The Lucky Charm Quilt

Do you remember the craze of the New Millennium? For quilters, the end of the 20th century marked a time when many of us were focused on gathering an assortment of fabrics to commemorate the new millennium. During this time, charm quilts, as the name suggests, garnered the appeal of quilt makers  who enjoyed trading fabrics in order to complete a quilt that has individual ‘charm’ of having no two fabrics alike. In fact, groups of quilters across the country, and around the world, gathered to create extraordinary and unique charm quilts made from 20th century textiles.

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During this craze, numerous extraordinary, one of a kind Y2K quilts were created! What made this phenomenon so unique was that many quilters took part in swapping Squishies with quilters from all over the world via the internet and I was one of them! (Note: A Squishy is small mail package containing charm squares and fabric) What a wonderful time to be quilter with a computer, but that is another story!   This post will focus on a smaller group of quilters from Moorestown, NJ ~ The Moorestown Area Quilters (MAQ).

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It seems like yesterday when I was a member ( and past President) of MAQ and in 2000 we decided to join the movement and make a Millennium quilt.

It began when Carrie, one of the members of the guild, suggested making a group Y2K quilt as a guild project. Carrie recalls, “When I first suggested we make this quilt no one was interested, but Kay, one of the original members of the guild, encouraged me to move forward.  After I was able to present clear guidelines to the board, it was approved and a handful of enthusiastic members jumped on the bandwagon.” With Carrie leading the effort, members stepped up by donating fabric, sorting, cutting, and sewing”

To complete the quilt, a variation of Ocean Waves, we required 2000 different fabrics in the quilt with no two pieces alike. This was going to be a mammoth challenge! All of the members were asked to collect charm squares of fabrics from their stash for this project.

Sewing bees were planned and organized, charms were sorted by color and value and duplicates were weeded out. Stacks of unique charms were counted and kits were created and sewing began. Not only were these Y2K working sessions productive, but as quilters it allowed us to occupy our time swapping family stories, playing fun fabric games, laughing and sharing pot-luck lunches.

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We used Triangles on a roll to complete the half square triangles (HST’s). Each pair of squares produced two HST’s, one for the Y2K quilt and one to be auctioned to fund future guild programs. Carrie recorded every hour that went into this project. Carrie remembers “schlepping” the box of HST’s back and forth to the quilting bees. Her funniest memory though was having to nudge us NOT to try and match the light and dark squares so that the finished quilt would be scrappy and unplanned.

In all, over 100 hours of group time were recorded and members were given ‘credit’ for each hour they contributed. These credits would each be worth one ticket in the drawing to select a winner who would get to keep this quilt when it was finished.

Members who worked on the project each provided a signature square for the back of the quilt, and a colorful center bock was made to record the name of the guild and the date. These signature blocks made a quilt in itself and are centered on the back of the MAQ Y2K quilt. The quilt was quilted by a member on her longarm and binding was applied at the annual guild retreat.

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Finally the quilt was complete and the time came to draw a winning ticket. The winner would be the Y2K Quilt Keeper.   At the time, my kids were young, but they used to come with me to the guild meetings. On the night of the drawing, I had to leave earlier than planned to get them home. I said goodnight and went home, knowing that I would find out in the morning who the lucky winner was.

I was settling in about an hour later when I heard a knock on the door. It was Carrie and Vickie and they were there to deliver the quilt to me! I’ll never forget the moment I realized that I had won this amazing treasure.   I’m happy to share the photos with you here on Lemon Tree Snippets.

Since then I’ve moved away from the area but I remember all of these ladies (and one gent!) fondly every time I snuggle under my Y2K quilt. I sincerely hope that if you are reading this blog, and you are a member of MAQ that you take a moment to say hello and share your memories of this project by commenting below. Thank-you for sharing your memories and comments in the space below. I miss you!

Happy Quilting

Pat

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