August 2014 update: I am entering this post into the 2014 Pets on Quilts contest hosted by Lilypad Quilting. As you can see from the ice moutains behind the quilt - this picture was not taken in August!
After years of hoarding this novelty cat fabric, I finally have a quilt! When I first started quilting, I was buying fabric at a pretty good pace, but without a plan. (Now, I am still buying fabric, but usually with some sort of plan). In 2001, our cat, Chester, was just a kitten and I was taken by this beautiful Alexander Henry line of cat fabric. I purchased quite a bit in this sage and gold and red colorway, as well some in pinks. I have used the pinks on occasion, but held on to these fabrics for all these years, since I could never quite figure out what to do with them.
|The cats, the birds, the yarn, the hair!|
|The matching large novelty print|
I pulled out the fabric this fall, intending to try a disappearing nine-patch block in a quilt for a friend, but then decided that the "cat-ness" of this quilt was a bit much. Instead, I decided that this would be a quilt for my family. Unlike my confetti quilt, which I started after I had made these blocks, I kept the red square in the center of all of the nine-patch blocks, and also kept the gold birds and colorful kittens in the outer corners. The placement of the two sage blocks and gold blocks were random. I also starched the blocks before cutting them apart to help the cut blocks keep their shape.
|The strips getting ready to become nine-patch blocks|
|Sewn together before cutting apart!|
|The resulting cut blocks|
I tried out a number of various block placements on my design wall, and ultimately decided on a non-random placement of the little red squares with two in the middle and two on opposite corners.
|The 4 little blocks sewn back together.|
|The final version of nine-patch blocks for the center panel.|
I used a solid Kona cotton (Glacier, I think) that complemented some of the blue/greens in the prints for a one inch inner border and the binding. I used the large cat print for the border.
|The large cat print border|
Once the top was together, I had to decide how to quilt it, and looked to the little cat print with the unraveling ball of yarn for inspiration.
|Here is the unraveling yarn quilting|
I found the quilt top rather busy, and decided to simply stitch in the ditch on the inner border to give a little solid color relief to the top. I used a dark green Aurifil thread on the top, and the tan Aurifil thread in the bobbin, which worked quite nicely.
|Attaching the binding.|
This turned out to be a hard quilt to quilt, probably because my machine needed some work. I especially found the side to side free motion quilting very laborious, and my stitches are not as even as I would like. After I got the top quilted, and all by the last 12 inches of the binding attached, I took advantage of a machine cleaning special at the shop where I had purchased my Bernina, and ended up leaving it for two weeks for a full tune-up.
While the machine was gone, I started hand sewing the binding that was completed.
|You can see the unfinished binding in the upper right corner.|
My son had gotten me the Quilting Modern book for Christmas, and I used the instructions in that book to finish off the binding when I got my machine back. Getting the machine tuned up and thoroughly cleaned was a good idea. It runs like a dream now.
|The newly connected ends of the binding. In the past, I have just folded over the ends, which always left a little bump. I only had to redo this three times before I got it right!|
I used a remaining large piece of the border fabric and some other leftover scrap and some IKEA numbers fabric for the backing. I really like that IKEA fabric, but have no nearby store. At Christmas, my daughter brought me 10 yards from her nearby IKEA.
|The back of the quilt.|
Like everywhere in the country, it seems, it has been very cold and cloudy here. This morning some sun came out, and my good sport husband ventured out in the frigid air to hold up the quilt for photographing. Lake Erie appears to be nearly totally frozen. I find the frozen lake so beautiful.
|Some wind, some snow and some sunshine!|
|Some Kitty Cat Love from Chester|
The finished quilt is 61 inches by 72 inches. There is nothing like a nice new quilt on a cold winter's day!
Take care and stay warm,