Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Amish Country Part 1

I am back from my 2 day trip to Central Illinois, and my mom and I had a WONDERFUL time. It could not have went any better. After spending a couple of days down there, I could see myself making my home in that town. It was so peaceful....contentment was the feeling you got. On our way there we came upon this bridge. It is actually pretty close to my own town.Is that a Flying Geese Quilt pattern I see? YES! It is!! I wonder if the engineer was married to a quilter?I did not take any pictures of Amish people, out of respect for their beliefs....you know they actually think having their pictures taken puts them in the spotlight and their religious beliefs and entire way of life is contrary to that. I respected them in that, but I did get pictures of lots of empty buggies....ok, so these two are not empty, but you can see no people.
Every store and the downtown area had special "parking" for horse and buggy. The homes had metal pipe bars for tying horses to also. It was like stepping back in time, though I doubt there was a Dollar General back in the day!One scene that would have been an awesome picture was 2 Amish women in an open buggy hauling a shallow flat bed of peaches....you just knew they were on their way home (they were heading out of town in the early hours of the day) to make peach preserves and pies and jams!!!
We had a beautiful (and CLEAN) hotel room.Hi Mom!!!There was one incident while leaving.....I have not decided if I will share that or not. Probably not.
One of the places we went to was a quilt shop outside of town....I was driving and got us lost in the country and we happened to "stumble" onto it. What a blessing. This shop was attached to an Amish home. The home had no electricity, but the shop did(??) The quilts were all hand quilted and either hand or treadle machine pieced.
First I will share this ladies flower garden.....Beautiful.
This bed is loaded with quilts. She did an entire bed turning for us. They make their own quilts in solids only, and she had several of those, but for sale purposes they use calico and prints. The quilts sell for $698 queen size and $798 king. Of course, I did not take pics out of respect.So why is there a picture?? I saw this quilt hanging on the wall....The picture does not do it justice. (after some research I found it is a Jinny Beyer pattern called Sommerset) I mentioned how I would love to make it and she told me to take pictures and I could copy it!! I asked for permission to take a picture of the other one hanging on the wall and she told me to take whatever pictures I want...too bad that was AFTER the bed turning! Here is the UNbelievable Boston Commons she created.Look at that quilting!!! ALL hand quilted.I was in hand-quilting-paradise for a couple of days. My mom told this woman that I was a quilter too....you know moms, they gotta brag....and she asked if I hand quilted. I said yes, and there was an instant bond with this lady. (The same thing happened in the fabric store with 2 Amish women working behind the counter) My mom told her I had one of my quilts in the car (I had taken Basket Case with me to work on in the hotel room) and she asked to see it. I was a WRECK!!! She looked at it with loving admiration in her eyes and I felt SO honored as she said such nice things about the design (I mentioned you, Crispy) and the hand quilting.
Downtown Arthur and downtown Arcola had many nice shops....though the Amish run shops were all in Arthur. Arcola is the Raggedy Ann/Andy birthplace, so there were lots of shops selling those. It is also the "Broom" (as in "sweep the floor") capitol of the world!
Like I said, the shops in downtown Arthur were wonderful and many were owned and operated by Amish or Mennonite families. The families work together. Children attend school (separate school) until 8th grade and then go into the family business. This store had a teen boy working in it. I asked if I could take some photos and he said it would be ok. It was an Antique store that had stalls for consignment. This stall was LOADED with feedsack!!
These tools were incredible....if they could talk, the stories they would tell!!
There were so many quilts and they were priced very reasonable....$50-$200 for most. I only saw one that was machine quilted....the rest were all hand quilted.
Well I think that is enough for today. I will show the rest of the trip tomorrow. I am glad to be home, but I could have spent more time there, that is for sure!!!

11 comments:

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow what great pictures! Loved seeing all the quilts that you were allowed to photograph. Sounds like you and your Mom had a wonderful trip.

Andrea Cherie said...

Wow, that one quilt is SO SO intricate! How many hours would it take someone to do that?

More than Survival said...

GREAT trip!!!!! It looks like you had a FABULOUS time... looking forward to tomorrows post. I enjoy our trips to "Amish country".
Heather

Susan said...

It sounds like a wonderful trip, Bren! I enjoyed all your pictures.

Copper's Wife said...

What fun!!! Thanks for taking and sharing so many pictures. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Crispy said...

Oh what fun you two must have had!! I'm so envious!! Thankyou for the wonderful pictures and I look forward to the next installment :0)

Crispy

pins and needles said...

Bren, Glad you had a nice trip. The pics are lovely and all the inspiration you ned to get busy now. Hope you are refreshed and ready to go. Chris

NeeCee said...

It sounds like an incredible trip! Can't wait to see the rest of the pictures.

Rose Marie said...

We have a Mennonite community just west of Toronto and what a joy it is to get off the beaten track and shop in the Amish stores. At one shop, the lady did a bed turning too and what pleasure to see all the beautiful quilts. At that shop, the lady wanted me to take home quilts to do hand quilting, binding, etc. as she had a hard time keeping up with customer orders and needed folk to work on her quilts. Sadly, I had to say 'no' but what a thrill that she asked me without even seeing any of my work. Mind you, she did ask if I sewed my own clothes and everything I wore that day, I made. Guess that decided it for her.

Looks like you and you Mom had a great time!

Love Bears All Things said...

It is good that they've found an alternative to farming for their livelihood. I enjoy visiting areas where the Amish and Mennonite live.

As you know, I prefer hand quilting, too. Everyone has their own favorite.

Looks like your Mom and you enjoyed your time away.
Mama Bear

Guðrún said...

That Boston Commons quilt is awesome. Of course she liked your handquilting, it is so well done.