Updated August 13, 2019.
Personal Plaids, often called birthday plaids, use a name for the stripe sequence in one direction and a date for the sequence in the other direction.
Why not use this technique to create a birthday plaid for the United States?
To create a great design that could be a lovely boxtop, I added initials and put the whole thing into an outline of the US. It also would make a fantastic stand-up to be displayed for the Fourth of July.
Add a simple gold T Stitch background and you have a delightful project.
To create this design you will need:
- 18-mesh mono white needlepoint canvas 9″ x 11″
- 1 skein each your choice of thread in red, white and blue (I used Silk & Ivory)
- 1 spool Tapestry (#12) gold metallic thread
- 1 spool Fine (#8) gold metallic thread
- Pigma Micron (extra Fine tip) marker to trace outline
- gold marker suitable for fabric to trace letters
- Trace the outline (click to see full size) onto your canvas with the Pigma Micron marker.
- Find a font you like, Times Roman is good here, type out USA and increase the font size until you like how it looks in the outline. I do this by measuring the height and multiplying it by 72 (1 inch high letters are often 72 points). Then I subtract 20 from this number and make that my starting font size.
I print it off and then put it under my outline. I make adjustments up and down, printing and testing each round until I like the result.
- Using the gold marker trace the letters onto the canvas. Let dry overnight.
- Use the thicker gold metallic to stitch the letters in Tent Stitch.
- The vertical stripes have the sequence of 7-4-1-7-7-6, Jul 4, 1776, the USA’s birthday. Following the chart below stitch these stripes in Tent Stitch, skipping every other intersection, using the sequence of red, white, and blue. Each stripe in the sequence will always be the same color. The stripe sequence repeats throughout the outline.
- The horizontal stripes are: 7 – 5 – 1, which spell out USA in a simple letter substitution code. Use red for the 7-stitch stripes, white for the 5-stitch stripes, and blue for the 1-stitch stripe. Make these stitches in the open intersections. As you do the plaid emerges.
- Stitch the background in Woven Plait, below, T Stitch or another open stitch using the thin gold metallic. Make enough background to have the design fit your box.
- Finish and enjoy!