The Seedling Quilts - Feverfew Quilt

feverfew quilt

The History of Feverfew

Feverfew’s Latin name “Parthenium” comes from the Greek word 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, childbirth to moodiness! 

Ancient medical journals record its use as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory as early as the first century AD. And, in recent decades, studies have shown that chemicals found in feverfew could be an effective treatment for migraines. 

During the plague 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 physically healing remedy, and then taking on a kind of spiritual quality. It makes sense if you consider that medieval folk weren’t scientists, and didn’t understand things at a chemical level like we do today. Can't you imagine that if a plant had healing powers, it was, in a way, magic? And, its mere presence could protect you just as much as applying its oils or drinking its tea.

A Quilted Prayer

Our first winter in a new town after leaving our religious community, 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 went to school and I went 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 winter, perhaps it will do well as a kind of prayer flag on one of the walls of our home.

closeup of feverfew block on Seedlings Sampler Quilt

The Beauty of Simplicity

The quilt is one single English Paper Pieced (EPP) 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 that the shapes in this quilt are easy to source, making it simple to go bigger like Lisa did here! I love the fussy cutting in the picutre at the beginning of this post, 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 sampler Seedlings Quilt, I decided to go scrappy (photo above), and I love that look just as much! 

Inspired to stitch your own bit of quilted simplicity?

Feverfew Quilt is the sixth quilt pattern in my book, The Seedling Quilts. It's a collection of quilts that I made while navigating a difficult season, and learning to embrace what that meant. Click below to have the free Feverfew printable templates delivered straight to your inbox, and give yourself the gift of something simple in this season.

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