A Labor Of Love Goes Into Each Amish Quilt
A handmade patchwork quilt just adds a special touch to your home. From a young age I've always loved the warmth and comfort that you get from bundling up in a hand sewn quilt. If you are a lover of leisure and relaxation, this blog post is for you... The Crockett Cooner is hear again at The Amish of Ethridge to talk comfort in quilts. So sit back and relax, I've done some looking into Amish hand sown quilts, and I'm going to stich my ideas together to inform you all about patch work quilts!!!
What Is An Amish Patch Work Quilt and Where To Find One
If you have ever traveled to Amish country and enjoyed the shops there. It's most likely you have seen quilts made with many colors , as in the pictures above. The Amish patch work quilt has quiet an interesting background. Originally the Amish patch work quilt was made of used scrap and worn material the Amish wives had fashioned together to form a useful tool for the family. Now don't think the patch work quilt was just for bed linens. Still to this day the Amish use the patch work style of sewing to fashion such items as tablecloths, window coverings, and rugs to go under furniture or in doorways and hallways, in some Amish sects.
The difference between comforters and quilting is the amount of layers used in the item being made. The Amish originally came from Switzerland where the temperature can easily reach freezing or below in the winter months. The Amish house wives would use old fabric from worn out clothing to form the patch work quilt. By cutting the old worn out clothing into shapes and stitching those pieces together the top layer of quilt would be formed. Then to add a little extra warmth and softness the middle layer of stuffing wool or down. Then would be sown in-between the backing and top layer to form what has come to be know as a Amish patch work quilt.
Things To Look For When Buying A Hand Sewn Amish Quilt
- Notice what colors and shapes of the quilt, if all one color is used, it was for Amish use
- What type of middle stuffing is in the quilt, remember allergies to down and wool
- What size is the quilt, usually the bigger the quilt and more elaborate the pattern, the more expensive
- Look closely at the stitching notice if the stich varies in size, hand sewn stitching is noticeably different than from a sewing machine
- If there is a tag on the quilt for sale, notice if their is a name and year explaining the quilts origin
So Where Do The Amish Get Their Quilt Material From
Not only do the Amish hand stitch quilts, they also make all of their clothing. When you start talking Amish clothing and fabrics you see some good quality items. In the Amish community near my home I have the pleasure of living by the Swartzentruber sect of Amish. In their religious belief system they are very strict on the type and color of clothing they can wear and the style of clothes. Generally the men and boys wear blue and black denim material in pants, shirts, and jackets. The women and girls also wear these blues, blacks, and purple in denim just in a dress. Believing in hard work the Amish in my area usually are farmers with side businesses such as wood working, harness repair, and sawmills, to name a few!!! The ladies of the Amish community here usually are home makers working around the home or making products to sale in the stores in the local community. With all of this manual labor, the Amish clothing does get wore and torn. Not to mention when the Amish wash their dirty linens they us a older style of clothes washer that is powered by a gas engine. Then in the drying process the clothing is dried out side in the air and sunlight or inside on a clothes line by a fire in the winter. Due to this style of washing and drying process the fabric takes some abuse. Keeping with the ideas of the Amish resourcefulness, when the clothing is then out grown or worn beyond repair the scraps are usually cut into pieces to be used in family quilts. When shopping for an Amish quilt in my area if you find a quilt consisting of the dark blue, black, and sometimes dark purple material you have usually found a quilt made in true Amish style. If you are lucky enough to find a quilt in this dark style and it is made from used material. The price of the quilt is usually more expensive, because of its rareness to be sold publicly. It's original intent might have been to be kept any used buy an Amish household.
But, don't be confused you can find Amish handmade quilts in many different colors and designs besides black and blue for sale. The Amish women use their sewing skills as another form of family income. The ladies of the Amish community handmake patchwork quilts and other linens for the public, and sale them at local Amish family businesses, and the English shops in town. Now don't believe for a second that if you buy a quilt that has colors such as red, yellow, and green that the material is used. The Amish women have started a great side business using their sewing skill for their families income. So its not uncommon to see the Amish ladies buying large amounts of fabric at the local box stores to fashion hand made products for the public.
Lets Talk Quilt Price And Size
Now just like any other product you buy usually you pay for quality, and quilts are no different. Depending on what fabric the quilt is made from, the size of the quilt, and the amount of work that went into making the quilt, the price will increase. If antique quilts are what your after you might luck up and find such an item at a Amish auction or business. If you where to find a quilt that is made from a product such a hemp and the pattern, binding, and border is made of the correct material and with correct design, the price can be expensive. Some vintage antique quilts have been sold in the thousands of dollars. Still to this day the quilt blocking and designs of the quilt can tell the buyer a lot of the quilts history and about who made the quilt.
Looking into the making of the quilt it is not uncommon for many Amish women to gather at one another's home and sit and sew, in a sewing circle. This is a very old method to fashion quilts quickly because of the amount of work that goes into a handmade quilt that is large in size. Say a quilt is 78in. x80in. with a 10 inch drop (Short King Bed ). It is not uncommon for a small quilt to take 24 hours of labor to finish. If you wanted a larger quilt to fit a (tall Kings size bed) a quilt that is 122in x 112in with a 22inch drop and 10in. tuck, can take upwards of 72 hours of labor. Also price depends on how the designs of the quilt is patterned, what binding, boarder, and backing is used and what method of frame is used to hold the material. Then the sewing circle that made the quilt comes into question when priced. Depending on the number of Amish ladies in the sewing circle, the amount of time, might increase resulting in more cost or less cost.
Quick Points To Remember When Pricing A Amish Quilt
- Material type will increase price
- Size of the quilt can increase price (bigger quilt more expensive)
- Number of people sewing the quilt compared to time can increase price
- Age of the quilt, pattern of quilt, binding of quilt, boarder of quilt will increase price
- The method of sewing will increase the price (with frame, or without)
How To Correctly Search For An Amish Quilter
So if you have decided that you just can't do without an authentic Amish quilt. What A better place to look for a handmade Amish quilt than in or near an Amish Community. Below is the steps you need to take to help you around an Amish community to find what products your after, especially if you have never traveled too Amish country before. With following these step, keep in mind that different Amish communities may differ slightly.
- Make sure to do your research before taking your trip. Some Amish communities do NOT have personal businesses that are open to the general public or for hire.
- Make sure if your planning on having a special quilt sown or purchasing an already made quilt. Know your sizes before you go, and take cash the Amish don't use credit cards, debit cards, or ATM's.
- When you find an Amish community that does work for public, you'll next need to find a quilting shop in the area, or just a quilt for sale. Make sure to keep a watchful eye out at local "English" stores close to the Amish community, for bulletin boards with ad's.
- While you drive through the Amish community, make sure to look for signs explaining what each Amish business offers. IF you don't find an ad or do NOT find a sign with Amish quilts for sale. Word of mouth would be the next option. Usually if you stop at a few different Amish businesses someone in the Amish community can give you the right directions to a Amish quilter.
- Keep in mind if you want a special handmade quilt from the Amish, it usually will take time. If you have decided to wait for your quilt to be sown, before leaving the Amish quilt shop exchange addresses with the quilter, if they can't give you a date to return. Remember the Amish don't use cell phones or the internet. With addresses exchanged you can have communication and, save yourself some gas money.
Don't Rush Buying A Handmade Amish Quilt
Sadly, this blog post must come to an end, just remember the information in this article and the steps to take to ensure you will have a great Amish quilt buying experience. Nothing adds comfort and flare to a bedroom than to have a colorful Amish patch work quilt on the bed.
"The next time you buy a Amish hand stitched quilt, look for quality. Find a quilt that you love and research its origins. Who knows you might be buying your next family heirloom, that will give warmth and comfort for years to come" Crockett Cooner
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Yes, much like any other products the Amish build or make, quilts are no different. If you can find a Amish home where the ladies of the house do quilting work, you can inquire on repairs.
Yes, the Amish are very resourceful people, it is not uncommon to find products such as quilt racks, embroidery hoops, stitch frames that are all handmade and for sale.
Yes, in many of the local English stores located around Amish communities, many times you can find books on the subject of Amish quilting ideas and designs. Also never forget to check online there is a great selection of books written on the subject of quilting with the Amish, and many of the books are written by the Amish people.