Monday, August 3, 2015

Whole Cloth Elephant Quilt

I have wanted to try quilting for years but always put it off thinking it's too involved for my short attention span crafting style.  I finally took the plunge with this whole cloth elephant quilt!

I love the elephants in this fabric (Madhuri Elephant by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake) and couldn't bear to cut it up so a whole cloth quilt was an easy solution.  I made this for my daughter who was born in India, so the fabric is obviously a nod to her home country.  I'm really pushing the elephant theme for her, so I hope she likes them!
Everything I know about quilting I've learned from reading fiction books with characters who quilt, so not that much.  I learned a bit about Hawaiian whole cloth quilts reading The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini and was also inspired by looking at kantha quilts (blankets made from old saris or sari fabric) on-line.  I knew I wanted to quilt by hand not machine and finally found this tutorial as a guide. 
I mostly used supplies I had on hand instead of buying all new quilt specific tools - I used an embroidery hoop instead of a quilt hoop and normal thread and needle for the basting.  I did buy hand quilting thread and needles for the swirling design.  I have tried using a thimble several times, but I find it to be more of a hassle than helpful.
I drew the swirling design freehand with a water soluble marker.  My favorite part was spraying down the quilt with water and watching the blue ink disappear.  Since my thread was the same color as the background of the fabric the quilting still looks subtle even with an intricate design.

I only quilted the background so the elephants stand our a bit because of the batting layer.

To be honest, I was going to ask my mom to do the binding for me.  It involves all the parts of sewing I don't like: measuring, ironing, being precise.  I ended up giving it a try on my own and I think it turned out okay.  It's a little wonky in places but that adds to the handmadeness, right?
A loves her special elephant quilt!

1 comment:

Jodie said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! Sarah, I'm so inspired. I've always adored quilts but am so intimidated by the process (the tedium..). I've never heard of whole cloth quilts, but I love the idea. And I love your pink elephants! It's GORGEOUS. I'm sure A loves it (or if not now, she will.) As a cross-stitcher, this actually seems maybe possible for me (the whole cloth method, that is.) I'm going to google some of your links and think about it. It still seems a bit much for me to bite off, but as the saying goes, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!" ;-)

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