• Lee Sigler

Smelling the Barn

4900 pieces of fabric. One inch each. I completed the assembly of the top of this quilt in 2010-11.


Quilt – Mosaic Rhine Castle by Lee Sigler 2021

The pattern was based on a tiny piece of framed beadwork around 2.5” x 4.5”. Unusually, it came with an attribution, “A Castle on the Rhine” made by Elise Zwingli Tost when in her early teens in Switzerland. She died at the age of 66 in 1911 in Providence, RI. The paper included 4 granddaughters’ names.


Beadwork Picture of Caslte on Rhine Switzerland c1860

For my projects, there is frequently a point where I ask myself, “Why did I start this?” So, I have made up games to motivate myself to finish. One game is to say to myself, “Cool, I am half-way done with half-way,” instead of, “Ugh, I’m only a quarter of the way done.”


Did you ever ride horses? I used to and regardless of where you rode them, when you turned towards home, they smelled the barn, perked up, and quickened their pace.


So my favorite motivation to finish something is to tell myself, “Ohh, I can smell the barn!” This always makes me laugh and remember the fun I had riding horses and makes me perk up and keep working. For me, today, the barn can be a cup of tea, a bite of chocolate, or just getting up and going for a walk.


With some projects, I have to put them aside and come back later and then they seem new and not so daunting. This mosaic quilt went away off and on for almost 10 years. I finished quilting it in 2021! I quilted it like an art quilt using stitches to highlight sections like grass, sand, water, and mountains. The finished quilt is 72” square.

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