Women preserving history in their own way
Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012 8:00 pm
By PAIGE GRAVES
Murray Ledger & Times
MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — Three Calloway County residents have forged a unique bond through a common interest in their admiration for the American Quilt Trail — an idea that seems to be sweeping across the nation. For Judi Little, Jamie Penner and Posy Lough, the notion of a barn quilt is something they hold dear to their hearts.
Though some local residents may have heard about barn quilts, not everyone knows the story behind them. Barn quilts are colorful patterns of quilt squares painted on panels and hung on barns that capture the spirit of American Quilting and local heritage. The American Quilt Trail is a collection of thousands of these barn quilts all across America.
Penner’s barn is part of the local trail, which was started in 2010 by Ruth Daughaday and Judi Little.
“She (Daughaday) pushed for it, and I made it happen,” Little said. “The idea is that we should all connect as some point. Each trail is started by its own group with its own rules, but for us we have two rules: the barn quilt can’t be an advertisement, and it has to be open to the public.”
“The main reason I wanted to put it up was to honor the barn, to honor my mother and to honor our country,” Penner said. “Much like my mom, this barn is a pillar of strength.”
The design on Penner’s barn is called “Mother’s Fancy.” Her mother, who was from Henderson, was an avid quilter and huge Kentucky fan. Penner’s father was a WWII veteran.
“My mom died in December, and my dad died in March, five days short of their 72nd wedding anniversary,” Penner said. “This honors the country and stands for a few personal reasons as well.”
The barn quilt, constructed from two pieces of wood, was finished in the spring of 2012. Murray Electric hung the finished product free of charge, Penner said. Before the quilt could be made, the barn, originally built for smoking tobacco, had to be treated for termites. Penner said after researching the property she believes the barn was built between 1900-1910, complete with hand-hewn logs.
Penner’s particular barn quilt has helped to inspire a part of Lough’s new quilting project, which she hopes to soon share with local residents. Lough says the kit she has created is a way for people to value these barns instead of just viewing them, and it will feature pieces from the American Quilt Trail as its border. A portion of any proceeds will go to the Calloway County Quilt Trail, which will aid in creating public space quilts, Little said.
Area barns have stood the test of time, and this preservation is part of what has inspired Lough’s efforts, they noted.
Redwork embroidery is a kind of classic embroidery in which red thread is used to create patterns on a white background. The unique aspect of redwork embroidery is that it was the first kind of color embroidery using cotton thread. Lough said redwork is very historic.
“I wanted people to begin to see the value in all of this,” Lough said. “Not just see the barn and that’s all.”
Lough began a home business around 30 years ago that catered to specific historical monuments and structures around the country by making cross-stitch kits for them, including the Monticello outside of Charlottesville, Va.
“About a year ago I wanted to get into something besides cross-stitch,” Lough said. “So one day at Frame Village Judi came in and she sketched this particular design out for me.”
While Lough said the project has taken most of the summer to get underway, each woman has done her part in the project. Penner provided inspiration with her addition to the Quilt Trail, Little was behind the inception of the trail itself and Lough has provided another way to preserve local history.
“I personally can’t wait to see what people do with these kits,” Lough said.
For more information on how to become a part of the quilt trail, contact Little at (270) 436-5132 or the Calloway County Extension Office at (270) 753-1452.
For more information on Lough’s work, visit www.posycollection.com. Her kit will be available at various local businesses, it was reported.
Information from: Murray Ledger & Times, http://www.murrayledger.com
Published in The Messenger 8.23.12