Friday, 14 December 2012

#4 Butterfly Quilt - What did I learn from this Quilt?

Each quilt I make, I tend to learn something new.  With the Butterflies Quilt being my first large project, over a long period of time, it was perhaps my steepest learning curve with regard to patchwork and quilting.  Looking back, I realise how naïve I was, and how this project really opened the doors to the quilting world for me.

Butterfly Quilt on the Bed English Paper Piecing
Butterfly Quilt on the Bed

English Paper Piecing is Great!
As long as the paper is cut to the right size, you can get away with rough cutting fabric, and along with hand sewing , you have much greater control of what is going on with your quilt - this is why I love working with the English Paper Piecing method. Also, cutting out the paper for quilts reminds me of cutting out dresses for paper dolls when I was a child.  I used to love this.  It is a quiet, peaceful pastime.  Sometimes I like to be on the machine, but when you have no choice in order to get a project done, it can feel like you are chained to it, and you really have to find a block of time to get the job done - not easy when you work full-time.  In the two years it took to complete the Butterflies quilt, I never once got frustrated with it.  It is portable.  You can fit it in to small gaps of time.  Just make sure you have it with you all the time!
Go With the Scraps
For this quilt project, the only fabric I bought was the cream calico and the fabric for the butterfly bodies.  Otherwise, I kept to what scrap fabric I had.  This led to, what felt like, some heavily compromised colour combinations, which made me wince as I sewed them together.  However, once the quilt was together, it looked perfect.  Go with the scraps, in general, they know what they are doing.
I used an off-white cotton to sew my pieces together, which worked for the majority of the quilt, but not so well on the coloured fabric.  As it travelled around with me  A LOT, just having to worry about one reel of thread, made it easier, however, with the quilts I have done since I have taken more care to match the thread to the fabric.
This quilt needs more quilting.  I look at it every day and think this, but part of me is happy to keep it as it is, as a reminder that there is a ‘tipping point’ of too little, or too much quilting on a quilt.  I am still working on the balance of this.


  1. Love your Butterfly quilt! I am new to quilting and haven't tried the English Paper Piecing method, but I intend to. I think you did a great job picking through your scraps!

  2. What a beautiful quilt! I love it!

  3. I have been admiring this quilt and I would really like to ask you something. I do a fair bit of EPP (self taught) but only make smallish quilts because I piece the background and sashing as well as the blocks. I can't see any piecing in the white area around your butterflies, so I am puzzled. Did you applique the butterflies onto the background fabric or is there another way that I haven't realised?

    1. If you look at this blog post , enlarge the first photo, and you might just be able to see the paper pieced white bits. It was all paper pieced, with just the antennae stitched on afterwards.
      I hope this answers your question.