I just returned from 17 days touring the Midwest, and one of the most pleasant surprises was seeing so many farms in Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas and West Virginia with custom "Quilt Blocks" on their farms as their signature brand. Here are a few photos of some the barn Quilt Blocks that we saw during our trip (click on any photo to start the slideshow):
Although barn quilt blocks have been around for many years, there's been a spike in popularity in the past 20 years. "From humble beginnings in Adams County, Ohio, the idea has spread to 49 States with more than 9,000 barn quilts organized into more than 120 Barn Quilt Trails - and surely thousands more that are not mapped." - Suzi Parron, author of the books "Barn Quilts and the American Quilt trail Movement" and "Following the Barn Quilt Trail”.
As detailed in a John Deere Homestead article (https://www.johndeerehomestead.com/2016/09/04/barn-quilt-craze/), the Barn Quilt Block idea dates back to Maxine and Donna Sue Groves of Manchester, Ohio. “In 1989, my mother and I moved to a small farm that had an old - and very plain looking - tobacco barn,” says Donna Sue. “Mother was an avid quilter so I promised her I would brighten up the barn by adding a quilt square. Friends and neighbors chided me into actually following through and I had a Snail’s Trail quilt square painted and hung in 2001, but in the process a group of us decided to paint a bunch of them in hopes of developing a tourist attraction. We put quilt squares on twenty barns (the number of squares in a typical bed spread) and the idea took off like wildfire.”
Barn quilts are generally chosen from a family's own colorful quilt pattern that has been passed down through the years. Then the family's quilt pattern is turned into public art on their own barn or other building, and it becomes part of a quilt trail.
If you want to read more about this interesting phenomenon, here are some links to browse through:
Back in April I wrote a blog post about “Making COVID-19 Masks for My Family and Friends”. Well, quite a bit of time has passed since then and I thought that I would give everyone a quick update on my latest mask activity since I know that some of you used my information to make masks of your own.
The good news is that the final version of the masks that I settled on back in April (version 2.0) worked out really well for all my family, friends and clients. In fact, this design held up so well that the only significant change that I’ve made over the past two months was to remove the internal pocket for adding an additional filter. Everyone thought that they would use a pocket like this to insert additional filtering layers inside the mask if needed – but in practice people found that they did not actually add any additional filters.
Based on that input I’ve continued to make bunches and bunches of masks over the past two months for family, friends, acquaintances from church and for clients that requested them. The version 2.0 mask design has held up really well, and the wearers really like the tight custom fit and the piece of floral wire I added at the nose (top of the mask) so the mask could fit tighter on the face and not fog the wearer’s glasses.
So, for my Version 3.0 masks I’ve removed the internal pocket and focused on refining my pattern and process to make masks that come in a variety of sizes so that they can more tightly fit a wide range of face sizes. I’ve also increased my mask fabric inventory so that I can make masks to fit all sorts of different styles. Here’s a picture of some of the version 3.0 masks that I most recently made.
Like I’ve previously mentioned, I’m not selling these masks, just providing them locally to my family and friends (and clients that request them) as a small token of community service. Hopefully you are all in good health and good spirits as Summer gets into full swing and we get the COVID-19 mess behind us.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.