So, as I was hunting for fabric to make quilts for the other three new babies in my extended circle of family and friends—four babies born in two months!—I stumbled across this delicious elephant print fabric and got completely sidetracked with one single project.
My lovely friend Tania and her husband had just had a baby, and as she is elephant-crazy (in an actually-go-to-Thailand-and-help-the-elephants kind of way), this print just about jumped into my arms. I knew I'd ignore the pink elephants and just focus on the maroon and yellow elephants, so choosing matching fabrics to highlight those colors didn't take much effort. Thread choices were easy too.
Here's what the fabric looked like in its original state.
I made a template out of a 4.5 x 4.5-inch square and some decorative tape. I centered as many of the yellow and maroon elephants as I could in my makeshift template, and carefully started cutting them out.
As it turned out, there were four separate and distint types of yellow elephants in the fabric, and the same number of maroon elephants. Awk! This made deciding how to cut the fabric a much more difficult task because I knew I had only bought one yard of it—so my errors were going to have to be very limited.
With some very careful logic, I ended up with four of each of the types of elephants, for a total of 32 squares.
Here's a shot of what the fabric looked like when I was done cutting. I don't think I could have possibly eked another yellow or maroon elephant out of it.
I cut out 16 squares from each of the other two fabrics and started playing with the designs for the two sides. Somewhere along the way I had decided to keep one side yellow and one maroon.
They ended up looking best with elephants on alternate rows facing opposite directions.
Then came the uncountable number of 4.5-inch lengths of machine stiching (well, they are countable, there were 48 of them). Sew cut sew cut sew cut ...
Once the rows were complete, I ironed all the seams.
And then sewed the rows together ...
I had thought that I would quilt the shape of the elephants with their color (yellow or maroon) so that there would be a yellow elephant shape on the maroon square on the opposite side, but it didn't work well at all. Even so, I got to use my fancy free-quilting foot during the experimentation stage.
I matched up the two sides with cotton batting between and pinned everything.
Two of the most helpful tools that I have discovered since beginning my quilting hobby: a seam ripper and a lint roller.
As I hadn't really decided what would look best with the colors of thread and the quilting, I tried a few different things. Hated them one by one. But with my trusty seam ripper, undoing the experiments was easy. And the lint roller cleaned up the mess with a few strokes.
Finally I found what I wanted—a simple maroon stich around the yellow elephants (which shows up as maroon stitching on a maroon square on the reverse), and a yellow stitch around the maroon elephants (to make yellow on yellow squares on the reverse).
The very nice thing about small, baby-sized quilts is that they can be 100% quilted on my basic sewing machine at home in the Airstream. All it requires is some forethought regarding the order of how things should be done, and some creative folding.
I decided to keep the all-maroon and all-yellow theme so I had to make edging that reflected that.
Fold crease iron, fold crease iron, fold ...
Here's the completed maroon side of the quilt (the yellow side is shown at the top of this post). The entire project from beginning to end was done in one very long (approximately nine-hour) session.
And here's how the quilting looks.
Here are the scraps that remained, and some discarded experiments ...
The cost of this quilt was only $22.56. I already had the filler on hand (this quilt used $3.25 worth), so I just had to purchase the three yards of fabric and two spools of thread. That's it. Granted, when I was checking out, the cashier asked me if I had a military ID. I do not think I look like I should, and am always hesitant to flash it about, so I asked "Why?" in a very skeptical way. She happily reported that it provided a 20% discount! I showed it, duh. Yet another unexpected benefit from marrying my husband.
Cheers, Tania and Josue!
And Welcome Baby Whatever-your-name-will-eventually-end-up-being (WYNWEEUP)!