Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cat Mats Tutorial #1

Top o' the mornin' to ya!
I have two tutorials, but I suspect it will make for a much too lengthy post, so this is the tutorial for the rail fence cat mat, and I will post the second mat, a double 4-patch, tomorrow.  Click here for the original post on both designs.  Here is what we are making:
It finishes at 12X18, so you could omit the extra stuffing (in my case trimmings from blocks and bits of batting) and just make it with the one layer of batting.  The photos will not be the extra-large size to try to conserve some space.

You need:
--two width of fabric (WOF) strips cut at 1.5" of each of your 3 colours
--a roughly 13X19 rectangle of fabric for the backing
--a roughly 13X19 rectangle of batting, or scraps pieced together to make that size


1.  Sew the strips together using a scant 1/4" seam.  Press to one side or open, your choice.

2.  Straighten the one end.
I put the entire strip under the ruler, so you see I'm using the 1/4" guide along the top grey strip. This stablizes the entire strip, a tip I learned from Pat Sloan.
3.  If you are working with scraps, you will need strips of multiples of 3.5".  Here I have a 10.5" strip, so I lay my ruler on the entire piece and cut backward, a tip I learned from one of Alex Anderson's guests on her "Simply Quilts" show years ago.  It is pretty slick, and holds more of the strip down than if you were to cut from the regular side.  Slide your ruler back to the 7" mark and cut.  Then to the 3.5" mark and cut again.  Voilà! three 3.5" squares, or however many are in the strip you are cutting.  Cut 24 squares at 3.5".  Lay them out in the rail fence pattern.  Bella approved of the layout, but decided to play with a couple of the design wall already was full, hence the carpet design wall was used.
4.  Lay out the pieces (again, maybe where a cat cannot disturb them) in a 6X4 grid as shown below.
5.  I use my Book It! method tutorial which you will find in more detail in the Tutorials tab at the top of this blog.  In short, you sew the quilt into columns, not rows.  Flip column 2 blocks onto column 1, RST, and stack them on top of each other with the top pair on top.  Chain sew, leaving a tail of thread at the first piece, which will then tell you that is the top of the column.  Take them to your ironing board and flip each "book" or pair from one side to the other as you see in the lower 2 of the 4 pairs below. Press closed to set the seams.  Then flip each pair open, thus pressing the seams to alternating sides.
6.  Take the column (you still have not cut those threads between each pair) back to your machine and piece each pair together. The opposing seams will butt up against each other nicely.  You will have 3 columns of joined pairs.
7.  In a bigger quilt, or in a colourwash quilt, which is the class where I learned this method, you can label each column with a number to keep them in order, either with a small piece of masking tape on the back, or with a marker in the seam allowance of the top 2 blocks.  This quilt has each column identical, so no numbering is needed.  Sew the columns together.
Ta da! Quilt top complete.
8.  Layer.  Backing and quilt top RST together, batting on the top, as I have it here, or on the bottom. This arrangement gave me some grief being a "poofier" poly batting, so I'd recommend putting the batting on the bottom under the backing, which is what I did for the second set of cat mats with great success.  Pin around the edges, leaving about a 6" opening along the one long edge.  I like to put 2 different coloured pins there to remind me to leave that section open.
9.  Sew a 1/4" seam.  I also trim the corners at a 45-degree angle to get a sharper corner.
10.  Turn RST. Press the open edges under 1/4", and then edgestitch around all four edges at about 1/8" to close the opening and finish it off.  Quilt however you want.  I meandered the previous cat mats but these I wanted to leave with a little more poof since I tried this batting on sale at JoAnn's a few weeks ago, so I just did a grid with my walking foot between each column and then one across the middle.  With all my fabric scraps from my Mini Swoon also stuffed in Bella's mat, I went very slowly.  You could always bind these, but I found the flip as in a pillow case method, faster and just as nicely finished.  See top photo.

I'm sure you've heard of the fabulous sale going on at Craftsy today (and you know I am an affiliate so get a small compensation for any purchases made through clicking the link) and all weekend.  Um, at up to 60% off some of their best-selling kits and supplies, this is going to be a tough one for me not to take advantage of...and yes, I'm enabling again...because as I said with the Connecting Threads sales this week (no affiliation) I love/need some company in my craziness, gluttony, er glee.  I saw a hilarious cartoon on my LQS website, Expert Sewing Centre, oh yes, I've been stalking them too, as there is a local quilt show this weekend, and they always have a special to coincide, like 30% off everything...oh I do need an intervention.  Anyhow the cartoon basically is a husband getting a call from the LQS asking for his wife to go to the quilt shop as they're running low on fabric and need her to bring some of hers back!  Bahaha.  Anyhow take a look at this tempting array and see if you can resist some of these deals at Craftsy.
Such perky Spring colours, no?  Don't forget there are also other kits and supplies on sale:  knitting supplies, cake-making and paper and crocheting supplies, and all sort of kits deals like bag-making, tablerunners, quilts, etc.

See you there!  Linking up with NTT at My Quilt Infatuation.


  1. Wow sister! Those are SOME instructions! Well I'm sure quilters understand all that jargon, lol, not moi!! Funny cartoon LOL! Love the cat mats, so glad you're doing them!

  2. Great tutorial!! I don't need help finding things, I need help stopping me from getting them.

  3. Great tutorial Sandra and a very pretty mat for Her Highness' heinie. Rail fence blocks are adorable done up tiny like that!

  4. Bella is one lucky cat :-) Rail fence is my all time favorite go-to block. Simple construction with maximum impact. One day, seeing Jonesie (our cat) sleep peacefully near Paul's feet, I exclaimed - "In my next incarnation, I want to be reborn as your cat"

  5. Don't I just know your cats will love these !

  6. Hi friends! Marilyn here with my second scrapbook layout. After my first layout, I think I may be hooked!patio fence


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