Saturday, July 3

Surprises in Dutch Country

Hey! I'm Back from my meander through Western Pennsylvania and have lots of goodies to share. After a brief detour that somehow landed us in Delaware, we managed to get to Lancaster to visit the Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum. I was expecting to see a lot of Amish quilts with their simple geometry (and there were plenty), but there were also some unexpected elements on view. The current exhibit shares about a third of their permanent collection of Amish quilts as well as a special exhibit of Lancaster area quilts,mostly created by Mennonite women.

From among the Amish quilts, I was shocked to find this featured "crazy quilt", showing that the Amish quilters were not above the influence of local trends. Amish quilts are typically made of plain colored fabrics, have a wide border and a wide binding. The embroidery in this crazy quilt is unusual, but compared to contemporaneous crazy quilting it is still "plain", as the seams are stitched only in herringbone.This Amish quilt was my favorite in the exhibit, as it contained nearly every category of piecing patterns typically used in Amish quilts, plus a wide range of quilting motifs including fruit baskets, moravian stars, waffle quilting, and vines.Within the center "Diamond in a Square" pattern are additional patterns including nine-patch, bars and stripes, and sawtooth. The only thing it's missing is feather quilting.From the selection of Mennonite quilts I was wowed by a pair of "Sampler quilts". One uses a diamond block and the other a square block where individual pattern blocks are placed on a field of sprigged fabric.The square-blocked quilt had a sawtooth border. The pieced blocks are impressive for their intricacy on a small scale and imaginative piecing.The diamond blocked quilt had no framing border but for the thin binding, but a greater selection of pieced pattern blocks. It didn't seem like any pattern repeated twice!What a feat of design this is!!A quieter side of the exhibit displayed a pair of sawtooth framed diamond-in-the-square quilts: The impressive element here was the large embroidered monogram on each. I own a pattern book of monograms culled from Godey's Ladies book, and I was always amazed at how anyone could possibly stitch all the details of the initials, but I never thought of them being used on such a large scale! It makes much more sense now after seeing these.

I'll have more later!


  1. i am in awe of the diamond block quilt and the embroidered initials. so much imagination, detail and skill. thanks for sharing!

  2. All the quilts were feats of craftsmanship, but those 2 sampler block quilts were absolutely amazing! They are truly artists!