MONTICELLO — The memory of a rural Monticello woman's late friend lives on through a barn quilt square on her home.
Decked in shades of gray, tan, white, blue and red, the 8-foot square serves as a memorial on a barn owned by Les and Phyllis Condo of Monticello, which the couple has converted into their home.
The square was created in memory of Phyllis Condo's friend and fellow Hallmark Club member Nancy Skinner, who passed away of pancreatic cancer last year.
"I felt like it would be nice to remember her this way," Phyllis Condo said.
Unveiled in August, it was the inaugural square of the Barn Quilts of the Hoosier Heartland of White and Carroll Counties, a group working to honor the area's heritage by getting a barn quilt square up in every township of the two neighboring counties.
Led by a committee of four, the group first started exploring the initiative in 2009. Skinner worked to get the program started as well.
Liz Rice, chairwoman of the group, said the squares represent a link between the area's agricultural heritage and a celebration of quilting.
"They did that to provide for their families but also to add some beauty to their homes," Rice said of the area's quilters of the past.
Rice said the initiative started being planned after she visited a barn quilt square trail in Ohio in 2009.
"I've always liked the barns and I just thought it would be a really neat thing," she said, adding that there are barn quilt square trails in 43 states and nine in Indiana.
The group is already getting started on a trail of its own, an attraction Rice said will hopefully encourage people to "travel the roads less traveled." She added it will also encourage people to maintain their farmsteads, what she refers to as "county castles," which could be visited any time of the year and boost tourism in the area.