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playful tumbling blocks quilt pattern by amish in lancaster county

Amish Homemade Tumbling Blocks Quilts

Love the cascading pattern of a tumbling blocks quilt? We do, too! The artfully arranged light and dark diamonds appear to be cubes stacked in vivid three-dimensional lines. Piecing tumbling blocks quilts remains among quilters’ favorite challenges, arranging the colors to form the elusive blocks and sewing the sharp-toothed diamonds together.

The Tumbling Blocks quilt is one of the earliest quilt patterns, featuring geometric forms of light and dark that tumble across the quilt. The design is cleverly constructed to appear three-dimensional. These quilts, with their varied colors and fabrics, are reminiscent of colonial times when housewives saved every scrap of fabric that came into their homes and then used those scraps to make quilts.

The Tumbling Blocks quilt design has become popular here in “Amish Country.” Each handmade quilt with a scalloped border is all hand-quilted by one Amish seamstress to ensure uniform stitches.

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Crafting our Tumbling Blocks Quilts

All of our homemade quilts are put together as they have been for decades past–through individual quilters’ patient arrangement and careful stitching. We bring you heirloom pieces, each handmade by seamstresses and quilters in our Amish and Mennonite communities. Your homemade tumbling blocks quilt is a piece like no other–it has been crafted uniquely, not mass-produced.

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A Classic Tumbling Blocks Quilt

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Closeup of the Cascading Pattern

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Front and Back of a Tumbling Blocks Quilt

Tracing the History of the Tumbling Blocks Pattern

The optical illusion of the tumbling blocks pattern has been used as far back as ancient Greece and Renaissance Europe in tiling floors or weaving fabric. Quilters at least as far back as the 19th century picked up the template and learned how to incorporate it into lovely bedspreads. It has been popular in America since the 1850s.

Oral history about the tumbling blocks quilts suggest the pattern may have been used on the Underground Railroad, Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard found. They write that this pattern, also known as the tumbling boxes pattern, may have signaled to slaves when it was time to pack up their boxes and move on. While historians debate the claim, it’s intriguing to think this homespun art may have been part of bringing freedom.

We also know that at least two American presidents, Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Eisenhower, sewed tumbling blocks quilts when they were young boys. While they may not have counted these among their finest deeds, the discipline they developed in stitching this demanding pattern no doubt served them well later!

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Colorful Tumbling Blocks Quilts

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The Memorizing Effect of a Tumbling Block Quilt Pattern

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Black & White Tumbling Blocks Quilt

Amish Homemade Quilt Facts

Each step of the quilt-making process requires a specific woman's knowledge. Every one of our women focuses on either piecing or quilting. As a result, a minimum of two ladies are included in making each quilt. The ladies that stitch the tops with each other specialize in assembling particular quilt patterns. Because each quilter's stitches are different, only one lady does the quilting per quilt. This system enables each woman to come to be a professional in her work.

hand stitched quilts handmade crafts

Welcome to Family Farm Handcrafts! Quilt making is an iconic representation of the Amish way of life, where working with their hands is highly valued. All items in our store are hand-stitched or handmade.

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