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Shapes and landscapes

Barn quilt tour coming to Whiteside County

ROCK FALLS – Rock Falls Tourism is on the hunt for quilts that never have seen a needle or thread, to become part of its new Whiteside County Barn Quilt Tour.

Barn quilts usually are square or diamond-shaped panels brightly painted to look like a square from your grandma’s quilt. They are affixed to barns, homes, sheds and farm buildings.

The Tampico farm of Brandon DeWitte and Whitney Mitchell-DeWitte will be on the new trail.

Their barn quilt veers from tradition – it incorporates special images from their lives. When they moved to their farm northwest of town 3 years ago, the quilt was a housewarming gift from their families.

“My husband and I raise pumpkins, and they incorporated that into it,” she said. “Our wedding was in front of a sunflower field, and they incorporated the sunflowers into it as well.”

A nearby light illuminates the quilt at night, and “you can definitely see it when you’re coming down the road,” she said.

The DeWittes are one of three families signed up for the tour as of Thursday. The tourism department wants to have at least 24 approved by March 31 to publish a brochure and online map at

The tour has been in the works for more than a year; the hope is to have it ready to go by May, Tourism Director Megan Horsman said.

The first barn quilt trail was established in Adams County, Ohio, in 2001, and they’ve been popping up throughout the rural Midwest ever since. Carroll County has a Facebook page dedicated to its trail.

Horsman wanted to bring the success of other tours to the county.

“They can appreciate some interesting art in the way of barn quilts,” Horsman said. “It’s kind of a unique thing, specific to rural areas. You can’t get that in a big city. It’s showcasing peoples’ talents in a unique way.”

To apply

Find Whiteside County Barn Quilt Trial on Facebook, email or call the Rock Falls tourism bureau at 815-622-1100, ext. 1133, to apply or for more information. Submissions are due March 31.

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