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TCHS students create unique barn quilts

Photo: Kayleigh Rahn
TCHS students display their barn quilt squares they worked on during the Fall 2018 advisory period. The barn quilt enrichment class, led by TCHS business teacher Mandy Hanner, was an option for students to take during the MTSS advisory period.

By Kayleigh Rahn
It’s difficult to imagine how a teen of the social media, smart phone, and instant streaming age could connect to and, ultimately, appreciate a traditional barn quilt.

Yes, the beautiful patterns displayed on the side of barns and out buildings throughout rural America – the concept doesn’t seem to fit a classroom in the age of technology.

However, during Tuscola Community High School business teacher Mandy Hanner’s advisory period last semester, the students not only created their own barn quilt squares but enjoyed the process, as well.

About 13 students worked tediously throughout the fall 2018 semester to create colorful, clean patterns on pieces of wood to make personalized barn quilts.

According to the Truman Museum in Minnesota, quilt patterns on barns date back to colonial America when they painted small patterns on the ends of the barns as a way to celebrate their heritage.

And, this is the third semester Hanner has brought the concept to her classroom as an option for students who attend enrichment classes during the Multi-Tiered System of Support advisory period at TCHS. The advisory period meets twice per week and does not count toward the students’ GPA, but it allows the student to add a new outlook, discussion, or perspective outside of the curriculum.

“I like quilting, and I really can’t bring sewing machines in here,” Hanner said. “So this is the next best thing.”

She said they began the semester by talking about the history of barn quilts in America and considered the various designs that represent different heritages and cultures.

The students chose a design before sketching it out on graph paper.

“We divided the squares in fourths,” Hanner said. “Then measured the design to create a pattern to become a larger picture. However, every barn quilt should have a little imperfection; that’s what makes it unique. It’s almost like a jigsaw puzzle; it’s very precise, just like quilting. You’re putting pieces together to form a picture. It’s precise measurements, so if you’re off it doesn’t look right.”

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Jan. 2 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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