For good reason, the Amish and Mennonites are renowned for their needlework. One might think that when going on vacation to Pinecraft, the Amish ladies would happily leave needlework behind them for a week or two. But that’s not the case in Pinecraft, where quilts and quilting are much enjoyed.
During the winter months, some of the Old Order women gather at the Old Order church building, where they quilt away. On a Monday, they’ll begin stitching an already pieced quilt top, and by Friday the small group will have their masterpiece completed.
Some of these lovely projects are donated to auction off at the annual Haiti Benefit Auction held in Sarasota each January. Others become gifts, to family, friends, or those in need.
Here are just a few of the quilts I saw auctioned at the benefit auction on my first visit to Pinecraft. Many of the quilts sold for more than $1,000.
I was introduced to an Old Order Amish woman at the auction, and she was watching one of the quilts being auctioned off with great interest.
You see, she’d purchased it at an auction in Pennsylvania, but because it didn’t sell for a high price there, she decided to take it with her to Pinecraft and donate it to the Haiti auction. It sold for a much higher price.
“That’s much better,” she said, nodding her head and appearing very satisfied—especially with the money going to a good cause.
Other quilts are donated for events like the Palm Grove Mennonite Church quilt show and sale, also held annually in the winter season, in February.
The quilts hang in the church fellowship hall, row by row with price tags clearly marked, each quilt more beautiful than the last.
For quilting enthusiasts who appreciate that the “hard” work of piecing is already done for them, dozens of quilt tops are neatly folded and stacked on tables in the center of the room.
Quilts have been elevated to an art form and are now more than just warm coverings for one’s bed. This time of year, though, besides a quilt’s beauty, I appreciate the toasty layer of comfort it brings.
This last photo is of a quilt that covered my bed when I visited Pinecraft for the first time. It was a lovely, hand-pieced and hand-stitched gift for my hostess that was given to her by an elderly Old Order friend.
Do you have any favorite quilting patterns? I’ve only shared a few of the quilts I photographed in Pinecraft with this post. It was very hard to choose a favorite.