Rainbow ringtails

I’ve been fascinated by lemurs since I was about 8 years old. When the Elizabeth Hartman Lana Lemur pattern first crossed my timeline on Instagram – it was quilting kismet.

Catherine aged 9 surrounded by lemur toys

This is a very special quilt and needed to have a very special home to go to. I sat on the pattern for months and mentally began sketching out what colours to use etc. Waiting for an excuse to make it. When I found out I was expecting a baby, my special quilt project finally had a home. I resisted the urge to start making it until the 20 week scan, as even though I’m not superstitious in the slightest I didn’t want to ‘tempt fate’. The second I hit 20 weeks the mega quilt project began!

Proper prosimian planning

Post it notes laid out to organise different sub cuts of the Lana Lemur quilt block

After reading the pattern I knew I’d have to be far more organised than usual. Each lemur has 71 different pieces in 37 different shapes. There are 20 lemurs in the quilt top which is 1,470 pieces. Plus a extra 28 smashing strips, which leaves us with a whopping 1,448 pieces for the top alone. (At this point I didn’t know I would also end up piecing the back… more on that later). If anyone is planning on making an Elizabeth Hartman pattern I recommend using a concertina folder and post it notes to keep things organised. Decided to make the lemurs in ‘batches’ so 4 green, then 4 yellow, then pink etc. To speed things up and ensure the pieces didn’t get mixed up.

Finding the fabric

I wanted this to be bold and graphic so decided to stay clear of prints, but I also wanted to include ‘true ringtails’ in the correct colours of grey with a white and black tail to add to the rainbow menagerie. I decided to use grey for the background as well though so needed a bit of contrast. Came across this Dashwood Studios twist range with a slight fleck in it which helps to give the impression of fur and stands up well against the flat grey background.

Fabric pull of Dashwood Studios fabric for Lana Lemur quilt

The pattern uses 10 inch precuts for each lemur, and the cutting  as map butis Ia but wasteful. As I was doing 4 lemurs in each colour I could be a bit more frugal with my fabric purchasing. So bought a long quarter (25cm) of each. Because I had more room to play with I could ignore the cutting guidelines and batch cut shapes for 4 lemurs which created a lot lest fabric waste.

Nosing through mistakes

After completing one green lemur as a ‘trial’ block I moved onto batch making the rest of the green lemurs. Got a little cocky at this point and was less fastidious with the instructions, anyway I ended up sewing the noses of the my next three green lemurs upside down.

Was very frustrated with myself but then when I compared the two – the lemur with the ‘correct’ nose and the one constructed upside down – I decided I preferred the ‘incorrect’ version as it actually looks more like the face of a real life ringtail. Asked the Instagram hive mind (who liked the original better) but I decided to embrace my mistake and make the remaining lemurs with wonky noses. Once all twenty had been constructed the original lemur with the pattern-correct nose looked really out of place to me. It is the kind of quilt mistake that no one else would ever notice,b it bothered me so I unpicked it (this was a painstaking process) and reattached the nose wrong way up to match the others.

Stars on the other side

I had bought this lovely turquoise fabric on holiday in Namibia a few years ago and saving it for something special. Annoyingly it ended up before about 8 inches too narrow for the quilt top. I had also recently got excited about paper piecing so decided to create a series of stars with the scraps left over from the top. The star pattern was a free one from Google and it looks quite effective.

Rainbow star paper pieced quilt background

I’ve never enjoyed hand sewing that much but this quilt changed my opinion. There is something lovely about sitting curled up under a nearly finished quilt, giving it the final flourish.  And without being too cheesy ‘sewing some love’ into the quilt. This was extra special on a cold winter’s night by the Christmas tree thinking about our expanding family in the new year.

Safe to say this quilt was my Everest and took about 3 months to complete everything. Am really chuffed with how it panned out and have enjoyed snuggling under it feeding my daughter in the small hours. When she’s older it can live on her bed, or she can build forts with it, or whatever she wishes. But it’s a pretty sweet quilt. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.