'For the Love of Grey' barn quilt trail just keeps growing

Soon there will be another beautiful new barn quilt going up in South Grey, as the Grey County trail continues to grow.

More details about that unveiling will come in the weeks ahead. Another quilt recently went up in Meaford.

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Hilary Breadner is one of the three members who have spear-headed the local trail since it began about five years ago.

She brought her graphic design skills and her own love of Grey, being a seventh-generation resident of the Rocklyn area. She lives on a farm half-way between Markdale and Meaford.

And yes – she has one of the colourful quilts at her own farm.

She calls Lorraine Irwin, the committee chair, “the original brains of the operation.” Lorraine’s husband Paul is a member of the Flying Farmers of Ontario and that’s where she ran into the idea in about 2014 when she met the president of the Ontario Barn Quilt Trail.

The Rocklyn Agricultural Society got behind the idea as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150 which was also the 150th anniversary of the fair. Hiliary loved the idea when she heard it at the Rocklyn Ag Society meeting.

“It keys into my graphic design and artistic side – it just married with the ag side.”

Kimberley Lewis of Markdale Flowers is the third of the original group that met in November, 2015.

The quilts don’t actually have to be mounted on barns, any building will do and in fact the quilt can just be mounted on posts.

There is a cost involved, and that’s why the organizers added a 4x4-foot size as an option. These are part of the local trail, but just aren’t acknowledged by the provincial association.

To qualify as an official “Barn Quilt Trail” in Ontario, the group had to have a minimum number of 8-by-8-foot quilts, which was reached when the first phase of the trail launched.

Hiliary works with people on the designs. Most are traditional quilt patterns, with special colours or symbols used to reflect the tradition and history of the host. A few are completely new designs.

Some people have a clear idea of the pattern when they begin, Hiliary said, while others might just start with a family story.

“It’s a great way for people to share their family history, their heritage, and their community history.”

The website that accompanies the trail gives the story behind the images for trail users.

“Ninety-percent of everything is volunteer,” Hiliary said, when it comes to the “For the love of Grey” barn quilts.

“It’s basically so that we can share our own stories and so that people can appreciate the beautiful place we call home.”

The website for the local trail is fortheloveofgreybqt.com

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