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Friday, October 24, 2014

Not just for barns anymore

2014 has been a milestone year for me, in the fact that I retired from active employment.  Believe it or not, it has been an easy transition.  I don't miss work and I've been staying busy doing home improvements, such as, fixing up my deck at the back of my house, doing landscaping work and having the best vegetable garden that I have had in years!!

 My tomato plants grew taller than me!!  I've had the time to maintain them through the year.   One of major purchases, since retirement, has been a new garden shed that I will use during the spring, summer and fall periods and during the winter, a storage building for the lawn and pool furniture.

The garden shed is 10x12 and has plenty of room inside to work.  I have a loft for storage, as well as a work bench.

Now, you are probably telling yourself, 'What the heck does this have to do with barn quilts?!'   Well my friends, I couldn't leave it like it was.  The garden shed does look nice, however, it was missing something.  As my website and business cards state, it's 'Not just for barns anymore!'  
I couldn't help myself!!!   I just had to decorate it.  The barn quilt on the left is called 'spinning spools' and the one on the right is 'Christmas star'. 
   
 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A most challenging barn quilt

I can't believe how long it has been since I've posted anything to my blog.  I'm trying to come up with a good excuse for it, but, I can't.  My apologizes to those of you who have been following my blogs in the past.  I will try to make up for it.
This has been a historic year for me, as I retired from employment last March.  I should have done it 45 years ago!!!  I've managed to stay busy since that time with home improvement projects, travel and just enjoying life.  Of course, I've been working on barn quilts!  Not as many as I've done in the past, which was fine, because I've been busy with other projects.   My most challenging barn quilt that I've done to date, is the one that I'm writing now.
My wife Sandra is an avid quilter.  Her favorite form of quilting is paper piecing, in which you cut out your pattern pieces, sew the onto the fabric, sew all the pieces together to make your quilt pattern, then pull off the paper from the fabric to finish your quilt.  Her favorite patterns are from Judy Niemeyer.  These pattern are very intricate and time consuming.  But, my wife loves to do them.
About 2 months ago, my wife read on Judy Niemeyer's website that Judy was wondering when one of her patterns would be replicated in a barn quilt.  Even though there would be a lot of intricate work, particularly taping off the areas for painting I told my wife that I would attempt to make one.  
In October Sandra and I drove to Chattanooga, TN from our home in Connecticut to attend the American Quilter Society show.  We stopped by the Tennessee Quilts booth, which featured many patterns from Judy Niemeyer.  I spotted one called 'Fire Island Hosta'.




At first glance it looked very intimidating and I wasn't sure how I would replicate it on a 4' X 4' board.  I went ahead and bought the pattern.  While at the booth, I spoke with Linda Crouch, owner of Tennessee Quilts and she showed me a picture of her version of the Fire Island Hosta pattern, which she named 'Fire Island Hosta Dark'.  I liked the colors and decided that this was the one that I would do.

  
As soon as I arrived back home, I started planning for the barn quilt.  The problem was that the finished pattern would have been a 74" square.  I had to find someway to reduce the pattern size to fit a 48" square board.  After some thought I realized that I could take it to my local Staples store and see if they could take the pattern pages, run them through their printer and reduce to size down.  They were able to do it.  The pattern was actually reduced to 63% of the original size.  I was thrilled!!
I cut the pattern pieces out and, placing them on the board, traced out the pattern.  The following picture, although not very clear to see, was the result of the tracing.
Now came the laborious task of taping off each area for painting.  I thank God that I was retired!!!  The following photo's show the progress of each painted area and then the final result.  










I estimated that it took me approximately 20 hours to complete this barn quilt.  Each added element needed to be taped off, painted, the tape removed and then taped again to add the next element.  went through about two and half rolls of frog tape!!!  The detailing that was added to the hosta petals was done using a nylon shower poof!!!   Very scientific!!!!!!!!
After labeling the back of the barn quilt, I am now proudly displaying it on my home for all to see!!!


I truly had a lot of fun doing this one.  I was a lot easier than I thought it would be and because of that I'm thinking about doing another one of Judy Niemeyer's patterns.  Maybe a Mariner's Compass!!!
 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Round Table!!

At this point in my barn quilting career, which goes back to 2009, I have only painted a guilt pattern on one unusual surface.  That was on a piece of slate.

 
For my next unusual surface, I decided with the encouragement from my wife, to paint a Mariner's Compass pattern on a 6' round picnic table that we had for about 25 years.  The table was showing signs of age and probably might have been thrown away.  However, the table was made by a good friend of the family, who had passed away last year.  So, the table had a lot of sentimental value attached to it.  The process of restoration had begun.
 

The old stain and paint was sanded down to the bare wood.  I also took the time to clean out all the old leaves, twigs and dirt from between the slats.  I then applied two coats of an exterior primer/sealer to the top and sides of the table.  The Mariner's Compass pattern was line out on the surface and the first set of colors was applied.  If  you closely, you can make out the compass pattern

 
The next photo shows the completed Mariner's Compass pattern.   Normally, I will not apply a finish/sealer coat to the pattern.  However, because this is a picnic table and will get used in our backyard, I will apply some type of durable finish to it, so that items placed on the table will not scratch or damage the pattern.  Of course, when used I will put a table cloth over it.
 

This was undoubtedly the most interesting and fun barn quilt (on a table) that I've made.  My next project will be a 6' rectangular picnic table that my wife and I bought, 40 years ago, when we were married.  Before I work on it, I have to replace several boards due to rotting.  But, this will be done over the next several weeks.  So, stay tuned for another picnic table barn quilt creation!!
 
 

 

A Little Patriotism!

This 1x1 barn quilt, which I made for my wife's cousin, has a patriotic theme to it.   Just in time for the 4th of July.   Hey, that's today!!!  This one is slightly different from the other BQ's that I've made in the past.  Most of the time I will put an edging along the outside of the frame, either 1/4" or 1/8".  If I don't apply an edging, I will usually bring the entire pattern to the edge.  If you will notice, the star pattern is set back, about a 1/2" from the edge.  I liked this so much that, if the client is not specific or doesn't want it like that, I may incorporate it into future designs.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Flora update

Several blogs ago I wrote about the British Rose and Hibiscus barn quilts that I made for a co-worker.  The barn quilts were delivered and I was awaiting a photo of them hung on their shed.  At first I thought that they would hang them on either side of the Puerto Rican/British Flag.  They decided to hang them on the main doors to the shed.   I do think they look better there.   What do you think?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Play ball!!

Since I started making barn quilts, back in 2009, the pattern have always been the traditional quilt patterns, i.e:  Mariner's Compass, Double Aster, Log Cabin, Lamoyne Star, etc.   The wine themed barn quilt that I made and blogged about was the most unusual.
A past customer and now friend, Gail Links from Illinois, told me, after seeing the wine themed barn quilt, that she thought I had enough talent to replicate the St Louis Cardinal's logo and was I up to the challenge!
I told her that I wasn't sure about replicating the cardinal, but, I could give it a try.   I told her that, with my luck, it would end up looking like a pigeon!!!  Much to my surprise, the logo came out quite well.


Shortly after starting this one, I was contacted by the lady who I made the wine themed barn quilt and asked if I could do the logo from the University of Kentucky Wildcats.   Am I sensing a branch of my barn quilt making?  Again, I said 'why not' and gave it a try.  This is a progress photo of that barn quilt that I'm currently working on.


There will be a UK logo in each of the four corners.  When I'm done with this one I will post a photo of it here.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's a wine theme!

This year has been interesting one, as far as the variety of barn quilts that I've done.  I received a request from Tracey in Sturgis, KY, asking if I could make her a 2x2 barn quilt for a friend of her's who was in the hobby of making wine.  Tracey wanted to know if I could put a wine bottle and two wine glasses in the design.  As you know, most of my barn quilt, or for that matter, the majority of barn quilts that are made usually replicate existing quilt block patterns.  I told Tracey I would see what I could do and let her know.  I searched the internet for quilt pattern that had a wine bottle and/or wine glasses.  Surprisingly, I did find one, however with only one wine glass, and sent Tracey the link to the pattern.  She approved the pattern and was hoping that I could still do two glasses.  I told her that wouldn't be a problem.

I started working on the draft for the pattern, when I received another email from her.  She wanted to know if I could also add the name on the bottle, which was Fowler Family Wines.  I told Tracey that I wasn't very good at calligraphy, but, I would see what I could do.  She didn't care if it was block letters or whatever.  She really wanted the name somewhere on the barn quilt.

Laying out the pattern and painting the background commenced.  Here's the first photo of the process.  It shows the wine bottle and two glasses.
 
The next photo shows the wine glasses painted and the bottle and the area for the label taped off and ready for paint.  It's interesting to note that the color used for the wine in the glass is called 'Madeira Red'!
 
 
The next photo shows the bottle and label area painted.
 
 
Before I made to attempt to work on the lettering, I began to dress up the board with grapes in the upper corners to fill in the large empty space.  I found a grape line drawing on the internet, printed out the drawing and then traced it onto the board.  I then finished painting them.  The wine themed barn quilt was now taking shape. 
 


Judgement day finally arrived.  I had to start working on applying the name to the label.  I turned to my MSWord program and found an appropriate font to use, then size it up to fit the space within the label.  Once I decided on the proper font and size, I traced the lettering onto the label.  Using the newest Sharpie pens, called 'brush tips', I filled in the lettering and this is the result.  I was quite impressed!!!!!
                                                                                  
                                                                              

I also adding more grapes to the bottom.  The entire barn quilt looks fantastic.............if I do say so myself!!!!

As expected, Tracey was very pleased and can't wait to receive it.  I will post a photo of the barn quilt hanging at it's new home as soon as I receive it.