Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tricky Little Charm Packs

...or should I say:  Tricky little charm pack producers?     Notice anything about the charm packs in this photo?

Yes, you are right!   The packs are different sizes!!!  Variation seems to depend on the fabric line rather than the fabric company.   Go figure...

  • 50 charm squares in Moda / "Peace on Earth" by 3 Sisters
  • 43 charm squares in Robert Kaufman / "Hello My Name is Charm Square"
  • 22 charm squares in Benartex / "Spirographix"
  • 56 charm squares in Benartex / "Victoria" by Nikki Russell
  • 32 charm squares in Timeless Treasures / "Hampton Blues"

...and my precious little charm packs that I want to use for this QAL...

  • 25 charm squares in Moda / "Penelope" by Sentimental Studios

I suppose I always knew there was some variation in the number of charm squares per package but...  I did not realize just how wide the range was!     So, ladies... check your charm packs for actual numbers of 5" squares when using the chart below to estimate how many you will need for the size quilt you'd like to make.

The measurements for quilt sizes were found on the net; the numbers of charm squares need for a borderless quilt were computed by me...  who is prone to error; however, it's a good starting place, I hope.

This is based on the following layout:

 In figuring how many charm squares I have with the five "Penelope" charm packs, I had to consider that two of the 25 charms are from the fabric I want to use for the center square...   so I actually have only 23 charms for the corner squares.

Confused yet?

Don't worry, we'll work through this...

Additionally, you will need some extra yardage for sashings and cornerstones for two sides of the assembled quilt tops.

Because these charm packs and yardage came from stash, I have three yards of what will be the borders and binding... well as three yards of the fabric that will be the cornerstones...

The actual color is more rosy than this appears to me on my monitor.

 Extra yardage will end up on the back of the quilt.

Hope this helps you estimate what you'll need for your quilt.  Remember that I can't guarantee the numbers I've provided in the chart above.  I'm going to have to do some more figuring to work out how many 9-patch blocks I'll need for a double quilt with borders... but I won't bore you.

Happy stash shopping and fabric assembling! 

My stash is much smaller... I swear!



  1. Oh my! Too much thinking so late on a hot summer's afternoon -- it hit 100* here today!

  2. Who knew that manufacturers would do that? lol....but then I rarely use a charm pack. My stash is large enough and has it's own 5 " box. While I won't be joining this sal, I will be watching and seeing the lovely quilts that come from it. I like the choices you have made.

  3. This is wonderful info and a great jumping off point. I have a question...How does a QAL work? Do we assemble the pieces and wait for the starting gun? do we do sew many a day. Do we have an end date? inquiring minds need to know. I tend to be a rule follower or an independent thinker. I just need to know which hat to put on for this particular project.

    Thanks. I am so psyched. I just don't know what size to aim for.

  4. Lemme see if I'm understanding you: Are you saying some of these packs are less than charming?

  5. I think Moda has gone to a standard 40, give or take a couple. The thing that really gets me is the packs that have less than forty cost almost as much as those that do.

  6. Thanks for the heads up. I rarely succumb to the lure of the charm pack, but it is good information for when I do. I love making D9P quilts. I just finished a mini in December. I may be up for another one since I have a charm pack that someone gave me. I just need to pull some neutrals to go with it. What fun! (Of course, I must confess that I still haven't quilted the JL from last year's QAL. I just found some backing so I may get to that soon.)

  7. I was stoked to see this post yesterday! Spent some time studying the piecing process, and then figuring out what size I could make with what I have. Squeal!

  8. I bought a charm pack once - yes, I've only ever bought one - and I was so disappointed that all the wee squares weren't different. There were several doublers and I was most annoyed. I thought that a "charm" quilt didn't have repeats in it so why would a charm pack have repeats in it?

    Anyway, that's a propos of nothing really. :o)

  9. Good information here.