barn quilts

Two Barn Quilts Watauga County, NC

Emma Powell, Todd, North Carolina

Summer 2017

I was totally off my quilt game this past weekend on our family camping trip to Watauga County, North Carolina. We had just bought our first travel trailer, and we were excited to take the kids (my stepdaughters) on our first trip to a mountain campground! I was so pumped about the travel trailer, I didn’t even think about looking into what barn quilts I might be able to stop and see. For shame!

Imagine my delight when on the narrow, mountain road to Blue Bear Mountain Camp, we passed two huge barns right on the road! We also passed some other barn quilts, unfortunately, barns and buildings are not always easily accessible as you are whizzing by on a two lane mountain road and suddenly need to find a place to stop and take a picture. Either way, these two beautiful green barns were impressive enough.

At the corner of Plan B Market on Longhope Road.

Photograph by Emma Powell

It was a relief that these barns were located right at an intersection with a market called Plan B Meat Camp Store. The hubby and kids stopped to get a snack while I ran around the busy roads snapping photos. The grass was damp and long, cars were whizzing by, and it was a dreary day, but I got the photos!

western north carolina

barn quilts

The large barn situated in front had the most unique block! When I got closer, I realized it had an image of a mountain skyline in the center of the star. I snapped the photo and posted it on Facebook in my Barn Quilt Enthusiasts group. Much to my surprise and delight, the actual artist of this block identified herself as Talara Parish. We struck up an online acquaintance and she answered some questions for me about these two barn quilts.

Photograph by Emma Powell

Talara is a full-time barn quilt artist located in West Jefferson, NC. She has made four of this particular quilt square she calls “Mountain Star.” The idea for this block came to her late at night as she was racking her brain for ideas for quilt squares to stock a store she used to own. This was a simple pattern which lends itself easily to adding an image in the middle.

Due to the high volume of quilt squares she makes, she couldn’t quite recall who owned this barn. She says when customers order blocks from her, she rarely gets to see their final resting place. Customers often say they will send photos, but rarely follow through.

I was initially struck by the larger barn in front. Its size, color, and the uniqueness of the block caught my attention. But as I crept closer to snap a photo of the smaller barn behind, I was charmed by the barnyard animals! The horse was originally off to the side, but he marched into place beside the barn as I took the photo! This is my favorite photo of barn quilts I’ve taken.

Photograph by Emma Powell

Talara wasn’t comfortable claiming this block. The sheer volume of blocks she makes per year makes it hard for her to keep track! However, she said it is possible she did make it. She says this is a popular design that looks great in all color palettes. Although she does discourage this pattern if a customer wants something unique.

If you would like to contact Talara, you can find her at:

Talara Parrish
Barn Quilt Headquarters
5 Main Street
Upstairs in the Historic Old Hotel – West Jefferson &
Margret Mae’s Emporium – West Jefferson, NC

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