Monday, June 27, 2016

A City Barn in Maine - SSOBB blog hop

 Once upon a time  Julie Sefton was writing a book and needed to have the drafts read and tested. She recruited quilters with varying experience as guinea pigs.  To make the job more special, Julie created the Secret Society of Barn Builders  (SSOBB) an elite sorority of which we were charter members. We could email between ourselves and her, but we were to be mum to the rest of the world. Can 15 people keep a secret about an exciting project?   We sure did, even though we were busting to share.  When her book, Build-A-Barn No Pattern Construction, was published this past April, we were finally able to spill the beans.  Now it is my turn to tell you about the barn I made - a city barn in Maine.

When Julie contacted me to be on the team of testers for her free-pieced barn building project,  I was very excited.  I love free piecing and the inherent character that results from quirks when sewing without a template or precise measurements.   I have made many quilts with free pieced houses on them, but not a barn, so this was new focus for me.

Julie gave us few directions: "Create a free pieced barn that reflects the area where you live using the book's process note drafts for reference, fabrics already in your stash, and your own design sensibilities and skill sets."  She also asked that our piece measure around 24 - 26 inches.  That dimension was the challenge for me.  All my house pieces were much smaller.

I chose to depict the barn that is attached to my home. In the coastal town of Belfast, Maine, nearly every home that was built in the mid to late 1800s has an attached barn. It doesn't matter if the home was a sea captain's mansion or a humble worker's house,  it will have a barn. These homes and barns are in town, not in the country.  Friends have referred to the barns as city barns.  Some barns are large, but none are gigantic.  Ours is big enough for a horse or two and a wagon or work supplies. The floor of our  barn is well trampled, with dented wide boards.  The hay mow clearly was used for storage.


( Our lot is narrow. I had to go to a window of the building next door to get this photo, hence the strange angle.)



I divided my sketch vertically and horizontally to identify sections that would be easy to piece together.  This was my map  throughout the process. It helped me to see what shapes I needed to cut and also reminded me of important steps like connecting background and the side of the building before raising the roof, especially if an overhang is needed.  The actual quilt piece did not turn out looking exactly like this, as I made changes as I went along.





















When I sew buildings, I usually begin with windows. This allows me to set the scale of the rest of the building.
Barn window, Barn doors, hay mow door


As you can see the barn and house have clapboard siding. I really wanted the texture of clapboard, especially on the barn.  I sewed together narrow strips of alternating fabric to achieve that effect.   I sewed all these strips to make a large unit and then cut the sections I needed for the barn from it.   I used a subtle stripe for the siding of the house. I wanted the barn to stand out, not the house.
the masking tape marks the potential boundary of the piece




barn and attached house (or is it the other way around?!)


Finished piece - waiting for quilting by Chris Ballard

I used a bit of artistic license.  We live on a hill overlooking the harbor.  Our  real view is at the other end of the house. The above would be our view if our neighbor's building weren't in the way.

Although I titled this blog-post "A City Barn in Maine", the title of the piece is "just-Spring" after e e cummings' poem "in Just-".  When I made it I was thinking Spring, especially mud season.  That truly is a season in Maine which I feel should be celebrated rather than dreaded.  Winter has lost it's icy grip, buds are swelling and of course the world is "mud-luscious" and "puddle wonderful."  Windows and doors are open whenever it is warm enough, neighbors re-appear from indoor hibernation, and birds readily announce their presence. This train of thought was what prompted the choices of the fabric strips of the ground.

Julie provided each of us with sneak peeks of our finished quilts once Chris Ballard worked her quilting magic.  But, we still have to be VERY patient and wait to see them for real.  They will come home sometime towards the end of the year.  In the meantime, YOU might be so lucky to see them in a special exhibit featuring the BUILD-A-BARN gallery, at AQS Chattanooga (September 14 -17, 2016), AQS Des Moines (October 5 - 8, 2016  ) or at the Davies Manor Quilt Show in Memphis (November 4 - 6, 2016).


Ah yes, the book.  Julie wrote one incredibly readable book! She provides the back story on her prize winning quilt "See Rock City", which led to AQS's proposal that she put it all in type and photos .  But that's not all.  This is a book with excellent directions on how to deal with no pattern construction.

YES, YOU CAN DO IT, TOO!  Some lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Julie's book, BUILD-A-BARN, No Pattern Construction.  Leave a comment on this or my next posting. I will select via random drawing on Saturday, JULY 2.  Be sure you are a reply commenter (or provide your email address) so that I can contact you if you win.  (No-reply comments will be disregarded.)

20 comments:

  1. Great post! Your barn is fabulous....I find it interesting your challenge was to make your barn big enough. Clearly, making mine small enough was the challenge for me, lol. Leave me out of the drawing ;-)

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  2. I can't wait to see all the interpretations of this single theme. I know of a couple of barns that could inspire quilts of my own!

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  3. Excellent post!!! Interesting to see how you drew out the barn/house sections before you started piecing -- and the clapboard siding you described making is truly marvelous in person. THANK YOU for being part of the SSOBB!!!

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  4. Very nice well done....The barns in the country here in maine are like this too...It's because back in the day winters were bad so the farmers and homeowners attached there barns...Lol...Well here in Parkman winters are still bad...lol...My mom came out from michigan and loved seeing the barns attached to the houses...Ps surprised you dont have a quilt block on your barn....happyness04431@yahoo.com

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  5. This barn-attached-to-houses idea is fabulous. This moves my desired wish to visit Maine up several notches on my Bucket List.

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  6. I love your city barn square, I never realized that barns could be attached to their homes.

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  7. I just saw a barn attached to its house for the first time here in southeastern Ohio. It is part of an Amish family farm so I figured that idea was German. Didn't realize it was prevalent in New Englad until I started following Julie's blog. 🙂. I have some barns in my quilting future, too!

    Linda

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  8. Very nice work and beautiful quilt. Kalamazoo, Michigan, has a lot of small barns in the downtown area. There were celery and pansy fields in the low areas, so farmers needed the barns. They remain as prized art studios and living spaces.

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  9. Thank you for the history lesson about barns in Maine. Interesting.

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  10. Each of these barns is my favorite! How could one choose? The work you put into this one is amazing. And your Roses For Rosita quilt is amazing! I like that one in a whole new diimenaion!

    No need to enter me in the drawing!

    glen

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  11. I learned something new today; thank you for the interesting information about the house barns. I love your rendition of yours.

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  12. I learned something new today; thank you for the interesting information about the house barns. I love your rendition of yours.

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  13. About 20 years ago, my husband and I had a vacation week in Maine. At that time the barns attached to houses caught my eye. I thought they were fascinating. I didn't know there might be one in my future as free piecing, quilted barns. Eunice in Ohio

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  14. Thanks for sharing your process -- it makes perfect sense to me now to split it up into sections like you did. Love the end result -- I haven't been to Maine even though I grew up in NY. One of these days....

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  15. Your attention to detail makes the barn and house very real, like the siding. You were able to get a feeling of depth in it. It looks rather like a painting to me. Congrats on a great job.

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  16. I just stumbled across the SSOBB blog hop and am glad I didn't miss it! Loved reading through how you created this latest project! Fascinating!

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  17. This barn is nothing short of spectacular. I learn so much from you. That clapboard idea - fabulous. I am going to steal it. Love, love, love this.

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  18. LOVE LOVE LOVE what you've been doing!!! I'm going thru my scraps this weekend and start BUILDING!!!

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  19. I love your city barn, and am so happy to have already won a copy of this very fun and inspiring book. I'm really inspired by the barns all the charter members have posted so far. Thanks for sharing a bit of your process!

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Thanks for your feedback.... I enjoy hearing from you.