Sunday, January 31, 2010

The AMERICAN Quilt Trail

Part of the reason we decided on "American Quilt Trail" is that a sprinkling of barn quilts is located in British Columbia. That and the fact that "National Quilt Trail" sounds like some kind of government agency!

Now there will finally be an actual trail in Canada, and I'll bet it will be the first of many.

I've been corresponding with Denise Corneil of Wardsville, Ontario, for a while, and they are ready to unveil the plans to create a trail commemorating the bicentennial of the town, which was founded by George Ward in 1810.

Each of these blocks is indicative of some aspect of Mr. Ward's life--Irish Chain for his nationality, Soldier and Union Jack to represent his affiliation with the British Army, others for his religious beliefs and abundant gardens and orchards. I believe this will be the first "biographical" quilt trail.

Stay tuned for updates on this one. And if you have an update or a barn quilt that you would like for me to post, send it to me via email, and I will happily oblige.

Stay warm, folks!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers . . .

Tennessee Williams' Blanche DuBois who "always relied on the kindness of strangers" is a pathetic gal, but this phrase has always had a positive connotation for me.

After all, it was the kindness of a stranger who took a few minutes to explain to me why she had a quilt painted on her barn that led me to this project.

The past eighteeen months, I have continually relied on others' kindness. Kenny Browning and I have never met, but he provided a couple of great photos for my book of barns that were obscured by rain when I was in Lebanon, KY. He was more than glad to contribute to my 'barns in snow' theme with this Dutch Girl.

From Oregon to Alabama, an army of strangers has helped me document quilt trails that I either couldn't visit or couldn't get photos of while I was there!

Wait until the press gets this manuscript and the accompanying copyright permissions for the photos--somebody is going to have a big job to do!

Speaking of Alabama, if you haven't checked out this blog:, it's worth a look. Ginger is one of my 'guest photographers,' and she also has helped me track down info on the Gee's Bend quilt trail. And no--we haven't met!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Snow in Miami

That's Miami County, Ohio, of course!

This photo comes from Lonnie Tennant of Troy, Ohio, who is fortunate to live among some of the most beautiful barn quilts in the country!

It's hard to tell from the photo, but these are painted directly on the barn--the most difficult way to create this art form.

I had the privilege of meeting the artist--Rafael Santoyo--and he so humble about his amazing talent. We often say that barn quilters are quilting with paint. When I spoke with Rafael, he had a different perspective; he characterizes quilting as "Painting with cloth!"

If you would like to see more of Rafael and his art, look back to my August 22 entry, or visit the Miami County website: (their site was down this morning, but check back--it's worth the visit)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Nice Place to Visit

Now that things are warming up around here, I'm not nearly as obsessed with snow as I was a few weeks back.

Still, I have some fabulous snow photos to share, and for those of you who are still shivering, here is a bit of wintry barn quilt beauty.

This sweet little barn is in Neversink, New York. I had a great visit there in October--and it truly was a nice place to visit! Especially in the fall.

But no, despite the beauty of this winter wonderland, as the saying goes, this southern gal "wouldn't want to live there!"

Thanks to the Neversink Barn Quilt folks for contributing this photo.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Blanketed With Snow

I got my wish--Atlanta is covered with a beautiful blanket of snow! If it's not apparent already, this Florida gal (originally) is fascinated with winter weather.

And of course, being a teacher, snow means a day off. I do believe that Mother Nature is a fan of the four-day work week.

Like this beautiful barn, the snow brings isolation to my world, but that's not such a bad thing--more time to get my writing finished while snuggled under a quilt. Yes, I confess, I often write propped up against a bank of pillows in a corner of the couch. Isn't that what a laptop is for?

This Corner Posts pattern in Sac County, Iowa, is a beauty. Sue Peyton, whose family has been instrumental in creating the barn quilts in that community, contributed this shot. It's from a couple of years ago, though--not much driving the back roads in Iowa after all of the blizzards this year!

If you would like a barn quilt calendar, I created one from some of my photos from the last year. They are available at

Next year when I have more time, I will use a different venue so that they will be less expensive--this was just a quick and easy way to get something out there. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Let it Snow!

It's getting cold out there, and the possibility of snow is in our forecast. That's usually a once-a-year event in Atlanta, so we are already getting excited at the prospect!

As promised--another beautiful shot of a barn quilt with a snowy background--this time in Racine, WI.

I did visit this lovely farm, but again, I relied on the kindness of strangers to supply photos of other seasons.
Thanks to Kathy, I have stunning images of the barns of Racine in winter.

One thing that I have found about the quilt trails is that they bring communities together--in much the same way, I suppose, that traditional quilting has through the generations. Across the country, I have heard time and time again how many friendships have been forged between folks who seem to have nothing in common except their participation in this project.

This is a season for reflection, and I always spend some time thinking about my friends--some close by and some far away--appreciating what each one adds to my life, and how I came to know them. This year, I have to include a few who were strangers to me just over a year ago but who are dear to me now. Barn quilts are magical--they really are.