What you can learn from Mespa

Slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the countryside, where life takes on a peaceful more gentle pace. Quilting is one of those things, along with knitting and taffy pulling, that seems like it should be reserved for older women from pioneer days. Contrary to this stereotype, Denyse Schmidt of Denyse Schmidt Quilts is a modern woman born and raised in central Massachusetts who simply has a passion (and a talent) for patchwork.

She was raised in a family where hand-making things was normal: her father and mother made furniture and clothes in their spare time, and while they never made a career out of their talents, Denyse was inspired to take her capacity for creation a bit further.

After studying graphic design and working in a myriad of industries, Denyse finally “patched together” her experiences to create her very own patchwork quilt company, and it’s anything but old-fashioned.


Her website offers many different kinds of quilts, but the ones that caught my eye were the couture quilts. The concept behind these works hearkens back to that old-fashioned stereotype: each quilt is marked and then sent to the home of an Amish woman from a community in Minnesota. There, the quilts are handcrafted individually, usually by one woman, but sometimes by a mother-daughter team.

I have been to Amish communities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and I have seen some of the items that these communities sell to tourists passing through. The time and effort put into these pieces has always astounded me: nowhere to be seen are identical mass-produced items. Each piece tells a story and has a life of its own.

For those not living close to an Amish community, the service offered by Schmidt both to these people and to the Amish communities who benefit from a larger customer base is incredible.

Of course, Schmidt does not outsource all of her projects: many quilts are hand-made in her workshop in Bridgeport, CT, and she offers classes to those who would like to learn more about quilting and even try their hand at this old-fashioned craft. As Schmidt says, the Amish lifestyle has an “emphasis on simplicity and a slower pace,” and these qualities can be attractive to those of us still making our way in this fast-paced world. To offer these qualities of life to others through quilting is a recipe for success.