Story of the Barn Quilt

January 30th, 2016

Here is a quote I found from George Washington Burnap. I think it’s a keeper for my “Wisdom” collection. Do you like it?
"The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."

Well, in the last couple of e-letters I promised I would tell you the story of the Barn Quilt by RJR.  In June of 2014 Suzi Parron came through Bozeman on her US wide tour. We had the wonderful opportunity for Suzi to share the story of the American Quilt Trail at an amazing evening talk at our library. The next afternoon Suzy launched our ongoing classes on how to make a wooden Barn Quilt.
First, let me tell you a bit about the story of the American Quilt Trail which features the colorful patterns of quilt squares painted large on barns throughout North America. It is the story of one of the fastest-growing grass roots public arts movements in the United States and Canada.  Suzi conducted dozens of interviews with barn quilt artists, community members, and barn owners. Parron documented a journey that began in 2001 with the founder of the movement, Donna Sue Groves.




A few pictures of quilts on barns. This block is in the center of the quilt.

Suzi mentioned while she was visiting that there might be the opportunity to create a Barn Quilt for RJR Fabric company. Several months had passed since her visit when Suzi reached out to me to ask if I would like to help develop such a quilt. I was thrilled with the opportunity! RJR didn’t lend much help to the design process and Suzi and I were pretty much on our own. I had several ideas and tried those out on Suzi. I had loved the pattern I designed for the Women of the West—Good Neighbors quilt I designed for our 2013 QIC Quilt Retreat. Suzi agreed that the Log Cabin Barn Raising variation would be just right. We could create a design using the painted quilt blocks that had already been used on a barns from Midwest states. Suzi sent dozens of designs for me to choose from. It was overwhelming!  Painting a quilt block on a barn is much different from piecing a block by machine or hand.

At this point I brought my friend Carol into the process. We needed to select blocks that were somewhat coordinated in their color usage. For each state we chose a pattern that could be easily drafted for the sampler quilt. RJR sent a huge carton their fabric samples from all their fabric line. If I hadn’t been accustomed to viewing humongous amounts of fabric when sales reps called on us I would have been more overwhelmed. Carol and I choose the most appropriate blocks and had a great time selecting fabrics that coordinated with the paint colors used in the barn quilts. Carol was great at digitally redrafting the traditional patterns. We communicated with Suzi Paron in Atlanta and she worked some more magic on them.

I must say the process was lots of fun most of the time.  Sometimes very challenging.  After several months of work on the designs a graphic designer from RJR was brought on board.  At that point we lost any control over the process or the design. I was amazed when I saw the final mock up. With all that said it pleases me that my humble pattern inspired the great quilt.

I like the quilt and hope you do too. The stunning quilt is available from us. If you live nearby we’ll make sure to offer how-to sessions---- join me! We have the actual  RJR BARN QUILT here If you’d like to see it in person. You’re welcome to stop by. Give me a call just to make sure I’m around. 406-587-8213. 

The finished quilt is 66" X 66". You can order a kit by clicking on the picture or this link. You can also reply to this email to make local arrangements with me.

While you’re thinking Barn Quilt why don’t you order a copy of Barn Quilts and the American Trail Movement. Order by following this link.  

You might also like to consider ordering a copy of Jane's pattern "Women of the West-Good Neighbors". You can order that by following this link.



The first gathering for the Yellowstone Wildlife will be postponed until Friday, February 12th, 1-4pm. You can email or call (406.587.8213) to reserve your place. 

Kits will be available very soon though we don't have a picture of the final quilt. You can pre-order by following this link. The finished quilt will be 57" X 64" and costs $134.99. Kits include pattern with 12 line drawings, fabric for stitching (including stabilizing muslin), piecing and binding, Cosmo embroidery thread, two Micron tracing pens and embroidery needle. Also includes the book, "Gramma and Grampa's Adventures in Yellowstone Park".

Plan on making an heirloom for someone really special to you-- an adult or child.  


2016 Retreat Dates at Nine Quarter Circle Ranch have been set!   June 12-14 and September 15-18. Prices for the retreat are $399 for two nights and $525 for three nights.

Project details to follow. Join us in this beautiful setting in Gallatin Canyon for a three days of delicious food, quilting and wonderful comaraderie.


Just in time for Valentine's Day! My "Oh So Sweet" quilt combines beautiful giclee prints and simple embroidery for a wonderful quilt. Get this keepsake now for 50% OFF! Order by following this link




You never know what you'll find while cleaning out a quilt shop. Here's something we found that you might just love. The "Ultimate Template Maker". Use the Ultimate Template Maker for Duplicating or making any desired shape. Build any design quickly and easily, with no math needed! Make Wedges, Blocks, Triangles, Squares, Hexagons, Octagons, and more. Transfer a design from one place to another. Twist it, bend it - it won't break! Order by following this link.

Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! We have this one slightly used book we would like to sell at half price. Regularly $24.95, we'll sell it to you for $12.50. Follow this link to order.


This book is hard to find online and has some wonderful patterns. Regularly $14.00, now 40% OFF! Order by following this link.





Silk Ribbon Sale

Let us pick out an assortment of 10 colors and widths (4mm or 7mm) for $10. Follow this link to order.

Grab Bag of Patterns