Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finish: Counting Elephants

Counting elephants.  Because counting sheep is soooo pedestrian. 

This quilt was supposed to be a baby size when I started, I swear.  I seem to have some kind of mental block about small quilts.  This quilt was born on a lazy Saturday afternoon of improv piecing with no plan in mind.  I added strips, decided to make it symmetrical, added solids to the end of strips that were too short, until I ended up with a quilt 42"x67".

LOVE these tiny elephants! I'm going to need to get some more.

...Yep, that's a little long and skinny.  It looked like a beach towel. Going to need some borders and call it a twin size, so off I rushed to the fabric store, because of course I didn't have enough of any black and white fabric to border it. I made it there 5 minutes to close and found the perfect fabric.  I don't know how Loretta does it, but she packs the best fabrics into her tiny store.

Elephant Run by Tina Givens.  Look at those whimsical little elephant riders!!

I know every quilt is my new favorite, but I really love this one! The colors are so different from what you usually see and it was so much fun to pull favorites from my stash.  It all started with that Elephant Run fabric from Tina Givens that I bought on Etsy, I just picked fabrics that complemented it.  I used up the last of a few of my old favorites in this one.
That ornate black and white print on either side of the numbers strip has been a favorite of mine since my very first quilts.  This used up the last of it besides tiny scraps.

The idea to include a strip of the IKEA numbers fabric came out of nowhere, but ended up being the centerpiece of the quilt.  I was pleased to find a strip that included the all important number: 42.  That, along with the dream-y quality of the elephant rider fabric gave me the idea for the name of this quilt.  Can't you just see a little adventurer falling asleep, counting elephants?

The backing used up two of my favorite IKEA prints.  (We made a trip to IKEA earlier this week so I was able to restock.)  After making the front two-tone it seemed appropriate to keep the back to the same color scheme.

The quilting is horizontal in the center section to emphasize the stripes. I did the same thing in the borders, but vertical. I felt like straight line quilting was the only choice for this quilt, with all the stripes on the front.

I didn't get a close up picture of the binding, but I tried Cheryl Arkinson's technique to joining it at the corners so that I could have green binding on the sides and black on the top and bottom. I can't say I would try it again unless I was just desperate to get that effect of two colors at the corner. The corners were extremely bulky and hard to work with and seemed to be too big? I had to create pleats to get the corner to fold over the top. That said, they look pretty good now that it's done, and I do love the effect.

Isn't this IKEA print the best? I couldn't find any more of it at the store so I'll have to horde what I have left.
This quilt will be going to live with a friend from school and her family who are having a rough time.  I she'll really appreciate to different-ness of it.

Linking up to Amanda Jean's Finish it Friday.

PS: My finger is healing nicely (had an incident with the rotary cuter a week ago). Thanks for all the well wishes :)


  1. My great-aunt would have liked this quilt. She was a fan of elephants. I think the horizontal quilting, which you put to emphasize the stripes on the front, has a great effect on the back. It reminds me of lined paper

  2. I really like those itty-bitty elephants too!

  3. I LOVE this quilt. I've always been a big fan of that Tina Givens fabric, but the improv and color palette and numbers in this one are truly lovely. I love the quilting lines too. Yum! :)

  4. The colors and fabric design placement is WAY fun!! I really liket the counting thing too!


  5. Love the fabric choices and how it all works together! Fantastic :)

  6. I really like this print, and all the colors you added! Very interesting! I have a fabric border print with elephants, but a different color wave. This inspires me to use what I have. thanks.

  7. I have to say - this doesn't look like an improved quilt. Its very balanced and a great combination of movement and rest. You did an amazing job. I love that Ikea numbers print. You can't order on line and the closest Ikea is 5 hours away from me. But my parents are coming to visit next month and are bringing me 7 yards of it. Yay!!

  8. Visiting for the first time from Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts. This elephant quilt is not what you would expect when you hear "elephant quilt". The prints are great and the IKEA numbers print is brilliant. I love your explanation of what you envision - little adventurers counting to sleep. Very "magical" quilt - I really love it, and I don't really even like elephants. That's saying a lot. Will follow in the future to see what other "magical" quilts you take on as projects.