Barb Vlack

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I was discussing Netflix’s Stranger Things with the wife a few days ago and the subject of the “Barb” character came up. At the time I happened to be seated at the computer and I absentmindedly googled “Barb” thinking maybe I might find some spicy Barb facts to punch up the conversation.

One of the first results was for barbvlack.com. Even though “Barbara’s Web Site” was published in 2011, it transported me back in time to the glory days of the personal/vanity webpage. I often ache for the mid-90s internet of my teen years. Social media has trivialized putting personal information about one’s self on the internet. You used to have to try.

I know this may seem like I am making fun, but I am not. Barb’s page is a time capsule from the internet of 15-20 years ago. If ever the field of “internet archaeology” takes off, this will be what they are digging for.

Who is Barb Vlack? Well, she is an Author/Quiltmaking Teacher /Design Contact, that’s who. Within the world of quilt making, what is Barb known as? A knowledgeable and humorous lecturer and an EQ6 and EQ7 software expert, that’s what!

At first I thought Barb’s page was a put on. There was simply too much gold. But some further research revealed that Barb is/was a legitimate member of the quiltmaking community.

Everything about her page is wonderful. From the (call ahead if you wish to send a FAX) parenthetical under her FAX number on the about page, to the step by step driving directions to her home address (!) on the contact page.

Take the below from the About Barb section (written in the third person!). It’s like poetry.

She labels her style of quilt designing as “innovative traditional,” because she loves to take traditional patterns and make them look new and different. Working with the Electric Quilt software makes that focus easy for this expert user of the program. She credits her use of EQ and the computer with her quilting as a way to find a “middle ground” of common interest with her husband, who is a retired electrical engineer.

Check out Barb’s repertoire of lectures here. “Head for the Borders!” is “a multi-media lecture (with PowerPoint and a trunk show of real quilts).” “High Tech Meets High Touch” demonstrates the “magic” of designing a quilt with computer software.

It’s all good. From cover to cover barbvlack.com delivers. I will go to my grave wondering what happened on the “World of Quilts Travel – Caribbean Cruise” of 2011. Something tells me that the quiltmakers of the Upper Midwest with whom Barb Vlack associated knew how to blow the walls off of a cruise ship.

If any of you have followed my ravings over the years (I used to write easily the 300 or 400th most popular Upstate NY regional food blog in the greater Capital Region), then you will know that I can’t keep anything to myself.

So I immediately tweeted about Barb Vlack,

I shared it on various other social media platforms where it garnered some attention as well.

It appears that Barb may have passed recently, but if she were here I would send her a FAX. I would write —

Barb Vlack, I see you. I appreciate your passion for quiltmaking. During your life you mastered something. You were able to communicate your passion for a craft to others. You were respected and honored for the knowledge you shared. In my life I have mastered nothing. You are an example to me.

I see you Barb Vlack, you will not be forgotten.