Off the Beaten Path: North Dakota Quilt Trail | VideoCliff Naylor | 2/3/2013
The bite from North Dakota`s coldest winter days is being diminished by the Nelson County Quilt Trail. It`s the first barn blanket byway in the state. Sixteen quilt block patterns have been painted on plywood, and the art work graces buildings along Highway 35.
Sylvia Daws says on a daily basis there are many cars that just stop by, pull up and take pictures. Daws was inspired by a quilt trail she saw in Iowa and convinced Maria Vasichek that something similar could be created in North Dakota.
"We hope it flourishes and goes across the state so we can be similar to Iowa or Ohio, they have many counties that are involved."
Maps directing motorists to the quilt barns were printed up and Annette Schmidt says the project has brought the whole community and folks who are just passing through, together.
"It`s just interesting to see all the different patterns and drive around and see the countryside and see what else is going on. It`s just a neat way to bring people to the area."
One barn quilt resembles the flag of Sweden to honor Swedish foreign exchange farmers who spent a summer in North Dakota. One features an original stained glass design, while Vasichek says another has a distinct agricultural theme.
"The man of the house wanted all the colors of the tractors he has on the farm represented in the quilt, so his wife, to accommodate that, picked out the pattern and then got the paint to coordinate with the tractors, so they`re both happy."
Each quilt design is painted on either a four-by-four, or eight-foot-by-eight-foot piece of plywood. Some are lit so they can be seen at night, but during the day, all of the artwork reflects brightly off the blanket of snow that covers North Dakota and warms the hearts of people who pass by.
Some quit trails in other states feature folk art on hundreds of barns, and you don`t have to be a quilter to participate in the prairie beautification project.