Friday, August 10, 2018

Mariposa Quilt

Now that the quilt is in the tiny hands of its new owner, I can finally share what I've been up to this summer. The Mariposa Quilt! 

Due to a complicated pregnancy my little grand niece was born about six weeks early by plan. She's teeny, tiny but a mighty mite, and was able to come home after only 9 days in the NICU. While they were waiting for her arrival, her parents referred to her as Mariposa (Butterfly in English). That's not her real name, but what a fun before-birth name. So, of course, my niece suggested butterflies for a quilt theme. She also gave me the name of the nursery paint color (Silver Drop by Behr--a warm, pale gray) and a photo of the Turkish style rug. Based on the style and colors in the rug, I thought batiks might be fun. I checked with my niece, and she agreed. I was glad because not everyone is a fan of batik. 

My first step was choosing a pattern. I had seen a lot of quilts online, and thought for sure I wanted to make a cute paper pieced pattern of charm sized blocks. I'm sure you've seen it. But it had a lot of pieces and I would need a lot of blocks. I wasn't sure about that. The morning that I was going to begin prepping the papers, another pattern popped up in my Pinterest suggestions. Bingo! There it was. Butterfly Dance by Nadra Ridgeway of ellisandhiggs. There are two versions of the pattern. I chose the mini. Then I went shopping.

I bought nine pairs of colorful eighth-yard cuts (dark/light) and one of a brown "body" color. Yeah, eighth-yard cuts--they love me at quilt shop cutting counters. 

I was hoping to find a whitish batik for the background, but they all had either yellow or blue tones, so I found a subtle tone-on-tone non-batik fabric (Glorious Hummingbirds in cream by Jackie Robinson for Benartex) that looked much like the paint chip I had of the room color. The design in it barely shows, but does add interest close up. 

The pattern is not paper pieced and uses sew-and-flip corners to make triangles for the wings. Easy peasy. (I do have lots of triangle snips left over. Not sure what I'll do with them. Please don't judge if I toss them.)
Just a few of 'em.
The layout was super easy, too. The butterflies are on an angle (not quite on-point) but are sewn into squares for a straight layout. In the mini, four butterflies are arranged so that they are flying in a circle, with a finished size of 15 1/2 inches.

After I started sewing blocks, I decided that I wanted one more set of colors in an inky blue. I added those in and really didn't think of it that those would make the quilt quite big, but I don't mind. I usually make fairly large quilts for babies (by baby standards) because then they can use them for quite a long time. So instead of a square quilt, it is a rectangle with the equivalent of 14 mini quilts altogether. 

I did add a little detail to the pattern. Since it is a child's quilt, I decided to add just a little more color by putting sew and flip triangles of the lighter colors in the corner of each block. These made little diamonds across the quilt among the butterflies. 

I had a lot of background fabric left when I was finished with the top, but not quite enough for a back, so I needed to make a quick trip back to the fabric store. I bought the rest of the bolt, but it was still not enough to make a nice back without awkward seams, so I made giant blocks instead with large versions of the diamonds using both the lighter and darker colorful leftovers. It didn't take very long to make, and really, I like the process of making pieced backs. Its more improvisational than the work I usually do on the front of the quilt. It seems like I can get them to lie flatter for quilting than when I use just one fabric. I'm not sure why that is, but I seem to be able to get them more taut when basting. 

For quilting I repeated the "Piedmont" quilting I used on my Hexie Quilt. I think I really got the idea from Jacquie Gering's first Walking Foot quilting tutorial on Craftsy. On the Hexie Quilt, I spaced the lines one inch apart. This time I spaced them 3/4 inch apart. I think they look sort of like the flight paths of butterflies. I remember I had a little trouble keeping my curves even on the previous quilt (the needle, not the guide, needs to be lined up with the previous line), so before I started quilting this one, I looked up some ideas online to remedy that. I found this little tutorial that shows how to use a paper clip to "lengthen" the guide on the walking foot to be more in line with the needle. Here's what my modification looks like:

I think if I did this again, I'd make the paper clip part a smidge longer, but it worked pretty well. 

On my recent vacation Up North, I bought a piece of multicolored batik, thinking I would work it into the back of the quilt somehow, but when I got home I realized that it would be perfect for the binding, as it has a lot of colors from the main part of the quilt, but it's quiet enough to let the butterflies shine. 

If you look closely, you can see my initials and date

Okay, here are the stats and then we'll take the quilt out on a little field trip for a photo shoot in the wild. (Or in the cultured, as this was on a college campus.)

Pattern: Butterfly Dance Mini by Nadra Ridgeway, with an added little diamond detail by me. Multiplied original number of blocks by 14.
Fabrics: 22 assorted batik prints (Sorry, I did not keep track of all the info on those bolts, and sadly, there is never info on the selvage of batiks); Glorious Hummingbirds in cream by Jackie Robinson for Benartex. 
Batting: Hobbs Premium Cotton 80/20 
Thread:  Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing, King Tut for quilting--I think it's Temple (white), but it could be White Linen. I remember waffling on that and forgot to write it down. 
Binding: Cut 2 1/2 inches wide and folded in half; 3/8 inch finished; hand stitched to back.
Size: 53 by 60 1/2 inches pieced; 53 by 60 1/4 inches quilted; 51 by 58 1/2 inches after washing.  
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer 115 Treadle for walking foot quilting.  

On summer evenings, Michigan State University has carillon concerts. People take their lawn chairs, and maybe a picnic, and hang out on under the big trees to hear some pretty music. I took the quilt with to get some photos before one of the concerts. First, the BIG tree.

I can't even get the whole tree in the picture. It makes the quilt look like a postage stamp. 

I like how the front shadows through on this one. 
This area is usually lush, but we were in the middle of a drought.
After the concert, we wandered over to a bronze piece of art--Twyla made by Bill Barrett, inspired by his granddaughter as well as the dancer Twyla Tharp. I liked the idea of photographing the quilt here, but wasn't quite sure how to drape it to show off both the statue and the quilt.

On our way back to our car, we stopped in a campus garden for just a few more photos.

And on the newly installed bridge railing by the parking lot.

I didn't get any photos at home after washing the quilt because the weather was dismal, but that precious baby had her two-week photo taken on the quilt this week after it arrived in the mail. I'll show just a bit of her (to protect her privacy), but there she is on her washed quilt. For some perspective, those butterflies are 5 1/2 inches wide by 4 1/4 inches. 

So this quilt is one of the reasons I've been kind of quiet online this summer. It was made during a time of concern for the welfare of this little baby and her mother. There are lots of prayers in every stitch and we are so thankful that she is a strong, healthy baby. After she was born, my brother (her grandfather) told me that the night before her birth, he had a dream that his daughter was in the operating room and there were butterflies flying all around the room. Doesn't that give you the shivers?!

I'm linking up today with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday

Now I need to get back to my other secret sewing for the summer. I hope your summer and summer sewing are going well--whatever you are celebrating. 

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

that is such a cute quilt and so glad the tiny little girl is ok - amazing she was in the NICU for such a short time - best wishes for her continuing good health!

Lisa Marie said...

Wow, what a gorgeous quilt for such precious baby. I'm glad she is doing well and love the photo with that tiny leg! Your fabric choices and quilting are just wonderful. Fantastic finish.

Ramona said...

Your butterfly quilt is gorgeous. The quilting makes it look like the butterflies are moving. Beautiful!

PatriciaLud said...

What a beautiful quilt! Thank you for sharing your gift.

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

Oh what a great idea on the walking foot. Love the quilt and the quilting is awesome!

Ashley said...

This is such a beautiful quilt. I first saw it yesterday and had to come by today for another look. The batik butterflies, the little squares between, the gorgeous color choices, the is just perfect!

Kathleen said...

Lovely quilt for Mariposa! I love that quilting idea - its a new one for me and very effective. The hint about the paper clip is awesome!

Bernie Kringel said...

First of all, it is wonderful that the pregnancy is over and the baby is healthy. I am glad you gave us a point of reference by mentioning the size of the butterfly compared to the sweet leg in the picture. Quite tiny - I am sure she will catch up quickly.

Janine, this quilt is gorgeous - and as always, the details are well thought out and meaningful. I love that about your work. Beautiful colors and the addition of the little pops of color floating among the butterflies is so sweet. Your choice of quilting motif is perfect. I thought of the butterflies flight path before you mentioned it. Great sense of movement. Well done Auntie.

Louise said...

Oh oh oh!! Janine, this so beautiful! I love everything from the pattern to the soft batiks to the perfect quilting and binding and backing. And I have tears in my eyes from your brother's butterfly dream. I was already enraptured by the quilt, and then the shot of Mariposa's teensy tiny leg and then the dream...well, I'm a waterfall now. Every stitch of loving good wishes you put into this worked magic. Congratulations on a *wonderful* finish :)

Vicki in MN said...

That is a very sweet quilt! It shows all the love you put into it. So glad your niece is doing well.

Kate said...

Such a perfect quilt for that little one! Congrats on a gorgeous finish and on the new addition to the family.

Love Of Quilts said...

Such a pretty quilt.

KaHolly said...

Wow! That was quite a post! Excellent read. And that quilt, magnificent! The back, too. You did an extraordinary job. I’m in awe,

Lin said...

Gorgeous! xx

Preeti said...

There is just so much love in one post,just as there is so much joy in one quilt. Love the choice of pattern and fabrics. But then you went ahead and added snowball corners for added pizzaz. With the improv back, this quilt definitely hits a high note. Finally, the quilting is just perfect. A glimpse of a little chubby leg on the quilt and I am in heaven. Sending lots of love to the little one and thank you for sharing all the details of your process.