AccuQuilt Celebrates Barn Quilts in a Big Way

Fons & Porter representatives were there to cheer on the winners

FREMONT, Neb. (July 21, 2010) Fremont, Nebraska, has become much more colorful with AccuQuilt’s unveiling of two award-winning barn quilt designs. These huge 17’ x 17’ and 6’ x 6’ quilt blocks were revealed on the AccuQuilt home office building on July 20, 2010, celebrating the rich traditions of quilters everywhere. The installation of the quilt blocks was the culmination of the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Design Contest inspiring quilters to submit over 400 stunning quilt block designs for a chance to win a $1,000 AccuQuilt shopping spree and the opportunity to have their design displayed on the AccuQuilt building.

“AccuQuilt has revolutionized the way quilters cut fabric and now we’re showing our support for the quilting community in the biggest possible way,” said AccuQuilt CEO, Steve Nabity. “We hope that having one of the world’s largest barn quilts on our building brings inspiration to all generations of quilters. We welcome quilting enthusiasts from across the globe to stop by and see our barn quilts and tour our facilities.”

AccuQuilt tour guides show off their shirts prior to leading tours of the facility.

Donna Sue Groves of Adams County, Ohio initiated the Barn Quilt Movement in October 2001, however, according to Donna Sue’s interview in Quilters’ Save our Stories (Q.S.O.S.)* by The Alliance for American Quilts, the concept started much earlier.

Donna Sue got the idea for barn quilts as she watched her grandmother from Roane County, West Virginia quilt during family visits. As her family traveled through the country on back roads, her mother created a car game where they counted barns. Different types of barns would earn points. Barns with advertising were worth 10 points. Red barns were worth even more points. German Pennsylvania Dutch barns with hex signs and wonderful colorful geometric designs on them were worth the most…50 whole points!

From this childhood experience, barns left an imprint on Donna Sue that she carried with her throughout her life. Eventually, Donna Sue and her mother settled in Adams County (in southern Ohio) on a farm with a barn. Donna Sue thought their barn—a tobacco barn—was one of the ugliest barns she had ever seen in her life! In 1989, Donna Sue said to her mother, Nina Maxine—who goes by Maxine—that she would paint a quilt square on it someday. The concept grew from there.

In 2000, Donna worked to create a driving trail of numerous quilt squares where people would come to Adams County to see the barns with quilt squares, and ultimately create economic opportunity for the mostly rural communities. The first committee meeting took place in January, 2001 and the first quilt square was installed in October of that same year. In just under a decade, the Barn Quilt Trail has grown to encompass 27 states and two provinces in Canada.

Donna Sue believes quilts have power. Just about everyone has a quilt story and remembers a quilt. People run to their closets or pull quilts out from under their beds and share their stories. Do you have a quilt story to share? If so, please share them!

With the unveiling of the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt in July, 2010, AccuQuilt proudly adds another storyline and block to the Barn Quilt Trail started by Donna Sue.

Donna Sue recently shared with Linda Pumphrey, AccuQuilt’s National Sales Manager, that the 17’ AccuQuilt Barn Quilt is the first one that she knows of to be featured by a company involved in the quilting industry. She was unable to be in attendance at the unveiling but stated she was in Fremont, Neb., in spirit and would share in the excitement and fun from Ohio. The first quilt block designed and installed by Donna Sue to honor her mother was the Snail Trail design. AccuQuilt’s Barn Quilt design is a symbol to honor all quilters and their stories worldwide.

Donna Sue shared that her Barn Quilt Trail was a way to create economic opportunities and to also preserve stories about those that built barns and the family farm stories behind them. Of equal importance are the quilts in those families and the stories. We need to remember the rich tradition of quilting by sharing and documenting the wonderful stories associated with these quilts.


Barn Quilt Contest grand prize winner Linda Erickson and her husband Jim didn’t ride in on a tractor, but they did pose with one in front of Linda’s newly unveiled design.


The AccuQuilt Barn Quilt design was chosen from over 400 quilt block entries from the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Contest, which ran from April 23 to May 14, 2010. All company employees were encouraged to vote and pick their favorites from the original entrees. From the employee picks, the top 11 were chosen, then the AccuQuilt management team chose the Grand Prize winner. AccuQuilt Facebook fans voted for the 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Prizes were given for the top three designs. The third place quilt block was designed by Jane Rogers of Fitzgerald, Ga. She designed a colorful eight-petal, stylized flower block in a stain-glass effect. Jane received a $150 AccuQuilt gift certificate.

The second place quilt block was designed by Mary Johnson from Minneapolis, Minn. She designed a blue and green block with x’s and squares. Mary won a $500 AccuQuilt gift certificate and a 6’ version of her block is hanging on the North side of AccuQuilt’s building.

The Grand Prize winner was Linda Erickson from Sierra Vista, Ariz. Linda won a $1,000 AccuQuilt shopping spree and a trip for two to the Fremont, Neb., facility. A 17’ version of Linda’s colorful pinwheel block is now hanging on the East side of AccuQuilt’s building.

Linda has been quilting for 20 years, recently learning one of her miniature art quilts was accepted into the 2010 IQA (International Quilt Association) competition. In a previous year, Linda had art quilts hanging in the Fall International Quilt Market show in Houston. She also has a quilt she designed being published in an upcoming book.

Linda’s love of quilting stems from more than quilting, she is also passionate about giving back to the community by making charity quilts. While living in New Mexico, her group “Sweet Charity” made and donated over 800 quilts in one year. Last year her quilt group of 150 members made 255 quilts and donated them to various charities. One of their charities involved comforting cancer patients with quilts who were going through chemotherapy treatments.

For those who were unable to attend the recent unveiling celebration, the winning designs can be found at and To schedule a tour of AccuQuilt, contact 888.258.7913.

Headquartered in Fremont, Neb., AccuQuilt offers quilters, fabric crafters and retailers a premiere line of fabric cutters, dies, quilting patterns and other quilt and fabric cutting solutions that help quilters quickly and accurately cut shapes for quilting and fabric crafts. Cutting with AccuQuilt® cutters is a natural evolution of fabric cutting methods. “First scissors…then rotary…finally…AccuQuilt™” for fast, easy, accurate fabric cutting.

*Find entire article ‘Q.S.O.S. – Donna Sue Groves’ by Karen Musgrave at