ARLINGTON — If Shawna Gould were to make the square out of fabric, it would be a carpenter’s block with an applique strawberry.
But this quilt square is made of the same material as street signs and mounted on the side of a century-old barn at Biringer Farm. The green, white and red of the square is vibrant against the barn’s aged, gray-brown wood with dark gaps between the boards.
The farm, off Highway 530 near Arlington, is the first to join the new Stillaguamish Valley Barn Quilt Trail.
It’s modeled on a national effort that started in the early 2000s in Ohio. Author Suzi Parron has written books about quilt trails and travels the country speaking about them. She’ll be here next summer.
Gould is part of a committee focused on bringing a barn quilt trail to Snohomish County. It would be added to a national map, a celebration of quilting, agriculture and history meant to draw visitors.
The vision is to have several connected loops, including one for Darrington and Concrete, Bryant, Highway 530, Stanwood and possibly Camano Island, Gould said.
“I grew up on a dairy farm in Montana, so I love these barns. And I love quilting,” said Gould, of Marysville. “I have a bucket list item to make a barn quilt trail.”
She also coordinates the Everett Quilt Show and plans to include the trail in future events.
The quilt squares need to be durable and low maintenance. Barn owners pick their pattern when they volunteer to take part.
Designated heritage barns or centennial farms can get a quilt square for free thanks to a $7,700 Snohomish County Community Heritage Preservation grant. Other barn owners can get on the map for the trail but must pay for their own square.
Eventually, information will be available online about each barn, including audio histories and old photographs, Gould said.
“I’m excited about it,” said Dianna Biringer, of Biringer Farm. “I just think it’s a great thing.”
She watched the first square go up on the barn at her farm last week. A public unveiling is planned for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, part of the farm’s annual Strawberry Fest.
The Biringers try to be progressive farmers and team players, Dianna Biringer said. When Gould approached her about being the first on the trail, she was immediately interested.
“I’ve always wanted to have something on this barn,” Biringer said.
Other farmers are interested in being part of the trail, too, Gould said. Property owners with barns are invited to contact Gould about joining the effort. Organizers aim to have 10 quilt squares up by December.
“These things are like family crests,” Gould said. “They tell a story.”
To get involved, contact Gould at shawn firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.