Quilt trail leads to structures in Mesa County

This large wooden pinwheel block, titled “The Colorado Quilt,” will be unveiled to the public at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on the Swanson building at Cross Orchards Historic Site, 3073 F Road.

“Quilt of the Century,” a quilt design that dates to 1933, was replicated on wood in an 8-foot square and now hangs on an outside wall near the front entrance of the Museum of the West, 462 Ute Ave.

The painter of this historic quilt block and two others for public view is Verda, above, of Grand Junction (she legally goes by her first name only). This shooting star design, titled “A Century of Progress,” will be placed over the hayloft doors of Suzanne Daniels’ barn at 2867 C 1/2 Road.

VERDA: (Uses a first name only) She’s a traditional quilter with a longarm business who is determined to bring the American Quilt Barn Trail to Mesa County. http://www.americanquiltbarns.com



■ WHAT: Ouray County Historical Society’s annual Quilter’s Tea, including Victorian Hats and Parasols Parade.

■ WHEN: 3–4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28.

■ WHERE: Venue roscoe Fox, 539 Main St., Ouray.

■ PROGRAM: Quilter Sue Hillhouse will speak about the creation of the historical society’s 2012 raffle quilt, “High Country Ranching,” with the drawing at 4 p.m.

■ COST: $5 donation per person appreciated.

■ REGISTRATION: County museum, 970-325-4576.


■ WHAT: Sixth annual Grand Valley Quilt Show with “Out on a Limb” round robin quilts made by the Grand Valley Sews and Sews, and a bed turning in the Glover Cabin (quilts stacked on bed, then turned back one at a time to reveal individual designs).

■ WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30.

■ WHERE: Battlement Mesa School House, 7235 300 Road, Battlement Mesa (Parachute exit 75).

■ COST: $3 donation suggested to benefit the show co-sponsor, The Grand Valley Historical Society.

It may be too late to close the proverbial barn door now that the American Quilt Barn Trail has made its way into Mesa County.

Barns that display large, colorful quilt patterns painted on wooden squares are popular throughout many Midwestern states. They’ve even become a tourism tool for many communities.

In 2011, quilt barn trails existed in 27 states.

Now a Grand Junction quilter is bringing the quilt trail to the Western Slope.

“I paint the blocks, which are eight-foot square, in my garage with exterior semi-gloss enamel,” explains Verda, who legally goes by her first name only. She moved to Grand Junction a year and half ago from California.

Her first block was installed less than two weeks ago for public view outside the entrance to the Museum of the West, 462 Ute Ave. Bolted securely to the brick exterior wall, the traditional eight-pointed star pattern is titled “Quilt of the Century,” according to the Encyclopedia of Quilt Blocks by recognized authority Barbara Brackman.

This design first appeared in Capper’s Weekly newspaper in Topeka, Kan., in 1933.

“I painted it in the colors of the Museum of Western Colorado’s logo — brown, beige and teal,” Verda says.

Already, the giant quilt block is generating comments from museum visitors, according to Dave Bailey, the museum’s curator of history.

Verda’s second wooden block, appropriately titled “The Colorado Quilt,” will be unveiled at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cross Orchards Historic Site, 3073 F Road.

This will take place during an annual community potluck picnic sponsored by the Mesa County Historical Society, of which Verda is a member.

The gathering is scheduled from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in the packing shed, and the public is welcome, says society President Priscilla Mangnall.

Placed on the front of the Swanson building at Cross Orchards, the pinwheel-patterned block originated in a Kansas City Star periodical in 1941.

Verda inscribes the back of her wooden blocks with the pattern name, the date it first appeared in print, the month and year the replica block was completed and her own name as the painter.

A third wooden quilt pattern, a shooting star in patriotic colors, is ready for hanging on the weathered red barn belonging to Suzanne Daniels, a farmer and secretary who lives at 2867 C 1/2 Road. Titled “A Century of Progress,” the block’s origin can be traced to Nancy Cabot in 1933.

Daniels requested the red, white and blue motif to honor her son, a member of the U.S. Air Force serving in the Middle East.

The barn quilt is to be installed over the hayloft doors Tuesday, she says. 

Verda is delighted that this one will be displayed on an actual barn, and she hopes more rural residents will follow Daniels’ lead.

On the Front Range, the Colorado Quilting Council sponsors quilt trails in many communities. Rather than barns, businesses are choosing to display these eye-catching icons of Americana on historic downtown buildings or in retail storefronts.

I, too, hope Verda’s big bold blocks begin to appear in more and more places in this area of our state. Hers is truly a beautification project.

In addition to painting them, Verda makes actual quilts, preferring traditional patterns and scrappy fabric designs. She also does longarm quilting for hire in her home studio and restores antique quilts. You can reach her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or at 243-1143.

Oops: In last week’s column about a “Walk in the Woods” exhibit by the Art Quilt Association, I mistakenly referred to the aspen tree as Colorado’s official state tree. The blue spruce actually holds this distinction. I regret the error.

Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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