Amish Quilts Book Giveaway: Submit Your Questions

Janneken Smucker‘s new book, Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon, is now available.

We’ll be having a Q-and-A with Janneken and giving away a copy soon. You’ll be able to enter to win in the usual way, by leaving a comment on the contest post.

But for an extra entry today, you can suggest a question for Janneken about Amish quilts. We’ll choose some of the best questions for Janneken to answer.

Just leave your question(s) below for an extra chance to win (you’re welcome to ask more than one question, but there is just one extra entry per person).

About the Book

To give you an idea of what Amish Quilts covers, here’s an excerpt of its description:

Amish Quilts Janneken SmuckerIn this in-depth study, illustrated with more than 100 stunning color photographs, Janneken Smucker discusses what makes an Amish quilt Amish. She examines the value of quilts to those who have made, bought, sold, exhibited, and preserved them and how that value changes as a quilt travels from Amish hands to marketplace to consumers.

A fifth-generation Mennonite quiltmaker herself, Smucker traces the history of Amish quilts from their use in the late nineteenth century to their sale in the lucrative business practices of today. Through her own observations as well as oral histories, newspaper accounts, ephemera, and other archival sources, she seeks to understand how the term “Amish” became a style and what it means to both quiltmakers and consumers. She also looks at how quilts influence fashion and raises issues of authenticity of quilts in the marketplace.

I am just starting to read my copy, but I can already give two thumbs up to the book’s cover, which Janneken quilted herself (did you notice the thread?).

You can buy the book at a number of venues including Johns Hopkins, which offers a 25% discount with promo code NAF.

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    61 Comments

    1. Tracy

      VERY exciting about this book! And it looks like the thread of Janneken’s quilt (so lovely!) is white? That seems a bold move, somehow. ;o) Is it a myth that the Amish quilt their quilts with black thread? I find the use of black in a quilt fascinating, partly because I’m learning the way with the color black in quilting-making myself, but also the use of it in Amish quilt. Looking forward to more on this topic!

    2. Andrea green

      Dear janneken
      I am fairly new at quilting, cushions and aprons so far, and have help in a group making quilts, but i would like to start a quilt for my daughter , for when she goes to university next summer, come you tell me which would be the best and basic style to do my quilt in? And how many hours do you think this may take me, bearing in mind i am a new comer to this field, i am hopping this maybe something my own daughter may do and get the quilting bug.
      With kind regards
      Andrea 🙂

    3. Pat

      Only One is "perfect"....

      My question is this: Is it true that the Amish purposely put a mistake in each quilt? I have heard they do this because only God is perfect and so they make sure they never make a perfect quilt.

    4. New York State of Mind

      I would really enjoy this book. I was wondering do Amish make certain patterns in quilts they make for themselves and certain patterns that use to sell to the Englishers? A friend told me and I wondered if it is just a friend talking or really true.

    5. SharonR

      Amish Quilt Book giveaway

      I have just started quilting myself, and have only done ONE (1) pillow top, in a very simple patchwork design. My question is, do the Amish sew their “own” (for their personal use) quilts, in certain colors, or are they allowed to use all colors? I thought I read somewhere that church districts restrict some colors from being used. Is this true?

      Also, how many tiny stitches are sewn in 1″? I have also heard that the tiny hand-sewn stitches are what makes the “Amish” quilt quite popular and an indication of a very experienced quilt-maker.
      Any thoughts on this?
      SharonR

      1. Marcie

        Piggyback question

        Hello Janneken,
        I can’t wait to read your book and my mom is an avid quilter, too!
        I have a kind of piggy back question regarding the colors.

        I saw a show not about a year ago where an ex-Amish person was talking about how the bright colors used in Amish quilts are only for the Englishers and that they would never use colors like that in their own homes.
        ..I’ve also heard that the Amish use the bright colors in their quilts in celebration of God’s gift of beauty in the world.

        Are these statements true?

        Thank you!

    6. Ruth S

      Amish Quilts

      I have never quilted but that is something I hope to do next year. I am a crocheter :). I was wondering if prints are used in Amish quilts and do you use a quilt frame while you ladies are quilting?

    7. Terry Berger

      A question for Jannekin

      Jannekin: Are more Amish men involved in quilting than before? I know it’s typically a craft for women, however, I was wondering. Erik, please include me in the book giveaway.

      Thanks,
      Terry

      1. You are in Terry. Your question is one I am curious about as well.

    8. Rose

      Quilting

      Hi, I am looking forward to reading this new book on Quilting. I am presently working on a quilt now. I have made some years ago, but not in years. I am trying to do it all hand sewn. My question for Janneken is How do the Amish make such very small stitches and do they make all running stitches or one stitch at a time?

      Please, also enter me in the drawing.

    9. Amy Hering

      Questions

      Well, other people got to my questions first! I am a quilter as well, and can’t wait to read this book. I was wondering how quilts for use at home differ from quilts made to sell. I am also wondering if most Amish sew by hand, on a treadle machine, or one with improvised power.

      Thanks!

    10. loretta todd

      comment on Amish Quilt give away

      I was asked recently if each church district has a quilt pattern that is theirs, only.

      Do they or do they use a variety of patterns?

    11. Felicia

      Like “New York State of Mind,” I had heard that same thing. My question based on that questions is what is the difference between the quilts the Amish make for “themselves,” and the ones they make and sell to the English? Or is that it? And based on the answer, does that change the value of the quilt? Thanks for the opportunity to ask a question and be a part of the book give away!

    12. MaryAnn Pepe

      A Question

      Do the Amish ever use any machinery (with out electricity, of course)while making quilts?

      Thank You!

    13. sharon c

      better than?

      I too am a quilter and it seems like pulling teeth for me to get a few hundred dollars for mine, but if it is considered “Amish” the consumer has no problem shelling out as much or more than five hundred dollars! Mine are as good! And not all Amish quilts in my area are the traditional solid colors, they make what the people want…Thanks and I will be getting your book ASAP! So question being what makes an Amish quilter better than an English quilter?

    14. Debbie AB

      fabric choices

      Sounds like a very interesting book. Do Amish quilt makers usually use the same colours in their quilts as their clothing (using up the scraps) or is fabric purchased specifically for their quilts? Also do they every use prints or is it usually plain fabric?

    15. Lanore Lewis

      I would love to make a quilt, I have always wanted an Amish made quilt they are gorgeous. Why are Amish quilts so expensive?

    16. Linda

      feather comfort

      This sounds like an interesting book, even though I’m not a quilter, but some of my sisters are. I know the Amish make beautiful patchwork quilts. I wonder though, are feather comforters common among the Amish?

    17. Debbie H

      Amish Quilt Question

      My questions are: Do the Amish wash their fabric before quilting? Do they wash their quilts after quilting or, do they ever wash them? I have been told never wash a vintage or antique quilt, just air them out.

      I can’t wait to read this book! I hope I win it.

    18. MARILYN

      Quilting

      I’d love to have a copy of your book.
      Do the Amish put some kind of markings or date to identify the one who made the quilt?

    19. Shari Larsen

      I am wondering how much time, on average, does it take to complete a quilt? Both those made by just one person, and those made in a group such as a quilting bee.

    20. Eugenia

      Uses

      Do the Amish use quilts only on beds or do they use quilted items in any other ways, such as for potholders or some other useful kitchen or home items?

    21. Alice Mary

      DebbieH asked one of my questions already (do Amish quilters pre-wash fabrics they use in quilts?). While I don’t quilt, I know how different fabrics & threads (cotton vs polyester vs a blend of the two) react to washing & drying. So, do Amish quilters plan ahead to use the same type of fabric (for instance, cotton) in varied colors, with the same type of thread (cotton, as well) to keep it from shrinking unevenly, IF (BIG “if”) they do eventually wash their quilts?

      I would love to have this book in my collection!

      Alice Mary

    22. JoAnn Betts

      Ouilts

      I have an Amish wedding band quilt that I got 36 years ago from my step grandmother who was friends with an Amish woman. It is just starting to get thin. I love the bright colors that were used.

    23. Linda

      I did not notice the threaded needle until you mentioned it, Erik.

      Janneken, did you use a yardstick to mark straight quilting lines, or did you just quilt the blocks diagonally from corner to corner?

      1. Linda and I did not notice it until I read about it in Janneken’s blog post on the cover 🙂

    24. Mary Yoder

      Amish Quilts

      Do the Amish still make Friendship Quilts and what are they?

      Janneken, I allow you to ask me for the answer if you don’t know?

      Mary Alice

    25. Christy

      Baby Quilts and such

      What kind of quilt would an Amish mother quilt for her child. I’ve seen the Dutch children quilt but wasn’t actually sure they would use that kind. Would an Amish woman stitch her name in at the bottom any time.

    26. Karen K,

      Colors

      Are there typical colors that the Amish use in quiltmaking? How many stitches per inch does an amish quilter do?

    27. Jean Junkin

      How does a novice quilter start?

      I am a novice when it comes to quilting. I would like to learn, but it seems so overwhelming. How does someone who has a real liking for hand made quilts get started?

    28. Wondercat

      Good for clothes but not for quilts

      At an Amish dry-goods store in New Wilmington, PA, I noted bolts of pale yellow and pale pink cloth. Surprised, I asked an Amishman — How is it that I’ve never seen these colours being worn? He replied — They’re for ladies’ nightgowns. Well, that explains that, I said, and I may have blushed as I said it.

      And I’ve never seen them used in quilts in Amish homes, either! Yet surely cutting-out from lengths of such cloth, as of any cloth, must leave scraps that could be quilted… Might Amish quilts include pink and yellow in another decade?

      Now my question: In a given area with which Janneken is familiar, what shifts can she tell us in “acceptable” colours and fabrics that quilters may use — say, thirty years ago and today?

    29. Gisa

      Erik, please include me in this book giveaway.

      Thanks, Gisa

    30. Carol

      prewashing febric

      My question would be the same–prewashing fabric, yes or no?

      Would love to win the book.

    31. Debbie Rhoades

      Learn to quilt

      Do you know of anyone that isn’t in the Pennsylvania/Ohio area that teaches how to quilt the way the Amish do? I am 58, and would love to learn how to quilt, but don’t want to do it on a sewing machine, as I don’t even know how to operate them, either. I love Amish quilts. I live in central Florida.

    32. Linda LANDRETH

      Colors

      I want to have a quilt made since I am not a sewer and I would like to know what colors of fabric I should purchase to make it look like a true Amish quilt? I assume they should be solid colors, right?

    33. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      Multi-generational Quilts used in Amish families

      Culturally, because the Amish are family centered, do the Amish people create and keep quilts that are made, for instance, for a specific newborn baby, will this quilt stay within the family and be passed down from generation to generation with an oral history that would be something like “this was made for grandfather Eli in 1894, and his children and grandchildren all slept in it” and so kept as a cherished family heirloom, especially if the Amish typically don’t collect photographs, but might want to keep one or two “worldly things” for multiple kinfolk to use and pass down.

      I don’t want to be entered into the draw for the admittedly interesting sounding book, but if I could have my question answered that would be great.

    34. Karen Pollard

      Amish quilting

      Is it true the Amish only use solid colors in the quilts for their own homes? Every Amish quilt pattern book shows quilts in solid colors such as navy, burgundy and forest green combined with black.

      I own several Amish quilts that were made for me and/or public sale and they are certainly not solids.

      The other question I had has already been asked. Any time I spot a mistake in one of my own quilts, I am told the Amish make mistakes purposely, but I seriously doubt this. I cannot imagine making a mistake that seems glaring to me, on purpose.

      Thank you!
      Karen Pollard

    35. Patsy H.

      I love colorful quilts. This book would be a treasure to have.

    36. Loretta Shumpert

      Gloves

      Some years ago I enjoyed watching a program on ETV where the lady (Marcia Adams) always wore white gloves when she showed a quilt. I understand the need to not get any body oils on these precious heirlooms, so why is it that as people look/shop in the different amish farms that have a craft shop, I have never seen people wearing the gloves.

    37. Tina Kegley

      quilt book

      How strange! I posted, saw the post and then it disappeared! Please include me in book giveaway. I did ask a question in previous post!

    38. Leanna Morris

      I’m not a quilter, but my mother is. She does all her quilts by hand and has made many of them, as well as other types of quilting such as wall hangings, table runners, etc. This book sounds very interesting.
      Do the Amish actually use a pattern or do they make the design up as they go?

    39. Marcus Yoder

      We are dividing my mother’s things up after she passed away Oct.2.One of my picks was the quilt she used everyday. Include me in the book give away.
      Marcus Yoder

      1. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

        @ Marcus Yoder

        Marcus,
        On behalf of everyone who frequents Amish America, we’re sorry and saddened to hear of your mother’s passing, but joyful in that she is in the Lord’s arms.

        1. Marcus Yoder

          Thank you. She actually went to sewing at the senior citizens the day before she died. She was two months from her 94th birthday. She had a very full life.
          Thanks for everyone on here. Marcus Yoder

    40. Char

      I hear that the Amish intentionally put a flaw in their quilts to make them unique. [nothing glaring, just something special] That would apply only to family-owned quilts and not quilts made specifically for auction of retail. Is this true?
      Thank you

      1. Alice Mary

        Curious "mistake"

        Curious, about the “mistake” intentionally put in quilts. I always thought I read that that was what the Shakers did (not Amish), but perhaps it’s common to all “Plain” folk? Actually, it sounds prideful to me, as though ANYONE (Amish, Shaker, English…) could produce ANYTHING so “perfect” that they’d even think of “needing” to deliberately put in an “error” to show that only God can create perfection.

        Alice Mary

    41. Barb

      In about 1990 I asked the Amish owner of a “quilt shop in her home” in Lancaster County if the dark solid color quilts for sale were the style she used in her own home. She replied that she didn’t use quilts, that “they all” (I assume meaning her friends) wanted and used chenille bedspreads when they married in the early 1940s and that’s what she still had on her beds. Janneken — were you able to determine how common it is for the Amish to use quilts in their homes, or are they mostly made as gifts and for sale? Would this vary with the type and location of the community?

      1. Tina Kegley

        How interesting! I also would like to know. I did notice on some pictures in Amish homes there were no quilts on the beds. I just assumed it was summer. What do the young married Amish women want and use now for their beds?

    42. TOM=GA

      quilting book

      please enter me in the quilt book giveaway. Thanks

    43. Galen

      Janneken's book on quilting

      I was wondering the same question as Terry (many posts above) about men and quilting. I have a quilt that I bought at a tented auction in Bird in Hand and it is not signed but it has colors in it that I’ve never really seen before……teals, browns etc. I was told that it resembles fabric from their everyday wear clothing. Is J. Smucker a relative of the Lancaster Smuckers who own the restaurant? I remember (I’m dating myself) when there was quilting done in the barn at Harvest Drive. My parents bought the quilt that the ladies were making and we returned that summer to pick it up. The quality, back then, was much different than the quilts of today. I’m very interested in this book. Erik, is it available on my Kindle?
      Thanks Erik for bringing this book to our attention. I’ve notice on Ebay some antique Amish quilts and their prices are in the thousands. I’d be curious: what makes a quilt antique and what drives the cost up?
      Galen

    44. Karen Pollard

      Galen, I can partially respond to your question about the cost of quilts.

      The price of quilting cotton has skyrocketed. Fabric that once sold for $3 a yard is now selling for $14 and up. In fact, all of the “ingredients” for a quilt are expensive today. The batting is more expensive and I am paying around $12 for a spool of good quality cotton thread.

      The price of making a quilt can never compare to the hours put into assembling one. I recently pieced an Autumn Leaves quilt for a king size bed. I washed my fabrics because they were batiks which will bleed colors at times. Then, dried and had to starch and iron them before cutting out the pieces I needed. I spent another 94 hours cutting and assembling the quilt. If I had hand quilted it, I would think you could add at least that many more hours to its base cost. Let’s see at minimum wage ($7.25) for 180 hours of work, we are looking at $1305. Now let’s add the price fabric to this: approximately 18 yards of fabric at $8 a yard (because I look for sales)= $144. Then you’d need 3 1/2 yards of backing at $15 a yard= $53, batting for king size is approximately $35. You’d also use at least 2-3 spools of thread, including the hand quilting thread=another $36. So, just basics would have an investment of $1573. And that is why quilts are expensive.

      1. SharonR

        Amish Quilt Book give-away topic

        WOW — That puts things in prospective, Karen Pollard — Thanks for letting us know — I KNEW just the ‘manhours’ (labor) is every bit worth the price of a beautiful hand-made/hand-sewn quilt, even if you have scraps left over from another project — you still have to purchase more thread, batting, and some additional fabric, to complete the design and the quilt. The true Amish quilts would be well worth the money spent, if purchasing one! Thanks for enlightening us, who do not quilt “to sell”.
        SharonR

        1. Karen Pollard

          Price of quilts

          Sharon,

          I have made several baby quilts for “outsides” and usually charge $135 for a simple one. With that price, I am only paying myself $35 for the labor!!!

          1. SharonR

            Amish Quilts Book Giveaway topic

            Yes, Karen P. — I know what you mean!! The talent and skills are sometimes overlooked, too……some folks don’t look past the “price tag”….
            SharonR

      2. Galen

        Karen,
        Thank you for the thorough explanation and my questions were not meant to be insulting to anyone. I probably should have been more specific. When I said “thousands,” I am talking about $10 to $20,000 for a quilt. So really, I guess I’m asking about what makes an antique Amish quilt worth that kind of money? are there collectors out there? Are there specific quilters (people’s names) that garner more money? Were the “antique” quilts made with a specific style or material that can not be replicated today?

        But thank you for responding. I know a lot of time goes into a quilt and if you went by minimum wage standards, you’d never get back your money for all the time one puts into it’s creation.

    45. tiffany rangier

      about the amish

      it takes alot of long suffering……..to search……and many of us women know that to be humble is to be subjective,which can sometimes be scary

    46. tiffany rangier

      my earlier request

      and again I say god loves us……to talk to god! ——- praise god forever

    47. Juanita Cook

      Are all the quilts sold by the Amish actually made by the Amish? Please enter me into your contest?

    48. Sharon Gerstman

      Amish Quilts

      I love Amish quilts and have since I first saw them years ago when I was younger. I would Love to win the Amish Quilts Book Giveaway. I, too, had questions about different things that were answered in the article. Thank you for allowing us to enter the giveaway!

    49. Sarah

      The Amish through Quilting

      After reading Amish fiction for quite a while now I can’t wait to purchase an authentic Amish quilt when I travel to WI this Labor Day. My question is: how can I be sure I am purchasing an AUTHENTIC quilt that Amish people truly constructed themselves? I am not interested in replicas – I want the real deal! Also, can you recommend a good shop near the Milwaukee area that I can go to?

      I would love to be entered in the contest to receive a copy of the book :). Yours truly, an Amish Fan!

      1. Karen Pollard

        Authentic Amish Quilt

        Sarah,

        When you search for an Amish quilt, try to find a local person who sells her own quilts or an Amish quilt shop. You’ll know it’s authentic if it does not have electricity and you must depend on windows or skylights for the light to look at the quilts.

        I had an Amish lady in Topeka, IN make my king size quilt and shams for our bed when we built our home. I also bought a queen size quilt in an Amish quilt shop in Shipshewana, IN.

        Be prepared to pay a steep price. A king size quilt goes for around $800 and a queen size would be in the $600-$700 range.

        Another way to find authentic quilts is to locate an Amish Quilt auction. Many communities have auctions to raise money to support their schools. I’ve bought two quilts at the Amish auction in Cannelburg, IN. They usually auction off around 125-175 quilts each Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

        Exactly why I learned how to quilt for myself and family when I retired from teaching!! 🙂

        Good luck finding what you want. The workmanship is wonderful!