A Beautiful and Rare Antique Mennonite American Quilt, Country Of Origin: America, Circa date: 1860 – This rare, Mennonite antique America quilt from the 1860’s is a real treasure, as there are few that have survived. The Mennonites are a branch of the Amish community that broke off in the 1860’s over disagreements with the Old Order Amish. The Amish are a group of Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants to America who are known for adherence to strict religious beliefs and conservative views. Their women are notably known for their skill in quilt making.
This brightly colored quilt is in what is known as the log cabin pattern. The squares are made from strips of fabric stacked in a way similar to the stacking of logs used to make a log home. This particular arrangement of colors is known as “streak of lightening” and is a popular Mennonite design. This pattern alternates light and dark diagonal rows of color. The border creates a whimsical frame to the pattern.
These magnificent antique American quilts were often made from scraps or clothing that had worn out its usefulness. The Mennonites were known for their thriftiness and traditions that emphasized gratitude for the gifts one had been given. These designs were not haphazard and required tremendous amounts of planning and thought.
The scraps would be collected and then the colors would be arranged. Finally, the pieces would be cut and stitched together with precision to make a top. Next a fluffy, warm stuffing would be sandwiched between a backing and the top. This would be hand stitched to accentuate the design and to keep the stuffing from shifting during use. This antique Mennonite quilt has a lovely blue checked background and the work throughout is finely detailed.
These quilts were made for their utilitarian, practical purposes, more so than as an art piece, but it is difficult to deny the artistry and craftsmanship that went into it. Finding a piece that has survived in this shape is a rare find. This is an exquisite example of the great Mennonite quilting work.