Things to Look for When Buying an Amish Quilt
Posted by Patty Silla on 15th Jul 2014
When it comes to buying Amish quilts there are several things to look for and consider. Amish quilts are very unique to the world of quilting, as well as to each other. No two Amish quilts are the same, just as no two Amish quilters are the same. This is what makes buying or collecting Amish quilts such a fun and interesting hobby. Whether you are buying one Amish quilt to use in your home or several Amish quilts for investment purposes, you will find that the hunt for the perfect Amish quilt is just as much fun as it is to own one.
The colors that are used in creating Amish quilts had more importance in the past than it does today. Amish quilts of the past traditionally used a certain range of colors as determined by what was acceptable by the church leaders of each individual Amish community. The Amish believe in wearing dark, simple colors in order to focus on the group as a whole and to keep from standing out as an individual. This was applied to Amish quilt making as well, which ironically set their quilts apart from the rest when people first began noticing their artistry and detail. Traditional Amish quilts were usually put together using fabric scraps from other clothing projects, so they consisted mainly of dark blues, purples, greens, and reds. Pastels were often used to make clothing for Amish children, so these were often incorporated into baby quilts or lap quilts. As the popularity of Amish quilts spread and demand increased, other less traditional and brighter colors were used to appeal to a wider range of tastes. Today, with the availability of store bought fabrics and the demand for more color varieties, just about every color of the rainbow is used in making Amish quilts for the public. However, the traditional dark colors are still used in Amish quilts made for personal use within the Amish home.
Cutting and piecing the Amish quilt together properly can make or break an Amish quilt. Every step of the 400 to 700 hour process that it takes to make just one handmade Amish quilt requires immense skill, patience, a lot of love, and a little bit of luck to assure a high quality finished product. The Amish quilter must first decide what design she is going to put together, choose the colors for that design, cut the individual pieces of fabric to be used, and then piece them all together in such a precise fashion that the quilt will lay perfectly flat and appear uniform and even. While most Amish quilts consist of a repeated geometric or floral pattern, cutting and stitching the pieces together correctly are very important to achieve balance. Stitching these hundreds or even thousands of individual pieces of fabric together in a uniform and eye pleasing manner is what truly sets a high quality Amish quilt apart from the rest. So, when shopping for an Amish quilt, look carefully at how many pieces of fabric are used and how well they are arranged. Understanding the work that goes into making these beautiful pieces of art can really make you appreciate the skill and artistry that it takes to complete just one Amish quilt.
One of the most important things to look for in a high quality Amish quilt is the stitch work of the quilting pattern. Once the colorful top piece of the Amish quilt is pieced together, it is then attached to the center batting and the bottom piece with a hand stitched quilting design. This is what gives the Amish quilt its puffy or three dimensional look. A stencil is used to transfer the quilt design to the fabric and then the design is stitched into the quilt by hand using very small and incredibly precise stitch work. This is one of the most difficult and time consuming parts of making an Amish quilt, but when done correctly it can really make the difference between a good Amish quilt and a great Amish quilt. It takes years of practice to master the art of even and uniform stitching, so this is an important factor to consider when shopping for an Amish quilt. When buying an Amish quilt, you will find that they are categorized by how many stitches there are per inch or given an overall stitch count for the entire Amish quilt. A high quality Amish quilt will usually have between six to eight hand quilted stitches per inch or more than 50,000 stitches throughout the entire quilt, depending on the size.
Of course, all of these factors are less important if you simply fall in love with a specific style or individual Amish quilt. Just like any piece of art, if it speaks to you then it does not matter what colors were used or how many stitches there are per inch. The point of buying or collecting Amish quilts is the joy that it brings to you whenever you look at them. While collecting Amish quilts can be a wise investment that will increase in value over time, simply appreciating their beauty and workmanship is what makes the art of Amish quilting so intriguing. So, if you are interesting in buying your first or your fifth Amish quilt, consider some of these tips, but also listen to your gut and buy the Amish quilt that really makes your heart sing and your face smile.