It all started with this fabric:
I thought it could be part of a very sophisticated quilt for a baby girl. The fabric isn’t too babyish, and I could see a teenage girl liking it every bit as much as a child would.
To match the intensity of the black-and-white fabric, I decided to go with bright colours. At first I was thinking of colourful geometric prints, but then I saw some batik fabrics and realized that their softness and low-contrast patterns would be a lovely foil for the sharpness of the butterflies. And so a quilt was born.
The centre is what’s called a disappearing nine-patch. The placement of the blocks is semi-random, which to my mind means that I didn’t want it to look like an orderly repeating pattern. I created the black appliqued butterflies by scanning and enlarging the inspiration fabric, tracing it onto the black cotton, and then cutting out the shape.
The coolest part of this quilt (for me) is the quilting itself. Have a look:
See those meandering lines? That’s my first attempt at free-motion quilting. I used a variegated thread so that the stitching changes colour every so often. I quilted the entire centre panel except for the butterflies, and then I quilted the butterflies separately. You can see it very well from the back:
I have to say that I absolutely love using Minky as a quilt backing. It’s so soft and cuddly, and it also shows off the quilting very nicely.
I made a pieced binding for the quilt out of leftover batik fabric. Early on someone questioned my choice to do a colourful binding instead of just letting the black butterfly fabric fade into a black binding, but I stand by my decision. I think it frames the whole quilt and makes it feel cohesive. Don’t you?
And, of course, I finished it off with a label:
I find it hard to part with a finished quilt. I really wanted to keep this one, maybe hang it in the living room to admire for a while, and then use it as a throw for the couch. In the end I gave myself a stern talking-to, wrapped it up, and delivered it to the intended recipient. It helped that she loved the quilt and made a big fuss over it. I couldn’t help but give the quilt a loving stroke and a quick cuddle before handing it over for good and driving off into the sunset… and noticing that the sunset wasn’t quite as exciting as the one I’d quilted.