Although I’m in Australia and it’s the first day of winter here, it’s hard not to know what is happening all the way over in the US of A.
Every day Pinterest shows me images that tell me American schools are letting out, the northern hemisphere summer is coming and occasions such as Memorial Day are being observed. Then there’s the big one – 4th of July. The time for BBQs, fireworks and flag-based, patriotic quilts.
Now would be the moment to tell you that when it comes to the US, I have serious flag envy.
Look at the US flag compared to ours:
It looks like someone actually spent some time planning the US flag. It’s very orderly and organised and professional looking. Ours looks more like an improv exercise; “let’s take one of these, and throw in a bit of that and see how it goes”.
The main reason I like the US flag is that it has great quilt-adaptability. A blue rectangle and some stripes and everyone knows what you’re referring to.
And even though both flags are made from the same colours, what country does everyone think of when you mention red, white and blue? Sure as sunshine it’s not Australia or any of the other 36 countries with solely red, white and blue in their national emblems (yes, I had to google that. I was surprised there were so many.)
Whenever I hear red, white and blue I immediately think of the US (and sing You’re a Grand Old Flag in my head). This is why it’s easy to make a quilt feel American just through the use of colour, even if not a single star or stripe is included.
Pondering the intricacies of the Australian flag layout and the kind of paper piecing it would require, I decided that there was no rule that said I couldn’t try my hand at a 4th of July quilt. Globalisation, right? Once I gave myself permission I had some fun Americanising (ahem, Americanizing) some of my patterns.
First up, I made a few colour tweaks to my Off the Rails quilt pattern. This is a free pattern that I’ve had for download for a couple of years now – perhaps some of you already have it?
My first version swapped out the dark neutral for blue, the light neutral for off white and the yellow for red.
Then I tried reversing the colours so that the dark neutral was red, the light neutral was off white and the yellow was blue.
Which version do you think has a more American feel? I really like the blue (my favourite colour) but maybe that feels more French?
If you’d like to download the free Off the Rails quilt pattern, you can do so below. Just substitute the colours as explained above to make your preferred 4th of July version.
Next up I had a look at my The Plus Side quilt pattern which is always a lot of fun to play around with due to the contrast between the opposite sides of the blocks.
Here’s an alternate version of the lap-sized quilt layout:
Fabric requirements for a scrappy version of this quilt would be 8 red FQs, 8 blue FQs and 15 white/low-volume FQs. Make 15 blue/white blocks and 15 red/white blocks as per the pattern and join them in the diagonal stripe layout seen above.
A smaller, crib sized version would be cute for a summer baby. This version needs 5 blue FQs, 5 red FQs and 10 white FQs.
If you want a more literal translation of the flag you could try this layout:
3 blue FQs, 11 FQs red and 14 FQs white/light will provide enough blocks for this layout (48″ x 84″).
Phew, all that editing has me tired and I haven’t even sewn a stitch. I think I’ll go have a nice glass of iced tea, lie down and think of summer. Only 6 months to go!