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A trail of color

Posted October 08, 2014 in Community Featured, Greene County
Judy Clark and JoAnne Schnebly are co-chairwomen of the Greene County Quilt Trail. Photo by Juli Probasco-Sowers.

Judy Clark and JoAnne Schnebly are co-chairwomen of the Greene County Quilt Trail. Photo by Juli Probasco-Sowers.

There’s a different kind of trail in Greene County that doesn’t take a bike but does take a car and a map: the Barn Quilt Trail.

The trail is one for driving a little slower, stopping to enjoy the scenery and discovering the barns and the quilts along the way. The name of the designs include Shaded Trail, Spools, Clay’s Choice, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and  Friendship Star, just to name a few.

Judy Clark and JoAnne Schnebly, co-directors of the trail, talk intimately about each barn quilt almost as if the quilt blocks are children. They even have a couple of “orphan” quilt blocks.

That’s because of their own love of quilting and the many hours they have spent with other area residents to create the trail.

The trail idea was born after Judy asked her husband, John, to make her a barn quilt. It was 2005 and barn quilts and quilt trails were just getting started.

After helping Judy with the quilt, John Clark, came home from a meeting of Greene County Development Corp. and told Judy the group thought a quilt trail could be an added tourism attraction.

“About the same time, some of us attended a talk in Grundy County by the woman who started the first quilt trail in Ohio, Donna Sue Groves,” Judy remembers. Soon afterward the plans began to develop.

The first year the Greene County group put up 12 barn quilts and worked at doing the same during the next few years until they reached 32 with the help of community organizations such as the Boy Scouts and local  businesses.

During the last 10 years there haven’t been any repairs needed, but now there are some quilts in need of repainting. At least three of the original barns have come down, so there are now two “orphan” quilts waiting for barn homes, and another one that lost its barn home, but is most likely beyond repair.

“Our goal was to see that there was a barn quilt in each of the townships,” Judy says. “Even with the three barns that have come down, we still have at least one in every township.”

Judy and JoAnne talked about what the future holds for the aging Barn Quilt Trail. Some money is raised through note cards made of photos of the barns and quilts. A packet of 12 notecards and envelopes costs $10 at the Printer’s Box and the Greene County Chamber of Commerce, both in Jefferson.

The brochure that includes a map of all the barn quilts needs updated and reprinted, but it will take more money than can be raised by notecard sales.

Both women want to see more people get involved and help come up with some fundraising activities to refurbish the quilt blocks.

In the meantime, anyone — at no cost other than time and gasoline — can pick up one of the Barn Quilt Trail brochures and head out on their own quest to find each quilt.

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