I pick up good quality Books About Amish Quilts (or a world of stunning beauty) when I have the chance. Here are some from my personal collection.
Even if there are no patterns – there are wonderful photos and ideas for the next quilt.
I love the contrast of colors on traditional Amish quilts – especially those from Lancaster County, PA.
The immense amount of hand quilting that goes into them is simply amazing. I think these quilts were the start of my inspiration for doing, and loving the look and feel of hand quilting.
In my head I start thinking about what fabrics in my own stash. Would any lend themselves to making a quilt in the bright and bold patterns of the Amish community?
When I can get to Amish communities, I go to local stores. The quilts are always inspiring.
The Amish store two hours south of me has wonderful fabrics, both solid and prints. The prices are good and the selection is wonderful.
If you get a chance to see Amish quilts (especially antique ones) and/or visit an Amish dry goods shop do so. Slow down and relax. Enjoy the chance to do something different and see another kind of quilt.
If you are interested in Amish quilts please take time to find and look at any of the BOOKS ABOUT AMISH QUILTS (or a world of stunning colors) listed here.
AMISH 4 PATCH DOLL QUILT: A fun and easy project to make for the wall or a doll.
I pieced this a few years ago on one of my trips to Maine. It was easy and a great way to see if I liked the pattern in these colors.
This was a the perfect size quilt to “stitch in the ditch” on my sewing machine It only took about an hour to pin and quilt. Then it went into the pile that just needed to be bound and get a tag. Of course, it got sucked to the bottom. When I found it a few months later, it only took a couple hours to hand bind.
The backing was a print of Amish life I found while at the quilt show in Paducah, KY. I only bought a yard and used most of it on this project.
The finished size is 24″ x 28″.
The Amish 4 Patch Doll Quilt is currently hanging in my dining room and the colors just glow.
Another great thing about small quilts is that you can have a personal, rotating quilt show in your office or cubicle. At home, they make a great show on room walls or hallways.
I cut all the individual blocks rather than do the 4 patches using strips. I was working with various scraps so it was easier just to do them as blocks. However, the next time, I will sew the strips together and then cut the the blocks.
I learn something new with every quilt that I make.
I encourage quilters to do small projects as well as large ones. The small ones allow you to try a technique or color scheme before committing yourself to something large.
I was in that difficult 10 – 12 year old stage and was totally stopped in my tracks by an Amish Lone Star quilt that my Aunt Fran had hanging in her antique shop. This quilt is what started my quilting obsession.
Wow!! The colors were so bright and the design was beautiful and I can still see the vivid turquoise colored background of that quilt in my mind. This was not a scrap quilt like the one on my bed or in my surroundings.
I remember telling Aunt Fran that I wished I could make a quilt like that for myself. Her response was that I “could do anything I set my mind to”. That encouragement was the first step. Little did I know then, but I hold that beautiful quilt responsible for starting my quilting obsession.
I learned the basics of sewing from my grandma and one year of Home Ec in school. My grandma had her sewing machine in a corner of the kitchen, and it always seemed there was some project on it. I don’t remember her making quilts, but she made a lot of clothing. Once I expressed an interest in quilting, she would give me her cotton scraps and lots of encouragement to make a quilt (for many years, she was my biggest cheerleader).
Maybe I just absorbed how to hand quilt because I don’t remember learning the actual quilting stitch. Grandma exposed me to quilting bees. I do remember loving the texture of the quilting.
My mom owned 2 sewing machines but hated to sew and avoided it. She was glad to let me use her machines but was no help when it came to mentoring me on the quilt piecing. I think she believed that I would do one quilt and give it up. She saw quilts as “poor” (which we were but she did not want to admit to it).
Money was not readily available for extras in my younger years and so it took awhile of saving scraps from Grandma, and buying fabric or good used clothing (it had to be interesting fabric) at yard sales to have enough to make my first quilt, and that one just fueled my need to quilt.
Keep at it…
The years have taught me that anyone who wants to can learn to quilt. I have heard many people say it requires patience. Yes, I suppose but more than that it simply requires the need to not give up on one self. Quilting has helped me through tough times, happy times, and just day to day life.
I can encourage and inspire you in your quilting journey:
Do not break the piggy bank. Basic sewing supplies are fine – just use the best you can afford.
Check at a local fabric store, the extension office, or the library to find other quilters. You are not alone in this journey.
Start with a simple project. Something small like a table runner or baby quilt is quick to finish and boosts your confidence. If you really want to start out with a bed quilt, the easiest patterns are squares or rectangles.
The best thing is that after all the hours that go into a single quilt I have something wonderful to show for it. Each quilt is an individual object. I also do not have to follow the rules when quilting – other than using good quality supplies and making sure my seams are even. This is a wonderful hobby and stress relief and I fully enjoy it.
And the journey continues…
I have never regretted my journey through quilting. My quilting obsession brings great joy to my life.
I love quilts for my own enjoyment, but they are a wonderful to make as gifts or to reach out within your own community.