Project 2011-44: Blue Butterfly Quilt

About a decade ago, my young teen daughter began a quilt from a McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine called “Strawberry Shortcake”.  Except that she decided to make it in blue.  Then after making all of the four patch blocks, she abandoned the project.   Now grown and living in her own apartment, it is pretty safe to assume she will never finish it.  Since it lived in my sewing room, I decided to finish it.  I considered giving it to her as a Christmas gift, but since blue is no longer one of her preferred colors, I know she would not appreciate it as much as something in the green/brown palette.

To me, the blue and white was a bit too plain and boring, so I added a blue/pink/yellow and white butterfly print from my stash.  Of course, my version of this quilt does not even vaguely resemble the original design.  The four patches are the same, but not much else is.  I changed the block layout, then added sashing and corner squares.  I finished the centerof the quilt in 2006, and then set it aside while I pondered what borders to add.

The border tends to be my little stumbling block that gets in the way of a quilt being finished.  I rarely know what the border will be when I start a quilt. Once the center is assembled,  I tend to audition a few ideas.   When the layout does not immediately convince me of its rightness, I let the options marinate through my consciousness.  In this case, a small amount of the butterfly fabric remained from the center.  Since I prefer to bust stash and avoid leftovers, I felt I ought to use it as narrow second inner border.  No matter what I tried, it did not seem right.   This summer, when showing the layout I was considering to Cindy, my cottage neighbor, she pointed out to me that the butterfly border was not going to work.  I took it away from the layout and saw immediately that she was right.    That took away all of the border stress.  I had been trying to force a fabric that did not belong.  So the resulting border is comprised of a wide pink solid that coordinates with the pink butterflies in the print and a narrow inner border of a blue and maroon striped shirting.  The binding is the same as the narrow inner border. Finished size is 88″ by 103″.    I’m sure I will figure out another way to use the remaining 3/4 yard of butterfly fabric!

The borders went on last week and I quilted it  with the Circle Lord Swirlz template using a white polyester thread on top and white Bottom Line in the bobbin.  The backing is a wide width cotton I bought from Ashram Dyers in Cairo, Egypt.  Great quality backing!  The binding is applied to the back by machine and top stitched on the front.  It makes a nice binding for a quilt that is simple and not destined to be a show quilt.

This quilt goes into my wedding stash.   Typically, I  invite the bride and groom to my home to select their favorite quilt rather than make the choice myself.  It is fascinating to see how widely tastes differ.   I try to make a variety of quilt styles and colors to have on hand to increase the odds that the couple will find a quilt they will love.  My children and I take bets on which quilt the bride will choose before they arrive.  So far, I have only predicted one selection correctly!  To me, this is one of the greatest quilting mysteries.  Matching the right quilt to the right person intrigues me and appeals to my research tendencies.  I’m sure that our emotional and nostalgic reactions to quilt designs, colors and textures would be very difficult to tie down in a controlled research study.

Goal Status:  44 quilts completed and 8 more to go to reach my goal of 52 completed projects before December 31st.  With good time management, I feel I will make the target.  Having worked on borders over the past week, I now have  some flimsies waiting to be quilted and then blogged and counted as complete.   Although this past week has been very social with parties, dinners, quilt guild, and gift shopping, all of which I enjoyed, I have felt a bit wistful at having to leave my quilting projects.  When I have had a spare 15 minutes or half-hour, I have continued working on projects, moving them all closer to finished status.  I still like things to be done!  Knowing I still have quite a bit to do to accomplish my goal of 52 completed projects, I am seeking more efficiencies in my quilting, my household management and in my business work.   It amazes me at how quickly I can do routine work and what I can delegate to others when I really want to be in my sewing room!

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