Sunday, June 19, 2016

I Built a Barn. You Know You Want To.



In December 2014 Julie Sefton  who blogs at Me and My Quilts - Exploring the Possibilities  invited several ladies to join the Secret Society of Barn Builders (SSOBB). What did that mean? That meant we would all read Julie's process notes for a book she was writing  and then build our own free-pieced barn.   At first I thought she had the wrong person. Me? Free-piece? Yikes? I was honored to be invited to the club; however, I really hadn't free-pieced anything ever before except for a few wonky letters so I was nervous but accepted the challenge. 

I decided to piece the barn out in my back yard (above).  You can't see part of it on the right because a big cedar tree is in front of the added on section where the roof starts to slope. 

This is what I ended up with. 

How did that happen? 
I read and re-read Julie's process notes before I even took one cut into a piece of fabric.  Then I followed along step by step with her notes. 


(By the way, I actually had all of these fabrics in my stash so I guess I was destined to build a barn some day).



I started with the "pass-thru" area which is kind of messy in real life. It leads out to flower gardens, orchard and a pool. The ladders lead up into a hayloft where I used to hang flowers for drying that we sold at Farmer's Market.  Now I'm afraid to go up there as I think some raccoons have set up household up there. And I've seen some bats in the rafters. Yucky. 



In my fabric barn the pass-thru leads out to pigs and pastures. Actually, there are pastures on either side of us and way, way, way, out past our flower gardens and orchards and wood lot is another one of our pastures but you can't see that via our pass-thru.   And we did raise a pig once in the back of our barn. It ran through our yard, the kids caught it, we asked every farmer around if it was theirs, it wasn't, so we raised it.  And then we butchered and ate it.  Yummy!

 There's metal siding over the barn wood where the addition was added on.  The part behind that Cedar tree.  And on the other side of that is a field. 





I used striped fabric for the metal siding. And there's chickens in there because for a number of years we did raise chickens in the barn.  We are thinking of doing it again after I retire. 


I added lots of other personal details... 


...like cats because our barn is a cat bed and breakfast for all the strays everyone brings out to the country and lets loose...like mushrooms because my daughter and son-in-law are certified mushroom foragers...like shamrocks because of my Irish ancestry. 




I sent it off to Julie when I was finished building my barn and then she had Chris Ballard quilt all of our barns.  If I remember correctly the barns are all touring with some AQS quilt shows now. 



I didn't go into specific process details because I followed along with Julie's notes. I accepted her challenge and in return she gave me the confidence to free-piece.   If you would like to know the process details and so much more you will just have to buy the book or win one.  

I'll be giving away one autographed copy of Build-A-Barn.  I'll probably draw a name Sunday, June 26, when I get home from an out-of-town wedding.   You will have two chances to win. Add a comment to this post and then come back Wednesday to see what else I've free-pieced (thanks to Julie's excellent book) and leave a comment on that post. 

You've all probably heard the phrase, "close the door...were you born in barn?". Well, I know you probably weren't actually born in a barn; however, if you had, what animal would you have been?  Leave a comment and let me know.   

35 comments:

Cherie in St Louis said...

I love your pass-thru....it makes me giggle to see the two pig butts. I'd be a barn cat if I was born in a barn. Since I'm a fellow SSOBB, leave me out of the drawing :)

Vic in NH said...

Well, I'd like to be a chicken because I'm too scared to make a barn quilt, but I'm still very useful!

Nancy said...

Your barn is too fun! I love all the detail you added. I also like the barn quilt with so many barn variations.

I think I could free-piece but I think it would be so much better to have a guide (like the book).

Which barn animal? Maybe a sheep. I'd have all that lovely wool that could be spun into yarn and woven into socks, sweaters, scarves....

--Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

Quiltdivajulie said...

What fun to see these photos of the barn that inspired your SSOBB Gallery barn quilt !!

I grew up wanting a horse but we lived in town so it was not, according to my parents, possible. As young marrieds with children, we lived in Indiana. At the county fairs, I was always drawn to the stoic draft horses and elegant jumpers.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

It is so fun to see the real barn, and then how you interpreted it in fabric! I have been looking at barns more closely these days as we drive by them, because I actually DO want to build a barn (out of fabric of course)! What barn animal would I be? I think I'll choose a cat, because I know how much they always love quilts!

Lisa Marie said...

What an interesting post. The free piecing process sounds intimidating to me too, but it seems this book is a good guide. Your barn turned out very well! If I were an animal I think I'd pick an owl.

Quilting Babcia said...

I love that barn of yours and all the interesting details that go along with it! I guess I'd have to be a pygmy goat, like the ones we once had, goats just love to have fun!!!

June said...

This is such an interesting post! I'm not sure I could make a barn quilt either, but I'd love to see the book. I guess I would be a barn cat. People sure do "gift" me with their unwanted kitties here. After that would come sheep, I am a spinner & especially love to spin black wool!!

Julierose said...

Beautiful Barn raising! Love the kitty addition...hugs, Julierose

LuAnn said...

It's a good thing I read your whole post, because when I saw the photo of the barn and read the title, I thought you had built it for a retreat, and I was ready to start packing. Your block is really cute. I've free pieced some orphan blocks together, but I know that's not the same thing. I'd probably be one of the barn cats because I really enjoy spending time with our cat.

NancyA said...

Loved your description of the process of 'building' your barn. I am not sure what animal I WOULD be--that would take too much introspection, but I would like to be a cat!

anna brown said...

Nice barn.....I thank a barn anamal hmmmma cow ..becuase they walk around with no worries .... happyness04431@yahoo.com

Jean said...

I love your post. Since I grew up on a farm, I can identify with a lot you said. I'd be a chicken because the first farm we lived on had an old barn and had been made to house chicken up and down stairs, and it was my job to feed, water and gather the eggs, and I've washed and graded many eggs. The back of the barn was hay and straw storage. Where I live now in Ia. we had chickens, and I was the egg lady with route in town--my night out, and we sold veggies at a Farmers Market.

Elaine M said...

Great barn filled with animals. Love the tree fabric. I would be a chicken, would be happy in your barn. Thanks for the chance to win.

Sewing Sue said...

I lived on a farm for a while as a girl, and walked to a one room school down the road. I love your barn! If I were born in a barn I'd have to be one of the plow horses. My favorite was called Ole Nellie Belle... lol!

QuiltSwissy said...

I love that you did the barn in your back yard! I wish I had one......sigh. the stories that go with it are wonderful.

Don't enter me in the drawing, I already have one!

glen

QuiltSwissy said...

Oops.......I would definitly be a horse! Bet you thought I was going to say a dog, didn't ya!

glen

Joye with an e said...

I would be a barn cat. Loved the stories about your barn.
joyecox@yahoo.com

Mystic Quilter said...

Wonderful barn - both the fabric one and the actual one in your back yard, how I wish I had one in my back garden! Thanks for sharing the story of how all those creatures come to be in fabric in your barn, lovely.

swooze said...

Probably a horse. Mi was obsessed with them as a kid!

Chris Jensen said...

I love your barn and the story about it. The fabrics are great...... Especially the pigs!!

Chris Jensen

Gale said...

I'd be a pig, but I don't think they live IN the barn. They are too messy and so am I!

Eunice Donges said...

I would be a cow. Not a milk Cow but the kind raised for beef. That's what we had in our barn when I was growing up and now we live in a neighborhood where our back yard looks onto a pasture with about 20 head of cattle. I think it's really special that you could free piece your own barn. I'm going to look to see if I have a picture of my õld barn and try free piecing.

Dasha said...

I really enjoyed reading your barn story. Love what you put together, especially that you have shared with us what all the fabrics mean and why you used them.

gayle said...

You had me at the pig butts. 8)
Love your barn! Don't put me in the drawing, though, because I already have it!
And I'd be a cat if I was born in a barn. I'd enjoy the chasing of the mice, but not the actual catching, I suspect...

Wendy Caton Reed said...

What fun! I particularly love the pigs!

Cathy said...

Hi Cathy, I bought Julie's book as soon as it came out, so don't enter me in the contest. It's a great book and I hope to use it to help me build a barn similar to the one at our local Wheeler Farm, where I used to work. I would have been a barn cat if born in a barn, but would hopefully have been brought indoors to lose my feral past!!

Alycia said...

Your barn is fantastci!!! I love that you had all the fabrics on hand!

jetters said...

I love your quilt. Especially now that I know the significance of all the fabrics. Quilts really do tell a story. I think I would choose to be a cow. My brother called me "heifer" as a teenager (a big brother mean version of my name Heather") But I do like the idea of wandering around eating contentedly all day..

LizA. said...

Hhhmmm, I've always loved goats so I guess it would have to be a goat. I love all the little details in your barn. The pigs are great. and I really like that you added a barn quilt. We have a lot of barn quilts around this part of Washington state.

Kleine Vingers said...

Love this barn especcially the pig fabric. Greetings
aubphg (at) hotmail (dot) com

Ronene Wilkinson said...

I absolutely adore this! I can't wait to try it! If I were an animal, I'd choose to be a goat! We have two Nigerian Dwarf goats and they are SO FUN!!! They cry and they get fed, they beg for attention (and get a boat load of it!) and play all day! Wouldn't that be great! We also have 9 chickens, 2 barn cats, 2 Maltese dogs (that think they are farm dogs) and are getting a cow soon! Farm living is the best, even on a small scale!! Thanks for sharing your barn with us!

Ivani said...

It is wonderful, I love seeing the real barn and how you make the quilt. My barn will be a mushroom one. I love your barn.

claudia said...

What a cute barn. Maybe if I ever get my pallet barn made, I can do a quilt barn of it!

Kaja said...

Have just been catching up with Julie's SSOB site and can't believe I missed this post! I love your real life barn and the quilty version too, especially all the little touches like the pigs and chickens, and the mushrooms in the grass.