Two-color quilts, especially red and white quilts, are classic Americana! The geometry of these quilts stands out clearly, giving them appealing strength and substance. With Valentine’s Day approaching, we thought now would be the perfect time to talk about red and white quilt designs!
Although these quilts have always enjoyed immense popularity with quilters, there has been a recent surge in red and white quilt making, thanks primarily to the fabulous Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts exhibit mounted in the Park Avenue Armory in New York City in 2011. Countless quilters were inspired by this exhibit and the gorgeous catalog book which followed. Red and white quilt images have been everywhere on social media ever since!
If a red and white quilt is on your personal bucket list, there are many appropriate quilt patterns to consider in the Fons & Porter archives. The simple Irish Chain (above) is a wonderful place to start – all the drama of a red and white quilt and none of the trauma of a complicated pattern! This beauty by Christa Smith finishes 68″ x 88″ and is a breeze to piece. Digital patterns are available.
If you’re looking for a more unusual red and white quilt pattern, Linda Pumphrey’s Odds and Ends II may grab your interest. Rated Challenging, this 72″ x 80″ quilt is a reproduction of an antique quilt from the Mountain Mist collection. Although the original quilt was made with curved piecing, Linda’s quilt and our pattern rely on machine applique of the melon shapes to create a similar look. Instant digital downloads of this pattern are available in our online shop.
Lincoln’s Delight by Nancy Mahoney is a scrappy beauty perfect for using fabric fat quarters. The two block designs both finish at 14″ square, and the quilt size is 77″ square. This quilt is a great example of the sparkle that combining quilt blocks gives to a design. Picture the same quilt made solely of either of these blocks – nice but not too exciting. But put them together, and secondary patterns pop as the eye travels across the quilt. Lovely! Digital patterns for Lincoln’s Delight are available here.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule! Graphic Red by Mellie Watts is a repeating one-block quilt with awesome visual sparkle and interest. That’s because the block itself is rather complex (but easy enough for a confident beginner), so when set together, a sense of movement arises. Best of all, the pattern for the queen size version of this quilt is a free download – get your free red and white quilt pattern here!
If you’ve got a stash of assorted red print fabrics, the Jack in the Blocks quilt pattern can help you turn them into an instant heirloom. This scrappy queen size quilt designed by Colleen Hall-Patton requires only basic piecing (if you can make a pinwheel unit, you can make this quilt!), but the secondary pattern created when blocks are set together is spellbinding. Get the digital quilt pattern here.
If, on the other hand, the red-fabrics shelf of your stash is looking kind of empty, a limited number of quilt kits are available for Jack in the Blocks. KeepsakeQuilting.com also has some wonderful assorted red fabric packs that can fill in those gaps for you.
Marianne Fons created Red Between the Lines for the opening exhibit at the Iowa Quilt Museum in Winterset. The beautiful medallion setting pays homage to the many antique red and white quilts of that style.
Rated Challenging, this queen size quilt pattern does require accurate piecing, but it’s achievable by any quilter willing to take the time and care needed. With multiple pieced borders surrounding the center medallion, a true 1/4″ seam allowance is going to be your best friend in making this design. Get the digital pattern here, or order a quilt kit to use the same fabrics Marianne did for her stunning quilt. If you’re only planning to make ONE red and white quilt, Red Between the Lines should definitely be on your short list to consider!
Rebecca Smith’s Red Rover quilt sets Drunkard’s Path blocks in a bow-tie arrangement for a fast, fun design. This is classic red and white with a decidedly modern twist! All that negative space is perfect for showcasing quilting designs, and the relatively small size (54″ x 63″) means you can have this quilt finished quickly. Digital patterns are available.
Are you ready to try a red and white quilt? Have you already made a quilt with just two colors? Inspire us in the comments below, and share photos of your work on the Fons & Porter Facebook page!
The Fons & Porter Team