Amish Patchwork Quilts History
The Amish began quilting Homemade Quilts in the 1800s. This was largely for practical reasons. They needed blankets to stay warm at night. However, over time their purposes for making these handmade quilts went beyond the practical. As is often the case with products designed for simple practicality, these Amish quilts became complex art. Two centuries later people are willing to invest a lot of money to get one of these beautiful and useful HOMEMADE QUILTS. This is what we offer in our quilt shop in Lancaster County.
When first introduced to quilts by the British Quakers, the Amish were uneasy with the idea. As a people who have a strong culture of simplicity and separation from the outside world, they considered them too elaborate, luxurious, and worldly. At that time dark, singularly-colored fabrics covered their beds instead of the flashy and ornate bedding of the larger world. However, in the late 1800s, this changed. Quilting became popular among the Amish and their homemade quilts became more complex and colorful. For example, the colorful Tumbling Block Quilt can have a combination of up to twenty colors, while the complex king-size Postage Stamp Quilt is made up of 7,225 squares. What the Amish first accepted as useful grew into a treasured and intensely beautiful art.
Quilting also serves as an opportunity to socialize. In the early days of Amish quilting, the women quilted by themselves in the wintertime. However, they eventually organized “quilting bees” as a spring or summer social gathering. This gave them the opportunity to catch up on all the town news while working on their specially-designed homemade quilts. The Amish women folk continue to socialize in this way. It is not uncommon to have over twenty ladies gather at a quilting bee. Homemade quilts are more than art; they are a cultural expression of value that the Amish place in their community identity.