shipshe 1-3, rev and webAmish, Quilt and Retreats

There are many things to admire about the Amish way of life. One of the things that I am fascinated by is their quilting skill. Amish ladies seem to raise this to an art level. And to think they do it by hand or with a treadle machine is pretty amazing. I know women have been quilting by hand for many, many years – but in our day and age it’s become a rare thing. I admire the humble way Amish women will show you their quilts, how they pass this skill down to the next generation, and how quilts are used to raise money for benefit auctions.

My Shipshewana Series is set in a quilt shop called Lolly’s in Shipshewana. It only took one trip to Lolly’s and I was hooked. I bought a few kits, thinking that I could borrow my mom’s machine–which I did. But soon I was wanting my own sewing machine. Quilting is like that. It becomes something that you enjoy doing and want to do more of. I found a simple little Brothers Machine at my local Walmart for under $100. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a great machine for a beginner like myself.

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This past week I attended my first quilting retreat. What fun! It reminded me of the Amish sew-ins, where women gather to work on a quilt. In this case, we were all working on different projects, but it was a lot of fun to sew in a room with 20 other women. Everyone was a lot of help too. If you had a question or needed a certain color fabric, people pitched right in. The first quilt I made had rather large blocks. Remember, I’m a beginner. I love the bright colors though. The second quilt I made was a rag quilt. I liked this idea because it was very easy to “quilt” each block on my little machine. The  third quilt I made was the hardest, but I like the way it came together. I especially like that there was someone there to teach me how to get those little blocks to line up correctly.

Not everyone enjoys sewing, but whether you do or you don’t there are still many things about the Amish life that we can respect and emulate in our own lives–their focus on family, the way they live their faith out day-to-day, and the strong community bond between families. My prayer is that as you read Amish fiction, you will be blessed and find ways to incorporate these things into your life.