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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hidden Butterflies Tumbler Quilt


Tumblers Hidden Butterflies Quilt


Second UFO Finished! Phew! That feels so much better!

My goal or resolution this year is to finish more UFOs. In quilting terms a UFO stands for Un Finished Object. So my apologies if Google has led you astray. This blog post isn’t about me finally finishing building a UFO in the backyard! Maybe next month…

This is actually the third quilt that I started. Well, I started cutting up some of the fabrics in late 2009. Then a friend was due to have a baby, so it got put away while I made her the Papillion quilt (see my blog post Papillon Quilt, June 2012). Then I moved house, so it got mislaid in a large box of other craft stuff for a long while.

The fabrics are a variety of cotton, poly cotton and batiks. Since I started this when I was new to quilting I didn’t have a fabric ‘stash’ back then (hard for me to believe now that I have two 65 litre tubs of fabric!!) My Nanna had given me a few scraps of her fabric to get me started on my quilting journey when she heard that I had started quilting. Then my mum gave me a box of fabric when she thought that she was moving across the other side of the country. I have also included fabrics from a friend who was moving to Canberra and gave me several bags of clothing that her family didn’t want to take with them. So after sorting through the bags I found some great shirts to cut up. The quilt top is made of at least seventy per cent recycled fabrics.

Some fabrics were sourced from The Fabric Palette in Gladstone (Central Queensland, where I was living at the time) in the form of strips or fat quarters. The yellow and orange print was purchased from Lindcraft Gladstone and had a barcode sticker on it. Even after prewashing the fabric it was still sticky, so this had to be cut out and thrown away. I will never buy fabric with stickers placed on the fabric again.

The tumblers part of the quilt is from the Australian Quilters Companion, Vol. 8.3, No.37, Funky Tumblers, pages 90-94, Chris Jurd.
To make the Tumblers I got some template plastic from Lindcraft Gladstone to cut up the templates required. The problem was that I kept on trimming my templates as I cut the Tumblers with my rotary cutter. Now there are all sorts of wonderfully florescent coloured templates, and should I ever need a template again – I will most definitely invest in one! So the Tumblers that I cut up last are slightly smaller than the Tumblers that I cut up first. This is why some of the Tumblers don’t quite match up as I feel that they should. I have been told that it’s not noticeable by a non-quilting friend, but I knew and I didn’t like the look of it…which is why I decided to add some butterflies.

The idea of putting the Butterflies on with Vliesofix was still on my mind from making the Papillon quilt (see my blog post Papillon Quilt, June 2012). The butterfly template is from Australian Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, February 2008, page 166. I arranged them at random angles to cover any slight areas where the tumblers didn’t line up, and to make it appear more naturally like how the butterflies would randomly glide about, I think it worked well.
 The wing vein pattern on the butterfly is how the butterfly patches are attached to the quilt top. The edges of the butterflies will naturally fray slightly with age and general wear, but this will add to the general appearance of the quilt as it ages.

When quilting I have quilted around the butterflies (bar one which was unavoidable). So on the backing side there are rough outlines of un quilted butterflies. I wouldn’t have left these sections un quilted if they’d been any bigger as it would mean that the quilt wouldn’t be able to be machine washed. As I live with a six year old boy, I am a firm believer in being able to machine wash everything regularly and with ease.

The thread that I used to quilt was a light Peach Rasant 120. I used roughly three bobbins worth, while quilting. I remain deeply disappointed in the thread. It broke constantly. I changed needles, cleaned and oiled the machine, even changed bobbins. It was just the thread. I won’t be buying it again. Best form of protest I know.

The wadding is Bamboo, which I love to use as it’s so thin and easy to machine quilt. Bamboo also remains warm, and is made from a renewable resource. So between the wadding and the recycled fabrics, this quilt is very environmentally friendly.

The backing is an orange or rust coloured geometric print. This was just the fabric that struck my eye when I was out searching for backing fabric.

The binding was purchased from Spotlight for $19.99 premade. This is the first time that I’ve used this and I would use it again as long as the colour of the binding was suited to the quilt. It was wonderfully different to have binding with no seams in it and to not have to think of where the seams would fall around the quilt. Ultra simple binding, a must for all of those that hate binding!

To baste this quilt I used a new basting spray (as I couldn’t find my preferred brand the last time that I was looking for it). Birch Basting and Quilt Spray, it didn’t perform as I feel that it should have. It was fine for this quilt, but the other that I was basting at the same time didn’t stick together at all. This could have been due to the humidity and incessant rain. But what I don’t understand is why one quilt would stick and then the other not. Both were sprayed within half an hour of the other, in the same conditions. Hmmm…a quilting mystery!

I did enjoy making this quilt, so I don’t think that this is the last time that I’ll make a Tumbler quilt. In fact I’ve stumbled across another pattern in an old magazine, so the next Tumbler design will be slightly different.
The quilt measures 45inches by 59.5inches or 115cm by 150cm. So it’s the perfect sized lap quilt or a short single bed quilt.
This is the first quilt that I’m offering for sale. I’m selling this quilt for $170, so please contact me if you are interested. I’m offering free delivery in the Greater Brisbane area. Otherwise, please note that I will only mail my quilts by registered post, so this will add to your cost.


  1. this is amazing. I will try this.. I have pcs of cloths here.. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Let me know how it turns out, I'd love to see some pics!!