Butteryfly Quilt

I have recently purchased my first smartphone.  I must admit I love having a camera with me all the time, though it is huge.  I saw this window cling on a car the other day and snapped a picture.  I must admit I thought the owner would catch me at it and wonder what in the world I was doing, but it turned out fine.  I really like the dots that help to make the wings of this dragonfly.

So I started drawing.  I decided right away to make a butterfly instead of a dragonfly.  This is the body that I started with.  I decided it was traditional and boring and erased it completely.

Then I tried drawing one with a curl for a head and a elongated curl for a body.  Then I drew in some curls and dots for the winds.  It's okay, but I didn't love it.  So I erased the wings and tried again.

Next I tried long S shapes and curls to make the upper and lower wings.  It's okay, but I don't like the lower wing.  

So I erased the lower wing and thought about making it a dragonfly, but in the end I still wanted a butterfly.

I used the window and traced the left wing so it was exactly the same as the right wing.  I decided that the perfect symmetry really didn't suit this more organic butterfly.

Now I felt I knew what it needed.  Similar wings, but not symmetrical.  Here is the final design:

I think the antennae will have to be either quilted or embroidered.  I like that it turned out whimsical and kind of modern.  I am thinking I will either quilt the design and then paint it in or applique it.  Fun for later!

Picking Fabric for the Butterfly Wings

A few weeks ago I designed a butterfly design for this blog as shown below.  It was a lot of fun and I was excited to applique it.

I started with a gorgeous solid blue background fabric.  Here's the process I went through in choosing the colors for the butterfly wings.

I started by picking out a bunch of fabrics I liked with my blue background fabric.

Now that I had a lot to choose from, I laid them underneath the blue fabric with just a 1/2 inch showing because all the pieces for this butterfly are very narrow.

I don't like the green with the blue.  And come to think of it, I don't want a green butterfly!

I like the oranges, but with just a thin strip showing, none of them stick out to me.

I really like the stripe on the right side here.  It has a lot of pattern for only 1/2 an inch showing!

Love the color, but it is a bit pale and I want my butterfly to shine.

I like all these crazy prints, but half an inch doesn't really do them justice.

The pinks are fun, but I don't like them much at this scale.

I really like these two prints.  They have a lot of character.

Next, I took my favorites and cut a thin piece of each.  Looking at these thin strips on the blue helped confirm my choice of the stripe in the center right for my butterfly.

My son and I have been reading The BFG by Roald Dahl.  It's one of my favorite children's books of all time.  In it, the BFG calls butterflies, "butteryflies," and so I think I will call this quilt the Butteryfly Quilt in honor of that memory.

Picking Fabric for the Butterfly Body

I've been working on picking fabric for my butterfly wings and chose an amazing striped batik. I started by turning the pattern upside down before tracing the shapes on fusible.  I know fused shapes are reversed, so I had to turn the pattern upside down so that when traced and stuck to fabric they would turn out right side up.

Next, I carefully placed my pieces on the striped batik so that I got as many stripes as possible across each piece.  I did this on top of a light box so I could see through the fabric to see where the stripes were.

Now I had the butterfly shown below.

Now it was time to pick the fabric for the body of the butterfly.  I started with the dark purple shown below.  It's so dark it's almost black.  I was sure it was going to be the perfect choice.  However, once I'd cut out the pieces I felt it was too dark. 

Back to the drawing board and time to test out new ideas.  I laid fabrics on top of the butterfly wing pieces to test out which fabric I liked the best.  Here are a few of ideas.

I ended up choosing the top fabric shown here.  I probably tired 10-15 fabrics total before picking the pink.  Then I cut out the new shapes and tried it out.  I'm very happy with the finished results!

Appliqueing Butteryfly

The pieces on Butteryfly are very thin.  They are about a quarter of an inch at their widest.  I knew that I needed to adjust he size of my double blanket-stitch and make it smaller so the stitches didn't go too far into the fabric.  I decided to test out stitches at 1.4 millimeters wide and 1.4 millimeters long.  I was very happy with the results.  The stitches stitched out well (I tested this first!  A MUST!) and I was a happy camper.  The yellow thread is Polyneon by Madeira threads and the pink is a Sulky Rayon 40 weight thread.  I chose these threads because they were the right color.  I knew that if I stitched the wing pieces in pink or purple thread it wouldn't work because some pieces were predominantly pink and yellow and others were predominantly purple and yellow.  Therefore I picked yellow thread.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the butterfly before I layered the quilt, so here it is with the pins already in.  Oops.

Graffiti Quilting Butteryfly

I have decided that I want to try out Karlee Porter's Graffiti Quilting on Butteryfly.  I am intrigued by her book after snagging the last copy in Houston last year.  The first thing to do seemed to be to try a sample and see what happened.

I used a practice sandwich of dark gray fabric and two layers of batting.  The bottom layer is Quilters Dream Cotton and the top layer is Hobbs wool.  I like the extra puff this gives.  I like to use two layers in small quilts, but not in large quilts as they get really heavy to move around under the needle.  The thread used is Glide by Fil-Tec in Kiwi.  Love this!  So I'm ready to try it onButteryfly.  Here is what I started with behind the butterfly:

The background is quilted in a slightly darker blue Wonderfil InvisaFil thread.  I love the way it looks like clouds.

Graffiti Quilting Part 2

Now that the central background was done, it's was time to have some fun doing Graffiti Quilting!  I went down and pulled a bunch of threads that made a gradation of threads from yellow to pink.  I wasn't sure how many I'd want so I started out with a lot.

I knew this was going to be too many colors, so I started stitching and decided to make more choices as I went along.

First up:  Yellow. I used a Polyneon by Madeira Thread.

Now it's on to other colors!

Butteryfly is Almost Finished!

Butteryfly is done except for the hand-stitching of the binding!

Here is a picture after the orange was quilted:

I really like how you can see the orange.  My favorite area is probably the clam/scallop shapes right above the butterfly's head.  I double stitched them for more emphasis.  This was stitched with an orange Glide thread by Fil-Tec.

I decided to limit my palate of colors to three so the butterfly would still stand out.  The final quilting was done with a red Isocord Poly thread.  I went for a larger scale in part so it would show more and because I had a lot of space to fill!  I also decided to put some large circles in a few places to try to unite the edge.

The yellow stitching was small, the orange medium, and the red large.  At first I wasn't too sure about this, but I'm glad now that it's complete because it really lets the butterfly stand out.

The echoed clam shell in a circle above is probably my favorite design on the quilt.  I love how it looks like a flower.  Time to go hand stitch!

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