You’ve heard us talk about it for months and it’s finally here, our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest. Jinny is busy greeting all of our Questers and doesn’t have time to write this week’s blog. Here is a glimpse at what is going on here and at the other nine shops.
Jinny greets all who arrive, stamping passports and handing out finishers’ bags.
We have lots of items made just for the Quest with our gorgeous Quest batik fabrics.
Again this year we have two bus trips from the Studio traveling to all of the shops. Here are pictures from the first bus trip.
Our first stop on the bus trip was Material Girls in La Plata, MD. Sisters Wendy, Amy and mom Robin own this cheerful shop.
Here’s the new shop on the Quest, Crazy Cousin in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
In historic Warrenton, VA, you’ll find Kelly Ann’s Quilting located in an old carriage house.
Scrappy Apple in Winchester, Virginia, is owned by the ever cheerful Kelly.
Cottonseed Glory is located in quaint Annapolis, Maryland.
Bear’s Paw in Towson, Maryland is famous for their indoor gazebo.
Patches in Mt. Airy, Maryland is located in an old Victorian home.
In Hagerstown, MD, you’ll find Traditions at the White Swan, a wonderful family-run business where you are always greeted with a big smile.
Our final stop is always Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Last February I was asked to give a lecture at the AQS show in Phoenix. The quilt show was amazing and it was my first opportunity to see the Tentmakers of Cairo. The two men from Egypt were demonstrating the appliqué technique that they use for decorating tents. I loved both the boldness and intricacies of their designs and thought that maybe it was time that I got back to appliqué. Inspired by what I saw, I have recently been working on quilt designs that contain both piecing and appliqué.
About a month ago, I shared with you a photo of a quilt on my blog that I was designing and making for our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest. At that point, I had the star made and was working on the appliqué which would be in the background squares and triangles. With all the flight time on my recent trip to Japan, I was able to finish the background and I recently added the borders.
If you are in the Washington D.C. area Nov. 7-16 this year or are in the mood for a road trip, you might enjoy taking part in the Quest. We are working very hard gearing up for it, making special projects, assembling kits, and preparing demonstrations.
Each shop has designed and made a quilt using our color-coordinated 2 ½” strips. When you visit a shop, you will receive a free pattern for that shop’s quilt. The colors are jewel tones and blend well together. Our Quest quilt, Lotus, shown here, is made up of the strips that each shop will be distributing. There are ten shops and if you make it to all ten shops you will be eligible for some fantastic prizes.
We still have a few places on our two buses and would love to have you join us.
It’s been quite busy here at the Studio. Even though two new lines of fabrics have just come out, I’ve been working on several new collections for the coming year. I’ve been designing new projects to go along with all of this fabric. I’ve been traveling. And, I’ve been sewing.
I’ve had a so much fun piecing my latest design, a quilt for our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest, coming in November. If you read our September newsletter, you saw a little peak at it. Here is a little bit more. I should be able to show the quilt with some of the appliqué background in the next couple of weeks.
This Lone Star quilt will combine piecing and appliqué. I first started doing this about 20 years ago with soft-edge piecing.
For another Quest a few years ago, the Midnight Garden quilt and tote combined beautiful appliqué created by staff member Diane Kirkhart along with my central pieced design.
The introduction of new appliqué tools to the market inspired me to create another quilt combining piecing and appliqué. The color palette for this year’s Quest is made up of vibrant jewel tones and I’ve used these colors to create my Lone Star. In what is normally just empty background around the star, I’m adding elegant vines and flowers. I’ve had the most wonderful time working on this project, always looking forward to the opportunities when I could sit down and sew.
We have recently started carrying Apliquick tools. I’ll admit that I tend to stick with methods I’ve used for years but I do find these products really do simplify the process, making it much easier to achieve success. We have an introduction to these tools under our “Tips and Lessons” tab.
The pattern for this quilt will be available during the Quest for free. You get a free pattern from each participating shop during this 10-day period.
Maybe more than the design process, I’ve simply been enjoying the sewing. In my Quiltmaking by Hand book, I quote Rose Wider Lane from The Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework, 1964: “Then you thread a needle and settle comfortably in your chair. The needle runs easily back and forth through soft cloth while nerves relax and useless worries fade away.” So when life seems a little hectic, I’m just going to enjoy my stitching every chance I get.
When I first opened the Studio, I had the vision of a cozy quilt shop which would welcome my customers and not feel like a store even if that’s what it was. I never fail to feel that coziness each time I step inside. I suppose that’s why when the staff started telling me that we needed to do a bit of sprucing up, I put it off. As we often do at home, we don’t always notice when it’s time for a change.
With the busy fall season fast approaching, I finally realized, yes, it was time, especially with the long Labor Day weekend fast approaching. There is an awful lot of stuff which has to be moved around to paint a shop and unfortunately for the staff (and maybe lucky for me) I would not be around to help out. At close of business on Saturday, several of them moved fabric cases and bookshelves, removed quilts from walls, and so much more to get the shop ready.
The first step was to remove the fabric which has covered the walls for 13 years. Underneath, it was discovered that there was not one but two layers of wallpaper. Once that was all removed, painting the walls with a cheery white could begin.
It’s only a start, but we love how it looks! Things have gone back in, been moved around, and quilts are being hung. While we couldn’t do the whole shop at once (why, we’d have to close for DAYS to do that), it has started a bit of a “clean up and clean out” feeling among us all. Hmmm….now what should we do next?
Every year, along with nine others shops in the area, we hold a shop hop known as Quilter’s Quest. Held each November, the planning starts months earlier. At one of our meetings this spring, we discussed another type of shop hop held during the summer known as the Row by Row Experience. Started in upstate New York just four years ago, participation is spreading across the country and we all decided to join in. We didn’t know what to expect but we have all been thrilled with the fun which has ensued.
We often get quilters from all over but this summer the quilters who have stopped by have been telling us of shops they have visited across the country and it seems that my staff, too, has caught the Row by Row bug. Here, then, are some of the places they have visited and the experiences they’ve had.
Nancy accompanied her husband on a business trip to Groton, Connecticut. Visiting “That’s Sew Debbie!” she was warmly greeted by Alberta H. and delighted to find that the Row by Row patterns were on a table covered with one of my palette fabrics. She was then introduced to one of the instructors, Charlie M. Charlie is currently working on his second Moon Glow quilt (wow!) and is a great “collector” of my fabrics. I love the quilt he’s holding in the picture here and I recognize almost all of those fabrics, Charlie.
Diane went to seven shops in two days while visiting Lancaster County, PA. Even though she has visited the area often, she discovered quilt shops there she never knew existed. One store looked so tiny from the front she normally wouldn’t have bothered to stop but upon entering was thrilled to discover it just went on and on, filled with wonderful fabric. Now it will be a regular stop on her visits there.
Kristi regularly travels between here and Greensboro, NC, and just last week decided to break up the driving with five stops at participating shops. She hadn’t been to some of the shops in years and really enjoyed seeing all the new and different fabrics they held.
Over the weekend, one of our staff, Sharon, while visiting family in Tacoma, Washington, stopped by Calico Threads. Here she is standing with Sandy Pickering and Donna Denman who opened the shop 2 years ago. Having lived in Tacoma in her high school years, Sharon recognized the bridge in the store’s pattern – the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Barb stopped in at “Running Stitches” in Kent, Washington to pick-up a Row by Row pattern. She had a lovely chat with the staff and found a few fat quarters that had to come home with her (“As if I didn’t already have enough” she said). On her way out, she saw a gentleman on an adult tricycle with a basket mounted between the rear wheels. In that basket ? You guessed it, his sewing machine safely buttoned down inside its case. Too bad you didn’t get a picture of that, Barb.
As my staff visited other shops they asked themselves why they don’t do this more. Every shop carries different fabrics and has a different “feel” to it to inspire and spark your creativity. Row By Row continues through September 2nd. After that, why don’t you consider joining us in November for our Quilter’s Quest?
While the Studio bears my name, it is pretty obvious that it takes a number of people to keep it running. I am blessed with a wonderful staff that carries on the day to day operations. They allow me to focus on designing and teaching, yet I seem to get a lot of the credit for what happens behind the scenes. I want to take the opportunity to focus on my amazing staff by occasionally doing profiles to give them the recognition they so deserve. For the first profile, I couldn’t think of anyone better to start with than Linda Marcinowski.
Linda has been on staff at the Studio longer than anyone else, having started in the summer of 2002. Many of you have been greeted by her friendly smile and welcome along with her remarkable memory for customers’ names and their stories. While Linda learned to sew clothing from her grandmother when she was only seven years old, it wasn’t until years later, in 1998, that she took up quilting. As an Army wife, she was invited to a welcome coffee and joined a quilt group headed by the general’s wife. Linda taught herself to quilt to keep up with the others in the group. Jinny’s techniques were her favorites and she had learned much from Jinny’s books. Once her children were grown, Linda needed something to do, and started working at the Studio.
Linda, having started when the brick and mortar shop was fairly new and the business was smaller, has done just about everything. She worked on the newsletter, made shop samples, set up booths for quilt shows, been a member of the seminar staff, and even became certified in thimble fitter in 2005.
What she enjoys most, though, is meeting the customers, seeing what they are working on, and helping them with their projects. She says, “It makes my day. I love the amazing, different people I meet and the stories they tell.” One of her favorite things to do is play with Jinny’s border prints, figuring out more and more things to create with them.
Having been a military wife for many years and the travel it entails and now with her two daughters married, you may think that Linda and her husband lead a quiet life. Two years ago, her adorable little grandson, Andy, came into their lives and now there is a granddaughter due within the next couple of weeks. “Oma” Linda doesn’t have the quilting time she once did.
Stop by to meet Linda and the rest of my fabulous staff this summer. We have new fabrics arriving, exciting classes, and we’ll be participating in the Row by Row Experience shop hop.
If you are in the quilt business, you know to save a few days each May for the Spring Quilt Market. This industry trade show gives me the opportunity to meet shop owners and show them my new fabrics and quilt designs. As a shop owner myself, I’m able to meet the vendors with whom I do business, to discover new products to carry in the Studio, to see old friends and make new ones.
Before market begins is something called “Schoolhouse” where manufacturers, publishers and designers like me get to present our latest products. Shop owners can hear first-hand about the merchandise they will be selling from the people who created them. I spoke about my Palette Pixie Strips and their accompanying quilts, my new calipers and, most exciting, my next fabric collection, Bedfordshire.
Once Market begins, retailers have the opportunity to visit hundreds of booths with every kind of product which could possibly be of interest to quilters. I shopped for interesting patterns and new notions to carry in the Studio and online. Much of my time, though, is spent in the RJR booth meeting shop owners and learning about their customers’ interests.
What I probably enjoy most are the wonderful people I get to meet, those whose products I sell (and use!) and other designers.
Of course, one of my favorite things to do is looking at all the quilts. Even though I have been designing fabric for many years, I still get a thrill when I come across quilts in other booths which have my fabrics in them. Here are two I spotted. Didn’t these quilters do a wonderful job?
Inspiring. That’s the word I would use to sum up Market. The room was filled with a creative spirit. Handwork seems to be celebrating a resurgence. It was exciting to see this interest in a skill you and I have loved for years.
Also, I was so encouraged to see the number of young people there who have entered the business presenting their designs and products. They give the industry a sense of vitality and reminded that quilting should be FUN. Yes, market is always inspiring and I’ve brought back some new products and ideas I can’t wait to share with you in the coming months.
Although I use a computer all the time when designing my fabrics and quilts, my staff will be the first to tell you that I’m not really a very technical person. So all the chatter about the Heartbleed bug on the internet had me confused and concerned.
Fortunately, I have very good technical people working for me and they were able help me understand what was going on AND take care of the issue quickly. I thought you might be interested in what I learned:
1) Heartbleed is the name given to a bug in a key piece of internet security software that about two-third of websites use — including jinnybeyer.com.
2) The bug was discovered BEFORE any known attacks were made taking advantage of that bug.
3) Most banks and financial services companies, and some super-big online stores such as Amazon, were never vulnerable to Heartbleed.
4) The bug is relatively easy to fix. Many large websites (such as Google) have already made their fixes. We made the fix to jinnybeyer.com last week, on April 11. I knew that we do not store credit card information on our website and was relieved to learn that the company which takes care of that for us was never vulnerable to Heartbleed.
5) Some security experts are suggesting changing passwords on websites once the fix has been made to that site. As a result, we are suggesting to customers who have accounts on jinnybeyer.com that they change their passwords. If you have an account on jinnybeyer.com, you can change the password here. And I guess I’ll be changing passwords on some of my favorite websites, too!
I love what technology brings to my quilting world, and I’ve certainly done my share of shopping online. But I really do wish that we could somehow get only the good from the internet and not all the negative possibilities. That being said, I am grateful to my crack staff who keeps me in the know on these issues and to the people and companies I rely on to keep our website running safely and reliably.
I have an incredible group of people who work at the Studio. It is always hard to find suitable ways to tell them thank you for all they do. It is particularly hard at holiday time to come up with an unusual gift.
Last fall, my husband’s college roommate and his wife came for a visit and stayed with us for a few days. The woman loved my quilting and shared that she was a temari ball maker. She brought up several web sites and showed me photos of balls she has made.
How could a quilter not be enthralled with these amazing geometric pieces of art? I was definitely intrigued. I went to Quilt Market in Houston shortly after their visit and my publisher had a couple of temari ball books written by a well known temari ball maker, Barbara Suess.
Bottom line, I decided to invite Barbara to come teach at my shop for two days. One day would be for the general public and the other day would be a special workshop for all my staff. I decided that this would be a perfect Christmas present. So when we had our holiday staff dinner, I presented them with Barbara’s book, Japanese Temari, gave them a Yazzi bag to house their Temari project and told them the date of the workshop.
We had the workshop last week and it was fabulous! Barbara and her two protégés were wonderful instructors. Starting with a knee-high stocking filled with rice hulls, the wrapping then began, with yarn first followed by thread. Soon the design took form with colorful perle cotton. Kristi finished her ball first and I made the biggest mess. We all had a great time and each of us produced a beautiful temari ball.
I’m so excited to launch my blog, Jinny’s Corner! Each week we’ll share news, tips and techniques, stories and other quilting-related information. I hope you’ll visit here often.
Since this is a new feature, I thought I would answer some questions that you might be asking.
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I hope you enjoy my blog. Please let me know what you think, and if there’s any particular quilting topic you’d like to read about.