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.
pile of scraps
cut charm squares
I store my charm squares in plastic tubs. They’re easy to stack and keep organized.
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.
I Spy quilt
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.
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.