Playful Pachyderm: Bloggers Quilt Festival

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Finally Finished Friday

It is that time again. The 2015 Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival is happening on Amy's Creative Side, and I have finished this quilt just in time enter it in the small quilt category. Playful Pachyderm is a good fit for Finally Finished Friday. This quilt has been quite a journey.

Have you ever made a quilt and feel like there is some sort of force working against you when trying to getting it done? Well this was one of those quilts. There have even been issues blogging about it (the original blog post got eaten by cyber space, or maybe internet gremlins, last night). As frustrating as it can be though, I have learned so much in the making of this quilt. 


Applique was not my first choice after finding out that one of my best friends was having a girl, and doing her nursery in an elephant theme. Initially I was searching for fabrics to piece, considering creating my own fabric, and checking out other people's patterns. Nothing seemed quite right. For months I searched for anything but applique; it is generally something I avoid. The only previous quilt I have made with applique was my first quilt made 17 years ago.

After much brainstorming it became clear that to create the vision I had in my head I would have to concede and make an applique quilt. Once that was decided I drew a few cute line elephants (I drew inspiration from a google search), but was not happy with the fact that all my designs were turning out landscape. That is when the idea to stack them came about. 

Since the nursery was going to be in purple, yellow, and grey, I pulled fat quarters from my stash as well as purchasing more (because who doesn't need more pretty fabric). Originally I wanted to use a grey chevron as the inner border, but eventually ended up using a white and black floral from my stash.

After many tracing mistakes on the fusible I finally got the elephants traced, applied to the fabric, then cut out and ready for sewing. For my fusible I used Lite Steam-a-Seam 2

I tried out a couple of different white backgrounds and settled for a white print. The bleached muslin I had purchased for this muted the vibrant purple and yellow fabrics I had. 

A blanket stitch with coordinating Mettler thread was used to sew around all the applique pieces. It actually went much quicker than I had expected.  I was able to do all the stitching in 2 afternoons with a lot of interruptions.


As I mentioned above, the inner border was a white and black floral I ended up pulling from my stash. The grey chevron I had planned on using got lost among the bright fabrics. It did not provide the visual break that was needed for the quilt. The squares in the outer border were cut from the same fabrics that were used to make the elephants. This was the slowest part of top construction because I obsessively moved around the squares until I got the placement just right.

Once I reached this point I was happy with the look of the quilt as well as the size. It ended up being 35" x 40". This is a size that I have found works really well for crib quilts.


Once the top was completed the quilt sat for months while I mulled over how to quilt it. The only quilting I had done was with a walking foot and the quilt was only partially finished. At this time I also had What a Hoot to quilt. I ended up quilting it first because I had an idea how to quilt it, and everything but the owl was going to be with my walking foot. 

When I got around to sandwiching Playful Pachyderm I ran out of spray baste half way through and ended up having to pin. I was stuck and unable to start for about a week until I decided to do diagonal lines across the center. The lines were marked and I sewed them with a white Aurifil thread. After that I stitched in the ditch around the center square and the inner border. 

It took about a week for me to decide what to do in the inner border. I ended up trying a paperclip free motion pattern and used purple thread. The decision to use purple thread came from a Leah Day free motion class I was watching on Craftsy

On the outer border I decided to just do strait lines 1" apart. Thread of the contrasting color was used on each block. 

Finally all I had left was the elephants. I couldn't procrastinate any longer, and I had been playing with ideas of what I wanted to do. The bodies were a meandering stitch in matching thread. The ears were a spiral using matching thread as well.


Many different fabrics from my stash were auditioned for binding. Ultimately, at the suggestion of my kitty helper, I purchased a black & white floral from a local quilt store. After the binding was cut and ready to go we had a couple of big lightning storms that delayed the final attachment. Monday I was able to finish the binding, but photographing would have to wait.

Thursday night, about 45 minutes before I lost decent light, I was able to do the photo shoot for this quilt. In the park where I took the photos one person walked by and asked if there was an invisible baby. 

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Take the time to hop over to the 2015 Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival and see all the other beautiful quilts. Voting will go from October 29 - November 5, 2015. Viewer's choice nominations can be submitted before October 29.