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Our Quilt Sale is an Art Show in Itself

Dazzling designs and colors with a wide variety of themes provide sparkle and beauty at this year’s quilt show and sale in the Quilt Barn.

Easily the largest display in the country of authentic, high quality, hand-made Pennsylvania Dutch coverings, the quilt show draws thousands of visitors each year. In fact, the quilt sale has become the most popular event of its kind in the eastern United States. Visitors consistently rate it among the top features at the Kutztown Folk Festival.

Again this year, the quilt auction will attract bidders and buyers from a wide area who are interested in owning prized heirloom one-of-a-kind quilts that will be proudly displayed in their homes and passed on to generations of family members. Additionally, visitors can make choices from the huge selection of colorful handmade quilts on display during the nine days in the Quilt Barn to take home for their own enjoyment or as special gifts for their families and friends.

Both collectors and, in fact, everyone who admires the beauty of genuine Pennsylvania Dutch quilts will have the opportunity to view the prize-winning quilts and all other quilts which are being exhibited each day during the Festival. This is truly “an art show in itself” and is one of the most eagerly-anticipated attractions at the Festival. Because there are over 1,000 quilts and hangings, visitors often come back several times during the week to take it all in.

How a practical covering made from left-over material evolved into a prized work of art is an interesting story and reflects a proud heritage. It began in the middle of the 19th century when Pennsylvania German women got together for a social time that included sewing scraps of spare cloth together to make a blanket or covering.

Quilting was popular among women because of its socializing opportunities to spend time with friends. Women young and old would spend a day together catching up on news and gossip while creating these practical and beautiful coverings. Interestingly, quilting (as well as needlework) was practiced entirely by women - unlike many other kinds of Pennsylvania German crafts which were dominated by men.

Over time, many colorful quilts were created as women saved their most colorful or decorative scraps of cloth for a certain quilt they had in mind. And so it evolved that, as well as providing comfort and warmth, quilts became tasteful decorations in Pennsylvania German homes and, eventually, were kept in the family and passed on to children and grandchildren. Thus, heirloom quilts represent a rich sense of Pennsylvania German history and family tradition.

What is the typical composition of a handmade quilt? The chosen pieces of fabric are from solid color fabric. There can be a great deal of variation in color to create an overall feeling which may be very cheery or somewhat conservative. Characteristic symbols of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture such as tulips, roses, hearts, peacocks, and feathered scrolls may be included in the design.

The superb quality of our quilts reflects the craftsmanship of those persons who have created these masterpieces. Quilts from crib size to king size are available, and a knowledgeable sales staff is available to help visitors.

Just as in the 19th century, every handmade quilt in our Quilt Barn represents hundreds of hours of patient work and artistry by women who wish to create something beautiful as well as useful. Each covering reflects their love of quilts and quilting.

The quilts and hangings in our Quilt Barn represent the very best from Berks County and nearby areas. Each is distinctive - truly one of a kind. You will enjoy viewing these treasures in our “art show” and perhaps buying one to bring home to become your family heirloom!