Initially, I was worried that it might seem unseasonal to talk about quilts in April, but Old Man Winter just refuses to take his weather and go home, so here we are.  Grab a cozy blanket and snuggle on up.

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Painted on wood and fastened to the sides of barns across America, barn quilts shine with their bright colors and bold patterns.

Amanda Radke

Barn quilts are generally credited to Donna Sue Groves, who wished to honor her mother and her Appalachian heritage.  The first pattern used was the Ohio Star, pictured in both the red and white quilt at top, as well as in the colorful variation pictured above.

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The first quilt block was hung in 2001, and over time, Donna Sue worked with local quilters and artists, and introduced a trail of quilt blocks across the state of Ohio, then Tennessee.

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Iowa was next, and then Kentucky.  Now over 6,000 barn quilts are scattered across most states in America’s heartland, and many states have fully developed trails.  (Seriously, South Dakota, get with it.)  State-by-state trail maps can be found here.

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Quilt blocks may be chosen to honor loved ones, represent family heritage, or just for their pretty pattern.

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My Twitter friend Jessie even designs and makes her own blocks, and teaches classes in her area.  How cool is that?   I definitely see a mom/daughter weekend activity in my future.

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Special thanks and photo credits go to Jessie WyrillSuzi Parron, and my own mother, who stitches quilts with fabric and love.