Hand quilting is our business, and this year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary of bringing our quality services to the international community via the internet. During this past decade we have strived to bring distinction to our business, taking all the necessary steps to become the premier hand quilting shop in the industry. We don't use the services of unskilled or beginner quilters, but honor the many hours of the quilt maker with the workmanship of skilled and experienced quilters who accomplish a minimum of 8 stitches per inch. We don't assume your quilt top is 'ready' for quilting when it arrives, but meticulously inspect it for dropped stitches or weak seam junctures, making the necessary repairs prior to quilting. We don't treat quilts as if they are a 'one size fits all' item, but rather approach them individually, marking them for quilting that will enhance and define the quilt, while adding stability, longevity, and value.
Our Amish quilters bring timeless traditions and finely honed personal skills to offer you quality hand quilting services. We approach each project as unique, following the dictates of the particular quilt pattern while incorporating traditional, elaborate Amish quilting patterns. Our markers and quilters strictly adhere to the '2 inch rule', not because it is 'required' with modern battings that are designed to allow more space between quilting, but simply because the '2 inch rule' guarantees you will never experience shifting and clumping of your batting, even after many years of washings and use.
ANTIQUE & VINTAGE QUILT TOPS, because of their age, require and deserve special attention by an educated and experienced staff. They are only rarely ever without 'issues': deteriorating thread at seam junctures, fragile fibers in the fabrics, degrading material. Our staff has been trained to look for, and repair, areas on antique quilt tops that are potential trouble spots, before the tops ever go to the quilter. While quilting will strengthen seams and stabilize fragile fabrics, it is not a quick fix if the 'issues' in the quilt top are not addressed prior to quilting. After we are confident the antique quilt top can safely be subjected to the normal rigors of quilting, it will go to a quilter who is proficient in quilting antique tops. Some fabric issues are not evident until quilting is underway, so having a quilter who knows how to respond to these issues is integral to a positive outcome. If you are a collector of antique quilt tops, or the proud owner of a family heirloom from a previous generation, it just makes good sense to insure the quilter is experienced and capable to handle these 'treasures'. After all, inferior workmanship will impact the value of your quilt top 'forever'.
We believe hand quilting shouldn't be about adding thread, it should honor and preserve this art form. We are not just quilters, we are quilting specialists, offering exceptional hand quilting in the Amish tradition.
In addition to our hand quilting service, we also offer custom quilt making to your design, color and size specifications, from cutting and piecing your top through hand quilting and binding. When finished, your quilt will be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, a family treasure to pass along through many lifetimes.
Let us help you complete a top from a previous generation, or one you pieced but have not had the time to quilt. We will work closely with you to complete unfinished projects, or create a quilt uniquely your own from traditional and non-traditional patterns, in your color preferences and size requirements.
Traditionally, quilt piecing was a project for the Fall--a pleasant switch to sewing after many weeks of canning vegetables and making jelly. Winter heralded in the time for quilting, and no quilter wanted to be without a top to quilt during the 'indoor months'. Since it takes much less time to piece than it does to quilt, there are many tops in steamer trunks, cedar chests, bureau drawers, and closet shelves that never made it to quilt frames.
Like so many of the 'life-skills' practiced by past generations, hand quilting has not much survived the industrial age. Be it a sense of too little spare time or an art that is just lost, very few people are hand quilting anymore. For those of you who wish to preserve and pass on a quilt that really is a quilt in the truest sense of the word, there are not many options available. The advent of quilting machines offers a quick fix to the dilemma of having a top quilted, but it is little more than adding thread. While it is a solution, it is not a viable one for anyone wanting the finished product to impart lasting value. Many an antique quilt has been permanently ruined by machine quilting, to say little about the destruction of it's value as an antique textile art form.
Every Quilt Has a Story
This Bachelor's Puzzle quilt top came to us for hand quilting from a local client. It is believed to have been pieced in the 1930's and is in pristine condition. Our customer discovered it wrapped tenderly in tissue paper at the bottom of a steamer trunk she received from her great grandfather in Ohio. We added a little history to the little we already knew--over 20 quilters put their needles to the quilting of this top. Some were 10 stitch quilters, 9's, 8's, 7's and even the 6 stitches per inch of elderly quilters gathered around this quilt in support of the wife and children of Samuel Yoder who died of cancer in April 2003 at the young age of 42.
As with all quilts, the one who pieced this intended that it should provide comfort--it was a comfort to strangers in ways the piecer could never have imagined, but I am sure would be most pleased that the work of her hands was a blessing to a young family in need.
Learning the Skills...
Hand quilting is a journey to personal accomplishment, always striving for consistent lengths and straight lines to better the stitch count, until the quilter settles in to her personal best. For an Amish girl this journey begins very early in her life. Her mother's quilting frame is a fixture in the sitting room. As a young child she plays "fort" at her mother's feet under the frame or stands beside her, watching her quilt. As she enters adolescence, often she is invited to run a few stitches on a family quilt or is given batting, backing, and fabric scraps in an embroidery hoop to begin to hone her craft. By age 16 she is quilting regularly beside her mother. She has already been instructed and tried her hand at piecing a top. These are generally small projects, crib size quilts that are placed on the quilting frame. Her mother encourages her to make "fine" stitches, taking her time to better her last stitch count. The goal she is hoping to achieve is 10 stitches per inch.
Quilting needles are called "sharps" or "betweens." These are approximately 1 1/2 inches long. The feat the quilter is attempting to accomplish is to "load" as many stitches as possible on the needle before drawing the thread through the layer. The needle must pass through 3 layers of fabric and batting with each stitch. The quilter rocks the needle in order to pick up the stitches. When the stitch lengths become consistent, after she has mastered the rhythm of rocking her needle, she begins to work on advancing her stitch counts. We have quilters as young as 18 years old who can consistently quilt at 8 stitches per inch. Achieving 10 stitches per inch is a feat few ever achieve-it requires diligent practice. Usually the demands of life take the young women away from practicing their craft.
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If you love to quilt but hate to piece, we would be happy to piece a top for you in your size, pattern, and color preference. Since we design and build quilts from start to finish, we can make a quilt any way you wish. If you are ready to begin right away, take a look at our quilt tops. (The link will open a new page to our parent website; close it to return here.) You might find your next project among these tops currently in our inventory. Have a top that is too small to be functional for your bed size? We can add border fabrics to meet your size requirements. Even if you have a quilt that is not completed, we can finish it for you. Our expert Amish quilters are ready to turn your old or new quilt top into a cherished family heirloom.
Due to the variety of mattresses available today, it is important that you measure your bed to determine the size requirements. We recommend a cloth tape measure for this purpose.
Measure the width of the bed mattress from side to side. Find the drop or length you want the quilt to fall on each side of the mattress. Double the drop for one side and add the mattress width to arrive at the width of the quilt.
To use the quilt as a coverlet (for use with pillow shams), add a single drop measurement to the length of the mattress. The resulting number is the quilt length. For the over/under pillow tuck style quilt, add 10 inches to the quilt length above.<
Our ready-made quilts on our parent site, Plain and Simple Quilts, are representative of typical, traditional Amish quilt patterns and colors. If one of our ready-made quilts appeals to you, but is not featured in the size/color you are wanting, we can create it to your specifications. If you don't see the pattern you are wanting, we have 100's of quilt patterns in our archives. To obtain an estimate move to our Custom-Ordering page.
First, knowing the name of the quilt pattern is helpful but not absolutely necessary. Our experienced staff can often determine the pattern name by your description. Many of the older, traditional quilt patterns are known commonly by several different names. In order to ensure that we understand precisely the pattern you are wanting, we will send a copy of the pattern as an email attachment for your approval.
Second, is the final process of color selection. If you are wanting a particular shade of a color, you will be asked to mail a paint chip, a swatch of fabric, a drapery tieback, etc., so we can be certain of an exact match. Often our customers will merely specify blue, rose, green, etc., without needing a precise color match. If this is your case, we have hundreds of bolts of fabric and years of experience in making pleasing color combinations. A grid of your quilt pattern will be made. Small swatches of the selected fabrics will be attached to your grid and mailed to you for your approval. Or, if you prefer, you may make your own fabric selections at your local fabric store. We will be pleased to provide you with the precise yardage requirements for each color change in your pattern, and also offer a "fabric credit" toward the cost of your custom quilt.
Grandmothers fan pattern made from using neckties.
Hand quilting takes considerable time; custom ordered quilts require a minimum of three months to complete. Email Lydia with your pattern name or a description if you don't know the name, and the precise quilt measurements. We will promptly respond by email with information on how your wishes can best be accomplished. Please take a moment to review our sales policies and payment option information.
Once we understand what your custom work entails, we will determine the costs involved and offer an estimate for your approval. Since we do not charge extra for custom orders, you may get a "ball park" figure for your custom quilt in your bed size by visiting our ready-made quilts at our parent web site, Plain and Simple Quilts. After you visit, just close the window to return to this page. If you would like to exchange ideas in a more personal way, we encourage you to call us at 931-840-5522.
Many of us that refer to ourselves as "quilters" are reluctant to admit that though we love to quilt, we hate to cut and piece the tops. We have several very talented Amish women who prefer to cut and piece rather than quilt. They welcome the challenge presented by an unfamiliar quilt pattern and the often confusing mathematics involved in adapting patterns to fit a particular bed size. Contact us, we will do the tedious work and leave the enjoyable, relaxing work of quilting to you. We are offering quilt tops (the link opens a new page on our parent site) and quilt top kits that contain all the necessary materials to begin quilting as soon as your top arrives.
Email Lydia with the name of the quilt pattern you are wanting. If you have a pattern you haven't gotten around to making, she will give you our mailing address. Many of the quilt tops we piece have the fabrics accompany the patterns, or if you prefer, we can supply fabrics for you in your color choice. Once we have your selected pattern, we will be happy to mail fabric swatches to you.
Simple quilt patterns are charged at a flat rate of $24.00 per square yard for cutting and piecing, when the customer supplies the fabric. If our fabrics are preferred, we charge $30.00 per square yard for cutting and piecing services.
Intricate quilt patterns utilizing your fabrics are charged at the rate of $30.00 per square yard, or $35.00 per square yard using our fabrics. Please contact Lydia with your exact quilt top size and pattern name to obtain a price for cutting and piecing a top for you.
When a quilt top is made it is the intention of the person who created it that it be put into service. Many of you are the proud caretakers of quilt tops from a previous generation. These are the truest family treasures. Had they been completed immediately, they would long since be in shambles from harsh detergents and loving wear. These tops represent your families' very personal link to their ancestors.
Recently, we quilted a 120 year old top that was, for generations, passed along in a cedar chest. Now it proudly rests upon the bed of a relative, six generations removed from its creator.
We charge for only the actual services we perform. You choose how much or how little. For example, if you are having quilting done, your invoice would reflect only the quilting yardage stitched into your quilt. Our finishing services are offered as an ala carte menu:
We can supply batting in your preference of 100% bonded cotton, bonded polyester or unbonded polyester. Cotton gives a flatter, more antique appearance to your quilt and is the batting of choice for antique quilt tops. Bonded polyester provides slightly more loft than cotton, but it is not appreciable. The unbonded polyester lofts more to accentuate the quilting. We purchase unbonded polyester batting in huge rolls and cut to the exact requirements for your quilt. Thus we are able to offer it at a price well below retailers. The cotton and bonded polyester batting comes to us cut and packaged by quilt sizes, just as you would purchase it. Consequently, we cannot compete with larger retailers, so our prices for the batting run about $3.00 more then you could acquire it locally. Our backing fabrics are high quality 100% cotton and cotton/polyester blends in solid colors. If you prefer a patterned backing, you will be asked to supply the materials. Please avoid sheeting material; the thread counts are too dense for quilting purposes.
Our 45" wide fabrics are billed at $6.49 per yard. The wider muslins vary in price by width. Whenever acceptable we try to use unpieced backing. However, muslin is not always a good match with the tops, then pieced backing is necessary.
You are encouraged to provide your own backing and batting. If you choose to do this, we ask that you launder your backing fabric. Wash it in warm water, using a small amount of any detergent to remove fabric sizing, and allow for shrinkage and running of dyes prior to quilting. You will also be asked to piece your backing fabric (if needed).
You may wish to have us prepare your quilt for the frame by basting the layers. Charges for this service are indicated by size below. You can forgo this charge by doing the preparation for quilting. If this is your choice, we have no preference for pin or thread basting, whichever you prefer. We do ask that you do not use plastic quilt staples to baste your quilt.
Crib Twin Full/Double Queen King $25.00 $35.00 $40.00 $45.00 $50.00
We have an extensive inventory of quilting stencils in our shop. We will carry several stencils with your top to the quilter, and she will have many of her own. All these are tried on the quilt until we come up with the perfect quilting stencils for your pattern. If you have particular quilting patterns you desire, you may suggest these, and we will do our best to accommodate your request. Should you feel it is imperative that a specific quilting pattern be worked into your quilt, we ask that you mark the top prior to mailing it to us, or include the stencils in your quilt packaging. You may specify pattern placement, i.e.: center medallion, rope, feathers, etc. If we do not have the perfect size for your quilt, we will hand make a stencil to fit. The charge by marking your quilt top is listed below by size.
Crib Twin Full/Double Queen King $25.00 $35.00 $40.00 $45.00 $50.00
As with all of our services, you may forego this charge by marking the quilt yourself before mailing. If you choose to mark your top, we strongly suggest that you do not use a water soluble marking pen, as these are humidity sensitive and sometimes arrive with much of the marking having disappeared. Pencils specifically for quilting can be purchased at nearly any place fabrics are sold - gray is the most versatile.
Our quilters follow the old 2" rule; they will put quilting every 2 inches. We refer to this as an old practice because it was a "hand quilting law" in the days before bonded battings. With the new battings, quilting every 2 inches is no longer necessary to keep the batting from shifting and clumping over time. Though the rules have changed, the Amish quilters are reluctant to change and will put quilting every two inches unless you request otherwise.
Our quilters cut their quilting thread in 36" lengths, and you will be charged for the actual yardages sewn into your quilt at $1.10 per yard. Our quilters are 'all' experienced and accomplished. The majority are 8 stitch per inch quilters, with some exceeding this skill level. We do not use the quilting services of young girl's whose skill level is 6 stitches per inch. While everyone has to 'start somewhere', as the saying goes, we don't think they should be 'learning' on client quilts. It is our commitment to provide workmanship that honors the many hours of planning and piecing, to compliment and enhance the workmanship already present in the quilt top. Hand quilting should be more than adding thread to a quilt top, it should advance this art form while defining and adding character to the quilt.
If you prefer an expert level quilter, who consistently quilts at 10 stitches per inch, you will need to specify this when requesting an estimate. While your quilt top will be given to a single quilter, quilting is a social activity for Amish women.
This hand quilting represents only a few hours, at the most, of work by the 'guest' quilter. However, since this Amish practice results in a likelihood existing that someone else, other than your quilter, will put stitches in your quilting project, we cannot in good faith, assure that only one quilter will accomplish all the work start to finish. When we have a 'quilting bee' scenario, where many women over the span of several days will be quilting together, we first get the approval of the quilt top owner. In situations where a mother and daughter, or several daughters, quilt together, these 'helpers' are all accomplished quilters, working in the 8-9 stitch per inch range.
Whenever acceptable, we utilize the traditional Amish backing as binding method. If you are supplying the backing fabric, add an additional 8 inches to the width and length of your fabric requirements to allow for the excess backing material needed to bind. If you prefer binding strips, you may select to have us supply the binding fabric at $4.49 per running yard, or you may send the binding along with your quilt. Also, we do not bias cut binding strips, so if this is your preference, you will need to supply these to us. The charge for straight edge binding using the backing as binding method or binding strips is listed by size below. Fabric and labor for making binding strips is charged additionally. Charges for scallop-edged or jagged-edged' quilts requiring bias cut bindings and are charged at $3.00 per commercially produced package. The labor for machine and then hand applying strips for these quilt edge configurations is double the prices noted below. Hand sewing of the hexagon edge of the Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern quilt is triple the prices noted below.
Crib Twin Full/Double Queen King $25.00 $35.00 $40.00 $45.00 $50.00
If you would like to save the cost of the binding service, we will return your quilt to you when the quilting is completed.
When you are ready to obtain an estimate for our custom quilting services, please contact Lydia with the following information:
- the width and length measurement of your top
- the width of any borders that exceed 12 inches
- any of the particular ancillary services that you would like for us to perform for you
- your quilter's stitches per inch choice (if any).
Though every attempt is made to offer an accurate estimate, custom quilting involves variables that are not known until the quilt is complete. Lydia will keep you apprised of what is happening with your quilt relative to your estimate.
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Other Places to Visit
Our parent site, Plain and Simple Quilts contains much of the same information but stresses completed products rather than custom work. There are many images of ready-made quilts showing what Amish patterns look like when they are completed. Our handcrafted wooden quilt hangers and quilt racks are very popular and available through the parent site. When we refer you to our other site, this site's page will always remain open and behind Plain and Simple Quilts pages. Close the Plain and Simple Quilts page to return to where you were.
You may want to visit our Tips and Tidbits page to learn some tricks of the trade as well as quilt care recommendation and other points of interest. We will be adding new items on the Tips page from time to time, including those from customers that are found to be helpful to those of us who enjoy creating quilts.
Please take a moment to review our sales policies and payment option information.
View customer testimonials (new page opens) to see what is said about our business. We may well be able to add your comments to the page.
You may find our links page of interest too.
Amish Hand Quilting is a subsidiary of Plain and Simple Quilts, specializing in hand quilting and custom services.
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If you have any questions about quilting, comments, or curiosities, I am Lydia. Click this icon anywhere on our site, and I will be happy to respond to your questions.
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