Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Holiday Project

There was a big pile of snow at the bottom of our driveway after it was plowed last week.  The snow was just right for sculpting.  Here is a little Smilebox of the project!
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I hope to get a little quilting done this week; John is working on another red and white miniature; they are so cute.  Have a Happy New Year and we will have lots of pictures of new kits to show you Next Year!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Few of Kate's Projects

Kate and John bought a lot of fabric at Quilt Market in October and they both have been busy designing, cutting and sewing new laser cut kits out of it.

Some of the new laser cut kits will have Braided Borders - but instead of having to cut them yourself, Kate cuts all the strips, the exact right size, on the laser and you just sew.  Don't you love pre-cut kits?!!   Wait till you see the one that John just finished, WOW!  More pictures next week and the new kits will be in the catalog soon.  Here is the web address in case you want to look at what we have in stock now.

And, for Christmas, Kate has made a darling quilt for her friend's little girl, Charlie.  Of course, it was machine quilted on the Multi-Frame.  I really like the puzzle design she used for the quilting pattern.  But the interesting thing is that she used a plush Minkee-like fabric on the back.  We always tell quilters not to do that, since it is kind of stretchy, a little bulky and unpredictable.  But the back turned out fine and I think the quilt is going to be a big hit with Charlie - she is five.

John just finished piecing a plaid version of "Charlie's Quilt" out of light and dark plaids.  He is just starting to quilt it; it is a lot different look because of the colors and I like it too!

 When you see pictures of Kate in our advertisements or if you seen her at a quilt show, you have probably noticed her long hair.  She doesn't cut it very often but last week was the day.  Here are before and after pictures.  They cut off 21" and she was able to donate 17" to "Locks for Love".  She has such pretty, thick hair - that's her Mom talking.

Wow, Christmas is approaching fast!  I am still waiting for one gift to arrive and am planning some very short sessions of cookie making.  We are looking forward to seeing our family and to quiet, happy times.  We wish you the same!


Friday, December 9, 2011

August's Class Projects

Okay, finally, I have the photos taken of the class projects for this August's Quilt Retreat here in Montana.  There will be three classes and John has chosen "confident beginner" to intermediate projects - one for each day. 

The 9" Glorified Nine Patch is a great introduction to curved piecing with its gentle curves.  If you want a challenge, John will teach you the 4" miniature.

Pine Burr is a good way to solidify the 1/4" seam skill and to gain confidence in set in corners.  This is a big block, 17.5" and you can go on to make a beautiful bed size quilt that really looks classic.

Then there is the "Galaxy" Wheel of Mystery or the Rectangular Wheel of Mystery.  John designed both of them; the Rectangular Wheel of Mystery is the easier version.  "Galaxy" has six different sizes of blocks (I would really recommend you get a pre-cut kit for this one!)

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Here is a link to the registration information if you don't have it already, or call us at 800 745 3596.  We still have some spots open.    Please let me know if you have any questions about the retreat; we are getting excited!

Hope your holiday preparations are coming along; be careful out there and have a great holiday!  We are starting to plan our Christmas Eve and Day celebration, I do not think we will be short of food.  Best wishes to you for this special season!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Little Imagination, a Lot of Cheer!

We have a pretty creative family, if I do say so myself.  John's sister and her daughter came up with the idea to give us all boxes of assorted Christmas decorations (bells, angels, a toilet paper roll, pattern tissue, sparkly things) and challenge us to make a sculpture or collage, whatever you want to call it.  And because these are competitive people, it was a contest with the deadline of Thanksgiving.

Our two grand nieces had the largest displays, very impressive with lots of detail.  We really admired them all and then we had to vote; John won!  He wasn't as happy when he found out that first prize was getting to plan the challenge for next year!  So the little Smilebox show is pcitures of the contest "entries".  If you have any ideas to help John out for 2012, please let us know!  email
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I have got to get busy Christmas shopping.  Christmas Day will be here soon!  Take care and have a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Orphan Quilt Kit

We ended up with a pre-cut quilt kit for the Storm at Sea that was rejected by the original owner.  She sent along a note that said something to the effect that the colors would never work and it wasn't going together right and she had been sewing for 40 years and never had any trouble before.

Well, all that negativity spurred John to put the kit together himself; just to prove her wrong.  Here is a little Smilebox of the progress.  And, she may have been sewing for 40 years, but not with an accurate 1/4" seam allowance, which does help.  Seriously, how do you think it turned out?
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Don't forget that there is a discount in effect right now for 15% off the merchandise price on orders over $75.  The discount code is NOV  Website

And, details are coming together for the 2012 Quilt Retreat here is Montana.  We will be sending out registration forms next week; if you want one, please email so we can put you on the list!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to our US quilter friends, to the rest of you, wherever you are in the quilt  world, have a great weekend!

Flynn Quilt Frame Company

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More on the 2012 Quilt Retreat

John and Kate have stitched the last demo stitch and packed up the last of the pre-cut kits and left the big quilt show in Houston.

They had a fabric budget, and I think they spent it all at Market, so some beautiful batik will be showing up soon.

So, I have three bits of news for this blog - first, I am trying a new format for the blog, did you notice?  I hope it is easier to read and you can search it if you need to.  Second, we now have an Android app to go along with the iPhone app for three of John's "tricks"; strip pieced rings of triangles, an almost infinite number of combinations of the Braided Border and Diagonal Pieced Backs.  I used the diagonal pieced back trick just this weekend when I had to make a back for a 42" wide quilt out of 42" wide fabric.  Very handy to know how to do this.  The app is called John Flynn's Calculator.

And last but not least, we have more details on the Quilt Retreat scheduled for this August in Red Lodge, Montana.  The first thing I would do if I were you is get your reservation made at the Rock Creek Resort.     Rock Creek Resort  Toll free number 800-667-1119  A block of rooms is set aside for "John Flynn Quilt Seminar"; the dates of the block are 8/7, checking out 8/11/2012. You may want to stay longer and use the Resort as a base camp for other adventures in the area.  Yellowstone Country

The retreat will be 3 days, with 6 hour classes.  The cost for the 3 days, including lunches and a famous Flynn family barbecue, is $300.  (We may decide to offer pre-cut kits which would be extra - what do you think?)  We haven't chosen classes yet, so if you want input, send me an email at or post a comment here.  Check out the classes John offers here.
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So, if you are interested, make your lodging reservations, plot your summer adventure, round up friends and family and get ready to head to Montana.  Email or call 800 745 3596 for a registration form.  We haven't done a retreat in Montana for a long time and are really looking forward to this one.  We all hope you can join us and let us know if you have any questions.  You will love it here!

Well, John just called me from Arkansas.  He has a teaching job there and then it is home for the holidays!  I have some house cleaning to do soon - family is coming here for Thanksgiving, but John's sister is the cook, not me!  Take care.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Plan for Next Summer in Montana!

Come Quilt in a Mountain Paradise!

John Flynn will lead a three day quilting seminar in August 2012 in beautiful Red Lodge, Montana

Classes will be held at Rock Creek Resort, south of Red Lodge, where you will also find comfortable lodging and fine dining.

Join John, Brooke and Kate one evening for a barbeque and Show and Tell!

Beautiful and historic Yellowstone National Park is only 70 miles from Red Lodge and is a wonderful family destination.  Blue ribbon fly fishing opportunities are also only a hour or so away. 

Call 800 745 3596 to be put on the email list so you will be first to know all the details, or email

Friday, September 30, 2011


The next three quilters who email me their names and addresses can split this box of goodies.  I will send you 1/3 of this box of miscellany - we are cleaning the office!  U.S. addresses only please.

email  with your name and shipping address.  I'll add some leftover fabric, too, how does that sound?

UPDATE - okay, thanks for helping me clean and the boxes are gone now.  I hope you quilters enjoy what I sent - I can now see the floor in front of the file cabinet!  Keep watching; I think this is worth doing again!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Sights and a Finished Quilt

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After our weekly hand quilting group, we decided to drive up the Beartooth Highway, it was such a beautiful day.  There is still quite a bit of snow on the higher peaks and slopes.  The flowers were just beautiful and so thick; they like the extra moisture this year.  It is always fun to drive up to "the top"; the wind is usually blowing and you can see forever.

John finished his Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative challenge quilt and has sent it off.  I am not sure when these little challenge quilts, made and donated by some of the best known names in the quilt industry, will show up on the AAQI website but they will all be shown in Houston this fall.  We are sponsoring the Alzheimer's booth again this year; this is a cause near and dear to us.  Anyway, wow, the little quilt turned out great!

Our neighbor on the north called to tell us to watch outside the window, because we were about to get company!  What a beautiful animal; I know she could hear us running around finding cameras, exclaiming and admiring her.  She hung around a long time.  Then our neighbor on the south told us that she was leaning over their fence, eating apples off their trees.  With those long legs, they can really get around!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Too Sad

We are so sorry, Norway,  that another maniac has turned on his fellow human beings.  What an incredible waste.  God bless all the friends and families who have lost someone.

Brooke and John Flynn

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Summer is busy, isn't it? John has been quilting, I have been knitting and thinking about quilting and Kate is always busy cutting out kits for quilters.

If you have been to one of John's lectures, you probably heard him joke about "studios". He likes to tell about our ten acre "compound", which is larger than a studio, has a 10' high fence and lots of retired construction supplies, forms and other scary, rusty things in addition to all the fabric. And, this summer, because of all the moisture we have had here in Montana, the weeds are about 4' high.

So we now have a family of goats boarding with us and their job is to eat the weeds. I think they are doing fine but there are a lot of weeds. There are two moms, two sets of triplets and a billy goat who is very protective and has very elaborate horns and an impressive beard. John was out petting one of the babies last week, enjoying how friendly it was, but when he looked down, he saw it was eating his shoelace.

Texas Star Miniature, 15" in diameter

Close up, quilted with King Tut and So Fine threads
 Let's see, two of the quilts on the wall right now are fundraiser quilts and the third is going to a gallery showing "quilts by male artists". One of the fundraising quilts is John's entry in the latest team Challenge to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and the other will go the the IQA Silent Auction at International Quilt Festival in Houston. So he is keeping busy; the next show is the Association of Pacific West Quilters show in Tacoma, Washington, August 26 - 28, 2011.

Here is a picture of Rock Creek, about halfway between our house and the center of Red Lodge.  You don't want to fall in the creek when it like this; you will end up in North Dakota in short order!

It is hot here in Billings; stay cool, wherever you are!

Rock Creek, Red Lodge, Montana, early July, 2011

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June News

Two things - first our IPhone app is ready!  We have so many requests for John's trick for the Diagonal Pieced Back that it dawned on us, this would be a perfect app for a mobile device.  You could just stand in the fabric aisle and have the app figure out how much backing fabric you need to buy.  So now you can get in in the ITunes Store - it is called John Flynn's Calculator.  And there are two more formulas included - for the Braided Border with all its many, many combinations and for the rings of triangles in John's Feathered Sun quilts and in Pickle Dish variations.  So there is a LOT there.  Technology, fun, huh!

Second thing - we have a discount in effect right now.  The code is 38; because John and I just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary.  Does not seem possible; I think everyone says that but time really flies.  The discount is 15% off the merchandise total of $38 or more.  So, if you need a Multi-Frame, (and you really do)  you would get $22.50 off.

We just spent a very interesting week hosting some of the faculty members from the Red Lodge Music Festival.  Young people come to "camp" and have an intense learning situation with a faculty of really talented musicians from all over the country.  There are several recitals; some of the students and some of just the faculty.  I'll tell you, it is so great to be in a small audience with these great musicians, wow.  And it was so much fun to visit with our group of guests who were pianists and a cellist; we had some things in common - the travel, especially.  I may start brushing up on our old upright piano; where are John's earplugs?

The bear left pawprints in the muddy driveway this week.  Each time I go out, I wonder if I am making enough noise to scare her off.  I guess I should just make a bear bell a permanent part of my wardrobe.


Monday, May 30, 2011


Seriously, I am seriously behind on posting to the blog.  Our spring trips are over; we all survived and John's next trip is to the Vermont Quilt Festival in Burlington, Vermont.  If you live close, this is always a great show and I know there are lots of great instructors scheduled.

But Kevin, who is so clever, got this little DVD from last year's AQS Show in Paducah on to YouTube.  I tried 3 or 4 times but couldn't do it.  I probably got it loose for him just like we say about the pickle jar lids.  AQS Booth Interview  I hope we are able to get a similar copy from the 2011 Show; the ambiance will be different since the whole show had to relocate due to the flooding Ohio River.

Speaking of floods, yes, there are floods all around us but, so far, both the shop and our house are out of reach.  The little town of Roundup, about 50 miles from Billings, is under 6 - 8 foot of water right now, though.  Yesterday it snowed here in Red Lodge, a lot.  About 6 wet inches.  I wish I could send it to you Texans, I know you want the moisture.  Stay safe, wherever you are.

Lots of new miniatures and new laser cut kits are on the way, so stay tuned.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Catching our Breath

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Here are some photos from our January trip when we took a day to see the wonderful, impressive marvel of the new Hoover Dam bypass bridge. And there is a misty picture of the swans on the Snake River around Island Park, Idaho; sorry, wish it were better quality. We were trying to get close but not fall in the river. We weren't sure where the water was through all the SNOW.

The early spring shows really cause a whirlwind of activity around here..if you stopped by the booth in Hampton, in Puyallup or in Lancaster, Hello again and thanks for stopping by.  We enjoyed seeing Montanans shopping in both Virginia and in Pennsylvania; you were a long way from home!  We all had "winter roads" on all three trips and Kate and Kevin had to wait east of Snoqualmie Pass for the highway department to clear an avalanche!  There really has been a lot of snow all over the country this winter.  I don't think Kevin and Kate will soon forget the Montana and Idaho passes in the slush and John and I won't forget slipping off the road during a whiteout in eastern Montana or the 200 miles of ice across South Dakota.

Still none of the winter trips were as bad as the grandmother from Virginia I met in Lancaster who spent 11 hours in her car with her two grandchildren.  The car had gas so they could stay warm and they had some snacks, but bathroom breaks were a problem.

There are a couple of things that make these cross country driving marathons hard on my 5'4" body.  The blue Ford van that John prefers to drive is about 3" too high for me to climb in to easily.  If I'm not tired, I can hop right in and be a cheerful and helpful passenger.   (Are We There Yet?)  But if we've been driving for 10 or 12 hours or  vending, I have trouble getting in.  Thank goodness John has those long arms and nice big hands to pull me in.  I do not want to know what this looks like to folks in the parking lot. 

My other foe is the wind.  Honestly, it is almost always windy as the dickens in South Dakota and when we stop at rest areas or gas stations,  the wind wants to take that big van door away from me and sail it away to Canada.  So sometimes John has to come around and let me out, trying to give me enough room to wiggle through but not far enough to let the wind slam the door hinge; again, very entertaining  but kind of trying after about the sixth time.

We have Sirius radio for company on the road; mostly we listen to CNN and NPR programming or bluegrass but sometimes we listen to one of Martha Stewart's cooking segments.  I'm not sure it is helpful to hear delicious recipes with fresh, healthy combinations and then stop to eat in a Pennsylvania turnpike Burger King.  We almost always find good restaurants to enjoy in our final destinations, but on the way, meals are whatever is the fastest and closest to the interstate exit. 

Sometimes we pass vehicles pulling trailers or packed to capacity with baskets, boxes and other paraphernalia and guess that they are vendors too, on their way to or from the show.

Our other entertainment is the Garmin GPS; we call her Carmen (remember Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?)  John doesn't fully trust her, with some justification.  In January, we were on I-15 leaving southern California and Carmen thought we were off the interstate to the right on surface roads.  She was having trouble trying to get us back to the interstate because we kept going through all the surface road intersections at 70 mph.  I finally just turned her off and let her help us again when we got closer to Salt Lake City. 

Here is a little project that will be getting borders soon, a 6" Glorified Nine Patch design.  We have the acrylic templates for this 6" block, and the 4" and 9" also.  Our website where you can check them out.

Will the tragic news from Japan ever stop?  Here are links to sites raising money to help the earthquake and tsunami victims.  Please help if you can.   Red Cross  Heifer International  Quilt Finds   The Mancuso shows are also donating $10 to Japan relief for each quilt entered in one of their upcoming shows.  Mancuso Shows

Sunday, John flys off to teach at the Australian Quilt Convention in Melbourne.  He is busy packing and weighing and repacking and reweighing.  What fun to fly.  The next show is the AQS Show in Paducah, Kentucky.  Kate has new colorways for the Miniature Storm at Sea Pre-cut Kit; shop early!  The booth number is 1708 so stop by and say hello to Kevin, Kate and John; I will be the office staff while they are gone.  Maybe it will have quit snowing by then.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Do You Have to Share?

John, Kate and I are back from the Road to California Show.  Now, in fact, we are packing up for the next two shows, SewExpo in Puyallup, Washington and the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show in Hampton, Virginia.  There are lots of templates to cut, clean, bag, price and pack.  The lasers never complain, but the humans sometimes do.

I was so tickled about a month ago to run across a really nicely done Storm at Sea Miniature done from one of Kate's pre-cut kits.  The quilter bought the kit in Houston so she is pretty speedy!  There are lots of pieces in the miniature kits, even though they are only about 14" x 18" when done.  Sandy added some sashing and a border.  She gave me permission to link to the photos on her blog   Arrow down or search for Storm at Sea.  You can go to our website to get one of these little kits for yourself! 

So, if you have pictures of finished or unfinished projects, we would all love to see them!

I hope the snow and wintery weather aren't causing you too many problems.  We got to test the 4 wheel drive capability of our new Honda last weekend.  Snow really flew when we plowed through the big drift in our driveway! 


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mostly Finished Projects

John is finished hand quilting the new star quilt he needs for the Road to California Show.  I think it really turned out nice; still needs to be bound and get its sleeve.  He used variegated Jean Stitch thread by YLI.  I will be glad when he is back upstairs with me instead of burrowed down in the basement.  I had a deadline to send the quilts names, dimensions, etc to the show so they could make signs.  John hadn't named the new quilt so I gave it the name "New Star Quilt".  Real imaginative, huh.  My list has 19 quilts on it; twelve "big" quilts and 7 "little" quilts.  It will be a colorful exhibit although there are two white on white wholecloth quilts, "School Figures" and "Little St. Donat's Star".  "Secret Storm"  is pieced out of the one piece of light blue cotton sateen so the weave makes it look like the fabric running horizontally is different than the fabric running vertically.  Quite subtle and fun to look at.

We hand quilt with a group "for pay" every week in Red Lodge and the fees are donated to charity.  This week we were able to take our current quilt out of the frame and a new one will be ready for next week.  We don't know much about this quilt; there is old fabric that was fun to look at.  The quilting is hard to see but we did a sort of trefoil so we didn't have to quilt in the ditch around those big hexagons.  On to the next one.

Kate has this Drunkard's Path pre-cut kit ready to sell; I am supposed to get it quilted in time for the California show.  I love the fabrics and the colors!

John was out in the yard this morning, digging in the snow for our friend's missing cell phone.  It was, of course, turned off so we couldn't even call it.  This afternoon, his son came out with a metal detector and the lost is found,.  It only took 40 seconds, Kate says!