The Distinctions Found in Amish Quilts (part 2)
The fabrics used in traditional Amish quilts were always plain in color with no patterns in them. Because the earlier quilts were made from scraps that came from other sewing projects, the fabrics were generally made of natural fibers, such as cotton or wool. As time progressed and fabrics became more affordable and readily available to the Amish quilter, fabrics were then purchased for the sole purpose of being used for quilting. Of course, as Amish quilts became more popular and demand for them became high, many of the traditional color and fabric rules relaxed a bit, in order to appeal to a wider variety of buyers. More colors were incorporated into the quilts and patterned fabrics were used as more and more options became available.
The different styles and patterns of the traditional Amish quilt are probably what make them so distinctive from other styles of quilts. Because a limited number of colors were used in the earlier Amish quilts, more interesting and intricate designs were used to create a unique and striking looking quilt. Large, geometrical designs were created, rather than patchwork patterns, that used rectangular strips, squares, and triangle shaped pieces of fabric. Black was only used in the border areas of these quilts, making the geometrical designs inside the border stand out more prominently. A single central design was generally used in the pattern rather than multiple blocks of repeated patterns which also made the Amish quilt unique. Some of the Amish quilt designs that were originally created by Amish quilters and remain popular today include the Diamond in the Square, Long Bar, Lone Star, Sunshine and Shadow, and Nine Patch patterns.
Another thing that makes the Amish quilt so distinctive from other quilting styles is the attention to detail and workmanship that goes into the quilting stitches. Once the Amish quilt pattern is stitched together, this top sheet is then quilted together with the center batting layer, and the bottom layer of the quilt. A stencil is used to create a stitch design that will be used over the entire quilt. These stitching designs can come in the form of floral designs, feathers, fern leaves, baskets, or geometric shapes. While many of the fabric pieces are stitched together using a treadle sewing machine, the quilting pattern is always done by hand. Amish quilts are known for their fine details and nowhere is this better seen than in the stitching skills of the Amish quilter. Small, fine, evenly spaced stitches are the hallmark of any Amish quilt. The most experienced Amish quilter can stitch eight to ten stitches per inch in her quilting. Nowhere in the world is this kind of quality seen in quilt making and this is perhaps what makes the Amish quilt so distinctive and unique the world over.
The Distinctions Found in Amish Quilts (part 1)