Charm Quilts, Friendship Quilts

Charm and Friendship Quilts have been popular gifts for some time. To make them, a group of people get together and each provide either a couple of squares of fabrics for a charm quilt, or a completed pieced quilt block for what we've heard called friendship quilts. Although the terms can be used interchangeable, we will call charm quilts bed quilts with individual fabric blocks and friendship quilts bed quilts with individual patchwork pieced blocks.

History of Charm and Friendship Quilts

Called the queen of scrap quilts, charm quilts have each block made out of a different fabric. Charm quilts are one of theenigmas in quilt history.  No one quite knows why they were originally made. Historians say they were popular in 1870-1900 but probably lost favor because it was so hard to collect so many different fabrics to make one quilt. The form resurged in 2000, when quilters around the country decided to make handmade quilts to celebrate the century mark. Called"Millenium" quilts, the same concept of having every block a different fabric were the hallmarks of these handmade quilts.

Charm Quilts Also Friendship Quilts

Friendship Quiltsare more complicated handmade charm quilts. Participants share pieces of fabric that they use to make a block or they contribute a completed, pieced patchwork quilt block. In the photo is a handmade friendship quilt made in Missouri in 1940 and pieced in 1961. (Yes, we know for sure. The provenance is hand embroidered on the border of the handmade friendship quilt!) I have seen both charm quilts and friendship quilts withpeople's names addedto the blocks to personalize the bed quilt. We recommend that if you make a basic charm quilt with different blocks of fabric, use a solid cotton for the block with the name on it so the name can be seen and doesn't compete with the background pattern.

Modern Version of Friendship Quilts

One of the modern versions of friendship quilts are quilts made out of original artwork from different individuals. We print the artwork on fabric to represent the work of everyone contributing to the quilt.