Marion resident Nicki Case’s love of quilting made it natural for her to try barn quilting, where patterns are painted onto boards instead of sewn in fabric.
Friends inspired her to take up fabric quilting more than a decade ago.
“I kind of got into it,” Case said.
The mathematical element of creating quilt designs appeals to the math teacher in Case.
“I don’t work with a lot of premade patterns, I’d rather make my own,” she said.
She began barn quilting two years ago after taking a class.
“Since I’m a quilter, it just sounded like fun,” she said.
Most of Case’s barn quilts are one foot square. She designs seasonal themes and rotates them in her home.
She’s also made a few two-foot-square barn quilt squares.
“Those are usually hung outside,” she said.
One hangs next to the front door of her home and another is on an outbuilding.
She is exploring converting a barn quilt to be attached to the side of a metal building her family is building on their property.
Neva Kreutziger teaches barn quilting a couple of times a year at Kessler’s Kreations in Hillsboro.
She also began as a fabric quilter, which she’s done for nearly 30 years, since her kids were little.
“I had a great aunt who always had a quilt frame in her parlor,” Kreutziger said. “I can remember playing in there and always getting in trouble. My great aunt’s theory was that everybody ought to have a quilt.”
A self-taught quilter, she learned by doing alongside friends. She began doing barn quilting two or three years ago, after she and friends went to a show in Manhattan.
“Quilt blocks can tell quite a story,” she said.
For some, barn quilt patterns reflect their family’s past.
“It is a way to pay homage to your heritage,” she said.
Her own creations are chosen because she likes the design, not for their meanings.
She makes mostly two-foot-square patterns, but is currently working on a four-foot-square pattern.
Barn quilt displays recently spread to Kansas, Kreutziger said.
“Currently, there are hundreds of quilt trails back east and they’ve had them for years, probably about 20 years. It’s taken a long time for them to get here,” she said.
For barn quilting teacher Katherine Defilippis, the hobby grew out of her love of painting. She also paints murals.
“I can’t sew a stitch,” Defilippis said. “My love for painting in general came from my mother.”
What makes the classes she teaches unique is that each design is drawn by Defilippis before the class — unless students bring their own designs.
Eliminating the time-consuming process of taping patterns makes the process much faster.
“You can get one done in about two hours as opposed to eight or nine hours using tape,” she said.
Barn quilts aren’t done in the same medium as other paintings, she said.
“It’s done with a special mural paint that takes the weather. It’s not just acrylic paint,” she said.
Defilippis hasn’t decided whether to enter one of her barn quilts in the fair.
This year’s Marion County Fair will have an open class barn quilt category with winners from both youths and adults.
Barn quilts entered in the fair must be two-foot squares from 3/8 or ½-inch thick exterior durable material. They must be prepared for hanging with hooks two inches from the top edge.