August 15, 2014

A Detour Through Amish Country

Once in a while we like to share current quilt-related experiences with our readers.  Just last week Mary found herself traveling in upstate New York.  Seeing signs for a "Martha's Quilt Barn", she convinced her mother, daughter, and cousin to scoot off their planned route to check it out.

The trip involved passing by many Amish farms populated with dozens of amazingly picturesque children.  They were not photographed out of respect for Amish preference to avoid biblical injunction against graven images, but Mary did snap some pictures of the countryside.

Being a blog about Quaker quilt history, at this point we might explain the differences between the Amish and the Quakers. Instead, we refer you to Youtube for an interview with Quaker scholar Max Carter entitled, "Are Quakers Amish?".  (See source notes.)
The journey continued past more Amish farms until arrival at Martha's Quilt Barn (also known as Sister's Quilt Barn) in Dewittville, New York, displaying signs advertising a large variety of "Fabric, Amish Furniture and Quilts."
Visitors to the Barn are officially greeted by Ranger, a lab-corgi mix, and his beautiful companion, a cat named Toby.
A warm welcome was also offered by the proprietor, John Slater. He is not Amish but he routinely does business with them.  A former cattle and crop farmer, he explained that he initially built the barn for his wife.  Although she passed away twelve years ago, he continues to run his business with his daughters.  Mr. Slater is devoted to quality in his merchandise, his quilting (he serves quilters by finishing tops on his long-arm quilter), and customer service, offering free scissor sharpening along with some wonderful storytelling.  His quilting work has been sent to nineteen countries and thirty-nine states.
At the age of eighty-one, John Slater has no plans to retire.  That is good news since we hope to return to this quilter's haven on future trips to upstate New York.
Quilt made by one of John Slater's daughters.
All photographs courtesy of Helen Robare Mandalinic.
Martha's Quilt Barn is located at 7145 Beech Hill/Walker Road, Dewittville, NY.  Phone: (716) 753-3786.  E-mail:  Web site:
Sweeny, Steven M.  "Lone Star" in The Post Journal, January 25, 2004.
See: "Are Quakers Amish?" on QuakerSpeak@ Accessed August 8, 2014.
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.



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