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!!!