Big Mill B&B is going to be part of the Tar River Quilt Trail
How did the Big Mill B&B barn quilt idea and project happen? In essence, I read about the American Quilt Trail and I wanted to be part of it. I picked a favorite quilt pattern – one that my mother made. And I joined the Tar River Quilt Trail, it is now the Tar-Roanoke River Quilt Trail. This pattern is being painted on plywood and will be installed on the side of my Pack House Barn here on the farm.
The Tar River Quilt Trail is part of the Franklin County, NC Arts Council. After I joined the Quilt Trail, they started to work. First, the pattern had to be approved. It has to be one that no one else on the Trail has chosen.
My quilt square will be 8′ x 8′. Charles Powell built four 4′ x 4′ blocks and primed them with a special paint and marked off the pattern onto these blocks.
Suzie Parron, who wrote the book Barn Quilts – the American Quilt Trail Movement, describes a Barn Quilt this way:
“You know that quilts are made up of squares? Well, a barn quilt is a replica of one of these squares, painted on plywood, usually eight-by-eight feet, and hung on a building for passersby to see. Most of them are mounted on barns, so they are called Barn Quilts. There are thousands of them all over the country – currently in thirty states – and in Canada.”
In fact, there are barn quilts in at least 48 states in the U.S. and as far north as Canada. She also says there is usually is a cast of characters, going back many years, who are involved in the production of a Barn Quilt.
My Barn Quilt idea goes back as early as 1976, when the United States celebrated its Bicentennial. Everyone wore Red, White and Blue. My mother Chloe made me an Eight-Point-Star quilt in red, white and blue. Her friends met once a week and quilted it as a work of love.
This is the quilt pattern I chose to put on the wonderful Pack House Barn my dad built in 1935 (2nd picture in the left column). That barn is now part of Big Mill Bed & Breakfast and three of our rooms and suites are actually in this renovated barn. I have since learned that this pattern is called LaMoyne Star and I have named my Barn Quilt Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star. To see the finished project check out my blog post Eastern North Carolina Quilt Trail.
I read about the American Quilt Trail Movement many years ago and really wanted to be part of it. At the time, I thought I had to paint a quilt on my barn. Well, I knew I could do it – but I didn’t think I will live long enough to finish it. Then I realized I didn’t have to do this myself. I called the Western North Carolina Quilt Trail folks and they were wonderful; they sent me to the Tar River Quilt Trail folks, part of the Franklin County NC Arts Council.
I joined the Tar River Quilt Trail and after a few months of behind-the-scenes coordinating, my Barn Quilt is almost finished! Thanks to Kim Young, who painted my quilt. Kim is an artist who works in watercolor, oil and acrylics. And thanks to Charles Powell and the Franklin County Arts Council for all the work behind-the-scenes to bring this vision to life. These folks are volunteers and they do a great job. Soon they will mount it on the barn for all to see.
The Martin County Arts Council in Williamston, NC is also getting a barn quilt. They have chosen the pattern Crossed Canoes. Hopefully, the Town of Williamston will join us.
Wherever you’re traveling across North Carolina, you are likely to find a map of all the Barn Quilts in each area. That makes it so easy to plan your trip to ride by and look at these wonderful replicas of our heritage. I am so excited to be part of the Tar River Quilt Trail.
You can see Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star quilt painted on the barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast. It’s time to set your GPS for Big Mill Bed & Breakfast, 1607 Big Mill Road, Williamston, NC 27892. And if you get lost, give me a call – (252) 792-8787.
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