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Reversible Orange Dancing Elephant Quilt

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My youngest is one of those people who knows exactly what he wants and is unconcerned with what other people think about it. Favorite color? Orange – which is very fitting for his outgoing, happy-go-lucky personality. Favorite animal? Elephants. He’s got a herd that tend to roam around his room. So when I decided to make him a quilt I knew it had to have those two very important things incorporated into it.

Meet the herd!

None of the designs I found really matched that bright and bubbly side of my kid that I wanted to show. Then I stumbled upon a drawing of dancing elephants by early 1900’s German artist Heinrich Kley. You know Fantasia? Kley is said to have inspired Walt Disney – specifically for the “Dance of the Hours”. His sketch was perfect – dancing, spinning, ever moving (just like my kid).

I turned these elephants into very large appliques. I wanted to keep the sketch-like quality that brought them to life so I “drew” lines back and forth with straight stitching on my machine in varying densities.

Dancing elephant with water spraying from nose

I altered one of the trunks and made it spray a spiral pattern of water droplets, making them look like they’re dancing in the rain.

Two toned water droplets forming a spiral

I didn’t want to leave the color orange completely out of the front, but being a contrasting color with blue I had to be careful not to overdo it. I made the orange just a thin stripe along the edge of the border and as the binding color with a patchwork of blue filling in the main body.

Two dancing elephants, one spraying a spiral of water out if it's trunk

The back was orange’s time to shine. I really like quilts that have a color gradient so I lined up the oranges from darkest to lightest with a vertical stripe going up one side. The vertical stripe was added mostly because my fabric wasn’t wide enough, but sometimes you need to make your design work with the materials.

Orange striped gradient

Elephant quilt on my kid's bed along with several stuffed animals
One guess as to who picked out that wall paint color!

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out but most importantly the kiddo loves it. We always ask him which side he wants facing up when we make his bed and he nearly always chooses elephant side. He always has to make sure the fuzzy members of his herd are lined up along the bed.

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