Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Latest Trend

Butterflies Galore

As I visited fabric stores and viewed fabric online recently, I noticed what must be a trend. Many fabrics now feature butterflies. I even decided to use butterfly fabric to make a fabric bowl.

A while back I bought a fabric jelly roll, which consists of color coordinated precut 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric ready to use in a quilt or project. I had fun looking at different patterns trying to decide how to use my jelly roll. Then I watched a YouTube video by Jenny Doan of  Missouri Star Quilt Company as she described a new butterfly quilt pattern.

When I found that the butterfly pattern uses a fabric jelly roll, my decision was made. At some point in 2018, I hope to made a butterfly quilt out of my jelly roll of purples and teals.

Galaxy Pixie Strips jelly roll by RJR Fabrics

Fascination with butterflies goes back as far as ancient Greek culture. In our culture, butterflies are often symbolic of transformation, life's transitions, hope, freedom, or beauty. Butterflies have a way of bringing both children and adults to a standstill. When coming upon a butterfly in nature, a sense of delight prevails. It's easy to become silent and wonder-filled when observing butterflies in a butterfly house or an active butterfly garden. 

Our fascination with butterflies extends to literature as well. Eric Carle's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is a classic book popular with preschool and elementary school teachers as well as parents of young children. Its vivid colors and engaging text introduce children to the life stages of a butterfly. This lovely book has inspired fabric designers so that many fabric stores now carry a line of The Very Hungry Caterpiller fabric by Andover Fabrics. 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Andover Fabrics

While speaking of butterflies and literature, I would recommend the novel, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. This book extends the enjoyment and knowledge of butterflies through an intriguing story.

Many of us may associate butterflies with spring and summer when we are aware of their presence and beauty as they flutter from blossom to blossom. However, fall is an important time as adults of the eastern population of monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico, flying up to 3,000 miles. In the western U.S., monarchs migrate to groves along the coast of California. 

Monarch butterflies overwintering in California
Monarch butterflies overwintering in California, Source: Science Photo Library

According to BBC news, in 2004 an estimated 550 million monarch butterflies arrived at their usual wintering ground. But 10 years later, in 2014, there were just 50 million - a decline of about 90%. Some scientists believe that these sensitive butterflies are victims of climate change, and these same scientists are watching the plight of the butterflies as an indicator of a warming earth. I know local environmentalists who are encouraging the planting of milkweed, the monarch larvae's food source, in backyards and community gardens. This is one strategy thought to help increase the population of these beautiful creatures.

Purple Milkweed

I have found plenty of inspiration for quilts and other fabric projects featuring butterflies. On a recent trip to the North Carolina Arboretum, my husband and I visited a small butterfly house. We watched a few varieties of butterflies, including monarchs, as they flew through the enclosure, stopping momentarily to sip nectar from the abundance of butterfly friendly plants. 

The Arboretum's quilt garden is one of my favorite places. Colorful plants are arranged in such a way as to mimic quilt blocks. There are steps nearby which allow visitors to look down upon the quilt blocks to see the entire quilt garden display. Much to my delight on this particular visit, the quilt garden was full of butterfly quilt blocks. It truly must be the year of the butterfly!

Are you a fan of butterflies? What do butterflies symbolize for you? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

I have received no compensation for the mention of books, fabric, or companies in this blog post. All opinions are my own.

Linked with: Over the Moon, Freemotion by the River

Monday, November 6, 2017

It's Almost Time!

It's almost time for the OLLI art bazaar/craft show! In a previous post, I highlighted some of the fabric items, that as a vendor, I will be selling at the show. If you live in western North Carolina, I would like to encourage you to attend the craft show on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11. Please encourage your friends to attend as well. There will be something for everyone, and it's a great time to do some holiday shopping. Here is some detailed information:

OLLI Art Bazaar 

  • The dates are Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11 
  • The bazaar will be held in the Reuter Center at the University of North Carolina at Asheville 
  • Friday hours will be from 11 AM-4PM; Saturday hours are from 11 AM-3 PM. 
  • There will be 42 vendors selling a variety of handcrafted items. Each vendor has donated an item for drawings throughout the two day show, so by just attending you have a chance to win a unique handmade item. 
  • There is free parking.
  • Some of the proceeds from the art bazaar will be donated to a scholarship program at UNC Asheville. 
See you there!