Amish Quilt Patterns make a statement about the ordered lifestyle of the maker. Their quilt ideas always centered around hand piecing and hand quilting.
Most Amish quilts are easily recognized by their deep and vivid colors that represent their simple and uncomplicated lifestyle both in their social trends and in their goal of serving God.
The other colors were all limited to what dies were available and to the rules established by their communities. Basically their colors were derived from organic plants and 'stuff' that grew naturally and abundantly.
The muted shades of hand-dyed cloth reflected what the plants would produce given the various geographical locations of the many communities.
As in most every element of their way of life, the Bishop of the community would also have to approve the shades and intensities of colors used in their dress and their lifestyle.
Some communities were more conservative than others which resulted in why we find what appears to be a rule of thumb for one group may not be so for another.
Often Amish quilts were made from scraps and pieces of fabric left over from garments. So if they wore black then black would be used in their fabric for quilting ideas.
Black is a color associated with Amish culture and it is a basic part of their dress. Black hats, pants, stockings, vests, jackets, shoes and on and on.
Black is the one color that gives the neon signature to the Amish. Their fabrics for quilting will Include Black to Spark Imagination and Style.
The choice of dress by the Amish is an outward statement of their inner convictions of the equality of all.
In their tight knit communities everyone is closely and firmly equal.
The likeness of dress contributes to the unity within their culture. No one stands out over the other.
Out of their orderly lives have come Amish quilt patterns equally structured and orderly. Their simplicity in life is also reflected in the very easy quilt patterns they are accustomed to.
The way they farm is just as structured. The way they learn includes more than just ink on a paper. They lead by example which is the silent teacher.
It is time to use your quilt design wall to audition your fabric for quilting an Amish quilt.
I encourage you to experiment with different hues and intensities when placing your fabrics on the design wall.
By the way, if you don't have a design wall we have a free Design Wall Mini Book that is straight forward with easy to follow directions. By clicking on this link it takes you to the sign-up page for the free Amish quilt too. Take a look!
Select several colors of fabrics that appeal to you and stick them on the quilt design wall side by side.
Then try adding a color that will only fit next to a particular fabric. A sort of odd ball color!
Now take one of the pieces away or introduce an entirely new color.
In this mix and match process you will find a striking combination that stands out above all the others.
It is now time to "live" with the colors for a few days. At the end of the day you will know if the combination is right!
You want a finished piece that is pleasing to the eye. Remember light colors in the back and dark colors in the front!
You may want to refresh your knowledge on how colors interact with each other by looking at our description of a color wheel.
This is an easy way to experiment and often an unpredictable combination will appear. Something that you won't be able to live without!
The earliest Amish quilt patterns were simply whole pieces of cloth quilted together with a wide contrasting binding.
The center diamond and bar variation came later and could have resulted as a need to better use clothing remnants.
The wide borders and whole pieces of cloth gave ample opportunity to exercise skill with a needle.
Elaborate piecing was considered prideful and unnecessary.
But their expert use of a needle produced quilting motifs that were intricate and graceful.
Amish quilting is superior and there are none better with a needle than the Amish.
Eventually they moved from a single border to developing several layers of borders with corner squares on which they showcased more quilting motifs.
Mostly they would finish their quilts with butted quilt borders.
The border corners are butted up to one another where they meet.
Seldom, if ever, did you see a mitered corner or any other style for that matter.
You do not have to be exact with Amish colors; experiment. These suggestions are meant for those of you who don't know where to start; beginner hand quilting of sorts!
Remember, there will always be others who do not agree with your choice of colors or design for that matter. Let me encourage you to be your own judge.
Creativity is a personal matter and an expression of who you are. Your confidence will increase with your boldness and that is what we are trying to create, confidence!
Mostly Amish Quilt Patterns have a plain top enhanced by quilting motifs. Their intricate Amish quilting done by hand has as many as 20 stitches to the inch and yet they view their skill as purely functional.
The quilt backing sometimes consisted of printed fabrics of small floral or tiny checks. You will not see the old order Amish wearing printed fabric but printed quilt backings were probably permitted because the quilt backs were rarely seen.
Sometimes you will see backings pieced either randomly or as a planned design generally in a large format. You might imagine this was a way to use remnants or maybe it was a way to use mistakes in the dyeing process.
Amish quilters generally used course wool for their batting. Other times they would simply use a throw out quilt that was showing wear and simply put a new top and backing on it. Can you imagine how hard this would be to quilt?
My observations are not steeped in historical facts but rather based on my experience of making Amish quilt patterns and visiting their communities here in Ohio and Indiana.
Generally they are very quite and private people that are extremely skilled in every way from baking, sewing, quilting, homemaking and teaching.
They are farmers in their own right that use wooden hay rakes to form picturesque wind rows of wheat and hay; they shock their corn in the fields by cutting with a sickle hand tool. The image is breath taking.
It is believed that the Amish did not bring the art of quilt making with them when they immigrated to America in the eighteenth century. It is thought that they learned the quilting skill from their first neighbors in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Lancaster, Ohio where we were raised was named after Lancaster, PA and in fact the streets are laid out the same; we are known as sister cities. So when I visited Lancaster, PA I had no problem in finding my way around. Neat, don't you think!
Lancaster Pennsylvania is a fascinating place to visit and we have done so several times.
It is quilt country USA! We also love visiting Holmes County and Tuscarawas County here in Ohio! We visit Shipshewana in Indiana occasionally which is home to one of the largest Amish communities in the world.
If you are traveling from West to East across the United States you can hit all three areas as they nearly line up in a straight line on the map.
The Amish are well known for their barn raising abilities. In 1998 I had the privilege of watching the huge Crawford Barn at the Longaberger Homestead be erected in just two short weeks.
When you visit the quilting shop called "Helping Hands" in Berlin, Ohio you will be able to watch ladies at their 'quilting bee' hand quilting an Amish Quilt Pattern. It is a joint venture and the proceeds go to charity. The Amish are a loving and social community of people in nearly all phases of their lives.
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