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Shop Hop Planning

snow 2 (1)We have had an amazingly warm November, December and January so far, but it looks like winter is finally going to catch up with us as weathermen are predicting a blizzard with up to two feet of snow this weekend. Many of you will be affected as well, so I hope you have a nice quilting project to keep you busy.

As it is the middle of winter, it is hard for many of you to imagine that we are already in the throws of planning for our two shop hop events this coming year. Row by Row has been a lot of fun and we have already signed up for 2016 and have designed our row. The theme this year is “Home Sweet Home.” Once we finish the row and send the image to the organizers, we will share it with you.

Row by Row 2016Many of you may be new to quilting and may not know what Row by Row is.  The event runs from June 21 through September 6. It is a very different shop hop with stores in all 50 states and parts of Canada taking part. Each shop designs a “row” quilt design that finishes 36” wide and up to 9” tall. All you have to do is go into one of the participating shops and collect a free pattern for that shop’s “row”. Then make a quilt with at least eight different rows from 2016 and be the first to bring it to one of the shops and win 25 fat quarters! People have planned their whole vacations to allow them a route that will take them to participating shops. We look forward to the event as it brings a lot of new faces from all over the US and Canada. Check it out and come see us this summer!

Quest logoJust this week we had the organizational meeting for our annual Quilters’ Quest shop hop. The ten participating shops (all in Maryland and Northern Virginia) meet once a month to plan the event. We have already started planning the shop hop fabric design, the Scavenger Hunt quilt and the Block of the Month quilt which will be free to Newsletter subscribers.

In addition to those projects, each year we plan a color scheme for the Quest. Each shop prepares a set of swatches made up of some of the colors and participants either buy the swatches or get them free with a purchase of a certain amount. The shops get together and trade so each one has a complete set (the same as what the participants will have). Then the fun begins. Each shop designs a quilt using the swatches and then writes a pattern for the design. The pattern is free to anyone coming into the shop during Quest. That is 10 quilt designs to choose from using the quest swatches.

Questers fun1

Questers fun2Many people enjoy the Quest by letting us do the driving and most shops already have the dates for their bus trips. We have many people from all over the US sign up for these buses, so we hope those of you from far away will want to join us for this great event. calliope Palette quilt final sm

Last year our quilt and free pattern was for Calliope. I was working on it when my granddaughter was visiting and she fell in love with it and asked if she could have it. How can I resist? I plan to baste it and put it in the frame so I have something to do during the upcoming blizzard. It has been a long time since I had a quilt in my frame and I am looking forward to getting started.

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Thanksgiving


With the world in unsettling turmoil, families want to hunker down and be together. What better time than the Thanksgiving holiday where our thoughts go to family, cooking and the Thanksgiving day feast.

This year I want to share with you my recipe for turkey stuffing.  It started out as a basic stuffing recipe, but each year I look at ways to improve it. This is what I will use to stuff my turkey this Thanksgiving.

Jinny’s Stuffing

This recipe makes approximately 8 cups stuffing. Allow about  ¾ cup per pound of turkey. I usually roast a large turkey and will typically at least double this recipe.

1 ½ cups chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

¾ cup butter (I use smart balance)

8 cups soft bread crumbs (cut into cubes)

3 cups chopped apple

2 cups chopped pecans

1 lb. package of Jimmy Dean Hot pork sausage

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 tsp. ground sage (if I still have some fresh from the garden I put in about 2 Tbls. Chopped fresh sage)

¾ tsp. dried thyme leaves

In a large pot, melt the butter or Smart Balance and sauté the onions and celery until tender. Remove from heat and stir in about ¼ of the bread cubes.

In a separate pan, sauté the sausage until brown and crumbly.

Mix the remaining bread cubes, sausage, pecans, apples and spices with the sautéed onion and celery. Stir to mix all together and stuff into turkey just prior to roasting.

My dressing gets a little more complicated because I have one vegetarian who can’t eat the sausage or the dressing if it is cooked in the turkey. I have another person who likes the sausage but can’t eat the nuts. So I mix every thing together except the sausage and nuts.  Then I put a little dressing in a small oven proof dish and add a little sausage. This is for the non-nut eater. Next I add all the nuts to the remaining stuffing and make a small dish for the vegetarian. Finally, I add the sausage to the dressing and this goes into the turkey. Unfortunately, the vegetarian and non-nut eater don’t get their stuffing cooked in the turkey, but I dribble a little melted butter or Smart Balance over the stuffing in their dishes, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven with the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Jinny

P.S. Don’t forget small business Saturday and support your local quilt store and any other small business you like in your neighborhood. If you want the businesses to be there when you need them, they need your support.

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Thanksgiving


With the world in unsettling turmoil, families want to hunker down and be together. What better time than the Thanksgiving holiday where our thoughts go to family, cooking and the Thanksgiving day feast.

This year I want to share with you my recipe for turkey stuffing.  It started out as a basic stuffing recipe, but each year I look at ways to improve it. This is what I will use to stuff my turkey this Thanksgiving.

Jinny’s Stuffing

This recipe makes approximately 8 cups stuffing. Allow about  ¾ cup per pound of turkey. I usually roast a large turkey and will typically at least double this recipe.

1 ½ cups chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

¾ cup butter (I use smart balance)

8 cups soft bread crumbs (cut into cubes)

3 cups chopped apple

2 cups chopped pecans

1 lb. package of Jimmy Dean Hot pork sausage

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 tsp. ground sage (if I still have some fresh from the garden I put in about 2 Tbls. Chopped fresh sage)

¾ tsp. dried thyme leaves

In a large pot, melt the butter or Smart Balance and sauté the onions and celery until tender. Remove from heat and stir in about ¼ of the bread cubes.

In a separate pan, sauté the sausage until brown and crumbly.

Mix the remaining bread cubes, sausage, pecans, apples and spices with the sautéed onion and celery. Stir to mix all together and stuff into turkey just prior to roasting.

My dressing gets a little more complicated because I have one vegetarian who can’t eat the sausage or the dressing if it is cooked in the turkey. I have another person who likes the sausage but can’t eat the nuts. So I mix every thing together except the sausage and nuts.  Then I put a little dressing in a small oven proof dish and add a little sausage. This is for the non-nut eater. Next I add all the nuts to the remaining stuffing and make a small dish for the vegetarian. Finally, I add the sausage to the dressing and this goes into the turkey. Unfortunately, the vegetarian and non-nut eater don’t get their stuffing cooked in the turkey, but I dribble a little melted butter or Smart Balance over the stuffing in their dishes, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven with the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Jinny

P.S. Don’t forget small business Saturday and support your local quilt store and any other small business you like in your neighborhood. If you want the businesses to be there when you need them, they need your support.

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Gearing Up For Quest

???????????????????????????????To say things around here are a bit busy would be quite an understatement. At home, I have been busy working on my next line of batiks, adjusting the colors and patterns to try to get everything just right. Meanwhile in the Studio, we have the annual mad rush to get ready for the thousand quilters who will be visiting us during Quilters’ Quest which starts tomorrow.

Every “Quester” who comes into our shop and all of the participating shops receives a free pattern for that shop’s quilt and they have the opportunity to collect 10 inch squares used in each of the quilts. You have probably seen pictures of our design, Calliope. Not only have we been busy working on kits for Calliope but also making other quilt kits which fit this year’s theme, “Sunrise on the Potomac.”

???????????????????????????????We have several staffers who have been spending the past week doing nothing but making beautifully shaded fabric bundles. We also have some great new products that we picked up at Market. We can’t wait for you to see them.

Look at that beautiful border print skirt that Carole is wearing!
Look at that beautiful border print skirt that Carole is wearing!

Jinny making bundlesWe hope you’ll visit us during the Quest. We still have room on each of our buses if you’d like to join us as we visit all 10 shops. The Quest starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday, November 15. For more information visit www.quilters quest.org.

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The shop is ready and stocked for you to come and enjoy this year’s Quest! We hope to see you there!

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Celebrate Creativity!

Studio tour2

The Great Falls Studio Tour is an annual event which showcases not only the work of our local artists but allows you to meet them where they do their work. Travel back roads and main streets to individual and group studios. This is a unique opportunity to meet more than 40 GFS member artists – quilters, painters, potters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers and more. At each stop you can expect demonstrations, exhibits and hands-on activities. You’ll also be able to chat with some of the regions’ top talents.

Studio Tour3
Jewelry design by Donna Barnako & pottery by Laura Nichols

This year’s tour takes place Friday, October 16, 12 – 5, Saturday, October 17, 10 – 5, and on Sunday, October 18, 12 – 5.

I’ll be at the Studio to explain the process of batik making and demonstrate techniques I have used in my recent work. There are also many of my quilt designs on display in the Studio.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So how does the Studio Tour work?

The Great Falls Library at 930 Georgetown Pike is a good place to start. There will be artists there to help you map your route and samplings of work from participating artists. Take the tour at your own pace, picking and choosing what you most want to see.

Studio Tour4
Mixed media work by Ronni Jolles and a painting by Betty Ganley

And best of all – the event is FREE! More details and a driving map are available at www.GreatFallsStudios.com.

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The Dog Days of Summer

Sean and Luke at locker
Sean and Luke at the locker

This has been an unusual summer and gardening season for me. With reports of bears in my neighborhood, rabbits that managed to make their way into my fenced vegetable garden, deer galore and the yipping of coyotes and foxes at night, I feel that I’m in the middle of a zoo.

I also have tremendously more sympathy for people whose homes have been devastated by tornadoes and natural disasters. Tuedsay night, some type of weather system cut a narrow swath through Great Falls and we were right in its path. It was in and out in of the area in about 20 minutes, but in that time frame we had moth ball sized hail, hurricane force winds and one and a half inches of rain.

Trees in yardFortunately there was no damage to our home or the homes of a couple of neighbors who bore the brunt of the debris from our trees and everyone is safe. However, we lost at least a dozen huge pine trees along the perimeter of our property and about half a dozen others in various places around the yard.

Corn and sunflowersIn my vegetable garden several tomato cages were blown over with the plants uprooted, the corn and sunflower plants are laying flat on the ground. Here are just a few photos to show what I’m up to this week. Fortunately, I was able to salvage a few tomatoes and take them to the shop to share with my staff.

Tomatoes in bowl

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The Row by Row Experience 2015

The Row by Row Experience has begun!  If you are not familiar with the Row by Row Experience, it is similar to a shop hop, but a bit different– no fees, no cards to stamp, and you have all summer to participate. Simply visit any of the participating shops throughout the USA and Canada and receive a free pattern for a row in a quilt. Combine your rows in any way to create a unique quilt that represents the fun you had traveling throughout the summer. This year’s theme is…..water.  Each shop has created a row based on this theme.

Row by row image- blog copyThe Studio’s row is based on the nearby Great Falls National Park. At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge creating its spectacular falls. The row represents that series of rocks and rushing white water. It may look complex but it is actually very easy to piece with simple paper piecing techniques.

great falls 2Create a quilt using at least eight different rows from eight different participating shops and be the first to bring it into one of those participating shops to win a stack of 25 fat quarters. If you are the first to bring a quilt into the Studio, those 25 fat quarters will be your choice from our entire stock of fat quarters. And if you use the Studio’s row in your quilt, you will win a bonus prize—Golden Gage Calipers!

Row by Row with calipers2

Why calipers? There is an interesting reason why we chose them.  After our sample row was entirely put together, I made a discovery. Unknowingly and without trying, my design conforms to the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio, which occurs in nature, ancient and historic design, is said to be the perfect proportion. It is the ratio of 1 to 1.618 or .618 to one. When I put the calipers on our row, I saw that each triangle increases in size according to the Golden Ratio.

To learn more about the Golden Proportion, check out this blog post.

Claire M. from Florida made sure she got her Great Falls row kit.
Claire M. from Florida made sure she got her Great Falls row kit.

Besides the free row pattern, we have some special products.  Row kits with all the fabric needed to complete our row and fabric bundles in the gorgeous fabrics of our row will be available. Not only do we have fabric license plates with our slogan, “Perfect Piecer,” but we also have collectable pins. Watch for more products based on our Great Falls row.

Row by Row runs through Tuesday, September 8th. Stop in when you are in the Washington, D.C. area or take a road trip with friends to discover new quilt shops and old favorites and have fun collecting your rows.

Diane from Utah along with Harolyn and Doreen from Virginia showing off their Row by Row purchases. (Yes, her name really starts with an H.)
Diane from Utah along with Harolyn and Doreen from Virginia showing
off their Row by Row purchases. (Yes, her name really starts with an H.)