Celebrate the 4th with a Parade of Quilts

This Thursday marks a special day on the American calendar. It’s July 4th, America’s birthday–typically celebrated with flags and speeches, fireworks, baseball, and backyard barbeques.

Sunbonnet Sue at the BBQ; 22" x 26"; 2010; designed and made by Darra Williamson and machine quilted by Chris Porter; from  A Year in the Life of Sunbonnet Sue
Sunbonnet Sue at the BBQ; 22″ x 26″; 2010; designed and made by Darra Williamson and machine quilted by Chris Porter; from A Year in the Life of Sunbonnet Sue

In many of America’s small towns (and big cities), the day is also celebrated with a parade: local scout troops, Little League teams, and beauty queens; a fire truck or two; the high school marching band; kids on bicycles festooned with homemade decorations of red, white, and blue. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, today’s post is a “parade” as well: a parade of patriotic quilts. Stars and stripes, the American eagle, the US map, important dates in our country’s history–even Uncle Sam makes an appearance here.

The first five quilts come to us courtesy of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, NE, a fabulous resource for inspiration and scholarship.

Eagle and Carolina Lily; 83" x 91"; c. 1876; maker unknown; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; Ardis and Robert James Collection
Eagle and Carolina Lily; 83″ x 91″; c. 1876; maker unknown; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; Ardis and Robert James Collection
Uncle Sam Crib/Doll Quilt; 20" x 33"; c. 1985; possibly Tennessee; maker unknown; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; Ardis and Robert James Collection
Uncle Sam Crib/Doll Quilt; 20″ x 33″; c. 1985; possibly Tennessee; maker unknown; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; Ardis and Robert James Collection
Liberty Star; 81" x 96"; c. 1920 - 1930; maker unknown; photo courtesy International Quilt Study Center and Museum
Liberty Star; 81″ x 96″; c. 1920 – 1930; maker unknown; photo courtesy International Quilt Study Center and Museum
Field of Stars; 50" x 57"; made by Cathy Morris; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; general collection
Field of Stars; 50″ x 57″; made by Cathy Morris; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; general collection
Flag; 70" x 88", c. 1990; made by Mary Maxtion; Greene County, AL; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; Robert and Helen Cargo Collection
Flag; 70″ x 88″, c. 1990; made by Mary Maxtion; Greene County, AL; International Quilt Study Center & Museum; Robert and Helen Cargo Collection

The next five quilts are just a few of the patriotic-themed works that appear throughout Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics, the landmark nine-part documentary series, now available on DVD.

Mariner's Quilt; maker unknown; formerly in the collection of Shelly Zegart; photo by Geoffrey Carr;  appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
Mariner’s Quilt; maker unknown; formerly in the collection of Shelly Zegart; photo by Geoffrey Carr; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
Map Quilt; 82 1/4" x 78 3/4"; 1886; maker unknown; American Folk Art Museum; gift of Dr. and Mrs. C. David McLaughlin; photo by Schecter Lee; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
Map Quilt; 82 1/4″ x 78 3/4″; 1886; maker unknown; American Folk Art Museum; gift of Dr. and Mrs. C. David McLaughlin; photo by Schecter Lee; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
American History: 1900 - 1933; maker unknown; formerly in the collection of Shelly Zegart; photo by Geoffrey Carr; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
American History: 1900 – 1933; maker unknown; formerly in the collection of Shelly Zegart; photo by Geoffrey Carr; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
Central Medallion Flag; 92" x 81"; c. 1885; maker unknown; New England Quilt Museum; photo by Joe Ofria; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
Central Medallion Flag; 92″ x 81″; c. 1885; maker unknown; New England Quilt Museum; photo by Joe Ofria; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
Freedom Quilt; 68" x 74"; 1983; made by Jessie B. Telfair; formerly in the collection of Shelly Zegart; photo by Geoffrey Carr; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics
Freedom Quilt; 68″ x 74″; 1983; made by Jessie B. Telfair; formerly in the collection of Shelly Zegart; photo by Geoffrey Carr; appears in the series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics

If you’re feeling the urge to make a patriotic quilt of your own, you’ll find a number of books and patterns in the marketplace to help you accomplish your goal. One “stellar” example is Star Celebration, a pattern designed by Alex Anderson for JWD Publishing. The pattern includes instructions for making the quilt in three sizes: wall quilt (shown below), twin-bed size, and double/queen-bed size.

Star Celebration by Alex Anderson for JWD Publishing; pattern available
Star Celebration by Alex Anderson for JWD Publishing; pattern available

Martingale & Company has a delightful pattern called Fireworks, designed by Kim Brackett. The quilt is one of 18 from Kim’s book, Scrap-Basket Surprises, and the e-pattern is available as a stand-alone download from the Martingale site. Click on the Fireworks link above for the details.

Fireworks, 61 1/2" x 61 1/2", by Kim Brackett for Martingale & Company; e-pattern available; photo From Scrap-Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett, Martingale, 2009; used by permission. Photo by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.
Fireworks, 61 1/2″ x 61 1/2″, by Kim Brackett for Martingale & Company; e-pattern available; photo From Scrap-Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett, Martingale, 2009; used by permission. Photo by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.

Martingale also has a book, Red, White, and Sometimes Blue: Classics from McCall’s Quilting, that includes some wonderful quilts with a patriotic flair. Here’s one of my favorites.

From "Red, White, and Sometimes Blue" (Martingale & Company) available in hard copy or as an e-book; Martingale, 2011; used by permission. Photo by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.
From “Red, White, and Sometimes Blue” (Martingale & Company) available in hard copy or as an e-book; Martingale, 2011; used by permission. Photo by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.

That’s if for now. ‘Til next time, have a safe and happy holiday . . . and of course, happy stitching!

PS: There’s still time to enter the Winner-Takes-All mega giveaway from our June 28 post. The deadline for entries is Thursday, July 11, noon (PDT), with the winner to be announced on Friday, July 12. Don’t miss out on this super opportunity, and do take the time to read the entries to date. Our readers have come up with some very creative (and funny) efforts!

Darra-signature

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