Quilts of Fall Festivals: Barns & Bridges

I read the result of a Ranker public poll this week and found out that October was voted  #1 as the best month of the year. I would have voted for October, too.

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Ramp Creek Covered Bridge
Brown County, Indiana
Photo provided by Ellen Smanko Murphy

Perhaps it’s the end of a sultry summer and the welcome feel of a crisp morning. Or, the glistening brilliance of green leaves on the way to work, turning to rich shades of red, gold and brown. Maybe it’s because I think of attending football games and marching with the band on Friday nights when I was in school. Or, because I have the best memories of visiting the apple orchard every year with my kids for cider and pumpkin picking, and the last picnic before winter. And then again, I have all those memories of traveling around to the fall festivals in Indiana that mark my favorite time of year.

Here at Quiltmaker, we’ve decided to celebrate fall with four blogs this month, each dedicated to the Quilts of Fall and seasonal events. As all of these signs of fall unfold we’ll share some of our favorite fall-themed quilt patterns. Be sure to come back for these blogs:

  • On October 18th Mary Kate Karr-Petras will talk about turning leaves and share some spectacular leaf quilts.
  • On October 19th Anissa Arnold presents balloon-theme quilts reminiscent of balloon festivals.
  • And, on October 25th Lori Baker is going to focus on apple pickings as she visits the apple orchard.

Covered Bridge Festivals and Barn Quilts

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Covered Bridge
Geneva, Indiana
Photo provided by Ellen Smanko Murphy

As a young mom, my most favorite fall festival was the yearly Parke County Covered Bridge Festival. Similar to the renown Madison County Covered Bridge Festival in Iowa, the Indiana version wanders the tree-lined back roads of the county, with stops along the way to walk through fallen leaves to the wooden bridges. Back then, these stops included taking a few moments to consider times gone by when the bridges were an integral part of the roadway that connected families in rural communities.

In recent years, a special treat is seeing more barn quilts while traveling through the back roads. Seeing these wooden quilt blocks on barns and houses always give me a feeling of community—I think because they say, “A quilter lives here.” or at least someone who appreciates the heritage of quilting like I do.

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Barn Quilts Publications

I couldn’t make my annual trek back to Indiana for this year’s mid-October leaf turning. I didn’t realize it earlier, but now I recognize I’ve been trying to get my fall fix in other ways. I discovered two books, Barn Quilts: and the American Quilt Trail Movement by Suzi Parron with Donna Sue Groves and Following the Barn Quilt Trail by Suzi Parron. It’s interesting to note that as these books take us across the United States to see examples of barn quilts they also share a growing grassroots interest in quilts as a public art form, similar to that of a sculpture placed in a public square.

I was so intrigued by the growing interest in barn quilts that I reached out to my daughter-in-law Regina Harvey and a long-time family friend Linda Beavers to find out if they have seen more barn quilts on their travels. They sent the following photos to share with you. I’m wondering if the wonderful blocks for these barns and houses have special meaning for their owners.

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Sharon McElfresh barn quilt
Starke County, Indiana

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Barn Quilt
Franklin, Indiana
Photo provided by Lily Harvey

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Barn Quilt
Bargersville, Indiana

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Log Cabin Block
Lela Dale House
Wabash, Indiana

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Barn Quilt
Murica, Indiana

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Barn Quilt
Murica, Indiana

fall festival bridges barns QuiltBarnsBridgesQuilt Quilts of Fall Festivals: Barns & BridgesAnd, naturally, being the quilt enthusiast that I am, my next thoughts were to find out if there are quilt patterns that honor these historical bridges and barn art. Here are a few I found.

Quilt Barns & Bridges Quilt Pattern
Designed by Karen Combs
67” x 67” lap quilt
Panel, pieced and applique


fall festival bridges barns BarnQuiltTrailQuiltPattern Quilts of Fall Festivals: Barns & BridgesBarn Quilt Trail & Bridge Kit and Pattern
Designed by Jane Quinn and Christine Stainbrook of Project House 360
Fabrics: Basically Patrick Collection by Patrick Lose for RJR Fabrics


fall festival bridges barns QuiltBarnsBrdgesBlockFabricPanel Quilts of Fall Festivals: Barns & BridgesQuilt Barns and Bridges Block Fabric Panel
24″ x 42″ panel from Troy’s Riverwoods collection by Karen Combs

I hope you are enjoying fall excursions this year. Have you found covered bridges and barn quilts near you? If you have some favorites, send us a photo! We would love to see them.

Happy Quilting,
tricia patterson signoff Quilts of Fall Festivals: Barns & Bridges

Managing Editor, Quiltmaker

This entry was posted in Quilty Lifestyle and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Quilts of Fall Festivals: Barns & Bridges

  1. Love your blog!! Great idea to combine Festivals: Barns & Bridges together. Plus, it is wonderful (as the visionary) to see my name mentioned along with Suzi’s books.

  2. Donna Kujanpaa says:

    Ashtabula County Ohio now has 100 barn quilts and several are on covered bridges (we have 19 covered bridges in our County) The Covered bridge festival in always the 2nd weekend in October. Web site for barn quilts is: http://www.barnquiltsashtabulacounty.com
    I will try to send photo.

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