I know we have a lot of readers interested in Amish quilts and many with experience buying them.  We’ll be hearing more soon on the subject from Janneken Smucker, author of the upcoming Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon, including a chance to ask Amish quilt questions.


Double Wedding Ring Quilt. Image: MTSOfan/flickr

In the meantime, reader GamGam recently left an insightful comment full of tips for Amish quilt buyers.  I thought any potential quilt buyers out there might find these useful.

In this list of 10 tips, I think she conveys a reasonable sense of “buyer beware” while reminding us of the value and work in a well-made quilt.  And the final tip is worth keeping in mind whatever you’re shopping for:

For the non- quilters, there are certain things that as a seasoned quilter I have learned at quilt shows & sales.

  1. Not all Quilts are as handmade as you may be led to believe they are.
  2. Check around the binding for signs of a label being cut out. There are unscrupulous peddlers of homemade Amish quilts that travel around to Quilt Shows with quilts made in China tagged “Amish made” and priced for hundreds of dollars. I saw this at the Sisters, Oregon quilt show a few years ago.
  3. I know someone who bought a Quilt in Lancaster at an Amish farmhouse business, the quilt was lovely, queen size, cost about $700, BUT … Was made with both cotton and polyester fabric and polyester batting. A big no-no as one shrinks and the other does not when washed. Lesson – Ask about fiber content.
  4. Most Amish & Hand quilters strive for as many stitches we can needle per inch. If you see 4 stitches per inch, chances are good it may not be authentic Amish made but could be made in China.
  5. If looking to buy an Amish Quilt, Ask questions and try to buy directly from Amish, confirm fiber contents & authenticity (my sister Miriam Lapp made this quilt).
  6. Quilting materials are not cheap. We can not compete with Walmart prices. I personally can not whip up a baby quilt by hand (100+ hours) and charge $89.00!
  7. Many sewing machines now come with a “hand stitch” quilting stitch setting. If a quilt looks too exact, it may be machine instead of hand stitched.
  8. If gloves are provided please don them as you look through and handle quilts. Nobody wants to buy the quilts that are stained, oily or dirty around the edges from being handled 100′s of times a day.
  9. Just because it might be an authentic Amish quilt does not mean it is a better quilt.
  10. If you fall in love with a quilt, just buy it so you don’t kick yourself later for not buying it.

Quilters, quilt buyers, and quilt people out there, have you put any of these recommendations into practice?

Would you add anything to this list?

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