Commemorative issue American Treasures - Amish quilts
Diamond in the square, c 1920
The Amish, like other Germanic groups, did not bring a tradition of quiltmaking to America with them; blankets, featherbeds, and woven coverlets were the more typical style of bedding. By the middle of the nineteenth century, however, the Amish had learned to make quilts from their “English” neighbors, which is what they call all people outside their community. The quilting tradition seems to have taken hold among the Amish in the 1870s and 1880s.
Because of their conservative lifestyle and the religious prohibition against naturalistic images, the Amish made their earliest quilts from large pieces of a single-color fabric. By the end of the nineteenth century, they employed more colors and design elements, although quilts with large, geometric pieces of solid-colored fabric, such as this quilt, were still the most popular. Almost all Amish quilt patterns are composed of geometric shapes, and most consist of a central design surrounded by borders.