Swiss Flag Quilt

Have you ever had one of those moments when a sudden and surprising inspiration hits you?  Then the next thought is “Why in the heck haven’t I thought of this before?”  Yeah, that can take the wind out of your sails momentarily.

I love Allison’s quilts from Cluck Cluck Sew.  They’re all so fresh and clean.  Hers was one of the first blogs I started reading a couple of years ago.  I came across her plus quilt back in May.  We’ve all seen one’s similar to this before but here the pluses instead of the background were white. That’s when the light bulb went on.

My father-in-law is from Switzerland.  He trained as a hairdresser after serving in the Swiss army during World War II.  He worked in Paris and New York before being sent to Kansas City to open a salon for Elizabeth Arden.  After a short stint in California he came back to KC and opened his own salon on the Plaza.  Over the years he maintained his ties to his native land and is very proud of his dual citizenship.

Short history lesson:  The Swiss flag is a simple white cross on a red background.  On first glance it looks like the Red Cross logo which we see more often than the Swiss flag.  Not surprisingly, it was founded by Henry Dunant in Geneva.  They reversed the colors of the flag to symbolize it’s neutrality and association with Switzerland.

I made a couple of sample blocks using Susan Beal’s direction from Modern Log Cabin Quilting then showed them to my husband and asked him if his dad would like a quilt for his 92nd birthday.  I was amazed by his enthusiastic reaction.

Because Switzerland has 26 cantons, or states, I wanted that many white cross blocks.  But a 2 x 13 block rectangle would not make a practical quilt.  Adding two more blocks wouldn’t help much.  I knew 30 total blocks would make the best size, but what to do with those extra four blocks?

The ISO abbreviation for Switzerland’s official name, Confoederatio Helvetica, or CH was an easy choice.  After some thought I decided to use  left-over strips to make the other two blocks.

Needless to say he was very surprised Tuesday when he opened his gifts.  It’s hard to imagine with it being 90+ degrees in July but I hope he can use it in January, or maybe sooner.  Kansas weather can be kinda crazy.

I found this Sweetwater’s Reunion Daisy Dates fabric online and it seemed perfect for the backing.  The dates don’t go back as far as 1291, but the theme still works.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Swiss Flag Quilt

  1. Heidi Casale

    What an amazing quilt! I too am of Swiss Heritage and was looking for a pattern of the Swiss flag. Love the log cabin design. How did you make the block letters?

  2. What a fabulous gift! I am sure he will be thrilled to use it this fall!

  3. Heidi Casale

    How many different red fabrics did you use on your quilt, and how many yards of each color did it take?

  4. I think I used each one on two blocks so that would be 13. A quarter yard of each would probably be enough. I know I used some fat quarters I already had on hand but they don’t go very far when you can only cut 11 inch strips. I’d love to see yours when it’s finished!

  5. Heidi Casale

    Thank you for the info on your quilt. I will start collecting my fabric. This will be a summer project for sure!

  6. Michelle

    This is awesome! I’m looking to start a quilt like this for my Swiss mother. But maybe throw in an American flag block since she is a dual citizen? Thanks for the inspiration!

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