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## Tessellations

People have been fascinated with interlocking designs throughout the ages.  I became interested in this type of design in the 1990’s and diligently studied the work of Dutch artist M.C. Escher to try and figure out how he created his amazing tessellations. One day the light bulb went off and it all fell into place. It is so simple!

The first question is “What is a tessellation?” A tessellation is any shape that can be repeated over and over to fill a surface without gaps or overlaps.

Squares, triangles, hexagons, and diamonds are all tessellations because they can fill a surface without gaps.

Those are easy to see, but the more intriguing tessellations contain more complex, interlocking shapes. There are a few rules to follow and these rules must be adhered to or the shape will not “tessellate”.

So the number one rule is that you must begin with a base shape that tessellates. Number two is that you must give it back to the side of the shape that is equal in length. It makes a difference which side you give it back to or whether you flip or rotate the shape. Here are a few designs with this simple square and several of the patterns that can be created by merely putting the cut piece back in different ways.

Lets look at the simplest of the tessellations, the square. It is easy to see how it can repeat over and over to fill a surface without gaps. But what happens if I take a chunk out of that square? It is no longer a tessellation.

So here is the “aha” moment.  The secret to creating tessellations is this: if you take away a piece of a shape, give the piece back to another side of the shape. You will once again have tessellation because the piece you give back will fit into the hole of an adjacent piece where it was taken away.

There are a variety of ways to give a shape back and a few rules that must be followed. You can rotate the piece or not depending upon the shape used. I wrote an entire book on this called Designing Tessellations. Unfortunately it is out of print, but it is still available as an “e-book.”

I am currently working on an online class that will be offered through my website sometime in the future. It will cover all the rules, shapes that can be used, how to turn the shape into a usable pattern for quilting and much more!

I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be available but for now, why not come to the Studio and take a class in person. I will be teaching Designing Tessellations August 11 & 12.

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## And the winner is……

Back in the beginning of May we announced a contest inspired by a box of packets of 10-inch squares from last year’s Quilters’ Quest. We challenged you to design and make a quilt (or quilt top) using these fabrics. Photos had to be submitted by June 18th.

What fun we had looking at your entries! Each member of the Studio staff, totally untrained in any kind of quilt judging, voted on his or her favorite.  The quilter who got the most votes wins a \$100 Studio gift certificate.

About a dozen people managed to finish their projects and submit them in the short amount of time given. There was a wide range styles and entries came from around the world.

And the winner is…Sarah Kirtland from Williamsburg, Virginia.

Sarah’s quilt, Here Comes the Sun, is based on the classic kaleidoscope block. She knew she wanted to do something with triangles after seeing my new Thousand Pyramids quilt. She spent four days simply drawing, working on the design. Sarah was at the Studio at the beginning of the month taking a class and picked up a few fabrics to supplement the 10-inch squares. Then the fiendish sewing began and didn’t stop until shortly before the deadline. She didn’t believe she had a chance to win but thought it would be a good exercise. I’m reminded of a saying by Mark Twain: “…you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.’

There were many other fabulous quilts. Here are just a few.

David Schulz took inspiration from local Native Americans who had different names for different parts of the Potomac, calling the river above Great Falls, where the Studio is located, “Cohongarooton”, meaning “honking geese.” He included flying geese blocks along with a variation on a block design from my Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns (Island Compass 380-11).  He also used the Golden Ratio throughout the piece. Even the number of flying geese is included in the Fibonacci sequence. The finished piece measures 29” x 18”.

This Phoenix quilt came from Charlie MacDonald and we enjoyed his description of the process, the trials and tribulations. He loved the palette from the Quilters Quest. It reminded him of sunset/sunrise “and somehow the colors got him thinking of a Phoenix rising in flame from the ashes.” He used his Apliquick tools for the appliqué. Charlie said he learned a lot from making this and already has ideas for Phoenix 2.0.

Tom Dengler took an interesting approach. He writes: “I was inspired to find a way to challenge myself to use both sides of the fabric based on some ideas I had first seen used in watercolor quilts. The white gives the illusion of piercing the fabric by piecing the fabric backside. I learned that hand stitching the corner first gives a much neater appearance.” It is called Dos Rayos de Luz.

One thing that I particularly loved seeing was how many truly challenged themselves to try something new and, it seems, are very glad they did so. Here are more of the wonderful projects we received pictures of. We have no stories to go with them but I want to thank each and every one of you for participating and congratulations to all for your beautiful work.

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## Patriotic Quilts

The new McCall’s magazine, The Best of McCall’s Quilting – 22 of Our Most Popular Patterns, features a quilt I designed for them several years ago, Lone Star Salute.

Upon seeing it again and with the election in the forefront and the Fourth of July approaching, I began thinking about commemorative quilts. We have certainly seen many patriotic-themed quilts over the years and, I must admit, I have done my share to add to the pool of these types of quilts. Some of them are personal quilts and others are ones that I designed for patterns.

In 1976 when I had been quilting for only four years, a friend asked me if I was going to make a quilt commemorating the bicentennial. I hadn’t thought about it but decided that was a good idea. While I think the overall design and balance leaves a lot to be desired, I learned a tremendous amount during the process of making it. First of all, I wanted the blocks in the quilt to have been named for some event in our country’s history. I have blocks such as Dolly Madison’s Star, 54-40 or Fight, Mrs. Cleveland’s Choice. I even created my own block of the bicentennial logo.

All of those blocks were to be a 10-inch finished size.  Since I knew it would be impossible to find all the patterns in a 10-inch size, I had to figure out how to draft all of those designs. Intrigued by the drafting process, I began teaching pattern drafting to my students and that lead to my first book, Patchwork Patterns, published in 1979.

Drafting the 50 five-pointed stars to fit into a larger five-pointed star was a challenge but I eventually figured out how to do it. Another challenge was fitting exactly 200 triangles into the border that surrounds the central motif.

My quilt Windows was another commemorative quilt with a red white and blue theme that I made following the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001. I wanted at least one piece in the quilt for each of the victims of the attacks. In the end, the quilt has 4,777 pieces.The patriotic quilts I have designed which have patterns available include Lone Star Salute, shown above, September Sun, another that was designed shortly after the terrorists’ attack, and Fourth of July Star. Smaller projects include my new Wings wall quilt and our row for this year’s Row By Row shop hop, Eagle’s Pride.

Why don’t you give a try at creating a patriotic-themed quilt.

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## 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.Staffer 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.

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.

Finishing 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.

Nancy 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.Grandchildren 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.

Another 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.

Looking 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!

Kelley 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!

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.

Here 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!And 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.

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## Studio Contest

Sometimes around the Studio in an effort to straighten up, items are put in a “safe” place and temporarily forgotten.  Such was the case with a large box of 10-inch square fabric packets prepared for last year’s Quilters’ Quest. You can imagine our dismay when we found them.  We certainly could have used them at the time. But now, the question became what to do with them. The idea we came up with is a fun opportunity for you and the chance to win a great prize.

These packets feature six fabrics from my Carnival collection relating to our 2015 Quest theme, Sunset Over the Potomac. They were just part of the color palette the “questers” could collect as they traveled to all 10 Quest shops.  Here is the entire palette.

If you purchase one of these packets or still have one from last year’s Quest, here’s what we’d like you to do. Design and make a quilt (or quilt top) using these fabrics. We must be able to recognize at least a piece of all six fabrics in your quilt. You may add whatever other fabrics you’d like. Take a picture of your project and post it on our Facebook page by June 18th.

Each member of the Studio staff, totally untrained in any kind of quilt judging, will vote on her favorite.  The quilter who gets the most votes wins a \$100 Studio gift certificate.

The 10-inch square fabric packets are available on our website here.  Because supplies are limited and we want to give as many of you as possible a chance to participate, we can only allow one fabric pack per order. Domestic postage on only the fabric packet is less than \$2.50.  The \$100 gift certificate can be applied to any Jinny Beyer products (fabric, books, notions), classes or shipping.

This idea was inspired by one of our favorite customers. You’ve often seen Margo on our Facebook page with the many wonderful quilts she makes.  A couple of months ago, she came in with this quilt which started with those same 10-inch squares. So let the Marvelous Margo inspire you and get to designing.

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## No Sewing Machine, No Pattern, No Problem

We’ve just returned home after spending a week with our daughter, her husband and our two grandchildren who are now seven and four. The grandchildren love to work on art projects of various sorts and are quite imaginative. Usually when I visit, I have a sewing project that I am working on and they always ask if they can have some pieces to sew too. A couple of diamonds sewn together becomes a butterfly, a few squares become a blanket for a stuffed animal, etc.

I often take them a small gift of various art supplies, scraps of fabric, and other fun craft items. This time, I decided to take half yard pieces of some of my Safari fabrics that they could turn into whatever they liked.  I thought they would enjoy the animals on these fabrics and the bright colors.

Well, they LOVED the fabrics but, right off the bat, my grandson said “Will you make me a skateboard shirt?” My granddaughter pounced on that idea and said “Will you make me a skateboard dress?”

My heart fell a little because my daughter doesn’t have a sewing machine, I had no patterns and I thought there wouldn’t be enough of any one fabric to make these garments. I told them I wasn’t sure the pieces would be big enough. They said that that was okay because I’m always sewing different fabrics together and they wanted “patchwork” clothes. They immediately picked out the fabrics that they wanted in their new clothes.

So I set aside the amounts of fabric I thought I would need, drew some sketches to show them, and measured. They told me exactly where they wanted each of the fabrics and, while I cut and sewed pieces together for their garments, they cut pieces and created a myriad of projects for their stuffed animals, dolls and their dog. My grandson even created a new garment for me, taking pieces of the fabric and taping them together to form a shirt.

I have to admit my thoughts journeyed back to seventh grade where all the girls in the sewing class made gathered skirts with a waistband all by hand. By that time in my life I had been making clothes for several years on my mother’s treadle sewing machine, and longed for the sewing machine for those long seams. While I love hand piecing my quilts, for garments a sewing machine definitely comes in handy.

At any rate, the children had a ball. I loved watching them with their creative little minds and I wondered when they would be old enough to have their own sewing machine. Hmmm…grandma has a gift in mind.

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## Travel with Me to Nepal

I am so excited to announce that I will be going to Nepal on a tour with Sew Many Places October 14-22 this year.

We all gain inspiration for our work in a lot of different ways. I definitely know that the two years I lived in Nepal from 1968-1970 had a direct impact on the way I design fabrics and make quilts. October is the perfect month to visit and I can hardly wait to return to this incredible country with its gentle people who always have a ready smile.

Officially the highest country on earth, Nepal is as rich in culture as it is in geography. From vibrant, cosmopolitan cities to tranquil temples, stunning landscapes to ancient architecture, Nepal has it all. It is consistently named as one of the top places to visit in your lifetime for the amazing cultural discoveries, unbelievable scenery, delicious food and some of the friendliest people on the planet.

We will be participating in hands-on workshops and see lots of craft demonstrations.  As part of the trip, for those who want to participate, we also be working on a hand pieced project. If you have never hand pieced, don’t worry. I will help. On one of our trips I even taught Jim West, the founder of Sew Many Places, how to sew. He did great!

I hope you can join me on this amazing journey. If so, be ready to be inspired by the design all around, whether it is in weavings, rugs, temples, ornately carved window frames, awe-inspiring landscape and so much more.

As the Nepalis say for either hello or good-bye,

Namaste,

Jinny

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## New York City in Six Hours…a 17 hour marathon!

My friends, Sue and Malcolm Bennett, from Australia, visited us here in Virginia for a few days. Sue is a quilter and has a shop in Waitchie, Victoria. You might remember her from a previous blog post https://jinnybeyer.com/blog/2014/08/page/3/.

When I asked what they would like to do, Sue said seeing New York City was on her bucket list. Malcolm had no interest.

So Sue and I decided to take a “girls’ day” and just go. I asked her what she wanted to see. She said she just wanted to see the city, but Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty…..would all be good. I added that you can’t go to New York without eating at a typical New York deli and that we had to wander through the garment district.

For years I made monthly trips to New York City to work with the artists in the design house where my fabrics were created. I would take the train to the city, work all day and then take the train back home again. The studio was only two blocks from Penn Station so I rarely ventured very far beyond mid-town. But I thought “why not?”

So we plotted, spent some time on the internet searching and made a plan of action.

We left my house at 6 AM on Saturday morning and drove to Union Station in Washington DC. We parked at the station, got out and were greeted with the most spectacular sunrise. The vivid colors were reflected in the glass windows of a building adjacent to the station.

Our train didn’t leave until 7:30 so we had a little time to get some coffee and something to eat. Promptly at 7:30, the train left the station with two excited women aboard. On the way to New York, Sue and I stitched triangles for my new pattern “Thousand Pyramids” (available soon, stay tuned).When the train arrived, we both checked our Fitbits and determined that we already had about 1800 steps. Then we started our whirlwind tour:

11 AM: Arrival at Penn Station. We wound our way through the station and headed east on 33rd Street towards 5th Avenue towards the Empire State Building. When we got there, we couldn’t find the building and asked someone exactly where it was.  We were politely informed that we were standing right in front of it and to just look up. Better yet, the kind gentleman told us to go across the street and down to the corner and we would get the best view.

11:28 AM: We headed north on 5th Avenue towards 38th Street. We had determined that we would go down 38th and check out some of the amazing bead and trim shops along that street.

11:47 AM: Sue and Jinny in one of the amazing trim shops.

12:05 PM: We finished our tour of the “garment district” and headed north on 7th Avenue to Times Square. We arrived there at 12:15 and just hung out for a little while, watching all the activity.

12:30 PM: We decided the oatmeal bars that we had for breakfast had long since left our systems and we were starving. We had read that Carnegie Deli was one of the best of the New York delis so we continued our walk up 7th Avenue towards 55th Street. When we reached Carnegie’s there was a huge line trailing around the block. I went to the front of the line and asked how long that person had been waiting and was told it had been more than an hour and that there was also a long line inside the restaurant. So we went to plan “B” and called Artie’s (also on the list of the five best delis in New York). They told us there was no waiting at the moment.

12:50 PM: By now we were starving and our legs were getting a little weary and the thought of walking the 27 blocks up to 82nd was a little daunting. We wanted to be sure to get there while they still had space. So we hailed a cab and took off for Artie’s.

1:05 PM: We arrived at Artie’s and Sue said she had never had a reuben sandwich. I told her she had to have one while we were there. The sandwiches arrived within 10 minutes and we both were astounded by the size. There must have been a pound of corned beef in each sandwich.

1:45 PM: We left Artie’s and walked east on 83rd Street towards Central Park. It was a beautiful day and the weather was perfect. This area of the city is more tranquil than the hubbub in midtown.

2 PM: It was amazing to approach Central Park and see this large area that had been preserved. We entered the park just above The Lake and wandered south, enjoying the beauty around us. We passed the Strawberry Fields, saw horse drawn carriages and in the distance the skyscrapers of the city.

2:30 PM: It was hard to leave the tranquility of the park, but we had to get to the southern end of Manhattan to Ground Zero and a taxi would take a long time so we opted to tackle the subway. And, hey, if you are in New York, you gotta just try it. We made our way to the 72nd Street station, asked at information how to get there and received our \$2.50 “senior pass” which was good for the rest of the day. On the subway, Sue, the gregarious one of our “duo” immediately got into a conversation with a couple who were heading in our direction. They got a big kick of the recounting of our marathon tour in progress. They gave us some pointers as they left us two stops before our own.

3:00 PM: All giddiness on our part stopped as we walked from the subway station toward the 9/11 Memorial. One could just feel the anguish, hope, determination. We first saw the Trade Center buildings that have been finished so far.

We wound our way around construction barriers to the spot where the two towers had stood, those places now giant waterfalls in the footprint of the towers. The names of all the victims of the terrorist attacks that horrific day are engraved in bronze slabs around each of the fountains. Time stood still for us as each of us as we remembered where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. My quilt “Windows” was my response to the attacks. The piece in the very center of the quilt is for a friend who was in the plane that hit the Pentagon. A kind gentleman at one of the information booths looked up her name and showed us where we could find it. We both shed our tears not only for her but for all the victims and their families. To see so many names of people, going about their daily routines, who had fallen to terrorists within a short period of time, made an immense impression on us.4 PM: It was hard for us to leave the place of beauty that had been carved out of tragedy. Subdued, we walked away and came upon a group of policemen. We asked them for directions to Battery Park. They pointed us in the right direction and we headed towards the park where we would see the Statue of Liberty. When we got there we could see the Statue in the distance and were a bit worried about taking the time to ride a ferry to get closer. Our train was leaving central station at 6 PM and we weren’t sure how long it would take us to get back to Penn Station. So, with the wind still knocked from our sails from seeing the memorial, we enjoyed the park for a while then asked directions to the nearest subway and found our way back to Penn Station.

5:15 PM: we arrived at Penn Station and time enough to sit down for a brief drink and then get ready to board our train home.

6:00 PM: It took very little time for us to relax and fall asleep on the ride back to Washington……..no sewing of triangles took place on the way home.

11:00 PM: 17 hours and just under 20,000 steps later, we arrived back home after a pretty incredible day.

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## Finished at last….and finally ready for Quest!

You’ve been following with me as I’ve created my quilt for this year’s Quilter’s Quest and here it finally is, my finished quilt top, Calliope. The journey has been a fun one from its design just this summer to the final appliqué stitches.

I have been enjoying doing some applique designs and have been influenced by the ox cart wheels that I saw in Costa Rica earlier this year and also by the beautiful applique of the tentmakers of Cairo.

Planning for the Quest started long before I began this quilt. All of us at the 10 participating shops look forward to our shop hop and work hard to make it fun for you because it’s so much fun for us. We love seeing old friends, making new ones and revel in the festive atmosphere.

Each shop has designed and made a quilt just as I have, using our color-coordinated 10-inch squares. When you visit a shop, you will receive a free pattern for that shop’s quilt. The colors this year are the bright and cheery tones of a sunrise and blend well together. If you make it to all ten shops you can collect all of the fabrics used in the quilts and will be eligible for some fantastic prizes. As always, we have exclusive fabrics designed just for the Quest featuring images special to our region.

We have been working very hard gearing up for your visit, making special projects, assembling kits, and preparing demonstrations. We still have a few places on our two buses and would love to have you join us along with quilters from across the country.

Mark the Quest dates on your calendar, November 6 – 15, and make plans to visit us all during the Quest.

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## QQ 2015 Final Quilt Design

You’ve been following with me as I’ve created my quilt for this year’s Quilter’s Quest and here it finally is, my finished quilt top, Calliope. The journey has been a fun one from its design just this summer to the final appliqué stitches.

I have been enjoying doing some applique designs and have been influenced by the ox cart wheels that I saw in Costa Rica earlier this year and also by the beautiful applique of the tentmakers of Cairo.

Planning for the Quest started long before I began this quilt. All of us at the 10 participating shops look forward to our shop hop and work hard to make it fun for you because it’s so much fun for us. We love seeing old friends, making new ones and revel in the festive atmosphere.

Each shop has designed and made a quilt just as I have, using our color-coordinated 10-inch squares.  When you visit a shop, you will receive a free pattern for that shop’s quilt. The colors this year are the bright and cheery tones of a sunrise and blend well together. If you make it to all ten shops you can collect all of the fabrics used in the quilts and will be eligible for some fantastic prizes. As always, we have exclusive fabrics designed just for the Quest featuring images special to our region.

We have been working very hard gearing up for your visit, making special projects, assembling kits, and preparing demonstrations. We still have a few places on our two buses and would love to have you join us along with quilters from across the country.

Mark the Quest dates on your calendar, November 6 – 15, and make plans to visit us all during the Quest.