Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Quilt art celebrates rural Faribault woman’s passion for quilting July 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:30 AM
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The sun sets as I approach Barb and Bob's farm east of Faribault.

The sun sets as I approach Barb and Bob’s farm east of Faribault.

ON A RECENT RURAL OUTING to forage rhubarb from my friend Barb’s abundant patch, I noticed a work of art I hadn’t previously seen displayed on her farm east of Faribault.

A a display of Americana art.

A display of Americana art.

Attached to weathered tin on the end of a pole shed hangs a red, white and blue “Star Shadow” quilt block painted on an eight-foot square of plywood.

The barn quilt is tied to Barb’s passion for quilting, something she’d do all day if only she didn’t have to cook or clean or…

"Star Shadow."

“Star Shadow.”

She’d seen similar painted quilts on barns, always wanted one and a few years ago, along with husband Bob, chose the Star Shadow design for their quilt art. No particular reason for the design—just one they both liked, although they knew the paint hues would be in the trio of patriotic colors.

Barb’s a long-time seamstress who once sewed her own clothes, embroidered and then began making simple block quilts before attempting a tulip quilt. She struggled with the tulip quilt, finishing it in the early 1990s, some 40 years after beginning the project.

Since that quilting success, Barb’s emerged as an avid quilter, stitching countless bed-sized quilts, wall hangings, placemats, table runners and more. She keeps her work or gives it away, including to charities. As a member of the Blue Chicks, a local quilting group that meets monthly, Barb has sewn quilts for the Ronald McDonald House. She also quilts with her sisters once a month and recently joined the quilting circle at her church, Trinity Lutheran in Faribault. That church group donates most of its quilts to charity.

“I’m infected with the pox,” Barb says of her quilting passion. She collects fabric, goes on fabric-shopping road trips with fellow quilters…

Although my friend doesn’t design her own quilt patterns, she enjoys the creative aspect that comes in selecting designs and colors, pulling it all together in a work of art—whether stitched or painted.

BONUS FARM PHOTOS:

The beautiful barn on Barb and Bob's 100-year-old plus family farm.

The beautiful barn on Barb and Bob’s 100-year-old plus family farm.

Rhubarb grows by the old smokehouse, which now houses garden tools.

Rhubarb nudges the old smokehouse, which now houses garden tools.

This farm is typical old style farmplace with lots of outbuildings, including the granery on the left, one of the oldest buildings on the farm.

This farm is typical old style farm place with lots of outbuildings, including the updated granery on the left, one of the oldest structures on the farm.

The message on the granery door reflects Barb's attitude: "The sheds are full of stuff and it's all good."

The message on the granery door reflects Barb’s attitude: “The sheds are full of stuff and it’s all good.”

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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