Monday, April 12, 2021

Butterfly Season

 We are experiencing a true spring here in eastern Pennsylvania!  All the gardeners have been happily chattering about how the weather hasn't been too cold or too hot (which usually happens and kills off our spring flowers). 

Soon butterfly season will commence!  Years ago, Beth and I offered a program called "Harvest of Quilts."  It was a fun program but it wasn't until after we retired the program that Beth admitted to me one day, "You know I really don't like butterfly quilts."  I howled with laughter at the time because I had unknowingly requested she store the butterfly quilts for the program at her house.  

We all have likes or dislikes of certain patterns.  Despite Beth's antipathy for butterfly patterns, I decided to share some images of butterfly quilts.  

Butterfly quilts appear to have been very popular in the 20th century.  With the exception of crazy quilts and the occasional embroidered butterfly on a patch, I couldn't find any 19th century examples.  On the other hand the 20th century had a variety of designs that appeared in newspapers and magazines.  Through the 19-teens until 1930s, there was mention of groups or women who made butterfly quilts but few photographs. 

 Butterfly fever really seems to have taken off during the depression.

1930, Boston Globe

1933 pattern offered by The Star-Telegram Newspaper.  
One could purchase the 8 inch or the 15 inch pattern.

1931 pattern designed by Eveline Foland, Kansas City Star

The Rainbow Quilt Block Company had an ad for this 12 inch pattern in Needlecraft Magazine.
And also a pattern for this block.

Possibly the Boag Company Butterfly quilt pattern.

The one that I've never found a reference for is my favorite:

The flower petals are actually butterflies!
Sorry the photograph is so poor but if you look closely, you'll see the antennae of the butterflies.

I've only made one butterfly quilt and actually it was an embroidery kit, I think for a tablecloth.  I bought it many years ago.  About two years ago, I found the almost completed piece in my stash of embroidered stuff and decided to make a quilt out of it.

I've seen some lovely butterfly quilts and some of my favorite are made from handkerchiefs.

Do you like butterfly quilts?  Is there a pattern you have a strong dislike for or another that you find irresistible?

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I have never made a butterfly quilt but I want to someday. I'm running out of time. I saved my mother's tiny florals from the 90's thinking I would make it into a butterfly quilt someday. The pattern I can't warm up to is Sunbonnet Sue. Don't know why, just not fond of that one. Cynthia at Wabi Sabi is making a cute butterfly quilt right now for her granddaughter.

  2. When I first became interested in quilt making I read every (old) quilt book I could find in the libraries at that time (late 1980's early 1990's) Lots of the books had no patterns, so I drew my own butterfly, enlarged it to the size I wanted on the office copier, and appliqued them (at work - I was a receptionist at a BORING job). I do not think the 30's fabrics had come out yet. I used small florals for teh butterflies, mostly in pinks. with a med-light green sashing. I love it!