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 3 Comments

Where Does She Come Up With These Great Ideas?

Jinny is off this week so the staff here at the Studio decided to take over her blog. The takeover was prompted by a discussion of this week’s web special. In the web special, we are offering a bundle of autumn colored fabrics inspired by a photograph of the spectacular colors of the maple tree at the Studio’s front door. How did we get from that photograph to the fabrics for this week’s special?

 

autumn bundle web special- for blog

 

Looking at the image, you will see in the lower left corner the colors taken from the photograph. Jinny explained in her blog in April 2014 how you can do this with any photograph using Photoshop software. From that, she chose eight fabrics ranging from warm golds, oranges and reds to a weathered dark brown. Compare the fabrics with the color palette from Photoshop. Don’t they look wonderful?

 

Autumn Bundle for blog

 

But where there are pretty shaded fabrics, there is always the question of where to use them.

Jinny next went into the Quilter’s Design Board on our website. The Design Board allows you to download hundreds of free quilt blocks, get fabric recommendations, yardage requirements and more. After looking through it, she chose two blocks to play around with. Here is what she started with to get to the two quilts above.

 

Design Board Blocks- Blog

 

Choose the size you want your blocks to be and you can see the templates for each patch and how many you will need along with a handy template guide for how to put your block together.

 

Template Guide

 

You can print the templates directly onto template film. Check out this tutorial on our website.

All that’s left is to pull out your fabric and get started. You can make the scrappy Bear’s Foot or the shaded Pine Tree. You just need a half yard bundle and two yards each of a background and border print. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Posted on 2 Comments

What are You Working on?

Every now and then, I like to share with you projects that members of my staff are working on. It’s a treat for me to see them too, so here goes.Millenium StarStaffer Dana made Millennium Star, based on an old pattern of mine, using fabrics from my Delhi collection.  She will have a tough time finishing it if her kitty, Turbo, won’t give it up.

Cathy1

Cathy's Civil War Quilt Cathy has one quilt recently finished and one in process. She used one of the new monument fabrics, as we call it, from the “Celebrating Our Region” collection to make this quick and easy quilt using the “Times Three” pattern. It’s perfect for showcasing a favorite fabric.  She is currently working on this Civil War era quilt for her son-in-law.

Julia2

Julia1Finishing up UFO’s has been Julia’s mission lately. This is a Karen Sievert design, “Color, Color All Around,” which Julia started in a class with Karen in 2012. The top is now finished and she’s beginning the quilting.

IMG_2674Nancy is finishing, in the nick of time, a quilt for a challenge called “Architectural Quilts.” The design for this is based on a floor found in Venice, Italy.Linda 2 ProjectsGrandchildren often influence our projects. Linda, in addition to making placemats from border print fabric, made this precious dress for her granddaughter’s doll using fabric from the Palette, #149. It is a free pattern by Susan Kramer which she found on Pinterest.

Lura1

Lura setAnother granddaughter, this one Lura’s, was the pretty little recipient of a new dress.  Lura also is quilting a Serengeti quilt and making hot pads for her quilt guild’s upcoming boutique.

Rebecca quilt

Rebecca2Looking at these two projects from Rebecca, I can’t help but notice the diversity in her interests. The first is her “whacky family portrait” quilt made in a Lisa Ellis workshop. She is also finishing up this snowman red work quilt, a Gail Pan design.  It is hand quilted with perle cotton.  She just finished the binding and all it needs is a label, before it is ready for the snow!Kelly Bag

Kelly 1st set

Kelley 2nd setKelley is our newest staff member and it appears she is very busy at home.  She is working on a number of projects including this “Diva Frame Wallet” by Sew Many Creations and Lucy Boston.   She just finished sewing together a tuffet cover using Erin Underwood’s “Quick and Cute Tuffets” pattern and the Creative Grids 15 Degree Triangle Ruler. The next step is upholstery. Finally, she is moderating a small online sew along of Lori Holt’s “Farm Girl Vintage” with six quilters from Virginia, Arizona and Texas. Here are her month #5 blocks plus an alternate block, “corn and tomatoes”. The corn kernels are 1/2″ finished squares. Phew!

Janet There’s more hand piecing going on. Janet is hand piecing flowering snowball blocks this summer.  Eventually it will be a queen sized quilt.  She says it is the perfect project for sitting on the porch on a sunny day. Hopefully, all the rain we’ve had will go away and give her the opportunity to to just that.

EuniceHere is a top just completed by Eunice. When a staff member leaves, we make blocks from our Quilter’s Design Board as a farewell gift. Eunice just moved to Florida last month but has already managed to assemble the blocks we gave her. It’s beautiful, Eunice!Calliope quilting JuneAnd finally, as for me, I am enjoying spending most evenings watching my beloved Washington Nationals while hand quilting Calliope.  It’s a wonderful way to end each day.

Posted on 8 Comments

The Symmetry of Patchwork Blocks

Island TropicsOur web special this week is a bundle of coordinating fabrics. It’s easy to look at a bundle like this and admire the pretty colors. It takes a little more imagining, though, to figure out what to do with it. To help you out, we selected three different free pattern downloads as possible choices for using those fabrics. Two of the blocks are shown here.

First image for blog

Normally we just think of putting blocks together side by side, and all facing in the same direction. Blocks that have coloring that are non-symmetrical, or are symmetrical in just one direction can also be arranged in a variety of other ways.

For instance, we are used to seeing the Irish Chain block put together with the blocks side by side, and all oriented in the same direction.

4. Double Irish Chain col quilt 1But what happens if you pinwheel the blocks? You get a completely different look.

5. Double Irish Chain quilt 2a

6. Double Irish Chain quilt 2Here are 5 different layouts of the Triangle Charm blocks.

Blocks side by side oriented in the same direction.First set

Blocks pinwheeledImage 2

Blocks pinwheeled and then mirroredImage 3Four blocks mirrored and then those units side by sideImage 4

Four block unit all oriented the same way and then those units mirrored.Image 5It is fascinating to play around with all the possibilities. Which is your favorite?

Note: If you would like to recreate these blocks and use them in a quilt, please use the free patterns for guidance as to how much additional fabric you will need.

Triangle Charm: fabric 7 is 5748-02 and fabric 8 is 0213-10
Double Irish Chain: background fabric is Palette #58, 7132-25

Posted on 3 Comments

Amazing Effects with Mirror-Image Fabric

I have mentioned the Design Board on our web site before.  Just this week we added design number 225.  All of these are free downloads and available in 6, 10 or 12 inch sizes.

As I was fussy cutting the paisley fabric for the points of this latest block, I realized I have talked about fussy cutting border prints (Anatomy of a Border Print), but not about looking for fabric with mirror-images to use in the same technique.

1 and 4 mirror blog WWO end paisley

Here is an image of the paisley fabric I used for the triangles in World Without End, Block 225. The white lines indicate the “mirror” lines. These are places in the fabric where the design left of the mirror line is the identical reverse of the design to the right of the line. In the case of this particular block, the triangle can be centered anywhere along the mirror line.  In fact, it is fun to try it in different places. And don’t forget you will get different designs if you turn the template upside down. See how many variations you can get.

Mirror image lines side by side copy The use of a fabric with mirror-image motifs can enhance the appearance of the block.  See here the World Without End block with and without the mirrored paisley fabric.

WWO side by sideBlock 218 looks great as it is but let’s add a paisley design. Here is the block as it appears on our Design Board and another variation using the mirrored paisley from Renaissance Garden.

Quasar side by side copyBlock 144, Southern Pride, from the Design Board is shown here first the original form and, second, with paisleys used in place of two of the other fabrics.

Southern side by side copyFinally, see how different Southern Pride looks when multiple blocks of each variation are put together.

Quilt side by side copyLook through the designs on the Design Board and see how many you can find that already use fabrics with mirror-image motifs and which blocks you think would benefit from the additions of a mirror-image fabric. E-mail us pictures of your designs at service@jinnybeyer.com, we would love to see what you create.