Union Jack attack – Pattern and Panels

This fall I was asked to make and teach this bag for a class at Fabric Fest and have long promised a pattern. Finally it is ready. You can find it in my Pattern Shop or Etsy shop. I have a couple of kits available in the above fabrics – contact me directly at amy{at}diaryofaquilter{.}com if you’re interested in one. I had wanted to make a small quilt using the block in different colors, but that hasn’t happened and I’m not sure when it will, so I decided not to delay the pattern any longer since there are some who have requested it for Christmas. 
The block instructions are included in the bag pattern and can be used however you like. The block finishes at 11″ x 15″. I made a quilt with Union Jacks using a different pattern, but ended up modifying it significantly because there was a lot of fabric waste using that method. For a long time I’ve wanted to create my own pattern for the Union Jack with a more efficient method and less fabric waste. It is finally here.
If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you know I kind of have a thing for Union Jacks. They are a huge trend right now – I like to think that maybe I had something to do with it, but the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics last year probably contributed as well. We even saw French kids in Paris last year with Union Jacks on their shirts, and you know that’s saying something.

So you know I was excited to see these great Union Jack panels from Riley Blake. They’ve just come out this month and should be hitting stores any time. The small Jacks measure 9″ x 11″ with a panel of 8 different flags. I have a baby quilt and tutorial in the works with these panels.

The large flags are 36″ x 42″. I can’t wait to think of something to do with this big boy. 
I’m having fun coming up with ideas for these panels. You can find assorted panels at the Fat Quarter Shop, Fort Worth Fabric Studio, and Hawthorne Threads.
In other upcoming Union Jack fun, check out these prints from London Calling by Dear Stella coming out next year. I might need these too.

More flag blocks + Olympic fever

Anyone else out there an Olympic junkie?  Official Olympics nerd right here. 
In 2002 the Winter Olympics came to my home town, Salt Lake City.  I had a 3-yr-old and a nursing baby at the time so I didn’t attend a single sporting event, but we did take in the atmosphere downtown and let me tell you – it’s magic. Celebration of hard work and the unique cultures and traditions of the nations of the world juxtaposed with the brotherhood of man – the Olympic spirit is tangible.  As soon as that cauldron went out, things were back to normal and it was gone. But it was so amazing while it lasted!
Combine my Olympics die-hard-ness with my favorite city on the planet and I just might spontaneously-combust. Olympics nirvana.
So in honor of the parade of nations, I’ve been making more flag quilt blocks. (Fine. I know. It’s a sickness. I can’t help it.) I’m using my stash plus some of my new Vintage Summer prints. I’m going to do something along the lines of this quilt that I made a few years ago for a friend.  Want some geography trivia? I’ll give you clues as to which countries these flags represent as they may be less obvious.:
Notre Dame (as in The Hunchback of), Monet, and crepes
Maria Von Trapp and Arnold Schwartznegger
Andy Murray and haggis
And you know this one.  
Did you watch the Opening Ceremonies? I was in heaven. Seriously: Kenneth Branagh, Jerusalem, Mary Poppins, Chariots of Fire and Mr. Bean. What more could an anglophile want? The only thing I was missing was a good chippy.  Proud of you, Brits.
Speaking of which, if you’re jumping on the British-love-bandwagon, checkout this new collection of fabrics from DearStella called Town and Country.  Lots of London icons like Eros at Picadilly, the Tower, and St. Paul’s, but it’s those London buses that kill me.  I need to find the perfect use for them.
Cheers my loves!

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!

Jennifer Paganelli and Girl’s World

Have you seen Jennifer Paganelli’s new book, Girls World? I got a sneak peak when Jennifer sent us a few for giveaways at the Quilt Market Meetup.  This book is gorgeous. And I am not even being overly dramatic when I say that. It’s such a beautiful, colorful book. Even the pocket for the patterns is really pretty.

 Let me give you a sneak peak as well.

This book has 21 sewing projects to make for or with little girls, such as dresses, aprons, bags, headbands, quilts, and an adorable puppy. The photos, design and projects are so beautiful and inspiring. Even if you only make a hand full of these projects, you’ll love this book just for the color, inspiration and sheer joy that it exudes. (Nice word, eh?)  But trust me, there are so many good projects, you’ll find many you want to try. (That is an important quality for me when investing in a new pattern book = multiple patterns that I will use.)

 This is something I’d love to make for my own girls – I’ve always loved those pretty memory boards.
 And a few of these cute pillows. (Another great photo, right?)

I especially love all the details in this book, including Jennifer’s signature Casey Scroll print.  I was first introduced to the Casey Scroll fabric by my friend, Aunt Spicy (who is a Jennifer Paganelli die-hard) when she made her own adorable Union Jack pillow. (This is actually when I first knew that Aunt Spicy and I were long-lost kindred spirits.)

In a gesture of extreme love and sacrifice, Aunt Spicy even gave me a little piece of her beloved Casey Scroll stash. And so of course, I had to pay homage to her original Union Jack. I’m think this one is one of my favorites.

Girl's World: Twenty-One Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls

Thanks again Jennifer Paganelli for sharing your wonderful new book with us. We will have 3 copies to give away the night of the meetup!  But if you can’t win a copy, I still highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Girl’s World.  It will be released next Wednesday. You won’t be disappointed.