Friday, August 17, 2012

Cat quilt, 2010

I am slowly beginning to post photos of all of my quilts (at least, those still in my possession). My cat quilt from 2010 has a bit of a story behind it. In 2003, when we were living in Georgia, the neighbors' cat from two houses away decided that she wanted to live with us. Two years later, when the arrangement finally became official, she was pregnant, which is how we acquired our second cat. Once we became a cat-centered, cat-crazed family, I stopped using my quilts, since they were all hand-quilted at that time, and I didn't want two beastly animals to constantly shed all over them.

I took up machine quilting in a serious way two years ago, so that I could finish more than one quilt per decade, and I decided I should make a quilt specifically for the cats, one that I could throw in the washing machine and use until it falls apart. After all, in the winter, it's so nice to read on the couch while lying under a quilt with a warm, cozy cat on top! This quilt was the result:

I used a simple, yet versatile and dynamic, four-patch block that I saw in QuiltLover's Etsy shop. Yellow and orange strips in some of the rectangles added a little extra pizazz.

The quilt is entirely machine-quilted, with YLI smoke-colored invisible nylon thread, since I was just learning and afraid to let the stitches show too much. With the free-motion quilting, I discovered that the tension went wonky when I moved in the left-right direction. The solution was to invest in a straight-stitch throat plate, which limits the bobbin thread's range of motion and keeps the tension in check. It does mean that now whenever I want to use a zig-zag stitch, I have to remember to change the throat plate, or I'll break a needle. What would I do without Harriet Hargrave for advice?

I love the inner border fabric, a Daiwabo design (from the Cara Collection Serenity line) in gradations of gray:

I've used this fabric in another quilt, and I bought some more the other day, in two colorways. I think I might have to hunt down an even bigger stash, before it disappears.

The back of the quilt has another story behind it, which I will tell in my next blog entry.

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