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ISU Student Enjoys Building Quilts posted: 3/9/2004
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Category: General Method: All Series: In The News
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Idaho State University student Lacie Barker finds her building construction program similar to quilting. She will have quilts in the Transition Gallery show March 1-13. ISU Photo
Reprinted with permission of The Idaho State Journal

POCATELLO - Her grandmother made them during the Great Depression out of necessity, but Lacie Barker, 18, started making quilts because she needed something to do.

Now a student in the building construction program at Idaho State University's College of Technology, Barker finds quilting and building construction similar.

"They are so much alike," she said. "You cut things up and put them back together, except that construction is three-dimensional and quilting is two-dimensional."

With no other children her age around, Barker learned to quilt as a 12-year-old living in Crater Lake National Park, Ore., about an hour away from the closest school. Her mother signed up to take a quilting class, but was too busy to attend so Barker went instead.

Since then, she has made about 100 quilts, entering three to four in quilt shows every year. One won first place at a quilt show in North Dakota and will be exhibited at the Women's History Month Quilt Show March 1-13 at the Transition Gallery on the lower level of the ISU Pond Student Union Building.

After graduation, Barker plans to work for the National Park Service Historic Preservation Program, using her construction skills and artistic eye to preserve historical buildings. She would also like to start her own business making and selling mostly baby quilts, quilt racks, stands and hangers.

For now she quilts whenever she can find time. She says she loves to pick out small prints, polka dots, and gingham checks in bright colors and see everything come together. Unlike most quilters, Barker designs the pattern to complement the fabric. Her artistic abilities allow her to adjust patterns to suit her ideas.

Many of her quilts reflect an appreciation of nature she acquired by living in national parks most of her life. Her parents, both National Park Service employees, moved the family about every two years. Barker has lived in Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota and Oregon.

Getting ready to quilt does not bring as much satisfaction for Barker as the last step of sewing the binding. Although she machine stitches her quilts, she says she enjoys hand-sewing the binding because it gives closure to the project.

As the youngest member of the Portneuf Valley Quilting Guild, Barker does not dispute the fun of quilting as a social activity. She and her mother, Carolyn Barker, often quilt together and discuss their projects.

Barker has donated several of her baby quilts to charity and says she would like to donate more in the future.

Based on her experience, Barker advises beginning quilters to give it a try.

"Start out simple. Pick something that you can enjoy and handle so that you are motivated to try another one," she said.

Editor's Note: This is the first of three stories about people who will participate in the exhibit of both vintage and contemporary quilts March 1-13 in the Transition Gallery at the ISU Pond Student Union Building. Admission is free. Hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sunday.

2004 Idaho State Journal
Reprinted with permission of The Idaho State Journal

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