I've spent the day appliqueing; the tree is complete, both giraffes are in place and have manes, tails and eyes, and I've just fused the spots in place. The applique so far has been using machine buttonhile stitch, but the spots (over 150 all up) would just take too long that way, so I'll do them, as well as the hooves, raw-edge with a free-motion straight stitch. Any minor fraying will give the effect of hair, so that will work ok.
I'm a bit disappointed that the knees where the spots fade out entirely is right at the grass/sky seam, but it's too late to worry about that- although I'm wondering how to lighten the lower legs, and add detail to the heads (for the moment some are traced onto the fabric with fine pencil). I can do some with quilting - both before and after sandwiching, but I'm not sure about the rest. It'll be a baby's cot quilt, so it needs to be able to stand up to washing, plus I don't want to spend too long in it, and it can't be too heavily quilted in one spot. I'll also add some hair to the tails with free-motion work.
Despite lots of reference images and numerous attempts, I gave up trying to draw the giraffes freehand. I ended up saving a selection of googled images, altering them to show the main lines, resizing and collaging them to form the images I had in mind (all digitally) then printed them at A4, worked out the enlargement proportion to get the size I wanted, scanned and reprinted onto larger paper. Then I traced the outline and a few main lines, traced the reverse to fusible web, fused the different shapes to the different fabrics, then built them up on the background.