Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Greetings

We all hope that this holiday season is wonderful for you, full of happy times with family and friends.

A few years ago, we made felt snowmen (cut out on the laser) and then they looked so much like gingerbread men, we made them the next year. These are our current favorite ornaments - who knows what next year will bring!


Monday, December 17, 2007

A Christmas Break

Click Here to Play FREE RICE

Here is fun Holiday break that you and your family might enjoy. You have probably heard about "Free Rice"; you play a vocabulary game and the site's advertisers donate 20 grains of rice. Well, try it if you want to test your mental powers a little.

Holiday preparations are going pretty good here - we had a family game day yesterday at with cookies, chili and other winter treats. I finally found our box of Christmas lights so the trees are up and presents are modestly mounded.

John and I spent most of Saturday getting pre-cut Double Wedding Ring kits ready to ship - you should see them in your local quilt shoppe soon!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Last Summer

My favorite aunt and uncle visited us last summer and took this picture in greener days. They just sent it to us in their Christmas card. It sure doesn't look like that around here right now.

We are planning a family game day next week, there will be marathon bridge, I'm know, and other games for folks like me who have a short attention span.

We have our Christmas tree up, but I can't get upstairs to the box of lights until someone helps me move one of the carts. It will all get done in plenty of time, I'm sure. Hope you are enjoying your holiday preparations!


Friday, December 7, 2007


John made this little wall hanging for his Mother, about 20 years ago. It is an original design, called Bitterroot, one of the state winners of Quilters Newsletter's 50 state block contest, way back when. Bitterroot, of course, is Montana's state flower and you hardly ever see them; they are so rare.
So, this is hand pieced and hand quilted and "bound" with a handmade oak frame. The "binding" needed to be reglued and clamped, so he brought it back to the shop for repairs.

John made one for my Mother also, in golds; it was beautiful on her mahogany walls. We have had it back here for several years, so, for a while, the pair is of them is here for us to enjoy once again.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

UFO or ...

John will be teaching at the Museum of the American Quilters Society in Paducah August of 2008. This is a UFO, a sample he is working on for the class which is called "Inspiration - Native Americana". He's trying to decide if it should stay round or be squared off. What do you think? So it really it's a NQFPAP - a not quite finished plan ahead project???

Kate and John are at the Bernina Teachers' Reunion in Chicago. I miss them, but this way I get to open all the boxes of fabric that are coming in and see it all before they do.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Real Snow Finally

Snow makes it hard to drive, BUT, it's beautiful to look at and we really, really need the snow pack. The snow started yesterday and is going to keep up for another day or so. We have plenty of food and lots and lots of quilting projects so that will keep us off the road.

Here's a look at Red Lodge's web cam. If you want to look at 4 wheel drive vehicles navigating a snow packed street. Broadway, Red Lodge, Montana

Kate says that Moon and Maggie, her Australian Shephards had forgotten about snow and had a great time playing until Moon got tired. Maggie just keeps going and going... hope the snow doesn't affect your Thanksgiving travel, wherever you are.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Help at the Office

Patch, the cat, thinks, well, I don't know what he thinks. He is strange, even for a cat. He loves Kate like the dickens and wants to sit with her every morning. He is also fascinated by the Master Card machine. It makes a wonderful noise and then paper comes gliding out. Ah, simple pleasures.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Predicted: Storm at Sea

It's good to be back in Montana and to spend the weekend at Red Lodge, now chillier and darker than when we left! Ah, daylight savings time. It did snow a little tiny bit on Sunday and Brooke was up at all hours Saturday night (Sunday morning) looking for the comet in Perseus. Couldn't find it.
Here is John's trick when he wants to use the walking foot for a quilting pattern. He machine bastes the whole project on the Multi-Frame with Water Soluble basting thread in the top and bobbin. Then takes the project off the frame and uses the walking foot. This quilt is a sample for the kits we will be cutting for Benartex later this year - look for them in your quilt shoppe next year!
Now, I'm going to the McDonald Observatory's website to see if I can figure out where that comet is!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Home Again

I just noticed that the last time I posted was exactly one month ago. In the last 4 weeks, John and I have driven to Santa Clara, CA, to Spokane, WA and to Quilt Market and Quilt Festival in Houston. I'm not sure how many miles that is; I do know it is a long time listening to the Sirius Radio. You can really learn a lot, but, please, no more Old Time Radio. I don't think I was that crazy about radio serials even back when I was a kid, way before TV.

We had good shows and saw lots of old friends and new friends. Thank you for letting me know you read the email newsletter!

My little quilt for the IQA Silent Auction sold for $65 and went to a Good Home, I know because she wrote me! Kate's bright Storm at Sea sold for $210 and we think John's little Wheel of Mystery went for $300 or so, final figures not yet in. Please consider becoming a member of IQA; they are the non-profit organization that puts on the beautiful show at Quilt Festival. You can really help by joining and encouraging your quilter buddies to join too!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

No Bull (and No Photo)

Here is what happened this weekend. We went to Red Lodge and it snowed three inches in the night. The power went out and then came back on about the time I started worrying about heat and water and how we were going to sew. John pieced the newest version of our pre-cut Snail's Trail kit. We made homemade tomato soup from tomatoes from John's garden. John finally got the curtains hung in our bedroom.

And we forgot the digital camera again.

And a bull moose walked across our back patio, giving us dirty looks through the windows the whole way. No picture.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Frost is coming, I hear. John and Kate picked the acron squash and the pumpkins and the last of the tomatoes. We have been doing some fall house cleaning, something must be in the air.

Tomorrow we pack up for our next show in Santa Clara, California. It's a long drive, but a pretty one, especially over the Sierra Nevadas.

One more sewing weekend at the cabin in Red Lodge and then back to work for the rest of October.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Small Quilting Bee

John and I, and our good friend Jerry are headed to Red Lodge this weekend for a hand quilting party. We worked on this particular quilt a little this summer at a craft show at the Moss Mansion and had a pretty good time. I think we can get it finished up this weekend. It is supposed to be quite cool this weekend - perfect for quilting.

Here is Kate's latest pre-cut kit in the familiar Pinwheel pattern. Love the stripes! Watch the Catalog in our website for better pictures.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here Comes Fall

We are back from vending at Longmont, Colorado. Here is a photo of our booth and our NEW Storm at Sea table skirt. Hello again to all the newsletter readers who stopped by.

A drive through Wyoming this time of year is always a beautiful sight. The aspens in the mountains are spectacular but even the humble cottonwoods are colorful and impressive as they line the little creeks and streams along the way. We saw lots of antelope, of course, resting before the hunters start chasing them.

While we were gone, Kate put Another new pre-cut kit on the design wall. If you like stripes and funkiness, you'll want to see this newest wallhanging.

We get to have a quilting bee (and barbecue) this coming weekend; now there's something to look forward to!

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Quilts in "Gallery"

Better pictures of John's three newest quilts are now up in the "Gallery" at This one is called "Super Nova".

We are headed to Red Lodge for a work/rest weekend before we drive down to the quilt show in Longmont, Colorado. Dates for the show are 9/20 and 9/21 at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Photo Shop"

We spent the weekend at Red Lodge again, savoring "free" time before we hit the road again for the fall shows. Actually, John quilted one quilt, "Dutchman's Puzzle" and got a good start on his red and black Arabic Lattice before his Big Foot broke. He improvised a spare part out of some material we had at the cabin, but we didn't have everything he needed, so we came home early.

We had packed up about 15 tops and quilts to photograph since we have a nice 8'x8' design wall up there. I think we got some good images but still have a long way to go. It was overcast all weekend; we probably should have gone outside - but that breeze!

Brooke pieced some but mostly just read a biography of Thomas Jefferson. Brilliant and contradictory.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Current Projects...

We had a MEETING and decided we need a new table cover for John's demo table in the booth. Kate cut these 20" Storm at Sea blocks out on Friday and John has the table cover pieced except for that last vertical sleeve and the binding.

Kate is so busy; like a whirlwind some days. The latest pre-cut kit she is working on is a bigger version of her "54-40 or Fly" (the one that was accepted in to the 2007 AQS Show). This has a 12" block. It will be a big quilt; queen size, I think. Love these fabrics!

Brooke is still working on her little raffle quilt - now quilted but not bound. Better hurry up.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Here is our booth from the Nashville Show. We thought you would enjoy seeing a glimpse of John's three new quilts which have been in the Museum of the American Quilter's Society all summer. Better pictures will show up on the website in the Gallery soon.

The quilt in the far left corner is called "5 Point Star" and is a variation of John's Feathered Sun design, pieced with the fabric he designed for Benartex a few years ago. The quilt in the middle is called "Super Nova" and is a variation of the Wheel of Mystery. Templates for a version of this pattern will be available in a few months. The quilt on the right is called "Secret Storm" and is pieced from sateen. The block is a 20" Storm at Sea with the cutting orientation changed within each block so the weave catches the light differently as you move by the quilt.

All three quilts were quilted on the Multi-Frame and pieced and quilted during the period from January 2007 to mid-April 2007. Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Special Delivery - One Horse

We are back from the AQS show in Nashville. "Crazy Horse", the life size lavishly embellished quarter horse finished up his southern visit at the Nashville show. (He had first visited the AQS Show in Paducah in April 2007 and then spent the summer at the Museum of the American Quilter in Paducah).

He was reboxed and John and Brooke hauled him cross country back to his home at the Miles City Community College Library and still made it home for supper.

The horse project has given us a lot of pleasure and gets lots of comments and compliments. It was a great fundraiser for our local railroad Depot restoration and we learned a lot about Native American and Montana history from the undertaking. But, so glad he is back at home safe and sound. Yipee!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Beartooth Views

John's first column for Quilters' Newsletter is just out, maybe in your mailbox, or maybe on the newstand. He calls it Beartooth Views. Non-quilters and quilters, too, wonder how John got involved in the quilting world; it is an interesting enough story and he does have his own way of looking at quilting.

Here is the Bear's Tooth, a rock formation that the whole Beartooth Mountain Range (and John's column) is named for. Eons ago, a really thorough glacier must have carved everything away but this one sharp tooth. This picture was taken in late July, and you can see how the haze from forest fires affects our view some days. We won't talk about the forest fires - our state is really suffering from them right now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Piece of Quilt History

I just finished a book by Sheila Allan "Diary of a Girl in Changi". Seventeen year old Australian Sheila, her step mother and father were captured by the Japanese when Singapore surrendered early in World War II. Sheila determined from the start that she would keep a diary and hide it so it wouldn't be confiscated.

Also from the start, the older women, mostly British, and the Red Cross were determined to keep spirits up and alleviate as much boredom as possible. There were plays and concerts and even a "circus" with elaborate costumes. An enduring part of these projects is a series of three quilts, the Changi Quilts, stitched by the women on recycled rice bags. The quilts were given to the Red Cross for the wounded Australian, British and Japanese soldiers. Changi Quilts

I won't spoil the book for you just in case you want to read it. I knew nothing about the Japanese imprisoning civilians during WWII and, especially, I knew nothing of these quilts. Here are prime examples of how much emotion goes into the making of a quilt!

Oh, and we had clear skies for the meteor showers: wow, wow, wow!

Friday, August 10, 2007

For the Silent Auction

John, Kate and I are all making little quilts for the 2007 Silent Auction to benefit the International Quilt Association. John is also a Board Member and has been working with the makers of the annual Raffle Quilt.

Well, these quilts are not so grand as the Raffle Quilt, but may raise a little money for IQA, which puts on the annual Quilt Show at Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. A lot of work for all those volunteers. John's Wheel of Mystery quilt has 3" blocks. My Attic Windows has 2 1/2" blocks. Kate is working at home on a Storm at Sea.

Tomorrow is our son's 30th birthday. Time flys and he is a great son. He reminded me today about the meteor shower this weekend; how is that for knowing your Mom!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Festival of Nations

We spent a nice summer weekend in Red Lodge; last weekend was the 57th Annual Festival of Nations in this little old mining town. Primarily a tourist town now, Red Lodge had miners from all over the world working at coal mines in the early part of the 20th century. Every light pole in town is decorated with five or six flags, it is quite a sight! Red Lodge Main Street

We enjoyed the Nordic Dancers, the Celtic Dancers, the Scandinavian food, Red Lodge Ale, the Zydeco band and all the little kids who wanted to dance, dance, dance! There was a quilt show in the Art Depot, right next door and we always enjoy a quilt show!

Brooke got some sewing done; I'll put up pictures of our little quilts for this fall's IQA Raffle tomorrow. I have to go get batteries for the digital camera today.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Maybe the chokecherries like the heat, because we have a Bumper Crop! John and Kate took advantage of the cooler weather today and picked 30 # in just an hour or so. John takes his shears and cuts the branches off first and then picks the berries off. Prune and harvest at the same time.

Kate and I are planning little quilts for the IQA Silent Auction fundraiser at International Quilt Festival in Houston; we starting picking out fabrics today. John already has his partially pieced and on the design wall. Overachiever.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Too Hot to Blog?

John, Kate and Kevin have all been out of town and I spent a friendly but warm weekend "dog sitting" for Maggie and Moon. I meant to take a picture of these handsome and mostly well behaved dogs, but time just slipped away.

The only trouble the dogs had was with our neighbors across the road who have a calf roping arena. All those horse trailers and pickups and horses just asked to be barked at. And it's not like those horses weren't making noise too!

Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Archeological Upholstery

John is teaching in Flagstaff, Arizona. He hasn't complained about the heat yet, but I'll bet it's warm enough.

Kate is just finishing up an unusual little Dresden Plate project; she is so (sew) fast!

My project is to reupholster a love seat; replacing fabric from the 70s with a western looking fake fur. It's not going so well today; I discovered I didn't get enough fabric. That's never happened to you, right? Maybe the decorating gods are trying to tell me something!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On The Road

Here is what the Chevy van looks like when we have packed it for 9 classes and a lecture. There are four suitcases of quilts, one suitcase of clothes, oh, and those Hawaiian shirts! A sewing machine, adjustable chair, all kinds of sewing accessories and 20 boxes of templates and pre-cut quilt kits.

John also put up a flannel backed table cloth to keep the air conditioned air up front - he can use it for a design wall when he gets to Flagstaff.

First, the Wyoming State Guild conference in Sheridan and then Quilt Camp in the Pines in Flagstaff, Arizona. Drive safe!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Fleece Dogs

Are these cute! John's sister Peggy always has a bunch of wonderful creative projects and here are her little needle felted dogs. The book is called "Fleece Dogs" by Nagakubo.
Peggy, her daughter Perrin and friends are the "Feed Dogs" and they make quilts, witty accessories and unique children and baby clothes to sell at craft fairs near Billings. Their next show is "Summer Fair" in Billings followed by the "Sweet Pea Festival" in Bozeman. Look up their booth if you are in the area.
Last I heard, the little dogs were staying home, though, not for sale.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Back to Work

Hope you Fourth of July fans had a great parade to see, a great picnic and visit and lots of beautiful fireworks. We took in the parade in Red Lodge. It is hard to pick a favorite, but I always admire the Rodeo Princess candidates and the Little Rodeo Princess candidates. Accomplished young women. I don't know how the horses feel about all the glitter in their manes, though.

John got another pre-cut kit sample done. This is the Snail's Trail, of course and it will be available soon.

I feel just about like a snail today or maybe a fried egg.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Official Summer Days

Okay, it's hot! We spent the weekend at Red Lodge; it is cooler up there than here in the valley. But we came back in today to do a few of those things that worry you when you are out of town.

John has found a gas powered post hole digger out in the sheds somewhere and is digging fence post holes. A gas powered post hole digger also known as a "worry your wife because you are working alone with a scary, noisy tool" machine.

No pictures today, but John got the sample for our newest pre-cut kit pieced; we will take pictures of it and it will be in the catalog soon; 12" Snails Trail.

Stay cool!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Back from the Sea

Well, the freezer is full now! John is home from Alaska with lots of salmon and one rockfish. He really had a good time and, from the stories of the flights in and out, he will never, ever get Brooke up there. Maybe that's the plan?

The king salmon weighed about 35 pounds.

The sunset is shot from Deer Harbor in the Gulf of Alaska with the Fairweather Mountains in the background.

Stay cool and have a wonderful Fourth of July!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hot Summer Days

Kate pieced all weekend on her Sprocket project. It is going to be a big quilt.

Brooke put John on the plane for Alaska early Saturday morning and then headed for Red Lodge since the weather forecast was for the mid 90s. It is usually 10 degrees cooler at Red Lodge than in Billings, at least that's what we tell ourselves. Brooke got out her eternal applique project and put it on the design wall. And admired it but did not work on it. There was a little housework to do as we are having company a couple of times in July.

John called from Juneau to say he missed the small airplane out to his fishing rendezvous but was going out on "Air Chuck". Brooke asked when he was leaving on "Air Chuck" and John said as soon as Chuck finishes his sandwich.

Every spring John digs holes in the rocky, rocky ground at Red Lodge for hostas or daffodils or water iris. This spring it was perennial sunflowers, more hostas and some salvia. After all the digging is over, Brooke always promises that she won't ask John to dig anymore holes but she forgets in January when the seed catalogs come. These Oriental Poppies were planted a long time ago and bloom the last part of June at our altitude.

Stay cool!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Works in Progress

Here are three of the pre-cut kit samples in progress. Kate is working on "Sprocket", in Depression Era fabrics with counterpane blocks. It will be a big quilt, about 60"x80".

John almost has the sample for "Pine Burr" done. The kit will be about 40" square and we used some Civil War Reproductions and similar fabrics.

The little "Pinwheel" is done in batiks and nice Kona Cotton for the black "border". Brooke is piecing the sample for the "Pinwheel" which will be about 30" x 36".

These will all be available on the website soon. Well, back to work!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

One Show Down...

We are back from the Minnesota Quilt Show in beautiful St. Paul. Except for having to buy new brakes for the van in Bismarck, North Dakota, we had a pleasant and uneventful trip. We missed all the severe rain and thunderstorms and got to enjoy the greenery that comes from lots of moisture.

I wish I had a picture of the winning quilt to show you; but sometimes photography is the last thing on my mind. Here is a picture of our booth; we had lots of pre-cut kits with us.

Two rival soccer teams were staying in the same hotel as we were. No fights, but the wait staff kept them separated by quite a margin and they were rooting for opposing teams during the Gold Cup.

Our next summer show is in Nashville in August.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What's in a Name

"Quilting at Windmills" is a variation of John's ongoing "Spirals" series. This variation spirals out from a triangle while the original spiraled out from a hexagon. The same principle as a "Snail's Trail, spiraling out from a four patch.

So that's where the name "Quilting at Windmills" comes from. Quixotic Quilting.


We, John and Brooke Flynn and Kate Flynn Nichols, are Flynn Quilt Frame Company. Our little company started March 17, 1989; we just had our 17th anniversary.

You may be familiar with John Flynn's No Baste Multi-Frame. We have been selling it for over 10 years. We also spend a lot of time cutting quilt kits on our lasers. Benartex sells a lot of these to quilt shops and we sell some direct to quilters at quilt shows and via the website.

Enough of that. John is a civil engineer, Brooke is an accountant and Kate has an Art degree. We are kind of an odd bunch but get along most days. John has taught quiltmaking for almost 20 years and Kate has been designing quilts for about 2 years now. Brooke makes sure all the bills are paid.

Here is an image of a little quilt top (15" x 18", it really is little!). John just finished piecing it from scraps from our newest pre-cut quilt kit.

Our next quilt show is the Minnesota State Guild Show in St. Paul, Minnesota June 13 - 16. Maybe we'll see you there!