Posted by: marymarthatours | March 21, 2011

The Quilts of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania


Quilts in the Lancaster Quilt Museum (photo taken and used with permission)

My husband and I went to Pennsylvania in December and I went to quilt heaven. I enjoy quilting history, and there I had an opportunity to see and share with my husband some of my favorite styles and periods of quilting. Lancaster County, PA, is known for the Amish and Mennonites who have settled there. I learned recently that they acquired their quilting skills from the English Quakers who settled here as well. Their workmanship is outstanding.

Collie and I spent a couple days last December in Lancaster County on a mini trip. On the way to our B&B in Lititz, we stopped at my favorite antique store in Paradise and there I fell in love with one antique scrap quilt. I took several photos of it and of an amazing postage-stamp quilt. I appreciate quilts with only two colors and/or detailed patterns, but it is quilts with vast varieties of fabrics that really fascinate me, perhaps because they show off so many different pieces of fabrics from times past.

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Quilts at Paradise, PA, antique store (photos taken and used with permission)

We visited the Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum, in the city of Lancaster. They had on display a small show of twenty Mennonite quilts. The write-ups accompanying the quilts shared good information about the maker and the style. I learned many facts particular to the quilts of this area in the 1800s. Some of the quilts were so mesmerizing that I gazed at them for a long time thinking, “However did she do that?” There were three quilts made with numerous tiny pieced blocks. There were quilts made with just two colors, sawtooth borders and gorgeously embroidered initials in the center. My photos will only give you a small impression of the actual quilts. Collie thoroughly enjoyed the quilts as well.

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Details of quilts at the Lancaster Quilt Museum (photos taken and used with permission)

clip_image014I asked Collie later which was his favorite; alas, I had not taken a picture of it: a double Irish chain of double pink, poison green and chrome yellow. The next day when we went to Intercourse, PA, I purchased 1880 style fabrics in these three colors at Zooks’ Dry Goods to make a table topper for Collie. I have shopped at Zooks before and found it fun to hear the two Amish clerks speaking in German to each other and then in English on the cell phone – used only for business. The store has recently put in electrical lighting. Also in Intercourse, we stopped in at The Old Country Store to visit the small quilt museum there and to view the beautifully made handcrafted items for sale.

A week later, we were back in Lancaster County with our son and his wife for a day of antiquing and enjoying the back road scenery. We saw an Amish “school bus” – a large covered buggy with multiple seats for a dozen children or so. And we returned to the antique store in Paradise so that I could purchase the quilt I had fallen in love with. It now lives in our living room, hung over the back of the couch.


If you ever consider a trip to Lancaster County, PA, I would love to give you suggestions of places to stay, eat and visit. There is more there than the “tourist trap” stuff. And it is a quilter’s delight with quilt museums, antique stores, textile handicrafts and fabric shops.

(by Martha)


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