Butterflies – Finished

Way back in January, I posted about an applique butterfly quilt top my (almost 93-year-old) grandma made many years ago. She can’t quite remember when she made it, but we guestimate it is at least 20 years old, if not 30+. Since grandma doesn’t quilt anymore, I took this one on to finish for her and I’m finally done.


This quilt took a long time because it is so large; it measures approximately 78” x 86”. I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a quilt that big, and let me just say it was a lot to handle.


While it did take a long time to finish, I actually had it done a couple of months ago, but I hung on to it for a while before I photographed it. That’s because I was waiting for my summer vacation to begin.

While I was away this summer, I spent some time with my aunt and uncle, who now live on my grandparents’ old farm. The white barn you see is the original barn that still stands. I thought it would be appropriate to photograph my grandma’s quilt on her own farm so I packed the quilt in my suitcase and waited until I got to the farm to take photos.


Turns out that was a good move, because I love the barn in the background. I also got to see my grandma while I was visiting and I showed her the finished quilt. Needless to say, she was very happy to see it done.


The back of this quilt was a bit challenging, mainly because it took me a long time to decide on a fabric. I knew I wanted to do something red and floral, but I couldn’t find the right fabric. It finally occurred to me that a Denyse Schmidt print would be a perfect complement to the vintage look of the butterflies. (Side note: Many of the butterflies are likely made with actual vintage fabric. My grandma was known for cutting up old dresses, aprons, etc. to use for quilt fabric. My mom even recognizes one of them as a dress she wore as a child.)


I ended up using a print from Denyse Schmidt’s Sweet Ruby collection for Jo-Ann’s. I am so happy I went with it; I think it looks perfect.

I also used an extra row of butterflies for the back. When I found the old quilt top in a storage bin, there was an extra row of butterflies that were packed with it. I wasn’t quite sure of what I was going to do with them. I thought about attaching another row to the quilt and making it a little bit longer, but then I decided to use them for the back. It ended up working out really well, because I needed a little more fabric for the back. Once I had the Sweet Ruby fabric and the row of butterflies, it was just enough fabric.


Now that this is done, I’m itching to dig into the other quilt tops my grandma left unfinished; I think there are two more left. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that I previously finished another applique quilt top of hers back in 2013. You can read about that one here. Maybe my next one will be finished in 2016. Stay tuned.

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  1. So, so special, Angela. And quite beautiful! You know you did your Grandma proud! Hope you are doing great. I lrft FH last Friday after 15 years. Adjustment time, but feels good!

  2. Another beautiful use of old scraps and a lovely family connection. It looks like you do all your quilting by hand – how long does it take you to do the quilting part? That twisted ribbon pattern really makes the butterflies pop.

    1. This quilt took me a long time to do because it was so large, but typically I can finish one in about two weeks. It really depends on the size of the quilt. I do all of my hand quilting at night while I’m watching TV:)

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