class in session

 

I’m excited to announce my next trip with Sew Many Places. A year from now I will be traveling with them to Guatemala. I have never been to this country but have heard and read so many wonderful things about it.

Here is a link to information on the trip.

 

Color- 1
The colorful inspiration abounds in Guatemala

 

Posted on 7 Comments

Hard to Believe….

The summer seems to have flown by.  It is hard to believe that the regular baseball season is over, school has been in session for a month, that there is not much left in the vegetable garden, that our shop hop starts in less than a month, that Fall Quilt Market is in three weeks and that I leave in two days for two weeks in Nepal…Yikes!

 

Hard to Believe 4

 

Ok, I’ll take a big breath and give a few words of wisdom before I sign off and start packing. I have talked all summer about our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest, and I have shared with you the progress as I have worked on the quilt for our shop this year.

 

Hard to Believe 3

 

When I finished the top a month ago I really wanted it quilted. Since I pieced it all by hand (while watching baseball games all summer) I wanted it quilted by hand as well. I am amazed at how fast the quilting is going. So far I have only been quilting on it for three and a half weeks but I already have two thirds of it completed. But I guess if you are a little diligent and do some each day it gets done! I work on it an hour in the morning when I first get up, an hour during the evening news and three or more hours during the baseball game. Since I have a lot of travel this month, I won’t get it completely finished before the shop hop but I’ll come close.

 

Hard to Believe 1

 

I want to share with you two of my favorite tools when quilting by hand. The first is TJ’s Quick Quilter Spoon. I have been using this for years. It helps me get even stitches and protects my fingers. The second tool is some long-nosed pliers. While quilting, I usually get five or six stitches on my needle at a time. I’m getting a little arthritis in my fingers and sometimes it is hard to pull the needle through. A pair of needle nosed pliers does the trick! I just keep it near me on the top of the quilt and use it to pull out the needle. It saves the fingers and makes the quilting go quicker since I can stack more stitches on the needle each time.

 

Hard to Believe 2

 

We just had our latest shop hop meeting a few days ago. All of the shop owners shared their quilts. What a spectacular array! When you participate in the Quest, you can pick up a free pattern at each shop for their quilt. That’s a total of 10 FREE patterns! I am at the Studio every day of the Quest to greet you and hand out our patterns. I hope to see you then!

This year Quilters’ Quest will take place November 4th through November 13th.

Participating stores will be open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-6:00pm and Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm. Visit www.quiltersquest.org for details.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Magic of Shading

I just couldn’t resist the Zipster pouches that are in our web special this week. In case you didn’t notice, they shade from top to bottom. And as you may have heard, I have this thing for shading.  As soon as I saw them I just had to make some shaded bundles to go with them.

 

Jinny Shading

 

 

Zipsters with Fabrics for Blog

 

People have asked what the secret is for shading colors. It is not difficult. You can shade light to dark within a color and then link it to another color through very dark or black. You can shade through medium values into another color, or you can shade lighter and go through lights.

When I go on a tour with people I can’t help myself sometimes when we do a group photo. People are never asked to wear anything special, but for the photo I like to shade everyone together according to what they have on that day.

 

INDIA shaded phot sm

 

This is a photo that was taken in front of Amber Palace in India on a trip with Sew Many Places. It is a perfect example of my shading addiction. Notice the five women in the lower right. Within just those five, the colors go from light to dark and from bright orange to deep burgundy. The woman in the center is what I call the “transition” color because her shirt is a mixture of slightly orange and slightly pink…sort of watermelon.

The man in the second row down with the turban is the transition between the gold and the coral shirts. The four of us in the lower left probably should have been reversed so that the lime green shirt was next to the greenish gold shirt.  But how much rearranging could I expect my fellow travelers to put up with?

Fortunately, this shading addiction led to my creating the 150 shaded fabrics in my Palette Collection along with the Portable Palette.

 

portable palette

 

I will be taking another trip with Sew Many Places this October to Nepal. There are still a few spaces left. It is a colorful country and I’m looking forward to going once again. It’s not too late for you to sign up and join me for this fabulous tour.

 

nepal_bhaktapur