Monday, July 23, 2012

Barn Quilts

I am sure most of you have seen barn quilts on your travels.  When we travel through Iowa, it is one of my favorite things to do...look for the barn quilts.  If I still lived on the farm, I would have quilt block on my barn.  But what block would I choose????

Today, I have a treat for you...a guest blogger!  My guest is Suzi Parron from Stone Mountain, Georgia.  She has co-authored with Donna Sue Groves a new book featuring Barn Quilts across the United States. 

Sharon, thanks for inviting me to your blog today.

I was in Missouri for the first time recently—Hatton, to be exact—to share the story of barn quilts with a group of interested folks in the area. On the way to a terrific farm-to-table benefit dinner, we stopped to see this Farmer’s Daughter block. Just picture perfect!

Some of you may not be familiar with barn quilts; they are quilt blocks painted on plywood and hung on barns and other buildings for passersby to enjoy. There are over 4000 of them in 46 states!

I am not a quilter of any renown, but when I stumbled upon this barn near Cadiz, Kentucky, four years ago, I recognized the Flying Geese pattern.

The owners told me that barn quilts are a way of publicly honoring quilters and the generations of women who worked on family farms, as well as a means of bringing a community together to celebrate their heritage.

Soon, I was hooked and began traveling the country, gathering the stories of barn quilts. I was blessed to be chosen by Donna Sue Groves, who founded the barn quilt movement to honor her mother’s quilting art, to tell the story of how the quilt trail began in 2001 in Ohio and spread throughout the country.

I love this photo of a block called Pappy’s Pride, in Marion, Kentucky. The farm has been in the Miles family for a couple of generations, and as you can see the barn is still in use to dry the tobacco crop.

One of my favorite barn quilt stories came about when Donna Sue sent me an article that featured this barn. She called it “elegant,” and I have to agree. Margaret Shipler, who was 83 at the time, painted these quilts in honor of her husband shortly after he passed away. She chose the simple patterns that he loved in her quilts and the patriotic colors that reflected his military service. What really struck me was the sashing that she created in between each of the blocks, complete with painted stitches!

Margaret’s story was one of many that I heard of a barn quilt being painted as a tribute to a deceased loved one, but Margaret insisted that her husband would have done nothing but grin with delight at seeing it. “He loved his parties,” she told me, “and one of his favorite things to do was to get together with friends. This isn’t just a row of barn quilts. It’s my husband’s block party!”

My three years of travel in writing the book took me from my home in Georgia to far-flung states such as Michigan, New York, and Colorado, and enriched my life tremendously. What’s not to love about a farm-fresh breakfast after sleeping under antique quilts?

Since the book’s publication in February by Ohio University Press, I am on the road again—this time to share the story of the quilt trail with quilt guilds and other groups. Quilters have been so enthusiastic about this new form of “quilting,” and I have been overwhelmed with hospitality everywhere we have visited. Right now the fridge is full of Wisconsin cheese, and there is a jar of farm-fresh maple syrup ready for Sunday’s pancakes!

The cover of the book features a Corn and Beans barn quilt—the most common pattern and a reflection of the two major crops grown across the U.S. This one is in Kankakee, Illinois—a great destination for a barn quilt tour.

For more information on barn quilts or the book, visit Be sure to check out the map; it is amazing to see all of the places that barn quilts have sprung up in only eleven short years.

Thanks again, Sharon, for your hospitality here on your blog. All good things to you!


Monday, July 16, 2012

And the winner is.....

The Random Generator has selected Jeanne
to receive the mug rug!

I hope all of you have enjoyed the Red White and Blue Blog hop.  I have some serious catching up to do, and have enjoyed all the beautiful blocks and inspiration on everyone's blogs.

A big thanks and hugs to our hostesses!

Back later to show you what I have been working on...

Monday, July 02, 2012

Stars and Stripes Block

Stars and Stripes
10" block

Welcome to the Red White and Blue Blog hop! I hope you are finding lots of inspiration as you make your way through all the wonderful blogs.  My block is fairly simple...contains one of my favorite blocks...the Sawtooth star.  I will try to provide cutting and sewing instructions for you...please bear with me!

Cutting Instructions

For the Stripes unit:
Cut six red rectangles   1 1/2" X 5 1/2" 

Cut four white rectangles   1 1/2" X 5 1/2"

For the Star unit:
A.  Cut eight white background squares   1 3/4" X 1 3/4"
B.  Cut eight white background rectangles  1 3/4" X 3"

C.  Cut sixteen blue squares  1 3/4" X 1 3/4"
D.  Cut two red squares  3" X 3"

Sewing instructions
Use a 1/4" seam
You will make 2 of the "stripe" or railfence blocks.
Sew together in the order as shown in the picture.  Press towards the red.
Each unit should measure 5 1/2" square.

Now you will make 2 of the sawtooth star units. 
First make 8 "flying geese" units from B and C.  To make one flying geese unit, place a blue square (B) atop a white (C) rectangle with outer edges aligned. (right sides together)  On the back of the top square marek the diagonal and sew on this diagonal marking.  Cut off the excess seam allowance.  Press the remainder towards the corner.  Repeat this with another blue square on the other end of the rectangle.  Make eight of these.

Now lay out all of the units as shown below.  Sew together, pressing the top and bottom row seams to the center and the middle row to the outside.  You will make 2 sawtooth blocks.
They should measure 5 1/2" square.

Now you are ready to sew your block together.  Place the railfence units and the sawtooth units together as shown below.  Now your block is finished!  It will measure 10 1/2" square. 

Now what will you make with your block?  I would love to see what you come up with!
Here is a quick and easy mug rug made with just a sawtooth unit and a railfence unit.

Or maybe just a simple wall hanging or banner with your choice of a border.

Or...a quilt to be donated to Quilts of Valor......

If you would like a chance to win this mug rug, please leave a comment telling me
what the 4th of July means to you. 
At the end of the Blog Hop, I will announce a winner. 

Be sure to visit these wonderful and inspiring blogs today for more Red White and Blue inspiration.

And tomorrow you will be able to visit the following  increcredible blogs for even more fun and inspiration.

Wishing all of you a safe and happy holiday with family and friends!