The History of Amish Quilt Making
While quilts have a long history and were first made to keep people warm during cold winters, they eventually grew into a beloved and respected art form as we know it today.
The Invention of the Quilt
The word “quilt” is derived from the word “culcita,” which means “mattress” in Latin. The history of quilts dates back to ancient times, with a statue of an Egyptian king wearing quilted clothing and an ancient Mongolian linen carpet being some of the first evidence of quilted fabric in history. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Crusaders returning from the Middle East introduced Europeans to quilted fabric, which was worn under their armor to keep them warm and add a layer of protection.
In America, quilting became popular by the Dutch, English and Irish settlers. Quilts were invented to keep out the cold during long winters. Early settlers had drafty houses, and the thick quilts helped block the icy winds and cold. While quilts were often used as bed coverings, they were also used in other ways. They could be seen covering windows, adorning floors and even providing a form of currency.
Quilts are an important part of our American culture. Emigrant women would send patterns and fabrics back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean as a way to keep in touch and keep up with what was going on in each country’s culture. Quilting became an important social activity for women. Quilting bees were formed to allow women to socialize while they completed their large, hand-sewn quilts.
A 2017 quilt survey revealed that the total number of U.S. quilters stands between 7 million to 10 million. Although quilts have been created for many centuries, quilting these days is often associated with the Amish. Though Amish women didn’t begin quilting until the late 1800s, they continue to keep the tradition alive today with their creation of beautiful and intricately designed quilts.