December 30, 2019

Charm Quilts

Well, I think this is a great topic for this put-a-new-calendar-on-the-wall and make-those-happy-wishes time of year.

Charm quilts, as the name indicates, are made with thoughts of good luck in mind.  I'd heard the folklore that the magic happens because each piece is a unique fabric....but if one and only one fabric has been used twice, the quilt has a special magic.  So that's what I did.  My charm quilts were made for my babies because, as a quilter, I of course had to make them each a very special quilt.

I am prompted to think about charm quilts by a couple of articles written by Sandra Starley.  Sandra has an amazing collection of amazing antique quilts, which she uses to travel and teach and write.  You can learn more about her and about quilts on her website Textile Time Travels.

The heart quilt was made for my daughter.  I made the quilt during the pregnancy.  I didn’t design the block.  I'd seen it on a quilt at a show and jotted it down quite a while before I made it.  I think the setting plan may have come from that quilt, too.  I realized that the 4-patch construction would give me lots of scope for using lots of fabrics.

Note that each border, each side of the binding, and the back are all unique fabrics, too.  It is 32.5" x 39", made in 1990.

The star quilt is my son's.  It was made during his toddler and preschool years.  I forgot to trace my son's newborn hand, so that also happened a bit late.  Such is the difference between a first child and subsequent children.   I found the pattern in Quilters Newsletter, and my daughter gave her seal of approval.  I don’t remember the name of the block.  I designed the borders so the stars would all have all their points.

It is 42" square, made I think in 1997-8-9.  My son was born in 1994, and I know it was a few years before I got the quilt finished.

I sign my art quilts with a handprint, a nod to my original career interest of archaeology.  There are several places where ancient artwork was "signed" by blowing pigment around an outstretched hand.  Of course, no one can say for sure that these functioned as signatures.  But to me, each hand is different and leaving its imprint does seem a way to say, "I was here; I made this; I have a human hand".

Anyhow, for these I appliquéd my hand, my husband's, and the child's on the back, along with the names and birthdate. 

They both hung in the kids' rooms for a while.

Pulling these out to photograph - they are both too old to have had digital photos! - was a walk down Memory Lane.  There's another reason this post is great for this season, as the calendar moves along!  All of a sudden I imagined my kids as little bitty again, so sweet.  It also was fun to be reminded of what was in my stash at that time.  Some of the fabrics were from special pieces of clothing and other memory items.  I have more of some of the fabrics still, but some got used up long ago.


  1. Both of these are such beautiful quilts, and a beautiful tribute to and memory of your children's births.