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NewsTribune photos/Katlyn Rumbold Linda Reiker puts the finishing touches on her barn quilt that will be hung as soon as she can get a fresh coat of paint on the barn. Inspired by a favorite quilt given to her family by a grandparent, she chose the quilt pattern “Night and Day” for her barn quilt and is thrilled at how it turned out. She describes it as “simple and bold.” This particular quilt will be displayed on her family’s farm in Ohio. A map of all the barn quilt locations can be found in the 2014 Bureau County Visitors Guide. Once all the barn quilts of Bureau County have been put up (as many are still in the design/painting phase), a map of all the locations will be available for people to go on a self-guided tour through the countryside to enjoy all the sites of each unique barn quilt.
PRINCETON — Driving through Bureau County, you will now see up to 24 painted barn quilts displayed on agricultural buildings throughout the countryside, thanks to one aspiring group of women.
Inspired by the barn quilt movement that seems to be sweeping the nation’s agricultural communities, Valerie Jensen, Rita Dabler, Laurie Bonucci, Tracy Hannon and Sandy Carpenter took it upon themselves to bring barn quilts to a thriving Bureau County agricultural scene.
A barn quilt is a piece of medium density overlay board, from 4-by-4 to 8-by-8 feet in size that are painted with exterior paint, displaying a colorful quilt block. The pattern is chosen either from a traditional quilt design or custom designed by the farm family. It then is installed on a barn, corn crib or other agricultural building.
“In fall of 2012, we took a day trip to Kankakee County and drove just half of their trail because for 250 miles you can drive and see all their farms,” Jensen said. “We had a good feel for it and thought this is just what we need. Why not bring barn quilts to Bureau County?
“It’s good for the economic health of the county and it’s just fun. We also love the idea it helps preserve our historic barns.”
After that trip, the ladies rallied to develop the first barn quilts of Bureau County to help celebrate the county’s rich agricultural heritage by showcasing rural areas and to promote agritourism, art, and a sense of community pride. Their goal is to have at least one barn quilt in each of the 25 townships throughout the county by the official Barn Quilt Tour kickoff planned for July 12.
Jensen said it isn’t too late if you’d like to get involved by either building frames, drawing up new quilt designs, helping with promotional media, planning the July 12 kickoff, designing a website, painting barn quilts, or getting a barn quilt of your own.