Friday, August 16, 2013

Rainy Weather Quilts/Quilts for Cats

Having already grizzled and grumbled about nearly incessant rain over the past month, I will refrain from carrying on about it again.
Rather, I'll show you what I've been creating while holed up in my cozy basement room.
While I didn't feel energetic enough to tackle complicated quilt block patterns, I challenged myself to see what I could make using some of my rather extensive fabric stash.
If the above fabric looks familiar--it is. Its a good thing that I'm still liking those Moda lines, Wuthering Heights and Double Chocolat--would you believe there are still some remnants lurking in my cupboard?
This is an alternate light and dark setting of 36 [ 9 inch] Log Cabin blocks, with sashing and cornerstones.
The quilt finished at 68 x 68.
It is shown here prior to machine quilting.

Raisin, Jim's elderly cat, sniffs the quilt, just returned from an area quilter.

If I had unlimited funds dedicated to quilting, I would send my quilt tops either to Wyoming Quilts [where I worked prior to retirement and moving] or to Knox Hill Quilts in my hometown of Orwell, Vermont.
My attempts at machine quilting anything other than baby quilt size have not pleased me--my piecing skills are precise and the quilts deserve a decent finish.
This one was quilted locally.
The woman who quilted this has reopened the shop her mother closed a year or more ago.
She offers only one stitching pattern--a 'wishbone' motif.
Batting is a mid-weight poly and the backing choices are white or 'natural' muslin.
She uses a mid-arm industrial Singer machine.
Interestingly, the machine is fixed and the rolled quilt is placed on a simple rack which is pushed along to change the sewing area.
The fee for quilting this piece was $24.00 and included the batting and 
[as they call it in Kentucky] the 'lining.'
In Wyoming I had my 'everyday' quilts finished with an all-over stipple stitch.
It was the most economical choice, but definitely pricier than this--and I supplied the backing.
I'm happy to find this as my 'new stipple' option for quilts which will see a life of wash and wear.

Log Cabin blocks are straight cutting, straight stitching--there is no trimming, no fitting of bitty pieces.
There are endless possibilities for setting the blocks and using various colors.
This is a Star setting and the light sides of the blocks are a mix of off-white 'tone-on-tone' fabrics.  The darker sides are dusty pastels.

I've delivered this quilt to a lady who offers a few more quilting options--which will cost me a bit more, but still very reasonable.
This quilt also has 36 -12" blocks, but wider borders bring it up to 94 x 94.

Almost a decade ago I made a classic Flying Geese quilt, setting the small patches in rows divided by lengthwise strips of printed fabric.
I was apparently on a roll of cutting leftover fabric into 'geese' for I discovered I had a supply of them tucked away in a plastic bin.
Browsing a quilt magazine I saw this setting which utilized 4 'geese' and 4 plain rectangles for each 12" block.
I remembered [in the middle of a restless night] that I had YARDS of the rosy brown fabric and devised this setting to create a quilt 85 x 95.
It has a cream muslin backing and cost $41.00 for the quilting.
I have to state that I was initially reluctant to leave my quilts with this quilter--when I noticed an ashtray next to her sewing machine.
We aren't smokers and find the scent of cigarettes in a room or on clothing, upholstery, etc offensive.
I concede anyone's right to smoke, but feel it is unprofessional to subject a client's work to the smell.
At least in this weather the quilter was working with windows open.  I hung the quilts on the clothesline for about 2 hours prior to bringing them downstairs to apply bindings.

Detail of Flying Geese in the quilt border.

Detail of 'wishbone' quilting pattern.

 Oh yes--the cat part of the project!
Cats like to sleep on beds--with or without their favorite humans in place.
Constantly laundering queen and king-sized quilts that have collected cat hair, muddy paw prints or [dare I say] the odd hairball hawked up at midnight, is a chore.
I wanted several simple quilts which can be layered on top of the quilted spreads or more elaborate quilts to keep them clean.

Edward kept me company this morning as I machine stitched the binding.
I pulled the ironing board and a chair close to my sewing table to support the quilt as I  laboriously chugged  around securing the binding. [I only hand finish binding on small or special quilts!]
Edward leaped to the ironing board and burrowed under the folds of the quilt.
He stayed there peacefully even as I maneuvered the quilt around.

The cats on the new quilt are [clockwise] Willow, Teasel and Nellie.


Nellie, inside from prowling in wet grass, blissfully drying off on the new quilt.

Teasel, my beloved.
No photo of the 4th quilt which I left with the local quilter.
G. has laid claim to it.
I have the binding prepared for it and laid aside.
This weekend I will make another binding and finish the small Log Cabin quilt--it will be a nice size to spread on the back of the loveseat--or to take into a chair come winter--a homey quilt, a purring cat, a mug of tea and a good book--what could be more soothing?


  1. Oh my, I am full of admiration for your skill and your lovely quilts..... I chose to spend a lifetime weaving, but I look with longing at quilts. Maybe next time around......

    1. Hildred; Weaving is one of the crafts I have admired from afar. It seems to me a rather slow and measured process--I think the rhythm would be soothing. I've seen vintage woven blankets and coverlets in museums--the complexity of the patterns must be a bit daunting.

  2. Cats and quilts. How lovely. Willow has such a sweet face. I feel quite guilty about your rain. Although it has been cooler for us than our usual August, it has actually been perfect here for several weeks.

    1. Chris; Willow does have a pretty face--she also has a batty personality and is very much at the bottom of the feline pecking order.
      Weather is very humbling--something we humans can't 'fix!'

  3. Oh how envious I am of your quilting skills and wish you were my next door neighbour! I am going to join a Quilting Group when we FINALLY move, and learn all the short cuts as I am a slow laborious quilt maker with not much skill at all (apart from, ahem, hand quilting, which I love to do). You and I could make the perfect team!

    I LOVE your quilts - I had never seen the Star setting for a Log Cabin quilt before and it intrigues me. Log cabin I have done - and when Tam was a baby I did - by hand - a beautiful Pineapple Log Cabin square to try out the pattern, but never did more. I must look it out and frame it, for posterity!

    1. Jennie; I am envious of your hand quilting--yes--I could stitch up quilts on the machine and you could finish them with heirloom quality quilting! [And we could enjoy tea, books and cats in between work sessions!]
      I keep looking at a pattern for a small paper foundation pieced Pineapple Log Cabin, but haven't had the courage to undertake it.
      You should definitely display your block!

  4. Your quilts are all beautiful! So much time, talent and love going into each one. The top one really speaks to me for some reason. I think it's all those rosy hues. You are such an inspiration.

    It is sweet seeing your felines all sleeping on the newest quilt, 'flying geese', love the name and this quilt also speaks to me.

    Happy Quilting ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine; Making these simple quilts has put a kink in my neck and the joy of completed pretty projects in my heart! Blog-hopping to see what others are creating is always inspiration even if we don't work with the same tools and materials.

  5. Oh my mouth was watering at your beautiful quilts. I love the colour schemes you work with, very much to my taste. If I had to pick a favourite on this occasion, it would be the star log cabin, the fabrics are so pretty and the arrangement is perfect.
    However I am reeling with shock at how little the professional quilters charge. A king size quilt costs over £100 to quilt here in England and that does not include the backing or batting, which cost £30 and £60 respectively. Quilting is an expensive hobby here in England.
    It was fun to see the cats enjoying the quilts, it makes a house very homely.

    1. Kath; I am also amazed that machine quilting is so inexpensive here in Kentucky--less than half for similar sized quilts elsewhere--and backing and batting provided.
      To be sure, the options are more limited--I would prefer cotton batting, for instance--but I can live with the restrictions in exchange for decent affordable finishes for my binge of quilts.
      I think we do enjoy similar fabrics--if postage were not so horrendous we could do a fabric swap!

  6. The quilts (and cats) are beautiful. I've always done my own very simple quilting because I didn't want to invest that much more money into having it done, but the prices you quote are certainly reasonable.

    1. Lillian; From the photos on your blog, I think your machine quilting skills are more advanced than mine. I can do a small piece if I baste it first--but the thought of rolling up a larger quilt and pushing it through my machine brings on a panic attack!

  7. Goodness,you are so talented and with such good taste too. That star one with the pastel colours is my favourite, but they're all just beautiful.

    1. Em; I so enjoy putting colors together. The pastel star used up some nice fabrics which I had in small amounts. Now that it is finished I suspect it is too delicately colored to be subjected to muddy paw prints.

  8. Gorgeous works of creativity...or is it are so clever.
    Your felines look so happy on their I love Willows colouring ...I adore the grey tones...and Edward looks so like our Mika in these shots ...xx

    1. Angie; I don't think of myself as 'artistic'--careful with my cutting and stitching and partial to certain color combinations. The cats mean to be helpful with the whole process from pulling fabric from the shelves, to pressing and cutting. My quilts have been blessed with cat hair before ever they are placed on the beds!

  9. I am amazed at what you have accomplished during the rainy weather! The quilts are beautiful and do not look "everyday" to me! One of these days - when I'm not so busy sewing outfits for granddaughters - I might just try quilting again. The local prices sound quite reasonable. I do make baby quilts and should check locally for quilting those.

    I cannot imagine someone who expects to be paid for their work, SMOKING aroung quilts that have cost the client dearly in time and money! Very unprofessional. It's a good thing the quilts are washable but you shouldn't HAVE to right off the bat!


    1. Diane; I loved sewing for my grand daughters when they were small. I made much of my own wardrobe for many years as well as my daughter's and her cousins.
      For the past decade or so I've concentrated on quilts--they only have to fit a bed or back of a sofa--very flexible.
      I'm still annoyed about the quilt lady smoking in the work area--I'm balancing that against the neat work she does for an affordable price--but you would think she'd KNOW BETTER!