Skip to main content

Charm Quilt

Public Submission
Hyde Park, Ontario
1860 - 1920
Materials & techniques
Cotton; Hand-stitched
Fanshawe Pioneer Village, 2016.137.1
Known as a "Charm Quilt," the pattern of this quilt top is quite simple – identically sized, hexagon-shaped pieces of printed cotton hand-stitched together. What makes it special is that every hexagon is unique; not one piece of fabric matches another. It is also known as a "Beggars Quilt", which refers to the fact that women would often ask their friends and family for bits of fabric in order to collect enough different scraps to complete their quilt. In fact, many of the hexagons appear to be made from scraps, carefully pieced together to be large enough to form a patch.

The history behind a “Charm Quilt” is based on a Victorian tradition of young, unmarried girls collecting unique buttons or beads, “charms” if you will, and putting them on a string. As the story goes, if a young lady could collect 999 different buttons, the 1000th would be brought to her by her one true love. Another version of the story is that mother would make her charm quilt of different patterns, except for two identical ones. Searching for the matching pair would entertain a bored and bedridden sick child.
Submit a related artifact
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Pinterest Email More...

Main sponsors

  • Logo of the Imperial Oil Foundation with accompanying characteristic oval 'Esso' symbol.

Institutional partners