In this final week of our Quilters and Quilts Series, celebrating the release of The Quilted Heart novellas, we’ve taken a turn and headed to Canada for a look at Barn Quilts with my reader-friend, Christina Turner.
“Barn quilts are painted quilt squares-usually fashioned on boards and then mounted on a barn or other building. While cloth quilts are usually made up of a series of squares of the same pattern placed together, a barn quilt is almost always a single square.” Suzi Parron, author of Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement
Travelin’ with Charlie and Christina on the Barn Quilt Trails
of Southern Ontario
I am a small town country girl from Rodney, Ontario, traveling with my best friend, my service dog, Charlie, on a 125cc scooter. Traveling for nine months of the year around Southern Ontario, we discovered Barn Quilt Trails. We returned home with memories of towns we had visited, such as Exeter, Tavistock, St. Mary’s, Putnam and countless others, having come across a sign that said something about barn quilt trails.
We looked up a web link about Barn Quilts and found that three of the five trails were doable on our bike — Middlesex, Elgin, and Oxford. The adventure led us to many other trails–Dutton/Dunwich, Native Women’s Trail of Tears, Alisa Craig, Wardsville, and South Caradoc. Then Otterville, Courtland and Centervale.
Traveling home to Rodney up Duff Line, we saw a small quilt on a barn. A lady asked if we were following the Dutton/Dunwich Barn Quilt Trail and gave us a pamphlet. On a gravel road, we came to the next barn quilt. As we were leaving, an elderly gentleman came up the lane on his John Deere riding lawn mower, who told us that his nieces had painted the barn quilt and put it up for him. We were on the same trail, when another gentleman stopped and invited us to go up to the farm yard and get closer pictures of his barn quilt.
At Muscotts on Longwoods Road, (Highway 2), we made inquiries and set off on another adventure to Muncey Road, where we came upon quilt blocks on a church and a community center. Frances Kilborne in the community of South Caradoc told us about Doors Open and the Barn Quilt Trails tour. She invited us back for the Saturday. Charlie and I ended up staying the whole day and meeting Mary Simpson and Denise Corneil, along with many other people. While helping and visiting, we heard a little about the Women’s Trail of Tears. Our next adventure.
Online, I looked up the Women’s Trail of Tears and contacted Leslee White-eye, who invited us to help. They were just finishing the first set of barn quilts and so we helped with the coating. She told us how that they would be putting their trail up in spring 2013. We watched eagerly as each quilt block went up and we kept returning until they were all up.
We were going down Longwoods Road and came to Wardsville, a small community, but one with 30 barn quilts! Next, we came across the Alisa Craig Barn Quilt Trail. Six barn quilts, all in Lions’s Park.
The one thing we noticed about all of the barn quilt trails is that each one is so different…with differing blocks. Quilting is not always your typical squares that our mothers and grandmothers cut out and pieced together. Some of them–Alisa Craig, South Caradoc and The Native Women’s Trail of Tears, look like paintings, though they are made into quilt squares.
In our excitement over the Barn Quilt Trails, we decided to create our own Barn Quilt to display on our patio. I designed the quilt block and my friends, Mick and Anne, created it.
Christina, what fun to learn about Barn Quilts. I feel like I’ve had a little tour of Southern Ontario as well. Thank you for sharing your adventures!
What about you, are you a Barn Quilt fan? Have you ever seen a Barn Quilt in your travels?