Saturday, May 21, 2011

the Great Quilt Trail Gathering

I could not make it to the great Quilt Trail Gathering this past weekend in Winchester, Ohio. I would like to post this really nice article from The People's Defender from West Union. I am sorry that I was not able to attend. I hope that all of these diverse groups will stay in touch in the years ahead.

The People's Defender
Quilt trail leads many to 10th anniversary celebration
Trails nationwide gather in Adams County

Carleta Weyrich
Staff Writer

WINCHESTER - Representatives from 15 states and of 22 quilt square trails across the nation converged on Adams County, where the quilt trail began, during the Quilt Trail Gathering on Friday and Saturday at the Red Barn Convention Center.

"Keep going - I'd like to see a quilt trail in all 50 states and every province in Canada," said Amir Eylon, State Tourism Director.

"With what happened in 2001 (911), the quilt barn trail was like a Phoenix rising up from the ashes - look how its grown," said Jack Wright, emcee for the event.

Julie Henahan, executive director of the Ohio Arts Council, talked about the impact of the Quilt Barns to culture, commerce and economic development. She commended Donna Sue Groves, of Monroe Township, who was the first to envision a quilt trail after coming up with the idea to put a square on her own barn for her mother, Maxine Groves, an avid quilter.

"Quilt Barn Trails have attracted tourists, and local businesses use the trails for innovation," said Henahan. "Donna Sue has shown what persistent vision and abiding love can achieve."

During the program, Tom O'Grady, of Athens, took participants back in time to the 1800s when many of the barns gracing the quilt squares were built.

"What remains of the primeval forests that once covered Ohio is preserved in the barns," O'Grady said, referring to the timbers used in construction of the barns.

He described the differing barn designs across Ohio according to the national origins of the builder. For instance, German barns were built in a bank with an overhang over the lower floor, or there would be a ramp to the second floor.

"No two barns are the same," he said. "They were built according to the lay of the land and the materials used."

Another key speaker for the Gathering was Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilters Network, an international organization. Her quilts have been included in five exhibitions at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, and her artwork can be found in museums and corporate collections, such as the Wadsworth Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, American Museum of Design, Bell Telephone, the Cleveland Clinic and Exxon.

She talked about her first experiences - and mistakes with quilting. She and an assistant showed some of her quilts, mostly with painted designs.

"Quilts capture a little piece of Americana," she said.

A panel of three quilt trail organizers discussed their trails and discussed how to make trails work for a community.

"The quilt barn trail was the best community-building project we've ever done," said Judy Sizemore, from Kentucky. "Quilting has deep roots in Kentucky... In each community, you find different resources. They match the trail to the purpose."

Diane Murphy, of Clinton County, explained that her county was known for the company DHL leaving in 2008, and the resulting economic stress.

"I thought, we will be celebrating a bicentennial in two years," she said. "With our trail, we wanted to give people something else to think about and to talk about."

"Everybody's done it a different way, but the same success can be achieved and shared," said Barbara Webster, of North Carolina, where, she said, there are still Civil War feuds.

"The quilt trail helped to soften some of these hard feelings," she said.

Suzanne Labry, of Texas, said in her state they have to find creative ways to distribute the quilt squares due to a lack of barns.

In "three-minutes-of-fame," a spokesperson from each of the 22 trails represented from Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia showed photos of their trail and described its individual qualities.

Glenn and Barbara Gross, of Venango County, Pa., and Nettie and Irven Kauffman, of Berks County, Pa. said the Gathering expanded their horizon on what barn quilts can do. They especially liked the three minute section which gave a lot of information about organizing quilt trails and who in the community to go to for help. In Pennsylvania, they are involved with the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which fills a week in January and features a quilt show.

"I've had a wonderful time," Dessie Workman, amateur quilter of Stewart (near Athens), said after the event. "It's been more than I expected. I learned so much."

"I thought it went extremely well," said Sonja Cropper, of Brown County Department of Travel & Tourism. There were people from all over the country exchanging ideas and sharing what they have done with quilt trails in their own communities."

Cropper said she will be busily preparing for another date in quilt trail history that holds local significance, reported Michael Arthur, of the News Democrat in Georgetown. After the phenomenon started in Adams County in the fall of 2001, Brown County was next in line, establishing the second quilt barn trail in the nation in 2002. Next year, Cropper hopes a commemoration event can be organized to recognize Brown County's 10th anniversary in the quilt trail movement.

A discussion was held at the end of the Gathering on the future of the quilt trails, opening lines of communication between trails and the public, and perhaps establishing a national quilt trail organization.

For continuing information on quilt trails, please stay tuned to the Web site at or check the Facebook page at Donna Sue Groves may be contacted by email at

Sunday, April 3, 2011


It was three years ago this month that I started my Blog called Barn Quilt Memories. I was excited about what I saw. I was excited about finding something new and I felt compelled to spread the word. It has been a fun and enlightening experience. In May of 2008, I started a social network called Barnquilting.ning: A network for those involved in the creation, construction, support, inspiration for or enjoyment of the Barn Quilt Arts Movement. Today there are 374 members and 580 photographs posted on the sight. This too has been fun, enlightening and enriching spiritually. For a time, I thought that I could make money by creating a store at Caf├ę called the Barn Quilt Shop, and I invested in getting a license to do business in North Carolina as Barn Quilt Memories, LLC. I never made a dime. Looking back at my expenses I would have been well advised to invest my money in something else, but I do not regret the time spent being passionate about what I have called the “Barn Quilt Arts Movement”.

Life is about passion! We need to be moved spiritually. I was excited about Barn Quilts because they expressed the sense of community that seemed to me to be lost, hidden or not appreciated as we all dashed through the countryside at excessive speed. It was much more than a design and a splash of color in the wilderness. I have been jaded by the color and flash of Madison Avenue and Techno-Advertising but the Barn Quilt still speaks to me of collective interactions, and touches me on a personal and familiar level. Maybe it is the thought of the quilt owner or artist sharing something with the world that has been tucked away or folded with love in a private space. Maybe it is the story of family and connecting with the history of passing generations. For whatever reason, an increasing number of us are touched by this artistic vision and the way that it brightens our lives.

Now is a time to change my tack. It has become necessary for me to focus all of my energy (and money), on survival. I can no longer continue to pay a monthly stipend ($19.95) to to maintain the Barnquilting web site. If anyone else would care to take over, please let me know by April 10th. My e-mail address is This may not seem like a big burden, but it is currently above my means to pay. I will continue to maintain the Blog at Barn Quilt Memories. I hope that there is always a means for this community to share information. Starting out on your own, or the first Barn Quilt hung by a group can be daunting without the shared experience of others to help guild the way. I do suggest that each and every community Barn Quilt Trail have a web page hosted by a benevolent organization (county co-op, rural development, travel & tourism board or art committee), and have 1) some sort of communal mission statement, 2) a map, preferable with pictures and stories, 3) shared experiences and best practices.

It’s good for the soul, and good for the community.

Barn Quilts are Art .

Friday, March 18, 2011


There is a sneak peek (PDF) of the new book Every Barn Tells a Story, available on-line at: Ann Zemke of Blaine, and Diane Entrikin of Corcoran, Mn., look to have put together a beautiful book of Barn Quilts, with stories about the owners and sewing patterns as well. I have not yet seen the publication (available March 30), but would love to get a review posted here.

Also see the everybarntellsastory's photostream on Flickr

Accuquilt is doing a second Barn Quilt contest with the first prize winner receiving $1,000 in product from the company, plus an all expense paid trip to Freemont, Ne. Eligible entries must be received on or before midnight April 10, 2011, and winners are to be announced at the AQS Quilt Show & Contest in Paducah, Ky., April 27-30. Go to, and good luck!

Tillamook County Quilt Trail has a new interactive map for a tour around the town of Tillamook, Or. This is done in addition to the map of the county also found at

Appalachian RC&D Council is sponsoring a bus trip to the Quilt Trail Gathering in Winchester Oh, May 12-15. For more information go to:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

South Dakota


Here is one of the missing states… I know that there are Barn Quilts in locations other than the counties found in the 20+ states listed on Barn Quilt Memories, so I try to keep my nose to the wind. The barn that is shown above is to be found just north of the Hwy 11 and 229th Street intersection in rural Lincoln County, South Dakota. It was posted by wildernessmama on under the category Painted Barn Quilts. There are over 300 examples of Barn Quilts posted on this site.

If there is a web presence that I have not previously listed, or a news story of an aspiring group that is interested in Barn Quilts, please contact me at Reach out to those with similar interests on the Social Networking Site: . Also, there is another superb set of over 500 pictures on the group called Quilted Barns.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

News from...


Barn Quilt Presentation
Saturday, Jan. 29th, 2011 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Cost: Free

Location: Kankakee County Historical Society Museum
801 S. Eighth Ave.
Kankakee, IL 60901

Description: Learn more about the Barn Quilts of Kankakee County at the first of the museum's new lecture series. Free and open to the public, go on a "tour" of the Barn Quilts. Learn the stories about each block and the barns they adorn. Refreshments will be served.


Quilt Barn Committee Meeting
Wednesday., Feb 2, 2011, 6:30 pm

Location: Snyder House at Cottell Park,
5847 Irwin-Simpson Rd,
Deerfield Township, OH

Description: The MDAA is looking for like minded people interested in creating more quilt barns throughout the Warren County region. The MDAA is looking for those who are interested in building a stronger sense of community by celebrating the history, fiber arts, the land and the people of the county through this on-going project.

Deerfield Township is just North of the beltway around Cincinnati. The Mason-Deerfield Arts Alliance has done a wonderful job putting together a short YouTube video of the painting and hanging of the Fleckenstein Quilt Barn: see how it was done. (click here)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lake County Quilt Trail announces raffle winner

From the Lake County News
Written by Vicky Parish Smith

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – Mary Secord, a longtime resident of Lakeport, won the Lake County Quilt Trail raffle.

The prize was a hand-crafted cloth quilt comprised of 13 different quilt blocks.

“I’m so pleased to be the winner of the beautiful quilt,” Secord said. “I enjoy seeing each quilt block on buildings all around the county. Each has such a good meaning.”

The quilt was designed and machine quilted by Kerrie Hershey. Quilters Nancy Carpenter, Bethany Rose, Kerrie Hershey and Patti-Cox Frankenfield hand-pieced the cloth blocks.

The quilt block names are (in order of installation) Square in a Square, Martha’s Vineyard, Big Oak Ranch Blazing Star (a variation), Peace and Plenty, Lady of the Lake, 54 40 or Fight, Rising Star, Monkey Wrench, Bear’s Paw, County Fair, Tulip Time, Ohio Star and Squash Blossom.

Lake County is the first location in California to create a quilt trail.

This past spring, with seed money from the Kelseyville Pear Festival, vibrantly colored quilt blocks inaugurated the first phase of the project.

Each block, specifically designed and painted entirely by volunteers onto 8-foot by 8-foot wooden panels, was hung on pioneer barns, pear packing sheds, winery tasting rooms, an orchard ladder manufacturing facility and even an exhibit hall on the Lake County Fairgrounds.

Each unique quilt block on the Lake County Quilt Trail was selected to connect with the history of the building, honor farming, or celebrate the family, as well as pay tribute to the generational history of beautiful quilts.

Phase two of this project is currently in production. By September 2011, another 12 quilt blocks will be added to the Lake County Quilt Trail.

Information about the Lake County Quilt Trail can be found at

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Terry Mayer took this photograph for CSI Media, and it was published by the Walworth County Today. Cleanup begins November 23 on a home damaged by a rare November tornado the day before on Lakeview Road in Lynn Township. The Spinning Spools Barn Quilt appears to have survived.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


The University of Kentucky - College of Agriculture - School of Human and Environmental Sciences - Family and Consumer Sciences has a link for their services and projects in each county. Now under the County of Allen, in the great state of Kentucky, is a link to the Allen County Quilt Tail Brochure and Application. I had not listed Allen County in my sidebar, but I will correct that omission immediately.

I have not yet mentioned the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association. The (KEHA) is a volunteer organization that works to improve the quality of life for families and communities through leadership development, volunteer service and education. They have developed some wonderful Kentucky Quilt Trail Materials that will be of interest and / or help to any Quilt Trail Organization, or individuals interested in learning more about or starting a group or Quilt Trail in their area.


Monday, October 11, 2010


There is a new Barn Quilt Trail in a neighboring county. This morning is the first that I have heard of this effort. I will be glad to provide more information as it becomes available, or you can contact: the Taproot Artisans of Iredell County, NC. The Statesville Record and Landmark has published the story this morning.