Monday, March 5, 2012

With the 3rd Annual American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show coming up this month on March 14-17, I was interested in learning more about the history of the Amish Quilt. Amish homes are abundant in Lancaster County, and one of their traditions they’ve shared with the surrounding communities is their beautiful craft of quilt making. Art, in the traditional sense, is not accepted by the Amish because it serves no real purpose. Fortunately, quilts were used to keep people warm, and given as dowries and gifts. Dating back to the 1800’s, the first quilts were simple, yet elegant in their own way.

Over time, their style has changed by incorporating more colors and patterns into the designs. So the older the quilt is, the less color and embellishments it has. By the 1970’s, their quilts caught the eye of local folks, who would even steal them off their wash lines. This led to the decision to start selling the quilts at local markets, but did challenge the Amish to keep their life separate from the modern world. Over the years, Amish quilts continued to evolve and use updated styles that appealed to their customers.

To learn even more about quilting and its history, I encourage you to spend a day or two at the AQS Quilt show. Held at the Lancaster County Convention Center, this international quilting event will display hundreds of quilts, host many workshops and lectures, and give you the opportunity to connect with other avid quilters.

Some classes and lectures that you can attend include: machine applique technique, beading and embellishment, successful needle turn, caring for and repairing quilts, and ideas for using fabric scraps. There will also be a few special events such as a class on how to get the best experience while at the quilt show, techniques and demonstrations from instructors, a trunk show from a husband and wife team, and brunch with a presentation of Amish quilts and history.

If you’re still wanting to see more quilts and learn more history, make sure to visit the Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum! And since you’ve chosen the best lodging in the county, ask your innkeepers if they have any quilts around the inn.

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