The Amish religion originated in Europe in the 1500s and its members began immigrating to North America in the mid-1700s. Identifiable by their plain dress and use of horse and buggies, the protestant Christian group’s faith emphasizes humility, adult baptism, mutual aid, non-violence, and yielding to the will of God and to others. Today, over 300,000 Amish live in settlements in 31 states across the U.S.
Some Amish women began making quilts in the mid to late 1800s, developing a classic style characterized by the use of solid colors and geometric patterns, but often diverging from this template in unexpected ways. After outsiders “discovered” Amish quilts in the late 1960s, the Amish responded by developing businesses selling quilts. Amish quiltmakers now carry on a living tradition, evolving and adapting their craft.