Barn Quilting

Yes, I disappeared. Again.

Deal with it. (That’s as much to me as to readers, as the longer I go without getting back to something I “promise” myself I’m going to stick with, the more anxiety takes over and, for some bizarre reason, the more I shy away from doing it.)

So, blogging.


I assume everyone is familiar with barn quilts, as they’ve taken over huge swaths of rural and semi-rural US, and are probably popping up in urban areas as well. I love barn quilts, and we have quite a few here in Rock County, Wisconsin. A couple of years ago I met with two women who were instrumental in bringing barn quilts to the area. There had been a semi-formal organization and a website, but it fell by the wayside. While new barn quilts were popping up all over, they weren’t being documented and there was no online presence. They agreed to let me run with a free website, and I put one together on Wix:

I took the old list of 162 barn quilts, plus all of the new ones they had painted for customers, and made a spreadsheet. I imported that into Google Maps and linked the map to the website. I began driving around the county, taking pictures, verifying locations, and color coding them according to visibility. I got through about 40 of them, and then I was in a car accident that totaled my car and smashed my left arm. I’m a lefty, by the way.


Here’s one scar, 18 months later. There’s another on the other side of my arm. At least this side they were able to reassemble the bone and screw it all together with a big metal plate. The other side was so smashed they just pulled out the pieces and cleaned up the end of the bone. You know how you have that bump on the outside of your wrist? I have a dent instead. I’m really lucky that it didn’t completely mess up the wrist. Ignore the red, bumpy dots – keratosis pilaris, and a lack of consistent lotion usage. Please do note the geometry and algebra to the left. A) I write directly on the melamine sewing table when I’m trying to work things out and B) See, you WILL use that in real life, eventually!

Anyway, the barn quilt location verification and photography dropped pretty low in priority, and while I maintained the site, I didn’t get out and check any more barn quilts. Today’s the day, though! I mapped out a couple of routes and, since there’s nothing else I want to do on a muggy, 95 degree day in Wisconsin except sit in air conditioning, I’m hopping in my (new) little car and taking a road trip.

And I’m driving very carefully.



  1. So sorry about your accident. From a fellow lefty, loss of arm is hard. I haven’t had something that serious, but did have to stop using my left arm much for several months to prevent tendon damage from a medication I was taking.
    Barn quilts are lovely. I want to make one for my parents someday soon.

    • Thank you – it has been a challenge, and the arm is about as good as it’s going to get. I have full use of it but the nerves are messed up so it feels weird. Counting myself lucky.
      There are some good barn quilt tutorials available. Most important: use the right plywood that will hold up to weather. Second most important: take your time and do it right with multiple coats of exterior paint. Bonus important: have fun!

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