Archive | December, 2022

Barn Quilt Trail-blazing

6 Dec J & J Borland's barn with the Celtic Knot barn quilt

Fellow Quilters,

1 - Barn Quilt Blocks - December 2022Today is the first Tuesday of the month, prompting my monthly post in the Quilt Block Mania blog tour.  This post is going to be a bit different, however, as I take you on a journey and whet your creative appetite.  You see, the theme this month is Barn Quilts, a topic that is near and dear to me.  Let me explain…

I live in rural Ontario, in Simcoe County.  It is a farming community with livestock farms raising cattle, sheep and horses, as well as crop farms growing corn, soy, hay and canola.  In 2017 the county decided to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial by creating a barn quilt trail of 150 “quilts” and invited farm owners to participate.  These “quilts” are 8ft x 8ft, depicting a quilt block (traditional or custom-designed by/for the farm), painted on sheets of durable metal and typically hung on old barns.  With the generous support of local businesses and community groups there are now 154 barn quilts on the Simcoe County barn quilt trail.  On my commute into the office, I pass no less than 8 barn quilts celebrating the heritage of that farm or the history of the barn on which the quilt is hung.

Star and Arrows block

The Star & Arrows block in Nottawa, ON

The barn quilt trail draws visitors to our county and certainly adds interest to my commute.  The coordinator of the trail recently spoke to my local quilt guild, sharing fascinating details of the process, so that guild members can better appreciate the trail and its significance.

At another meeting a barn quilt artist also shared her work with the guild – not only does she design and paint full-size quilts, but she also makes small replicas for consumers to display in and on their own homes.  These weatherproof blocks are a sure sign that a quilter or quilt-lover resides there.  Barn quilt trails are not unique to my area – they have sprung up across North America to highlight local barns and farms.  Our artist speaker is kept busy with several trails.

Wanda's book1

Wanda Milankov’s Barn Blocks book

After running a monthly program through local quilt shop Thimbles & Things, quilter/teacher/designer Wanda Milankov selected 34 blocks from the trail, patterned them and wrote a book with instructions for making the blocks and some quilt options using combinations of the blocks.  The Barn Quilts of Simcoe County book is available from area quilt shops.

But wait – there’s more!  As the Block-of-the-month coordinator for my guild, I drew inspiration from our trail to choose monthly blocks and encouraged guild members to interpret them.  The year-end results were stellar!  Here are some of the completed quilt tops.

Some members replicated the blocks, while others changed the color, scale or layout as desired.  What fun!

Back to this month’s Quilt Block Mania block.  I selected the Celtic Knot block featured on the barn of J & J Borland of Egbert, ON.  Here is a photo of the Borland barn.

Borland barn

J & J Borland’s barn with the Celtic Knot barn quilt

And here is my Celtic Knot block.

Patti Carey Celtic Knot

My Celtic Knot barn quilt block

You can download the pattern here.

Now, in my QBM posts I usually show you a quilt layout or two where I have used my block on its own.  This month however I encourage you to make a sampler quilt with a variety of blocks from the other QBM designers as well – simply choose your own combination of blocks to create your very own barn quilt sampler just as my fellow guild members did.  So many possibilities!  You can access links to the other QBM designers here:

Barn Star Quilt Block by Carolina Moore
Barn by QuiltFabrication
Independence Block
Sunflower Barn Block by Sugar Sand Quilts
Prairie Winds Block by Martha Jane Creations
Amish Star Block at Fab Fabric Girl
Squash Blossom Block by Paleofish Designs
Celtic Knot at Patti’s Patchwork
Maple Leaves by Inquiring Quilter
Goose in the Pond by Tamarinis
Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block at Bonjour Quilts
Corner Star Block
Star of Hope Barn Block by Quiltblox
Meadow Flower by Inflorescence
Bright Star by Blue Bear Quilts
Bear Paw Block by BoBerry Design Co.
June’s Pinwheel Block and Quilt by Sew Worthy Mama
Tudor Rose block by Flowerdog Designs
Lucky Clover Block by Patchwork Breeze

My simple "barn quilt" block made with Color Play pre-printed blocks

My simple “barn quilt” block made with Color Play pre-printed blocks

Here is one final idea for “barn quilt” blocks, since some of the QBM designers’ blocks show an actual barn.  I showcased the 5” printed blocks fabric from my new Color Play fabric collection in a barn block – super simple, colorful and fun!

Here is a quick 5-block runner idea that I designed in Electric Quilt.

Color Play barn quilt trail runner

A 5-block “barn quilt” runner

What about you?  Do you live on or near a barn quilt trail?  Have you seen one on your travels?  If so, where is it?  Let’s share the barn quilt trail love and another way to enjoy our quilting “journey”.

Last month I asked you to share your comments about camping.  Thanks to all who took the time to comment – I enjoyed reading them.  The winner of a packet of Northcott fabric is Glenda T – congratulations!

Happy Trails!