Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Safari - a Shifting Shadows Quilt

Not to disappoint, here's the story of Safari,

my prototype for the Shifting Shadows pattern.

For many years, a bundle of three fabrics sat in my stash, waiting for the right pattern. Who knew that I would end up making/writing one to fit the fabric?

After cutting up the print into 5 1/2" squares that featured the cute animals, I was left with a mess of swiss cheese.

Hmm, save this for later. It may be useful, no matter how hole-y!

Wanting a large block, I started with what I thought was a proportional shadow size. After sewing all of the blocks, I determined a shadow needs to be rather narrow. So off went a smidge of shadow, for a final block size of 6 1/2". Reasonable size. Check out the 6 inch Shadow Block Tutorial to make your own!

shadow quilt block

Then the creativity kicked in for the block arrangement and the sashing, and presto! a quilt was born.

The front used two of the three fabrics in the bundle, the animal print and the color washed background. Designing with a  modern bent, this quilt does not have borders, and looks great in the pretty pastels.

Now for the back. Still had fabric #3, which would have also been cute on the front. Love the folds, don't you?

Well, said fabric was too small for the back, but if I turned it, 

Safari back test

the width was perfect. All I needed to do was add 12 - 15".  
Enter the swiss cheese. Staying with a length of 5 1/4" (totally random - it fit the fabric!), I started cutting various widths, ending up with a stack of usable fabric (bottom), some pieces for the scrap bin (right), and pieces to the trash (left).

Safari remnants

Since the widths varied, I sewed them with leftover shadow fabric, arranging them in narrow to wide and wide to narrow rows, with the background sashing in between the two rows.

Cutting into a third of fabric #3 and stitching in the panel, now provides a backing that is a perfect size for the quilt.

Shifting Shadows Safari back

As for quilting, I used my favorite panto Bluster,

bluster pantograph

which is nice, but this quilt design really needs custom quilting. And that's why Jungle was created, 

Shifting Shadows Jungle quilt

which has it's own story for another day.

Stay tuned!


  1. Love the pieced backing well the whole quilt really.

  2. Great story, Susan! I loved reading about your design process and what a great way to use up every last scrap! The color wash really does add to the floating effect. Perfect ending!

  3. Very cute and what a great way to use up the fabric in the backing

  4. That turned out so cute. I like the larger size and the offset rows. Beautiful backing too.

  5. Love your quilt - especially your Swiss cheese story! And it ended up as your backing?! Perfect!


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