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A Day Visiting Quilt Shops

Although I myself am a non-quilter, within the past year at Amish Country News, my eyes have definitely been opened to the beauty of these masterful pieces. Each is a work of art in itself, handcrafted by an individual who loves the color, design, fabrics and patterns.

On one particular day this winter (when all of you were enjoying the warmth of your homes) I drove about Lancaster County and was warmly greeted by some of these wonderfully talented ladies who shared with me the art of quilting.

Hannah Stoltzfoos (Hannah’s Quilts, Smoketown) invited me into her kitchen and as we flipped through some photos of different special request quilts, she gleefully spoke of colors she likes to mix into the patterns. As she chattered about this and that piece of fabric and that color here and this color there, I pictured her scurrying down the aisles of a vast fabric store, just as a little girl set loose in a candy shop!

A visit to Lucy Martin (Stone Hill Quilt Shop, Denver) always brings me a grin. As I walked into the ground floor shop, I heard Lucy’s footsteps on the stairs, but her little dog always beats Lucy by welcoming me first! Within a few seconds Lucy herself greeted me with a smile and welcomed my afternoon interruption.

With a lilt in her voice, Emma Witmer (Witmer’s Quilt Shop, New Holland) sing-songed the name of each quilt I asked about, and not only gave me the name, but a bit of background story as well. Emma spread out her newest quilt pattern and shared the colorful fabrics for each flower and each section of the design. I relished the delight with which she spoke about her own designs, "To Your Heart’s Content" and "Emma’s Garden," both inspired by the roses and flowers outside the very shop.

Although she’s off the beaten path, a visit to Katie Stoltzfus (Country Lane Quilts, Leola) was well worth the few extra minutes. Things are always bustling at Katie’s house as she manages the many joys of raising a family and keeping her quilters supplied with fabric, patterns and other materials. She apologized for having to reschedule my visit, but the lift in her voice indicated that yesterday’s family quilting session with her sisters gave her the time to relax and renew her love for quilting.

Even though it’s almost supper time, Rachel Smucker (Smucker’s Quilts, New Holland) was happy to see me. Her daughters answered my endless questions until Rachel could sneak away from her meal preparations. After I snapped a few photos of the quilts I had just helped her spread out on a rack, Rachel was delighted with the previews I showed her and wished she could use a shot of each and every quilt! A quilting frame is set up in the corner, and I know she must wander downstairs to put in a stitch here and there when she can find a moment or two.

The love of the craft sounded in each voice and joy shone on each face as I was cheerfully escorted me about their shops! I thank all these wonderful ladies for sharing the happiness of quilting with me and teaching me to enjoy and appreciate the time, effort, energy and love poured into each and every piece. I hope you find the time to experience the skillfully handcrafted quilts and warm hospitality for which Lancaster County is known at both these and the following list of shops (which I couldn’t cram into a one day visit!)

  • Amish Country Crafts, Bird-in-Hand, Ronks, Strasburg
  • Bird-in-Hand Country Store, Bird-in-Hand
  • Dutchland Quilt Patch, Intercourse
  • Glick’s Quilts & Crafts, Bird-in-Hand
  • J&B Quilts, Strasburg
  • Lapp’s Quilts & Crafts, Strasburg
  • Lovina’s Stitchery, Strasburg
  • The Old Country Store, Intercourse
  • Riehl’s Quilts & Crafts, Leola
  • Sylvia’s Quilts & Crafts, Bird-in-Hand

Amish Country News Feature Article by Carla Wolfe (2000)

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