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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

How 'Barn Quilts' Came To Blanket Franklin County

Sheldon Raiders Homemaker's Club, courtesy
The "Radiant Star" barn quilt on a Sheldon Barn.

More than 200 barn quilts—painted pieces of plywood that use the simple geometric patterns common to quilting on a barn-sized canvas?—now blanket Franklin County. But the colorful landmarks that now make up the Franklin County Barn Quilt Trail have their genesis with one woman and her summer road trip through the midwest.

Fern Mercure saw her first barn quilt while traveling through Shipshewana, Indiana in the summer of 2009. She brought the idea of the painted-on-plywood patterns back to her Sheldon Raiders Homemaker's Club. That group turned the idea into the first 12 barn quilts in the area. The concept soon spread to buildings, homes, garages and barns in neighboring towns like Berkshire, Enosburg, Richford and beyond. 

The "Blazing Star" barn quilt of Kane Rd. in Sheldon.
Credit Sheldon Raiders Homemaker's Club, courtesy
The "Blazing Star" barn quilt of Kane Rd. in Sheldon.

Mercure shares how the idea of barn quilts took root in Vermont, and how it blossomed into the Quilt Trail which stretches across Franklin County.

Interested in adding your own barn quilt to the trail? Fern suggests you follow these suggestions.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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