Monday, July 4, 2016

She's a Grand Old Flag

She is, of course, 
but she's not the one the song is referring to....

Somewhere about, oh, 2 years ago or so, I somehow joined an online quilting bee in the brand new "Men Who Quilt" Facebook group.  I loved this spectacular but somewhat complicated Union Jack block tutorial from Molli Sparkles, so when it was my month to be the queen (um, king?) bee, I asked  my fellow worker bees to hook me up with a few of these flag blocks in an effort to help me make a special quilt for my upcoming 20th anniversary with Brent.  B is a ridiculous Anglophile, so I knew this quilt would be perfect for him.

Truth be told, our bee was a little bit of a disappointment all around, with people either dropping out or submitting *seriously* less than quality work, and even some of the more skilled guys used fabrics I would never have chosen myself. I wound up making the majority of the blocks on my own, and had a nice stack of "Jacks" soon enough.  They got shoved in a drawer for a long time, until I finally got motivated to assemble them all into a quilt top as the one year anniversary of my bee month approached.

I might forever second guess the layout I chose, using half blocks on the ends to offset the rows, but I felt like it gave the most visual interest to the quilt.  Almost a year in the works, I finally posted this photo of the finished top on Instagram, which gathered a few hundred "likes" after Molli Sparkles shared it as well.  He called it "dynamic" and said he loved it to glittery bits!

Sadly though, this quilt then sat in the "UFO" pile for the good part of another year.  As I was recently pondering what kind of present I would get for Brent for our upcoming milestone anniversary, I suddenly remembered I already had something in the works for him all along!  I then moved into high gear to finish up this quilt in under a month so it would be ready for our 20th.

How perfect is the card I got him?!  He and Joseph are my world, but I especially loved the London landmarks since I was giving him a quilt made up of the British flag.  Of course, the traditional 20th anniversary present is china, but I knew Brent would much prefer the UK.

The back of the quilt is just as awesome if you ask me.  I thought the front was busy enough, so went with fairly simple prints on the back in all blue.  I had been hoarding this gorgeous Denyse Schmidt circle print for years and realized this was the perfect project to finally use it on.  I included a few Union Jacks on the back, which were rejects from the front.  Quite a while into the project, I realized I had seriously screwed up on a few blocks and cut half of the triangle units very, very incorrectly, which you can see in the close ups below.  No one else would have noticed the error, but it would have driven me crazy knowing they were there.

The quilting was very straightforward, along a few natural vertical and horizontal paths.  I had tried something a little more organic, with long wavy lines like a flag flowing in the breeze, but it was disastrous and I had to rip it all out and start over.

The binding? Perfect, perfect, perfect.
Enough said.

I absolutely love everything about this quilt, especially that it gets to stay in our home!

Brent seemed to be surprised when I finally presented this quilt to him, like he had never known it was in the works.  I'm thrilled to say he loved it too!  It is beyond comprehension that Brent and I have been together for 20 years now!!!

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