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Mary Simpson and Denise Corneil
Long-time friends satisfied with success of barn quilts in southwest Ontario
Ten years ago Denise Corneil and Mary Simpson came together to save the little town of Wardsville in southwest Middlesex County. In doing so, they sparked one of the most defining motifs in modern small-town Ontario: barn quilts.
Corneil and Simpson grew up together many decades ago, across the street from one another between Woodgreen and Strathburn. Corneil was raised on a tobacco farm and Simpson a poultry farm, both with an affinity for small-town culture and camaraderie.
It was the camaraderie that brought them back together; it was the small-town culture they were trying to save.
What started as 30 barn quilts in Wardsville quickly became 60, and then over 100 as the provincial government picked up on the initiative. They helped fund this website, barnquilttrails.ca, a place to look up the many barn trails across Ontario.
Service to Mankind Award 2017 awarded to Christine Crawford, Thamesville, Ontario by the Sertoma Club Ontario District Allegheny / Canada region.
Christine played an important role in one of the earliest barn quilts projects in Canada, the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail, sister trail to the Native Women’s Trail of Tears Barn Quilt Trail. After that project was completed, Christine helped Chatham-Kent Quilters Guild extend the barn quilt trail through Chatham-Kent to the mouth of the Thames River on Lake St. Clair.The Thames River Barn Quilt Trail officially opened June 11, 2016. Chris helped raise funds for this ambitious three year project, not to mention writing stories, painting, promoting, and presenting. Chris helped write the book, Thames River Barn Quilt Trail – People of the Thames 1750 – 1850.“I have been pleasantly surprised and gratified by the reactions of the people in their community and those who have attended our many presentations. Their interest and curiosity in both the barn quilt designs and the stories they represent have convinced me this was a most worthwhile project.” – Chris Crawford
Cheryl Gardiner and Lindsay McKay
“I have retired from doing signs and concentrate now only on the barn quilts … I went from being called Cheryl’s Signs to Gardiner’s Gate Barn Quilts.”
Her daughter, Lindsay McKay, has joined the enterprise.
“Lindsay has the gift of being very artistic. I run the show but Lindsay handles the fancy stuff… painting pictures of customers’ dogs on quilts from a photo, peacock feathers, the Case tractor eagle. Anything quite intricate is her job.”
Gardiner’s quilts have “flown” to far-flung destinations. “I have shipped to Cape Breton University (Nova Scotia), Wisconsin, and Minnesota so far. These people have found us through Facebook. Several small ones have been bought by local buyers as gifts and shipped to several different states; New York was one I know for sure.”
Gardiner delights in telling the tale of her trans-Atlantic transplants via a woman from England. “She was visiting a quilter here who just had to bring her here to see what barn quilts are. I have a studio made up out of a used Hertz rent-all van body. It is stocked with ready-to-go barn quilts of all sizes, patterns, colours. She bought four small ones and packed them in her suitcase and she now has the first ones in England.”
Gardiner’s Gate Custom Handcrafted Barn Quilts is located at 16050 Ilderton Road, and can be contacted at 519-461-9344. Or visit them on Facebook.
— Special to the St. Marys Journal Argus, Aug 04, 2016. Click here for entire article.
Quilt Block inspires Quilt
Her name is Dorothy McQueen and she turned 94 in May 2018. She has 6 children, 11 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren who all have at least two of her quilts.
In March 2018, Dorothy visited her grandson’s family for a week or two. One day she spotted the barn quiltt on Longwoods Road and took a quick sketch of it. She returned to Sault St Marie to make a quilt that resembled it.
Gram pieces the quilts together, but the ladies from her church do the quilting. Gram used to do all the quilting but she doesn’t have the space anymore. Once she gets started, she is on a mission — probably a couple of weeks to stitch it together. Then the ladies take another few weeks to quilt as they only meet once a week. She uses whatever scraps she has, mostly cotton blends. Gram has been quilting 70 years.
Here is a picture of one of her great granddaughters (baby girl) out west with her quilt. The picture with the two older kids are ours, Matt and Hailey. Another picture is Gram in action.
When I was shown the picture of Grandma McQueen holding up the quilt and learned that it was inspired by a barn quilt from our area, I knew I had to share her story.
Donna and Tim Prior
Priors blaze barn quilt trail ahead of IPM 2017
Tim and Donna Prior, the owners of Brussels Agri-Services and The Cowboy Loft put up $750 for the county’s best barn quilt and $250 for the fan favourite in a competition encouraging residents to spruce up their barns with a barn quilt. All part of the International Plowing Match 2017 in Huron County.
The 150 plus barn quilts created for the IPM Sept 2017 are now the Huron County Barn Quilt. Tim and Donna worked with Gardiner’s Gate of Ilderton for their design, a Canadian flag, four maple leaves depicting the fall season and a mural of a Wagyu cow, the type of animal the Priors have on their home farm east of Brussels.
In an interview with The Citizen, Prior says that he first encountered a barn quilt when he was in the Glencoe area, travelling for work. He saw how the barn quilts could be a lasting reminder of the plowing match, beautifying the landscape for many years after the event.
“We are very excited about this initiative, as these barn quilts will last for years after the match is complete,” said IPM Chair Jacquie Bishop. “When you see these barn quilts hanging three, four, five years down the road, you will think of the memories made at IPM 2017.”