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Charm Quilts Part IV

For the last few months, I have been sharing with you some of the quilts from my antique charm quilt collection. I have told you that one of the easiest ways to work with them is to create a unit and then use the same value placement in each block. But many quiltmakers experimented with other layouts of the pieces in ways to showcase each of the different fabrics. The quilt at the beginning of this newsletter is one example.

Quite a few of my charm quilts have radiating rings going from the center outwards. The right triangle in last month’s quilt can be used for these radiation ring designs as well. In this first one, it appears that the maker separated the pieces into lights and darks and then, depending on how many of the two groups there were, added the pieces one row at a time. The first ring is dark, then one ring of light, three of dark, one of light, two of dark and so on.



The maker of the second quilt has not only organized the pieces by light and dark but by color as well. Single rows of lights and darks have been alternated but the rings follow a color pattern as well. I like the way the red pieces in the center balance with the red ring further out. The same holds true with the dark blues.



An equilateral triangle has been used for the radiating rings in this next quilt. The rings are alternated lights and darks. The lightest fabrics are used in the center ring with the fabrics in each successive “light” ring being darker.



I love to look at the individual fabrics in a charm quilt and see what the maker had in mind. In this particular quilt, there are some very interesting fabrics that have been used. One of them is a “cheater” panel that was printed in the 1850’s. I don’t know if all of the cat and dog motifs in this quilt are from the same panel or more than one. But the maker felt because there were different motifs, it could be part of the “charm.” The other fabrics seem to indicate that this quilt was completed in the 1880s.






In this fourth quilt, the charm pieces are hexagon fabrics. Once again, the fabrics were sorted into lights and darks and then by color. The maker had very few green fabrics and I like the way they were arranged in the fourth ring from the center. Likewise, all the pink fabrics form one of the rings. Of particular interest to me is that there are a lot of striped fabrics in the quilt. A close examination shows that all of those fabrics have the stripes oriented in the same direction.



Which of these do you like best?

22 thoughts on “Charm Quilts Part IV

  1. It’s very difficult to choose a favorite from this group but I think I will go with the equilateral triangle quilt!

    1. I like the equilateral triangles in radiating rings.
      I would like to use some of my stash in that pattern if I knew how to get started assembling.

  2. I like the triangles. So far I have only done hexagons and 2.5″ squares

  3. Love the Hexagon one. Love the colors in it. Thank for sharing

  4. Love the one with equilateral triangles and think it might be perfect for a bag of Liberty wool scraps I inherited.

  5. Love the one with equilateral triangles and think it might be perfect for a bag of Liberty wool scraps I inherited.

  6. Love them all but especially the first one!!!!

  7. I love the fabrics in the cat and dog quilt

  8. I liked the first one. It gives the license to vary the row colors. I have more dark than light in my scrap bag. I think I will give this a try.

  9. I love the “equilateral triangle” quilt. Just beautiful! And challenging, too.

  10. I agree with previous commenters that it’s difficult to choose a favorite. The fussy cut cats and dogs are so endearing. I love the colors and to see these vintage fabrics up close. I wouldn’t appreciate them all as much without Jinny’s analysis of how the quilters made decisions on color placement and assembly of the quilts. Thanks so much for the bright spot of enjoyment on a cold day!
    I’m so grateful.

  11. I like #4 . Is the fabric in #3 heavier? Is it for drapes or furniture?

    1. All the fabrics seem to be the same cotton.

  12. The first triangle one is quite fine!

  13. As difficult as it is, I think the equilateral triangle one has the best collection of fabrics. I love how they put the rings in a hexagon too.

  14. Do I understand that one can make a charm quilt using the same background fabric throughout bathe quilt and the color fabrics are all different?

    This is the first time of reading about charm quilts and I love them already. What a great idea.

    I love how you have four different blogs dealing with the various quilt designs and show how they used a four patch, nine patch, triangles, or hexagons. Wonderful journey!

    1. I would still call this a charm quilt.

  15. I have found that as I worked thru the hand piecing of my charm quilt, I remembered the fabrics so that 800 and some fabrics later, they truly were all different. And when a friend asked ” do you have this one” I could say yes or no.

  16. I too love the equilateral triangle one. Must just have to make this. Do you still just sew rows? Would have to have a colored diagram to keep the colors in order to create the rings. I wonder if there is a pattern available.

    1. Probably the easiest is to work in rows from the center out. We don’t have a pattern.

  17. I’ve now studied the choices several times. It is a difficult choice for me but I think the top one with the red and yellow centers is my favorite. BUT, wait! The triangles are terrific too! See, like I said, I just can hardly make a choice!

  18. The hexagon quilt (no.4) is my favorite – although the others are also lovely – but the use of the striped fabric in the same direction makes it so bold and exciting yet harmonious…and the colours also make “stripes” in their own way – the green one being an eye-catcher.

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