Women, and some men, have been making patriotic quilts since the United States began. When we make a quilt with red, white, blue, stars, stripes, or eagles, we have made a patriotic quilt. Quilts of Valor and other similar organizations give patriotic themed quilts to veterans as a show of gratitude for their service. Bobby has made one such quilt, a patriotic sampler quilt.
The Quilt Top
A giant compass rose, Bobby’s quilt has a little bit of everything. First, the center of the compass is a Dresden Plate, with the compass points clearly marked with appliqué. Next, it is a sampler with a dozen large pieced stars surrounding the compass. Finally, the corners have a traditional appliqué design of an eagle in the corners. All the colors of the quilt are beautiful and varied shades of red, white, and blue.
I quilted this large patriotic sampler quilt, that measured 100” x 100”, using the Intelliquilter, with a design we also have as a paper pantograph. Becker’s Shooting Star is an open star design with swirls giving a ribbon effect between the stars. Bobby asked me to quilt it as large as possible with a skinny thread. She felt that the quilting was necessary for the function of the quilt, but she didn’t want to add too much more to the design. My IQ allows me to enlarge and shrink the quilting patterns. So I enlarged the Shooting Star pantograph as much as I could, remembering the maximum space between quilting lines required for her batting (usually 4″-8″).
The thread I used was a super skinny thread called MicroQuilter. MicroQuilter is a 100 weight polyester thread from Superior Threads. Because it’s so skinny, it just melts into the quilt so you can barely see the quilting. In a quilt like Bonnie’s with lots of contrast, it can be hard to choose the right thread color. Because the MicroQuilter practically disappears, I just needed a good neutral. My favorite, and the color I used in this quilt, is the MicroQuilter 7007 Silver.
Of course, we know one of the rules of good tension is to use the same weight thread or skinnier for your bobbin. Quilting with MicroQuilter is one of those times I break my own rule. 😉 I’ve found it’s so skinny it’s a little hard to wind onto a bobbin. Instead I like to use a 60 weight thread like Bottom Line or Glide 60. I’ve used this thread combo on my APQS Millie 30 longarm machine many times, including on this Miles Davis quilt that was almost entirely French knots, and haven’t had any tension or thread break problems.
In conclusion, quilts often express the feelings of its creators. Between the somber colors of a bereavement quilt or the joyous bright colors of a baby quilt, we can express feelings through the symbolic color and images we use. The quilt is after all a symbol of bringing together remnants to become one beautiful whole. The emotion of pride in our country and the freedoms we have is no exception.