Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 40

SUZI PARRON

"Storm at Sea" quilt block adorns a barn in Kentucky.

It all started in Kentucky. Not in the
mountains, mind you, but the Land
Between the Lakes. About 10 years
ago, that's where author Suzi Parron
first took notice of a square painted
like a quilt on a barn. And, there,
Parron wondered not only what this
was-but, more importantly, what
this meant.
Parron asked a local woman.
"And her take on it was they were
kind of trying to honor farm women," says Parron, a former high
school English teacher. "You see a
barn and you think about a man,
but there's a woman who works
on their farm very hard, too. It's to
honor these women and their work
and their art."
Perhaps that's true.
"Quilting has always been women's art. Are there man quilters? Yes,
there are," says Parron, who grew
up in Orlando, Florida. "But it's
something that women have always
40 BlueRidgeCountry.com

done. Any time you're honoring
quilters and quilting, you're honoring women and women's place in
society."
Just ask the "Quilt Square Girls"
in the towering mountains of Ashe
County, North Carolina, a Blue
Ridge Parkway community wedged
between Virginia and Tennessee.
This married couple-Renee and
Syndi Brooks-are among the quilting characters that Parron has met
over the past decade while writing
a couple of books on the growing
popularity of barn quilt squares,
including the recently released "Following the Barn Quilt Trail" (Ohio
University Press, 278 pp., 2016,
$29.95).
"They have just created a community around these barn quilts,"
Parron says.
But, oh, it's even more than that.
"Barn quilts? First of all, they
make you happy," Syndi Brooks

says. "When you see them, and you
go around the curve, and there's that
old, worn barn with that big, neat
barn quilt, it makes you happy."
Syndi Brooks also shares some
of Parron's sentiment, saying these
squares are "a celebration of women's work-in how they save bits
and pieces of fabric for years and
years and years to make quilts with."
To date, the "Quilt Square Girls"
have painted 2,000 barn quilt
squares of various sizes. "Not all are
8-by-8," says Syndi Brooks. "The majority are probably small-3-by-3 or
4-by-4-and we ship them all over
the United States."
This pair of painters started with
a home studio in 2010. Then they
moved in to a larger shop called
Quilt Square Girls: Barn Quilts and
More at West Jefferson, North Carolina. Today, their fees start at $180
to paint a 4-by-4 reproduction of
a quilt to hang on a barn. "And if


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016

Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 22
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 29
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 31
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 35
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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