Thursday, September 10, 2009

Too Busy to Blog!

I was filing my photos from the weekend trip and realized that I didn't mention my day in Athens County! Paige Alost of the Visitors Bureau treated me to breakfast (yeah, yeah, more about food). John Lefelhocz, the artist who designed many of the quilt squares in the county, joined us.

Athens has some traditional blocks, but their focus is more on highlighting the features of the county. "All Roads Lead to Athens" represents the convergence of highways in the county and the many smaller roads in the county. It really does look as if the roads are coming together!

The barn on the right is the "Brickwork Block;" Clay is an important natural resource in the area.

Paige and I also stopped by the Dairy Barn--both to see the magnificent barn and its block which replicates the cupolas on the barn and to see the Quilt National Display. This year the show features art quilts. I really liked this one--"Paris--Wish you were Hair." The display didn't list the quilters' origins, but I am pretty sure that this gal is from the SOOUTTHH.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Full Circle

Today more than one circle was completed. Right now I am at the Athens, Ohio University conference center. The hotel restaurant is where Donna Sue and I met with Ohio University Press to discuss the contract for the book almost a year ago. Shall I just say that I drank a toast to the occasion tonight?

When I began this project last fall, I left Donna Sue here in Athens and spent the night in Gallia County, Ohio, at the Niday farm. The next morning, I crossed the river into West Virginia and had my first taste of what this year would bring, as Mollie Yauger showed me Mason County's first few quilts. Today I returned and spent the day with my first barnquilt tour guide. Mollie showed me their more recent work, including the Grandmother's Flower Garden above.

One of the first quilts I made was a Flower Garden that includes some fabrics from my maternal grandmother's scrap bag. It's one of the few quilts that I have made and kept for myself; the pattern remains a favorite.

Other than near collisions with a runaway Amish horse buggy and a leaping deer (that's three in two days!) Mollie and I had a great visit.

This morning, Nancy Stoepker of Roane County, West VA introduced me to the barn quilt gals there and showed me a few of their efforts. My favorite, though, is the one above that was painted by an 88 year old lady who just didn't want anyone to do it for her. She did have to accept assistance with the hanging.

Back to the Prescott farm. Missy and Pete Prescott bought a farm in Roane County--where Missy grew up--and found a Groves family cemetery on the property. Turns out that Missy's great great grandparents were buried there. Even more amazing--and the reason why this is a "full circle" story--those folks are also Donna Sue Groves' great great grandparents. The first barn quilt in Roane County was hung on the barn at the appropriately named Destiny Groves farm.

The Spell is Broken!

Sunny skies and barn quilts. I had forgotten how lovely they are together!

Back in Ohio this weekend--this time in the East. I started in Columbus last night. I think the folks at Budget Car Rental made a mistake--they gave me a Jeep! Woo-hoo, 4 wheel drive!

It was already getting dark as I headed to Coschocton. A couple of interesting sights.
One I spotted literally from a mile away. A big basket. I mean A BIG BASKET. Turns out it is the headquarters for a basket company--there are actually offices inside of that thing!

I have seen many of the bicentennial barns in Ohio; they are ubiquitous (my students' current favorite word). But this one lit at night was especially nice.

Now if I can just figure out how to get a barn quilt with the full moon in the shot. What a fabulous moon last night! But no luck. This new camera takes great pics in auto mode but doesn't allow for much fancy stuff!

My hostess last night and guide for this morning--Ann Cornell--has quite a few Amish neighbors. There were only a couple of near Jeep and buggy collisions. Those darned horses get going fast downhill! I am often accused of mentioning food too often, but hey--when was the last time you had French toast made from French bread? I suppose if I mention the cobbler for lunch--oh, never mind.
I found out a couple of things about Llamas. First, they are very friendly. Second, they are good at keeping wild dogs away from sheep--apparently because they want to be friends, which the dogs find somewhat menacing. Finally, when one of your llama pets dies, his hair can be woven into a rug. We saw a very nice brown mat named "Pepe" today.

Oh, and they are proud of their barn quilts. At least this guy is.

Harrison County has a nice variety of barns and mostly traditional patterns. Lots of bikers, too. The winding roads and rolling hills are filled with motorcyclists. I think there needs to be a barn quilt motorcycle tour!

Monroe County was a highly anticipated destination--other than Miami, the only spot where all of the quilts are hand painted on the barn surface. I didn't get to see as many as I would have liked, but they really were a treat.

Poor Pete and Melissa Prescott. They offered me a place to stay, not knowing that I would show up at 10:30 PM--the middle of the night for farm folk! Their farm is known as Destiny Groves and is very special to Donna Sue Groves; more on that tomorrow.