I had a wonderful time making this farm play mat for my partner in the latest round of the "Invite Your Partner" craft swap on Craftster. Jen has four children and another on the way, and she had a picture of a similar play mat posted as a "favorite" on her profile page. You can see a picture of that play mat by clicking HERE. Since quilting is my specialty, it was obvious that I had to make this for her!
A bird's-eye view (and a cat's-eye view):
Below, you can see it in-progress. With a little help from my cat, I randomly pieced together odd-shaped patches of upholstery and drapery fabrics, most of which I got for free, either from a friend (who gave me a sample book) or from the "free remnant" bin at an upholstery shop. This was the perfect use for them!
I added the pond and stream after the top was together. I just figured it out as I went along. I like how the pond turned out, but I am unhappy with the shape of the stream; it should be narrower and more meandering. Boo. Next time I make a farm play mat I will remember that!
Of course, a farm has to have animals, and I found a small herd of these wooden cows online. The brand is "Animalz", and they make a huge variety of creatures...it was hard not to buy them all, but I liked the cows the best.
I machine-quilted the outlines of each of the fields and the water; then I got comfortable in my sewing chair and hand-quilted all the furrows with embroidery thread and great big stitches.
I hand-quilted ripples in the water too. After binding the quilt, the last thing to do was add some bushes. They are an assortment of green quilting-weight fabrics, made into yo-yos which I stuffed and hand-sewed in place.
I like this last picture the best...this is how Jen's children will see the quilt. I can imagine them lying on the floor and inventing little dramas for the cows to act out. I wish them many hours of happy playtime with their new farm mat!