Monday, June 28, 2010

Amish Impressions

 Perfect Storm (Zigzag/Lightening)

My fascination with Amish life had started way before I began quilting. Back in the spring of 1986, when I moved to the United States, I arrived in a little town called New Holland in Lancaster county, PA.  I spent my first few days in the U.S. with my brother-in-law and his family. They were very gracious to introduce my husband and I to the famous points of interest in and around the state of Pennsylvania. The tours included visits to the New York, Washington D.C.and the Niagara Falls. I was in another word! Literally!

We did not go to a single quilt museum nor did I know the connection between the Amish community and quilting. At the time I had just graduated as a graphic designer from an art school and had no interest in sewing. But, I had spent many summers in country sides of India as a child and needless to say that I fell in love with the corn fields, the horse drawn carriages and beautiful barns in Pennsylvania.

My husband and I stayed in Ithaca, New York while he continued  his education at Cornell university. During our time there, we visited Lancaster many times before moving to the west coast. The Amish country had a very special place in my heart. Simple life and beautiful scenery was quite an attraction to visit Lancaster over and over.

In 1996, a dear friend introduced me to this extraordinary style of quilting. It did not take long for me to recognize the gift I had just received. I have always been drawn to culturally expressive forms of art.  I like to create with my bare hands and have great respect and appreciation for artists who create with the perfect marriage of their emotions, talents and raw materials combined with their heritage.

The Amish are blessed with simplicity of life. While we go out of our ways to buy that perfect shade of red or the last fat quarter 'needed' to finish a quilt, they made quilts with the most minimalistic approach and only with what they had. Scraps from the cloths they sewed and the good fabric saved from the worn out wool coat were their primary materials for making a quilt.

Through out my years of quilting, like many of you, I have accumulated a lot of fabric.. I love fabric!  These days, I am intuitively restricting myself and making more quilts out of the used shirts and solids and loving the creativity that pours when I see scraps.

I must thank Tonya R. and her liberated quilt along to provide yet another playground. I had absolute fun creating this quilt. I am not sure if I will make words for this quilt. It speaks a whole lot to me than any words can describe!

The process had started way back when I made my first quilt.

Bought my first book on Amish quilts in 1996

Few more!

A blend of my Indian heritage and Amish impression. 
My first quilt entered in APNQ with the encouragement of my friends got an honorable mention in 2004.
Kavita's Garden
A blend of Amish and African impressions!
As I write my thoughts down today, It has been fun stroll down the memory lane..
Hope you take a moment and walk down the path you have already been!


  1. Thank you for taking US with you on that walk! Your perfect storm IS perfect. Great job.

  2. Great post! I love Perfect Storm and the other quilts you have done! Beautiful!

  3. A dark quilt for you. You continue to amaze me.

  4. Sujata, so nice to read about your journey over the years... your interpretations of Amish quilts are fabulous :)

  5. It is interesting to see what the Amish women are making these days for the tourist industry here in Ohio Holmes County. The quilts do not look like the ones made in the first half of the 20th century. I work a couple times a year at a quilt shop once owned by a Amish woman (now her family runs it - they are Mennonite) so I see what the ladies are buying and making. It is a shame that the sense of color and design found in the old quilts is not found in the ones currently being made. Please post your quilt again after it is quilted.

  6. I'm really touched by reading your story of integration between cultures. Our quilts do tell the stories of our lives, more than we can express in words.

    And I love your quilts--even the first!

  7. Patty,

    I share your thoughts and emotions on an Amish woman's quest for change or may be more for the money.
    We have seen this change happen through out the world with commercialization of art industry.
    I hope that as we try to put our own stamp on this well treasured art, we collectively influence each other to preserve the integrity of it!

  8. Such a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing your life experiences. I adore all of your quilts.

  9. I love the blending of traditions and sisterhood that quilting represents! Thanks for sharing your story and talents with us.

  10. What a wonderful post! Your Perfect Storm quilt is beautiful!! It makes me want to make an an Amish inspired quilt! Thanks for being inspiring!

  11. love all your inspirations and how they've combined to make you the wonderful quilter that you are!

  12. Like your Lancaster County experience, we lived in northern Indiana for many years near the Shipshewana/LaGrange/Nappanee Amish communities. I have just begun a quilt that incorporates the colors of those summer cornfields, autumn harvests, ripening spring wheat and glorious, hardworking Clydesdale horses of those well-tended Amish farmlands.

    I very much enjoyed your post ... and I do love your Perfect Storm (I agree, some things do not need words).

  13. oooh! I love the zig zags storm quilt!!! well done !! I thought of you yesterday as i cruised across PA... hugs!


  15. Lovely work and I enjoyed reading about your inspirations.

  16. I love your quilt! It has such an energy..the name suits it well.
    I loved the Amish style quilts from the moment I first saw them. They're so graphic. I went through a phase in the 90's where I made several Amish style quilts. They still grab my attention. It's such a shame that they are turning away from the old style.

  17. Your first quilt is very very beautiful.. Does not look like a first attempt... !!


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