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:
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.