Interesting Facts About Amish Quilters

Amish Quilts - Amish boy with apple
Many people around the world are fascinated and intrigued by the existence of the Amish in our modern world and wonder how they have managed to remain separated from mainstream society so successfully. While the typical Amish quilter and her Amish community strive for solitude and independence, they are somewhat dependent on the world that surrounds them. Most Amish embrace the opportunities that the modern world affords them, such as the overwhelming interest in buying their Amish quilts, Amish cedar chests, and Amish baked goods. However, many Amish do not appreciate the attitude that many outsiders have when visiting Amish country, such as gawking, pointing, and taking pictures. Many outsiders have a poor understanding of what the Amish stand for and why they live their lives the way they do, so here are a few facts about the Amish quilter that you may or may not know.

1. There are approximately 131,000 Amish people in the United States today.
2. There are nearly 1,800 Amish communities across the United States.
3. The Amish are under the religious umbrella called the Anabaptists. This includes the Church of the Brethren, Old Order Amish, Beachy Amish Mennonite, New Order Amish, Amish Mennonite, Brethren in Christ, Hutterites, and Mennonites.
4. Beachy Amish and Amish Mennonites are allowed to drive cars and have electricity.
5. There are nearly 1.3 million practicing Anabaptists around the world.
6. There are Amish and Mennonite communities located around the world, with some of the largest communities in Zaire, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Paraguay, Germany, Netherlands, and Canada.
7. There are smaller Amish and Mennonite communities in some surprising locations, such as Australia, Hong Kong, Cuba, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, Vietnam, and Jamaica.
8. The Amish do not serve in the military because they are pacifists. On the rare occasion that an Amish person does join the military, they are automatically thrown out of the Amish church and shunned from the community.
9. Amish quilters and others pay all appropriate state and local taxes, except for Social Security because they refuse to receive benefits from the government or any organization, such as Medicare or Welfare. The Amish prefer to take care of their own when they retire, get sick, sustain an injury, or become elderly.
10. The Amish broke away from the Mennonites in 1693 in Switzerland due to disagreements of church purity and discipline.
11. The Amish are most closely related to Protestant Christians in their religious beliefs.
12. Amish quilting did not become a popular activity within the Amish communities until the late 1800s.
13. During the 1970s, Amish quilts became must-have items for the city folk that came to visit the Amish communities. This was due to the popularity of geometric designs at the time by other popular artists.
14. Amish quilters began selling their Amish quilts to the public once they became so popular with the outsiders that their own Amish quilts were being stolen right off of their clotheslines.
15. Amish quilts are all handmade, but this does not mean that they do not use sewing machines for some of the piecing together work. However, these sewing machines are either generator, gas, or foot powered.
16. Not all Amish women make Amish quilts. Some Amish women prefer to grow vegetables, arrange dried flowers, bake Amish goods, or can fresh fruit to sell in the markets to make extra money for her family.
17. Amish quilters and others are trilingual. They speak Pennsylvania Dutch (or Low German) at home, Hochdeutsch (or High German) during church services, and English when speaking with outsiders. Pennsylvania Dutch is a spoken language only, so they are required to write in English.
18. The rules and regulations that each Amish quilter and other members must abide by are regulated by the Ordnung (pronounced Ott-ning). This includes regulating the dress code, the use of electricity and cars, education levels, and other daily issues. Ordnung rules vary depending on the Amish community.
19. Amish quilters always part their hair down the middle and keep it up in a bun beneath their prayer caps. Amish quilters never cut their hair short either.
10. Prayer caps are always worn by Amish quilters from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed as a sign of their belief in and submission to God.
21. Amish quilters do not have zippers or buttons on their clothing, instead they use hook-and-eyes, straight pins, snaps, or even Velcro to fasten their clothing.
22. Amish quilters do not have pockets on their clothes because it could be used to hold small items in secret that might lead to feelings of pride or individuality. The Amish prefer to live humbly without pride or boastfulness because it can hurt the community as a whole.
23. Amish quilters are allowed to ride in cars driven by someone else, but they are not allowed to own or drive their own cars.
24. The Amish date in secret and not even the families know about the relationship until a church leader announces their upcoming marriage to the community during Sunday services. The wedding will usually occur just a few days to a few weeks after the announcement, usually between October and December.
25. Amish quilters do visit doctors, take medication, and go to the hospital when needed, but they do prefer home remedies for less serious illnesses.
26. The largest Amish community is in Holmes County, Ohio and the second largest is in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
27. Amish quilters do not use electricity because they do not want to be connected to the society at large in any way, including the power grid. Instead, the Amish use batteries, generators, gas, and oil to power their sewing machines, tools, or home appliances.
28. Amish quilters have their worship services every other Sunday rather than every week. These off days are spent relaxing or visiting with friends and family because no work is allowed.
29. There are no church buildings in an Amish community because services are held in different homes on a rotating basis. The Amish quilter must clean, remove furniture, cook, and even paint the walls if necessary in preparation for the church service being held in her home once or twice a year.
30. The Amish quilter will refer to a non-Amish person as an Englisher, even if the person is from a non-English speaking country.