Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So, I don't have all the answers...

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting educator, turned author and historian, Suzi Parron. Many of you have read her blog (americanquilttrail). Her name may become as ubiquitous as Donna Sue Groves when speaking of Quilt Barns, Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail. It is comforting to know that Suzi and Donna Sue have teamed up to create a book that will both describe the impetus of this arts movement, and focus on the stories that are the lives behind the quilt squares flowering across our hinterlands.

Today, Suzi took the time to introduce us to a wonderful pair of You Tube journalist. See what she says, and then go to: and A Patchwork of Hope (the story of Donna Sue Groves).

Suzi Parron is interested in capturing the stories... and the sense of community, family, respect and love that these images portray. She is also a pretty astute study of human nature. She asked me two questions that I have not fully been able to answer. What was my compelling interest ? and what may happen in the future months that could bring this diverse collection of farmers and quilters, artist and art lovers, chambers, committees and associations under some sort of unifying umbrella ?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Shores of Lake Michigan

About 30 miles due East of Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Michigan is Kewaunee. The Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce (, is hosting the web page for the Kewaunee Area Barn Quilts. Beautiful pictures, of beautiful Barns and Barn Quilts, I could not help but notice that there is snow in more than half of the pictures.

On the far side of Lake Michigan, you can find Traverse City, Michigan, on what is known as the Mission Peninsula. It is there that you will find a new Barn Quilt Trail. A few years ago, retired school teacher Evelyn Johnson wrote a book about the Barns Of Old Mission Peninsula And Their Stories, and she is now spearheading a Quilt Trail project on the Peninsula. There was a story in yesterday's Traverse City's Record-Eagle. (click here for story), and they have pictures too (click here for pictures)...

... also see:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Alleghany County, NC

Another North Carolina county has joined the Quilt Trail community. Alleghany County is celebrating it's 150 anniversary. It lies in the North-North-West of the Carolinas and shares a border with Virginia. Ashe County to the West, and Wilkes County to the South, have their own Barn Quilt projects. Due to the efforts of the Alleghany County Quilters Guild and its president, Delta Peterson, there are now over 35 Quilt Blocks hung around the county, and they were all painted this year. I spoke with Ms Peterson last week at the annual quilt show and she is very enthusiastic about what the Quilters Guild has accomplished. These are all 2' x 2' or 4' x 4' Quilt Blocks. I have not seen the entire county, but what I have seen is beautiful and calls me back to explore some more. There is a new brochure that shows the first 35 patterns. You can also write or call Bob Bamberg at the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce (

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Alexander County, NC

Alexander County's Hiddenite Center announced several months ago that they were starting a Barn Quilt project. Last week I had an opportunity to stop by the old Lucas Mansion in Hiddenite, North Carolina, and I met with Allison Houchins. She is the part time Director of Education for the center, and a full time Barn Quilt supporter. Allison is directing much of the efforts to get the quilt blocks done. I was asking how much progress they had made, and found out that they had just hung the first seven quilt blocks, and that the webmaster was informed to add pictures and descriptions to the center's website ( and so it has been done.

The emphasis here is the actual historical quilts. These have been photographed, and images of the quilt, or a portion of the quilt is printed on two 4' x 8' panels that are hung on local barns. If you look closely at these images, the stitches and textures are evident, and the stories are being shared with the community. It's possible that this will lead to hand painted quilt blocks. For now these are real shared celebrations of the quilts that have been made and cherished by the families in Alexander County...

Quilted by Elsie Clark Linney around 1915

Quilted by Louisa Dacons Cass 1890 - 1900

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cass County, Nebraska

The First in Nebraska

Elmwood-Murdock Future Business Leaders of America wanted to “IMPACT” the community by Involving Members, Promoting Activities, and Creating Tourism. Adding painted quilt blocks to prominent barns seemed like a good idea because together they created a unique tourist attraction with long-term potential. In 2006, local quilt enthusiast, Mickie Clements, proposed the idea and served as the project adviser. Twelve 8’ x 8’ barn quilts were created by Elmwood-Murdock art students, while FBLA members developed publicity, solicited barns, and generated funds for the project. All members of the chapter are convinced this project will impact the community for years to come.

Putnam County, Tennessee

Welcome to the Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail

The Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail is part of the continuing commitment of the Upper Cumberland Quilt Festival to the preservation of this historical craft of traditional quilting.

We Have Many to Thank for Making this Possible…we say Thanks to:

The farm and barn owners for giving us permission to hang the painting on their properties. We are especially grateful to our Quilters and their families for allowing us to use their treasured quilts and patterns.

Our artists, Julie Styer and Sandra Darrow, of the Upper Cumberland Arts Alliance, who spent many hours designing and painting.

Ron Sweeney, for painting the Star of Bethlehem and hanging all of the paintings.

Bill Herren for painting our first barn on Dry Valley Road

The Algood School children and their teacher Wren Van Hooser, and Sandra Darrow & 8th grade students at Cornerstone Middle School in Baxter & Janis Nunnally.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Walworth County, Wi

Hosted by the University of Wisconsin Extension Service, with lots of local support, is the Barn Quilts of Walworth County. I reported in late 2008 that there were plans underway to start a Barn Quilt Trail in Walworth County. Now there is a web presence and it appears that 11 Quilt Blocks have already been hoisted on barns. I will add the UWES site on the sidebar, and there is also a brochure for those interested at:

--- lost & found ---

I have discoverd the Kankakee Barn Quilts You Tube video does still exist at:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In touch...

It's hard to keep up with all of the activities in the world of Barn Quilts. The idiom is becoming only slightly more common place. While "BARN QUILT" is not instantly recognizable by everyone, I still predict reaching a tipping point where this art movement will become more accepted by the main stream art community. There is not a problem here. The arts movement that consists of painting quilt blocks on barns (and other structures) is truly grass roots. From the ground up. It was started in the country and not the fashion capitals that so often lead the masses. I find it comforting that the good folk that participate are doing so because of a joy and passion for the art, and a love of their community and their past.

--- NEWS ---

A Benefit for Athens AM Rotary & Cancer Research

The Athens AM Rotary Club’s annual Quilt Barn Ride and Poker Run will raise funds for the Club’s charity work and for Pelotonia, a grassroots bike tour based in Columbus, Ohio with one goal: to end cancer. The Quilt Barn Ride begins at 8 a.m., July 18th, 2009 and starts at the Athens County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, 667 East State St., Athens, Ohio. Poker Run prizes will be announced at 1:00 p.m.

A special route has been designed to provide cyclists with a scenic ride through Athens, County, with stops at five local Quilt Barns. The route will consist of a 30- mile loop, with an additional 20 miles of optional road available for the more experienced riders who want more of a challenge. The Athens County Quilt Barns include paintings of traditional quilt patterns on local barns. The Quilt Barns were created from an Appalachian Ohio art project, with funding from the Ohio Arts Council. This project planted the seeds for what has become a national art movement.

--- NEWS ---

Wall farm nominated for Small Farmer of Year
JIMMY SETTLE • The Leaf-Chronicle • July 11, 2009

Visit J&J Century Farm today and you'll be transported to an old-fashioned, diverse agricultural experience, whether you stick around for an hour or all day. You can see farm animals, buy farm-fresh produce, pumpkins and gourds, souvenirs, the work of local artisans, locally produced honey, select antiques, and for the holiday season, wreaths, ornaments and other items from Granny Wall's Country Store. This month, you can visit the blackberry patch to pick your own wild blackberries in season. Be sure to call the farm ahead for availability and times, and bring along a bucket.

J&J Century Farm is a member of Pick TN Products, the Appalachian Quilt Trail, Montgomery County Quilt Trail, Tennessee Agritourism Association, and Tennessee Christmas Tree Growers Association.

--- Must See ---

I have mentioned the You Tube video of the Barn Quilts of Kankakee County (it appears as if it is no longer available)... Now, thanks to Ken Kashian and the Illinois Farm Bureau, there is slide show of images that are great. Click on the linked message below:

Starting in the fall of 2008, barn quilts began to cover area barns and corncribs. By the end of this year, a total of 20 quilts will proudly hang. While there have been barn quilt projects in neighboring states, This is the first of its kind in Illinois. Photos courtesy of Clayton & Carol Splear Pratt. Additional Golden Anniversary Ring photos courtesy of Pat Alcorn

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Full speed ahead...

The Warren County Farmers' Fair, running daily July 26 to Aug. 1 in Harmony Township, will showcase the very first Barn Quilt in Warren County, New Jersey.

Expanding the Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail, which currently exists as an 11-mile tour around Algood, would benefit the region as a whole, said Kathy Daugherty, coordinator with the nonprofit Hull-York Lakeland Resource Conservation and Development Council in Cookeville (Tennessee). Hull-York will act as the agency seeking grants for the project, which Daugherty is dubbing an agritourism endeavor.

Here is a picture of Heath Hoffer and Collen Konieczny in Bullskin Pa. There is a nice story in the July 4th Daily Courier. They have come up with an entirely new way to fashion and construct the Barn Quilt. You can go to and see what's up. I think they have a pretty slick and attactive product.

(click here to read story above)

Friday, July 3, 2009


I am sure that I need several new posts here as I catch up with my own blog. To start with, there have been several Barn Quilt alerts sent to me that I would like to share.

I have not made it to the book store yet, but look for "Quilters World Magazine". There is a story titled: TAKE A TRIP On the Beautiful Barn-Quilt Trail.

And wonderful youtube video of the Barn Quilts of Kankakee County (Illinois) at: [no longer available]

As a part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, is the Orleans County Country Barn Quilt Trail: A first-of-its-kind travel experience for New York State – a 22-mile loop tour off the Great Lakes Seaway Trail byway to see more than 40 quilt blocks painted on barns in the Town of Kendall. Travelers can follow a free audio tour accessible by cell phone or collect a map available at Seaway Trail Inc. member Partyka Farms Market at 1420 County Line Road, 3 miles south of the Seaway Trail.

Champaign County (Ohio) Barn Quilt Tour has a month-to month print-your-own calender of Barn Quilts. It's nice, especially if you want to start in July.

Heidi Kaisand of Hen and Chicks Quilt Studio has completed a Barn Quit with a friend, and she has pictures on her blog.