Sunday, December 2, 2012

The 4x4 Mariner's Compass, Update

In a previous blog I wrote about the 4x4 Mariner's Compass, with a nautical theme, that I made for my sister in law Darlene.  The barn quilt was finally delivered and hung on their home.  The location was above the front door.  Due to the height that the barn quilt would be hanging, my brother in law devised a block and tackle set up to hoist the barn quilt in position, which gave him added leverage to be able to secure the barn quilt to the house.

I had a photo of the barn quilt being hoisted into place, however, the camera had malfunction and the shot was never recorded.  The next photo shows the barn quilt in position with Darlene posing under it.

As I was leaving, I happened to look back at the barn quilt and was amazed at how it look. So, I just had to take another photo!!!

Christmas Star barn quilt

I received an email, thru my website, from a lady in Virginia who was planning on coming to Connecticut to be with friends for Thanksgiving.  She wanted me to make a 2x2 barn quilt in the Christmas Star pattern for friends of her's in Newport News, Virginia.  She indicated that she was thinking about picking up the barn quilt and bringing it back to Virginia.  She became reluctant to do that, as she didn't want to damage it in any way, so then told me that I could ship it to her friends.  She wanted to have it arrive around December 21st or 22nd to her friends house as a surprise Christmas present.
She liked the color combinations that I did on a Christmas Star that I made several years ago.  This is a photo of that barn quilt.

She wanted to keep the white background and the red and pink, but, change the green's to blue's.  I told her that wouldn't be a problem and the following photo is a result of that change.

It always amazes me how color shading giving a sort of three dimensional look to a pattern.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A 4 X 4 with a Nautical Theme

At a family get-together on the 4th of July, my sister-in-law, Darlene, asked if I could do a 4 x 4 barn quilt for the front entrance of their home.  She and my brother-in-law Ivan own a sail boat and are avid sailor's, spending the majority of their summer weekends on the boat.  Darlene wanted the Mariner's Compass pattern.  How appropriate!  She specified that the colors should be red, blue and gold and would like the barn quilt to be hung 'on point'.  This is the finished product.

As far as the detailing went, I thought at first that I would add a lighthouse, anchor, wheel and sailboat to each corner.  Not being a good free-lance artist I came up with a better idea.  Nautical flags!!!  They're simple and look like a quilt block.  I googled 'Nautical Flags' and came up with four that you see shown in the corners.  They all have a meaning in the sailing world.  The one on the top is known as 'Charlie' and means Yes or Affirmative, Change of Course

The one on the left is called 'Lima' and means Come within Hail or Follow Me

The one on the right is called 'Zulu' and means 20% Scoring Penalty

The final nautical flag located on the bottom is called 'Mike' and means Mark Missing

I'm looking forward to hanging this on their home and then quizzing them on the meaning of the nautical flags.  That way I can determine how much knowledge they know about sailing!!!

In my September 21st blog I wrote about a 2 x 2 Mariner's Compass that I made for a co-worker for their cottage in New Hampshire.  This is a photo of it hung on their storage shed.

Liz asked me if I could make two 1 x 1's to go on each side of the Mariner's Compass.  She wanted to keep with a nautical theme and wanted to know if I could do anything with boats.  I mentioned about a quilt pattern called 'crossed canoe's' and showed her several sample from the internet.  She liked the idea and gave me the go-ahead.  This is the result of that:

This pattern is very simple and clean.  However, I feel that it depicts the joy of canoeing on the lake, which their cottage is located at.  She know wants me to to a similar pattern.  This time she wants to incorporate paddles.  I haven't come up with an appropriate pattern, so, I may have to create one.  It may be similar to the crossed canoe's and I may call it crossed paddles!!  I'm not sure yet.  Their cottage is closed up for the winter, so I have time to think about it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A successful surprise!!!

The 'Bear Paw' barn quilt that I made arrived at it's new home in Washington on October 10th.  This is the barn quilt that I was commissioned to make for a lady from Great Britain for her friend Ellie.  Ellie was totally surprised when she opened the package.......Can you tell???!!!!!!

The next photo is of Ellie and her British friend Karen.  As I've stated many times, this is one of the reasons that I enjoy making barn quilts. 

My trip to Vermont

On September 15, 2010 I blogged about meeting Fern Mercure from Sheldon, VT, who was instrumental in creating the first barn quilt trail in Vermont.  I became friends with Fern and stayed in contact with her.  My wife and I were making a trip to Vermont, over the Columbus Day weekend, and I contacted Fern to schedule a visit during our time there.
Fern had informed me that there was a second barn quilt trail that was created in Rickford, VT, about 30 miles North of Sheldon.  With the development of the second trail, combined with the first trail and a number of individual barn quilts that were created, there are now approximately 84 barn quilts in Northern Vermont!!!  The following is a website featuring the second trail, with a downloadable brochure showing the locations of the barn quilts.

It was great to visit with Fern again.  She remains busy with her quilting and creating new barn quilts that she displays at her home.  She and I are standing in front of her first barn quilt, the Mariner's Compass!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Updated barn quilt photo's

About four months ago, I was asked by a co-worker to make her a barn quilt for their summer cottage in New Hampshire.  She liked the Mariner's Compass.  When I purchased the board to make her barn quilt, I didn't realize that I picked up Oak plywood, rather than my usual Birch plywood.  There was an apparent switch of boards in the rack at the lumber store and I didn't realize that I purchased an Oak board. 
I noticed that after I applied the primer/sealer, in two coats, the oak bled thru the primer.  I applied a third coat and it was still the same, but, not as much.  I figured that once I applied the white background paint, the bleeding would cease.............Not so!  It still bled thru somewhat.  I wasn't pleased.  I let her know about it and she wasn't concerned.  This is a photo that shows the bleeding.  It's rather subtle, but, if you look carefully you can see it, particularly on the left.

When I brought her barn quilt in to work, she loved the effect that the bleeding gave.  Here is a photo of her barn quilt hanging on their cottage in Unity, NH.
The next photo is of the Union Jack and Puerto Rican Flag barn quilt that I blogged on a while back.  These are photo's of the barn quilt hanging on the garden shed.  This one is located in Newington, CT.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Perfect Fit!!!!

It's always an adrenaline rush for me when I see my barn quilts proudly hung on the new owner's house and/or garden shed.   A 2' x 2' barn quilt is appropriate for that.  However, to see my first 4' x 4' barn quilt being hung on a large farm structure, took my breath away!!  It was 'A Perfect Fit'!!!!

I recently received these photo's from Pam B, who commissioned me to make this 4' x 4' barn quilt, in the Christmas Star pattern, to be hung on her mother's storage building!!  I must say that I was taken aback by how well this barn quilt looked!  Pam's mother, Caryl K, was thrilled to have received it and see it hung. 

This next photo is of Pam (on the left) and her mother Caryl (on the right) standing under the barn quilt.  I am so proud of this one.  It's as if it was made to be placed where it is!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An order from across the pond!!

Several weeks ago I received on email through my website from a lady who wanted to order a 2' x 2' barn quilt in the Bear Paw pattern.  She wanted it made, as a surprise, for a quilting friend of her's who she was to visit in October.  Her friend lives in Washington State.   She wanted it in the Bear Paw pattern and the colors were to be primarily blue.  She was going to leave it  up to me, as to the shades of blue to be used and their arrangement on the board.   In closer inspection of her email, I noticed 'uk' at the end of her email address.  This lady was from Great Britain!!!!!  How cool was that!!  She wanted to know if I could coordinate the delivery date for the period that she was going to visit her friend.  I said not a problem!!

As I do with all of my clients, I take progress photo's and email the photo's to them.  On this particular barn quilt, I took photo's of the entire process and have included the photo's in this blog.

The first photo shows the line drawing of the bear paw pattern.  I decided to do a group of four in each quarter section of the board. 

The next photo shows the bear paws taped off so I can apply the back ground color, which was a light blue.  All of my barn quilts have been painted using a paint brush.  In the case of this project, I elected to use a small foam paint roller to apply the back ground color.  This proved easier as there were a lot of angled areas to paint and I wanted to make sure there was even coverage.

Once the back ground color was applied, I taped off the area's around the claw part of the bear paw and the small squares to prepare them for painting.  This was a very tedious undertaking, as there were a lot of angled area's to tape off.  This is the photo of that.

This next photo is of the barn quilt with the tape removed.

I then taped off the white squares to ready that for painting.

The final photo is of the completed barn quilt, in the bear paw pattern.  To dress up the barn quilt I applied texture to the squares.  It was a very scientific process in applying the texture.  Are you ready for this?!  I used a shower poof that most women use in place of a wash cloth!!!!
This barn quilt is now ready for shipment to it's new owner.  I'm looking forward to the reaction when it arrives!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Honoring a fireman!

Traditionally, barn quilts are created using existing quilt block patterns going back many generations.  Those patterns may have slight changes in their design, but, you can easily recognize the basic pattern.
On occasion new patterns are created. They may represent a family heritage and, in some cases, they may honor career's of family members. This barn quilt was created by my friend Linda M, from Guyton, GA.  She wanted to make this to honor her son-in-law who is a member of the Effingham County, GA Fire Rescue.  Linda successfully recreated the colors of the patch that she used as a reference guide to make the barn quilt.
I applaud Linda for her originality and creativity in making a barn quilt that is personal to her. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Helping out!

One thing that I've enjoyed about making barn quilts, is the online friendships that I've made with those that I've made barn quilts for and other's who contacted me to ask questions about how to make them.
I received an email from Linda M who lives in Guyton, GA asking me about barn quilt patterns and whether they are copyrighted designs.  I don't ever recall that any particular design was copyrighted.  I jokingly told her that she could replicate any pattern except MINE!!!! 
We had a nice exchange of emails.  She complemented me on my abilities and thought that my barn quilts were beautiful.  Linda said that she made several barn quilts for family and friends and wants to to more.  However, I got the sense that she thought she was that talented to do them.   I asked her to send me some photos of her work.  She sent three photos.  I found them very interesting.
One thing that I've learned about quilt patterns and paint combinations, is that they all look great.  Each one is unique to the others.
I asked Linda for permission to post him here for all to see.  I think she did very well and should be proud of them.

The first one she made was to honor her husband's 23 years in the Army. 

                                          Photo courtesy of Linda M, Guyton, GA

The second one was made to honor her brother in law from Northwoods, IA who got her into barn quilt painting.  This one is called 'Double Canoe's'

                                          Photo courtesy of Linda M, Guyton, GA

This next one was made for her best friend who enjoys gardening and likes the many shades of red.
This one is called 'Double Aster'.

                                          Photo courtesy of Linda M, Guyton, GA

I applaud Linda for her creativity with the designs, using her own color combinations to create a unique barn quilt.  I told her to stay in touch and to share her future work with me.                                          

A second for West Virginia!!

My latest barn quilt was replicated from one that I did several years ago.  As a matter of fact, it was the second one that I did when I first started.  I had done it on regulat BC grade plywood, the lines weren't the straightest and there was a lot of touch up work to do, due to paint leeching into the other colors.  At that time I hadn't perfected my taping abilities.  This is a picture of the first one.  It has hung on my workshop for about 2 1/2 years.

It still looks remarkably good.  There are no signs of aging due to peeling or cracking paint and the white is still a bright white.
The client for the latest one, which she wanted the same as this one with just minor changes in shade of red and blue.  This is the one that I recently made for the client in West Virginia.

I really liked the way this one came out.  I jokingly tell people that the lines are much straighter on this one, due to having cataracts removed from my eyes several weeks ago!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

This was 'slated' to be done!!!!

I guess this proves that you can paint a quilt pattern on anything!


A friend at work, who I made a 2x2 barn quilt for her New Hampshire cottage, in the Mariner's Compass pattern, brought in an old piece of roofing slate and asked if I could possibly paint a quilt pattern on it.   I have never painted on slate before and told that I would give it a try, but, I would promise anything.  I wasn't sure if the paint would adhere to the surface well and I was a bit apprehensive about taping off the different area's.  After I painted the white background, I applied a small piece of painter's tape to see what happened.  As I had expected, the tape pulled off the paint.   I ended up painting the 'card trick' pattern free-hand.  I used a nice square cut artist's brush.  The results came out very nice, if I do say so myself!  You can just make out the border that I painted, which is 'Hunter Green'.  After it was finished, I applied several coats of a clear sealant.  By doing so, I hope to prevent any unnecessary chipping in the future.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A different perspective

Hanging a barn quilt 'squared' or 'on point' could make quite a difference in the looks of the block pattern.  A follower of my blog, 'Sherry', commented on my 4 x4 Christmas Star blog and mentioned about the difference in looks when hung 'on point'.  So, I thought that I would post the photo again of the Christmas Star barn quilt that I did several years ago and a photo of the same barn quilt, hung 'on point', and let you decide which one you like best:

Although, the patterns are the same, when hung differently, it gives a whole new look. 
Another example is a barn quilt that I made for my sister-in-law, in the log cabin pattern.  Now, most of the time, the log cabin in viewed 'squared'.  When I did my sister-in-law's log cabin barn quilt, she wanted me to hang in 'on point'.  I don't have a photo of it hanging 'squared'.  However, the 'on point' photo gives you an idea of the change in the looks of the pattern.  I like it hung 'on point'.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My first 4X4 barn quilt!!

Well, I've been wondering when the day would come that I would be commissioned to make a 4' x 4' barn quilt.  Over the past several year's, I've specialized in mainly 2' x 2' sizes.  It's a convenient size to work on in my workshop.  I have an old wooden lazy susan stand that I use when painting them.  I'm able to turn the barn quilt, as needed, to complete whatever design I work on.  I've always wanted to attempt to do a 4' x 4' and I went out, about 6 months ago, and bought a piece of birch plywood, in that size, with hopes of starting one.  The board sat in my workshop since that time.  For a while, I've advertised on my website that I do 4' x 4' sizes, but, never received any orders.  So, several months back, I removed the advertisement and continued to concentrate on my 2' x 2' and 1' x 1' sizes.
Several weeks ago I received an email, through my website, from a lady who was very interested in have a barn quilt done for her mother and wanted a 4' x 4'. 

She liked the Christmas Star pattern that I had done a while back, however, she wanted to change the colors.  This is the one that I had done.

She wanted in done in with the white background.  The red would be the same dark shade, all the way through and would be painted in the same locations shown in this photo.  The green would be replaced with blue throughout.  At first, she didn't want a border painted on.  She stated that the barn quilt was going to hang on a red pole barn and that the barn would be the frame.  Then, she decided to have a border added.  Here is the result of those changes.

What has always amazed me when I make two or more barn quilts in the same pattern and change the colors, how different it makes the pattern look. 
I was also very surprised how easy it was to work on this size.  Although, I worked on this in my garage, as I was limited for space in my workshop, It was a fun barn quilt to do.  As a result, I'm adding this size back to my website.  I must add one trivia fact to this.  I used an entire roll of blue painter's tape a this barn quilt!!!
This barn quilt will now be shipped to it's new owner in Russellville, Kentucky!!  For those of you who are familiar with Barn Quilt Trail's, will know that Kentucky has a number of them.  I'm proud of the fact that one of my barn quilts will now be display in Kentucky for all to see!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Delivery date 'Derailed'!!

Up until this point in time, all of my barn quilts have been delivered to their new owner's without a hitch.  No matter where the barn quilts
were shipped to, they were always delivered on the day that UPS said that they would be delivered.

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Crowell

This Oregon Star barn quilt started out just like all of my barn quilts in the past.  I brought it to my UPS store on Monday, July 16th for shipment.  I was told that it would be delivered on Monday, the 23rd.  As I've done with all of my other shipments, I emailed the new owner and give her the date of arrival and I would provide her with the tracking number.   On Tuesday, the 17th, I checked the tracking and saw that the barn quilt departed Secaucus, NJ.  I checked again on the 18th and 19th, and saw no new info as to it's location.  The tracking site still stated that it had departed Secaucus on the 17th.  I began to wonder how the barn quilt was being shipped!!
I checked the tracking site on the 21st and was shocked to see the following entry: 
Wolf Point, MT  7/20/2012, 8:00am  Train Derailment...............WHAT???????????

I 'googled' Wolf Point, MT train derailment and came up with a newspaper article stating that a BNSF train had collided with a tracker trailer, attempting to cross the tracks, resulting in 20 freight cars derailing!!!!  The article also stated that merchandise, such as, hand bags and cosmetic's were broken open and scattered all over.  Yeah, hand bags, cosmetic's and 1 BARN QUILT!!!!

There were no further updates on the status of the barn quilt.  I emailed the new owner and told her that there was standard insurance on the item and, if need be, I would make her another one.  I then checked UPS Tracking again and say that the barn quilt was rescued from the derailment and it was on it's way to Spokane, WA, with an delivery date to Cove, OR of July 24th.  Hallelujah!!!

As you can see from the photo, the Oregon Star made it without the slightest bit of damage and is now hanging proudly on Jeanne's garage!!!  I must say, this barn quilt looks fantastic!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My first barn quilt in Minnesota!!

As I've said in the past, my greatest joy making barn quilts, is when I receive photo's from the new owner's.  Sally Richter, shown with her husband, are standing next to the Mariner's Compass, that arrived at their home today.

This is my first barn quilt to be hung in Minnesota!!!

Photo courtesy of Sally Richter

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oregon Star

I have been quite busy over the last several weeks, working on three barn quilts at the same time!  The first was the Carpenter's Wheel (see it, 2 blogs ago) that was sent to Indiana, the second was the Mariner's Compass (my last blog) that was sent out to Minnesota and now an Oregon Star, being sent to, coincidently, to a lady in Oregon!!  How appropriate is that?!

Jeanne was fun to correspond with.  I was constantly exchanging emails with her regarding what type of pattern and what colors she wanted.  She wanted the Oregon Star put wanted to be sure that it would be easy enough for me to do.  She suggested that I should do the Mariner's Compass instead, being that I've done a number of them in the past.  One point I would like to stress with my readers and future clients of my barn quilts.  I will recreate any pattern that you desire, whether I've done it before or not.  It's not 'what I want', but, 'what YOU want'.  Always remember that!

The Oregon Star pattern was a fun one to do.  Jeanne likes red, so I kept the red tones in the center of the star.  I tried to replicate a bow pattern in the center by segregating the points in quarters, to try to give that affect.  I hope I pulled it off. 
Jeanne also wanted a contrasting color on the points, so I came up with the green shade.  I think it works well with the other colors! 

Almost a look-a-like!!

One of the things that I always try to stress with my clients, is the fact that their barn quilt will be a one-of-kind.  I will NOT make 2 barn quilts exactly the same.  I will change the pattern slightly or I will make subtle changes in colors shades.  My latest effort was a Mariner's Compass that I made for Sally in Sebeka, MN.  She did indicate to me that she wanted a barn quilt, as close to, the one I made for Gail Links in Illinois, shown below:

When you put the two of them next to each other, you can easily pick out the changes that I made:

The orange tones on the compass points are reversed.  The red star points on the first one is a solid red, as compared with a split color tone on the second one.  The orange spears on the first only extend about 6" on the first photo, compared to being stretched to the center edge of the board.  There are other minor changes between the two, to make each one unique.

I keep a photo record of all my barn quilts.  So, if I should get another order for one, like the two above, I will be able to design a pattern and color choices, to make each barn quilt unique.   


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It started with a picture

Most of the barn quilts that I've created for clients have come from their choice of block patterns, such as, Mariner's Compass, Double Aster and Liberty Star.   I would collaborate with the client on color selections. 
My latest creation came from a photograph that Tracy from Centerville, IN emailed to me showing a Carpenter's Wheel. 

She also sent me a chart of the pattern with specific changes in color.  She wanted the blue changed to burgundy, the yellow blocks and stripes changed to green and the green changed to yellow.  The blue in the center was to be changed to gray and the red in the center changed to burgundy.  She wanted to change the red border surrounding the Carpenter's Wheel changed to black. 
Using the photograph as a guide, I was able to calculate the dimensions of the design and the next picture was the result of the changes made.

The corner medallions, as I like to call them, turned out to be more of a problem to re-create on a 2x2 size.  I told Tracy about it and told her that I would like to enlarge the medallions, so that the taping process would be easier to do.  She agreed.  The next photo is the result of that.

I really enjoyed taking on this project.  It gave me the chance to hone my skills on creating striping and working on very small patterns, such as the medallions.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's time to be patriotic!

The timing for my latest quilt pattern was perfect.  We were just coming off  Memorial Day and will now be celebrating Fourth of July next week.  My neighbor commissioned me to make a 'door quilt' for her in the Liberty Star pattern.  How appropriate is that!!

This was a very simple and easy pattern to work with.  I finished it in 3 nights!  The only area that was time consuming was plotting out and placing the three stars as evenly as possible.  I really shouldn't give away my secrets......but, what the heck!  I have a line drawing of a five-pointed star in my MSWord program.  I scaled down the star on the computer to the appropriate size.   I printed it out and then cut a strip with the star the width of the blue stripe.  With an X-acto knife I cut the star out of the paper.  After laying a strip of frogger tape over the blue, I placed the cut strip of paper over the tape and using the X-acto knife carefully cut the tape.   I then pealing off the cut pieces of tape to reveal the star and then painted it white.  Once dry, I pealed off the tape and three perfectly shaped stars remained. 
I'm currently working on three 2x2 barn quilts.  Two are Mariner's Compass variations and the third is an Oregon Star.  As soon as I finish each one, I will feature them here..

Sunday, June 17, 2012

#1 in West Virginia

I sometimes wonder why I'm making barn quilts.  I'm usually surrounded by 7 or 8 quart paint cans, not to mention the approximately 30 cans of paint, in as many colors sitting on the shelf!!  I will sometime get myself tangled up in blue painter's tape, while taping off area's on the barn quilt to get it ready for painting.  Hmmm, I wonder how many yards of blue tape I've used since I started?  I'm afraid to find out.  I have several stacks of boards ready for priming and I'm constantly visiting my Lowe's Home Improvement center, sifting thru the supply of 2x2's looking for that flawless board to be purchased for a future barn quilt.

Well, I think I know why I do this.  It's not the fact that I enjoy the creative element in drawing out a line pattern on the board, and it's not the fact that I get a kick out seeing colors coming together to create a pattern.  No, it's the thank you's and photo's I receive from happy clients showing off their barn quilts, that I created.

Case in point is Willa Greathouse from Grafton, WV who sent me a photo of her standing next to her Friendship Knot!!  This is way I make them ;>)

Photo courtesy of Willa Greathouse, Grafton, WV