Thursday, February 27, 2014

WIP Wednesday 2/26/2014

Quilt block for cat quilt
Zigzag applique
Read on to see how it came together.

Gray and pink fabrics to re-create part of the cat seen on the fabric

Dark purple square for background

One of several printouts of the cat, enlarged many times. Hash marks show which edges are under other fabrics.

Cat printout, then dark purple placed on light box. Traced shapes with white tailor's chalk, indicating placement of large pieces of fabric.

Also using light box, traced cat's chest, head and ears with Frixion pen. The purple ink disappears with just a touch of the iron.

Body pinned to background

Head pinned to background

Ears pinned to background
Just before I began to zigzag around the edges, I noticed that the head and ears were wrong side up. Rather than re-do both pieces, just flipped to the right side and re-drew the detail lines with the Frixion pen. That caused both pieces to be a little out of whack as they aren't symmetrical, but I made them work.

Gray fabrics zigzag appliqued

Cut out the nose and tongue as one piece, rather than two. Kind of looks like a pink carrot!

Cat's hair pattern piece

Swiped over the edges with white tailor's chalk to create an outline on the black fabric. Although I just pinned all of the other pieces, I spray basted the back of this piece to hold down the jagged edges during the zigzag applique.

Hair, cheeks sewn down. Purple dots (Frixion pen) on the cheeks show where whiskers begin. Notice the black area just above the tongue. Rather than add a separate black piece of fabric, I colored it with a fabric marker.

Eyes added

Another view - zero to this in just a couple of hours. I surprised myself.

Detail lines added with black fabric marker

Trimmed up

Left - cat on original fabric
Right - enlarged about 5.5 times

Right, TC's Christmas made in Summer 2012. Quilt's recipient Sherrie wanted TC but in a cat. I think she'll be happy with what I made.

Cat block plus large squares of theme fabric on the design wall
All will form the centers of Puss in the Corner blocks.

Two photos above: auditioning fabrics to frame the cat block. Right now I prefer the black. We'll see how I feel when I work on the quilt again in a day or two.

I plan to finish the quilt this weekend and deliver to Sherrie on Monday, a few weeks before she retires, but close to her birthday.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Make It Monday 2/24/2014

I'm just starting to work on a quilt for retiring co-worker Sherrie S., who likes cats and purple.

I found this cute fabric online. It combines cats and purple pretty well.

Fabrics for purple cat quilt
The lavender is from stash. There were two bundles of it, which looked very much alike. I compared the color dots on the selvage and they seem to be the same. I'm saying they are. Neither bundle was enough to create the design below, but between the two, there's plenty. Woo-hoo!

Electric Quilt sketch
Large squares in purple/multi-colors represent the cat theme print.
The central white square won't actually be white. I plan to use a dark purple background and applique one of the cat figures to it.

I made this little quilt in July 2012. When Sherrie saw it on display at my desk, she told me she wanted one like it, but as a cat. The dog above is a variation of Dazzling Dog by Amy Bradley. Amy has cat designs, too, and I had chosen one for Sherrie's quilt. But now that I have the purple cat fabric, I'm going to try to re-create one of the cats on it.

This is the cat I chose. Isn't he fun?

Here's an idea of how the 8" finished square will look.

Although Sherrie is retiring near the end of March, I plan to get her quilt done and delivered a few weeks early, more in line with her birthday.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Cha Cha

Cha Cha
For retiring co-worker Deanna S.
Variation of Harding Hill Designs' Cha Cha Cha quilt
Partly from stash
58" square. Completed 2/19/2014.

I was struggling to find an inspiration for Deanna's quilt, then found out a couple of months ago that one of her nicknames is Cha Cha. I remembered the latin dance themed fabric that had been in my stash for 10+ years. Lots of dances on it, but no Cha Cha. I used it, anyway.

Blocks on the design wall

Main part of quilt top sewn together

Border added to finish quilt top

Once again, the finished quilt 

I gave Cha Cha to retiring co-worker Deanna S. today. She loved the quilt, and I hope it makes her smile each time she sees it. The quilt palette is very bright, but she has a big personality, so the quilt suits her well.

I had the dance themed fabric in my stash for 10+ years, but I didn't yet know what I would make with it. It is listed on my Quilt Ideas vs. Finishes 2014 page as Tango in the Possibilities column. I have a few scraps left, which may be used for a charity quilt.

Check out the colors on the Thank You note from Deanna. They're similar to the quilt!

Happy Retirement, Deanna, and enjoy your quilt!

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Friday, February 14, 2014


Free-pieced, all from stash and scraps
11" square
Completed 2/14/2014


I just finished Hearts, a little wallhanging that I started and set aside a couple of weeks ago. It's still Valentine's Day in my time zone, so I finished within my own self-imposed deadline.

The top was already done, and I did an escape hatch finish, with backing made of the same sweet off-white print as the quilt top. I have to admit I didn't layer the quilt sandwich properly and later ended up cutting through the batting to get to the escape hatch, but all turned out okay.

Once the quilt was turned right side out and the escape hatch closed, I did some light machine quilting - basically outlining the hearts and stitching near the edges of the quilt.

I like my little quilt, and I plan to have it on display long after today, Valentine's Day.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

WIP Wednesday 2/12/2014

I'm working on a dance-themed quilt.

Four-patch forms the center of the pieced block

Strips added to the sides

Strips added to the top and bottom

Pieced strips added to the sides, then to the top and bottom

Preview of block with theme and sashing fabrics

I wondered if black would have been better than the teal. But I think the black would have been too harsh, so I'm glad I chose the teal.

Four pieced blocks

Plain squares and pieced blocks laid out on the design wall
There will be sashing in the dark teal between all of the blocks, and the border will be the same teal.

This quilt is coming together very quickly, as I predicted. I don't usually sew on Thursday evening, but we'll see how I feel then. I plan to work on the quilt on Friday, for sure, and should finish the top that evening.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Make It Monday 2/10/2014

My next quilt is dance-themed.

I've had the fabric above in my stash for at least 10 years.

This quilt will be bright!

Electric Quilt sketch
Design is a variation of Harding Hill Designs' Cha Cha Cha quilt.
Large yellow squares represent the dance theme fabric.

I expect this quilt to go together pretty quickly. I'll start working on it tomorrow evening.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014


For co-worker Casandra K., who is moving out of the area with her family.
 Color scheme reflects Casandra's display of Americana in her office. 
Top is completely from stash. 
Original design. 60" square. 
Began 2/1/2014, completed 2/5/2014.

Quilt's title Feathers is a joke between Casandra and myself. I usually have a cat who ate the canary look on my face. Feathers is our shorthand for when I've done or am about to do something naughty. Not shown: I printed onto fabric an image of a cat with a yellow feather in his mouth, then zigzag appliqued to the back of the quilt. The cat should make Casandra laugh each time she sees it.

To see how I made the quilt, please read on.

Electric Quilt sketch
One block, but rotated alternating blocks to avoid matching seams

Selection of red fabrics from stash
Pairing up dark with light

I decided to do six combos, four of each.

Two combos, to be sewn together to form a four-patch.

Uh-oh. I was hoping for light-dark on the top, and dark-light on the bottom, and as many different combinations as possible. But when I set these pairs up, the two left fabrics look identical. There's no contrast.

These seemed to be the best pairings.

Turned the middle grouping 180 degrees so that the dots/lightest fabric was in a different corner than the other two groupings.

Four-patch blocks. I made four of each.

Blues from stash

Two combinations

Blue four-patch blocks. I made seven of one combo and six of the other.

Four-patch blocks

Four patch blocks arranged on the design wall

White-on-white border added
There was enough of this fabric in stash for all 25 blocks. Bonus, I was able to get the same fabric at Jo-Ann's for the back.

 Blue blocks on the design wall

Red blocks added

Quilt top sewn together

Notice how by rotating every other block, there are no seams to match. It's a great timesaver for me.

I used June Tailor Sew-in Colorfast Fabric Sheets to print an image of a cat with a yellow feather in his mouth.

After I printed the cat on fabric, I needed to determine the placement of the cat (under that big blue square) on the back of the quilt.
I laid out the backing, then placed the quilt top on the backing, right sides together. My backing is pieced, and I lined up the seam lines of the backing and the quilt top. I found a spot on the quilt top where I wouldn't be tying knots, and the size of the cat works well there.

To save my place, I stuck a few pins (yellow dots) at the seam lines that correspond to the cat area. Next I trimmed the cat printout to include 1/4" margin, then sprayed the back with basting spray.

Then I folded back the quilt top, eyeballed the placement using the pins as guides.

I folded back the quilt top, adjusted a little, and when I was happy, smoothed the cat fabric to the backing. I zigzag appliqued over the edge of the cat fabric to affix it to the backing. After I did my pillowcase finish and turned the quilt right side out, the cat fabric landed right where I wanted it.

Once again, the finished quilt

Enjoy your quilt, Casandra. I'll miss you. I hope your quilt makes you smile each time you see the cat.

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