Some patterns take longer to release than others.
The concept for this block sprung into my mind one day.
I could see it really really clearly.
The design was complete and the basic design has stayed the same since day one. There were no doubts, no worries, I knew that this was the way that I wanted to design an elephant pattern and I felt confident that it was unlike other elephant patterns that are already available.
I could also see how I wanted to use my fabrics. I wanted fussy cut fabrics in the ears.
I drew the block, took some time to decide what size to make it and sent him to the testers.
When Afton, the first tester got back to me, she had several pieces of feedback.The first one was easy to fix. It was a mistake which was a remnant left over from an earlier version of the block (oops!).
The second piece of feedback that she had was really good but I couldn't immediately see how to fix it. It wasn't a mistake as such, it was just an area that needed to be made more logical to piece. It worked ok as it was, but we both knew that it could be better. We discussed it back and forth, but couldn't come up with a solution so I left it and sent the updated pattern to the remaining testers. I waited to see their versions.
Joanne sewed a great elephant and had some more useful feedback for me.
When the third and final block came in from Kelleigh, I took one look at it and immediately realised how I could improve the pattern to get around the issues that Afton had mentioned. It was a simple fix, but I guess that I had needed a bit of distance from the design to be able to see it.
I was impatient to release the pattern, didn't want to wait on another tester and having just managed to work through most of the things on my to do list, I rewarded myself by allowing myself the opportunity to sew the block.
I hadn't been planning to sew the elephant at this point (although there was never a doubt in my mind that I would eventually sew it), and I hadn't bought any fabrics specifically for it, so it was fun to look through my stash in search of suitable fabrics. I ended up using a lot of my favourites.
I was really excited when I remembered the piece of Tula Pink Cameo Sky that I had, it was a perfect fussy cut for the ears and a great starting point for my elephant. I must say that when I was looking for a suitable fussy cut for the ears, I became relieved that I hadn't made the pattern any bigger. It would have been really difficult finding a print to fill the area of a larger ear.
The block itself came together easily enough. 24 inch paper pieced patterns are definitely easier to sew that 30 inch ones.
I love the finished result, and feel that like the Big Bear pattern, the scale of this elephant pattern allows you to take artistic license with fabric choices.
I am confident that the extra time that it has taken to prepare this pattern was totally worth it. The pattern is now significantly better than it initially was (even though the changes may not be easily visible to anybody but me).
This pattern really underlined for me the importance of getting blocks tested. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference. Whether those eyes are somebody else's or my own eyes after a period of time really doesn't matter.
At the moment my elephant is slung over the back my sofa where I can admire him while I decide what to do with him. I think that he's going to become a huge floor cushion to form the beginnings of a reading corner for my daughter. Either that or he will become a mini quilt to hang on the wall of my sewing room.
What would you do with a 24 inch elephant?
You can now find this elephant pattern in my Craftsy store. It will be at a reduced price for the first 48 hours.
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