BLOCK Friday – Flying Dutchman quilt block

The quilt block we have today has some of its roots in German art. The Flying Dutchman quilt block is a versatile and distinctive quilt block you’ll love creating. The German influences are apparent in the structure of this simple quilt block. According to American Quilts in the Modern Age:

“The influence is also obvious in pieced designs, with their four-way symmetries. In a four-way symmetry, one fourth of the quilt block rotates and repeats, a design convention as familiar to America quilmakers today as it way to Bavarian stencil painters in earlier generations. Whirling crosses, or hexfeiss, as they are called in Pennsylvania German, are also traditional quilting designs.”¹

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This quilt, Dutchman’s Reel, from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum collection makes a beautiful display of the whirling crosses of the dutchman-style quilt block.

When flying geese units are used in place of the chevron arrows, the look of the quilt changes slightly. It’s a slightly more modern version from the Dutchman quilt above, and the whirling illusion aren’t as apparent. Of course, the quilt below, Flight Pattern, is still quite beautiful.

The Flying Dutchman quilt block is comprised of paired flying geese units arranged so they appear to be chasing each other. A single Flying Dutchman block contains eight pairs of flying geese blocks. Can you see each individual quilt block in the quilt below called Flight Pattern?

Flight Pattern Quilt Pattern

The same construction can be cleaned up a bit by adding thin sashing between quilt blocks. In the quilt below, Flying Dutchman, each of the first flying geese units in the sequence is a darker blue, giving each block the illusion of a center pinwheel.

Flying Dutchman digital pattern

Similarly, the quilt below, Harry’s Puzzle, also creates the center pinwheel, but instead of making the pinwheel out of the flying geese units, designer Emily Bailey made the inside corner of the first flying geese unit red to make a smaller pinwheel.

Harry's Puzzle digital pattern

Have you made a quilt using the Flying Dutchman quilt block? Maybe you’ve made one hundred flying geese quilts in your life, but if not, Mary Fons has you covered. In this easy quilt tutorial on making the Flying Dutchman quilt block.

Happy Quilting and arg, Matey! (I’ve been dying to say that!)
Sheyenne

¹ p36, “American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940: The International Quilt Study Center Collections”, by Marin F. Hanson (Editor), Patricia Cox Crews

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