Quilting Superstitions


Block Detail—Image used with permission from Bill Volkening, photographer and owner of the quilt

It is Friday the 13th and while avoiding ladders and black cats today, we thought it would be fun to look at quilting superstitions throughout history. Be warned, it seems there was a lot of quilt shaking happening back in the day. They were either shaking quilts at people or throwing cats around in quilts to see where they would run out… Well, they did not have the internet back then and I’m guessing they needed to be entertained somehow!

Quilting Superstitions

  • Never make a quilt with 13 blocks.
  • If you sew on a Sunday, you will have to pull out all of those stitches with your nose when you get to heaven.
  • If you begin a quilt on Friday, you will never live to finish it.
  • You are supposed to sleep under your quilt when it is finished, even if it is going to be a gift.
  • If a thread breaks, it will bring misfortune.
  • Stitch a spider web design into a quilt to bring good luck.
  • It’s bad luck to give away your first quilt.
  • When a person is ill, it is said if they sleep with a quilt, all the love from the quilt will heal them.
  • Never make human figures on a quilt. It is believed the figures will walk and visit you at night.
  • If you start a quilt in the form of a star, someone in the family will die before it is finished.
  • If you dream while sleeping under a quilt for the first time, the dream will come true. Marriage quilts should be laid out fresh so that dreams on the first night will come true.

Image used with permission from Bill Volkening, photographer and owner of the quilt

On Love & Marriage

  • Back in the day of making quilts for your hope chest, young ladies made a charm quilt made of 999 squares of fabric. The 1000th piece was supposed to come from the sleeve of the fella they were going to marry.
  • Bridal quilt should be quilted with continuous borders of vines or ribbon-like patterns. A broken border is said to foretell a broken marriage.
  • A girl who begins piecing a quilt will not marry until it is finished. If an unmarried girl puts the last stitch in the quilt, she will become an old maid. (Thus the practice of filling a hope chest with quilt tops, not finished quilts)
  • If a young lady shakes a new quilt out the door, the first man who comes through the door will be her future husband. If two people shake a cat in the quilt, the one near where the cat runs out will marry first.
  • When a quilt is first taken off the frame, wrap it around an unmarried woman to give her luck in finding a mate. Throw it at the first single man she sees to charm him into a relationship.
  • If someone wraps you in a new quilt, you will get married within a year.
  • If you break a needle, the next baby will be yours.

Do you know of any quilting superstitions that we left out? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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