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Extension to launch Quilt Trail Project

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By Ashley Scoby

The Spencer County Extension Service will host a meeting Monday for anyone interested in a potential Spencer County Quilt Trail Project.
Quilt trails involve a collection of barns or other area buildings that have large painted quilt squares on their sides. Communities come together to paint the squares and then have them displayed on buildings. Travelers often follow these trails to observe the rural quilt squares and visit the communities that created them.
The grassroots project of barn quilting began in the early 2000s when Donna Sue Groves, an Ohio Arts Council representative, wanted to pay tribute to her mother, a long-time quilter. Groves’ idea was first put into action in Ohio, but then spread across the whole country. Kentucky first jumped into the mix when a square was painted in Carter County.
Once a community completes a trail, the route is usually registered with the Kentucky Arts Council. Several registered trails exist in Kentucky, officially winding through 62 counties.
Tourism in Spencer County could potentially benefit from a registered quilt trail, according to Allison Lewis, the county extension agent for family and consumer sciences.
“I know there are a lot of people in other counties who go out on weekends and see as many of the quilt squares as they can,” she said. “They can’t get through the whole state in a weekend, obviously, but they will pick a certain area and travel around there for a couple days.”
While Spencer County is not officially registered as part of a quilt trail, Lewis says several squares are already up on buildings throughout the county. She estimated there were at least three in existence now.
“Several people already have some interest,” she said. “This meeting would be a great way to get started… We’ve had a couple people call the Nelson County extension office about this, so we thought it would be a good time to get the project started here in Spencer County.”
People who have any interest in the project are welcome to the meeting, according to Lewis, regardless of prior artistic or quilting experience.  
“You can be interested in painting or putting the squares up on the barns,” she said. “Whether you want to get one or help make one, anybody who wants to help in any way is welcome.”
The meeting will be at the Spencer County Cooperative Extension Office on Monday at noon. Lunch will be provided, and participants are asked to RSVP at (502) 477-2217.