Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q ~ Quilts

The tiny hand stitched, stitching on Amish quilts always looks nice.

Contrary to popular belief, most Amish quilts are not quilted at a community quilting bee. Instead they are often single family projects where a quilt is put in the quilting frame during winter and worked on every day for several weeks until it's finished.

Every once in a while especially if the quilt is a community project, such as the families want to give the teacher a quilt as a token of their appreciation, all the mothers pitch in to help get it quilted by having a quilting bee or two.

A lot of women and older single girls often supplement income by quilting quilts for local Amish quilt shops. At fifty cents a yard you can often earn between $150 to $300 quilting a quilt. Quilts at these shops as you can guess have not been quilted at a quilting bee.

This quilt, I quilted the first winter after we were married. It took me almost a month to get it done.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P ~ Prayer

The Amish have a little black prayer book filled with centuries old prayers, if they want to pray they reach for this book and read a prayer. Praying without this book was viewed as almost sacrilegious and becoming dangerously bold.

Out of the entire book there were five prayers that were used most.

A short prayer that Daddy read every morning, a short one he read at bedtime. Sunday mornings he used to read a longer one, and several times a month he read one two paged prayer that prayed specifically for children. I always felt special when he read that prayer.

Here are the first few lines of that prayer:
Ach Herr! lieber getreuer Gott und Vater Schopfer und Erhalter aller Creaturen! gib uns doch auch die Gnade, dasz wir unsere Kinder in der Zucht und Vermahnung zum Herrn und in aller Gerechtigkeit auserziehen konnen, Du woolest auch unsern Kindern Gnaden schenken und ihnen die Gabe des heiligen Geistes erteilen. Entzunde in ihnen die wahre Furcht Gottes, welche der Weisheit Anfang ist.

Oh Lord! loving faithful God and Father creator and keeper of all creation! give us grace that we can raise our children in nurture and admonition of the Lord in all righteousness. You want to give our children grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Kindle in them the true fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom.

Then there was the prayer used at every church service that took fifteen minutes to read.

A little over half (158 pages) are prayers, and then the articles of faith, rules of a Godly life, and a few poems fill the rest of this 269 page prayer book.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O ~ Ordnung

The rules of an Amish church are called the ordnung

Ordnungs vary greatly from one community to the next. What is accepted in one community could very easily be forbidden in another.

In the community I grew up in hardwood floors were forbidden, and I always admired them when we visited my cousins in a different community. They on the other hand thought having linoleum on a floor would be great but it was against the ordnung in their community.

A few more bits of ordnung from the community I grew up in:
  • Refrigerators were not allowed in the kitchen. They were fine in a pantry, if you didn't have a pantry they often were kept on a porch.
  • Apron belts weren't allowed to be wider than an inch and a quarter.
  • Kapp strings were supposed to be 7/8" wide and had to be tied at all times.
  • Baby blankets used in church had to be black.
  • Little boys had to wear dresses until their second birthday.
  • Stoves had to be black, and refrigerators had to be painted, white was not an option.
  • Sunday evening youth hymn sings had to last two full hours, no talking was allowed during that time, at least one slow church song had to be sung, no harmonizing, and adding a chorus after each verse was forbidden.
  • Hat brims were supposed to be three inches wide.
  • Men's shirt collars were to be buttoned at all times.
This is only a very small sample of the huge stack of rules that governed almost every possible aspect of our life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N ~ Names

Popular Amish names in the community I grew up in were:

  • Albert
  • Noah
  • John
  • Simon
  • Henry
  • David
  • Mark
  • Bennie
  • Lewis
  • Menno
  • Naomi
  • Ruth
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth
  • Miriam
  • Nancy
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Martha
  • Malinda
Another interesting fact about Amish names is once a girl gets married she will be called by her husband's first name followed by her name. For example, let's pretend the first names on both lists were to get married, Naomi would now be known as Albert Naomi and if we would want to go visit them we would say we're going to visit Alberts. Adding an "s" to the husband's first name indicates we're talking about that entire family.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M ~ Mending

The day following laundry day used to be a day I dreaded. Every article of clothing had been inspected while being folded the previous day and anything that needed a little bit of mending was placed on a pile to be tackled the next day.

As a little girl I was responsible for replacing any missing buttons on the shirts and pants, while Mom hand stitched patches on the little boys pants, there seemed to never be a week that there weren't holes worn in the knees on a few pair.

The worst of the mending was darning the socks. A light bulb was inserted into the sock that was then stretched over it. A big darning needle and some yarn and we set to work weaving a patch to close the hole in the heels or toes of the socks.

It wasn't fun breaking in a newly darned sock either. The little yarn knots were annoying at the least, more often they could get quite painful depending where they were situated.

Monday, April 14, 2014

L ~ Laundry

As a child laundry day was a day to look forward to. We used to have a huge kettle outside under some trees, that had a built in firebox that we used to heat water to do the laundry. On Monday evenings my brother John and I used to use the garden hose to fill it up.

Mom would sort the weeks worth of dirty laundry and we'd put each pile into a five gallon pail and then fill the pails with water and let them soak overnight.

On Tuesday morning Daddy would get up early and start a fire in the kettle, and by the time we were done with breakfast the water would be boiling. He would fill the washing machine before he left for work.

We would hurry with the dishes and then head out to the washing machine, Mom would check the gas in the little Honda engine and start it up. She would put the Sunday clothes in first and let them wash for a few minutes and then got a long wooden stick that Daddy had made for her and lifted the clothes out and let them drop into the rinse water. She would add some more soap and turn the wringer to the side of the machine and lifted a 5 gallon pail that was filled with the soaking dirty clothes, up on a backless green chair and start feeding the clothes through the wringer into the washing machine. Once the pail was empty she would go to the rinse tub and take one piece of clothing at a time and plunge down into the water as deep as it could go and then lift it up and let the water run off a little and then plunge it in again. She would repeat this three times with each article of laundry. John and I helped with the smaller pieces. We didn't mind getting splashed as we all rinsed the clothes with energy, singing the whole time we were doing it.

 As each piece was rinsed it was put through the wringer and into a pail and then we'd head for the clothes line where we would hand the clothes to Mom, which saved her from having to bend down for every piece she hung up.

And so it continued until every batch of laundry was done, and all the clothes were flapping merrily in the breeze.

We would eat a quick lunch and then head out to check to see if the first few batches were dry already. Mom would take the clothes off and John and I would stand beside her with our arms stretched out and she would fill them with the dry clothes. We would run in and put them on the table and then run back outside to get another load.

There used to be a big mountain of clothes on the table by the time Mom got back inside. and we would all start folding. John and I got to pair the socks and fold the smaller things while Mom did the rest. She made up a little song that she sang whenever we were folding and putting everything away.

Thank you Lord for this nice day.
Bless us as we put away,
All the garments clean and bright
That were dried by wind and light.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K ~ Kapp

The kapp, a head covering, (pronounced cop) was an extremely important part of an Amish woman's wardrobe.

We honestly believed God would not hear any prayers a woman prays if she isn't wearing a kapp. In addition to the importance of wearing it while we prayed, it was also a symbol of our submission to either our husband, or father, which ever male figure was the head of the household.

Different communities have different rules of how the covering is to be made, but the purpose of wearing them remains the same.