Print Friendly and PDF With Strings Attached: Throwback Thursday: Y2K charm quilt

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Y2K charm quilt

Button charms: Pinterest
In the 19th century many girls swapped buttons to make "charm strings."  It was said that if a girl had 999 buttons on her string, the young man who gave her the 1,000th would be her true love.  This article describes button charm strings.   
Quiltmakers have their version of charm strings.  This article describes several waves of charm quilt fads. In late 1998 I joined in one of those waves with fellow quilters on the Rec.Crafts.Textiles.Quilting newsgroup. I sent and received dozens of packets of 25 assorted 3" squares of quilting fabric and a signature square. Our goal was to have 2,000 different fabrics by the year 2000.  Mickie, one of the RCTQers, designed "The New Millennium Quilt," a pattern that incorporated 24 fabrics in each 4"  block.  In the fall of 1999 I sewed, cut, trimmed, and assembled. The quilt was finished (quilted, bound, labeled) that November.  (The design produced lots of cutaway triangles that I later gave away.)   My design idea was to keep similar colors in each block. I didn't intend to make a watercolor quilt, but that's how it turned out.  

I include my Y2K quilt in my quilt history presentation. When I got it out for last week's program I took time to write down the names of all the contributors. One signature block was too faded to read. One person swapped twice.  At least one is deceased.  I'm in online contact with several others.  Here's the list (last names omitted to provide a little privacy):

Angela Tustin CA
Anja Almelo Netherlands
Ann Tuscumbia AL
Barb Grants Pass OR
Barb Willow Grove PA
Beata Svenberg Denmark
Beth Marietta GA
Betty Hillsboro NM
Bev ON
Beverly Bright, Victoria Australia
Carol   Dayton OH
Carolyn Natick MA
Cathy Oshkosh WI
Cheryl Omaha NE 
Cheryle Sault Ste Marie  ON
Christine Stow OH
Connie Anchorage AK
Cori Bremerton WA
Cynthia CT
Deane Cary IL
Debbie Savage MN
Debi Fox River Grove IL
Denise Strongsville OH
Diane Conyngham PA
Dianne Chicago IL
Donna Steilacoom WA
Donna Escondido CA
Dorothy Powell River BC
Elaine Suffolk VA
Elaine Montgomery AL
Flornce Tucson AZ
Genevieve Natchez MS
Gillian Beaverton OR
Gillie Oxfordshire England
Ginny Barre VT
Gwen Brooklyn NY
Irene Creston BC
Jane  Ashland OH
Janet Portland OR
Janet Garland TX
Janice Okanagon WA
Jennifer Greenwood SC
Jerrica Lewiston ID
Judith Fort Worth TX
Judy Tampa FL
Kapi Escondido CA
Kathy Grand Blanc MI
Katie Norfolk NE
Katie Ames IA
Katrina Seattle WA
Kimberly Chewelah WA
Krysia Tyne & Wear England
Laura Dale City VA
Laurel Belleair FL
Lisa Los Angeles CA
Lisa Bloomington IN
Lisa Olson AFB Korea
Lori Troy MI
Lori Troy MI
Lu Ellen Newport NC
Maarit Ottawa ON
Margie Canon City CO
Marilyn Tampa FL
Mary Birmingham AL
Mary Kay Port Huron MI
Maureen Ottawa ON
Maureen Medicine Hat AB
Mechele Seoul South Korea
Megan South Holland IL
Michelle Iowa City IA
Mickie Cranberry Twp PA
Miriam Cumberland ME
Monique Bilbao Spain
Nadine Warrensburg MO
Nancie Houston TX
Nina Marie Albion PA
Pamela Helsinki Finland
Pixie Tyler TX
Rhoda Moorhead MN
Ro Brea CA
Robin Baldwinsville NY
Robin Howell MI
Roseann Millersville MD
Rowena Nashville TN
Sandy Burlington MA
Sharon Lansing MI
Smeggy Little Falls WV
Sue Niles MI
Susan Phoenix AZ
Susan Indianapolis IN
Sylvia Clinton NC
Theresa Covington WA
Tutu Cape Town South Africa
Urchi Germany
Vickie Casper WY
Vickie Youngstown OH
Vivien Auckland NZ
Yvonne Carlsbad CA

Did you swap charm squares for the millennium?  Did you ever sew them into a quilt?


  1. Alt Dot Rec..... wow, we go way back on the interwebz, don't we? I missed this swap by a year or two. (Had to check for my own name to be sure, though)

  2. I'm still working on mine!!!! But I am working on it right now again, so maybe this time I'll get it done!

  3. Congratulations on your old finish that is totally new to me. It is fabulous with the colors shimmering along the surface of the quilt! Thank you for showing it here and telling its story. Did you quilt it with straight lines on your DSM? The set is 9 blocks by 11, but please do tell the quilt's dimensions; it looks big!

  4. That was just before I joined. I only recognize a couple of names but I knew most by their screen names. I utterly adore scrappy-type quilts, this one especially. Quilting has brought me some dear cyber friendships, now 15 years old, including some person-to-person meet-ups.

  5. Seeing these names really brings back a lot of memories! I think of these ladies from time to time, and wonder what happened to everyone.
    BTW,your quilt is just lovely!
    Vickie, now in Cleveland!

  6. Yes, that was fun. My squares sat in their box for 15 years, and now I'm using them to piece into other projects. I still have many yards of '2000' fabric (meant for the back) that doesn't seem to work into many places although I sewed some into a Dr Who quilt last year. I see that we were swappers all those years ago,

  7. I started online quilting a little too late to swap y2k blocks or fabric, but it wasn't too much after that when I started. I have several sets of blocks that I still need to put together from various swaps.

  8. Goodness this Y2K quilt is so pretty! The flow of colors across the top really is nice, and how fun to have blocks from so many contributors!


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