Barn quilt tour proposed for Manitoulin this fall

ASSIGINACK—Assiginack events coordinator Jackie White has decided to take the success and popularity of The Expositor’s harvest Glory Days challenge (which Assiginack won for best large community) and continue with another Island-wide challenge, this time in the form of a barn quilt tour.

During the March 4 meeting of Assiginack council, council read a proposal from Ms. White for an inaugural barn quilt tour.

“A barn quilt is a quilt block design painted on a four foot by four foot signboard and then hung, traditionally on an old barn,” Ms. White’s report states. She said that it is a popular fall tourist attraction in some parts of North America. “And for residents, it provides a bit of colour and art on an otherwise old barn.”

The barn quilt tour would correspond with the Island Quilters Guild September quilt show, being held at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre. The guild, she said, was also pleased to announce it would be bringing the ‘Quilt of Belonging’ to Debaj—a 120-foot quilt that consists of 263 11-inch fabric squares, 70 of those representing Canada’s First Nations people and 193 squares signifying all of Canada’s immigrant nationalities.

Ms. White suggested challenging other communities, groups and families to get involved and make and display a barn quilt. A list of all participating barns would then be listed on the municipality’s website.

The pre-primed barn quilt pieces would be purchased from the municipality at a suggested cost of $35 with individuals supplying their own paint and time. (A Google search gives hundreds of barn quilt block patterns.) Once the finished product is hung, a $20 rebate would be offered by the municipality, Ms. White suggested.

Ms. White noted that such municipal buildings as the public works garage, arena and Burns Wharf could all have their own barn quilts.

“I think this sounds like an amazing idea,” Councillor Leslie Fields exclaimed. “I think it’s a perfect fit for Manitoulin.”

Both Councillors Bob Case and Brenda Reid said they would be placing barn quilts on their barns.

“I think this will work out as well as the fall (Harvest Glory Days) challenge,” Councillor Fields added.

Ms. White supplied council with a sample barn quilt which, she explained, will hang at the barn belonging to her late grandparents, Maud and Jack Dewar, in Providence Bay.

“The quilt block pattern is a churn dash pattern, which my grandmother used often in her quilts, and the colours—yellow and purple—are from my grandfather’s favourite flower: the pansy,” Ms. White explained. “The blue is the colour of the sky, as they no doubt are looking down.”

Alicia McCutcheon