Thursday, 2 October 2014

A tiny piece of Liberty Jack


I made this a few weeks ago at my daughter's request, as she said that she'd really love something with a Liberty print Union Jack on it for her birthday. Coincidentally, it was around the time of the Scottish independence referendum when there was a lot of discussion about how the Union Jack would change if the Scottish St Andrew's element were to be removed, so while I was sewing I realised that it may be a last opportunity to sew it while it was still in circulation as our current flag. However, as a fairly unpatriotic person, I don't feel any real attachment to the Union Jack for what it represents, but I do feel a huge affection for it from a sewist's perspective. The way the pieces interconnect, the potential for using different fabrics, the variation in thickness of lines - they all combine to make it a perfect focus for patchwork. 


Several years ago, like many others, I fell in love with Janey Forgan's Liberty Jack quilt, which was shown as part of the V&A's Exhibition, 'Quilts 1700 - 2010'. You can see a little corner of it in the book I had out while I was sewing here (the book doesn't give a pattern for the quilt as it's a book discussing the pieces at the exhibition, rather than a pattern book) or see it in full in this old post.


My finished Union Jack measured, from memory, just less than 5" x 2.5", so I decided to foundation piece it as some of the strips were too small for English paper piecing. I've done foundation paper piecing a few times in the past and never really enjoyed it as the whole process feels so counter-intuitive, but this time I felt quite delighted by it - perhaps because it was enabling me to do something that I couldn't do at that scale any other way - I'm normally a fan of anything that facilitates me working in miniature or with fiddly pieces. [If you're not sure of the difference between foundation paper piecing and English paper piecing: the former is where you machine sew fabrics onto a printed paper template, whereas English paper piecing is where you wrap fabrics around paper templates and then sew them together by hand - the method I use most of the time in my sewing].


It was very much trial and error as it was my own Union Jack print out and my own learn-as-you-go methods. However, afterwards Kerry gave me lots of helpful tips which I'll try out next time I do some foundation piecing. If you're new to FPP too or thinking of dabbling with it, you can find all Kerry's foundation paper piecing tips and tutorials here and one that particularly helps with dealing with templates for diagonals, which feature heavily in a Union Jack, here. Kerry also has patterns in the shop which she co-runs, Sew Ichigo, which look to come with full instructions so are probably perfect for beginners as well as experienced FPPers.

I used the Union Jack panel to make a little zippered p-o-u-c-h (There. And breathe. Such a hideous word) for my daughter. I'm really tempted to make a whole mini-quilt of them though. Since having more plain white walls of my own to decorate, I feel much more taken with the idea of making some mini-quilts and my husband has also requested some, for practical purposes, for his own walls. When we had the extra layer of rooms added to our house, he turned our daughter's old bedroom into an office/music room. Even though it's tiny, with no soft furnishings in there it has dreadful acoustics for recording any music - it seems that a wall of quilts would be the perfect thing for dampening the sound down, although they'll need to be Manly Quilts, which I'm not sure are so much about pastel Liberty prints and possibly more about some Parson Gray. Have you seen any quilt patterns that have an Esher feel to them maybe?

Florence x

9 comments:

  1. That Union Jack is both adorable and lovely!

    I watched the Scottish referendum with great interest -- I actually found the logistics of the vote count, with the ballots being brought from the islands and so on, very moving. I have no skin in the game of course but as an American I guess I am reflexively pro-Union, so I am glad the flag is staying as it is.

    As for Escher quilts, how about this one:
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/172122016984154028/

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  2. Oh it's so dinky - I'm not sure I'd even know where to start but the finished effect is fabulous, and some lovely Liberty print choices :)

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  3. Luck daughter, I dont think I have the daintiness for such small scale work. But I appreciate it when others do it. I like the idea of a manly quilt though, sounds fun to me.

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  4. Even if we had gone from the Union I'd still have loved this little Union Jack in such gorgeous fabrics.

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  5. What a lovely flag, its so beautiful.

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  6. Ah yes, I have thought about putting a quilt on the wall in our music room - now I will think about it some more! Glad you're back, was starting to wonder what had happened to you! x

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  7. I donated a handmade Union Flag bag to my Mum's Macmillan coffee morning without thinking about the possible outcome of the referendum! Luckily it took place after the vote - don't know if it sold yet though!!

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  8. Thankyou so much for your mentions Florence! I love the prints you chose for your Liberty Jack. The only Echerseque pattern that comes to mind is one by Laurraine of Patchwork Pottery, I think the Crane Star started out as a quilt block, I think it is sold as a pillow pattern http://patchworkpottery.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/crane-star-pattern.html

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  9. I really love this. It would look great as a wall hanging if it was a little bigger. Great blog.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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