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Witmer Quilt Shop

Unique and Antique Quilts

When I walked into Witmer Quilt Shop in New Holland, I knew that I had discovered something special. It all began with a warm Lancaster County greeting from shop owner, Emma Witmer. Friendly and welcoming, Emma told me a bit about how the Witmer Quilt Shop began. Emma’s father saw potential to sell some of Emma’s mother’s quilts in the Philadelphia area, so he set forth with about 12 samples. After selling just two, he returned to New Holland with the remaining unsold quilts. It is then that Emma’s mother first placed a "QUILTS" sign in front of their home and the Witmer Quilt Shop began.

Today, this shop boasts the greatest assortment of original pattern quilts. Emma Witmer is truly an artist, the quilt being her canvas. I’ve seen many quilts while growing up in Lancaster County, and can name the traditional patterns and style. Not so at Witmer’s. Although you can certainly find a good supply and variety of traditional pattern quilts, you will also see quilts here that you simply will not find anywhere else. These are Emma Witmer originals. Emma’s talent includes not only her pattern design abilities, but also an incredible eye for color and fabric. And, Emma has an endless flow of creativity for no two quilts in the Witmer Quilt Shop are exactly alike.

Emma has over 100 exceptional ladies stitching, cutting, tracing, and piecing quilts for her shop. I was delighted with the variety of quilts found at the shop, over 150 to be more accurate. Emma and I flipped through the quilts on the beds while she gave me a description or pointed out interesting features on each one.

We then moved into two smaller rooms in Emma’s home where I found seemingly endless shelves of wonderfully creative and colorful quilted wall hangings—one for every room in my home and then some. The hard part is trying to choose just one! I found wall hangings in every color and combination of the rainbow and in many different sizes.

Finally, Emma showed me her impressive selection of antique quilts that have been lovingly restored and made available for purchase. Back in the kitchen, Emma showed me a damaged antique quilt that she was in the process of repairing and restoring to add to the racks.

Before I knew it, I had spent over an hour with Emma in the Witmer Quilt Shop, learning about quilts—old and new, talking with Emma, and doing a little window shopping! Plan to spend a little time in the Witmer Quilt Shop during your visit to Lancaster County. Have Emma show you some of her original pattern quilts. You may find it quite impossible to leave empty-handed, but you most certainly won’t be disappointed!

Witmer Quilt Shop is located at 1070 West Main Street, New Holland, PA 17557, on Route 23. The shop is open Monday through Saturday, but is CLOSED Sunday and religious holidays. For more information, call 717-656-9526.

 Amish Country News Feature Article by Sarah Ranck (1997)

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