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Colorful painted quilts blanket the countryside

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013

Sandy Carpenter of Ohio displays a painted variation of the Ohio Star quilt block pattern on a barn on her property. Barn quilts are located in almost every state across the country. A group has recently formed in Bureau County to raise more barn quilts in this area. (Reporter photo by Jennifer Sommer)

MENDOTA – Take a drive out in the country this fall and you may see splashes of color, but not from changing leaves. Colorful barn quilts have been blanketing several counties across the United States and into Canada for several years now and can even be found in Illinois.

To put it simply, a barn quilt is a painted quilt square pattern, usually painted on a board and then mounted on a barn or other building. Patterns are chosen from traditional fabric quilt block designs using bold colors that can be seen from the road. Most barn quilts are 8 feet by 8 feet for the most visibility.

The barn quilt movement began back in 2001 when Donna Sue Groves of Ohio wanted to honor her mother by having a quilt painted on her barn. Her personal project turned into a community effort, and from the first 20-quilt sampler, the quilt trail has spread to 45 states.

“I have seen about 2,000 barn quilts, but there are at least 6,000 on organized trails throughout the country. So many people have begun painting their own that it is impossible to tell how many there are at this point,” stated Suzi Parron.

Suzi Parron, author of Barn Quilts and the American Trail Movement, has spent the past few years visiting barn quilts across this country. A former teacher, she is now on tour full time, speaking to quilt guilds, historical societies, and other interested parties about barn quilts and the quilt trail movement. She is currently working on her second book, tentatively entitled, Farther Along the Quilt Trail.

“There is still nothing like seeing that splash of color up ahead and watching a barn quilt come into view! For me though, the stories are what make the quilt trail come alive,” said Parron.

For the complete article see the 11-06-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-06-2013 paper.

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