*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 And as always, I used my favorite 50-wt Auriful thread, that makes everything turn out so nicely.
Update: As a result of re-jiggering the original pattern, I finally wrote my own Union Jack pattern, which I think turns out very well and wastes far less fabric. You can find my Union Jack pattern HERE.
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.
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!