From the time I first began quilting I experimented with ways to “fussy cut” fabrics to give interest to the blocks I was making. Unbeknownst to me during that same time, an Englishwoman named Lucy Boston (1892-1990) was doing her own experimenting with fabrics and she created many spectacular quilts, probably the most famous being her Patchwork of the Crosses.
With the renewed interest in hand piecing and working with mirror-imaged fabrics, Lucy’s Patchwork of the Crosses block has become very popular. The block is made with with a single shape–the honeycomb (elongated hexagon). The blocks are then joined with squares.
Some people stitch the blocks in the traditional manner and some use the English paper piecing technique. No matter which technique you use, the most fun part is seeing how many different ways you can cut the fabric to create different effects.
I experimented with the Patchwork of the Crosses block using just two border print fabrics. Typically a mirror-imaged motif is centered in the middle of the template, such as you see here.
But what happens if you deliberately “skew” the template so that the mirror-imaged motif is not centered?
Mark a portion of the design onto the template and then flip it and find the mirror-imaged counterpart.
That technique was used in the corners of the two blocks shown above.
As we began playing around with Lucy Boston blocks and hexagons, or “hexies,” last year, we began to carry acrylic and paper templates for these projects making the process faster and easier. We also have some tips on our website for fussy cutting border prints for these projects. We’ve been having so much fun with these. Why don’t you give it a try?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Often my blogs come about by a customer who asks an interesting question. Sometimes the ideas come from my staff as this one does today.
The bonus for this week’s “Weekly Web Special,” (available only to subscribers*) mentions how difficult it might be to pick your favorite fabric from fat quarter bundles we are offering. From this, one simple question captured our attention and had us all wondering. What is your favorite Jinny Beyer fabric?
Now, you would think think this would be easy to answer but many found it quite difficult. Here’s what several of them had to say.
Betty, who posed the question, fondly remembered many past collections but stated Outback, several years old, was her favorite. She decided her single favorite, though, was a border print in teal and purple from the original Border Basics collection.My son, Sean, who manages our fabric inventory (which makes him well acquainted with each and every fabric) was in agreement with Outback being a favorite collection and this fabric, with its aboriginal designs, as his favorite.
Diane immediately popped up with an answer—Palette #119, chocolate leaf. It is a wonderful, rich brown and makes a great alternative to black as a background fabric as you can see in her Solstice quilt. Diane then tried to add another dozen favorites and wasn’t happy that we tried to limit her to just one.
Palette fabrics are pretty popular with the staff. Rebecca also chose a Palette fabric–#126—not only for the beautiful teal color but also for the design. She’s also fond of the 10 other colorways floral outline comes in.That design seems to be a favorite. Lura said, “I keep going back to this beautiful red, Palette #30. It is so vibrant!”
Another fan of the floral outline is Nancy, choosing #58. “Solid white is just too boring for me. This fabric has much more depth and is my current favorite background fabric.”Linda wanted in on the fun even though she was in California at the time. Although she has a stockpile of older fabrics she loves, she says, “Black eyelash (#48) is probably my all-time favorite because it just works with everything!”The blue/green/purple of Bedfordshire received votes from both Judy and Julia. Neither could imagine I was asking them to pick just one or two. Judy loves the “elegant feel” of these fabrics.
For Julia, “the Bedfordshire collection really spoke to me when I was challenged in my guild to create a chevron quilt. I used all the fabrics, with the light blue being the predominant fabric. The border prints were fussy cut. I guess you could call the light blue my favorite.”Dana is a quilter with a degree in fashion design so she often uses quilting fabric for clothing. While she loves Rajasthan Spray— “the colors are spectacular and each of these works well as a backing, a middle border or as a blender with a novelty fabric”—she has always loved the floral print from Rajasthan. “It works great for garments. I have used the yellow in a dress and the blue in a skirt.”
Sharon is a big fan of black and white quilts. She made this signature quilt for her son’s wedding and added the Monochrome border print. She loves this fabric because it always gives her quilts a nice finishing touch.I am often asked what my favorites are and my usual response is my latest collection. That would be Safari with my favorite from there being the teal elephants. They make me smile. If I had to pick an old favorite or two, I’d probably have to say cream thunder and black eyelash because they are so useful. Cream thunder is long gone but, now that I think about it, I might just have to bring that back again.
If you would like to subscribe to our Weekly Web Special emails and be eligible for the Subscriber Bonus, please go to www.jinnybeyer.com and follow the instructions under “Newsletter Signup.”
Do you have an old favorite that you would like Jinny to bring back? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There has been a lot of talk and hype about the “2016 Pantone Colors of the Year”. Have you ever wondered why when you go to the mall in a new “season” that all the colors seem the same, that accessories coordinate and seem similar, etc? Well, there truly is a system in place to get people to use and buy certain colors each year.
When I first began designing fabrics in 1981, I was handed a board with some colors on it and I was told that those were the “in” colors for the coming year and I should design my fabrics using those colors.
My answer was that by the time the fabric was printed they would be on to a new set of colors. Even if the fabric came out in time, by the time a quilt was made with the fabrics, those colors would be out of style. I put the colors aside and just did my own thing and still do.
But let’s get back to the “2016 Pantone Colors of the Year” that have many people ready to upchuck. Here they are.
First and foremost, I want everyone to know that when I recolored my Carnival border print for my new border basic group almost a year ago, I was totally unaware of what the colors of this new year would be…but here it is.
It kind of looks like I was following the “Color God” rules, doesn’t it? Even more so when I created this quilt, High Tea, for the collection to show how effective the use of a border print can be in a simple design with a border print setting block.
But never mind. There is a more important point to make. I have taught my color class hundreds of times and in that class I always tell the students that it is my belief that you can put any colors together. It is not the colors you select but what you put with them that makes them look good. It is for this very reason that back in 1990 I developed my Palette Fabric Collection. It contains 150 colors that span the spectrum and they were designed in subtle prints to coordinate with other prints, borders, multi-color prints, etc.
My basic color theory is that whatever colors you select, you have to add whatever colors you need to get those to shade together. It’s like looking at a rainbow where you never know where one color ends and the next one begins–a smooth gradual shading. You can shade through darks, through lights or through medium tones.
So looking at the Pantone colors again, what happens if I add other colors to get those to shade together? The two colors in my Palette that come closest to the Pantone colors are #40 and #133.
There are many ways two colors can be shaded together. Here are three variations. There are many others.
So next time you see two colors that you just don’t like together, think again. Bring in other colors that will allow the shading to occur and you might surprise yourself!
It’s been bustling around the Studio these days. One of our very popular items this season has been our holiday tree bundles.
This year during our annual shop hop Charlie from Connecticut came down to participate in the Quest and went on one of our buses. Charlie brought a gift from his local quilt shop, That’s Sew Debbie, in Groton, Connecticut. It was a cute fat quarter bundle with four fabrics folded into a tree.
Of course, I had to figure out how the pieces were folded. I dissected the bundle and came up with a system that works for me.
When you make the first fold, be sure to fold long side to long side. I wanted to hide all the raw edges, get a perfect 60 degree triangle when done and have it compact enough to stay together. My Perfect Cut 60 Degree Ruler worked great to get the angle.
The first words out of everyone’s mouth when they see one of the trees is “It’s so cute!”
We think they make adorable Christmas gifts and wanted to share the process of assembling them with you. Watch the video below and start folding some yourself!
This is the tale of two Quilt Market rookies and our trip to Houston with Jinny. We, staffers Dana and Nancy, have taken over Jinny’s blog to give you an inside view of the Fall Quilt Market in Houston which we had heard so much about yet never attended.
It is at Market that fabric manufacturers, designers and all who create quilting products present their goods to shop owners. It was our job to help Jinny select goodies for the Studio and for our Weekly Web Specials. We did not, however, begin with shopping.
We spent our first day attending many of the almost 300 “Schoolhouse” classes offered covering a wide range of topics including new products and techniques, marketing and business education. Of course we made sure not to miss Jinny’s two classes.
Heather Spence didn’t know she was pitching her pattern to Jinny Beyer until Jinny commented that it was her fabric in “Dan’s Climb.”
Day two was a day of shopping for items that the Jinny Beyer customer would like and appreciate but it was so much more than that. We enjoyed seeing the wonderful mix of modern and traditional ideas and people of all ages. We found it very inspiring to see how vendors presented themselves and their products with such contagious joy and excitement.
It was fun to hear the stories told by the vendors and people we met of how they discovered quilting and sewing and where life has taken them! And, of course, there was the people watching.
What probably made the biggest impression on us was what happened by just hanging out with Jinny. To us, she is just Jinny. We forget that out there in the quilting world she is Jinny Beyer, the legend. We can’t count the number of times where individuals, from famous quilters to small shop owners, came up to Jinny (and to us) to say that she has influenced them, inspired them and helped them to grow as quilters. Many were brought to tears. And we saw the joy on Jinny’s face when she spoke to the next generation of quilters seeing that the love and joy of quilting is being carried on.
Thanks so much, Jinny, for letting us tag along.
Editors’ Note: Jinny will ask us to take out the last paragraph because she is very modest. However, she did ask us to write this blog today AND she doesn’t know how to post them. We do that for her. Sorry Jinny!
My third collection of batiks (Malam III) is now being shipped to shops and I am already working on the next collection which will be available in about a year.
People often ask where I get the designs for the batiks. I feel lucky in that I have a vast archive of patterns I have created since 1981 when I first began designing fabric. Many of those designs can be adapted to batik prints and you would have a hard time realizing that the batik version began with the same concept as the other.
Creating batiks is a completely different process than screen printing which is mostly what is used today. Where some of the screen printed fabrics have repeats up to 24 inches, the batiks can only have a repeat of about 8 inches. There is a very good reason for this. The “cap” (pronounced “chop” and Americanized as “chop”) is an approximately 8 to 10 inch metal square with the design embedded into it with thin copper sheets.
Depending upon the intricacies of the design, this can be quite heavy. In the printing process, the chop is dipped into hot wax and then stamped upon the fabric…..all done by hand. The wax preserves the color that is underneath.
If the design is too large, the chop would become too heavy making it difficult for the person doing the stamping.
When selecting designs to use as a batik pattern I look through designs I have previously done and select ones or parts of ones that would create a nice line design, have a small repeat and create an interesting affect. Here are some photos of the original designs and the batik counterparts.
If you are interested in more information about the batik printing process visit my blog about my trip to Indonesia in 2013 to see my batiks being made.