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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amish Quilt Auction

Last summer I went with Best Friend to an auction in Fairview, KY of Amish quilts and crafts. It’s held by the same group that does the plant auction we went to in April. I had purchased 2 darling and beautifully made crib quilts for Little Bird at extremely good prices.

This summer I was back… Little Bird is getting a new brother! Owen will be arriving this summer and of course he needs his very own quilts.

This year Himself came with me since it was a couple days before he left for Alaska. He was amazed by the beautiful quilts up for auction. I think he had sensory overload by the time we left!

This quilt buzzed my eyes! I told Himself that is what my world looks like WITHOUT my glasses! Oh my... it would give me such a headache to have it in my house!

I thought this one was pretty though. There was really nice quilting in the solid blocks.

I don’t know what this blue one is called. I like its randomness.

This ‘vintage’ quilt was one of my favorites. There was so much detail in each block. You don’t see that detail – those tiny pieces of fabric – in most modern quilts. People don’t want to take the time. With the old quilts, each one was a display of its maker’s sewing skills. She took pride in every block and stitch.

There were many different sects of Amish at the auction. I’m not sure about each one… around here those that dress like this are called “calico Amish” (original, eh?). This little guy’s mama had had enough of his antics. He was all over the place and being a general pesky brother to his older sister.

In-between times of helping, these boys had a good time playing with the toy tractors that would soon be up for sale. I wonder if they wished they could use a tractor instead of their Belgian horses?

We came home with unexpected treasure. This is Johnnie-Ray, who was there selling some quilts from a friend’s estate. This beautiful Double Wedding Ring came home with us, as did the handmade cedar blanket chest it had been stored in. Himself has written a story about its maker – Miss Jessie. That will be a guest blog for tomorrow.

It was hard to explain to Himself about why the old quilts are so much more special than the new ones at the auction. It’s like an old piece of furniture that has been smoothed over the years by the hands touching it in use. You can listen to an old quilt with your eyes and your fingers. Feel the soft piece of baby clothes? And the rougher material of the flour sack? Notice how the “masculine” fabrics are mostly in certain shades? Even the worn places are saying something to you.

You can really appreciate the beautiful quilting when you flip it over. The bright fabrics don’t hide the painstaking stitches.

This quilt is the total opposite end of the spectrum from the Double Wedding Ring. A basic block with BIG pieces. No quilting, it’s a tied quilt. And no batting between the layers either! However…it’s going to make a fun picnic quilt. Because even ugly ol’ quilts look special with a picnic spread out on them!

This one made me laugh. It’s called “Cat’s In The Cabin”. It’s a hand pieced top only, so I’ll have to quilt it myself. I thought it was worth the $7 I paid for it.

This is what I came to the auction for…a crib quilt for my nephew. This is the ‘dressy’ quilt. It’s called “Weaver’s Fever”. I’ve never seen this pattern before. It’s all hand pieced and quilted. Each piece is 1”X2”.

And finally, his “everyday” quilt. The embroidered scene with the mischievous puppy is just so much fun. It’s not a pieced but it is hand quilted.

I have many quilts made by my “grands”. And I have just thought of a way to display them in our home… when I get it done, I’ll post photos for you!

Do you have any family quilts? Who made them and how did they come to you?



  1. The quilts are beautiful! I hand quilt so every, single quilt (to me) is a piece of someone's soul. All the time, care and love put into a quilt.. sigh. My mother has a double wedding ring quilt her grandmother made her for her wedding - 55 years ago. I am currently working on two quilts - one a queen size for our bed and a second in log cabin style for our guest room.

    Do you quilt yourself?

  2. Beautiful quilts. Your family is lucky to have you buying for them.

  3. Oh Teri, I just got through reading your husband's story and then how delightful to read this post about the auction and see a picture of Johnnie-Ray too. It brought the whole story that I just read to life! How lucky little Owen is to have such a special Auntie! I love quilts, I just don't own any though. The ones made by my Grandmother especially, we don't know what happened to them all over the years before she passed. But I do have a special braided rug she made that even included fabric from some of my high school dresses! Great story Teri! ~Lili

  4. What wonderful stories and wonderful quilts! Each one is a work of art. My aunt was a skillful seamstress and made beautiful handmade quilts. She made me a handsome hand sewn quilt that I still use on my bed. I have one other quilt she made and a wall hanging. She lived in Ohio and I remember her talking about the exquisite workmanship of the Amish's quilts. Thanks for sharing this outing with us. Love the quilts you selected for Owen!


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