Thanks to All My Quilty Valentines!

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love. I love my readers! Your comments and emails constantly make me smile. So here’s to you, all my special quilting valentines. May all your seams be even and your fabrics be bright.

Cyrene coin Heart Pod

Silphium seed pod on Ancient Cyrene coin.

That ubiquitous sign of the day, the heart, sure doesn’t look a lot like a human heart, does it? Probably a good thing, as the traditional red heart is a lot prettier. Many historians think that the symbol we know today stems (literally!) from an extinct plant that grew in North Africa almost three thousand years ago. The seed pods had that distinct heart shape. The seed was reputed to have use as a contraceptive, of all things! It was so valuable to the economy in the ancient country of Cyrene (roughly in the area now covered by Libya) that the seed pod shape was printed on their coins. For a time, many of these seed pods were exported to a part of Greece that was paralyzed by decades of drought and overpopulation.


A quilted heart. Click on the photo!

In Christian tradition, the image of a red heart surrounded and pierced by crown of thorns is often attributed to a vision by a medieval nun. In Victorian times it was fashionable to craft paper hearts and send as tokens of affection, probably the origin of our Valentine Cards. From a graphic arts standpoint, it is a simple and clean symbol, highly recognizable. The shape has been commonly used in applique quilts for many, many generations.

Ever wonder where red fabric dyes come from? Take a peek at last year’s post, Valentine Colors: Red and Pink Fabric Dyes.Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot com Are you starting to sew charms together for your Postage Stamp Quilt project? I hope so! Sure, some of you may need more planning time. But most quilters could be chaining away. If you have LOTS of charms, you could even turn those chains to four-patches, but ONLY if you have at least half the charms you think you need. Otherwise just keep chaining pairs together. Later, when you randomly combine those pairs, you will have new ones to attach. After all, there are three more swaps this year.

A stack of charms chained together

500 two-inch treasures, sewn together in a chain, makes a nice stack.

If you are following the comments, the idea of having a “Newbie Swap” for new quilters, or people with very limited stash, has come up. I think it is a great idea. Stay tuned, if you think you do not have 100 different fabrics for swapping, you might find this a good way to get more charms for your stash.

Happy Quilting!Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comSignature

©2012, The Curious Quilter,,


About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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7 Responses to Thanks to All My Quilty Valentines!

  1. Martin says:

    We HEART you too, Mary!

  2. Juliet says:

    Belated happy Valentine’s Day! I enjoyed your post – how interesting about the seed pods. This is a great blog.

    I was very sorry to discover this site too late for the first charm swap. I have no stash yet but am begging fabric from friends and have just bought a bunch of 4″ patchwork squares on ebay – so I wondered whether I could cut those down into 2″ squares and join in with that group in the April swap? I’m planning to make something out of hexagons, probably just under an inch across (finished size). Are you allowing hexagons in your postage stamp group? 😉 I live in Wales (the one in the UK), by the way.

  3. Melissa says:

    thanks so much for the great Valentines Day post! I’ve gotten started on my blocks for the quilt of a lifetime! At night as I close my eyes, I see quilts, squares, fat quarters, etc. I spend a lot of time just cruising the internet in search of wonderful images of other people’s quilts and have found lots of inspiration there. I think I now have 100 different squares for the swap!! (I’ll have to recount..) A friend and I have begun swapping small batches – 35 at a time so far. I’ve got it bad!!
    The coolest thing is that this project has really relaxed me, and allowed me time to heal. I have heart disease, and need to spend some down time, not worrying about the world or my health. Quilting has been getting me in that healing space!
    Thank you for all you do, Curious Quilter!!

  4. Well, I found that my quilt idea is not 450-ish charms, but more like 750. Ouch! That will keep me out of trouble for while.

  5. Susie says:

    How do I join the next swap? I’m not sure, even after reading the posts.

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