Barn Quilts

99 Counties | FIND Iowa
Mar 5, 2024 | 02:27

How can art bring a community together?

In Sac County, the barn quilts are particularly noticeable. Explore how this type of artistic expression has brought a community together.


Abby Brown: Have you ever cozied up with a quilt, maybe a family member made it for you? We're about to find out how quilts went from blankets to barns.

Quilting has been around for thousands of years. It's basically a piecing together of fabrics to make designs. These days the results are often blankets. Loads of people even enter their quilting projects in Iowa State Fair contest to try to win blue ribbons.

Here in Sac County we can see quilt block designs painted on barns all over the place. But why? The first barn quilt was put up in Ohio, when one woman wanted to display something to honor her mother, who is a master quilter.

Sac County loved that idea and became the Iowa leader in barn quilts. The patterns of the barn quilts in Sac County  were chosen by local quilters and most are based  on agricultural-related names or on a family's heritage. It's basically a public art display sprinkled all over the county, and it's really fun to drive around and see all the different designs.

Barn quilts can be seen all over Iowa, but here in Sac County, there are a lot. Most of the barn quilts are eight foot squares and painted by volunteers.

Maybe you'll see a barn quilt when you're out driving. If you do, pause and admire the design and try to guess what the meaning behind it might be. Maybe it relates to something in nature or a favorite family color.

One things for certain, the quilt blocks were put up on barns for passers-by to see and enjoy.

Every County in Iowa has a patchwork of stories to tell. Thanks for coming along while we explore Sac County.