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Join Me for Inspiration from Around the World

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:

Treasures of Ancient Greece May 16 – 26, 2020

For details on the trip to Greece, click here.

Exotic Uzbekistan Oct. 3-14, 2020

For details on my trip to Uzbekistan, click here.

Ultimate Kenya Safari Jan. 15-23, 2021

For details of my Kenyan safari trip, click here.

 

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Catching Up Blog

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.

 

Beautiful blue and white exhibit at Market.

 

 

Longtime customers Don & Sandy Gholson from NC with Sandy’s sister as they finished the Quest.

 

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.

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Quilters’ Quest 2019 is Right Around the Corner!

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.

 

Inner City

 

 

 

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.

 

I continue to quilt on Open Book each evening.

 

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.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Here it is almost the beginning of winter and fall seems like a blur. It seems I was on a treadmill and didn’t know when to get off. We had our anniversary sale, followed by some classes, then our 10-day shop hop, followed by a trip to Quilt Market in Houston and as soon as I got back from that turned around and went to visit my grandchildren (and their parents) on the other side of the country! Back home a few days ago, I am now in the throes of preparations for my most favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving.

No one worries about presents, cards, or the pressures of the December holidays……just good food, family and camaraderie. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to share with you my recipe for stuffing. Years ago, I started with the basic bread, onion and celery stuffing and kept changing it little by little. Here is how I have been making it over the last several years.

Jinny’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

Makes 12 cups of stuffing

1 ½  cups chopped celery, including leaves

1 cup finely chopped onion

¾ cup Smart Balance

9 cups sprouted wheat soft bread cubes

1 lb.  ground hot sausage (Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans)

3 cups peeled and  coarsely chopped apples

1 ½ cups chopped pecans

1 ½  teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground sage or two tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon ground pepper

In a large kettle, melt the Smart Balance and add the celery and onions.  Stir and cook until celery is tender. In a separate skillet, cut the sausage into chunks and cook until crumbly. Add all ingredients to the onion/celery kettle and mix well. Taste for seasoning and add extra seasonings as necessary. Stuff the turkey cavities just before roasting. Put any leftovers in an oven proof dish, dot with more Smart Balance, cover and bake the last two hours of roasting the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Not Too Soon to Plan Our Shop Hop Quilt Design

This is the time of year that I am working diligently on our quilt and pattern for our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest. The event is earlier this year (October 19-28), so I have to work even faster. As was the case last year, I want to share with you the planning and designing of the project.

The first step is to plan the color scheme. This year, since we selected the cruising theme “Anchors Aweigh,” we chose colors that are often reminiscent of warm tropical waters and sea glass found on the beach.

The next step was to decide on the size and amount of the fabric swatches each shop would have available for the customers to either purchase or receive for free, depending on the amount of their purchase. This year we selected six 2 ½” by the width of the fabric strips. Each shop selected six fabrics that would fit within the color palette shown here.

At our next meeting, everyone brought 10 sets of their chosen 2½” strips and we participated in a “swatch swap.” Each shop went away with 10 sets of fabrics, one set from each shop for a total of 60 different fabrics.

 

The lovely fabric swatches from all the shops.

 

Now is when the fun begins. Each shop must make a quilt using as many of the swatches as they can. They can also add other fabrics if they wish. One of the perks of the Quest is that you receive a free pattern for a shop’s quilt when visiting during the Quest. Participants can collect all the swatches and decide which of the Quest quilts they like the best. Most shops have “finishing kits” available to make their version of the quilt.

Since the cruise destination for our shop is Hawaii, I wanted to design a quilt that would fit in with that theme, and thought the beach at Waikiki with its high rise hotels seemingly emerging from the sea would be a perfect inspiration.

 

Photo courtesy of staffer Nancy Fallone.

 

Sixty-degree diamonds are one of my favorite shapes, and since they are very easy to cut from 2 ½” strips, a fragmented, shaded diamond design seemed a perfect choice for the Studio’s quilt. Value placement is so important in this type of design so I always do preliminary designing in black and white. I tried shading the diamonds in two ways, dark to light lengthwise and dark to light sideways. I played around with the configurations of these two block units until I arrived at a design I liked. It is actually a takeoff on one of my personal quilts from several years ago…I will share this with you when the finished quilt is revealed.

 

 

Stay tuned. Next week I will share with you how I sorted and shaded the fabrics.

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Quilting is Music to Our Ears

Row by Row starts next week on the 21st of June! It is always a great event at our shop. We see so many new faces of people coming into the shop to pick up our row pattern.

If you are not familiar with Row by Row, it is a worldwide event of which we have taken part for the past several years. Quilters can collect free row patterns while visiting participating quilt shops. They can then create themed quilts using the rows they collect. (According to the rules of Row by Row, the kits and patterns are only available to those who visit the Studio, not online.)

This year the theme is “Sew Musical.” Since we are in Virginia, we decided to choose a block that depicts a traditional folk dance called Virginia Reel. Thought to have roots to England, Scotland and Ireland, settlers brought the dance to the new world where it dates back to the 17th century. The block depicts the dancers as they link arms and twirl around.

The size for the “rows” has been changed this year. In addition to the original 9” x 36” row, the following sizes have also been added.

 

 

We decided to design a row and give a pattern that could be made in one of two different sizes—the traditional “row” as shown above and the new “Foxy Boxy” 18” x 18” size shown below.  Our kits for this year’s row are only $13.50 and there is enough fabric to make either of the two variations.

 

 

Take part in this fun event and visit us this summer. Click on this link for more information on the Row by Row experience.

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Garden Club of Virginia

It has been a year since the Garden Club of Virginia asked if we would be willing to have our house and gardens on the annual Historic Garden Week tour which takes place each year at this time. I have been working ever since getting the house and gardens in tip top shape.

 

Hellebore and boxwood abound.

 

With the tour taking place after a spell of unusual weather, I worried that there might not be any color, that it would be after the redbud and dogwood bloom and before many of the perennials, peonies and other flowering trees and shrubs were out. But we have had a late and cool spring and with the redbuds just starting to bloom, the dogwoods are beginning to open their flowers, late daffodils are still out and my ever-favorite spring perennial, the hellebores, are still in full glory.

 

Redbud encircling the property will be in full bloom.

 

I thought those of you who cannot come on the house and garden tour might like a little preview of some of what is blooming. Also, you can get a sneak peak at some parts of our house in this video clip that was filmed a couple of weeks ago. The shop owners who are all a part of our annual Quilters’ Quest Shop Hop met at my house for some of the planning for this year’s event.

 

Come and see the cherry blossoms…

 

 

and the lilacs…

 

I will be at the shop tomorrow from 10-4 on April 24th to greet people from the tour and others who would like to take a drive and enjoy our beautiful spring.

 

and the daffodils…

 

 

and don’t forget the Virginia bluebells!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

I have been a bit lax in sending out blogs, but it has been an extremely busy time. We spent a lot of time getting ready for Quilters’ Quest, our annual shop hop. Over the summer and early fall, I designed, hand pieced and hand quilted our Third Rock quilt.

 

 

Next, I went to Quilt Market in Houston. It is always fun to see shop owners and old friends plus find new items to carry at the Studio.  Upon my return, I faced the 10 days of the shop hop. I love to be at the shop during Quest and am the “official greeter and passport stamper.” So I was there every day at least from 9 am to 7 pm and for the four days of our bus tour I was there from 7 am until 7 pm. While it was tiring it was even more exhilarating, meeting new people and seeing friends who have come in the past.

 

 

 

 

Our theme this year was “movies” and we chose “Around the World in 80 Days”. We had a popcorn machine (how can you see a movie without having popcorn?), hot air balloon lanterns, flags of the world and other products and decorations relating to the theme.

 

 

All in all it was a fun 10 days and we had a lot of participants from outside our local region. Why not think about participating in the Quest next year?

Many of you who have seen the Third Rock quilt have asked if there is a kit or pattern. Unfortunately, to make one just like my Quest quilt you have to have participated in the Quest since you needed to collect the swatches of 6” squares from each shop. However, I also designed the quilt in batik fabrics.

 

 

The kit comes in the two colorways shown here and has everything you need for the top and binding. While it looks very complex, it is actually quite easy to sew. The quilt is made with all straight line sewing, even though it has the illusion of curves. The kit also includes full size foundations printed on tissue paper.

Now that Quest is over, it is time for my favorite holiday of the year and I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

The shop will be closed on Thursday, November 23 but will reopen at 10:00 am on Friday, November 24. Hope to see you soon!

 

 

Jinny

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Fall Frenzy

Fall is always busy for us at the shop. This is when we kick it into gear making kits, designing patterns and making all sorts of preparations for our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest. This is always a fun event. Our theme this year is “movies” and we selected “Around the World in Eighty Days” as our movie, so, of course, I had to design a quilt for our shop with the world somehow involved. I showed you bits and pieces of it in progress, but now it is complete, including the quilting.

 

Quilt Quilt for Blog 2017

 

Quilting on Quest 2017 Quilt

This quilt is foundation pieced and went together quicker than you can imagine. We call it Third Rock. It was made with the Quest Cuts, 6-inch squares that each shop will have available throughout the Quest. These are free with a $30 or more purchase, or can be bought for $4.00.  Each of the shops has made a quilt using the squares. As you travel during the shop hop, collect the free pattern for each shop’s quilt…10 new quilt patterns in all!

I used more than half of the 80 squares in Third Rock and then used the rest for another easy-to-make quilt that would be perfect for a little girl.  We are still adding the borders but will share this quilt with you soon.

To update you on our Hurricane Harvey quilts, we sent off our first batch of quilts to benefit the victims, more than 25 in all, and we still have more coming in. It was fun working with and meeting people who participated.

Chris, from North Carolina, even dropped by on her way to New York and brought four finished quilts to add to our ever-growing pile.

 

Chris from Roth Carolina

We used fabrics from our scrap bin to make some of the quilts. Here are two with the identical fabrics except for the dark and light sashing strips. It was fun to see how different they looked with just that one change.

 

Different Sashing

On a different note, do you recognize this vegetable?

Mystery Veggie

I’m still getting this vegetable, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and raspberries from my garden. The winter onions are just popping up and I should have fall cabbage soon.

So, what is this vegetable?

I peel it, slice it raw, add some fresh mandarin orange pieces and lime juice and it makes a fabulous, refreshing salad. A few pecans are also good tossed in if you like. I grew this last year for the first time and will now always have it as part of my garden.

Do you have a guess?  Why it’s jicama!

Happy Quilting!

Jinny