Barn Quilt InfoYour source for information about barn quilts and quilt trails
All content and images copyright 2017 Suzi Parron Contact: Suzi@barnquiltinfo.com
What is a barn quilt?A barn quilt is a painted representation of a quilt, usually a single block. Barn quilts are painted on wood and then mounted on buildings or other structures for their owners and others to enjoy.What is a quilt trail?A quilt trail is simply a group of barn quilts--anywhere from ten to hundreds--arranged along a path for travelers to follow. Most quilt trails use a county as their boundary and provide a map and/or list of locations either in print or online. Who creates quilt trails?Barn quilts can be painted by anyone! Some of the organizations include arts councils, 4-H clubs, scout troops, senior citizens’ clubs--or just a group of interested citizens who come togehter to beautify their community. Barn quilts are also very popular projects for schools at all levels. Where and when did barn quilts begin?The idea of barn quilts began with Donna Sue Groves, who was inspired to paint a quilt on a tobacco barn on the property where she lived with her mother Maxine,a renowned quilter. As she began talking about the project with friends and community members, it became clear that barn quilts resonated with many. The first barn quilt, an Ohio Star, was unveiled in 2001. Twenty painted quilts comprised that first quilt trail, including a Snail’s Trail pattern on the Groves barnHow are barn quilt patterns chosen?Many barn quilts are modeled on traditional quilt patterns such as the Ohio Star, which have been sewn by quilters for generations. Some patterns are actually taken from cloth quilts that were created by a family member. The barn quilt becomes both a tribute to a quilter’s art and a means of showing pride in the family property and wider community. Often barn quilt patterns are chosen for the name; for instance Mariner’s Compass would reflect the love of travel. Popular patterns for farms include Harvest Star, Corn and Beans, and North Star. Churn Dash would be the perfect choice for a dairy farm.The family of a barn owner named Joseph might select Joseph’s Coat, and Sunbonnet Sue would honor a woman with that name.Sometimes the colors are more important than the pattern. School colors or patriotic colors might indicate the owners’ loyalties. A logo of a team or brand might also be incorporated into the design. Some barn owners choose to have a one-of-a-kind design created just for their barn. Where can barn quilts be found?There are now over 13,000 barn quilts, spread over forty-eight states and three Canadian provinces. How many barn quilts comprise a typical quilt trail? Where is the largest?A quilt trail can be made up of any number of quilt blocks. Some are as small as ten or a dozen. Most quilt trails include between thirty and one hundred blocks.The largest quilt trail is in Shawano County, Wisconsin, with over three hundred barn quilts, all a full eight-by-eight feet square. How are barn quilts created? A full sized barn quilt is made up of two sheets of wood, either plywood or MDO sign board. The boards are primed, then the design is drawn onto the board. Each area to be painted is outlines in tape, and colors are added one at a time, using exterior house paint.