Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jinny Beyer at Houston Quilt Market 2009

Jinny Beyer Palette
Jinny Beyer has worked in conjunction with RJR fabrics for many years and her Palette is a fantastic basics range to have in your stash - the Snowbirds quilt (above) is a great example of how the whole range of 150 fabrics goes through the spectrum. Back in 1996 Jinny visited The Cotton Patch and at a lecture to 200 quilters in the Solihull Civic Hall (subsequently remodelled as John Lewis at the Touchwood Shopping Centre!) described how to use the palette effectively.
Jinny Beyer Palette
At Quilt Market Jinny described how you can use any 8 fabrics that are next to each other in the Jinny Beyer Palette and create an interesting quilt that has the essential ingredients of a "Deep Dark" and an "Accent". She demonstrated this by showing quilts that did not have these features and asked the audience to vote on their favourites. Consistently the result was that the quilt with those ingredients was favoured even though the majority of the other colours were there.

She also showed that a quilt that has a co-ordinating border does not have to have fabrics within it that are absolutely identical to the fabrics in the border. In fact interest is created by the eye creating the "leap" itself!
Finally the kind of fabrics that don't jump out at you as being "gorgeous" in their own right can showcase other fabrics. For example, I'd never pick khaki as a colour for a quilt but if you look at the vibrant quilt above you can see how the khaki actually highlights the vivid purples, reds and pinks and makes them come alive and stand out.
Colour and selecting fabrics for quilts can be daunting for many people. Playing with colours and using tools and experience of others to guide you can be a real help- why not check out Jinny's website with her tips on colour to give you some ideas for experimenting and going outside of your normal palette. Most importantly have fun - design walls are a great way to see how fabrics can work together - pin an old flannel sheet or the Clover Design Wall to a wall and stand back from it to see the effects of different fabrics. A more computerised approach is to use software like Electric Quilt - EQ6 to play around with colour combinations at the touch of a mouse button!
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 Roundup

A dramatic start to 2010 - a blanket of snow covers most of the UK and for those of us who have a sizeable commute to work that means enforced incarceration at home! A good opportunity to do those things I don't have time to do when I'm at the office then such as a roundup of 2009 and postings of some of the photos that never made it even as far as the editing room let alone the metaphorical editing room floor (digital photography has eradicated such terms...it would have to be consigned to bits and bytes of the recycle bin I guess).

And what a year it has been - lots happened at The Cotton Patch with more people joining us. We took on Alison, in late 2008, to help with the backoffice and stock. Bucking the trend of the rest of retail in 2009, craft and especially patchwork and quilting, has just continued to grow in popularity. The media picked up on the "Make do and Mend" theme and Kirsty Alsopp's program "A Handmade Home" became very popular, sparking an increase in interest on the web and our blogs. We took on Rob in October 2009 whose job focuses on warehousing, stock and fabric cutting which eased things as the busy season really took off in November and on the run up to Christmas. It doesn't seem to have stopped since September. We're looking forward to our newest member of staff, Lorraine, starting with us - she begins in January 2010 on web order processing.

The Festival of Quilts just gets bigger and better and this year was definitely busy - moving around the stand on the first day was certainly a challenge! Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett and Marti Michell all proved as popular as ever and with the addition of Sandy Chandler who demo'd the Curvemaster foot it definitely drew the crowds. Hopefully curved piecing no longer holds its traditional fear. Drunkards Path could be winding its way through to a quilt show near you soon!

In October we visited Houston for the Quilt Market - the show for retailers which precedes the Quilt Festival (equivalent to our Festival of Quilts). The great thing is that the quilts for Festival are hanging in the same hall so if we have time we get to see all the wonderful exhibits - this year we managed to stay on the Sunday night after the show. There were some wonderful ones and here are a few of my favourites.

The information provided on this quilt - The Lone Star is by an unknown quilter from around 1845. It is hand pieced, appliqued and quilted. Inset panel prints surround pieced diamonds. The panel prints from around 1815 have been cut in half diagonally and reassembled without interruption of the design. The diamonds of the design include many rainbow prints, French and English chintz, Indiennes prints and other prints typical of that era. The centre is fussy cut.

The connection to the internet out in the sticks is notoriously slow (the words broadband and internet superhighway hardly fit here!) so I'll load some more tomorrow as the weather still looks bad for tomorrow.

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