A friend’s daughter’s birth announcement card had elephants on it. So, naturally, I wanted to make an elephant themed quilt. Drawing anything that looks proportionally right is sadly not one of my talents so I googled around to get some inspiration on how to get a recognizable elephant on a quilt. I came across a free quilt pattern from Shwin & Shwin that contains templates to create an applique baby elephant and a partial mother.
That the quilt should contain some green was easily decided because her nursery has a green wall and if you have been paying any attention on this blog it should be clear by now that I am a great fan of green (and not just green walls!). I also found a fabric with elephants on it which helped decide the rest of the colour scheme. I made two scrappy pieces that were larger than the two elephant templates. The fabric was then cut somewhat to size and folded around the templates and pressed with my iron to create the elephant shape. To make sure the edges stayed put when attaching the elephants to the background fabric I used some wonder tape to keep them folded down. This worked quite well. The pattern doesn’t contain a pattern piece for the ear of the baby elephant so I had to cut one myself. It took several attempts to get something that I thought looked right.
The size of the quilt was decided by the background fabric. I thought this fabric looked a bit like it could be the kind of soil elephants parade on in the wild and I only had about a yard. I considered enlarging it by adding a tree to the side or something like that but thought it would distract from the elephants (and I would again have the issue of having to draw a recognizable tree…).
For the back I improvisationally pieced the child’s name using the same fabrics that were used to piece the elephants on the front. Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool.
For the quilting I used my walking foot and inside the elephants somewhat followed their shape using an orange variegated thread and as a result you can now also sort of see elephants on the back. On the soil I did some wavy lines using a green variegated thread to imitate ripples in the sand.
With the applique (and using an actual pattern!) this is quite a different kind of quilt than I usually make but I am very pleased with how it turned out.