Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pets on Quilts Show

Hello everyone!

I am excited to participate in the Pets on Quilts show this year because not only do I LOVE incorporating cats about about every quilt I make, but I also grew up with a kitty that loves to participate in the quilting process (don't they all?)  So this will feature a bit of cats ON quilts and a bit of cats IN quilts.

First: the cat ON quilts.

This is Annabelle, my family cat.  She lives with my parents now and I don't, but she still snuggles with me and my quilts whenever I come back to visit.

Like many of your cats I bet, she loves to be where the action is.  So whenever I'm pinning a quilt she'll intentionally sit in the middle of it.  (Side note: yes, there's a trend. I often pin quilts in my pjs lol)

She's also a big lap cat, and she doesn't care if you're busy or not! So many times when hand quilting my latest kitty quilt I had to make room for her AND the hoop.

She's a big sweety, as I'm sure we all think our pets are :)

Okay, onto the cats IN quilts.  I am one of those people who is REALLY a cat lady.  I LOVE cats.  So I have many quilts featuring cats:

This first one my mom made for me when I was a kid. She hand appliqued all of these adorable kitties. Each one is holding something different, and the one in the middle is holding a heart :) The quilt is hand quilted with hearts and cats in the sashing. The pattern is by Carolee Pollock, an Alaskan quilt designer.

This next wallhanging is by Patch Abilities.  I loved this because it came with the kitty hanger and fish buttons! A very fun and quick little wallhanging to make.

Here's one you'll recognize if you read my blog: from the pattern "Stairway to Cat Heaven"
And now the one I *really* want to talk about, my rainbow cats quilt!
I really love this quilt because I just focused on having a lot of fun when I made it.  The pattern is adapted from wallhanging patterns by Trish Stuart, who I believe is also an Alaskan.
This is Mr. Rainbow cat.  I tried to make him out of rainbow colors (red head, yellow neck, green legs, etc) but it just didn't look as awesome as I hoped, so it got dumped in the reject pile.  I'm very proud of how I blended all of the different embroidery thread colors in stitching this guy's outline.

I really love rainbows, when I was a kid I would organize all of my crayons in rainbow order, organize my mom's stash in rainbow order (she loved that!), etc. So I would guess at about age 12 I first drew up the idea for this quilt: a set of nine cats in rainbow order. Over the years I found the pattern that I wanted to use, kept pondering it, and finally one summer sat down and made a test cat. 

I think that pink cat might have been the first one that I made.  Two cats ended up being rejects because the colors on them didn't turn out quite right.  After I made all of the cats I decided on the backgrounds of opposing colors.  Now interestingly, whenever I look at this quilt I see the lovely cats, but a friend recently asked me why I had started with the cool colors (like the blues and teals) at the top.  In my mind, I had started with the red cat, the first color of the rainbow.  It's interesting how to me the cats pop and to my friend the background is what popped. A white background would have highlighted the rainbow cats more but made the quilt less dynamic.

Anyways, then I decided I wanted to embroider all of the cats.  These guys are machine appliqued, which means they need something to hold them down in the long run.  I had recently completed a quilt where I had satin stitched around EVERYTHING, and I definitely didn't want to do that again.  Now I'm pretty awful at embroidery, but I had a lot of fun picking the thread colors and a different stitch for every part of every cat.

It took a while to hand embroider every thing, but it was a lot of fun, and it's really cool to run your hands over the quilt top and feel the embroidery.
 Some might think the cats look a little creepy with their giant crazy-colored eyes, but I just love them!
 Everybody got sparkly whiskers.  :)  I also stitched a thin ribbom around each block, and rainbow rick-rack around the center block.  I can't remember quite why I got such thin thread (there was a plan of some sort...maybe it was going to be the whiskers originally) but it was a royal pain to sew down because it was so darn thin. I ended up gluing it down with a glue stick and then stitching it down on the machine.  It still came out wobbly, but whatever, I really like the effect.
 This is my glamour shot with the finished quilt.  As you saw in the shots above, my kitty helped out with much of the process. The sashing isn't fully black; it actually has a bunch of tiny rainbow-colored hearts in it. The backing is black with rainbow-colored cat heads.  I saw that backing at Joanns like a year before I finished the quilt, and I knew it was the perfect one. Luckily for me Joanns always carries the same stuff in stock, so I found the same fabric a year later.

Now I had originally planned a much more complicated border with all kind of cool rainbow blocks, but once I put on the sashing I stepped back and said "it's done!" I think the sashing just brought the whole thing together so well, and I wanted nothing to draw focus away from the cats.
I finished this two years ago (summer 2010) and entered it in the Alaska State Fair. It won third place, which is very exciting because the quilt competition in Alaska is pretty fierce, AND the organizers thought it was a cool enough quilt that they hung it from the rafters! Normally only king-sized quilts get to be that high up, and this is a show where a lot of quilts have to be displayed folded because they just don't have enough space.

So anyways, that was the long-winded story of my favorite cat quilt.  Since it was finished within the past two years I'm entering it in the Peninsula Quilters' show, along with a few other quilts.  

Thanks for stopping by!  :)


  1. are a sweetie! Annabelle too! LOVE LOVE LOVE all your cat motivate me girlfriend! LOL Love the Carolee Polleck quilt - I love her designs, but have only the cat holding flowers...never have been able to find the rest :( And the Trish Stuart inspired quilt...OMGOSH! AWESOME!!! You done good!!!

  2. Rainbow cats is so awesome. Love the story you shared on it. Congrats on its win and hoping for another. Keep on stitching.

  3. I love the way Annabelle helps you with your quilting. She is a lovely cat. Your quilts are gorgeous, every one of them.

  4. It is just a wonderful quilt. So clever and creative!

  5. AMAZing quilts! I have many of the same patterns, but now I don't thik I can make them as well as you did! AND we love blue torties around here, espcially long haired ones.

  6. Wow, this was a quilt show all by itself! Love it!
    Thanks for being a part of our party!

  7. Heather,
    You have created some fabulous cat quilts- Your rainbow cat quilt is definitely a labour of love. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous pieces of art.
    Regards from Western Canada,

  8. What a sweet and beautiful helper! Love the quilts! Especially the one your mom made for you. Great work on your rainbow cats!

  9. What a great helper! That rainbow cat quilt is one of the coolest I've ever seen! Congrats on the recognition and thanks for sharing all your kitties with us!!!

  10. Lots and lots of work here! Great quilts and great imagination!

  11. great work, especially the rainbow cats quilt. I love your cat on that quilt, most.

  12. Annabelle is gorgeous and she definitely knows what she wants. Your rainbow cats quilt is wonderful, I love how you made it, beautiful. Thank you.

  13. Beautiful quilts. I hope that your lovely cat doesn't get basted to the quilt.

  14. I see a clear love of cats and quilts!!! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Annabelle does like to be where the action is!

  16. She is beautiful and your quilt is awesome!

  17. Love the Rainbow Cats quilt!!!! And Annabelle is pretty sweet too.

  18. You sure win for volume of cat quilts!! Wow!

  19. You are a talented cat quilter! Congratulations on your placement in the Alaska Fair. Your workmanship is wonderful.

  20. You've made some wonderful cat quilts.

  21. Wow I love the quilts. they are really amazing.

  22. Wow!! what an amazing job on those quilts!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  23. I am not a cat person but I just LOVE your fun quilting style. It is no wonder your quilt won 3rd place. Congrats!!