The little hippo’s family told her that she would never become a ballerina. Her friends said, “Forget about your ballet dreams; becoming the principal ballerina is far beyond your reach! Just go back to the river and practice your diving. Your body is more suited to grazing on underwater plants than it is to performing a grande jete’.” But her need to dance was strong! She refused to listen to the rest of the hippopotamus herd, and she took ballet lessons anyway. She worked hard to master every pose and leap, and now she’s here at last; ready to step onto center stage and dance like no hippopotamus has ever danced before.
This “tiny” hippopotamus dancer is ready to pirouette her way into your heart! She makes me smile, just imagining her graceful moves on the dance floor. This incredibly cute 36 1/2″ by 48 1/2″ nursery quilt would be the perfect gift to welcome a sweet little ballet dancer-to-be!
The hippopotamus ballerina is an easy applique project, since the pieces are fairly large and the curves and turns are gentle and easy to negotiate. I started making the hippopotamus with Mom when she was visiting from Montana, since she wanted to learn how to do machine applique using the blanket stitch on her sewing machine. We didn’t quite have enough time to finish our hippo ballerina, but I think that Mom got the hang of how to make the sewing machine work with her to create a beautiful applique piece! I chose delicate gray prints with silver metallic accents for my ballerina’s body, along with sparkly pink Michael Miller “Fairy Frost” fabrics for her costume.
The flower and heart garlands above and below the “little” ballerina are also easy to make, framing the dancer to place her front and center on the quilt top.The flower and heart garland is a feminine combination of pink and purple, with pretty golden yellow flower centers and green leaves as accent colors. The leaves and flowers were made from Northcott Fabric’s “Toscana” collection, one of our favorite fabric lines for our applique projects.
My forte’ in quilting tends toward piecing, so I really enjoyed making the foundation paper pieced heart blocks that surround the ballerina. The pieced hearts, made with a selection of pink and purple prints, provide a lovely frame for this adorable nursery quilt. Foundation paper piecing makes it easy to create uniformly perfect pieced blocks, even for a beginning quilter. Each heart block has just seven pieces, so they are quick and simple to make.
A sweet pink flower print frames the center applique panel, and is repeated in the outer border. The finished quilt is positively precious for a sweet little baby girl!
And here’s a fun surprise: I’ve learned that my cousin’s daughter and her husband are expecting another baby girl this winter, so their little bundle of joy is going to be the recipient of this pretty pink and purple hippopotamus ballerina quilt. I can’t wait!
If you’d like to create your own “tiny dancer” hippopotamus ballerina quilt, to be treasured by a special little girl, you can purchase the pattern here in our Ms P Pattern Shop!
Until next time!