When I received this photo of my grandson holding up his stuffed toy, I didn’t know whether to cry or to be proud of his sewing skills and ingenuity. It is a sad commentary that our children have resorted to making masks to protect their favorite stuffed animals.
Who would have thought a year ago that the world would have been turned so upside-down? All of us have been affected by the Covid-19 virus in one way or another and I want to send my deepest sympathies to all of you who have lost loved ones or are having hardships because of this pandemic.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank all of you for the kind comments you made about my decision to close the JINNY BEYER STUDIO retail shop. So many of you sent such heartfelt messages about your visits to the shop over the years and how much you will miss it. I will miss it, too, mostly because of all the wonderful people I have met over the years. But we are still here.
Thanks to my excellent staff and all of their efforts, our move to our new mail order space went smoothly. We continue to do “curbside” pickup for anyone who places an on-line order and prefers to pick it up in person.
When it is safe to travel again I look forward to seeing many of you on one of the Craftours trips I currently have scheduled for Greece, Uzbekistan and Kenya.
Remember when those of us in cold climates looked forward to “snow days” where we couldn’t go out and would have the day to do whatever we wanted? I would usually start a new project. This is a lot of snow days.
Please stay safe and start a new project. It will be good for your soul.
In this time of change for all of us, I would like you to know that I have decided to close my “brick and mortar” retail shop. Only our physical store in Great Falls, VA will close. Our internet business will continue. You will still be able to order my fabrics, products, kits and patterns online. Our weekly website specials and monthly newsletter will continue.
I want to emphasize that I am not retiring but just easing up a bit by eliminating the demands on me that the retail shop requires. I plan to continue designing fabric, growing the internet business, creating a succession of online YouTube video lessons such as we have been doing this year and, when the virus circumstances permit, I will also continue the Craftours trips that I had scheduled and may schedule in the future.
In August, we will move to a new location, still in Great Falls, that is more suitable to a mail-order business. Curbside pickup for local customers and visitors who order online but want to pick it up at the Studio will continue at our current location until then, and subsequently at our new address.
Our Shoppers Reward cards for in-store customers will be valid until August 31st. If you have a fully-stamped card that you were waiting to redeem, mail it to us and we will apply it to your next online order, providing it is placed before August 31.
When I opened the retail store as part of my business, JINNY BEYER STUDIO, I thought it would be great if I could have it go for 20 years — which would also coincide with my 80th birthday. As that time has approached I have been wishy washy about what to do. I loved having the shop but also wanted more time for traveling, working on my personal quilts and visiting family and friends. This year is the 20th anniversary of the opening of the shop and next year I will turn 80.
Covid-19 has definitely forced my hand. We have been closed since March 16 and I don’t see us opening any time soon. Even if we get the word from our Governor that we can reopen with some restrictions, I could not with a full conscience do so. With cases still rising in Virginia, I would not want to expose my staff or my customers to the possibility of contracting the virus because of my decision. Those of you who have been to the shop know that is not conducive to “social distancing”. So, with the uncertainty of when our lives will return to normal, the virus cemented my decision.
I want to thank all of you for your support during this pandemic and pray that everyone stays healthy. I will be in touch!
If you have any questions, please click here for answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ)
People from all over the world are finding ways to say thank you to the healthcare workers, the first responders, people who are keeping the essential stores open. It’s one way they find that they can make even a small contribution to the pandemic that has hit our world. My daughter is an ER doctor. She had a malfunction of her protective gear while performing CPR on a COVID 19 patient. She is now in a 14 day quarantine and cannot leave her bedroom.
Friends came by and wrote this thank you on their sidewalk . She could see it from her window. Other friends brought cookies and left a thank you note. She’s receiving thanks in many ways. As quilters, we also look for a way we can do something and make a small contribution to what is happening all around us. There’s not one of us who hasn’t been touched in some way by COVID 19.
In the past when national disasters have occurred, we’ve gotten together at the Studio and had sew-ins making quilts for the victims of the disasters. We are not able to get together this time. We all have to stay home. We have been told that everyone should wear masks for protection when they are apt to encounter other people. Many of my extended family members do not sew and do not have access to purchased masks. So, I asked a simple question of my staff “is anybody making masks and if so what pattern are you using.” I received back a barrage of emails. They are ALL making masks…for friends, neighbors, family, health institutions, homeless shelters, nursing homes, etc. There is a wide variety of patterns that have been used and styles and techniques. If you feel inclined to make some masks (I know many of you already are) I hope you find this information helpful.
I can’t tell you the best mask pattern to use. It all depends on what the needs are, how much time you want to take, what supplies you have available, etc. But I can pass on to you some of the staff comments and tips.
There are basically two kinds of mask patterns available: ones that are molded to fit the face and ones that are pleated rectangles.
Securing the masks:
There are also different ways to secure the masks. Some have elastic bands that fit behind the ears. Others have ties that go around the head and neck. Ties can be made of bias binding, cording, ribbon, etc. My favorite (and easiest) is to cut ties from old t-shirts. Cut one-inch strips running parallel to the hem. Pull them and they curl into a cord. The stretchiness helps to make a more secure tie. I keep the tie all in one piece. The loop goes over the head and the ties are tied behind the neck.
Fabric to use:
Quilting fabric has been recommended by many experts because of the high thread count. Amongst quilting fabric, batiks are especially good because they are made with fabric with an even greater thread count. Either type will work very well.
Here’s what some members of my staff have been doing.
I’m using the pattern for the Olson mask. There is even a pattern for a child aged 2-5. The Olson mask is made up of 6 pieces. The insides should have two different colors to identify the place where you can insert a heppa filter.
So far, I have not gotten beyond making masks for family and friends. I’m using a combination of two patterns with pleats, primarily one from Erica Made Designs. So far, I have lined them with a lightweight interfacing and will be moving on to flannel lining next. I’m impressed with the studies which say that these masks made of quilting fabric have a 70 to 79% filtration rate.
Here is mine and my husband’s. I’m sure you can tell whose is whose.
I’ve made two styles of masks so far for friends and family. They’ve been shipped as far as Atlanta! Both of them have two layers of fabric (I’m using a batik and white sheeting, both of which are the higher thread count recommended and the inside/outside is obvious); both have nose wires (also recommended); one has a pocket for a filter. Both patterns call for elastic but I’ve been using WOF double-fold straps (cut on the straight- grain) which is apparently more comfortable and can allow for a better fit.
The first pattern is the fitted style; very comfortable. Takes a bit longer to make. Second is the pleated mask; I think this will be my go-to pattern as it is faster.
I have joined the mask making brigade also but am working on family and extended family (workers at our family’s restaurant) for now. Some of the ones I make are custom ordered like the Willie Nelson bandana and the wolf mask. Each family member is as unique as their mask.
One quick tip I found to make it easier is to zigzag stitch the wire or pipe cleaner in the seam allowance on the top of the mask BEFORE you turn the mask right side out….this makes the placement and guidance easier so as not to worry about hitting it with my needle. Doesn’t matter which pattern you are using.
I have used several different patterns and have modified most of them to reduce the cutting and numbers of seams to sew. The ties seem to be better for fitting.
I am using muslin or colored cotton for the inside lining. Most of them have the pocket to add some kind of additional filter if needed. My stash is finally serving a valiant purpose although it may not make a significant dent. Having fun and sewing with a purpose: the 2020 version of Rosie the Riveter with a sewing machine
I am using T-shirts for straps – really a time saver.
I have been making masks for Johns Hopkins Hospital (pattern here), where my son-in-law works, my allergist’s practice, as well as family, neighbors and friends. To date, I have made over 400!!
I did have to try one with border print fabric. I centered the mirror image motif of the fabric in the middle of the rectangle.
I have made some masks for my family and some friends who have asked. I tried to find some “manly” fabric scraps for the guys and fun fabrics for the girls! Although, I did have to make a mask for my husband and he wanted cats – go figure! I will probably be making more for him to go to work (he is a DC police detective) as they are not providing these essential things due to the lack of resources and will be sending along any extras for other people in his office as needed.
I used quilting cottons for the outside and a Jinny batik for the inside (coordinating of course)! I had read that using batiks was good as the weave is tighter than other fabrics. I also had some extra interfacing that I added to the inside as an extra layer of protection.
I tried a few patterns but found that I liked this one the best. It can be secured around the neck and head without having to take it off and constantly be setting it down or touching it.
I have been making masks for family. I am using the Olson Mask tutorial that Diane used. I have found the long loop is more comfortable than my ancient, scratchy elastic. I made my loop tie from cotton fabric cut at 3/4” then I fold it in half lengthwise, iron it flat, then run it through my serger. So far, it is working well. I use one layer of quilting fabric and the lining is from a sheet.
I am using the patterns from millionmaskchallenge.com, which was started by a group of women in our area. There are two kinds – one is a cover for an N95 mask, and the other is a basic mask for people in their daily lives. (How weird is it that this is part of our daily lives?!)
Two indispensable items: Wonder Clips and the ByAnnie stiletto!
I started by using some old bias and twill tapes I got from my mom, but have run out of those. After two painful evenings making bias tape, I read about the T-shirt strips. Genius!
Here is a photo of the masks I made for family in Colorado, a mix of the Olson Mask using ponytail holders for the ear elastic (more comfortable and readily available at my grocery store), and pleated masks with ties made of cross grain cut 2″ strips.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from my contact at Operation Homefront, a non-profit to which my quilt guild donates baby blankets for the baby bundles they give to new military moms. I was asked if I could ask my quilting friends to make masks (any kind, ties or elastic, formed or pleated) for distribution at Walter Reed Hospital.
Off to the loft to make more masks.
I’ve been making masks for my family and friends and both my sisters are doing the same. I have found doing the masks very calming and a way of thinking about each person as I sew for them. My son is a woodworker so he got hammer and nails, my husband sails so boats on his, my friend is a gardener, so gardening tools for her. My granddaughter, Ruthie, is learning how to ride her new bike so hers has bicycles! Here’s the pattern I’m using. I’m making version #2 in the video but not doing the pocket, just one whole piece replacing it.
Now for me…
I used the same video that Lura used above and also made #2. I have so far made the masks for family and friends. I used fusible interfacing inside for extra protection. I have a couple of tips.
Cut the interfacing about 3 inches shorter on one end then center it over the rectangle and iron it down. The extra bulk won’t be a factor in making and sewing the pleats and casing.
If you are going to make a casing to run your ties through, it can be difficult to get a safety pin through all those folds. I decided to use a medium-size metal crochet hook. It went through the casing easily and I hooked the t-shirt ties and pulled it right through.
I folded the pipe cleaners over about half an inch on each end so that the metal wouldn’t cut through the fabric with repeated washings.
It is very hard to comprehend what has happened to our world in just the last month. All of us have been affected in one way or the other. Many have been ordered to shelter in place, food and toilet paper have disappeared off grocery shelves, events have been canceled or postponed, air travel has been disrupted and we worry about the well-being of those who have come down with the virus and the health care providers who are treating it. We mourn those who have succumbed to it. We all react differently to such circumstances. For me, I’ve had to postpone the memorial service we were planning for my husband.
To take my mind off of so many things I keep myself busy with other activities. Weather permitting, I walk every day. We’re lucky that we live close to the Potomac River and I’m able to walk along the river. I have been watching the bald eagle in her nest that I see from the riverbank. I’ve also watched the bluebells pop from the ground and now growing so tall and full of buds that are ready to burst open at any moment. The Dutchman’s Breeches and trillium are about to bloom as well.
I am also baking bread. Just the process of kneading the dough is somehow therapeutic. I have a sourdough starter that I began from Water Buffalo milk when I lived in India. That was 50 years ago, and it is still alive and thriving today. The sourdough boule is one of my favorites to make.
In times like this sometimes it is just calming to design or start a new sewing project. Many of you who have traveled with me on one of the Craftours trips I have taken in the past know I always plan a sewing project to work on during “found moments” on the trip when our hands and eyes might otherwise be idle. So, I decided to finally plan the project we will be working on during my Greece trip. Originally scheduled for this May, the trip has been rescheduled for May 15-25, 2021. Hopefully all traces of the virus will be gone by then and we can relax and enjoy a wonderful trip to this magical place.
For the project, I wanted to have a design that would cover all of the basic techniques of hand piecing so that even a beginner would be comfortable tackling it. I also wanted to incorporate the traditional Greek Key motif into part of the design. I selected one of my favorite traditional blocks, Rolling Star, (Block 59 in our Quilters’ Block Library free pattern section) and drafted it into a 20” square for the central motif and used the Greek key design as a border.
This year I am doing a series of on-line tutorials on working with border prints and the first lesson is Border Print Squares (See the five minute video here). I used that same technique for making the square designs around the Grecian Star.
This might be a good time to try something new since so many of us are spending a great deal of time in our homes. Watch the video shown above and check out the free Tips and Lessons on my website. Then, pick up a needle and thread, a few fabric patches and give it a try. I hope you will find this simple task as soothing as I do.
It seems as though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve hour by hour. Here at Jinny Beyer Studio, we have decided to close the retail shop starting Monday, March 16, for the safety of our customers and staff.
Mail Order will remain open.
We know that many of you are staying home and working on projects. Mail order will remain open Monday through Friday from 10-5 EDT. You may place your orders online at:
Because of the rapidly-expanding Coronavirus situation, Jinny has decided to cancel Jinny Beyer Club this Saturday, March 14. The Hand Quilting class scheduled for Friday, March 13 will be postponed. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but this decision has been made with everyone’s well-being in mind. We hope to see you in April!
(For all classes that are cancelled, we will reach out to students individually).
I want to thank all of you so much for your heartfelt wishes and condolences on the passing of my husband, John. I know many of you have faced similar circumstances and understand how our family is feeling. We were married for 58 years and had many wonderful adventures during our lifetime together. We have lived in several foreign countries, traveled extensively to other places around the world. I will miss him dearly but I’m very grateful for all the support from my family and so many of you from around the world.
Needless to say, with all that has been going on I have not been able to keep up with my blogs, or tell you about our special events that will be happening this year. Be sure to check our monthly newsletter for the first part of our border print series…Border Print Squares… Each month we will show a video with a different way to enhance your quilts using border print fabrics. And this week for our web special, to get you started, we have border print bundles on sale.
Craftours has now posted the details of the three trips in which I will be joining them over the next 13 months. What better Christmas gift to receive or to give yourself than a trip to a wonderful place full of design ideas, color, beauty, nature and so much more. For those who want to participate, we will have a unique hand piecing quilting project inspired by the art, architecture, crafts and spirit of each country. You will be given full details of the project as we get closer to the trip.
I hope you will join me for one or all of these great trips:
It seems like the last month has been a whirlwind. I can finally take a deep breath. Sadly, the baseball season is finished but what an amazing, or should I say “Astronomical” finish it was with the Nats winning the World Series. Being an avid Washington Nationals fan, I went to many games including several of the post-season games. In addition to that excitement, our Quilters’ Quest Shop Hop is over, I have just returned from Quilt Market in Houston and now I can play catch up.
For those of you who have asked, we are working on a revision of our Open Book quilt pattern that we gave out during the Quest. (See last months’ blog.) The new pattern will be geared to a scrap quilt. In my mind, for a quilt like this, the more fabrics the better. I will let you know as soon as the new pattern is ready and give you some suggestions for fabrics to use.
One of the exciting things on my agenda is that I have agreed to be the guest quilter on three incredible trips with Craftours over the next year and a half. Full details are not yet available but I will let you know as soon as they have been finalized. Meanwhile you might want to put a tentative mark on your calendars for a wonderful experience exploring the treasures of ancient Greece, May 9-19, 2020, or join me October 3-14, 2020 on an exotic trip to Uzbekistan where we will discover the history, textiles, traditions and crafts of the Silk Road. The third trip is an ultimate Kenya Safari expedition, January 15-23, 2021.
For those who would like to participate, I am planning a small hand sewing project for each trip based on design influences from that country. We will have a three hour workshop at the beginning of the trip and informal sewing sessions during the trip. Details will be given in advance so you do not have to bring a lot with you…after all, we need to save space in our bags for shopping! I hope you can join me on one or even all three of these exciting experiences.
This is a very busy time for us at the Studio. We are in the middle of our retail shop anniversary sale which is followed soon after by our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest, from October 11th through the 20th.
The theme for this year’s shop hop is books. Each shop has chosen a favorite book and will use that particular book to decorate the shop. We’ll have special related items available for the people who take part in the Quest.
Our Quest colors are traditional ones reminiscent of a long-established library that fit the “book” theme. Each shop has put together a pack of six 10” squares using those colors. All of the shop owners got together and traded fabric squares and then created a quilt using those fabrics. Many shops have finishing kits to help you in making their quilt. You will collect a free pattern for each shop’s quilt as you travel the Quest, then have fun deciding on which quilt you would like to make!
I wanted our quilt to fit the book theme. I tried a variety of designs that all seemed too complex, then one of my staffers suggested a design like my quilt Inner City which she thought looked like books. I took the idea, elongated the pieces and created my new version calling it Open Book.
Don’t panic! While the design looks involved with lots of angles, it is actually very easy to sew with all straight line sewing.
All the shop owners agreed that our fabrics would be in the mid-range with no super lights and no very darks. That way each shop could add what they wanted to fit their design. The first thing I did was to sort the fabrics into groups – very dark, dark, medium, and light. I added a few fabrics in the very dark and light ranges. The lightest fabrics would be the pages of the books, the others the book covers.
Then the fun started. I found C See’s 18” portable design mat invaluable as I laid out the pieces one section at a time. Then I could roll it up and the pieces would stay in place until I was ready to sew. The pattern writer, Elaine Kelly, did a masterful job in breaking the design down into easy assembly instructions.
Once the inside was complete I had to decide on a border for the quilt. Such a bold design needed a strong border. I opted to set the center off by adding a border of two stripes from my mini-stripe fabric, followed by the wide stripe of the Casablanca border print.
The finished top is 52” x 56”. I am now in the middle of hand quilting it and I hope to have all the quilting complete by the time Quest starts.
It was such fun creating Open Book but I had lot of leftover pieces that were already cut and waiting to be sewn. I also had the narrow stripe from the Casablanca border and leftover mini stripe. So, I decided to make a “bonus” quilt from the extra pieces. The result of that is Stacks. One complete set of swatches collected from each shop and our finishing kit will make both quilts.
The Quest is fast approaching. I hope you will be able to join us.