Tour the historical home of quilting icon Jinny Beyer, whose design aesthetic is built on years spent living around the world. Listen to Jinny Beyer on the December 19, 2011 episode of the American Patchwork & Quilting Radio show.
Known for her globally influenced designs and her clever use of color, Jinny Beyer has been making her mark on the quilting industry for almost 40 years. Through nearly 200 fabric lines, countless workshops and lectures, and hundreds of patterns, books, and videos, Jinny has changed the way Americans see, understand, and assemble quilts.
"Combining patterns is what I do," says Jinny Beyer, explaining the design elements in her guest room, the oldest space in her 1750s Colonial home in Great Falls, Virginia. She unfolds the antique Flying Geese bed quilt only when company comes.
Jinny's quilt Day Lilies demonstrates fabric blending using a range of shades. Each flower incorporates six different petals of seven pieces each. Set-in seams connect the blooms. The interlocking shapes of late artist M.C. Escher inspired Jinny to translate similar patterns in quilts, including this one, and write her groundbreaking book Designing Tessellations: The Secrets of Interlocking Patterns (Contemporary Books; 1999).
Designing fabrics and patterns, researching and writing books, and teaching classes at the nearby Jinny Beyer Studio leaves Jinny with little time for personal quilting. When she does embark on a new quilt, it's often for a family member. She assembled this colorful wedding quilt for her son Darren and his wife, Terri. She left the polygon centers and borders blank to allow guests to write personal messages.
Anticipating the arrival of a grandson in 2010, Jinny stitched tessellating blocks in bright blues and greens for Building Blocks, a baby quilt. (Find the pattern in the February 2012 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.) Jinny's book Quiltmaking by Hand (Breckling Press; 2004) is testimony to her passion for handwork. "You can get more done because you have all these bits and pieces of downtime," she says.
Architectural details, such as this antique fireplace surround, add to the appeal of Jinny's historical home and provide quilting inspiration. "I've been inspired by everything from a railing on a deck to a floor in a church," Jinny says. "I keep my camera handy."
One of Jinny's gardens is a living quilt planted in an eight-pointed star design. It is fertile ground for a patchwork of seasonal blooms, including crocus, geranium, mint, forget-me-nots, petunias, and Ageratum.
The 2,500-square-foot Jinny Beyer Studio in Great Falls, Virginia (about 20 minutes west of Washington, D.C.), offers Jinny Beyer fabrics, tools, and patterns. The shop also stocks TJ Lane silver thimbles and chatelaines and other quilt-related gifts.