PIECED BUTTERFLY is an amazingly beautiful quilt design!! Very rarely does a pictorial pattern fulfill such meticulous symmetry. A free and spontaneously sketched butterfly in ink or pastels can certainly be just as exquisite. But the beauty of a geometric pattern resides in its proportions and intersection of pieced parts. Notice in the grid rendering upper left how perfectly the drawing undertakes the crosswise diagonal of the square, situating the wings along those lines. Both the top edge and the bottom are are divided 12-8-12 units across. The triangles formed along the top edges right and left are exactly half squared diamonds, 6 units high by 12 wide. (Obviously, the eyes and antennae are optional appliqué however).
In her ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT DESIGNS, p. 126, Barbara Brackman mentions that this block is the earliest "pieced" butterfly (first published 1928, by Verdie Foster in "Needlecraft"). All of the previous butterfly designs were worked entirely by way of appliqué. PIECED BUTTERFLY was later republished by Nancy Cabot in her quilt column in the Chicago Tribune (see illustration left, dated June 11, 1933), and where she introduced it very simply as "something new." Very possibly, at least geometrically, it may never be improved upon. Cabot says:
"Something new in butterfly designs is the 'Pieced Butterfly.' It was created for no other reason than to fill your many requests for a pieced butterfly and a new one. If pieced from gay, dainty prints, this design will make a quilt as lively and colorful as the butterflies themselves."
More butterfly and other insect-related patterns include:
BROKEN SPIDER WEB
BUTTERFLY IN CIRCLES
BUTTERFLY IN THE GARDEN
BUTTERFLY IN ANGLES