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Country Decorating - The Amish Quilt

As autumn falls upon us, our thoughts naturally turn toward keeping warm – even if we're in Hawaii or Texas, the instinct to nestle in come October is in almost all of us.

One way to warm up a home in any latitude is with a cozy handmade quilt. There are lots of choices since quilts come in a variety of types and styles, from country-casual to elegant two-colored designs.


One style of quilt is that made by the Amish, or is based on Amish designs. These quilts have a rich history that dates to the late 1600s, when Jacob Amman, a Swiss farmer and bishop, left the Mennonite church to form his own group, which later became known as the Amish.

Amman was quite conservative, and his sect became known for their strict rules. They believe that assurance of eternal life rests in separating from the rest of the world, and they still live amongst their own, relying on their own skills to sustain hearth and home.

The Amish prize community, and each community helps sustain the individuals in it. Thus, quilting is a natural, as the women congregate in order to work on stitching the quilts as a group, which are then distributed to the lucky recipient, sometimes a new bride. The idea of individual artisanship is not something that operates in the Amish culture.

The quilts are heavy enough to act as a top layer to blankets, trapping heat close to the body. Or they can be used alone, in slightly warmer climates, or even just as a decorative coverlet.

Old-fashioned quilts can be genuine antiques, or the handmade variety that is made today with the same care and concern for quality as those made by our grandmothers' generation.

 An Amish quilt will lend a casual, country air to your home. If your home is feeling a little too formal and staid, you may consider a hand-made quilt as a way of relaxing the decor without sacrificing quality. And of course if your house is an older home, a quilt will harmonize perfectly with the architectural details.

Here in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, the Amish need their quilts for more than just decoration. When the wind whips across the fields at 20 miles per hour, and the temperature drops below 0 degrees, you'd be happy to have your quilt to wrap around as you snuggle down for another half hour of sleep.

Amish quilts are made from solid color fabrics only, in bright and somber colors. The patterns are usually large geometric medallions and are heavily quilted with elaborate designs such as feathered scrolls and cables.

They'll warm you up, even if you're not living in the northernmost corner of the world.


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