About Jinny

Jinny has always sewn, knitted and done other handwork. She made her first quilt, a Grandmother’s Flower Garden, in 1972. It didn’t look like the Flower Garden quilts made by other American quilters for a simple reason – Jinny used the deep red and blue fabrics that were available to her in India where she and her family were living.

Just six years later, Jinny’s Ray of Light medallion quilt beat out 10,000 entries and captured the top prize in the Great American Quilt Contest sponsored by Good Housekeeping and the U.S. Historical Society

Jinn with Ukrainian fansIn the years since, Jinny has been inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame (1984); received the Silver Star Award at the International Quilt Festival (1995), given annually to living persons who have made a lasting and positive impact on the field of quilting; and been honored with the Michael Kile Award of Achievement (1996) for her commitment to excellence and long-lasting impact on the quilting industry. In 1999, Ray of Light was chosen as one of the 100 Best American Quilts of the 20th Century.

Quilters often tell Jinny that her quilts have a very distinctive look, and she credits her unique sense of design and color to having begun quilting in a place so removed from American quilting traditions. "Living in India, I just didn’t know that a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt was "supposed" to be made with pastels. I think it was a blessing in disguise – I didn’t know any of the "rules" so I was free to play and create in my own way."

Jinny teaching

For four decades, Jinny has been quilting, teaching, writing books and designing fabrics for quilters. She is world-renowned for her fabric designs (manufactured by RJR Fabrics), and especially for her border prints. The quilts she designs for RJR Fabrics and JINNY BEYER STUDIO often include simple-to-make but intricate-looking patchwork that incorporates border prints.

Jinny hosted and led her annual Jinny Beyer Seminar in Hilton Head for twenty-nine years, and continues to travel world-wide to teach. She’s the author of twelve books, including The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns. This encyclopedia of more than 4000 patchwork blocks incorporates historical and drafting information and was a six-year labor of love.

Jinny, her husband, and several dogs and cats live just outside Washington, D.C. in Great Falls, Virginia. Her own quilts, as well as antique ones, adorn the beds and walls of her 250-year-old farm house home. When she’s not teaching, designing quilts or fabrics, Jinny can often be found outside in her gardens (or inside, preserving the produce!) or visiting her beloved grand-children, Polly and Emmett.

The Alliance for American Quilts interviewed Jinny and prepared extensive background information on her as part of their Quilt Treasures project. Click here to listen to the interview or review the materials.