Back in April, Olivia received a grant from Disney's Friends for Change to create a barn quilt trail in Washington County.
She held an informational and planning meeting on April 19th.
Three families from the Soaring Eagles 4-H Club as well as the president of the Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails met to discuss the project and a timeline.
By early May, we were purchasing MDO signboard, 2x2s and 2x4s.
Thankfully, we had a volunteer who helped transport these large pieces of plywood and lumber since we didn't have a vehicle large enough. He also did all the cutting of the pieces which was invaluable.
We began priming all the wood on May 9th.
The more exciting part of creating the barn quilts was picking out the colors and painting with them.
There were so many choices that it was difficult to make a decision sometimes.
Each of the seven barn quilt patterns were graphed out using different measurements. They were either done on 6-inch, 8-inch, or 12-inch scales.
The first barn quilt we worked on, Log Cabin, was done on a 6-inch scale. This meant that we had to figure out the design first on graph paper with each block representing a 6-inch square.
Then we transferred the design to the large sheets of primed signboard. We used string that was taped down on both sides and a three-foot ruler to make the lines.
Early in the project, Olivia was interviewed by Mary Divine of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
She did a phone interview with her first on May 5th and then a face-to-face interview on May 12th. Mary was able to observe Olivia, Sophia, and other volunteers while they worked on the Log Cabin barn quilt.
One of the challenges was keeping all the paint colors straight - especially the yellows which are very close in shade.
This project was a great intergenerational activity. For this barn quilt, there were volunteers who ranged in age from 8-86 years old.
It also was a great way to learn from people who had skills that we didn't have - like woodworking.
The Washington County Barn Quilt Trail had a photographer who came out on a very cold day - 45 degrees! - to photograph Olivia and Sophia at work. We couldn't paint that day because it was so cold, so we ended up sanding wood filler where we had screwed the framework into the barn quilt.
Our hands were so cold!
The next time we painted - just a few days later - it was at least 20 degrees warmer. It made such a difference to be painting in nice weather.
Each of the sections that needed to be painted had to be taped off. The tape remained on the barn quilt until at least three - sometimes up to six - coats of paint were applied and dried.
On the last day of doing "Log Cabin," we screwed together the two big pieces of wood. The wood was either slightly off and/or had warped during the few weeks we had been working on it. So, we had to quickly fill a rather large gap with wood filler, sand it, and paint it before installing it later that afternoon.
While the paint was drying, Olivia and Dan measured the barn to find the center of it.
Around 6:00 p.m., more volunteers came to lift the 100+ pound barn quilt up and onto the 2x4 that would stay in place until the six-inch lag bolts were holding the barn quilt to the barn.
We were all a bit nervous as the barn quilt made its way up since it was so heavy and awkward. Everyone had worked so hard on it that we didn't want to see it fall to the ground.
Not to worry. It finally was in place and resting on the 2x4.
The six-inch lag bolts were put through the quilt and into the barn's huge beams.
Everyone was so happy with how it looked when it was up. It was about 7:30 p.m. by the time it was done - 1 1/2 hours after the process was started.
A couple days later, we went back on a sunny day to look at the barn quilt. It stands out and complements Gammelgarden Museum quite well. The colors tie into the buildings which make the barn quilt all that much more special and relevant to the museum.
This was a fun barn quilt to begin with. It was complicated, but not overly so compared to some other ones that we did with this project.
Olivia (the creator of the Barn Quilt Trail) and Lynne (the director of Gammelgarden) are both very pleased with how the Log Cabin barn quilt turned out, and are excited that it was done in time for Gammelgarden's opening event on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.