Sac County, Iowa, is covered with barn quilts! Starting summer of 2005, visitors to Sac County, Iowa began seeing decorative quilt blocks on historic barns and corncribs all around the county. The number of barn quilts quickly grew to 55 in 2006 when the first maps were printed. Even though the Sac County Barn Quilt Committee is no longer coordinating production of barn quilts, the quilt blocks on barns and other structures have continued to multiply, both in the rural areas and in the communities. Visitors can easily spot a colorful quilt block every few minutes, no matter where you travel in Sac County. Brochures describing the Barn quilts of Sac County can be found in Welcome Centers throughout the state and Barn Quilt maps are available in convenience stores, museums, city offices and a variety of other locations in Sac County. You can download a map and view Google Earth maps on this web site.
Barn quilts are large, colorful wooden blocks. Most are 8-foot square. Sac County also features many Community Quilts near historic or public sites in the towns around the county. The project was started by Kevin Peyton of Sac City as a 4-H Leadership and Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student Award project. (http://www.hooverassociation.org) A group of Sac City area quilters chose the quilt patterns, based on the pattern's agriculture-related name or heritage. School students, 4-H members, and other youth and adult volunteers painted all of the quilt blocks.
Most barn quilts are on barns or corncribs that are at least 50 years old. Almost all are on hard-surface roads. The Sac County Barn Quilt Committee, which guided the project from the beginning, planned a tour route that will take visitors through almost every town in the county. The Barn Quilt Maps also mention additional sites of interest for you to enjoy on your trip. Visitors can choose to tour all the barn quilts, or choose a shorter route while passing through northwest Iowa.
The American barn quilt movement started in Adams County, Ohio, when Donna Sue Groves painted a quilt block on her tobacco barn to honor her mother, a master quilter. Sac County embraced the barn quilt idea and quickly became the Iowa leader in the number of barn and community quilts painted and installed around the county. You can find barn quilts in at least 48 states and also in Canada. Barn quilts have been called the largest grassroots public art movement in this country.