To all intents and purposes, Amish quilts rest firmly in the world of conventional quilting. Their distinct patterns, colors and fabrics reflect the Amish way of life, and the finished designs are nothing short of striking. Generally they embrace the cultural history and lifestyle, as well as deliver the warmth and comfort that’s an essential aspect of any handmade Amish quilt.
History Of Amish Quilting
The history of Amish quilting is closely tied with their cultural background. On one hand they’re a symbol of who and what they are, on the other they serve a practical purpose. Initially, the Amish used alternative forms of bedding, the late 1800’s being the period of time within which quilting fast became a community event.
The original style was based more on function than aesthetics, and Amish quilts were originally made up of one-color pieces. As time passed, the Amish slowly adapted to the changes going on around them and began to fashion quilts that showcased their creative flair and skill with a needle and thread.
Quilts were created that reflected Amish life, in terms of patterns and designs. Color began to emerge, albeit still rather subdued, and though the results remained largely simplistic in appearance, they were nonetheless unique and beautifully crafted. Slowly, designs moved away from the functional yet attractive earlier styles as patterns became bolder, the choice of color broadened and Amish quilts began to blossom as a style of quilt in their own right.
As the new century dawned, piece work quilting became the new method, and Amish quilting patterns continued to evolve and though the intention was not to create artistic quilts (remember this was a community that shuns art for art’s sake, as they still do) they did become more elaborate in relation to the earlier designs. Moving forward, quilting the Amish way is now viewed as a traditional method, and one that reflects a move towards quilts that have the ‘heritage’ appeal.
Amish Quilting Patterns
In essence, Amish quilting patterns are generally easy enough to replicate, and follow several basic (in principle) designs. Of those currently used, a few of the more popular ones are:
- Baby blocks
- Nine Patch
- Star of Bethlehem
There are others, and all are known for their strong geometric patterns and choice of bold colors. As a side note, any quilt of Amish design should include no more than three to four colors, and each color should be solid. No patterns or shades across the fabrics, each one needs to be deep, rich and devoid of any additional embellishments. It’s both the design and the colors that make Amish patchwork quilts so distinctive.
As an example, the Nine Patch design is based around creating blocks that are made up of a sequence of nine small blocks of fabric. Often the patches are arranged to give a diamond shape design, though some quilts are produced so that the patches appear to be squares. It’s a versatile block pattern, one that’s used over and again to create a variety of different designs. One of our more popular series that provides a really in-depth look at the nine patch design is the Quilt in a Day Series Nine Patches and Stripes. This is the first video of the three part series:
The series includes all you need to know in order to hand-craft a beautiful two-patterned quilt that really stands out with it’s combination of two popular block patterns. Of course it’s not a genuine Amish quilt design but it does feature the all important nine patch block … plus it will more than provide you with enough practice to furnish you with enough experience to have a full grasp on this incredibly simple quilt block.
Bearing in mind that this type of quilt is a historical reflection of traditional quilting, for the beginner it’s advisable to choose from among a range of free Amish quilt patterns, as a means of creating the desired results. There are so many choices available that we’ve provided videos and tutorials that will help you to negotiate your way through the process from start to finish. We want you to create a beautiful quilt and not only are we experts in our field, when it comes to helping our subscribers produce genuine handmade Amish quilts, we’re experts at sharing our collective knowledge.
With that in mind, one of our videos features a lengthy discussion, hints and advice in relation to the art of the quilting stitch, much favored by the Amish and a hugely integral aspect of their quilting techniques. Although there’s much to be said about designs, choice of fabrics and colors, it’s the stitching onto the quilt top, after the design itself is completed, that can really up the ‘wow’ factor. In the video Quilters Coffee – The Quilting Stitch and Other Hand Work, Ami Simms talks about her ability with a needle and thread, and how she was taught quilting the Amish way. It’s a fascinating video and certainly offers plenty of understanding for the beginner level Amish quilter. Sign up now to check it out.
Handmade Amish Quilt
In order for you to make your own handmade Amish quilt, you will need to decide on the design of the quilt, plus the colors that you wish to use. If you’re a beginner, aim to make a small one, as a means of getting a feel for the way in which these quilts are crafted. On the other hand you can go as big as you like, as the only real difference between a large or small quilt is the time it will take from start to finish.
Again, if you’re new to Amish quilt designs, choose something that’s manageable (in terms of the pattern) for your first effort. Bearing in mind that this type of quilt is based more geometric shapes, you can create relatively complex looking designs. However, some of the simpler ones are both striking and inspiring and they’re certainly doable for those that new to the world of quilting. AS always, QNNtv.com delivers when it comes to quilting in any form, and many of our videos reflect the basics of the handmade Amish quilt designs.
As previously mentioned, the nine patch is incredibly popular and appears in many of our videos in one form or another. Our Quilt in a Day Nine Patch Party three-part video collection is a fine example of how to incorporate the nine patch into an everyday quilt. Featuring the well known quilter Eleanor Burn, the series takes you through the entire quilting process and will leave you with the ability to handcraft your own gorgeous nine patch Amish style quilt. If you stick to the dark three or four dark color rule, you’ll be left with a far more authentic quilt on your hands. Check out part one of the collection below:
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