Quilters Lead Pieceful Lives.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Butterflies III

This is the lucky 13th baby quilt I have made for my friend Mari, and the third time I have used butterflies as the theme. See Butterflies and Butterflies For Hannah for the others.

For this quilt, I started with a panel which had 2 butterflies that were surrounded by the flower pattern seen on the border. The panel itself (24" x 44") didn't work for the design I had in mind, so I bought two of them and fussy-cut the butterflies to 12" x 12". Then I flipped the butterflies on the right side so that they were symmetrical.  
The green and white mini-butterfly border fabrics are the same ones I used in a previous quilt for Mari, Dominique's Garden.
What to do for the quilting?  The butterflies are already so colorful that I didn't want to detract from them. I thought about using variegated thread, but just couldn't find a way to make it work. Then I noticed the thin white border surrounding each butterfly and their distinctive wing patterns.  Yes!!! So I used white thread to free-motion outline each of these. Invisible and gives dimensionality to the butterflies.  I then did use rainbow variegated thread to ditch around the 4 central squares and then in each border ditch.
The final touch was the label for baby Sofia, new sister to Jaxson .   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


About a year ago I posted my Bulging Checkerboard quilt (Stand Back!), and got a lovely email about it from a quilter in Portland, Oregon named Margaret Ellis.   She also wanted to make that pattern, but in the same size as I did (51 x 51) vs the original 102 x 102 size of the pattern.

Since that time we have corresponded regularly and shared photos and ideas about a number of projects. And, yes....she did make the Checkerboard quilt too.

I have had a pattern in my queue for a long time, "Labyrinth Walk", (click for link to pattern). This pattern also makes a huge quilt: 84 x 84! Maybe it's just me, but this is waaaayyyy to big to put on a wall (unless you had a specific large, prominent space in mind), and I think the whole effect / impact would be lost if it was used as a bedspread. Why do these creators make these quilts so big?

I had been able to scale down the Checkerboard to one-fourth size, but for some reason was having trouble doing this one. Margaret reminded me of a fun math fact: halve the dimension and you get 1/4 the size! So she was kind enough to put together a complete set of cutting instructions at the new size of 45 x 45 and sent them to me in December (along with a picture of her version of Labyrinth). The reason it is not exactly a one-quarter scale is that the white strips in the original are cut to 1.25" wide. There is no way to scale those in half and still have room left for a 1/4" seam allowance on both sides. So she just made those 1", which still worked out fine.

I put these new instructions in my "stack of things to be done" because a) we were going away for a week at the end of the month, and b) I was working on another quilt. Then, just after the first of the year, I saw a Facebook posting for an Art Auction at Homer Plessy School in New Orleans. Loyal readers know that my daughter lives in Nola, and one of her good friends is on the board of this school. YES!  I will make Labyrinth as it is a perfect candidate for an auction. But the art piece submission deadline was March 15th! Suddenly, I had to get very busy working on this. Luckily, we have had a string of single-digit and below-zero temp days, and my wife had an out-of-town weekend conference, so I had plenty of time to work on making this quilt.

Here is my finished piece:

As in some other 3D quilts, the farther back you stand, the better the dimensionality.

And, like a lot of quilts, this looks so much harder to make than it actually is! The fabrics are white, light gray, dark gray, and black batiks. There are really just two different blocks and they are arranged in 3 x 3 rows: the "2 concentric squares" block (5 of those), and the "maze" block (4 of those). Each block is about 12" square. It's all in the design, cutting and piecing. The former block is made up of 30 pieces for each, while the latter needs 64!

The two gray borders on the right side and bottom, plus the diagonal black corners, reinforce the apparent depth of the body.

As usual, I did minimal quilting: white thread in the ditch of all the white strips, plus grays and black ditching along the border edges as necessary.

Let me know if you can find your way out of the maze!