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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is a certain charm down in Houston County. From the rolling creeks, to the creaking windmills.

The county has no shortage of wide open spaces, bluffs and barns. And when it comes to the latter, no two are alike.

In 2008, the county was designated as “The Heart of Quilt Country.” Not just because of cloth quilts, but rather quilts made out of paint. Today, more than 60 barns carry a quilt.

Dianne Schuldt’s quilt on her Caledonia barn is called “Constellation.”

“It’s three or four coats. The red is five coats because … it was shady and I wanted it darker,” Schuldt said.

Creativity also lies in how you get the quilt on your barn.

“My husband, he rigged up some hooks up underneath the roof there, and two hooks on top of each 4 x 8 sheets,” she said. “He created a little pulley system.”

The county is so into this that you can actually take a barn quilt tour, where you can find Patty Schieber’s work of art, “Cross and Crown,” which is also in Caledonia.

“Faith and family and farming kind of all go together for us,” Schieber said.

Bernadene Privet’s Caledonia quilt, “Starry Nights,” is also on the tour.

“It’s surprising to see how far they come to look at all the barn quilts that we have here,” Privet said.

Clusters of quilts can be traced back to Eric Cordes, who makes them for families. It can take a couple weeks to get one just right.

“It adds a lot to the old buildings,” Cordes said.

They are stories told through patchwork — a tradition that’s become the fabric of life in this part of the state.

Barn quilters say the idea came from farm friends in Iowa.

Click here for more information on the Caledonia Area Barn Quilt Tours.

John Lauritsen

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