Saturday, November 20, 2021

A Herd of Elephants

I used to tell my kids when they clomped through the house that they sounded like a herd of elephants. And when the kitties thunder through the house playing (often at 3 a.m.), we say they sound like a herd of elephants. I’ve actually seen a herd of elephants in the wild (Kenya, 2018) and they sound nothing like the kids or the cats. But I’d never SEWN a herd of elephants until this week.

In nature, elephants are usually limited in color. But in my sewing world, you’ll be seeing a rainbow variety throughout the next year. I’m hooked on making these wonderful beasts! This month, I’m working through my neutral scraps (mostly dark neutrals) for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. So the result is a total of eight new ellies to add to the two green ones from last month. Come join me, the elephants, and lots of other creative scrappers over at Angela’s blog for Scrappy Saturday!

First I made two gray elephants. I tried to use an ivory fabric for their tusks (because gray would be redundant), but it didn’t show up too well. That’s OK; they’ll be safe from poachers, LOL! Note their paisley ears; these must be Asian elephants. 

Next came four brown elephants with curly-print ears. I love this color combo, so I made four. I even managed to keep the subtle stripes aligned vertically! Their gray tusks show up very nicely. I’ll be using gray on all the rest of the elephants I sew.

And then because I have no specific plan yet except to make lots and lots of elephants so that I can sew several quilts-worth of them, I made two more. These are obviously from yet another herd, as you can tell by their square-ish circle print ears. The one on the right has a wonky front leg - I’ll need to do some minor surgery to fix that. 

The pattern for these elephants is Stomping Ground by Wendy Sheppard. 

As was my goal, I did manage to baste, quilt and finish up the three kids quilts for Quilts for Kids this week. The first one was the Cornered Strings quilt that finished at 40x50”. 

These are 10” blocks, and are a free pattern from The Long Thread blog, here. I’ve seen a couple other of the RSC ladies making them too. I plan to make more string quilts from this pattern, but will probably set them 5 across by 6 down for a 50x60” quilt.  This was really fun and I can see myself playing for a couple weeks or more with them this winter. 

I also made a real dent in my brown scraps with the following two finishes. First is the 16-patch quilt using the bazillion brown chevron scraps that I was given from Quilts for Kids.  First is Chocolate Checkerboard, finishing at 40.5”x48.5”.  I laid this (and the next) quilt out on the grass, which is still green (!), and it is really lumpy. The grass, not the quilt. The color is off in this picture - there is no pink in this quilt.

The final quilt, finishing at 40x51” is another QFK donation quilt using strips and a leftover block from my two Masala Box quilts. 

The backing for both this quilt and Chocolate Checkerboard was this brown toile print that I’m happy to finally have found a use for. 

In the next week I’ll be putting together a green and brown string quilt. And that reminds me that I forgot to show you the 27 brown string blocks I made (no picture). No worries - you’ll see the quilt next week. I’m also cutting out and beginning to sew more Zipper blocks because my daughter Megan claimed my Zipper quilt. And then there are two little Christmas kitty quilts and my own Christmas quilt - blocks cut out in 2020 - to begin sewing. Never a lack of projects, UFOs or scraps around here!!

My daughter Megan flew home to Washington State on Monday evening after visiting with the family here in Utah for five days. That very night, her 16-year-old cat Lola (who is two years older than her other cat Iggy) became very ill. She vomited and was having trouble breathing. Long story short, Megan and Ted had to have Lola put to sleep. Heart failure. Meg is devastated. It’s been an awful week for her between the unexpected family drama with her dad, and then Lola dying. All this while she is going to school and working 3/4 time. 

Bruce and I are planning on a quiet Thanksgiving dinner at home, having turned down a couple invitations. I plan to - what else? - sew and start a new book and fix our favorite Thanksgiving turkey casserole from Melody at Fibermania blog (now discontinued).  We’ll also have cranberry-orange relish, homegrown green beans and pumpkin pie.  What are you planning? Will you be doing any Black Friday shopping this year? However you spend your week and your Thanksgiving, I hope it’s happy and healthy.


  1. OOOH! I love your ellies! I can't wait to see how they look in colors. Poor Megan! It's so hard to put a pet down!

  2. Your elephant herd is looking so lovely...don't you just have to love elephants--fabric or real actually...Good choice for RSC 2022.
    I made one block of that string one from Long Thread...I didn't like my colors so it went into the depths of the "started--not loved" box...I tried using all light pastels..but it just didn't sing to me...
    Soooo, I am still working with making JOY ready to sew the "Y" for the 3rd that I have an 18" design board to set blocks up on (see, :D my excuse for buying one is that I've been sitting around on heat and surfing fabric shops--yup!!
    Have to do SOMEthing right?)
    I hope your weekend is going well Sorry to hear about your daughter's loss--not easy..having been through that with our kitty "Schumee" a few years back, I totally "get it".
    Hugs Julierose

  3. Sorry that Megan’s Lola had to be put down. Always sad to loose a pet. Love your elephants.... oh dear I can see me wanting to make some too. Great chocolate quilt finishes, those chevron squares are lovely, nice to have a constant running through a scrap quilt. Great Cornered Strings quilt as well.... oh goodness I’m tempted by this one too. So, Happy Thanksgiving to you and Bruce. Enjoy your day together eating your favourite foods, sewing and reading. Sounds a good recipe!

  4. Hi Cathy! Your elephants are very nice. Sure those 2 grays came from India and I bet the browns from Kenya. You made pretty quilts for donation. Congrats!!
    Sorry about Megan, this is so hard.
    Happy Thanksgiven!

  5. I love your elephants! The brown chevron quilt turned out great as well. I'm so sorry about your daughter's cat. That's always sad. Enjoy your quiet Thanksgiving. The menu sounds yummy!

  6. Those elephants are fun as can be, Cathy! And the ears just make me smile. Glad you had that time with Megan, but how sad for her to lose her cat so soon after getting home. Happy Thanksgiving! We're planning to go on a little road trip to see our kids, which we missed out on last year. I'm looking forward to it!

  7. The elephants are wonderful! I can't decide if I will join you in sewing along; my brain is not ready to settle on next year's RSC projects yet. Enjoy your quiet turkey day at home! We will be with our boys, trying out some new traditions. Still, plenty to be thankful for!

  8. Terrific, magnificent elephants! It will be fun to see a rainbow herd of them. At our house, Black Friday is for staying home and sewing!

  9. Happy early Thanksgiving! Love the string quilt, I have stings waiting for a home !
    My RSC are still marinating, maybe they will be coming out after this busy week ahead. Just some house moving and minimal socializing as our local ( Canadian) Thanksgiving was weeks ago!
    Stay safe and sew on !

  10. Your elephants are just adorable! How fun to make them difference colors. Sorry your daughter is having a bad spell. I always hurt when my kids are hurting. Happy Thanksgiving to you! We're bringing my mil over from Boise for four days, and will be joined by my daughter, son-in-law and their little baby. Easy celebration.

  11. Love the elephants, especially the ears. Sorry your daughter lost her cat. One of my quilt buddies had to put down her cat last week. It's always traumatic. Enjoy your home alone Thanksgiving. That's what Mark and I have done the last few years, but this year I've been invited to a quilter friend's house. Otherwise, I'm might have wound up with a tuna fish sandwich if left to my own devices.

  12. Sweet elephant blocks, Cathy, and congratulations on your scrappy quilt finishes!!

  13. Losing a beloved family pet is always so hard so I feel for your daughter. On a happier note, those ele-fonts are adorable!!! I, for one, am going to be happy to see the additions to the herd as you make them. And that Cornered Strings quilt is one of my favourites I think.
    As for Thanksgiving/Black Friday - our Canadian Thanksgiving is the first part of October so we're done with that. Black Friday never used to be a 'thing' here but retailers have started trying to entice Canadians to get on the crazy train too. I avoid the whole thing.

  14. Love seeing the herd grow! So sorry for the kitty loss, that can be hard. Happy Thanksgiving to you.


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