Butterfly Wings and The Color Purple

There is a theory is the field of science called The Butterfly Effect.  It has its roots in the chaos theory.  Partly used to establish weather patterns, this effect has also been used to explain other aspects of existence and environment.  Edward Lorenz came up with this idea and explained it in 1961 as a strange attractor for values ρ=28, σ = 10, β = 8/3. The butterfly effect or sensitive dependence on initial conditions is the property of a dynamical system that, starting from any of various arbitrarily close alternative initial conditions on the attractor, the iterated points will become arbitrarily spread out from each other.


When I was teaching science, I always explained it as  the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.  In other words, one event, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, can directly affect so many other things.  A butterfly flaps its wings in my front yard today and tomorrow that may change the weather pattern in Newfoundland.

It’s really not quite that simple, but that’s a good picture of how it works.

Why am I espousing the Butterfly Effect on quilting blog?  In the past, I have referenced that I am a sixth-generation quilter and am researching my family on  It has been a long, wild ride and I’m not done yet.  My mother’s family has the quilters, so I have been really digging away on the Perry side.  My mom’s extended family is not from North Carolina.  Many of them came from West Virginia, from McDowell County, from a small town called English (formerly Perryville).  This is one of the poorest, if not the poorest county, in West Virginia and has suffered great poverty.

They were coal miners in a political landscape that was not going to support that vocation, even back then.  So they left, traveled south, settled in Virginia, then in Rockingham and Forsyth counties in North Carolina.

A family leaves one state and settles in another, probably not ever thinking that this one “flap” of those butterfly wings would mean so much.  But without that “flap” I wouldn’t be in High Point and have so many wonderful quilting friends that have taught me so much.  I just find it so fascinating that this one decision changed so many lives for the better.


I am still working on my Snowmen Challenge.  Here are some more blocks that I finished last week.

Our Santa’s Loading Dock group met this week.  I have finished my background and have cut out my continents.


We did decide that we needed to change up the timeline.  The floor goes in next, not the snowflakes.  The larger pieces will have to be placed first, so we can work on the placement of the smaller ones, otherwise the spatial relationship will be off.  The floor takes nine yards of purple fabric.  I did a double take on that amount until I realized that the floor extends into the toy shop.  After leaving our meeting, I went home and began to pull my purple batiks.  Ask me, everybody’s favorite purple-holic, how shocked I was to discover I had nowhere near that amount of purple batiks.  Why batik?  It has a firm weave and lends itself to my Scan and Cut as well as it’s a terrific background for the applique.  Those and the Fairy Frost Fabrics are going to be liberally used throughout this quilt.

I’ve got to draw the floor out this week and then cut it apart for my pattern.  Between Linda and Lisa, I already know that the boards in the floor are not even, the angles are odd, and the entire process is going to take patience.  I’m torn between making a transparency and throwing the thing on my projector and tracing it that way, or asking my son-in-law if I give him a scanned copy to print out on our work plodder the exact size that I need.

I think I’m going with my scanned copy first because my knee is still bothering me and it hurts to stand for too long.

The challenge is still there and every time I wonder if this is all too foolish and crazy to undertake, Lisa gives me the side-eye and reminds me that “It’s the year of fearless quilting!”

Good thing I love her so much….

Still Quilting Fearlessly…more or less….


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


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