Thursday, September 5, 2013

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Flag of Our Heroes

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Last week I promised to show you the first quilt I made to donate to my kids' school for their annual auction.

This quilt was made in 2002 with Deuce's first grade class. I got the idea while I was on vacation with my BQF Pam (not that Pam).  Our families had gone down to Panama City Beach over Presidents' Day Weekend that year because there happened to be a quilt show in town.  We saw a quilt right when we walked in that had kids' hand prints and names making up the stripes of an American flag.  It had been made at a school in honor of 9/11, and it was wonderful in its simplicity.  In fact, it reminded me very much of the one hanging outside the Oval Office on The West Wing.

If you don't know what I mean, you can see it in this clip, which is possibly the best 5 minutes of television ever produced.  If you're impatient and don't want to watch the whole thing, then a) what the hell is wrong with you; and b) you can get a pretty good look at about 2:36.

I immediately had a vision of how I could make this quilt very quickly and easily for our school's upcoming two weeks.  Believe me when I tell you that the hardest part of getting this finished was getting the teachers to ask the kids the question "Who is your hero?" and get the answers back to me.  The rest is just so simple!

But the answers were so precious...

I bought plain muslin, a blue fabric with stars about the right size, and a red fabric with tiny white stars.  I found some flag dimensions and did math to find the correct proportions.  After which I had to lie down for a moment.  Then I stamped the blue star shape onto the white stripes with fabric paint and a sponge I cut up.

I used red Sharpie (No! Bad Jenny!) to write the kids' names and who their hero is.  After piecing the top, I didn't want to take anything away from the "flag" so I just quilted in the ditch along the stripes and around the blue field. 

The funniest part of the story was that I was terrified no one would want this quilt.  It was huge - almost twin size - and made quickly from inexpensive materials.  I had used fabric paint and Sharpie on it!  But Frances is right, the muggles don't know.  My mom had offered to buy it for $200, and I had a friend lined up to do the bidding so that I wouldn't be totally humiliated.  The auctioneer stood up and asked, "Who will give me $2000 for this quilt?"  My friend and I looked at each other in shock and she said, "I'm out!"

It did sell for $2050, and I was thrilled beyond words.  The couple who bought the quilt were, admittedly, set up.  Their own son had named his older brother as his hero; another boy in the class had named the dad, a dentist who had saved the child's front tooth after an accident.  I'm no dummy - I put those two kids' names and responses on either end of the same row so they really stood out.  It's all about marketing.

This was just the beginning.  Over the next four years I made four more quilts and raised money for the school we could never afford to donate.  I'll show you the rest of them another time.

Now I want to see your blast from the past.  Link up and let us all see!


  1. Awesome quilt and story. What a great story!

  2. Had time to go back and watch the clip. Have never watched the West Wing. Very moving. Missed the quilt, had to go back and watch it again. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a great quilt that was (is). And, love the West Wing tie in. Also, Throwback Thursday is very clever.

  4. Lovely and so fantastic that is was so successful!

  5. Loved the tv clip and the quilt is really cool. Way to go!


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