Independence Day: A Hand-Sewn Flag Quilt by Alabama Chanin
I was determined to start my Alabama Chanin Flag Quilt kit on July 4th.
July 4, 2016. Or was it 2015?
I’ve been cherishing this kit for a long while. Seeing it all packed up in two jumbo zip-lock bags on the closet shelf has brought me joy all by itself. But every Memorial Day and July 4th, I’m sad that I haven’t got the finished quilt. This quilt is the ultimate in Americana, a visual representation of independence, grit and the strength of button craft thread. When I do get it finished, it will be the most heirloom-eligible thing I have ever made.
So this year, I mean it. I’m starting this sewing project.
Yes, it will cut into my knitting time. It’s a lot of handsewing, but of the simple, pleasant type. Running stitch for days (literally). This handy journal post from Alabama Chanin (from 2010!) gives all the details (including the stencil and stitch technique for each strip) and makes it seem like a snap. (If I had another Flag Quilt in me, I’d be collecting red, white and blue t-shirts with lettering on them, for a text-y version. But let’s get this one in the can first. My crafty reach so often exceeds my grasp. SIGH.)
(white dots mark the center for placement of each star applique.)
Laying out the pieces for the field of stars took me almost an hour. It was a jigsaw puzzle. There was a slight discrepancy between the hand-drawn chart and the cut pieces (I’m looking at you, block number 9), which took me to the limit of my spatial reasoning skills, but it worked out perfectly.
The stripes are easy-peasy, each row of strips labeled in order and tied in a neat bow.
(Of course I’m already thinking: what can I make with all those red and cream pulls? Patriotic pom poms?)
(I like the bug on this stencil, which is called Clematis.)
I think I will really enjoy how quickly each small piece can be finished. Maybe I’ll finally start thinking of my Alabama Chanin projects as portable. My key to knitting productivity has always been the trick of taking my knitting with me everywhere, sneaking rows in without having to find dedicated knitting time. Maybe that approach would work for sewing! If I can keep my needle, thread and scissors handy, and there’s sufficient light, I should be able to get in the groove.
(Photo: Alabama Chanin.)
Here’s to having my own flag quilt fluttering on the clothesline for Memorial Day 2017. For now I’m enjoying looking at it laid out on the table.
Happy Fourth of July to everyone, and a happy Independence Day to all our fellow Americans.
P.S. Here’s a handy link to the Declaration of Independence. We read it every year after the baked beans, potato salad, and Grilled Items have been consumed.