Thursday, April 11, 2013

Miss Butterfly's Flower Garden: A Zig-Zag Quilt Finish

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already. –Dave Barry

The average time for a quilt from start to finish for me is 2½ years. I hardly ever work on a quilt from start to finish in one go. I almost always work on it a little bit here and there with a few other projects in between and then come back to it and then work on something else, until I finally decide that it is time to finish something, at which time I pick the project that is the closest to being done. This cute little zig-zag quilt is an exception {for the most part} to that rule. For the last seven weeks, it has been {almost} my sole project. I finished it last weekend and it is already in place on Miss Butterfly's bed.

Almost as soon as I got home from the February 16th wedding reception my last project went as a gift to, I stared work on this zig-zag quilt for my niece. My sister and I planned it a year ago for her daughter, Miss Butterfly, and I've had the fabrics cut out since early last summer. And then it sat because I had other, more urgent things to work on. Miss Butterfly's birthday was just past mid-way through March, and I wanted to finish it in time for that. I missed the mark by a couple of weeks, getting it to her last Saturday. Even though I worked on in nearly every day since mid-February, and revised my “finish by” date, I still cut it down to the wire. We had a family get-together at my parent's on Saturday and I wanted to finish it by then so that I could deliver it in person, rather than mailing it to her {it is pretty heavy and the recent hike in postage rates has sucked all the joy out of sending and receiving packages}. The party started at 4:00 pm, but 4:00 was when I was putting the last stitches in the quilt. It's about an hour and twenty minute's drive to my mom's, plus all that hurry-up-and-wait while everyone gets their stuff ready to get out the door, so we didn't get there until 6:00. But it all worked out. Miss Butterfly's quilt was finished when we left and I made the matching pillow case {tutorial here} when we got there.

I designed this quilt to go together quickly. The HST's are 6" finished, making it relatively fast to pull a twin-size quilt together. I'd originally planned to quilt arcs from corner to corner of each triangle, in essence putting a “net” of flowers on the quilt. I even named the quilt Miss Butterfly's Flower Garden because of the effect the quilting would have. But once I got into it, I decided against that, worrying that my arcs wouldn't be even or pretty without marking them first. As the quilt came together I realized that the chevron or zig-zag design and the white Kona cotton are both very modern, but the calicos in the colored rows are more traditional and I wanted the quilting to be a good mix of both. Plus, I like to quilt to enhance the design of a quilt, rather than covering it. I settled on echo quilting just a hair wider than ¼" apart in the white, and then I did some loopy half-flowers in the colored zig-zags. I think it is a good fusion of modern and traditional. And the quilt name still works, which is a good thing because I embroidered the label six months before I even started piecing the quilt. The yellow row is my favorite because the quilting really shows up. I'm not sure why the quilting doesn't show up in the other rows as well as it does in the yellow, but it really pops in the yellow.

This is the biggest quilt I've quilted myself. The finished size is 72" x 96". I estimate it took me between 70 and 80 hours to put together. On the low end, 30 hours for cutting and piecing, 40 hours for quilting about about 5 hours for binding, I think I wound at least 20 bobbins. And yes, those are 1" pieced HST's {:crazy:} around the label on the back {close-up here}. It is a great feeling to have this one finished and delivered to my niece!

Read more about this quilt:
A Start on Piecing
Finished Quilt Top & Label
Quilting in Progress
Quilting in Progress, part 2

Today's post brought to you by:
My 2013 Finishes


Schulz Family said...

no wonder it took so long. That is stunning FMQ!!!

QuiltNut Creations said...

I love how you have taken older fabrics and made a modern quilt. Beautiful! Great job Elizabeth.

Jei Crochet said...

Hi I followed your blog!Found you on Link-a finish friday.

Lane said...

Yay for a finish! And, I love the quilting you chose. A perfect combination of plain and spectacular. Lane

Mike Pearson said...

It truly is a great feeling to finish something other than M&M's :) Great job!

Paulette said...

Your quilting is beautiful! I adore those loopy half flowers. Bravo for the spectacular finish!

Lynette said...

*Love* the loopy flowers! And those tiny HSTs sure like nice around the label. I like mixing in old fabrics with modern fabrics and themes. :)

Richard Healey said...

I am always so amazed with your quilts you do such a fantastic job. I really like the label. We have now a simple embroidery machine and have made a few labels. I have been sewing them on as a after thought and love the idea of actually piecing them into the top.

Amanda said...

This looks lovely! And congrats on the fast finish!!

Jennifer Lovell said...

Gorgeous! I love the quilting in the closeup photo of the yellow zig zag. Cogratulations on another beautiful finish!

Ruthie said...

I LOVE the quilting on the zig-zag!

Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation said...

what an adorable quilt! the colors are great, and I love the quilting!

-Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation