Using Butterfly Fabric and Vintage Scraps From “Sweet Dreams” To Make Potholders


The pile of triangle scraps and the first butterfly

I saved the edges of the old quilt pieces that I cut off when I made my quilt Sweet Dreams.   They were just small triangular pieces but there were so many of them, I thought I’d be able to use them.

I did, and sooner than I would have thought.

On Monday, when I was washing and drying the fabric for the back of Sweet Dreams, I went searching for the fabric that I could add to the triangle scraps to make potholders.

The strip of butterfly fabric

What I found was a long strip of fabric with stylized butterflies in bold colors.

I cut off the first butterfly, chose my triangles and sewed them all together.

I knew I wanted a single large print pattern next.  But first I found it needed a thin solid strip around the diamond shape the triangles created.


I smiled with I sewed it all together knowing how much fun I’d have making the rest of these potholders.


These are the potholders I designed today.  And they were as much fun to make as I thought they’d be.  I have two more butterflies left.  I’ll make them into potholders on Monday, then finish them all up during the week.

One of the vintage quilt pieces that I trimmed to use in Sweet Dreams. The edges of it are now in the peach and orange Butterfly Potholder I made today.

Finishing Up “Sweet Dreams”

Sweet Dreams

Sometimes, when I’m tacking a quilt,  I cut and tie as I go.  But with Sweet Dreams I saved that for the end.  First I pulled the yarn through the whole quilt making something like big basting stitches.

Then I cut and tied one section at a time.  Often I listen to a short story when I’m tacking a quilt.  The repetition of the work can be soothing, but depending on my mood, it can also be boring.

Today I was listening to a Bellydance Challenge song over and over.  It’s a Challenge song because last week in class when we danced to it I thought I was doing it right. I thought I started the song on the “one” beat.  But when the song was over, I was told that I was off.

So this morning in my studio,  I put the song called Frantic Feathers by The Snake Charmer on repeat.

As I cut and tied, I listened to the song and counted to the beat.  Each time the song started over, I got off my stool, or up from the floor and practiced starting on the beat.  The only thing I can think of comparing it to is jumping in when Jumping Rope and two other  people are turning the rope.

I’d dance to the song a bit then practice ending my turn and giving the lead to the next person. ( who of course wasn’t there but will be tonight)   There’s also a slow part in the middle of the song.  So  I practiced coming in on the “one” beat when the slow part ends and become fast again.

When I wasn’t dancing, I was cutting tying and listening.

Listening for clues to when the slow part begins, and when the song ends.  Listening to when the tempo changes and dancing in my head. Imagining myself dancing and changing my moves at the appropriate time.  Also imagining which moves work best as the music changes.

And alway, counting to the beat.

I have a feeling that even though I was taking the time out to dance, I got the tacking done quicker.  Something about the beat of the music.

I know for sure that I was less achy than usual.  All the movement, was a good break from reaching my arms over my head to tie the yarn at the top of the quilt,  or being curled over the ties at the bottom of the quilt.

When I was done I clipped the ends of the knots and was left with a smattering of short pieces of orange yarn on the floor under the quilt.  No matter what color, it alway reminds me of the dusting of pollen that falls from a cut flower onto the surface beneath it.

Sweet Dreams, signed and dated

The last thing I do is name, sign and date the quilt.

Tacking “Sweet Dreams”


Zinnia chose to pose with Sweet Dreams this afternoon.

Red or Orange, I questioned after sewing the batting and backing on  “Sweet Dreams”.  It didn’t take me long to decide, I pictured those little orange dashes on the red fabric and that was all I needed.

Also, the orange ties on the peachy and white backing made me think of a creamsicle.

So I threaded my needle and began tacking.  I got most of it done by the time I had to take Fate to the Vet for her vaccinations.

As I finished one more row with only two more to go, the clouds turned a deep blueish gray out my window and thunder rolled behind the hill.   I closed my windows and threw the tarp over the pile of firewood, then headed out.

I’ll finish “Sweet Dreams” tomorrow and then send her off to her new home.

Working on The Backing For My “Sweet Dreams” Quilt

The top of my Sweet Dreams quilt

With the orange border, the top of my Sweet Dreams quilt is done and I’ve begun working on the backing and batting.


It was a warm and breezy day, perfect for drying the  fabric on the line

The next step was to find the backing material.  Because of Lorry, I have lots of yardage that is perfect for quilt backings.

On Saturday I received a box of thread from Lorry.  It, like the fabric, belonged to her mother.   Lorry first contacted me last year.  She was cleaning out her mothers house and sent me some photos of the fabric she thought I might like to have.

She has sent a few more boxes since then.  In a card she put in the box with the thread she wrote:

…I love seeing the fabric of Mom’s being incorporated and then being sent out all over the US.  I know she is in heaven saying “Well, I didn’t use this fabric, but am glad that someone else can use it!”

The box of thread from Lorry.  She kindly sorted it into baggies.

Needless to say, whenever I use some of the fabric and now the thread,  I will think of Lorry and her mom.

Ironing the backing

I have found the best way to get wrinkles out of fabric is to wash it and hang it on the line.  Especially if there is a breeze, the fabric comes off the link almost wrinkle free.

I do the rest with my iron and a spritzer.  It’s when I’m ironing the fabric that I also get to inspect it for holes or stains.  That happens more often with fabric that has been used for another purpose, like curtains or clothes.

It came down to two different fabrics.  The one I chose, pale peachy, with white strips picked up some of the colors in the quilt.  It’s also calmer and lighter (in color as well as feeling) than the other choice which was a red and blue small flower print.

By the end of the day I had the quilt, backing and batting cut to size and pinned. Tomorrow I’ll sew it together and begin tacking it.

This is one of the reasons a studio is so important.

I can leave the quilt on my floor and not have to worry about anyone or anything disturbing it.  When I get into my studio tomorrow morning, everything will be just as I left it the night before.

Sweet Dreams Quilt, In The Details


“Sweet Dreams” at the end of the day. Tomorrow I’ll add a border around the edge.

I got right to my studio when we got home from Jon’s foot surgeon.  I couldn’t’ wait to sew on the squares I’d made a few days ago.

The most fun, when I’m working on something that has a lot of repetition, is filling in the places where I run out of fabric.   And the little surprise that come with using a fabric that’s already been sewn together.

Because there are always things that don’t match up or aren’t long enough.

That little piece of rusty brown calico at the top left is two pieces of fabric that I only had to tweak to make  line up. From a distance they look like one thin line.

When a piece of fabric is too short,  I get to decide how to extend it.

Do I use the same fabric or some thing different. I usually look for a scrap on my work table that is the right size.  It’s like leaving it up to the Fates. 

But I chose that bit of red on the top of the orange line.  I liked how it worked with the rectangle of red that I patched onto the rusty brown calico.  Which was a scrap on my table.

I wasn’t conscious of matching the small patchwork square at the top left corner of the quilt the tomato batik.  I only noticed it when I had sewn it all together.  Once again, I was just using the scraps on my work table to fill in the space.

It’s the small details the quirks that say, I’m not necessarily who you think I am.

My “Sweet Dreams” Quilt, A Video

I figured it out. Everything I didn’t know about my quilt yesterday came to me clearly today.

And when I looked at it, even unfinished, the words Josie’s wrote in a comment on my blog came back to me. “What a happy quilt! You can’t help having sweet dreams when covered with such joy!

So now I know it’s name too.  It’s my Sweet Dreams quilt.

Sweet Dreams

Bud is an especially good sleeper.  He does it with gusto and enthusiasm.  Snoring and farting and making the strangest noises, he finds the softest, warmest, most cuddly spot in the house, curls up into a little ball and calls it bed.

My Butterfly and Quilt Scrap Potholders For Sale

My Butterfly and Quilt Scrap Potholders for sale in my Etsy Shop

Each butterfly is surrounded by the those small triangle scraps that I cut off of the 1940s quilt pieces I used in my Sweet Dreams quilt.

It was those scraps, looking for some way to use them, that inspired these potholders.  The butterflies which  I only had a thin strip of,  were just the right style and colors to work with the scraps.

My Butterfly and Quilt Scrap Potholders are $25 each + $5 shipping for one or more.  You can see them all up close and buy them in my Etsy Shop, just click here.

I will mail out any orders I get through Saturday morning.   But then Jon and I will be away so any other orders I will mail out on Thursday of next week.

Peachy Butterfly Potholder
Red and Blue Butterfly Potholder I
Yellow Butterfly Potholder

A New Bunch Of Potholders For Sale In My Etsy Shop

Some of my Potholders that are for sale in my Etsy Shop.

All those Potholders that I’ve been consumed with are now done.  A few of them are already sold, but there are still plenty for sale in my Etsy Shop.

In my travels, through my scraps, I found the last piece of frog fabric. So the Last Frog Potholder in my Etsy Shop really is the last one.

All the bunnies are already sold, but I do have a couple of Dreaming Animals….

Sweet Animal Dreams Potholder

And then there are the Green Birds.  There’s something festive about them, maybe it’s in the songs they’re singing.

As Jon wrote on his blog last week, my potholders make good stocking stuffers, and as Sue, who bought a few of my potholders and magnets said “Best shopping for friends ever.”

Happy Goldfish Potholder

All of these potholders are $20 each + $5 shipping for one or more. And if you miss out on them this week, I have more in the works for next week.

You can see them all up close and buy them in my Etsy Shop.   Just click here. You can also email me at [email protected].  I take checks, PayPal and Venmo.

Green Bird Potholders

So I’m not in the mood…..

This is the only potholder I made today that I may have picked up a bit too much on my mood.   She’s supposed to be saying “Here I Am”, but she looks like she might be saying “If you so much as look at me wrong I’m going to eat you for dinner”

I burned my tongue on my hot chocolate.  I made  a really good cup of hot chocolate, some vanilla soy milk, cocoa, maple syrup, and cinnamon.  I don’t measure the ingredients, so it always comes out different, but this time, it was just right.  Except the first sip was too hot and I burned my tongue.  I’m not surprised, it’s been that kind of day.

The kind of day where I woke up tired and didn’t want to get out of bed.  Last night I had long rambling dreams that seemed to go on forever and all I can remember about them is a big rectangle block of newsprint wrapped in plastic. I’m edgy and grumpy and achy and all I can think about is eating really sweet pasties with gooey cream inside and gloppy icing on top. (which is why I made the hot chocolate, it’s the closest I could get to my  gooey pastry without driving hours to a bakery).  And I don’t even like gooey, gloppy pastries.

I’m finishing up the last of my Christmas Potholder orders and honestly, as much as I love what I do and the thought of me complaining about it, considering all the places I could be working and have worked,  makes me sick, I’m just not in the mood to make potholders today.

So I repeat my mantra, the mantra I’ve had all my working life from my first office job opening mail, to cashiering, to driving a school bus, to cleaning kennels, to working in a frame shop in a Mall, to working with Developmentally Disabled Adults and every job in between, it could be worse, I could be working in a Coal Mine.  Although I don’t need the Coal Mine anymore because I think of all the other jobs I’ve had and I’m grateful, I’m really grateful for the work I am able to do now, but still, I’m not in the mood.

And I guess that’s the point.  No matter how good my work is, no matter how much I love doing it, sometimes…..sometimes, I’m  just not in the mood.  But I have to get these potholders to Kim tonight so she can sew them together this week and I can get them in the mail so they get out in time for Christmas.  So it doesn’t matter if I’m in the mood or not, I do my work and do as good a job as I possibly can.  And I try not infect it with my bad mood.  Because who wants an affirmation potholder that says I choose to be grateful in Gothic font dripping with blood.

Full Moon Fiber Art