Basket and Butterflies is my favorite quilt. Many years ago, I took an applique class with Nancy Pearson at the Vermont Quilt Festival. I had taken classes with other applique instructors, but it wasn’t anything that excited me. The first half of the class was not about applique. It was about color and fabric choices. We cut and pasted fabrics onto paper. When we left class for lunch, several of the students were fussing and saying they didn’t sign up for that type of a class and were not going back. It was their loss as Nancy taught applique in the afternoon class. We had our background in color so the flowers were beautiful. Nancy taught us how to applique a twisted ribbon without having bulk at the joining. It was awesome and I was hooked on applique.
The center of Basket and Butterflies was the class project. I had enough wall hangings so decided to enlarge it and make a queen quilt. I designed a border using Nancy’s flowers and made a woven ribbon with the same colors as the ribbon on the basket.
The quilt has a sub-title. It is “It’s John Flynn’s Fault”. I also had a class on stipple quilting and trapunto with John Flynn. The background of the quilt is stipple quilted with one of John’s stipple patterns. There is also some feather quilting.
The quilt was named Basket and Butterflies because when I became bored with the stipple quilting, I quilted orange butterflies in the background, It is very subtle but makes a nice surprise when the viewer discovers the butterflies.
When it was finished, I thought that I would enter it into the Vermont Quilt Festival because I made it with information that I received in classes that I had taken there. It was my first entry in a major show. I was stunned and very pleased to receive a blue ribbon. And then, if I wasn’t stunned enough, my name was called for the best hand quilting award.
The other side of the story is that I had met my quilting goal . My goal was to receive a ribbon in Vermont. Because I had met it, I stopped quilting for a while. Then, I got my thinking back in order. I quilted for the pleasure of quilting. Not every quilt is a prize winning quilt and I didn’t have to make one better than Basket and Butterflies. The prize is the joy in designing, putting fabric colors together, sewing, and making memories. The quilts didn’t have to be perfect. There should be no stress in making a quilt. Some of my quilts are just plain awful. Those are the ones that no one ever sees. I’ve learned to not point out my mistakes. They can be covered up by applique or buttons, or just cut up for mile a minute quilts. I’ve stopped counting how many quilts I’ve made. I usually have five or six going at the same time. I never get bored. I still put some into shows and have received blue, red and yellow ribbons. Sometimes, no ribbons. The judges point out mistakes that I already knew were there, so I’m not surprised. I just like to share my quilts with others.
Have a great day and happy quilting.