Butterflies are free ... and so am I

I was over half way through making the 120 framed nine patch blocks needed to make my own version of Lynne Dykstra's (Klein Meisje Quilts) gorgeous quilt (see my blog here) when I got sidetracked by this butterfly block tutorial by Mrs Schmenkman Quilts.  The blog isn't kept up-to-date any more, but please go to it to discover how the block originated.  This tutorial was written in 2010 when it seems the block was very popular.

Anyhoo, I became obsessed with making my own and, using any scrap I could find, I started making what has turned out to be one of my favourite quilts.

The tutorial is very clear and I had no problem putting these blocks together. I don't normally trim blocks to size, so that task was tedious, not to mention wasteful of the black background fabric, but I persevered to produce one hundred 6" blocks.  In the beginning I wasn't going to put a border on, but quickly found that the butterfly wings stretched too much to be simply left with a scrappy binding to hold them together.

Instead, I added a 2" black inner border, and then a 4" outer border.  Now that I see it up on the wall, I think the outer border is a bit too narrow, and I'm thinking of adding another.  The binding will be in the same Robert Kauffman fabric.

I am thrilled with how it turned out.  I especially like the secondary block that is created where four blocks join, and which, to me, look like wonky black pinwheels. I also love the wavy black line that is created both vertically and horizontally where the blocks join.  I think the butterflies look like they are wiggling.

There are all sorts of fabrics in this quilt, some of which are at least 20 years old, and they remind me of quilts that I made for my mother, sisters, friends, my new grand daughter and her cousins.  I only used each fabric twice, and some are used only once.  I used four different ginghams for the butterfly bodies (boy, were they hard to source in local quilt shops) and I decided to completely ignore what colour went with what print, and I also randomised placement of blocks to ignore the colour of the  gingham bodies.

I puzzled over why I was so attracted to the quilt in the first place and I remembered a blog post from one of my favourite quilters, Lynne at Patchery Menagerie.  In her blog she talks about the rhythm of the blocks - the repetition of elements - that attracted her to the Christmas Boxes quilt she made.  I feel that's what happened to me with this quilt.  

By the way, I have Lynne's bird tutorial, and I did think of putting a couple of birds in my quilt, but I wanted to keep the butterfly repetition going. I'm kind of interested in seeing what the birds would look like on a black, rather than white/cream background, so that might be my next experiment.

Now to quilt this.  I'm thinking of an overall free loopy pattern to counteract the rigidity of the repetitive blocks.

But that won't be happening until my house move.  I've  packed up the sewing room (apart from a couple of projects, like this one, to finish off) and I've discovered more fabric than I can handle. 

I just have to find a way to use up more scraps.



  1. What a beautiful quilt. I love butterflies. And when you told so, I could easily see the wonky pinwheels.

  2. Thank you! I’ve been bitten by the butterfly bug and another quilt will be in the works later this year.

  3. I always love to see what the negative spaces look like. Your pinwheels are a surprise, which doesn't initially jump out. So it makes the whole quilt even more interesting because it looks different depending on where you focus. Orna

  4. Go to Lynne's blog and look for her four quilt series featuring "use all the crayons" - she did one as a low volume, one on white, one on black, and one in black and white. Letters rather than birds but you could still see the differences (three are under her 2013 quilts tab and the fourth under the 2014 quilts tab - in addition to the many posts she shared along the way).

    1. I love Lynne’s quilts and her thought processes. I’m a ‘frequent follower’ of both of you!

  5. This is a lovely quilt. I finished a similar butterfly quilt this week. Funny. We seem to have started about the same time, too.

  6. The butterflies are beautiful and the secondary pinwheels pattern is a bonus. I love the secondary patterns like discovering a second layer of chocolates in the box when the top layer is all gone. Good luck with your move. And the scraps - well, the blogland is bursting with plenty of ideas to keep engaged in your new place. Best wishes!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quilty Folk Quilt Along

Stuck in the blooming brambles

What a rigmarole ...