Quilts have been a family staple for hundreds of years. Much more than a cozy comfort in the midst of cold weather, many family traditions have been created around the giving of hand made quilts. Gifts for new brides and new mothers, to commemorate a new home or as a passing to adulthood. Quilts were often made by whole families including the menfolk. Each person leaving behind a part of themselves to be remembered for years and years to come.
There’s another form of quilting expression being displayed throughout the countryside, with just the same type of remembrance being desired. Barn quilts are cropping up in more and more rural areas as a way to remember families and traditions. The notion of a barn quilt block was conceived by a woman in Ohio who simply wanted a lasting way to remember her mother, who was a quilter. The idea spread like wildfire across the states. Now in most rural areas, you are bound to come across one of these wonderful works of art.
In our area of North Carolina, there are many of these memorable masterpieces displayed along country roads winding in and out of the Appalachian Mountains. They are usually sponsored by the county’s art counsel. You can find more information about the barn quilts in your area by searching for your local arts counsel on the web. Local artists and barn owners team up to design and create these colorful barn quilts. They are usually 8 feet by 8 feet in size and clearly visible from the road. Some websites have mapped out the Quilt Trail in their areas to encourage visitors to tour the local countrysides. There are some really remarkable quilt patterns. Some are traditional and some are unique.
There is the Blazing Star, and the Feathered Star, the North Carolina Star, and the Beech Mountain Star. Oh, lots of stars in them there hills. Kentucky’s Twinkling Star was also spotted on the NC quilt trail. We saw the Moon Over the Mountain, and the Texas Blue Bonnet, and even the Wiseman’s Windmill. The Mountain Laurel and the Mystery Flower Garden, A Sunflower Variation, as well as the North Carolina Lily, and the Tree of Life all reside along the way. The Circle of Courage gave us strength and The Mariner’s Compass showed us the way. Among the Friendship Circle was The Child Before Us and Sarah’s Song could be heard for miles around. The Log Cabin was ahead on the Delectable Mountains in which the Pines in Snowy Mountains swayed. The Bear’s Paw was spotted in the Square within a Square with Storey’s Star shining above. The Battleship Barn and the Water Wheel, The Sawtooth Variation, and the Double After. The Leymoyne Cheesebox, The Empty Spool, The Triple Star, And who could forget the time honored Double Wedding Ring Quilt.
Now thats only a start and only in a small area of the country. There are way too many to list, but what a great story they tell! Each one is representative of the character and honor of the people who created them. Barn Quilts are jewels of the community and should be shared with all generations. Go online and print off maps of the Quilt Trail in your area. Reserve a day to slow down and leisurely enjoy the drive down the roads where these beauties live. Wave at the neighbors as you go by and give them a pat on the back for a job well done! And if you really get caught up in all the creative excitement you might want to try one yourself! Contact and participation information can be found at your Local Arts Council Website. I’m sure there is a barn just yearning for its own quilt block in your area. Why not leave a wonderful part of yourself behind for generations to enjoy and appreciate!