Ada the quiltmaker

A reader shares the following thoughts on his friend Ada, an Amish quiltmaker.  Per request I have changed people/place names and one minor detail. I liked this:

It never ceases to amaze me at the openly honest and frank relationship I have with my friend Ada.  She is the daughter of my first real friend, her father Reuben who passed away a few years ago.  She now lives alone in the daadiheiser and is the premier quilt maker in the community.

Quilt ScissorsI commissioned her a few months ago to make a baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born grandson.  Yesterday I got a note in the mail from her telling me the quilt was ready to be picked up.  I supplied the materials and she the labor, the value of which she placed at a ridiculous $50.  Of course, being an anxious sort, I rushed over to Brownville today to pick it up even though my first grand is not due for another five weeks.

During my visit with Ada she told me about a new family moving in to the Hermans’ place.  I said something about her people moving here and there all the time and asked if she was planning a move.  She said “no, I like Brownville better than Cherry Hill, not as many people watching and looking at you all the time.”  I followed with a question about all the English who visited Cherry Hill and was that what bothered her.  “No” she said, “all those other Amish!”  She continued, “You can be too close too much of the time.”

Then a conversation ensued about how her nephew Olen’s furniture business was doing.  (Her father, when I was left alone with him while Ada ran errands and she would ask me to watch him while she was gone, would trash talk poor Olen.)  Her only comment was “Well, he is staying busy but then he better be since he has so many children to feed.”  She added that he doesn’t charge enough for his work nor does her brother Rudy for his machine shop work.  At that point I said “And look who’s talking, $50 for all that work on my quilt?”  That evening I was overcome with quilt guilt and placed a little more cash in the mail to her knowing that if I tried to put it in her hand she wouldn’t take it.

When asking about how her niece Martha was getting alone, I commented that every Yoder I know are as nice as they could be and there were no rotten apples in their family barrel.  She just looked at me and grinned saying “Yep, everyone of them be but me.”

As I was leaving I told her that I am going to take a photo of my grandson wrapped up in this nice quilt and show it to her and I could care less if she doesn’t like photos.  I proclaimed this is my quilt and it will be my grandson in the photo.  She just laughed saying you can do what you will with it, it isn’t mine any longer.

Scissors photo: Ivy Dawned/flickr

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    16 Comments

    1. Tom

      Ada sounds like many Amish folks I know.

    2. I liked this story. Ada sounds like the salt of the earth.

    3. Stephanie Rollins

      I would like to have her as a friend!

    4. Sharon

      I, too, would love to have her as a friend! I wish I lived closer to her and could see her quilts and her talent that is in them! Quilts are not easy to make as it takes patience and lots of work.

    5. Carolyn B

      Nice break from learning something new or discussing a serious topic.

      Very cute story of one Amish/English relationship. Hope to see more like this. Thanks, Erik, and original story-teller.

      1. I too enjoy these anecdotes and stories Carolyn. I encourage anyone that has something of their own to share to either post it in the comments or email it to me at ewesner(at)gmail(dot)com.

    6. Alice Mary

      I agree...

      Ada seems like someone I’d like to meet. I’m interested in seeing examples of her talent and creativity, also.

      I wholeheartedly agree with her words regarding “all those other Amish”, “You can be too close too much of the time.”

      (We could be sisters at heart!) 😉

      Alice Mary

    7. Sharon

      Where is Brownville? Or was that a made up place so one couldn’t find where Ada lives?

      1. As I mentioned at the top I did change the place names Sharon. Brownville is a fictional name. The person who wrote this would just prefer not to share the specifics.

      2. More from Ada's English friend

        Ada’s friend also added this in an email to me, which might explain a bit more:

        “the anonymous writer would love nothing better than to take photos of “Ada’s” quilts, send those photos to folks or post them with her absurdly low prices and try to sell them for her. But no . . . she would be mortified if I took a camera into her home. I once wanted a photo of a quilt her sister-in-law was trying to sell and [the sister-in-law] acted like Satan was in her presence. I backed off immediately realizing that I was about to get in big, big trouble.

        We’ve previously discussed how the response of Amish people to cameras can vary widely. This is pretty far on one end of the spectrum. For some even the presence of a taboo technology in the home is cause for concern. On the other hand I have brought cameras into Amish homes before, sometimes to take photos of parts of the house (with permission) or to just show my Amish friends photos I’ve taken on the camera’s LCD display. Amish people have even taken pictures of me using my camera. But they were from different communities than Ada.

    8. Kentucky Lady 717

      Cute story Erik,and I like Ada…..sounds like she speaks her mind and takes no crap from anyone….my type of lady 🙂

      Would love to see some quilts she makes …….

    9. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      If I where a book publisher I would create an anthology of Amish like stories such as this and put them together to best illustrate and expand upon the ideas espoused in “Rules of a Godly Life” I think I’d call it “Rules of a Godly Life and other Amish examples”

    10. Kentucky Lady 717

      Are you listening Erik ???? Take this and run 🙂

    11. Sharon

      I think a book could be written about Christian women who are examples, not just Amish.

    12. Cindy Burroughs

      love quilts

      I like what I read about what you told the woman that it was her quilt and she could whatever she wanted to do with it. I bet it was a beautiful quilt. Maybe one day we well be able to see a sample of your work.

    13. Cindi davenport

      Where are the quilts?? Pic.