Friday, July 20, 2012

Finished Union Jack Quilt

*Drum roll...* (By a guy in a tall, fuzzy, black hat)
I am proud to finally present, after about 2.5 years under construction: The completed Union Jack Quilt.  This quilt is probably my all-time favorite quilt I've ever made.  I know I say that all the time, but I decided that if my house were burning down and I could only save one quilt, it would be this one. So that is saying something, right?
And I am so very well pleased with it that I even took it out for a photo shoot.  Partly to give you all a break from my ubiquitous backyard fence, and partly because this quilt is so huge, I couldn't find any proper place to hang the full thing for display at home. 

I used this pattern, but I added three extra blocks (mainly because I couldn't stop making them) and borders to make it even bigger.  I will say that I modified the pattern slightly because I felt like the original method wastes fabric when making the diagonal stripes of each flag. I ended up doing something closer to paper-piecing for those parts, but all the other measurements, etc. are from the Victory Garden pattern by Busy Bee Designs.  And as always, I used my favorite 50-wt Auriful thread, that makes everything turn out so nicely.
I've decided that inspiration for these Union Jacks is a bit of Andy Warhol meets Cath Kidston. Here are a couple of close-ups of the fabric. For years I've collected fabric and hoarded carefully saved some pieces for 'just the right project.'  Well this is that project. I pulled out all the favorites and used them the best that I knew how. 
I have to give a shout-out here to my friend Aunt Spicy.  Her Union Jack pillows were one of my first inspirations to make a quilt like this.  She even shared with me a few pieces of her beloved Jennifer Paganelli's Casey Scroll fabrics to use in my blocks, and so I lovingly think of her when I see them.  Through that initial connection we discovered our mutual love of all things British, not to mentioned some similar experiences living in the UK. We even discovered that we are descended from the same British great-great-grandparents. I kid you not. Cosmic, huh?

I was determined to use as much stash as possible for this quilt- and really did well. Because it's so huge, I needed to piece the back, but found a good stripe that went with a big hunk of London lawns-inspired fabric, covered with red English roses, which felt very appropriate.
For those of you who have been around these parts for a long time, you are well aware of my British obsession. Here's the scoop if you're new: most of my heritage comes from England (and a wee bit from Scotland).  I've visited a few times as a tourist, but also lived there twice in the 90's: in London for a semester as a college student (where I fell in love with that city) and later for 18 months in Manchester, Liverpool and on the Isle of Man as a Mormon missionary.  I left a piece of my heart in the UK when I came home and I still miss it every day.  My dream is to take our family and live there for a summer (if not a little longer).  I am still keeping that dream alive...one day it's going to happen.
Amazing Image by Dieter Braun
My goal was to finish this quilt before the London Olympics start. Ace!  I started making these blocks 2.5 years ago while watching the Winter Olympics in Vancouver so the quilt has a nice Olympic connection as well.  I am so excited to watch the Olympics for the next few weeks - and I have a feeling I'm going to get very homesick...but a good kind of homesick.
Cheers my dears! You are all dead brilliant.
Now bring on the Hobnobs, crumpets and Ribena!

109 comments:

  1. Oh WOW! What a "frightfully fabulous quilt" (you need to read that in a "terribly English accent")
    :-)
    Truly beautiful and an amazing amount of love & hard work you have put into it. Jolly well done! (again..use the accent!) Enjoy the Olympics,
    love from the Midlands of England
    xx

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  2. This really is an amazing quilt. I love it!
    Clare (also from the Midlands of England)

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  3. Oh, SA-WOOOON!!! I LOVE it Amy! It turned out great!!! I'm just getting started on mine -- well, sort of, just planning out the dimensions and pattern. I feel like it will take forever! LOVE LOVE LOVE your new quilt!!!

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  4. love it!!!!
    fantabulous....
    never had an urge to make a union jack unitl i first saw your squares...and you have awoken it in me again....maybe just a pillow...but geez...your quilt fabulous...:)

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  5. Gorgeous quilt, Amy!!! Like Gilly said, it looks like alot of love and hard work went into it:). I can see why it would be your all-time favorite- absolutely beautiful!!

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  6. oh this is SO awesome! Just beautiful! Congrats on such an amazing & meaningful finish!!

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  7. The quilt is just beautiful Amy!!! I love it :) My mom is finally going back to England in September with her mother. She hasn't been back since she moved as a child. She is so excited. Apparently her old elementary school is still standing. I still get a kick out of my Grandmother's accent :)

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  8. I truly love this quilt. So fun to hear your connections to the UK.

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  9. I saw your union jack quilt on Pinterest and wanted to stop by and tell you how beautiful it is! My son-in-law is from England...his mum still lives there. I'm working on a union jack pillow for him but it would be lovely to make something like this for him someday.
    2 1/2 years is a long time - So what will you do with all your spare time now?
    :)

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  10. I've been reading your blog long enough to remember when you first started it. It's been fun to see it evolve. Definitely a beauty! I think I'd carry it from a burning building as well and I don't even have any UK connections! :) Well done. It's stunning!

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  11. it's beautiful! you inspired me to buy that pattern a while back when i first saw your block progress. I still haven't started yet. seems like a lot of work. but oh so worth it!!

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  12. great job on the quilt, I love it

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  13. Love Love Love! Your choice of fabrics is perfect.

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  14. This quilt is so cool I could faint! I, too, am a British baby and have caught the Jubilee fever. I purchased this pattern a while back when you wrote about this quilt in progress. Now I can't wait to make my own!
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    xoxo
    Donna

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  15. Gorgeous Amy!....And just in time for your deadline :0)
    Stefanie

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  16. Another English Midlands dweller piling in!

    This is lovely, I like your fabric choices. I made a union flag cushion not too long ago. You might be interested to know the Union Jack is what it is called when out at sea, on land it is the Union Flag. Not many people here know that though!

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    1. That is so fascinating - I did not know that! Now I'll know it's proper title whether on land or sea.

      I'm loving all the hello's from Midlanders today!

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  17. Amy- it's simply stunning. The fabrics are perfection. I love the size and feel of the whole thing.
    xoxo,
    Amy

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  18. It is gorgeous! It is encouraging too that it is ok that some projects can take awhile :)

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  19. Cath Kidston would be proud! Our ancestors would be proud! That is such a stunningly gorgeous quilt...you are just too good! The whole post made me a little teary-eyed, thanks! And it convinced me I need to get cracking on my quilt...add it back into the sewing stack...

    ps. I love all of our connections! I still think you all should visit me!

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  20. Oh, well done Amy! Please tell us when you are coming to visit so I can contrive a way of meeting you in person!

    I just might start sewing my own version of that quilt...

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  21. I loooooove your quilt!!! I love the story about your going to England on your mission and all of your British connections. That makes it more special. I grew up in Canada, so the Union Jack used to be Canada's flag until 1967 when they created their maple leaf flag. I am having a quilt along with this pattern on my blog, beginning August 6. My daughter chose the pattern and I'm really glad she did. Thanks so much for sharing with your readers, I have enjoyed your journey :)

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  22. This is brilliant. A little shop here in Frederick sells Lilt. It is a delightful treat.

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  23. I love it! It's so pretty and happy and cute! Your photos of it are wonderful! Congratulations on the completion of it. It must feel great!

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  24. I love it Amy! I have boreal British connection, but you've still made me want to make one.

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  25. Congratulations on a finish Amy! It really turned out fabulous, and I predict your quilt will be the inspiration for many others to make a Union Jack as well. I know it's on my "to do" list!

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  26. What a fantastic quilt. I love all the fabrics you've used. What a lovely coincidence to find a distant relative. It's a small world!

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  27. I have a soft spot for the UK (I have had the best holidays there). I love your Union Jack it is on my list. The fabrics just worked out perfect. BRAVO!

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  28. congratulations amy, its just brilliant. ive had this pattern for over a year...i really need to own a British quilt too!

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  29. How awesome is this! Just luv it!

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  30. Oh my goodness Amy. This is absolutely gorgeous. I am so very jealous of your skill.

    xoxo, Tauni

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  31. that is totally amazingly beautiful.

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  32. Good gracious, you were ambitious! Such a lovely, sentimental, and happy quilt to finish. Hooray for reaching your goal, and hoping you can bring your family to England. I feel the same way about Jerusalem. :)

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  33. woohoo Amy I love love love it and, in mutual union jackiness, I think I might have the big reveal of my UJ quilt on my blog tomorrow which is uncannily like yours. And, when you do come back here, make sure you come and visit me please! X

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  34. this quilt is crazy insane gorgeous!!! i am loving it.

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  35. An exceptional quilt! The fabrics and colors compliment the pattern and vice versa. It was well worth the years of collection and construction for the creation of this masterpiece...

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  36. It's absolutely stunning...well done on a wonderful finish.

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  37. A stunningly beautiful quilt.wonderful design.
    Carol xx

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  38. Amy! This is so fantastic! I'm sure you are so excited to have it done. What a great quilt.

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  39. That is all sorts of awesome, Amy!
    How funny that I'll probably start my Maple Leaf quilt during the London Olympics. All because of you.

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  40. Yay, congrats on the finish, it looks fab, and very nicely timed for the Olympics, although I have a feeling I could be doing with a quilt to snuggle under at the rowing finals 2 weeks today!

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  41. It looks fantastic! I like the little border you put in there.

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  42. This turned out so beautifully! And how perfect that it's just in time for the Olympics. I'm a total Olympics junkie. Sadly, I'll miss this year's opening ceremony because I'll be standing *outside* in predicted high-90s weather for my best friend's wedding. Let's just say it's a good thing she's amazing in every other respect aside from her choices in wedding dates and venues. :)

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  43. Wow, that quilt was well worth the wait! You have a created a beautiful heirloom! Do you do genealogy? I noticed you talked about great-great-grandparents. I have British roots, but my husband is ALL Irish, so I'm not sure how he would feel about me sewing a Union Jack Quilt, but I guess I can keep it on my side of the bed, ha!

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  44. It is stunning! As Janice said, a beautiful heirloom! I bet it is cozy. You got it done before the Olympics so you can cheer on the teams holding your beautiful quilt.I do love your colors and prints. Very well thought of. Congratulations on the occomplishment! Thank you for the pattern source. They have some nice patterns.

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  45. Instant LOVE! This one really turned out so well!!!! I wish I had just an inkling of the talent you have!!! Then I could turn out a beauty like that!!!

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  46. I love your quilt!! Ordering the pattern so I can create my own Union Jack quilt.

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  47. Absolutely gorgeous!! It makes it even more special knowing the story and all the time and love you put into this wonderful quilt!! THIS is what I love about quilting!!Congrats on a job well done!!

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  48. Stunning! It took my breath away. Just ordered the pattern.

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  49. Oh I loved reading your post..I too love all things British and I must admit to stalking your Union Jack Quilt from time to time. I even bought the pattern a month or so ago, so now to get on and build my own....Cathy

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  50. Absolutely stunning Amy!! Love all the fabrics!! Great job!! xo Heather

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  51. You know it's not a secret about how much I loved your blocks! I've loved them since the first time I saw you working on them 2 years ago when we were on retreat together:) I've wanted to make one of my own ever since.
    Now that I see it in all of it's finished glory...I am even MORE in love with it!!!...yes...this should be the first quilt that you save in an emergency...it's so fabulous.
    I have several ancestors from England also and now your quilt has even inspired me more to get started on it right away!

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  52. Great job Amy! I'm so excited for the Olympics as well.

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  53. Wow! Congrats on the finish! It's simply smashing!

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  54. How lovely, your quilt looks goooorgeous! I love those close-up shots of the fabrics, they're absolutely beautiful! Well done, and whoop whoop to you for your finish :)) Looking forward to the Olympics!

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  55. Fantabulus! I am visually and spiritually inspired by your quilt. It is so rewarding when a finished project makes such a deep emotional connection with us. It becomes even more cherished. Way to go!

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  56. Can't help myself from telling you how amazing your quilt looks!. Love your fabric choices. Nice Gold Medal finish to you!

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  57. It's beautiful! I love the colors and fabric prints. :)

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  58. That is STUNNING beautiful quilt!!! Everything is just perfect.
    I think the Andy Warhol meets Cath Kidston description is so accurate!!

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  59. That is one gorgeous quilt! Nice job incorporating that UK emblem with the spirit of the USA!

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  60. Wow-wie! That is terrific. And I did chuckle when you said this is your very favorite quilt. I'm wondering if that will change when you make your next favorite. Congrats on a really wonderful job well done.

    And BTW I never get tired of seeing your finishes hanging from your fence.

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  61. I aspire to be you when I grow up! WOW! Love this quilt and what a wonderful story as well.

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  62. *waving from manchester* Beautiful quilt Amy! fabulous fabric and a gold medal! Just in time too ;) x

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  63. B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. Wow. I love this quilt. Congratulations on an Job Well Done!! It looks fabulous!!

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  64. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. I'm kind of a "lurker"-- I don't comment much, but this quilt! Wow! It's a true stunner! Really.... it's no wonder it's your favorite... it's just beautiful! I spent a semester in Oxford and love alllll things British, too. Perhaps I need to make one *someday* (yes-- it's on that kind of list for now). Congrats & enjoy...cheers!

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  65. This is amazing, I love it. I can imagine if I ever could make such a thing, that it would be my favorite too!

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  66. I can't tell you how much I LOVE this quilt. There are no appropriate words...It is just so beautiful!

    I am British by birth but live in Canada. I adore the Union Jack - so much so that I had it tattooed on my right hip ;)

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  67. I absolutely love your quilt! Thanks for sharing with us! Where are you going to use it?

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  68. Love it so much, and you must be so proud!

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  69. It's smashing! Ace! The Bees Knees! And every other British or almost-British thing I can thing of to say "your quilt is fabulous." Seriously, awesomely wonderful. I love it.

    The only thing that I don't like is that now I really do need to make this quilt. I've loved it since the first time I saw it but your quilt is my favorite. I hope I finish it by the time the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro start. :)

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  70. It's raining here in the north of England where I live, which just makes the grass even greener .....

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  71. Yay! What a great quilt :-) How nice that it has an Olympic history and that it will be ready for this summer's games!

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  72. What a beautiful, beautiful quilt. You should so wonderfully proud of it!

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  73. Gorgeous! I'm somewhat of an Angliophile myself and am addicted to Doctor Who. Love the quilt! Thanks for the inspiration :)

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  74. This is a gorgeous quilt and how fitting that you've posted about it on the first sunny day in the UK since May. The weather has been dismal here! We're looking forward to the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday, and hoping the good weather stays for a while.

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  75. Such a beautiful quilt!! Everything about it is great - the fabrics, the borders - just everything!

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  76. I am so giddy about your Union Jack quilt! I am going to make one for either myself or my daughter who lived there a short while. Love It!!

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  77. It was worth waiting for! I love the fabrics.

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  78. Wow, this is stunning! I love it .... I've been wanting to make one similar to this for ages. Hopefully I'll get around to it soon! Very inspiring, you've done a lovely job with it. Enjoy!
    Therese

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  79. What a finish! It is just so gorgeous. Your colours are so appealling. Congratulations.

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  80. Fabulous quilt. I'm speechless.

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  81. This is probably my favorite quilt of yours too. It is stunningly amazing! Cheers.

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  82. Yay Amy!! That is such a gorgeous quilt!
    Beauty takes time! :o) Whenever I see something
    British I think of you. :o) Trish xo

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  83. Amy, this is awesome! Your fabric choices are so fantastic and it's even better that you used so much of your stash. You really have a such a great talent. You inspire me. You are amazing. Talk to you soon hopefully :)

    Amber

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  84. This is FABULOUS. I love the fabrics you used. Wonderful connection to the Olympics and England. Perfect.

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  85. I love your quilt. This is on my list of must make quilts. Thanl you for the inspiration.

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  86. Wow! It's absolutely gorgeous. Great job on your finish! Perfect timing. :)

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  87. Super beautiful! But if your house is on fire... well... maybe you should just run for cover. Unless you're a good runner. Then, yeah! Get the quilt!

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  88. Is it for sale and if so how much?

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    1. Thanks for your inquiry, but no, sorry. Too much blood, sweat, and tears in this one to ever part with it. :)

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  89. That is one stunning quilt! I love everything about it. And, yeah, I'd be right behind you saving it from the fire. No question!

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  90. This is really lovely. I love how the fabric patterns work so well together in this quilt. http://stitchfabric4me.blogspot.com/

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  91. Part of my heart is certainly in the UK too....my most recent stay was 4 months over Christmas this year. Doesn't London look just beautiful for the Olympics??? I LOVE LOVE LOVE this quilt and had been planning something similar myself so you have just inspired me more!! Well done.

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  92. Oh wow, this is so beautiful! I love your fabric choices and they way you have assembled it all is just perfect! You've definitely inspired me to make something similar for my next quilt! It would be to help commemorate the last 12 years I have lived in this country as I am about to move back to my home country of Australia, bringing my British partner and our two-year old daughter with us where she will meet her Australian family for the first time. This would be a perfect sentimental reminder of where our lives were first joined. Thank you for sharing!

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  93. I love this amazing quilt! Marion

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  94. Just pinned a photo of your quilt. I bought the pattern last week and am so excited to dig in. It looks like a challenge, but hopefully mine turns out as lovely as yours. My dad's side of the family joined the church in England and the UJ has a piece of my heart :) Congrats on such a beautiful quilt!

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  95. I LOVE it!! I have been meaning to make a reversible UK/USA flag quilt for ever... I'm British, my husband is American, and I think you have just inspired me to finally start. I was thinking I would have to do the Union Jack full size, but I love the blocks. The stars and stripes on the back can be full size, that's easy! Thanks for the pictures!

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Thank you so much for your comments - they make my day! I try to respond to as many as my 'mommy' time allows, but life sometimes gets in the way. Please know how much I appreciate each of them.

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