Wednesday 25 May 2016

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - A Finish ....

EDITED:  I can now happily say that this quilt is going to stay home after attending a few shows!  I was very happy to receive Best Piecing in Show at the West Country Quilt and Textile Show in November 2016 and 1st Place in the Wall Hanging Category at the British Quilt & Stitch Village in April 2017.

One of the quilts I finished during my recent quilting marathon was my flag quilt, named Should I Stay or Should I Go?  With the time deadline I was under I was not able to take many photos or do a finish blog post before it was delivered to Malvern to be hung in Quilts UK.
It is now safely home and hanging in my studio and here are all the stats ....
Progress posts can be found here, here, here and here!
Started:  21 March 2016
I began playing with the paper pieced stars for the NZ flag on this date - hoping that the referendum on the flag in New Zealand would result in the current flag remaining
Finished: 16 May 2016
Last stitch was put in the hanging sleeve at 1.30pm - with the quilt needing to be delivered to Malvern between 2pm and 4pm!

Originally I thought each flag was going to be A4 in size and there were going to be two maps, one of UK and one of New Zealand, to make a wall hanging.  Then I made a paper pieced star ..... they were as small as I wanted to go as a novice to paper piecing and so the size was determined by them!
I designed the Union Jack block to have correct dimensions on a 3:5 ratio, which are the dimensions for the flag that is flown on land (the flag flown at sea is a 1:2 ratio).

Each flag block measured 50" by 30" unfinished ....

The blue and red fabric for the flags were nearly all to be found in my stash and range from new quilting fabric to vintage dress fabric and everything in between.  I had to buy a couple of blue fat 1/4s to have enough different fabric.  The white fabric for the stripes is Kona White.
Once the two flags were finished I had to decide how to join them together.  I knew there would have to be a border of some type otherwise the demarcation between the flags would be lost.  I chose a navy blue solid and then played with some designs of coloured stripes until I settled on this ....
I love how this made up and actually see a whole quilt in this design ....
When I loaded it onto my frame I still wasn't quite sure how I was going to quilt it.  I thought I would start with straight lines on the white to stabilise it.  The vertical and horizontal ones were easily done using the channel locks but the diagonal lines took rulerwork.  Let's just say that I am now quite proficient with rulers but it takes far more time than I imagined!  I had a problem with the thread shredding aswell which I haven't experienced before.  I also learnt to speed unpick whilst the quilt was on the frame ....

By the time I had quilted the white stripes and the blue triangles, again with straight lines, I realised how little time I had left.  The red cross was straight lines again but this time they were freehand and organic - a much quicker process.  The red diagonal stripes were quilted with freehand matchstick quilting.

I knew I wanted words in the quilting somewhere and the navy border stripes provided the perfect place.  I really enjoyed using the words and can definitely see them appearing in my quilts again.  Below the Union Jack flag are the words:

United Kingdom  Great Britain  home  wedding  Place of Birth  British  Rowington  wedding  love

On top of the New Zealand flag are the words:
New Zealand  Aotearoa  home  motherhood  Wellington  kiwi  Tauranga  love

I loved writing the words with the quilting - I can see more of this on future quilts!

I mulled over the quilting design of the NZ flag over dinner and realised it had to be something I could do relatively quickly - it had to be off the frame that night!  I went swirly and ended up with koru and fish hook designs.  Initially I thought it might look funny with the straight lines of the Union Jack but actually it works and in a way represents the differences between the two countries!!
The wadding used was Warm and White by the Warm Company and the backing was a blue polka dot I picked up at a show - no name I'm afraid.
I used Glide threads top and bottom in White, 10000, Cobalt, 30647, Tomato, 70179 and Navy, 32965.  I love the way they pick out the design so well on the back ....
The arrows you can see were quilted on the red and blue middle border and represent our many trips back and forth between the two countries both on holidays and for setting up home!!
Linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts and this is also a finish of my 2016FAL Q2 list.


  1. This quilt is just beautiful! And such a great story behind it too.

  2. Just found you... another Kiwi! Loved reading this post. So glad we've kept our flag too!

  3. That is fantastic! I love the variety of fabrics and how the quilting shows up on the back.

  4. Fantastic finish and I'm so glad I caught this post. You've really done a terrific job with the design and the quilting. I love that you put the words in there, too. So the Union Jack portion is 30"x50"? Sounds like a perfect baby quilt for a little one I know! I'm watching for the pattern release.

  5. This quilt is a real labour of love. Fabulous finish!

  6. This is amazing! And I enjoyed learning the differences in ratio between the flags flown on land and at sea--fascinating!

  7. Both flags are fantastic! The way you paper pieced the stars and incorporated in the rows was genius. And your quilting is beautiful!

  8. This is beautiful, and I love the story behind it.

  9. This is amazing!!! Congratulations on the finish and thank you for participating in the 2016FAL, on behalf of all the hosts!


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