How Do The Amish Have Time to Quilt? (part 1)
Time is a luxury that many of us have too little of, but for the typical Amish woman, time is even harder to come by with all the chores she has to complete throughout the day. Many people wonder how Amish women find the time to make their beautiful and complicated handmade Amish quilts, but for the Amish hard work and determination is just a way of life. While most of us have a full day of getting the kids off to school, going to work, running errands, taking the kids to soccer practice and dance classes, picking up dinner, and doing the housework, we also have the modern conveniences of microwaves, washing machines, dryers, automobiles, and perhaps even additional domestic help in the home to get all the work done. An Amish woman, however, has to do many of the same things we do plus a whole lot more without the help of the modern conveniences that we are all so accustomed too. This leaves little time for creative self-expression or relaxation.
While the Amish husband is considered the head of the household, the Amish wife is also a very important part of how successful the family and the community at large runs and ultimately succeeds. While the men go out to work in the fields, tend to the commercial livestock, or construct handmade furniture and other Amish goods, the women are responsible for all the household chores. This includes raising the children, cooking all of the meals, washing and drying the clothes by hand, sewing new and mending old clothes for the entire family, cleaning the interior of the house, feeding and tending to the family's personal livestock, all of the landscape and yard work, as well as tending to the family's vegetable and fruit gardens. While these duties can take up the bulk of most days, many Amish women still manage to find time to make their own Amish quilts for their own family's use, as gifts for other friends and families, or to be sold in the markets to tourists and local community members. This might seem like an impossible task on top of everything else she has to do throughout the day, but for the Amish it's just a matter of prioritizing.
The Amish have an expression that all Amish schoolchildren learn from a very young age. The meaning of 'Joy' stands for their belief that Jesus comes first, You are last, and Others are in between. What this means is that the needs of the individual are given up in order to promote the harmony and success of the group. It's this belief that your own needs and desires come last after everything else that gives the Amish the determination and drive they are so often credited with in everything they seem to do. What this means to Amish quilting is that no matter how tired you might be after all of your chores are done, you still have a responsibility to help out others before you consider your own wants and needs. If one of your children needs a new quilt, you need to find time to complete it. If a family member will be getting married soon and you want to present them with a new quilt as a wedding gift, you need to find time to make it. If you are bringing extra income to the family through your Amish quilting skills, you need to find time to produce it. The question for the Amish is not 'how do they find the time,' it's 'how can they not find the time' if it helps to promote the success of the greater good.
How Do The Amish Have Time to Quilt? (part 2)