The Importance of Quilts for Amish

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Whenever most people think about the Amish, two things often come to the top of mind: buggies and quilts.

Sarah Price's Amish Romance, Carolyn's QuiltHistory of Quilts

The origin of quilting is not exactly known, but in America, history credits the English and Dutch settlers with making quilting popular in the early days of our country. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Unlike in Europe, those early colonists didn’t have access to fabrics to make an abundance of clothing or blankets–the latter a necessity to survive the harsh winter nights. They reserved new (and often imported) fabrics for special clothing, saving old tattered items to patch work clothes and blankets. Eventually, old clothes and blankets would be cut into pieces in order to make entire blankets–or quilts.

Why Amish Quilt

For the Amish, quilting is more than a hobby passed down from their ancestors. After all, in today’s world, an Amish woman could simply go to a store and buy a comforter. But the frugal and simplistic lifestyle of the Amish continues to feed the love of quilt making. For a young woman, a quilt often symbolizes her intentions to embark on the next phases of her life: marriag. In addition, quilting bees (when Amish women get together to work on a quilt) present a perfect time to socialize.

Let’s face it. The Amish lifestyle is much slower paced than ours. They value things like sitting around a quilting frame, gossiping (yes, they DO gossip), and sharing stories with each other. I can hardly imagine my daughter, Cat, and her friends gathering with older women to spend an afternoon quilting and talking. In today’s world, they’d most likely be on their smartphones, watching YouTube videos or surfing Facebook. Well, Cat probably wouldn’t show up because she’d be too busy training her horses (ha ha).

I love the idea of quilting. Unfortunately, I don’t quilt much anymore. After the birth of my children, I made them each a quilt. Alex’s wasn’t so great–I didn’t select the best fabrics for quilting and a lot of the squares tore after too many washings. Cat’s survived better but was for a crib, not a bigger bed. Today, my poor eyesight hinders any attempts at quilting. I don’t know if I could SEE well enough to STITCH a quilt.  🙁

About the Amish Quilts of Indiana Series

My Amish Quilts of Indiana series focuses on the young women in a Shipshewana-based community.  Each book focuses on one young woman as they deal with life changes symbolized by their wedding quilts.

Hopefully, you have read Annie’s Quilt and Becky’s Quilt already (if not, click here to order them) and are anxiously awaiting Carolyn’s Quilt. The new chapter in the series releases on February 12th in time for Valentine’s Day.

One thought on “The Importance of Quilts for Amish

  1. On e I was told that during the war between the states that colorful quilts were put on the lines and hung to let the slaves know which houses were safe houses and following them would bring them north enroute to Canada and freedom.

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