Dear Jenny,
I’ve heard so much about Amish Quilts and the skilled Amish women who make them.  Can you tell me a little about the process of making one?



I tried my hand at making quilts when I was young, but it was a disaster. Most of my attempts ended up in the rag basket. My mama, Jerusha, however, was a master quilt maker.  She made the most beautiful quilts I have ever seen. The most wonderful quilt she ever made was The Rose of Sharon Quilt.  I wrote about that in “A Quilt For Jenna.”  Mama described the process to me when I was taking notes for the book.  So here’s the part of that book where I wrote about quilt making.  I hope this is helpful to you.

Before Mama started the quilt she sketched out a rough design and in the following days cut the hundreds of pieces to make the pattern and piece the top.   Then she sorted and ironed them, pinned and stitched and ironed every one and then stitched them all into a rectangle measuring approximately eight and one-half feet by nine feet.  After that she laid the piece out on the floor and traced the entire quilting design on the fabric with tailor’s chalk.  The design unfolded before her eyes like someone else was directing her hand and now she saw it completely. 

            She used royal blue pieces that made a dark, iridescent backdrop to a beautiful deep red rose-shaped piece in the center.  The rose had hundreds of petals, all cut into the flowing shapes of petals instead of the traditional square or diamond-shaped patterns of Amish quilts.  The quilting pattern was the most complicated she had ever done, but she traced it out, step by step.  Then she laid out the cream-colored backing, placed a double layer of batting on top of it and on top of it all, she placed the ironed patchwork piece that she had developed over the past month.  On her hands and knees she carefully basted the layers together, starting from the center and working out to the edges.  Once she was finished, she called the neighbor boy for help.  He held it while she carefully attached one end to the quilting frame, and then they slowly turned the pole until she could attach the other end.  Then she drew the quilt tight until it was stable enough to stitch on and she began to quilt.  Delicate tracks of quilting stitches began to make their trails through the surface of the quilt as Jerusha labored day after day at her work. 


*Jenny Hershberger is a ficticious character from the Apple Creek Dreams series by Patrick E. Craig.  You can read about her writing career in Jenny’s Choice, Patrick’s latest book.