Last week before quilt market, we went to the beach for a few days to rest up, drink wine, do puzzles, read books aaaaand go on a grand tour of the Tillamook County barn quilt blocks! It was pretty cute to see what they’ve done around the county to keep the history of the pioneers alive. Crystal has compiled some of the details to go along with the pictures we took. I hope you enjoy the adventure through our eyes :) and If you are ever on the Oregon coast, maybe you can add a trip to your own adventure itinerary. Happy Memorial Day everyone! -Krista
The Latimer Quilt & Textile Center is a vibrant, living, working museum whose mission is to preserve, promote, display and facilitate the creation of and provide education about the textile arts. It is located in beautiful Tillamook, Oregon, home of the Tillamook Cheese factory.
Beginning as an abandoned schoolhouse, full of bird nests and blackberry shoots pushing through the floorboards, the fully restored Maple Leaf School became The Latimer Quilt and Textile Center and opened its doors to the public in 1991.
Tillamook is believed to be an Indian name meaning “land of many waters”. The first settler came in 1851 and lived in a hollow spruce tree. Every year brought more settlers. Today, the population of Tillamook County is over 25,000 with just about the same number of cows, the source of the wonderful cheese and ice cream for which Tillamook is known.
This mural, painted by Breanna Morgan in 2012, was inspired by local history, agriculture, and quilting traditions. The center of the mural depicts a quilter sewing a crazy quilt in front of a Tillamook County agricultural landscape surrounded by images of Tillamook’s historic creameries.
The Center offer’s bi-monthly exhibits featuring vintage textiles or contemporary fiber and textile art by local and nationally recognized artists. When we visited, there was an impressive rug hooking collection on display. It was jaw dropping to see the detail that went into these pieces of art. There is a research library, a gift shop full of handcrafted items, books, yarn and vintage fabrics. You can visit and see works of art in progress or make your own.
The West Room contains spinning wheels and several looms with works in progress. There are displays of hand-woven textiles, tatting, beading and knitting.
The East Room showcases antique quilts along with contemporary and art quilts, A bank of glass-covered drawers contains mini exhibits of antique sewing notions, cigar silks, buttons and pins lining one wall.
The Latimer Center’s collection includes quilts from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, quilt blocks, quilt templates and fabric samples. There are also clothing, hand- woven coverlets, looms, spinning wheels and other quilting and weaving textile tools and implements.
North of Tillamook, in Washington County, is the Tillamook County Quilt Trail. The Tillamook County Historical Society and 4-H Leaders partnered with The Latimer Quilt and Textile Society to establish a quilt trail, to showcase the talents of local quilters, explore the rich history of the region, and encourage tourism to the area. The quilt trail concept was originally conceived in Ohio, where there are approximately 3000 quilt blocks on barns and businesses.
Starting in 2009, with the help of grants and donations, there are now over 100 quilt blocks with names like: The Oregon Trail, Far West, and Lewis and Clark. You can read about family history, in the trail guide, as you follow the Quilt Block Trail. There's also a painting of a quilt on the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce building. In the Tillamook city limits, there are 37 quilt blocks you can visit as a self-guided tour called "Walk Our Blocks".
There are 43 8′ x 8′ wooden blocks displayed along a self-guided auto tour route, and there are blocks mounted on buildings around Tillamook. You can also read about these trails in : Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement by Suzi Parron and Donna Sue.
Take a trip to Tillamook and follow the Trail of Barn Quilts and explore The Latimer Quilt & Textile Center. Enjoy some ice cream and cheese at the Tillamook Creamery, and marvel at the talents of the local quilters of Tillamook County. You’ll be glad you made the trip!
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