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Yesterday, Today, & Temari

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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If you have made any of my patchwork puzzle balls you will definitely be intrigued by these.

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Welcome to My Blog

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.

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Since this is a new feature, I thought I would answer some questions that you might be asking.

Can I receive new posts via email? Yes! To receive links to new Jinny’s Corner blog posts, just provide your email address in the box at the right on the blog home page. Each time we publish a new post, you’ll get an emailed link. It’s that easy.

You can also add our RSS blog feed to Live Bookmarks, MyYahoo, MyGoogle, MyMSN, Google Reader, etc. by clicking on the Subscribe to our Feed box at the right on the home page.

What if I have questions or comments on a particular post? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave us your comments in the box provided at the end of each post.

Can I catch up on posts I’ve missed?  Yes! A list of recent posts and complete blog Archives can be found at the right on the blog home page.

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.

My studio in historic Great Falls, Virginia
My studio in historic Great Falls, Virginia

Happy Quilting!

Jinny Beyer blog

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How to Cut Perfect Diamonds

feature photo ruler diamonds blog

In the last few years, I’ve been revisiting the diamond shape in patchwork, exploring new design possibilities and experimenting with shading and color. Although I love my chalk and scissors, I had to admit that rotary cutting fabric strips and patches was much faster. But I soon became convinced that there wasn’t a good ruler available to streamline the cutting, trimming and marking of diamond patches. (Trust me, I tried a bunch!)

Finally I decided to design my own ruler, which I call the 60 Degree Perfect Cut Ruler.  With it, you can measure and cut up to six inch diamonds, as well as equilateral triangles for six-pointed stars, that come out perfect every time.

 

Just line up the ruler with the strip to cut perfect diamonds
Just line up the ruler with the strip to cut perfect diamonds

 

You can also use the ruler for strips, so you don’t need one ruler for diamonds and triangles and another for strips. This ruler is great for cutting strips of the desired width, cutting out diamond or triangle patches, and trimming points. You can even mark intersecting angles when cutting Y intersections: simply mark the dots with a chalk mechanical pencil and then sew between the dots. It’s so easy! (There’s a video on my website where I demonstrate how to both machine sew and hand sew inset seams.)

 

It's easy to mark intersecting angles
It’s easy to mark intersecting angles

 

The ruler is small enough to slip into your bag when you travel but large enough so you can cut up to six inch fabrics at 1/4 inch intervals.

 

The ruler works well on any color fabric, light or dark.
The ruler works well on any color fabric, light or dark

 

Some people have asked me why I chose the green color for my ruler. The color may seem bright, but we experimented with many different colors, and this one shows up on any light or dark fabric – including prints.

My latest quilt, Florentine, includes 60 degree diamonds you can quickly and accurately cut and mark using my Perfect Cut 60º Diamond Ruler. The pattern is a free download from either RJR Fabrics or our website, and you can choose from two rich colorways. The quilt is made from fabrics from my Milan fabric collection, which is available from your local quilt shop.

 

My Florentine Quilt comes in two colorways
My Florentine Quilt comes in two colorways

 

I also make two additional sizes of diamond templates for cutting, trimming and marking seam intersections when cutting diamonds from 2 1/4″ or 2 1/2″ strips. They are available separately, as a set of two or in combination with my Perfect Cut 60 Degree Ruler.

To get more tips on using your Perfect Cut 60 Degree Ruler, visit the Tips section of our website.

Happy Quilting!

signature Jinny

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A Star is Born: More on the birth of our 2014 Block of the Month quilt

Starstruck quilt with light background
Starstruck quilt with light background

In my last post I talked about how the design elements for Starstruck, our 2014 Block of the Month quilt, changed along the way to completion. Today I thought I would share how I arrived at the rich color ways upon which the quilt was produced.

I started with my Renaissance Garden fabric collection, selecting the rich, warm tones of black, cinnabar and cream, which feel right at home next to a fireplace on a chilly evening. Although the effect is quite different, the quilt’s individual blocks look equally at home nestled against the dark or light background.

Last year we saw that our customers really enjoy being able to choose from several different color ways, so decided that this year we would give you that option again in our Block of the Month quilt.  If you’re looking for a more vibrant color scheme, I reworked the Starstruck design using cool blues and vivid yellows with teal accents, with either a blue border and light background, blue border and dark background, yellow border with light background or yellow border with dark background.

 

Cool blues add new vibrancy to the pattern
Cool blues add new vibrancy to the pattern
Brilliant yellows give a whole new feel.
Brilliant yellows give a whole new feel.

 

Each of these color variations really brings the quilt an energetic feel that will have you ready for Spring!

One thing you’ll notice about the design for this quilt is the fussy cut border. All 13 blocks have a fussy cut border print that really takes advantage of the convergence of the design elements to create a kaleidoscope effect.

My pattern includes helpful tips on how to work with fussy cuts. For example, if you’re working with your own fabric, make sure your fabric has a stripe that is 1 and 3/8 wide to use in your alternate blocks.

The inspiration for the paisley fabric and border print came from artwork of a paisley shawl design from the late 1800’s that I found in a design house. My border print came from manipulating that shawl pattern in new ways.

 

My border print was inspired by this drawing of a shawl.
My border print was inspired by this drawing of a shawl.

Happy Quilting!

signature Jinny


 

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Introducing Starstruck, Our 2014 Block of the Month Quilt

Starstruck quilt, dark and light backgrounds
Starstruck quilt, dark and light backgrounds

I’m really excited to introduce our 2014 Block of the Month quilt, called Starstruck, and thought I’d share how this particular quilt came to be.

Designing my quilts is an iterative process. Often, what I envision at the start takes on a life of its own, and by the time my design is completed it looks very different from how I thought it would look. I enjoy the journey, and when the design is finished I have learned along the way.

When I first created the blocks for Starstruck, I wanted 12 star blocks alternated with a “setting” block. The setting blocks were completed filled in. The blocks looked lovely by themselves but when I put them together with the stars in a repeated pattern, they looked choppy.

 

Original setting block
Original setting block
Original setting block with star blocks
Original setting block with star blocks

 

Wanting more flow to my design, I changed  the alternate block. I experimented with different options and finally took some of the small squares away from the setting block so that more background showed. That improved the design tremendously.

 

Final setting block
Final setting block
Dark quilt
Final Setting Block with Dark Quilt

 

Next I changed the dark background to a cream to give you variety.  But when I added the light background I lost the design continuity I had with the deeper color, and the blocks again looked too “individual” and static.

 

Quilt with light background loses continuity
Quilt with light background loses continuity

 

This time I consulted with my staff, and together we added small dark corner triangles to each of the stars.

 

Adding corner points to the stars is a subtle but effective change.
Adding corner points to the stars is a subtle but effective change.

What a difference! Now the squares harmonize and look great together and the overall effect is just what I had hoped for.

 

Light quilt with revised corners has continuity
Light quilt with revised corners has continuity

 

What makes this quilt so enjoyable to make is that each alternating block is different to give you added variety and a new challenge each month!

In my next post I’ll talk about how the Starstruck quilt’s color ways came to be.

Happy Quilting!

signature Jinny

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Free 2014 block-of-the-month quilt pattern launched

Jinny Beyer has designed a brand-new BOM quilt for 2014.

The patterns for the quilt, dubbed Starstruck, are free for subscribers to her monthly email newsletter. The first pattern was released on February 1 and patterns for new blocks will follow each month during 2014.

The quilt features twelve different original star blocks, set off with a beautifully shaded alternating block. Jinny shows the quilt with both a light and dark background, and in an alterative colorway (while supplies last). Quilt kits are available exclusively from Jinny Beyer Studio.

To receive the free patterns, subscribe to Jinny’s free monthly email newsletter at the link below.

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Jinny’s Lapis & Jade quilt featured in McCall’s Quilting magazine

Lapis & Jade is a new Jinny Beyer quilt featured in the March/April 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine.

The quilt features the batik fabrics from Jinny’s Malam collection, artfully shaded in diamond blocks. Kits are available exclusively from Jinny Beyer Studio.

Photo courtesy of McCall’s Quilting magazine.

 

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Piecing in the Air with Jinny

First, ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR AIRLINES BEFORE TRYING TO BRING ANYTHING ON BOARD.Jinny has been piecing on the go for decades so she has all of this down pat.  Here’s what she always carries:

Here’s what our staffers like to travel with, besides the usual needles, thread, etc., whether by plane, by car, or just sitting in a doctor’s waiting room:

Barb – Sewline needle threader

Cecile – Yazzie bag

Carole – favorite thimble.  “I took a cheap thimble on a trip and I wish I had brought a good one.”

Diane (our notions guru) – Studio magnetic needle-minder, spoon for quilting, needle case, Sewline Trio Colors marking pencil, and needle grippers.

Linda – desktop needle threader. “It cuts thread and has a magnet to pick up stray needles, threads perfectly every time and can go through security without the worries of scissors.”

Nancy – needle threader, Clover Thread Cutter Pendent and Perfect Piecer. “Those items and everything else get thrown into a mesh bag which fits in my purse.”

Eunice – Seam ripper (“because I am prone to mistakes”), Perfect Piecer, extra fabric (“to replace pieces of patchwork that I lose”), extra needles (“ I always drop or misplace at least one”)

Jane – Clover Thread Cutter Pendent and extra needles

Happy Quilting!
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My Journey to Indonesia

I recently returned from a fabulous trip to Indonesia. The trip was in two parts. First I visited the company in Solo that is printing my batik collections. I was able to see the entire process from start to finish. Everything is done by hand and it is amazing to watch the process. I came away in awe that we pay so little per yard for the amount of labor that goes into each pattern.

The second part of my journey was spent in Bali. Jim West the founder of the tour company “Sew Many Places” asked me to be the guest quilter on his Bali tour. It was spectacular. Jim certainly knows how to run a tour. We stayed in a first class resort and took day trips from there. We did lots of sight seeing, sewing and eating the delicious Indonesian food! Here are a few photos I’d like to share from my trip.

Did you know?

  • Indonesia is made up of a series of islands. Each Island has it own language and many sub languages and dialects. In fact there are more than 700 living languages spoken in the country. Other than Indonesian (the official language) the next most used is Javanese and then Sudanese.
  • The art of batik making in Indonesia was developed on the island of Java. When selecting the name for my batik collection, I chose the word malam, the Javanese word for wax. This was confusing to some people because malam is also a word in the Indonesian language that means night.
  • In the process of batik making:
  1. The cloth is dyed one or more colors.
  2. Next the cap (pronounced chop) is dipped into melted wax and then pressed onto the fabric.  The cap is made from copper and it takes anywhere from 10 days to a month to create the cap.
  3. After the wax is stamped onto the fabric, the cloth is bleached. The places where there is wax will not bleach and will retain the color of the original dye.
  4. Then the cloth is again dyed the desired color for the background to the cap design.
  5. The fabric is then boiled to melt and remove the wax.
  6. Finally it will be sent to the “finishing” facility to go through the process of setting the dyes.
  7. The cloth is dyed one or more colors.

Happy Quilting!