ROGERSVILLE — Randy Nash and his sister, Marcia Tully, aren't sure how old their grandmother's quilt is, but a painted block from the quilt is now prominently displayed on the side of an old barn on Lauderdale 165.

Together, they surmised that Reba Irene Blankenship Holmes made the quilt in the 1930s or 1940s.

"The family used it for inspiration," Tully said.

Saturday morning, Nash, Marcia Tully, her husband, David, and Dephew Nash, Holmes's son in law, gathered to see the painted quilt block attached to the barn.

The Nash quilt block is now part of the non-profit Alabama Barn Quilt Trail, which honors the traditional art form of quilting and promotes agri-tourism. 

Dale Robinson said there are about 39 quilt blocks affixed to barns, mostly in northwest Alabama where the trail started.

The trail began in Lauderdale County about almost three years ago by Regina Painter. Painter learned about barn quilt blocks while attending a quilting show in Kentucky, Robinson said.

The idea is to take a quilt block and paint the design on wood or sheet metal. Robinson said they're now using sheet metal normally used for signs because it is lighter.

Families give the quilt trail committee permission to recreate the quilt block pattern and attach it to a family barn, one where the public can drive up and view the quilt block.

"We are promoting agriculture and agri-tourism, getting people out in the countryside to see the farms and honor quilting," Robinson said.

Tully said they agreed to keep the area around the barn clean and allow people to park and visit the site.

"It's the first one in Rogersville," she said.

While family and committee members visited, Robinson and Anthony Hackney attached the two-piece quilt block to the side of the barn.

Committee members gathered recently, broke up into teams and painted several quilt blocks. There are at least two on U.S. 72 between Florence and Rogersville.

"I had seen them for years in Ohio," said Hackney, who has one on his family's barn.

Robinson said most of the barn quilt blocks are located in Colbert, Lauderdale and Franklin counties, but there are some in Limestone and Marion counties. They hope to expand the trail across the state.

He said the committee prefers to attach them to older barns, but have relaxed their requirements to allow newer barns, or structures like the Coussons Convenience store outside Killen, which is located in the old Outpost 72 building.

The committee is holding a barn quilt painting workshop April 6 at the Lauderdale County Cooperative Extension Service building on Veterans Drive in Florence. The cost is $75 and includes most supplies. Lunch will be provided.

For information, go to the Alabama Barn Quilt Trail's Facebook page.

russ.corey@timesdaily.com

or 256-740-5738. Twitter

@TD_.RussCorey

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