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Book touts phenomenon

June 5, 2012
Fairmont Sentinel

To the Editor:

A new book entitled "Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement" by Suzi Parron with Donna Sue Groves has just been published this year.

It all began in 1989 with Donna Sue Groves and her mother, Maxine. They moved from West Virginia to a farm at Xenia, Ohio. On the 30-acre farm was an old tobacco barn. It reminded Donna of her youth when the family went on trips. Her mother encouraged the children to make a game out of counting barns along the way. Certain barns were given points. Some barns were 2 points while red barns were more. If a barn had advertising on it, they got 10 points. If it was a Pennsylvania Dutch barn with a beautiful hex sign, they got 50 points.

This childhood experience with barns and particularly the decorated barns, became imprinted on Donna's mind. Donna thought the old tobacco barn on their farm needed some color. She told her mother it needed brightening up. Since Maxine was a long-time quilter, Donna said, "Someday I'm going to paint a quilt square on it." In 2001, Donna hired a painter to paint the quilt square on the side of the barn. The pattern was called Snail's Trail.

Others in the area became interested and wanted to do the same. The "Adam's County Quilt Sampler" was named as a quilt trail. Quickly, the trail of quilts crossed over the Ohio River into northeastern Tennessee. It caught on so quickly that quilt trails have spread to 25 states and Canada and still counting. It is the fastest-growing grassroots public movement in the U.S. and Canada. There are well over 3,000 barn quilts scattered along 120 trails and counting. It is growing literally on a daily basis. Many of the quilt trails are making an interconnecting effort to make an "imaginary clothesline of quilts" across North America.

In Minnesota, there is a quilt trail in the Caledonia area in the southeast, a rather new one just staring to develop in Carver County, the Truman Area Quilt Trail started in 2009, and probably many more are developing as this is written. It seems when someone sees one, they want one, they make one and put it up.

The Truman Area Barn Quilt Trail has a total of 27 on the map. There are more in the area as well but are not on the map. The Truman Museum encourages anyone who has a quilt and is not listed on the map to call the museum and we would be happy to put it on the map.

This new book is available at your local library or for purchase at bookstores. It is full of beautiful photos of barn quilts along with interesting stories behind their origins.

Marilyn Carrigan

Truman Museum

 
 

 

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