The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 8, 2014

Ashtabula County dedicated quilters preserving the history of our barns

Imagine driving through the countryside just a few miles from Walnut Beach and the heart of Ohio's Wine Country. It’s a rural landscape boasting 18 covered bridges, family-owned farms, orchards, vineyards and century-old barns. 
Hung on the side of each barn, there’s a quilt painted on a wooden 4x4-foot or 8x8 square in a starburst, log cabin or other pattern.
As a visitor to Ashtabula County, you wonder, ‘What are these barn quilts all about?’
The barn quilt craze got its start in the fall of 2013, when a group of dedicated quilters who live in Ashtabula County began to seek support for a Barn Quilt Trail in their county. 
“It’s a visual, colorful way to promote our rural heritage, highlight the architecture and history of our vanishing barns, preserve the farm family’s stories and promote the art of quilting,” said Chris Angerman, a local quilter, who along with fellow quilter, Kathy McCarty, brought to fruition the first group of quilts, which will be painted and hung on several Ashtabula County agricultural buildings this summer. 
The women hope to organize a self-driving tour in the near future. 
“My goal is to see beauty all around Ashtabula County,” McCarty said. “We’re really excited about it.”
The women are co-chairs of the Barn Quilts of Ashtabula County. The steering committee consists of Lori Robishaw from the Ashtabula Arts Center; Carl Feather from the Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners; Mark Winchell from the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Lynn Frank from the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau; Virginia March from Ashtabula County 4-H; Sara Bals from the Ashtabula County quilting community Connect 534, and Jenna Hoyt at the Ohio State University Extension Office of Ashtabula County in Jefferson.
The committee recognizes the need to set standards for each quilt to ensure quality, and the standards are available on-line. 

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