My husband was on vacation and I decided that I would like to be on vacation
with him so I took 2 weeks off. Before I left for vacation, I had posted about
an elephant wallhanging that Mary had completed. Here are the before and
Elephant before stitching\
This is what the elephant looks like when I get him. He looks like a blank canvas to me.
I really didn’t know what I was going to stitch onto this beautiful creature. So, I scanned the
Web and looked at what others had done. But I like to do my own thing and kept looking
The background fabric is great and Mary just wanted me to stitch over all the ovals.
That was pretty easy and why fight the print on the fabric? So, this area was covered
but what about the rest of the elephant?
I love libraries and off I went one evening, with no thought about elephants at all. When
I got there, I decided to pick up some books on elephants. Maybe I could get some ideas
from pictures in the books. It was worth a try.
After looking at several books, I decided that I would try to imitate all the wrinkles
on a real elephant but the lines would have to be simplified or I would be quilting
for the next several months.
I started with the ears and quilted in wiggly lines to replicate all the lines in the outer
perimeter of the ears. Then I moved onto his tail, that was the easy part. Just make
it look like hair. Next I quilted his body beside the trunk; again simple lines to outline
the curves of his body.
The trunk was kept for last because I really didn’t know how I would tackle making it
looked curved while being on a flat 2D surface. I had even gone the extra step of adding in
an additional layer of wool batting so that it would “puff” up like trapunto. I quilted in
all the lines with only the quilt top on the frame. Then I off loaded it and cut off all
the extra batting on the backing.
Right side of the elephant
Then I reloaded the whole thing again, only this time with the batting and
the backing. Everything was working out fine until I got to the trunk. All the stitching without a
stabilizer had caused the fabric to pucker up. I was not happy at all. Panic was beginning to set in
but I kept going.
Half of the reveal
I decided to stitch around the grey sections in the trunk and liked that but the unstitched
area was really “puffing” up and I knew I couldn’t stop there. So I tried stitching all the
way across the trunk, in a slightly curved line and then stopped to access the situation.
To my surprise, I actually liked the look of it and knew it would make the “puffy” areas
more flat. Ahhh! Now I could relax and finish the trunk. The stresses of a longarmer-ha!
The inside of the ears needed some stitching but I didn’t want to attract any more
attention to them so I merely outlined the piecing in monofilament thread.
The completed elephant
Lastly, I tried to imitate the lines on the legs and made them somewhat curvy. I
thought that more curvy lines on the tusks would clash with the lines on the
trunk so I stitched in long straight lines. It helps to emphasize how strong the
tusks are, in my mind anyways.
And that is the story of how I completed and lived through completing this
beautiful elephant for Mary. What is quite funny too is that I also picked up
a book by Anthony Lawrence called “The Elephant Whisperer.” It is a true
story of how he adopted an herd of elephants and managed to help
them forgive humans who hurt them. It is an easy read, check it out.
I also learned about his Conservation efforts in South Africa, his homeland
and of his conservation area called “Thula Thula.” Visiting this place may
have to go on my bucket list now. Funny how quilting can lead to something
totally different. I had great fun learning about elephants and Thula Thula
through this quilt. Thanks Mary.
Mary loves Tula Pink and here is some of her fabric for the backing.
A close up of the backing fabric. It does a great job of hiding all the stops
Mary also made this quilt. “La Pascallia” is the name of it. All of the piecing is
done by hand. It is definitely a work of love and art.
Here are some close ups of the fabrics Mary used and fussy cut to make each
The quilt was actually quite heavy when Mary brought it to me so Mary
had decided not to use batting in the middle. That was a really good choice
because it helped to lighten the weight of the finished quilted piece.
Flannel was used as the batting and it also helped to keep the
quilted piece from becoming too wavy. I think that the traditional
batting would have made the piece puffy in areas and that would
have detracted from the beauty of all that hand piecing.
Mary also wanted minimal quilting on the top and I ended up
using a monofilament thread all of the quilt. It blends well with all
the colors of the top and you don’t have to keep changing threads
to match the colors on the top.
I stitched a small wiggly line all around each of the seams. This holds the
top together and doesn’t interfere with all the fussy cutting piecing either.
Great idea Mary!
More Tula Pink fabric
Mary also had some more Tula Pink fabric; again it helps to hide all the
stops and starts used in the quilting.
A close up of the background fabric.
Dara made this beauty for a special girl getting married. There is alot of time
put into this quilt in the way of machine embroidery.
Each block has either a moose or bear in the center that was machine embroidered.
You might think that this takes no time at all but it does. You have to center each block,
hoop it, add stabilizer and then keep an eye on the machine as it stitches it out.
The bear is pretty cool too. There certainly is ALOT of piecing on this quilt as well.
Good job Dara! Maple Leaves were the design of choice and a dark brown polyester
thread was used for the top and the backing.
The backing works great with the front too.
Jeanettte brought in this quilt. Again, alot of piecing. Because I don’t get
to piece much anymore, I am always amazed at how patient quilters are
when putting together a quilt top.
Oak leaves were the design chosen and a light brown polyester thread
was used for the top and the backing.
This shows the piecing in the border area, I love it! Pieced borders add
so much more interest to the quilt top, in my opinion.
The backing was a light color and shows off the stitching perfectly.
Keep in mind what type and color of backing you want to use when
making a quilt. Do you want to hide all the stitching or do you want
it to be seen for the world to see? Mention that you your longarmer
and I am sure that they will help you with this.
Anne made this table runner for Canada’s 150th Birthday. She bought it
as a kit and it is gorgeous! The batiks are really striking.
I know that a Canadian designer created this piece but can’t think of her
name. If you do know, just let me know and I will add it later. I stitched
around the central leaf with monofilament thread and then added
some clouds in the sky. It didn’t need much stitching as the
Canadian Geese and central design are beautiful.
Hope you enjoyed the show and don’t smile too much.
The kids might think that you are happy that they are back in
Linking up to Needle and Thread Network, check it out.