Friday, September 10, 2010

Barn Quilt Block

As soon as I moved to the country two years ago, I started wanting a Barn quilt block of my own. I had probably seen some of them before I moved here, but once I was here, I started paying particular attention to them and noticed how many there were. They are quite prolific in this part of the country as well as in rural Tennessee and Ohio - and in other parts of the country as well, I am sure. And they really brighten up the landscape as well as pay tribute to our art and the tradition of quilting.

In many places, the visitors' bureaus, chambers of commerce, or other organizations keep lists of the barn quilt blocks, and will provide brochures and driving routes for persons interested in viewing them. I found out that where I live, the Extension Service will actually, for a fee, make a Barn Quilt block and put it on the barn for an interested citizen of Boyle County. But, after consulting our farm manager and getting his assurance that he would mount the block for me if I made it, I decided to do one myself. Steve and I don't actually own a barn, we just have a house on one acre, but there are plenty of beautiful barns on the family farm, and the quilt block would, at any rate, have to be on a barn where it could be seen from the road, which would not be the case where we live or on the barns which are back here around our house. So the block was always destined for a barn on the part of the farm where Steve grew up and where most of the family live.

It took almost two years, and it was definitely a group effort, I cannot take credit for much more than the idea, but it is finally done and up on our barn:
For those who are local, it is on a barn facing Lexington Road, just east of 3248 Lexington Road - which is on the south side of Lexington Road. It is easiest to see if you are coming towards Danville, in which case it will be on your left and immediately before the 3248 Lexington Road address. In other words, after you pass Sallie and Jim's house and just before you get to the tenant house where Gerald lives.

It looks tiny to me now on that huge barn, but it actually measures 8 by 8 feet, which is the standard measurement for the blocks errected by the Boyle County Extension Service. I designed the block and chose the colors. I wanted a star to commemorate Benjamin, and I have always liked the friendship star. Friendship is very important and it is nice to be friendly. I would have liked to include the color green for the farm, but thought it would be too dark against the black barn and its obvious contrast - red - would make the star look too Christmassy. So yellow and blue it became. Since the friendship star is such a simple pattern, I added the black and white border for some interest.
Participants in Farm Camp 2009, primed the plywood to ready it for painting. Above, Michelle Hiskey is starting out, and below, Joey, Sim, and Grace are putting on the finishing touches.
But after Farm Camp left, I didn't continue and as I wasn't getting anything done, I finally asked my niece, Trish Bredar, an art student and artist, if she could help out and did she ever. She did all the measuring to transfer the pattern to the plywood and all of the painting of the actual quilt block.
But even after Trish finished the painting, the block still sat in my garage for almost a year while I was busy procrastinating application of the finishing layers of sealer. Finally this past summer, my sister-in-law, Sallie Bright and her husband Jim Bredar - Trish's parents - came over on several hot summer evenings and did the work applying sealer to the quilt block.

And, while I was in Denmark in August our super farm manager and jack-of-all-trades, Kenneth Thomas, and his right hand man Gerald fought wind and gravity and put the quilt block up on the barn.

I love having it up there and am so thankful to everybody who has helped make it happen.

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