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Half Square Triangles

The half square triangle is certainly one of the most used shapes in patchwork. Have you ever thought about how many different arrangements you can make by simply putting a light half square triangle next to a dark one and then arranging them in as many ways as possible?

 

half square triangle illustration (1)

 

Here are just a few examples that are in my book, The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns.

 

Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns

 

Blocks from QA

With my interest in all things patchwork, imagine my delight when during my recent visit to the International Patchwork Festival in Sitges, Spain, I encountered 55 benches with decorative patchwork tile designs, all made with half square triangle tiles.

 

Promenade

 

promenade 2

I was walking with my son, Sean, along the promenade that runs along the beach when I saw the first bench. I remarked on how neat that was. Then sixty steps later there was another one and another after sixty more steps.  Before long I realized that each bench was different, with a different design.

We walked for about a mile and a half and altogether I counted 55 benches, all made with half square tiles. Each dark triangle was paired with a light one to create a square and then those squares were arranged in a variety of ways—48  squares (96 half square triangles) along the back of each of the benches.

Some of the benches appeared to be newer than others. Each bench had decorative tiles on the sides that corresponded to the designs on the backs of the benches. The older benches had spaces for 10 squares (20 triangles) and the newer ones had spaces for 6 squares (12 triangles).

So far I have not been able to find any two benches exactly the same. Some had duplicate designs on the back of the bench, but maybe the colors were reversed or the design was upside down on one of them. Also I found benches with the same design on the back, but one was an older style with places for 10 squares on sides of the bench and the other was the newer style with a spot for only 6 squares. A few were the same design but with different colored tiles.

 

bench images 1

 

bench images 2

I only made the discovery of these benches on our last day in Sitges. I wish I had had time to study them more carefully. I photographed most all of them and show 30 of them here.

I would like to know the history about these benches, who came up with the idea, how old they are, etc. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Meanwhile, how many other arrangements can you come up with using the same configuration of 10 square tiles across and three down?

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Sitges International Patchwork Festival

What a wonderful week I had. I just returned from the Sitges International Patchwork Festival put on by the Association Espana de Patchwork.

 

Outside the exhibit hall
Outside the exhibit hall

Sitches itself is a gem of a city about 20 kilometers south of Barcelona, on the Mediterranean, with narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful old architecture, seaside cafes, wide promenades along the water and extremely friendly people. The weather was perfect every day with highs in the 60’s and lows in the 50’s.

 

1. narrow streets
Narrow streets!
Beautiful buildings
Beautiful buildings
Seaside cafe
Seaside cafe

 

I was invited to be one of the guest artists and to have an exhibition of my quilts at the show.

 

5. outside exhibition hall

 

Preparing for the exhibit
Preparing for the exhibit

Since I did not want to ship the quilts or check them, my son, Sean, accompanied me and we packed all 12 quilts in carry-ons.  It was quite a feat getting them all in the small-enough bags that we would be allowed to take on the plane.

The hall that held my exhibit was in an old building right on the water. Large windows looked out onto the sea so the lighting was excellent. Once the show opened, I was amazed at the crowds of people. The organizers expected more than 10,000 people to attend.

 

Looking out from the hall
Looking out from the hall

 

 

8. inside hall

 

Other artists with exhibits included Anna Dolanyi, Katie Pasquini, Danny Amazonas, Maoli Lozaano and Willyne Hammerstein. Unfortunately, because of the classes I was teaching and the time spent in my exhibit greeting people, there was not time to visit all of the exhibits which were scattered around the old part of the city.

 

With Katie
With Katie Pasquini

 

 

With Danny
With Danny Amazonas

 

 

Danny's horse art quilt
Danny’s horse art quilt

 

 

The eye of the horse - spectacular!
The eye of the horse – spectacular!

 

In the room next to my exhibit was an exhibit of work by children and I was so pleased to see the effort the patchwork association was making to encourage quiltmaking by children.

 

13. children with quilts

 

When we arrived at our seaside hotel we were a little sorry to see giant tents being put up along the promenade opposite our hotel.  We thought what a shame it would spoil our view, but then we saw a large “Bernina” sign being put up and realized that this series of tents was the vendors area! The tents were full with people the entire time.

 

15. inside tent
Inside the tent

 

We had a fabulous time and I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to take part in it.

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Building Art One Piece at a Time

I just returned from a visit with my grandchildren and their parents. One of the things we did was to go to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to see their new exhibit “The Art of the Brick.”  We had to wait in line for more than an hour to get into the exhibit, but it was worth the wait.

 

Lego Six

 

Oh, what fun we did have!
Oh, what fun we did have!

 

 

This exhibit features the work of Nathan Sawaya, an Oregon artist who builds his amazing art with Legos! I have to say that I was just as in awe as the children were. We as quilters build our art with fabric and thread, one piece at a time and it was easy to see some of the parallels in the creation of the Lego art.

 

Polly hugging the Lego tree.
Polly joined the Lego people and hugged the tree.

 

 

Emmett and the glowing skulls made of Legos.
Emmett and the glowing skulls made of Legos.

 

 

Lego Seven

 

I took several photos with the children to put into perspective the size of some of the pieces.

 

Lego Three

 

Lego Nine

 

Lego Eight

 

If you ever get a chance to see an exhibit of Mr. Sawaya’s in person you should go. It is truly inspiring.

 

Lego Ten
Polly, Emmett and my son-in-law Rob
Opening your heart to art and loving what you do!
Opening your heart to art and loving what you do!

 

You can see examples of his art on his website: http://www.nathansawaya.com

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Travel Delay Excuses

What a better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with the grandchildren. My husband and I flew out on February 13th and almost missed Valentine’s Day altogether.

 

Polly with Balloon

 

Our flight arrangements included a one hour layover in San Francisco. That would give us enough time to make our connection and arrive at our destination just as the kids were getting out of school.

Well, we boarded our plane and then sat and sat and sat and after about a half hour the pilot came on and said they they were waiting for a part for the cockpit. Fifteen minutes later he said they got the part which was a new oxygen mask for the pilot’s seat and we would be on our way soon.  I immediately wondered what happened on the last flight that now required a new oxygen mask for the pilot. We were not enlightened on that point.

Ten minutes later we were informed that oxygen masks are specific to each aircraft and the one they brought didn’t fit this plane, but they found one on a plane in a hangar away from the airport. They were sending someone for it. We were updated on when the person picked up the part and that he would be back right away. Half hour later we were informed they they finally arrived with the correct part, but the reason it took so long was that the person bringing the part got a speeding ticket on the way back.

Now I have traveled a LOT. I have heard all kinds of reasons for delays, but this was a first for me. Good thing the San Francisco plane was also delayed by a little and we made our connection with only three minutes to spare. If we had missed that plane we would have had to spend the night in San Francisco.

Polly Cutting Fabric

 

The kids immediately started cutting fabric I brought them to make some items for their animals......Polly sewed a hat for her bear and Emmett made a scarf for his dog.
The kids immediately started cutting fabric I brought them to make some items for their animals……Polly sewed a hat for her bear and Emmett made a scarf for his dog.

 

As is always the case when I visit, the kids immediately ask when we can sew something. They also bring out all the clothes and animals that need a little repair work done.

Bear with Hat

Emmett brought out a pair of socks with holes in them and I told him I hadn’t brought my darning egg. He said “That’s okay Grandma, we have some maracas. You can use one of those!”

Emmett with Maracas
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Whirlwind Month

October was a whirlwind trip for me. With trips to Oregon, Nepal and then Houston, I was home the equivalent of a week and ended the month with my son Sean and me handing out Halloween candy to more that 1,000 children who annually come for a big Halloween party in the Village Green where our shop is located.

 

A walk in Portland with grand kids.
A walk in Portland with grandkids.

 

 

Jinny in Nepal
A view of the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas

 

 

Gorgeous Nepal
Buddhist temple in Kathmandu

 

 

After a long day of sightseeing some stitching and relaxing at the Hyatt in Kathmandu.
After a long day of sightseeing some stitching and relaxing at the Hyatt in Kathmandu.

 

 

With friend, Alex Anderson at Quilt Market.
At the International Quilt Market with friends, Morna of The Professional Quilter and Alex of The Quilt Show

 

 

Sean giving out candy for Halloween at the shop.
Sean giving out candy for Halloween at the shop.

 

We worked hard to finish our preparations for our annual Shop Hop, Quilters’ Quest, which starts today! I finished hand quilting the inside of the quilt and a portion of the borders and will complete it after Quest. If you are in the area, please stop by and receive a free pattern for our quilt, sign up for prizes, see our demos, get some of our shop hop fabric and so much more!

 

The free pattern for Labyrinth is available if you stop by the shop during Quest.
The free pattern for Labyrinth is available if you stop by the shop during Quest.

 

 

Brand new fabrics available!
Brand new fabrics available and exclusive to the Quest shops

 

Happy Quilting!

Jinny

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A Gift of Temari in Nepal

I am just back from an awesome trip to Nepal with Sew Many Places and, as this blog is published, I am heading off to Houston for Quilt Market (and still jet-lagged). Yes, it can at times be quite tiring but the best part of my job is the wonderful people I meet along the way. I don’t have time to write much today but I just wanted to tell you a quick story about one of the ladies on my Nepal trip. I promise that next week I’ll tell you more about Nepal and, also, Houston.

 

Temair ball

 

I met Barbara Suess several years ago. Barbara is an expert on Japanese Temari. Temari is an ancient Japanese folk craft which came from the desire to entertain children with an embroidered toy thread ball. I have had Barbara to the Studio to teach and have carried her books. The designs are beautiful!

 

Handful of Temaris

 

Well, Barbara was on the trip to Nepal and brought along a bag of Temari balls she and some of her students had made. Barbara was graciously giving these balls away. One day, we were at a cooperative where local woman worked on crafts for sale (more on this next week) and Barbara gave her one of the Temari balls. The woman put it in her hair and proudly wore it for the day.

 

Nepali Hair Accessory

 

Despite language and cultural differences, it was special to see these two women, who love to create things of beauty by hand, share this moment.

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Hello from Nepal!

I’m having a great time in Nepal on the tour with Sew Many Places. Several of the people on the tour have traveled with me previously and I’ve also made many new friends.

 

Boats

 

 

I arrived early to Nepal with two quilting friends to get in a little additional sightseeing, the highlight of which was time spent with the elephants. (My thanks to Sandi Goldman for many of these pictures.)

 

Jinny and Elephant

 

Elephants Bathing

 

Our tour group gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city.

 

Nepal 5

 

Nepal 6

 

Nepal 7

The sadness for me is seeing the ever-present effect of last year’s earthquake with the total destruction of some structures and the shoring up of old historic landmarks.

 

Earthquake 2

 

Earthquake 1
Isn’t it amazing that this building is still standing?

But, of course, there are so many wonderful sights to see including the Nepali children who are always ready with a smile.

 

Nepali Children

 

And, since this is a quilters’ tour, there is always time for a lesson or two.

 

Class in session

 

I’m excited to announce my next trip with Sew Many Places. A year from now I will be traveling with them to Guatemala. I have never been to this country but have heard and read so many wonderful things about it.

Here is a link to information on the trip.

 

Color- 1
The colorful inspiration abounds in Guatemala

 

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Hard to Believe….

The summer seems to have flown by.  It is hard to believe that the regular baseball season is over, school has been in session for a month, that there is not much left in the vegetable garden, that our shop hop starts in less than a month, that Fall Quilt Market is in three weeks and that I leave in two days for two weeks in Nepal…Yikes!

 

Hard to Believe 4

 

Ok, I’ll take a big breath and give a few words of wisdom before I sign off and start packing. I have talked all summer about our annual shop hop, Quilters’ Quest, and I have shared with you the progress as I have worked on the quilt for our shop this year.

 

Hard to Believe 3

 

When I finished the top a month ago I really wanted it quilted. Since I pieced it all by hand (while watching baseball games all summer) I wanted it quilted by hand as well. I am amazed at how fast the quilting is going. So far I have only been quilting on it for three and a half weeks but I already have two thirds of it completed. But I guess if you are a little diligent and do some each day it gets done! I work on it an hour in the morning when I first get up, an hour during the evening news and three or more hours during the baseball game. Since I have a lot of travel this month, I won’t get it completely finished before the shop hop but I’ll come close.

 

Hard to Believe 1

 

I want to share with you two of my favorite tools when quilting by hand. The first is TJ’s Quick Quilter Spoon. I have been using this for years. It helps me get even stitches and protects my fingers. The second tool is some long-nosed pliers. While quilting, I usually get five or six stitches on my needle at a time. I’m getting a little arthritis in my fingers and sometimes it is hard to pull the needle through. A pair of needle nosed pliers does the trick! I just keep it near me on the top of the quilt and use it to pull out the needle. It saves the fingers and makes the quilting go quicker since I can stack more stitches on the needle each time.

 

Hard to Believe 2

 

We just had our latest shop hop meeting a few days ago. All of the shop owners shared their quilts. What a spectacular array! When you participate in the Quest, you can pick up a free pattern at each shop for their quilt. That’s a total of 10 FREE patterns! I am at the Studio every day of the Quest to greet you and hand out our patterns. I hope to see you then!

This year Quilters’ Quest will take place November 4th through November 13th.

Participating stores will be open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-6:00pm and Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm. Visit www.quiltersquest.org for details.

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Quilters’ Quest 2016

Each year 10 shops from Virginia and Maryland join together during a ten day period in early November for our annual Quilters’ Quest shop hop. We plan a color scheme and each shop makes a quilt with those colors. As participants in the Quest go to each shop they can pick up a free pattern for that shop’s quilt.

Exactly two months ago I began hand-stitching Labyrinth, our Jinny Beyer Studio quilt for this year’s shop hop. I did all the sewing while watching the Washington Nationals baseball games on TV.

 

QQ2016-1

 

Along the way I have shown you bits and pieces of the quilt blocks. Now that the top is finished I want to share it with you. This year I chose a pattern that wasn’t as difficult as the ones from the past two years. Labyrinth has only straight-line sewing and no set-in seams. Even though I pieced it by hand, it is very easy to machine piece as well.

 

QQ2016-3

 

Here is a chart of the colors all the shops are working with. For Labyrinth I decided to leave out the oranges and teals and just use the blues, reds, purples and magentas.

 

QQ2016-2

 

We are also making a second quilt with only 16 blocks instead of 36. In this quilt we have left out the blues and teals and added the oranges. When it is finished we will show you the comparison. It will be fun for all of us to see the difference that one change of color will make.

It is not too late to make plans to join us for the Quest. All of the shops are planning two-day excursions by bus. Most shops still have openings. We get a lot of people from out of the area participating and hope you will too!

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The Magic of Shading

I just couldn’t resist the Zipster pouches that are in our web special this week. In case you didn’t notice, they shade from top to bottom. And as you may have heard, I have this thing for shading.  As soon as I saw them I just had to make some shaded bundles to go with them.

 

Jinny Shading

 

 

Zipsters with Fabrics for Blog

 

People have asked what the secret is for shading colors. It is not difficult. You can shade light to dark within a color and then link it to another color through very dark or black. You can shade through medium values into another color, or you can shade lighter and go through lights.

When I go on a tour with people I can’t help myself sometimes when we do a group photo. People are never asked to wear anything special, but for the photo I like to shade everyone together according to what they have on that day.

 

INDIA shaded phot sm

 

This is a photo that was taken in front of Amber Palace in India on a trip with Sew Many Places. It is a perfect example of my shading addiction. Notice the five women in the lower right. Within just those five, the colors go from light to dark and from bright orange to deep burgundy. The woman in the center is what I call the “transition” color because her shirt is a mixture of slightly orange and slightly pink…sort of watermelon.

The man in the second row down with the turban is the transition between the gold and the coral shirts. The four of us in the lower left probably should have been reversed so that the lime green shirt was next to the greenish gold shirt.  But how much rearranging could I expect my fellow travelers to put up with?

Fortunately, this shading addiction led to my creating the 150 shaded fabrics in my Palette Collection along with the Portable Palette.

 

portable palette

 

I will be taking another trip with Sew Many Places this October to Nepal. There are still a few spaces left. It is a colorful country and I’m looking forward to going once again. It’s not too late for you to sign up and join me for this fabulous tour.

 

nepal_bhaktapur