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Barn quilts reflect a treasure of art for local area

By Staff | Jul 25, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED This barn quilt was painted by Sue Keller of Pennsdale and can be seen on her barn from Rabbittown Road. A workshop to make them is scheduled for July 26.

PENNSDALE – Have you ever wondered why quilters are so excited about putting quilts outside for everyone to see? Sue Keller of Pennsdale helped to spearhead the barn quilt trail for the Muncy Historical Society, and now she is managing a project through the Susquehanna Valley Quilt Guild to hold a workshop so that other property owners can make one. “These barn quilts are really important to me, and I just love them,” Keller said.

A barn quilt is a fairly large piece of wood that is painted to look like a quilt block. Even though the name implies that an entire quilt is painted onto the wood, it generally is only a single quilt block. The size of the squares vary, but usually, they can measure up to 8 feet. After they are painted, the blocks are hung on the exterior of a barn, house, garage or other building.

On Thursday, July 26 at the Trinity United Methodist Church, Suzi Parron from Adams County will be in Pennsdale to show how to make one of these 2×2 painted patchwork designs. Parron has authored books on the subject and some of her barn quilts are now in more than 40 states plus Canada. She will be presenting her quilt trail project as well as demonstrating the many patterns available to use.

Keller said there are two workshops scheduled with openings available – one for Thursday, the 26th at 12:30 and a second one will be held on Friday, July 27th at the same location (658 Village Rd., Pennsdale PA) starting at 10 a.m. “You do not have to be a guild member to join us,” said Keller.

“There are a few trails in our local area of Muncy and Wyalusing PA,” she added and more information is in Parron’s books that are co-authored with with Donna Sue Groves who started putting quilts on barns in 2001.

“If you would like more information about Suzi or how to get a quilt trail started, there is a very nice article in American Patchwork & Quilting – Issue 152 for June 2018 or purchase either of her books – Barn Quilts & the American Trail Movement published February 2012 or Following the Barn Quilt Trail published April 2016,” Keller explained.

To see some patterns to choose from, visit the SVQG website. Parron will provide a primed board, paint and brushes. Most of barn quilts are comprised of simple geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles and triangles which makes them easier to create. They are usually painted in solid colors, but once in awhile, according to Keller, “You will see one that has been painted to look like printed fabric.”

It is really the simplicity of the shapes and the vibrancy of solid colors that make these blocks easily seen from afar. “If they become too complicated, details can get lost.”

If you have any questions, or want to know the fees, or want to get on the workshop list, please call Sue Keller at 570-916-3131 or email her at smkeller104@gmail.com.

Last month on June 30th, the SVQG made more charity quilts and delivered them to hospice. On Saturday July 28 they will be gathering to make nine patch blocks for the next raffle quilt for the 2020 quilt show.

Another quilt workshop is scheduled for August 18 from 10-3 with Ann Shobert to make a cactus wreath pattern quilt. More information is available on the SVQG Facebook page.