Quilt Barns Add Color To Travel Landscape

This is the time of year where we start planning in earnest. Everywhere, folks are planning gardens, planning big projects, planning trips.

If you love country traveling, keep an eye out for quilt barns. We have lots of them here in Ohio, where the “Clothesline of Quilts in Appalachia” project was started by Donna Sue Groves in Adams County, Ohio. (American Quilt Barns has a great interview with her on their new website.) Generally, the traditional quilt patterns are painted onto sheets of plywood (the quilt ‘squares’), and mounted on the barns, which are often called quilt barns.

Kris Platz-Crawford of Montana Threads.

Kris Platz-Crawford.

Near Missoula, Montana, Kris Crawford is spearheading an effort to use the quilt squares to bring attention to her area’s historic barns. In cooperation with other folks in her area, Crawford’s developed the Threads of Montana History initiative, which is a grassroots historical preservation project that focuses on the Target Range, Orchard and O’Brien Creek homes, all in the area where she lives.  There are fifteen sites that feature different quilt patterns that are painted directly on the barns. Block patterns are chosen by the families that own the barns. Crawford and her volunteers often customize the art too.

Glenn Homestead, Joseph's Coat Square. Photo courtesy Kris-Platz-Crawford.

Glenn Homestead, Joseph’s Coat Square. Photo courtesy Kris-Platz-Crawford.

Crawford’s goal: A quilt in every county! She’d love to have at least one barn in every county in the state of Montana sporting a quilt design.

If you’d like to liven up the looks of your barn, shed, or house, it’s easy to do–pick up a quilting book, and start looking for patterns that appeal to you. If you’d rather start small, maybe with a birdhouse or a mailbox, consider a more basic book like Quilting Basics. It clearly diagrams patterns, and will get you started, either with fabric or paint!