Feverfew’s Latin name “Parthenium” comes from the Greek for “girl”, a reference to its long use as a medicinal herb for “girl problems”. The ancient herb was used as a treatment for everything from period pain to infertility, to childbirth and even moodiness! Ancient medical journals record its use as a pain relief and anti-inflammatory as early as the first century AD.
During the plagues in the Middle Ages, it was planted in gardens to protect inhabitants. I noticed in my research that medicinal herbs were often used this way, beginning as a healing remedy, and then taking on a kind of spiritual quality. It makes sense if you think that medieval folk weren’t scientists, and didn’t understand things at a chemical level like we do today, so if a plant had healing powers, it was, in a way, magic, and it’s mere presence could protect you just as rubbing it’s oils or drinking its tea.
In recent decades, studies have shown that chemicals found in Feverfew could be an effective treatment for migraines.
Our first winter here in Castlemaine, while I was knee deep in book preparation, we found ourselves neck deep in new town germs. Never had we had a winter so bad. After years of homeschooling, we had set up a life where the kids go to school and I go to work, and BAM! I was home 4 out of 5 days with one or two of us sick from April till October. I found it comical and infuriating and exhausting.
I read about the folks in the middle ages planting feverfew to ward off the plague, and even though my post scientific brain isn’t so superstitious, and completely aware of my gratitude, that while inconvenient, none of our sniffles were life threatening, I made this little quilt full of prayers for my family’s health over that time. I would have loved to have made this quilt much bigger - the honeycombs around the octagons, and the way they link together, really tickles me! But part of the acceptance of that season, was keeping it simple. So while it’s not big enough to keep a poor snuffly child warm in the coming winters, perhaps it will do well as a kind of prayer flag on one of the walls of our home.
The quilt is one single English Paper Pieced unit, that I then appliquéd to a larger background. This gave it a nice border, and also avoided the need for partial edge pieces that can be tricky to keep track of if they are all different and tiny. It also means there are only 3 easy to find shapes in the quilt, making it simple to go bigger if you want to! I love the fussy cutting in this one, even though I don’t fussy cut much. These were basically all the prints in my stash that had 8 repeats! It’s why, in the Seedlings quilt, I decided to go scrappy, and I love that look just as much!
Feverfew is a mini kit, available here!