There's a story about Amish quilts that says a quilt can't be perfect because only the Lord makes perfection.

Not true, said Wendell Zercher, a Lancasterhistory.org curator.

"Their response is, 'no one has to remind us that we're not perfect," Zercher said as he explained the history of quilting in Lancaster County.

The final quilt he showed had different colors, different fabrics and wasn’t symmetric. But that was probably out of necessity, he explained.

The four-block design was separated by strips of twill, wool and crepe fabrics in different colors.

Perhaps the quilter was using up different fabrics, Zercher said.

"Sometimes you run out of fabric," he said.

When the symmetry of a quilt is not perfect, it can be jarring, especially when you don’t know why things are a bit off.

"It just makes you scratch your head and wonder, what was she thinking?" Zercher said.

While some patterns are perennial favorites like the simple four-patch, quilters follow trends, even Amish quilters.

"The Amish, they didn't do it if it was a fad, or when it was popular, always 10 years after the fact,” Zercher said. “They're conservative. They don't embrace something until it's no longer popular."

In sewing and in life.

This is the final story in a series about quilts in Lancasterhistory.org's collection.

What to Read Next