Friday, January 20, 2012

Quilt in a Day - Amish Diamond in Square

16" square
I've finished my first Amish style quilt. It's so exciting to be able to finish a quilt top in a day....Eleanor Burns doesn't lie!  It can be done....especially if it's not too big!
I've always loved this very simple, most classic example of the Amish style. I would call it 'Square in a Square' since I think of a diamond as elongated but all the Amish books refer to it as Diamond in Square or Center Diamond. Some say that the 'diamond in square' design is inspired by the triangular shape of the prayer capes Amish women wore over their shoulders.

I used cotton solids. I planned it to be about 20" square but  the red strip surrounding the center didn't seem proportional until I cut it down a bit.

The earliest Amish quilts were simple geometric designs; center square, a diamond inside a square (like mine) and rectangular vertical bars

Center Square

Here's are a few more Diamond beauties from the collection at International Quilt Study Center (IQSC) .  Most  of these are believed to have been made in the Lancaster, PA, area around 1920-1940 and all of these examples are made of  wool.
Also, keep in mind that they are bed size; ranging from 70" to 85" square. Variations are quite subtle.

This one is even simpler than mine; it doesn't use corner squares.

This one uses a few more colors.....

Here the triangles add sparkle to the diamond!

Melinda King made this one, one of the few with a known maker. Most records state 'Maker Unknown' which, sadly, is the case for most vintage quilts.

Outside of the Box:
Variations of fabrics and more detail are usually later examples without Pennsylvania provenance - and more likely made of cotton as is this example.

And here's a contemporary version of Diamond in a Square from my photo files.....a Ricky Tims creation exhibited at Houston some years ago.

Next on my list: Bars 


  1. These Amish-style colors and designs are so appealing. I once took a class from Catherine Anthony in which we made a similar one and she taught us easy methods for marking traditional hand quilting motifs like pumpkin seed, and feathers. It's relaxing to quilt them, too, as so few seams. Look forward to seeing your bars quilts.

  2. I'm guessing this little jewel will be hand quilted. Have you chosen a pattern?

  3. Yes. Janet. you guessed right. I am planning the typical motif of a feathered wreath in the red center, grid background and...maybe a cable on the border. Of course, things can always change but now...what color thread to use?

  4. You got that made so quickly!

    I read that you were going to make several small quilts and thought I'd work along with you, and I'm sure I have enough "Amish" solids in the drawer... and then I come back to find you have one made! :-O
    Any chance we could get the cutting measurements for the pieces on this one? (Because I surely do need another project! ;-) )

  5. Featherduster - YES, Please follow along. I wish I knew more how to have a group work on things and post on the side of my blog...but in the meantime - get started. I see by your blogs that you get lots of things done. This is small. I cut the red center 5.5" - the red strip ended up being cut at 1.75" and the outer border is cut 3.5. Of course other proportions may please you and you may want it larger. Send me a picture when done!

  6. Thank you for those measurements.

    A "done" picture? We're supposed to finish things? :O

    No, I just may get a finish. I have completely bare white walls in need of some wall hangings. I've made several, but they've all gone to friends.


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