The Mariner’s Compass quilt originates from one of the earliest quilt designs in America. The patchwork quilt pattern is composed of the thirty-two precise points of the compass, with the stars radiating from the center. Partial compasses surround the entire quilt and complement the pillow head. The Mariner’s Compass quilt is hand-quilted with over 358 yards of thread by Mrs Jacob Swartzentruber.
Homemade quilts combine the warmth of a bed cover with a unique story told by the quilters from Lancaster County, PA. Every homemade quilt is as unique as the family, busy mother or Amish ladies group who uses a needle and thimble to thread stitch on the quilt. Some quilts involve hundreds of hours and thousands of stitches to create a unique patchwork quilt that will last for generations.
Connecting the Past and Present: The Mariner’s Compass Quilts Legacy
The Mariner’s Compass quilt pattern has been known and loved among dedicated quilters, only the best of whom could manage the intricacies of stitching the precise points of the compass or star, as it was variously known. While most early quilts were simple, the Mariner’s Compass quilt was complex, and often was reserved for special occasions.
While other patterns may suggest a star pattern, the Mariner’s Compass name specifically refers to quilts in which the star radiates from a circular center. The roots of this pattern are hard to trace. Barbara Brackman writes of the many names used for this pattern, including The Explosion, the Merry Go Round, the Rolling Pinwheel, the Slashed Star–even Chips and Whetstones. Each name suggests what quilters saw as they stitched their quilt tops!
Quilt pattern books began to use the Mariner’s Compass name, widely accepted today, around the 1960s; its first published use was in 1929. Various historians, knowing the pattern’s popularity in the American northeast, have suggested that seafaring folk saw the compass rose on nautical maps and reproduced it on their blankets. The Pennsylvania Germans picked it up, adding brighter colors and patterns.
Mariner's Compass in a Wall Hanging
Red is a Classic Fit for Mariner's Compass
The Intricate Mariner's Compass
Amish Homemade Quilt Trivia
The term handmade is frequently made use of to define crafts produced by a craftsman in contrast to a manufacturing facility. Because it is not mass-produced, each handmade quilt is special. However, not all the stitching in a handcrafted quilt is done manually. Just as the woodcrafter utilizes mechanical tools to create his craftsmanship, our seamstresses use different devices to craft these quilts. The seamstress cuts her items with a rotating blade knife as well as stitch them together on the stitching machine. The quilter works with merely string, thimble, and needle to quilt hundreds of tiny stitches throughout the quilt. Handmade is a gift: it is the gift of time and also skill to create a thing distinctively for you.
I just couldn’t leave Pennsylvania’s Amish Country without taking home a hand-quilted quilt from Family Farm Quilts. I looked through at least 50 options before deciding on this gorgeous Surf Song design. I think it’s absolutely perfect in every way! <3
April 25, 2019
Love my Purple Lone Star Quilt
I love my purple Lone Star Quilt…it was a big investment for me! I bought a Twin size that was listed as fitting a Queen and it did (using my ruffle). Thank you for having accurate measurements and good photos AND updated notes on availability. I found one a couple of years ago on another site out in PA and I ordered it and my card was charged. Then, I was called to say it wasn’t available and would be 6 months if I wanted it made. Your emails were great and was surprised by the fast delivery. PS. My grandma made lots of quilts – log cabin, lone star and many others about 25+ years ago….your quality is on par with hers.
August 11, 2020
Fire Island Hosta Quilt
Yes we absolutely love our quilt and use it daily. It was bought as a Christmas present to ourselves.
September 22, 2018
Log Cabin Lone Star Quilt
I really love this quilt. I have such a great appreciation for all the work that went into the making.
September 27, 2018
Linking Hearts Quilt
We LOVE our quilt. What could be better than a hand-made heart quilt for Valentine’s Day. It will come out of the closet in a couple weeks or so and I’ll send a picture. Thanks.
September 25, 2018
I have ordered from this place before and I am always happy when I receive the quilt I ordered. The quality of work is outstanding. The quick service cannot be matched. I will continue to order from you.
July 25, 2018
Log Cabin Quilt
We absolutely LOVE our quilt!!! In fact, I have gone back to your site multiple times to see if I could find accent pillows and/or curtains to match!
I hand the privilege of contacting Family Farm Handcrafts inquiring about a King Size Quilt. I first talked with a young lady by the name of Regina , who went out of her way to help me, which encouraged me and I did not look any further on the web to purchase. A few days later, I had the privilege of talking with Katie, who , although she did not have what I was looking for In her shop, went out of her way to help me come up with The Spin Star Quilt, in the colors I was looking for and in no time, this beautiful quilt was on its way to my daughter, who absolutely loved the quilt! Not only was the quilt beautiful, the price was great also! I guarantee you if you are in the market for a beautiful Amish quilt, hand made and at a beautiful price, plus they have someone who can make curtains or valances to match, you will want to contact Katie at Family Farm Handcrafts in East Earl Pa, near Lancaster, Pa. God Bless You Katie and may your business prosper!
July 8, 2020
Thanks! The quilt is gorgeous and we cherish it.
September 22, 2018
I was racking my brain for a gift for my grandmother who needed some extra tlc. After coming up with the quilt idea I was thrilled to find what I was looking for on your site. Gram loves her special gift- thank you!
June 4, 2017
I look forward to the next one.
Great I have a good working relationship with Kate. I’ve bought several quilts and throws from Family Farms and look forward to the next one expected in late Sept.
Dennis L Doucette
July 25, 2018
My husband loves the ocean, we live 1 hour away, so I bought this quilt “for him”. Our bedroom has several nautical items in it and is painted a sea foam blue. We love it and we pray for the quilter of the Sailor’s compass quilt nightly.
September 23, 2018
I love my new quilt. The colors are so pretty! Thank you all so much. I know there are a lot of hours spent on it. ?
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.