Friday, October 30, 2020

Butterflies in Margot's Garden (Modern Baby Clam Shells) Ta-DONE!

I'm finally able to share my Modern Baby Clam Shells finish with you!  Its final name is "Butterflies in Margot's Garden," named after the little girl for whom it was made.  (This quilt is my original design; no pattern currently available).

Butterflies in Margot's Garden, Before Washing, 42" x 42"

I have always washed my finished quilts prior to gifting them, for a number of reasons: I want to remove any skin oils, hand lotion, dust, quilt markings, washable basting glue, spray starch, etc that may have been applied to the quilt during the process of making it.  I also want to be the one to discover any disastrous issues that a quilt might have (like a dye bleed) BEFORE I give the quilt away, so I could correct the problem and save the recipient the heartbreak of thinking that they had done something wrong to "ruin" the quilt.  I have also always felt like the quilt isn't 100% finished until it comes out of the dryer all soft and snuggly, ready for cuddling, and I want to be able to assess the quilt's changes in size and in texture to better inform my batting selections for future quilts.

I'm ESPECIALLY glad that I washed this particular quilt, because when I took it off the frame initially I was a little disappointed by the extent to which my E2E quilting (Daisies Galore pantograph) seemed to compete with and obscure the smooth curves and crisp points of my clam shell piecing.  Maybe it's just the change in the natural lighting from when I took the unwashed photo (above) and when I took the post-laundering photo (below), but even in real life I feel like the washed quilt is much closer to my intention.  Upon close inspection you can see the daisy quilting design, but the impact from a distance is of the pieced clam shells and the appliquéd butterflies, with soft, crinkly quilt texture throughout that is no longer screaming "LOOK AT ME!  

Butterflies in Margot's Garden, After Washing, 38" x 38"

Also of note: The quilt top measured 42" x 42" when I loaded it on my frame for quilting.  I did not measure it after quilting, before washing it, but after washing it in cold water and then tumbling dry with low heat, the finished quilt measures closer to 38" x 38".  That's nearly 10% shrinkage!  I used leftover 80/20 cotton/polyester batting, most likely Hobbs Heirloom, so some of the shrinkage is from the cotton in the quilt batting.  There is also some shrinkage that happens from the quilting stitches drawing up the quilt.  However, most crucially, I did not prewash any of my fabrics for this quilt because I was using a layer cake for the 9 1/2" clam shell prints.  

Pieced Backing, Butterflies in Margot's Garden

This is my first time piecing a quilt backing from two different fabrics.  I know everyone else has been doing this forever.  I was short on the giant scaled Kaffe Fassett floral print I'd purchased for the backing when I was first planning this quilt in December of 2018, and decided that I really liked how this leftover strip of backing trimmed from a previous quilt looked with the florals.  Look at that, you guys -- maybe I'm becoming THRIFTY after all these years!  ("Unlikely," says my husband...)

Detail of Hand Quilted Butterfly on Backing

I was a little worried that the heavy hand quilting stitches that I added to the butterflies might look weird from the backing side, but they blend in rather nicely (Can you see them in the photo above?).  I was grateful that the red dye in the cotton perle #5 thread did not bleed.  The skein was marked "colorfast" but sometimes they lie, especially with red.  ;-)

The Binding Shot

I remembered to take a picture of my binding this time.  I cut my strips at 2" wide, sewed them to the front of my quilt with a 1/4" seam allowance, and then stitched them to the back by hand with regular 50/3 Mettler cotton thread.

Butterfly Detail, Before Washing

Another interesting observation: The butterfly print fabric that I used for my broderie perse butterfly appliqués does not appear to be 100% cotton like the quilt shop cottons that were used for the rest of the quilt.  It was an eBay remnant that I purchased online, so I didn't have access to the bolt information and, frankly, I didn't care because the style, scale, and colors of the print were exactly what I wanted for this project.  The hand of the fabric felt slightly thicker and stiffer when it showed up in the mail.  The butterflies still feel slightly stiffer after washing and they didn't shrink as much as the background fabric, but this is actually a GOOD thing because it makes them puff up slightly for almost a trapunto effect after washing, helping to create the illusion that the butterflies are flying across the surface of the quilt rather than being stitched down.  Let's pretend I meant to do that! 

Butterfly Detail, After Washing

So, in my experience, an 80/20 cotton/polyester batting gives a very traditional, crinkly cotton batting look after quilting and washing, with just a bit more loft and less flattening in the larger spaces between quilting stitches than I'd get with 100% cotton batting.  That little bit of loft helps the machine quilting stitches look better on both sides of the quilt, and gives a little more definition to the quilting design.  But what I really like about 80/20 batting over 100% cotton is that the polyester fibers help a quilt with 80/20 batting to resist holding creases where it's been folded.  It's a little lighter weight than 100% cotton, too.

Butterflies in Margot's Garden, 38 x 38, Completed October 2020

All the Juicy Details:

I started this quilt in December of 2018, a few weeks before Margot was born, and it was supposed to be something "quick and easy."  I got bogged down in technical difficulties and design dilemmas, and then had to set it aside to make my son's high school graduation quilt, after which I took a detour with my Spirit Song/Sermon Scribbles quilt...  It feels really good to finally get this project finished and shipped off to its final destination!  I hope it gets heavy use as a snuggling blanket, superhero cape, living room fort, etc.  

I'm linking up today's post with the following linky parties:


·       Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

·       Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

·       Finished Or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

·       Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

·       TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here:

·       UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland


·       Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

·       Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

·       Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts


·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  

·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt


·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us


·       Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

·       Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


·       Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  

·       Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese

·       Free Motion Mavericks with Muv and Andree


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

it turned out really good. I always like a little shrinkage and sometimes amazed at how much it does shrink and sometimes it will shrink just a little more on the second wash and dry. The amount yours shrunk I would say is normal from my experience as well. The hand stitching will be just fine I think it looked good to me. I'm sure whoever you are giving this to will love it said...

That was a lot of shrinkage! Your hand quilting was great and the whole quilt is wonderful. Finishes are TERRIFIC!!!

Angela said...

Love it! Such a cheerful quilt!

Paula said...

This is a great quilt and I'm sure the family will love it. I find your blog so interesting, as you take us through the steps and describe what worked and didn't work, and why. Thank you for teaching us so much!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

That turned out just wonderfully, Rebecca Grace! I've enjoyed following along as you worked on this quilt, and love the finished look of it. Your attention to detail, from the original blocks, to the added butterflies, to the quilting really makes it! I recently started using Hobbs 80/20 batting and think it might be my favorite from now on!

Vicki in MN said...

That turned out really nice, I am sure they will love it to pieces;) Love the striped binding.

Lynette said...

This is such a pretty little quilt. I really love the hand details you gave to the butterflies, and that backing is Gorgeous! I love that 80/20 batting - it washes so nicely. And if you don't want a lot of the crinkling (for example on a modern quilt where you want the quilting itself to stay crisp and front stage), you can preshrink it before quilting. Win-win, whichever style you prefer!

Cathy said...

How cute! I'll bet Margot will be dragging that around with her everywhere she goes.

piecefulwendy said...

Yippee for the finish, and I like the look of the washed quilt - so cuddly! The binding is great!

SJSM said...

Ta-Done is right! Congratulations on conquering all your decision making side tracking and making the quilt more unique and wonderful as you worked through the process. Keeping your eye on who the quilt was for created a one-of-a-kind treasure that will keep Margot safe and warm as she explores the world.

Great job!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Ohhh I think it turned out great!! I know that it will be loved - it is just so colorful and the butterflies - oh my!!

Frog Quilter said...

I’m glad I’m not the only one that washes before giving so as to ward off any disasters. Beautifully done! Kudos to you, she will love it.

Gwyned Trefethen said...

You've done it again, Rebecca, captured my attention with your cheery colors. Love the pantograph choice. I can imagine butterflies flitting from flower to flower.

Karrin Hurd said...

Beautiful quilt, and quilting!

Quilter Kathy said...

I'm shocked at that shrinkage factor!
Congrats on the finish!

Kim said...

Oh my, this quilt is stunning in the colours, fabric patterns and design! Margo is going to love and treasure her quilt! Love the oversized butterfly; and the pantograph design is a lovely choice. The back looks fabulous, too, with the two fabrics. I enjoyed reading all the information of the process....but, I must say I am amazed as the shrinkage when washed. I have never heard of that amount of shrinkage in a quilt before.

Kathleen said...

Congratulations on your gorgeous finish! I agree with washing before giving now. I do it all the time and had the bleed problem this week, but recovered! Also, I measure the small quilt I did with a Daisy Marie quilt pattern (funny we both used daisies) and there was 2" lost all around before washing, which is next. I was quite surprised as I don't think it's a really dense pattern. The shrinkage seems to be close to 6-8% when I last figured it, so I'm curious to see on this one, which is an all cotton batting.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Rebecca, what a great finish. Your quilt is really lovely and I'm sure that it will be well loved! I'll have to consider using that 80/20 batting. Thanks for the tip! I hope that you'll come on over and link up to Free Motion Mavericks - I'm hosting until Tuesday evening. Take care.

Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

I never wash my quilts before gifting but I understand why some do. I still have yet to measure a quilt before and after washing but that seems like a lot of shrinkage. Makes me want to automatically add more to any bed-sized quilts. It is interesting how the butterfly, by not shrinking, turned out like that! Ha!

Roseanne said...

Hi Rebecca! Before I completely forget, thank you for linking up for TGIFF and today. I love how the butterflies have puffed up. I love everything.single.thing about this quilt. I am also thrilled that Margot will love her special quilt, and I can just picture her using it as a cape. ~smile~ Roseanne

Michele McLaughlin said...

Such a happy quilt and I love the thought and work you put into the back as well! I love how the butterfly turned out after washing! Well done you! Have a safe and happy week!

Sherrie said...

Your Quilt is awesome...I'm sure Margot will love it.
Have a great day!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Lovely quilt, well done!!
Thanks for sharing!