Where do I begin? I bought this quilt pattern from Busy Bee Designs many years ago with the hope of making it for my mom. My mom was Grenadian, a Commonwealth country. She immigrated to England in the 60s at 18 to become a nurse. She later moved to the US in her late 20s and became an American citizen, but England loomed large in our home. I still have an annoying habit of writing things with British spelling because that’s what my parents did and how I learned. My parents did small things like drink tea, say “fanny” for my little girl parts, and zed for Z. There were pot holders and 80s velvet wall art with tourist locations in England around our home. We traveled to England several times when I was a child to visit cousins. My mom would go on about the great quality of English wools, linens and lingerie. Earliest vacation memories are the tube of London and standing in line for Madam Tussauds. My parents videotaped Fergie and Diana’s wedding and that was my entertainment for years. I even had a Princess Diana paper doll book with a paper Spencer tiara I wore until my Jheri curl spray turned it into mush. Despite my annoying posh British accent through college, I’m not trying to pull a Hilaria Baldwin. I’ve just always had a connection to England through my mom and feed it in adulthood with a steady diet of British comedies and police procedurals.
My mama also really loved quilts. I can’t tell you how many times we pulled over in some Amish or Mennonite town to look at quilts. She said when she retired she was going to start collecting them. We went to the Gee’s Bend quilt exhibit in 2007 when it was in Baltimore and wandered around marveling at the artistry. As soon as I started sewing, my mom would ask when she was getting a quilt. Well, as quilts go, I never got this one started when she was alive.
In 2019 my friend Mary and I drove to see fiber artist Chawne Kimber speak in Pennsylvania. While out there I decided it was high time I made this quilt. I chose some really bright colors based on my finished Multicolored Union Jack Needlepoint canvas by Kate Dickerson. I started and stopped with the sewing of this one because it’s quilting, y’all. Garments will always have my heart and eclipses any other kind of sewing any day.
Mary and I chose this Robert Kaufman Fabrics Sevenberry Japan Nara Homespun Style Waves fabric in white for the sashing and borders. I thought it clever since England was known for the navy and an ocean separated Grenada from England.
The back is a chevron red, white and blue I bought from Fabricmart. I think the original is a more aqua print and mine is closer to blue with the red tilting orange. I’m fine with this as the fabric was discounted at FM.
Reviews you find online might complain about fabric wastage. As I’m not a regular quilter and have no desire to have a quilt stash, so I didn’t notice. I will say if you’re particular about the accuracy of the Union Jack flags, this wouldn’t be for you. A real flag has the white stripes in different widths, these are all uniform. That said, someone on IG said they were doing an authentic flag quilt and the different sizes of white was making them nuts.
I finished this quilt top up while we were in Key West over the winter and shipped it off to Michelle at Quilts Made With Love for the finishing touches. I was lucky enough to find Michelle after musing on Instagram that I really wanted to find an African American longarm quilter. Someone tipped me off to Michelle and I’m so happy! She chose “Rumble” for the quilting pattern and also sewed my binding. Her communication was top notch and she happily provided me updates along the way. I will definitely be sending her more quilts in the future, because there will be more.
I’m starting to have a real quilt collection! I have high hopes for finding a lucite quilt / towel rack like this one I saw at Jordan’s grandpa’s house a few years ago. I’m going to need something (that isn’t a wood, country chic ladder) to display these on soon.