My Appalachia – Barns from the Kentucky Quilt Trail

In the past few years, large works of art have been popping up throughout Eastern Kentucky. It is all part of the Kentucky Quilt Trail: a celebration of the region’s quilting heritage and historic barns & architecture. Few things are quite as pretty as a drive through the back roads of Kentucky, but these quilt blocks make the trip even prettier. The quilt blocks below are from the US 460 Trail on Tarr Ridge Road which winds down into the Red River Gorge, which is spectacular all on its own & a rock climbing hotspot.

The Calico Cat:

BarnCat

The music symbol in the middle of the Log Cabin quilt square (below) was placed to honor Dr. Haley Northcutt who was a country doctor and old-time fiddler. He owned this property until his death; now owned by his grandson’s family. There is a log cabin located on the property in front of the barn.

BarnLC

BarnLCClose

BarnSunflower

BarnSunflowerClose

Three of my favorite things in the world are barns, quilts & round hay bales in a field. When I get to see all three at once–it’s a complete delight to my eyes.

To see more of these quilt squares, visit The Kentucky Quilt Trail, keep your eyes on this blog (I plan to feature more of these barns…), or take a drive through Kentucky!

Comments

  1. Lori Davis says:

    Rebecca! This is a wonderful idea! Of course, being a painter, I’m bound to love this! I bet it’s so beautiful to see them in person on the old barns! Thanks for sharing this!

    *Lori

  2. Rebecca says:

    Lori,

    It is beautiful to see these in person & makes for quite a lovely drive. I do find myself wanting to take the back roads more often just to view these squares.

    Keep an eye out, I plan on featuring more of these barns on the blog. There are some pretty, pretty quilt blocks out here. These were some of the ones that were really close by!

    -Becky.

  3. sassy says:

    How beautiful. Lucky you living close to the barns. What is the history behind the project?

  4. Rebecca says:

    Hi Sassy, I do consider myself quite lucky to live out here in the ‘boonies’ where old barns & fields of tall grass are abundant! I’m not sure of the exact history of this project. It began, in Kentucky about 4 years ago…gradually more & more blocks have been added to the Kentucky Quilt Trail. Now, it is quite common to see them along the back roads. I think this project began as the “Appalachian Quilt Trail” perhaps in Ohio. Now, quilt trails can be found in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee & there’s even a country quilt trail in western New York.

    Here’s a little snippet of info I found after googling quilt trails:

    “The Appalachian Quilt Trail, modeled after the Adams County, Ohio project, “A Clothesline of Quilts,” consists of a series of quilt sites strung together in Eastern Tennessee, from the Kentucky/West Virginia line to the north, down to the North Carolina line to the south. This series of scenic driving trails, takes the traveler to view vividly painted quilt squares installed on the barns and buildings of participating communities.”

    I hope to get more pictures to share soon!

    -Becky.

  5. Jane says:

    Rebecca,

    After our recent travels to Cave Run, Kentucky, our interests in the quilts has been piqued as to whether there are small replicas of these beautiful quilt squares available for hanging inside one’s home?

    Jane

  6. Robin Kinley says:

    Did you know that Quilt in a Day has a new book out called “Quilt Blocks on American Barns”? We would like to include our link to this book offer on your web page.

    http://www.quiltinaday.com/shoponline/books_display.asp?book=Quilt_Blocks_on_American_Barns&i=26417&pg=

    Thanks!

    Robin Kinley
    Marketing Director
    Quilt in a Day

  7. Alysen says:

    Rebecca,
    I found your site from a link about a craft show you were in. I can’t remember now which one, I’ve somehow closed the link.
    Anyway, With my sister and her family we drove up from Georgia to Western Iowa where we participated in the RAGBRAI. I was a driver and we drove every day to meet them in the next town and that is where I discovered these awesome Barn Quilts. In Iowa.
    It was at the Nat’l. Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY that I became more informed. I took a few photos of some that were posted out front of some houses bordering a National Route.
    I am going to read up on your link, The Kentucky Quilt Trail.
    Thanks for all your valuable information.
    By the way, I live in France so all my friends are learning about this art form also.
    Sorry this is sooo long, but this past summer while at my sister’s, I read another one of Jennifer Chiaverini’s books which recounts (in Pennsylvania) how they hung quilts on lines as if drying to indicate to the escaping slaves the way North to freedom. I recommend these books to anyone interested in quilting or just good ole’ fashioned reading.
    Alysen

  8. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for visiting, Alysen. I, too, have read up a little on the quilts used to communicate with escaped slaves. It always interest me, how certain quilts blocks communicated different messages. The quilt blocks on the barns here are such a beautiful sight & such a nice reminder of the quilting tradition.

  9. Cheryl Mayborn says:

    I visited Honey Grove, Texas and saw the beautiful barn quilt patterns. I’m interested purchasing a barn quilt sign for my cabin in Wood Count, Texas. Would this be possible ?

    Thank you, Cheryl Mayborn

  10. Rebecca says:

    Hi, Cheryl! I agree. Barn quilt squares are amazing. I have taken photos of the ones in my area but have never created one myself. I hope you find someone to make your own beautiful barn quilt square for your cabin.

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