Charmed, I’m Sure! Let’s Get Started

I have a confession to make. I’m a charm square addict. There, I said it! I’m obsessed with them. Have you fallen in love with these little 5” squares of fabric? Or have you wondered what on earth you would do with these?

For one thing, I see them as a challenge. How many different quilt designs can I create with these squares? In this bi-weekly series, I’m going to explore different ways to cut them, store them, exchange them and use them to create wonderful quilts. I’ll be sharing my techniques and some free patterns for you to use as well.

Over time, I have amassed a nice collection of charm squares—some from purchases and some from my stash. Typically, a purchased pack of charm squares contains 40-42 squares. Unless you purchase more than one pack, 40 squares is not enough to make a decent-sized quilt. That’s where my stash comes in. I can always add from my stash to make the size quilt I want.

So, let’s start at the beginning to build your charm square stash. After finishing a quilt project, I find that I have various pieces of fabric left over. Unless my leftovers are ¼ yard or larger, they go into my scrap basket. When I have a little free time, I’ll take a pile from my scrap basket and cut them into shapes I find the most useful. First I cut all the 5” squares I can (cut a 5” strip and then subcut into 5” squares). What’s left over I cut into 2½” squares and then the random strips that are left (1½ ” or narrower), I save for future string-piecing projects.

IMG 1089 e1500388980453 225x300 Charmed, Im Sure! Lets Get Started

pile of scraps

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cut charm squares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I store my charm squares in plastic tubs. They’re easy to stack and keep organized.

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Plastic tub

OK, let’s get started! Here’s an easy design that works with any fabrics. It uses 5″ charm squares, 2 1/2″ squares and 2 1/2″ x 5″ rectangles of background fabric. You can either dig into your 2 1/2″ square bin or cut 5″ charms into four – 2 1/2″ squares. I used novelty prints and made an I Spy quilt, but this design would also work for holiday prints, batiks, Patriotic, reproduction—any fabrics would look great.

My quilt is 6 x 6 (41″ x 41″) and uses 36 charm squares, 49 – 2 1/2″ squares (can be cut from 13 charm squares) and 84 – 2 1/2″ x 5″ rectangles (1 yard). With careful positioning, you’ll only need 1 1/4 yards of backing plus 1/2 yard for the binding. Sew 7 rows with          7 – 2 1/2″ squares and 6 rectangles each and 6 rows with 7 rectangles and 6 novelty charm squares each. Sew the rows together alternately.

FullSizeRender1 768x1024 Charmed, Im Sure! Lets Get Started

I Spy quilt

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I Spy quilted

I quilted my quilt with straight lines in both directions using my walking foot.

If you’re looking for a colorful pack of charm squares to add to your collection, be sure to check out these ColorWorks Concepts.

For a little something extra, here’s a video I made using charm squares to make a Dresden plate quilt.

use charm squares to make dresden plate blocks 1024x575 Charmed, Im Sure! Lets Get Started

 

I used the EZ Dresden Plate Tool to cut the blades for my block. Two blades can be cut from each charm square.

To get you started on your Charm Square journey, let’s have a little giveaway. Leave me a comment letting me know if you use charm squares and how you store them. I’ll randomly pick one winner on Monday, 8/14 for a pack of charm squares.

Marie is the winner of the Charm Square giveaway and has been notified by email.

Stop back next time. I’ll be sharing how to organize a charm square exchange with your quilty friends or guild along with another quilt pattern.

About Carolyn

I'm the Content Director for Quiltmaker magazine. I'm married with three grown sons and one adorable grandson.I've been quilting for over 30 years. I'm an avid quilter, but I also enjoy photography, scrapbooking, knitting, reading and hanging out with friends and family.
This entry was posted in Charm Squares, Quilting Inspiration, Quilty Lifestyle, Scrapbag and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Charmed, I’m Sure! Let’s Get Started

  1. Pingback: Quiltmaker - C | Pearltrees

  2. Tara A says:

    I love charm squares! I keep mine in a plastic bin as well, but it’s much smaller. I guess I need more charm squares! I like the idea of cutting leftover scraps into charm squares.

  3. Joy B says:

    I’m addicted to charm squares and store them both in tubs and on a shelf for display. If I find a line of fabric I can’t live without I buy the charm set. Have made numerous baby quilts with them but never thought of cutting my scraps up into 5″ squares. Guess that’s where I’m heading next. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. Ann Highfill says:

    I have used them and really like precuts in general. I have shelving in my sewing room and stack with along with the other precut.

  5. I have made a baby quilt and lap quilt with charm packs. I just love getting all the fabrics in a particular line of fabric! All are coordinated & go together perfectly! Strand

  6. Mary says:

    I have used charm packs in this last month on a baby quilt and a table runner.

  7. Nancy Roraback says:

    I love collecting charm squares also! I am so excited to see your ideas on what to make with them!

  8. Sherry Starr says:

    I store mine in plastic boxes.

  9. Liz Engman says:

    I’m really just getting started with charm packs–though I found in my boxes a set of 180 4″ squares from a kit I received in the 1970′s for making patchwork clothing (which I never made). I’m already going through my fabric to cut scraps into useable subcuts.

  10. Debra Reber says:

    I am addicted to charm square packs!! Since there are many different fabrics/colors in a charm pack, I can’t really store them by color. So I store them by theme– Christmas, kids, baby, fall, etc.

  11. Candace Timpanelli says:

    I have LOTS of scraps stored in hanging shoe bins sorted by color. I will start cutting them into charm squares in between projects. Thanks for the great ideas!

  12. Sandy A in St. Louis says:

    I love charm packs! I store them in a drawer about the same size as your tub. I love getting to see a whole line of fabric in one little package!

  13. Mollie says:

    I have the charm square addition too! I love both the 5 inch and 2 1/2 inch squares. I store sets on the book shelf in my sewing room so I can ‘pet’ them now and again. Squares cut from scrapes have a home in large zip lock bags.

  14. Kathy Hartwell says:

    I have lots of charm packs and use them when I have a project that I need right away. I store them in clear plastic containers, that way I can see them.

  15. Marie says:

    I am a charm square addict also. Love to get the whole line in a cute bundle. I keep them in plastic tubs.

  16. Ann Rose says:

    You’ve given me the incentive to get into my bin of scraps and get going with charm squares.

  17. Sandi Kelly says:

    Love charm squares. I store mine in nylon foldable baskets from ikea

  18. Betty says:

    I use charm squares to make accent areas in quilts and tote bags. I store them in shoe boxes.

  19. Rosalind Gutierrez says:

    I have been collecting & cutting fabric into charms so they are stacking up waiting their turn. I have a see-through plastic container to keep them in.

  20. Carol Schon says:

    I have scraps, scraps and more scraps — and I store them by size in plastic cases. I will probably never use all of them, but I do lots of chain sewing, leaders and enders using them. They eventually find their way into quilts of varying sizes. I love scrap quilts!!:-)

  21. Jan Hair says:

    My charms were acquired by subscribing to packs/ month. They were utilized in paper-piecing and HST, stored in plastic shoe boxes and in pattern box.

  22. Lori Morton says:

    I am a Total Charm Pack Addict!!! I have many..lol…and try to have two of some…for quick to do projects/quilts. I also am a Scrap addict…so definitely have stash of those!!Most of my charm packs are in a low bin, and on sides, so I can see (& drool over) them..giggle.. It all works for me.. unless need a particular color I don’t have enough of. :)

    Thank you for chance to win your give-a-way..and for sharing how you them! :D

  23. Kate Delonas says:

    I am also addicted to charm packs and I keep them in my quilting dresser in the closet of my sewing room – I’ve removed the closet doors to have easy access – had to put as much into the closet as I could since acquiring my Handi Quilter Avante long arm! I love making baby quilts out of my charm packs – they come out so happy and cute and the perfect size – I add filler colors.

  24. Marianne says:

    I keep my Charms separated by theme in cardboard boxes with lids, along with other precuts: C/W, Modern, 30′s, Children, Christmas and Batik.
    However, I need more inspiration to sew them up…. so I can feel justified to buy more!

  25. Joanne says:

    I also cut my scraps into 5″ and smaller squares. I sort them into color groups and store them in baggies then put all of the baggies into a plastic box labeled 5″ squares. It’s worked well!

  26. Sandy Hill says:

    I have several packs of charm squares and sometimes buy two at once or supplement from my stash. I use the Nickel Quilt book a lot for my charm square quilts.

  27. amanda-jane elliott says:

    i use pat speth’s great book”nickel quilts” it is all quilt patterns using a five inch square. i made an autumn stars quilt that is one of my favourites ever.

  28. Gaila says:

    I have not yet used charm squares. When I began quilting in 1989 I don’t think they were available. A few years later life interrupted my new hobby. But I’m now back and ready to try charms.

  29. Wendy says:

    I LOVE charm packs! I store them in plastic tubs and any where else I can stash them. They are my favorite precut!

  30. Janis T says:

    I love charms, I have mine in a large plastic storage box. Charms are great for quick projects!

  31. Pingback: 5 Things Happening at Quiltmaker This Week | Quilty Pleasures Blog

  32. Nancy Green says:

    Love charm squares! I also subcut my scraps and 5″ squares are one size I cut, too. I have had charm square swaps with friends in the past, sending a certain number of squares (2 for each participant) to the moderator who divided them up and sent them back to each person. We had a different theme each month: batiks, 1930s, orientals, tone-on-tone of a certain color, etc. it was a great way to get a good variety. I store mine in one of those plastic drawer units.

  33. Dian H says:

    Some of my scraps have been cut into charm size. I arrange them by color family so it’s easy to see colors that I might need for a project. I put them in a clear shoe box size tote but I don’t have many yet. You might say it is a work in progress!

  34. Christi says:

    I store my charms in a box exactly the way you have them. Funny I just made 2 baby I Spy quilts like the one you have shown as a baby gift. Must be a universal pattern.

  35. Cherie says:

    Funny you should ask. I just bought a book with projects using charms. Because I’m building a stash of them. Lol.

  36. Barb K. says:

    I like charm squares and have several packs (usually bought on sale)–so far, they are a “collection” in one of my plastic drawer stack units! I do plan on making a quilt sometime– saw one called “Falling Charms” that I would like to try.
    bjkaup(at)(abbnebraska)(dot)(com)

  37. Kathy Boice says:

    I love charm square packs! They are fast, easy, and they have a great assortment of fabric prints from a line of fabric so no worries about choose colors that go together! I store my charms in special baskets marked with tags that tell me the basket contains Christmas, 1930′s, or Civil War type charms, etc. If I have more than one pack of the same kind of charm, I place them in a zip lock bag so they are together. These go in their appropriate basket. Thank you for this giveaway!

  38. Lynn D in NC says:

    I use charm squares too and am always on the lookout for patterns to use them up. I have old kitchen cabinets in my sewing room (basement) and I store the charm squares in one of the drawers. I use them pretty fast, so I won’t go beyond one drawer.

  39. Pam C says:

    I do collect and use charm squares, cut mostly from scraps. Like others, I store them in clear plastic bins. I am really looking forward to this blog series from Carolyn. She did a workshop on scrap patterns using charm squares at a Quiltmaker Block Party that I attended about five years ago, and I took her workshop. We are in for a treat – there are a lot of great patterns and blocks that start with these 5″ squares!Brazil

  40. Kathleen Kingsbury says:

    I have a collection of charm squares but haven’t gotten into them yet. So I’m looking forward to all your suggestions. Love the I Spy quilt.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win!
    kakingsbury at verizon dot net

  41. Rebecca Ball says:

    Mine are on end in a 5″+ deep rubbermaid tub on my fat quarter (and precuts) shelves. They are great starting points for 4 H’ers that I am hesitant to teach to rotary cut (10-12 years old).

  42. Lisa Marie says:

    I like charm squares and often buy charm packs as a way to sample a collection and see what prints I might want to buy more of. Plus a charm pack is great to make a quick table runner. I also keep mine I plastic boxes.

  43. Pam Jolly says:

    I love charms squares too! I keep them in a big plastic bin. Thanks for the pattern. I am going to make it using Christmas charms.

  44. Diane Paul says:

    I have scraps galore and this will make a great quilt using a lot of them.

  45. Betty Back says:

    I love Charms, have been collecting for some time. I keep them in various plastic containers.

  46. Wanda says:

    I’m just starting to collect charm squares. You have given me the incentive to get moving and cut up my scraps and start a quilt. My scraps need to be used. I have a large chest that I keep my cut fabric in. Thanks for getting me started and for the chance to win.

  47. Vicki H says:

    Charms cut from my scraps are in a plastic shoe box. Bought charms are in a drawer.

  48. Sandy K says:

    My charms are stacked on a bookshelf next to fat quarters.

  49. Judy says:

    I do have several packs of charm squares which so far I have just stored together in a basket. I have made a couple of quilts with charm squares and really liked using them as they made everything go together much faster.

  50. Linda Webster says:

    Sometimes I use charm squares. There is no order to their storage, just all piled into a small container.

  51. NancyB from Many LA says:

    I do have charm packs and love them! I store mine together in a cabinet

  52. Kathy Henderson says:

    I don’t have a lot of charm square packs, but I do love them! I have a wooden CD tower (tall skinny shelf unit made to hold CDs) that I keep my fat quarters in. One shelf has most of my charm square packs. It came in handy a few months ago… I was looking through my FQs to make a baby quilt and came across a charm pack that worked perfectly. I like having them out so I can see them. For me, it’s “out of sight, out of mind”. Thanks for the chance!

  53. Pat K says:

    I won a pack and bought a second pack to make up a child’s charity quilt. A quilting friend recently gave me some of her leftover 5″ squares which I immediately put to use in another charity quilt. Up to this point, since I usually use them right away, I don’t have any storage tips to share.

  54. Heather says:

    I like charm squares and use them often in nickel quilts. I store them in a large Rubbermaid container in my fabric closet and cabinet.

  55. Pat in WNY says:

    I don’t typically purchase charm square packs, but have quite a few of the 2 1/2 inch mini-packs. I tend to cut my scrap fabrics into 4 1/2 inch squares for I-Spy quilts, and have made several baby/toddler quilts using those squares. Storage is clear plastic bins for all my fabrics and projects in progress. Looking forward to this series of posts.

  56. Kathie L says:

    I think we are twins. I have a plastic container like yours to store my ‘several’ charm square collections. I seem to use a lot for baby quilts.

  57. Jocelyn says:

    Great post! I too love charms. The colors are always so versatile, and I love the sampling of each pattern. I store mine in a plastic bin.

  58. Quilting Tangent says:

    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for this series.

  59. Sheena B says:

    I’m a fan of combining a patterned charm square pack with white charm squares for a quick and easy baby quilt. In fact, I have two tops finished and ready to be quilted. This has been the year of the baby quilt in my circle of friends and family!

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