you hear the word “Amish” certain images come to mind
– horses and buggies, butter churning, and quilts. The truth
is, however, that Amish
quilts have not always been as big a part of Amish culture
as you would expect.
Amish quilts didn’t really catch on in Amish communities
until the 1870s. Before then, the Amish shunned quilt making as
“too modern.” However, from the time that making quilts
became an accepted practice in Amish communities to 15 years later,
you could nary find a home without several quilts in it.
In the years since, Amish quilting has evolved, but it always
stays several years behind current trends. For example, Amish
quilts at first were very ordinary. The first Amish-made quilts
were made in one solid color. That one color was often black,
brown, or blue.
Gradually, extra pieces of colored fabric were added to these
Amish quilts. For example, a quilt might have a large, colorful
diamond in the middle, although the rest of the quilt was still
a more solid, less exciting color.
Many people assume that all Amish quilts were always made completely
by hand. That is not true. While some are handmade, many were
pieced together by using a treadle sewing machine.
As Amish quilts have evolved, their evolution has depended largely
on those who live in the Amish communities. Basically, a community
consensus has had to be reached in many instances when deciding
if certain colors – like pink and white – are acceptable
In modern days, Amish quilts look quite a bit different than
those that were first created in the 1870s. With the country’s
bicentennial in 1976, many Americans began to look back on the
country’s past. As they did this, Amish-made quilts grew
Amish women continue to make quilts for themselves as well as
interested buyers. Because Amish women spend a lot of time outside
in the garden in the warmer months, most of their quilt making
occurs in the winter months.
Now, Amish quilt making has come full circle. Some women have
gone back to incorporate more black in their designs, but also
include a lot of color.
Just as Amish quilts have been a part of Amish life for many
years, they are also a part of the lives of many other people
and will likely continue to be for years to come.