"I've been quilting since I was a little bitty girl," she said. "My mother taught me to quilt."
Earlier this year, Barnes, who works as the nursing advisor Northwestern State's Leesville/Fort Polk campus, made a king size quilt that students raffled to benefit the Wounded Warriors Unit at Fort Polk. The raffle for the Flower Garden quilt fetched $855.
"The idea just popped in my head one day that we might could sell raffle tickets for a quilt and raise a few dollars," she said. "I put an amount of at least $200, and if it did not raise that much I would refund everyone's money. I was stunned at how fast the tickets sold and how much money we made for the Wounded Warrior Unit. I had the $200 in just a couple of days."
"I was very excited! It is a beautiful quilt," said Assistant Nursing Professor Linda Nichols, winner of the raffled quilt. "Miss Joyce is so talented. And it looks wonderful in my room."
That prompted Barnes to make 50 twin-size quilts she donated to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, sewn with supplies donated by the late Dr. Larry Monk, former director of Northwestern State's Leesville/Fort Polk campus.
Patients at St. Jude's were invited to select a quilt when they left the hospital and Barnes' liaison on the hospital snapped a picture of each patient with their quilt to send her.
She remembers one patient, a 17-year-old girl whose mother's favorite doll was a Raggedy Ann, so the patient chose a Raggedy Ann quilt.
"They were made on a quilting machine and I used only fabric themes from children's stories and Disney characters," she explained. "I can make a quilt in 45 minutes with the machine, but with those I give for a raffle, every stitch is by hand."
Her two favorite patterns are Flower Garden and Double Wedding Ring. She makes "men" quilts and "women" quilts. Barnes made her coworker Tommy Tilley, user support specialist at NSU's Leesville campus, and his family several quilts, including a "man" quilt and a quilt for his son with trucks.
"If I make a quilt especially for a man I try to find out what his hobbies are," she said. "Most men like to hunt and fish and there is lots of fabric for those hobbies. There is also fabric for racecars, tractors and things I call men's toys. Women like the Flower Garden and the Double Wedding Ring and bright flowery material. The quilt I made for Tommy is called the Improved Nine Patch. There are no flowers on it and it is made of blue, brown and green materials, no girly colors."
Tilley's daughter, who is a cancer survivor, also has a Barnes quilt. She was three years old when diagnosed.
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