Thursday, April 29, 2010

Birthday and Amish Quilts

MissesStitches has turned another year older! (Or should that be 'another year stitchier'?) To me that means, I'd better get to work on all those quilts I want to make "someday."

My birthday was this last Monday, and it was a treat to have both kids, their spouses, and BabyStitches here for a long weekend.

As part of my continued birthday celebration, today MisterStitches took me to a real nice place for lunch called Spruce. And that was on the way to the deYoung Museum to see the Amish Quilt Display. I've been wanting to see this for quite a while now, and was worried that I would put it off till it closes in June.

As luck would have it, we arrived just a few minutes before a docent tour was starting, so that was a special treat.

This first quilt is, to me, the epitome of an Amish quilt. Very simple, straight lines, solid colors, nothing too bright. It is typical of the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Amish quilts, with a center medallion.

This may not look like the most interesting quilt in the world, but it is one of my favorites, just for its simplicity. It is called, simply, Center Diamond.

Most of the quilts we saw were machine-sewn on old-fashioned treadle machines and then hand quilted. They dated from around the 1930's, some older. Boy, were those hand-quilting stitches tiny! And oh, so even! The stitches looked similar to these dashed lines. - - - - - - - - -

This quilt shows the style typical to the Ohio Amish, which uses a smaller quilt block and repeats it over and over. It is called Roman Stripes.

The next quilt is the Ohio style, too....

One of everyone's favorites is this Tumbling Block quilt. This variation of it is called Stairway to Heaven, as the blocks are arranged in rows to emphasize the pyramidal shape. I've been working on a tumbling block quilt for a few years now. Mine, however, will not have a particular arrangement to the blocks; it will be more of a scrappy quilt. But tumbling blocks are dazzling when put in an intentional arrangement. Who knows, maybe when the time comes for me to actually arrange my blocks into a quilt, I'll try to separate all the bright reds together, all the purples, etc, and see if I can make some sort of pattern with my blocks.

This quilt is called Center Diamond, also, and you can easily see that it has some slight differences in it (from the first Center Diamond quilt). This would be due to the different choices that the individual quilters made.

I will leave you with this last quilt, known as the Bars pattern. Isn't it just lovely, with its stark vertical lines, and then the beautiful circular quilting? I just love it.

Is it even necessary to say that I am now (again) ready to make an Amish-style quilt?!?

All of the quilt pictures you've seen here are from the Faith and Stephen Brown website.


  1. HAPPY Birthday!!!!!!!!!!! I'm grateful you were born. Cheers to the next year.

  2. Thanks, Harmony... What a sweet thing to say!

  3. Jan, thanks for sharing the photos from your De Young experience. The Amish quilts are so amazing, it was fun to hear some more about them. I really loved the last one, with the vertical stripes and the unexpected circular pattern of the quilting - what a neat way to do it! Happy birthday, again!

  4. Thanks, Brita! And thanks for the beautiful birthday card you brought me.