Monday, 13 July 2015

London Square - Red Sky at Night Quilt

I have just enjoyed the most wonderful two weeks of winter hibernation. I've spent more time by the fire, less on the internet, or out of our house. We've focused our attention on getting back into some routines around the house that had started to falter. Last weekend, I just couldn't bring myself to sit at my laptop, even though I had many of these words already written in my head. So I gave myself the week off. Thanks for waiting for me! Now that our home is a bit more in order, I feel ready to get back to my usual schedule.

When I saw that my next Red Sky at Night post would fall just after the July 4th weekend, I had a look through my block plan to try and find a relevant block. Should I choose the Martha Washington Star? Or Union Square? But I didn't really fancy writing a post about Independence Day to a mostly American audience. So instead I chose the thing we have in common, yet, it makes us incredibly different. London Square.
It's tempting to think that because we Aussies eat American food, watch American movies and quilt with American fabric, that we are very alike. But the Forth of July reminds us that we are actually oceans apart.
Australia was colonised by the British not so long after the first Independence Day, though not by adventurous explorers or fleeing religious refugees, but by eleven boat loads of prisoners. I makes me wonder if you guys had not fought your war for Independence, would we have all ended up there instead?
The day the boats came is marked by Australia Day, a day about which we tend to feel a little uncomfortable. It's not a celebration of victory but a reminder of our sordid beginnings. These beginnings are not all that unlike that of the US. After all, we came from the same worldview that upheld the superiority of the white man, to the detriment of many others. But we just didn't have the conflicting ideals of justice and freedom, which has always kept America wrestling with the gap between it's words and it's actions.
We've never fought a war against the British, or against ourselves. In fact, our most celebrated war memorial day is Anzac Day, a day that commemorates our appalling loss at Gallipoli, due to cold and careless British orders, and yet we never wavered in our faithfulness to the crown. Not until World War Two, when the Germans were beating the s&*% out of the British, and the Japanese were making their way ferociously to the northern end of Australia, and suddenly, devastatingly, we realised for perhaps the first time ever, that we were not just a stones throw from London, but a whole world away. And they would not come and rescue us.
It's a good thing for us the Japanese bit off more than they could chew and bombed Pearl Harbour, launching the United States into the war. You came to our rescue, and ever since have been our beloved, yet slightly overbearing big brother. And we have been happy to oblige.

London Square is another block from the 1930s, also known as City Square and Danger Signal. It was usually used in a quilt by making four of these blocks and pointing all like colours, or opposite colours in toward the centre, to make a diamond. Another one to add to my to-make list!


You will need:

Red: Five 4" squares cut in half diagonally, one 3.5" square, one 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle.

White: Five 4" squares cut in half diagonally, one 3.5" square, one 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle.

1. Sew your red triangles to your white triangles. Press and trim to 3.5"

2. Lay out as above.

3. Sew neighbouring squares together in pairs.

4. Sew those rectangles to the ones beside.

5. Sew the larger squares to the one next to it. Press.

6. Sew your final seam and press.

So the Americans were the older child who couldn't wait to leave home and live life according to his own ideals, and we were the younger sibling who was happy to stay at home and keep having their meals cooked and washing done for them. Oh, just thinking about it makes me want to come visit you and get to know you better. But then, I always was the stereotypical oldest child!


  1. I love your post today. It's chock full of insightful thoughts which show a mature understanding of Australia's history and of America's. Living outside of Washington DC, we get national and world news, always with a political slant and often sensational. It's refreshing to read about our common roots through your lens. Thanks!

  2. It's a sad truth that we as Americans study European history and in school and learn nothing very little about the eastern world in general. I have been listening to a podcast done a few years ago by the curator of the main British museum. He has taken 100 artifacts in his collection and done a history of the world based on those 100 objects. In each 14 minute listen he talks about the history in various parts of the world. It has made me want to study more history. The stuff I learned in 15 minutes about China or Japan or any south American country has been eye opening. Your post is just a reminder of how little I learned and need to learn. Thanks for writing about your countries heritage.


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx