A patchwork of color is popping up on historic barns throughout the nation. Begun in 2001 in Adams County, Ohio, barn quilts are helping to preserve an important piece of American heritage, and the trend is a boon for rural tourism. As with quilting, the creation of a Barn Quilt Trail stitches together art, agriculture, architecture, and local culture in an endeavor that provides economic, social and cultural value for rural communities across the nation.
Today barn quilts/quilt barns have expanded to almost every state with literally thousands of quilts. Linked together, they create a “clothesline of quilts” across America that celebrates the art and history of quilting and showcases the uniqueness of each barn or building that they adorn. Barn quilts are painted quilt squares, usually on wood or metal, and then mounted on a barn or other building. While fabric quilts are usually made of a series of blocks, often of the same pattern, a barn quilt is usually a single square.
The Alabama Barn Quilt Trail began in 2015 after its founder, Regina Painter, took a personal interest in other barn quilt trails that she had visited in other states. With grants from the Northwest Alabama Resource Conservation and Development Council and in coordination with Lauderdale County Farmers Federation, the trail started moving across Alabama. University of North Alabama art student Naomi Skye was recruited to paint the first blocks, and students from Allen Thornton School framed and hung the first blocks in 2015.
In 2016, Dale and Lisa Robinson joined the effort. With Dale’s computer skills and Lisa’s painting skills, the trail has taken leaps across Lauderdale County and word has spread even more across the state. Because of the Robinsons, over 15 more blocks have been hung and are now reaching into Colbert and Franklin counties. Last year Janice Davis, an experienced quilter, joined the ranks, helping paint and often giving input on the blocks.
This is a beautiful time of year to get out and visit the trail. Drive through the countryside and locate the barn quilts. Stop at a farm stand, shops and other points of interest along the way to make it an all day adventure. And spread the word about Alabama Barn Quilts , and help us spread the trail across Alabama.
To see a Google Map of all the Barn Quilts on our trail, visit our website by clicking here. The link to the map is at the bottom of the page. You can also click “Tour the Trail” at the top of the page to see a photo of each quilt block made so far. Want to stay up to date on the latest quilts? Join us on our Facebook Page!