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Following the Qult Block Trail

Bridge of the Gods Quilting Group members display their fabric "Log Cabin" quilts at their 10th anniversary party in early 2012. For the Quilt Board version of Log Cabin, 
go to No. 23 on the Trail.

Bridge of the Gods Quilting Group members display their fabric "Log Cabin" quilts at their 10th anniversary party in early 2012. For the Quilt Board version of Log Cabin, go to No. 23 on the Trail. Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.

Quilting is an indoor activity, except when it comes to the new Bridge of the Gods Quilt Block Trail.

The trail started in January with the installation of six boards, painted with a traditional quilting pattern, or block.

JOIN THE BLOCK PARTY

To order a quilt block AND display it on the Trail, call Marva Janik at 541-374-8701.

Blocks are either 2x2 feet or 4x4, and the cost is from $50 to $150, depending on the size, design and/or color.

There are two installation styles: hanging on the side of the home or building or on a stake for placement close to the house but visible from the street. Participants agree to keep the quilt block hanging for five years.

Maps are located at the chambers of commerce, ETC on State Street, Multnomah Falls, Lorang Gallery and hotels in Cascade Locks, and at local parks. The map is subject to change, as new ones are added or taken down temporarily for repairs.

There are now 32 quilt blocks on the trail, located on the outsides of homes and other locations, visible from the street.

The blocks are displayed mostly in Cascade Locks, with one in Hood River and Home Prairie, and more to come including the Parkdale and Hood River libraries. By fall, the list will grow to 39 including those on order.

A “Choose A Book” block, designed for Cascade Locks Library, is in place in front of Cascade Locks City Hall, where the library is currently located. It’s No. 3 on the tour.

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The Holmstroms’ (No. 20) place on Forest Lane features the “Friendship Star” design on their driveway sign, and “Mariner’s Compass” on the north wall of the home.

The Quilt Block Trail is the brainchild of longtime resident Anne Holmstrom, a member of the Bridge of the Gods Quilting Group.

The blocks went up starting in January, and the 29 locations on the map will soon expand to a total of 39 quilts.

Holmstrom said numerous resources exist, including books with dates of quilt block origin and their creators’ names. Most are 100 years old or more; the oldest one of the Quilt Block Trail is from 1898, but most are from the 1920s and 1930s, “which as a time when quilting was really popular.

“We’re trying to celebrate the love of quilting and the history of quilting,” said Holmstrom, who started quilting when she made one for her college dorm room. “My daughter wore it out,” she said.

But these quilt blocks are made to stand the weather for five years. Trail followers will see them on the sides of homes and garages, or mounted on stakes in gardens. Quilt block hosts are asked to keep them displayed for at least five years according to Holmstrom, who paints the designs along Marva Janik, on framed signboards created by Anne’s husband, Randy. The paint is painted on a base coat and sealed with multiple coats to withstand weather.

People can drive the route or, in Cascade Locks, walk the neighborhoods where the blocks are located. Most are mounted on the sides of homes or garages.

Guides are available at Cascade Locks hotels, ETC in Hood River (where a quilt block was installed this spring), local chambers of commerce offices, Lorang Art Gallery in Cascade Locks, Multnomah Falls, and at State Parks kiosks in the Gorge. (The map is subject to change, as new ones are added or taken.

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“Gardener’s Prize” (No. 3, near downtown) is nestled among sunflowers and petunias.

“My ultimate goal is to have someone or a group take it on in Hood River, White Salmon, or other communities,” Holmstrom said. “Our goal is to create a trail from Cascade Locks to Goldendale, the range of the Columbia Gorge Quilters Guild.

“It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work, which is why we’re looking for help in the other

communities,” Holmstrom said.

Bridge of the Gods quilters started meeting 10 years ago, gathering to learn to make the classic “Log Cabin” block, with the help of

co-founder Darla Davis.

You can see an example of Log Cabin on Wheeler Street in Cascade Locks, No. 23 on the map.

Some are newly-created designs, such as the book stacks in the library blocks, and

“Light at the End” created by Brad and Debora Lorang, for the block that stands in front of their Forest Lane home (No.16).

However, “we try to stay with traditional old blocks,” Homstrom said,

Anyone can order a quilt block, and choose from traditional designs with distinctive names such as Bat’s Wing, Bowtie, Cake Stand, Devil’s Puzzle, Ecclesiastical, Flutter Wheel, Goosetracks, Hands All Around, Iris, Joseph’s Necktie, Leap Frog, Nine Patch, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, Toad in the Puddle, Union Star, Whig Pattern and The X Quisite.

The response to the Trail so far has

been good.

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The Renaults of Cascade Street, No. 4, show one of a patriotically-themed trio of blocks: Star Spangled Banner, Star Puzzle, an Firecracker and Rockets.

“Everyone who has done it really is enjoying it,” Holmstrom said, noting that it gives Cascade Locks a recreational activity for Cascade Locks residents and visitors that is an alternative to physically active pursuits such as biking and sailing.

“We know of some people who have come to down just to see it (the trail),” Holmstrom said. “One lady said she was on her way to the coast and she picked up the brochure and stopped to do the trail.”

“It’s something positive to do here, with some color in the drab winter months,” Holmstrom said. “It’s fun to drive around and see the colorful blocks.” People can drive the route or, in Cascade Locks, walk the neighborhoods where the blocks are located. Most are mounted on the sides of homes or garages.

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