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Quilting/Thread color for Amish quilt


I am quilting an older hand-pieced Amish top for a friend. What color of thread should I use ? The quilt is black with  triangles of solid, dull jewel tones. Any info on this subject would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Amish quiilt detail
Amish quiilt detail  

LancasterCo, PA Amish quilt detail
LancasterCo, PA Amish  

Thanks for your question.  What I can tell you is that prior to about 1960 or so, when the Amish were making quilts for themselves and not for tourists, they typically used "non-contrasting" color threads for quilting.

They did not necessarily "match" them up -- but used light to dark neutral colors depending on what color the fabric was.

The idea, we think, was to do very good stitching, but to keep it quiet.  The non contrasting colors give the quilt lots of texture, but the quilting remains subtle and avoids calling attention to itself.

It may have to do with a central Amish principle, taken form the Bible ...  Pride was considered a sin, and keeping the fine stitching quiet and reticent may have helped them reamin consistent with that principle.

I hope this helps,


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Julie Silber


I can speak to the age, design, style, region, history, and value of antique quilts.


Forty years as an appraiser, dealer, historian, collector, consultant and museum curator in the area of QUILTS MADE BEFORE 1950.

American Quilt Study Group (former Board Member); Alliance for the American Quilt (Former Board Member)

Author or co-author of several award winning books on Quilt History; numerous articles on quilt history published over a 30 year period. Details upon request.

B.A., American History, University of Michigan; Post Graduate courses in folklore, history and art history

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Esprit de Corp., San Francisco; Levi Strauss, San Francisco; Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI; Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR

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