Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Elephant Quilt

Project #9

Some dear friends of ours are expecting their first grandchild so I offered to make a baby quilt for a gift. In talking with the mom-to-be, she said that the nursery would be gray and yellow and she wanted an elephant theme.  She found a beautiful elephant quilt on pinterest and sent me a photo.

IT is from a Scrappy Quilting book which I bought. The method to sew the patches to the body of the elephant was to sew close to raw edges of the cut rectangles. I didn’t like that and thought it also may not wear well in repeated washings so I made a new way.

All I took from the book was the outline of the elephant and then I changed it so the trunk went upward and removed the tail and added a braided 3-D version and an ear.



With the tracing pinned to my design wall, I sewed strips of her colors, lime, yellow and gray to the length of the elephant. After I had all the strips, I sewed them together to form one big, odd shaped patchwork.


Then I put the patchwork on my cutting table and placed the elephant drawing over it and pinned it in place making sure the horizontal line was parallel to the floor where the elephant would be standing.


This close up shows how I had to piece to fit the trunk and the same for the two legs.



After pinning, I placed wide strips of Steam-A-Seam 2 under the edges and then cut out the elephant body and placed it on the light gray background below.


I smoothed it out and pressed the Steam-A-Seam edges with an iron to hold the body in place on the background. It’s kind of a crazy way but I didn’t want to put the adhesive all over the body of the elephant since it measures 38” across and about 29” tall.

Next step was to satin stitch around the perimeter with paper under the backing so the presser foot wouldn’t tunnel the fabric.


After doing a patchwork with this cute elephant fabric for the backing, it was layered with batting and the background stitching was done with my walking foot. Gray thread on gray fabric.



I was taught to draw one line at the 45 degree angle to the rows on the elephant and then use the guide bar on the walking foot to stitch the remaining rows. So I set the guide bar to 2” intervals and stitched away. (Is it just me or do you love how that walking foot moves and sounds?)

Well I did 3 corners and then approaching the 4th side I could see that the lines were not parallel at all!  The right angle 2” squares on point were now diamonds with a different degree angle and the lines were not going to match up!!!  What to do???!

I ripped out about 3-4 rows and then called the MASTER in. I had my hubby draw some lines so it looked like it was a matching grid. He changed angles slightly and then made the lines not evenly apart so visually it looks fine.


What do you think? The lesson is that I should have first drawn a large X at the angle thru the elephant onto the background and then drawn in more 2” lines. If I saw that I was stitching off angle, I could correct it visually. Right now, I feel that I will draw in ALL the lines next time I want it perfect! (Then I could sew at top speed, hee hee!)

Then the binding went on smoothly. I didn’t have much of any one fabric left so I spliced them all together to make an interesting binding. I feel like the Queen of mitered binding as I have done it so often lately, but it is easy.  I looked in Philippa Naylor’s book, Quilting in the Limelight to see what width she cuts her binding and followed that for a nice 1/2” finish.

Now to ship it off and I finished it BEFORE the May delivery date. It will either hang on the nursery wall or be used as a quilt. I just need to add an eyeball to this!

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