Plumas County Joins the Barn Quilt Craze

Until just recently I had no idea what a Barn Quilt was.  Apparently, it’s quite a movement that seems to be sweeping across the United States.

A Barn Quilt is a vibrant quilt pattern that is painted on a large wooden square and mounted to barns.  Plumas County is joining counties all over the U.S. in putting up barn quilts, not only on barns, but other buildings as well.  They seem to be popping up everywhere.

Barn quilts started about 300 years ago when immigrants from the Rhine region of Germany came to the United States.  Many settled in Pennsylvania. Today, beautiful quilt patterns are seen on the Pennsylvania Dutch barns.  Prior to the 1830’s, most barns were not painted due to the high cost of paint. Barn decorating peaked, with the lower costs of paint, in the early 20th century. Many folk designs, including quilt squares began showing up.

Barn Quilt in Quincy, CA.The Pineapple is the symbol for Hospitality, perfect for Ada's Place, the essence of Mountain Hospitality

Ada's Place Cabin

Today barn quilts are becoming popular once again.  “Quilt Trails” are being developed in many states. After a number of barn quilts have been displayed in an area, a map can be developed that can be used as self-guided tours for visitors to the area.  Plumas County is working on one now, it will be ready to publish soon.

Here in Plumas County, the movement is catching on quickly.  Carolyn Kenney is the featured quilter at the Quincy Crazy Quilters “Crazy About Quilts” show set for May 21 – 22 at the fairgrounds in Quincy, Ca. The show is continued in downtown Quincy, in merchant’s windows.  What’s more, she’s the original force behind the barn quilt movement spreading across Plumas and Sierra counties.

Emily's Garden Main Street, Quincy, CA.


Quilt in Eagle's Nest Window on Main Street

Carolyn attended a quilting instructor certification class taught by Eleanor Burns, a well-known quilter, teacher and author. Burns had recently published “Quilt Blocks on American Barns,” which features the barn quilt movement in the Midwest.

Similar to Pennsylvania hex signs, the tours, called trails, are enormously popular, drawing visitors to look for blocks on old barns over distances up to 90 miles.

The idea captured Carolyn’s imagination and she hopes it will do the same for Plumas County tourism.

Feather River 4-H took on the project, painting a number of large blocks for historical barns in the Quincy area.  On Tuesday, May 19th there will be a Barn Quilt Painting Party at the Heart K Ranch in Genesee.

The grant that made this project possible is from the University of California Cooperative Extension. Donors include: Plumas Bank, Quincy Crazy Quilters, Quincy Chamber of Commerce and Rotary International of Quincy

Partners: The Finishing Touch, Mountain Building Supply and Sierra Pacific Industries, ICI Paint, Quincy Volunteer Fire Department, Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds, Plumas County Visitors Bureau, Plumas Arts

The Finishing Touch has kits which are complete with pattern choices and instructions.

There will be another Quilting event in September 2011.  A County wide tour which will include many more Barn Quilts. Watch for a follow-up article about that.  For more information contact Plumas County Arts Commission in Quincy, CA.  Or the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Quilt in Eagle's Nest Window on Main Street


My Sister's Closet on Main Street

Portions of this blog have been taken from an article in Feather Publishing written by Ramona Hill and reposted with her permission.


About quincyca

I am the proud owner of the Alley Cat Cafe & Coffee House in Quincy, California. I'm a member of the Quincy Chamber of Commerce and the Quincy Merchant Group. I started this blog to let people know about our wonderful community and to inspire them to visit.
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