Where do elephants live? Africa, India, South East Asia… When I saw this piece of applique, my first thought was about India.
The piece itself came from my daughter-in-law. More than two years ago my son and his family moved into their new home in Heidelberg, Germany. In a gazebo they discovered two pieces of applique left there by previous owners. Those pieces were hanging in a gazebo, providing shade and protecting from winds, and they were worn and torn, and faded, and decayed.
I took both pieces home to Lithuania and it didn’t take me long to restore and upcycle the smaller piece, that came from African country Benin. I named in Kingdom of Dahomey and I wrote a blog post- click on a photo to read it:
The same way as I did research on Kingdom of Dahomey, I did similar research on Elephants piece. And yes, Elephants came from India! Here is a bed cover from INdihaat that looks almost the same:
Also I found an article on Home Triangle with this photo of vibrant, colorful Kantha and applique work bed covers from Rajasthan. Click on the photo to read the entire article:
Back to the piece, one with elephants, that came from my daughter-in-law. To compare to Kingdom of Dahomey, Elephants was much larger but in a much worse condition:
Some blocks had no color, others were torn and molded:
I decided that the best I could do was to disassemble it and somehow put best blocks back together.
As I still had no idea on how I was going to work, I decided to do one block at a time. Then I would join them together using quilt as you go technique. I started making sandwiches for each block, and then hand stitching all applique fabrics with matching color crochet yarn. It fixed applique that was loose, and also revived the color. Here you can see how faded some colors were. It was dark blue originally that I stitched with gray color yarn:
It took me very long time to get 12 blocks stitched. I though I would never finish, but when Lithuania closed borders in mid March, and everybody was told to self-isolate, I had all my time for myself. Then it became a perfect project for sitting on a couch and watching scary news on TV.
Joining blocks together was rather complicated because they were not exactly of the same size. For sashing I used orange tie dyed fabric that came from the thrift store few years ago. I managed to get all the sashing of the same width, but some borders happened to be wider than others. I hand stitched borders and added flowers in the corners, that I cut out of badly damaged blocks not used otherwise:
Here is the entire piece:
It is entirely hand stitched and measures 80 x 61 inches or 202 x 156 cm. There were thousands of stitches and the back side shows it:
Here are some detailed before and after images:
Some more close-ups:
I hope my son’s family will use it as a blanket. It feels very soft and warm and the proof of that is right here:
Thank you for reading!