Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Elephant Hugs - Project Quilting

Elephant Hugs baby quilt, 37" x 37", original design, made by Pam Geisel for Project Quilting Season 12, Challenge 4, Snail's Trail

Recap for "Snail's Trail":

Projects must be inspired by the Snail's Trail block.

According to Maggie Malone's book "5,500 Quilt Block Designs," the Snail's Trail block can also be called Virginia Reel, Monkey Wrench, or Indiana Puzzle. I made the Virginia Reel bed quilt (left) in 2006. It was the second bed-sized quilt that I made. 

One of the things that I love about this quilt design is that it's a Tessellation, a design that has interlocking patterns that are the same shape, where the negative space around one shape is exactly the same as the shape itself. Like the art of M.C. Escher. If you're interested in making tessellation quilts, there's a great book by Jinny Beyer called "Designing Tessellations." I have the book although I haven't designed a tessellation yet.

Knowing that one week wasn't really enough time for me to do this block justice, I started looking for ways to use just one block but make it interesting. That's when I noticed that the beginning of the spiral looked like an elephant's trunk.

Once I had that idea, I decided to make a baby quilt. In order to make the optical illusion of the trunks becoming the block, I had to applique the elephant shapes down (edges folded under but sewn by machine) and then applique the piece block on top (again with edges folded under but sewn by machine). I've done several quilts with applique on top of piecing but never this way, but everything went smoothly.


I quilted an outline of the Snail's Trail block in the body of the elephants, did stitch-in-the-ditch around the pieced block, and did a line of echo quilting 1/4" around the elephants bodies. I also added four round black eyes that I think really make the design pop.


The backing and binding fabric are from Robert Kaufman's Stargazers series and it almost looks like snails.

I call this piece "Elephant Hugs" because researchers say that elephants comfort each other by touching their trunks to the others' mouths. And being wrapped up in a quilt is similar to getting a hug.

Interesting PQ note, the gray that I used in the pieced block I also used in "A New Day Yesterday" made for the first challenge this season (and I considered using the darker gray). So that makes 2 challenges this year that I've used gray. In the 58 Project Quilting challenges I've done in the last decade, only 2 of those had gray in them at all.

More about Elephant Hugs Baby Quilt

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Click on any of the photos to see larger images.

To read more about Project Quilting, go here.

To see other entries for this challenge, visit the Snail's Trail page.

7 comments:

Jane, Mulberry Patch Quilts said...

What a wonderfully creative way to use the snail trail block! Some little boy or girl will be very happy to get this baby quilt. And good luck for the Project Quilting challenge drawing!

Danice G said...

Oh I love your quilt. Very creative design, also.

tubakk said...

Oh, I really love this one. I thought about elephants too, but didn't have the time to figure it out.

PersimonDreams said...

so cool! I love how the four elephants are hugging. Thanks for sharing how you did this with applique - I'm very impressed.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Elephant Hugs is so cute!!!

Sharon - IN said...

Way to think outside the box! Loving your elephants!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Elephant hugs? SEW cute!!