Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Modern Plus Sign Quilts - Cat-Eye-doscope

Welcome to my stop on Day 3 of the Modern Plus Sign Quilts Book Blog Hop. This is a terrific book, great ideas for new twists on Plus Sign quilts, lovely photography, and excellent instructions.
When I first heard that Cheryl had a book coming out with Paige, I right away emailed Cheryl, asking  if she was considering doing a book release hop, could I be a part of it. I've been a fan of Cheryl's designs for some time. She won my very first giveaway on my blog a few years ago. 😊 Of course she said, "Of course!" I wasn't the only one who wanted to be a part of the hop; there are 40 of us; that's love for you! 

I chose Kaleidoscope Plus. For those who know me, I have a 'thing' for kaleidoscope quilts, well kaleidoscopes, period, have loved them forever. Stars are also my favourite quilt block. So this was perfection. I'd originally thought I could perhaps kaleidoscope this quilt, as in fussy cut to make the illusion of one piece of fabric like I did this cushion cover).
Kaleidoscope Plus by C&T Publications
However, after fussing with several pieces of fabric and pondering, a brainwave suddenly engulfed me like a tsunami, and one evening, not long before we were due to leave for Florida, I just knew what I was going to do! I dug out a stack of fabrics I'd started collecting more than two years ago for a quilt for a certain someone, very dear to me. Could I make this work? I thought so. I knew I wouldn't have enough of the planned background fabric, but I pulled a couple of other off-whites that might work and added them to the pile. And it did all work out just fine! Here is the finished quilt:

A little background
First of all, there is a whole bunch of symbolism and importance in the quilt that I can't tell you about until the quilt is received, since the recipient reads my blog. Therefore, I will be writing a full-reveal post in a couple of weeks. As you know I love hidden meanings and symbolism in quilts, and this one is not short of either.

All right, I had started building the quilt around the Lizzy House 'Cat Dream' deep teal, or deep aquamarine print. I love collecting fabrics in this way, a little of this, a little of that. I find pleasure in the hunt, like treasures when I happen upon them, especially in the sale sections of various quilt shops, in person and online! I had no idea of a quilt pattern when I bought 'Cat Dream' but that didn't scare me; in fact I prefer snagging and purposefully collecting fabrics with a person and/or quilt in mind, knowing the design will come, and knowing that making the fabrics work (and quite possibly finding out that some I've bought won't) is all part of the process and surprise and ensuing excitement. Kits are great; pre-cuts and bundles are fine, but my favourite is the hunt, through a quilt shop, in person or online, and through my stash to pull a quilt together. Such is the definite case with this quilt!

Here was the teaser of the main fabrics I put out on Instagram about a month ago;
'Cat Dream' by Lizzy House for Andover is the bottom main print. 'Witty Kitty' by Julie Dobson Miner for Studio E is next with absolutely hilarious phrases, all too true. 'Purrsnickitty' by Terri Degenkolb for Red Rooster is the green and then the pale yellow is 'Cattitude' by Violet Craft for Michael Miller
Here is the first block, with the cats front and centre in the plus block!

I only had a half yard of the blue cat sayings text print, a half of the green text print, and a half of the pale yellow cat faces print, so I knew I'd have to get creative somehow. When I found the Benartex 'Feathers and Fancy' by Dianna LaFerry in my stash, I couldn't believe how close it was to the Lizzy House one, so I knew it could work somehow. Eventually I hit upon making the circles two colours, first checking them in black and white to verify if they'd read the same value:

and it took some graph paper to sketch it and see how I could make some rhyme and reason out of two-coloured circles.

To make matters even more tricky, I only had a yard of Moda's 'Figures' by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic, so I used almost all of it to make the stars that the pluses float upon. I had taken 3 different off-whites, and MacGyver helped me decide on the Grunge, but of course, I didn't have enough of it either.  I was stuck.

Stuck turned to luck, however, because that Grunge, which was bought for my nephew Aidan's Radiance quilt, was bought at my Port Charlotte LQS, Expert Sewing. I called.

Me: Do you have Grunge in off-white with grey smudges?
Worker Cindy: Yes we have Grunge. Lots of it, all colours, even the new stuff with dots.
In I went the next day.

Sheila, the owner, looked me up in her computer. I'd taken a couple of scraps in to be assured it would match.
Sheila: When did you buy this?
Me: (thinks hard)Maybe 2-3 years ago?
Sheila: Found it!  You bought 2.5 yards in 2016.
(LOVE technology)
Sheila: Let's see... the SKU was ___ and this SKU is___ YUP! this is the one!
(Note that there is more than one off-white in the line.)
Me: Two yards please. Thank you very much.
Home to sew.

Wait. No. Had to go to Nashville for a lovely weekend wedding dress shopping with my daughter. Got home from that successful trip, and went back to work to finish off the top. The next day, we met up with a couple of good friends from New York State, dog-walking and visiting and going out for a fabulous lunch ensued. Of course I had to take the almost-finished quilt top with us on our walk by the Peace River in Port Charlotte for a photo op:
Several of my quilts have been started in Florida, and then travel home to be finished in Ontario, or vice versa!

I have still like a yard and a half of this fabulous 'Cat Dreams'...what if I put it as the final border, and make the Grunge border a tad narrower? The quilt will end up larger....I'd already bought Minky backing from my Ontario LQS...would there be enough? It was a chance I was willing to take.
Flimsy finished, and on the design wall at home

A couple of tips for making this pattern which is not a beginner pattern. That is one of the things I like about the book, is that there are quick easy patterns, and more challenging ones. It involves paper-piecing with some odd-shaped triangles. These tips might just encourage you to try paper-piecing again if, like me, you have (had) stopped, or if you are not sure if you really want to. Believe me, you do!

1. First, you can save paper. I love to save paper, as I love trees. Recycling is fine, but not even using is the best.  Sew beside the line, not through it. I only made two copies of the paper-piecing templates for all 12 blocks! Yesss! No pesky papers to rip off, and bits of paper to pick out with tweezers! Here is a video so you can see this technique in action:

Here is the front of one of the paper-pieced sections:

and here is the back of that same section:
Note: no perforations through the paper. You can use freezer paper for this method as the shiny side will stick to the fabric when ironed, or regular paper with a dab from a glue stick to hold the fabric in place.

I wrote a tutorial for this technique here.

2. Make templates. I 'went off' paper-piecing for a number of years because I couldn't stand the waste of fabric. Cut these big honking hunks of fabric for these strange angles, ensure you've covered all the lines of the shape, sew on the line, who cares about grain, and then trim away and uh, toss the leftover weirdly-shaped smaller hunks of fabric (or save them as I did and still have to this day, 15 years later because they are very hard to work into even scrap projects).

Here you see the two side triangles cut ready to put into place to finish the section you saw above.

I hit upon making templates a few years ago, when I rediscovered paper-piecing thanks to Joanne of Canuck Quilter's Snow-along. There I learned about not sewing through the paper, GENIUS. She didn't do templates, but at least she measured the piece and had you cut squares or rectangles that would cover the shape needed.

3. Spin the seams of the kaleidoscope blocks. With so many pricing coming together in the centre, it can create a bump, and this eliminates it.

Okay back to the quilt finally coming together. Remember I said I was worried that I wouldn't have enough backing? Well, I didn't. When did I discover this? Saturday night. LQS is shut. Not open on Sundays. I am running out of time to get this done!

Went on a hunt through some bins because I've used Minky twice before and I know I have some narrow strips. Found! Perfect colours that work with the grey and with the front colours! Sew the strips together, add them to the grey. Yep, yep, this is going to work! Lay out the backing on the kitchen floor to get the overall look...noooooo.

Where I'd seamed the strips, the thread was pulling up on the Minky. If I held one side of the backing and MacGyver the other, no problem it laid flat, and it was square. Let go. Zing. Pucker. What to do. I was not going to resew those seams; I'd already re-sewed one because I'd put the cream on the wrong side of the turquoise.  Minky has a nap. Remember that.

Regroup.  Think. I could layer the quilt, taping the backing to the floor, and glue-baste the layers together as if I was going to quilt on my Bernina.
A bare-naked full-disclosure shot.

I'd stitch in the ditch on the Bernina to ensure that the persnickety seams (ha one of the fabrics is named 'Purrsnickitty' LOL) would behave.  I'd never done a quilt on the longarm this way though, but I knew others had, so it was time to give it a whirl myself.
Backing taped down, layered, glue-basted and ready to go...not quite. The backing was wide enough one way, but not the other. Short by an inch. One. Freaking. Inch. 
So I whipped that flimsy off the Hobbs batting, zipped upstairs, trimmed off 1/2" all the way around on the final border. Zipped back to the kitchen, laid it on top, and sighed. It. Just. Fit.

Back up the stairs to the loft. Loaded it onto Avril after I did all the prep work and it seemed to be behaving!

I used a pale yellow thread for the entire quilt, and it blended in beautifully with all the fabrics. This is Essential 100%, cotton 50 weight from Connecting Threads (affiliate link). The AvantĂ© loves it, and there is the same amount of fluff as with other cottons. It's on sale until March 19 for $1.95, 1100 metre/ 1200 yard spools. I used grey The Bottom Line in the bobbin. I pieced it with GĂŒtermann.

I kept the background quilting fairly open and just did fun stuff like swirls, thinking yarn and how much cats love to chase yarn... then some flowers, and of course some feathers. I let the background quilting flow into the border as this is a modern quilt.

I echoed the outside circles three times, ditch-stitched the blue and green edges of the circles and then echoed once inside those. Filled the 'canoe' shapes with a meander.

I did ruler work inside the pluses and dot to dot inside the stars. And in fairly short order, it was all done. Pulled it off the frame, trimmed her up this morning, and laid it back down on the kitchen floor.  And I needn't have worried one iota about the pulling up where I'd pieced the Minky strips. That backing is flat and soft as a kitty's belly.
This lighting shows off the quilting the best out of all the shots I took today
Let's just say there was very very little of the grey Minky to trim!

For the binding, I went into my blue stash and one of the first fabrics I spied was this plaid which I've used before to bind a quilt, and for the backing of one I just might do on the next Throwback Thursday. I remember buying it with my aunt when she took me to a little quilt shop not far from Sangudo, Alberta. It was perfect, picking up on the blues and greens in the border and in the quilt.
The binding is not wavy; it's being on the grass and in the wind that creates the wave...

Here is shot of the back. I am SO happy I happened upon the sale at A Stitch in Time in Leamington a couple of months ago because as I wrote in my Favourite LQSes post, they have the best selection of Minky around. This incredibly soft grey that is textured not flat, is just wonderful, and quilted wonderfully, showing even more texture of the quilting. I had to lie the quilt down on the grass because the wind was wreaking havoc with it when my quilt holder was trying to hold it vertical...

So I took a shot or two of the front too!
Unfortunately, the sun was beginning to set, and was behind clouds so you don't see the texture
It's just come out of the washing machine/dryer and is finishing drying flat as I type.  However, it is pitch black outside and this post has to be scheduled for midnight EST, so I will update in the daylight tomorrow morning with a just-washed, crinkly texture photo!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Kaleidoscope Plus by Cheryl Brickey
Size: Pre-quilting:  66 3/4"; after quilting and washing: 64 1/4"
Fabric: See above but also Grunge by Basic Grey for Moda, and binding is by Susan Winget for Benartex
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 Cotton/Polyester
Backing: Shannon Fabrics Minky
Quilted: Some ditch-stitching on my Bernina, a bit more on the Avanté, and then free-motion and ruler work quilted on the Avanté
Threads:  pieced with GĂŒtermann cotton; quilted with Essential 100% cotton 21169 Custard

This is one of my Q1 FAL goals, so I will be linking this post up later this month. My list is here.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my version of Cheryl's quilt, and that you will check out the others posting today and all week. There are lots of wonderful prizes!

Tuesday, March 13th
Signature Plus
Soma @ Whims and Fancies
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Kitty @ Night Quilter

Tribal Plus
Sophie @ Luna Lovequilts
Afton @ Quilting Mod
Shelley @ The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts

Wednesday, March 14th
Plus Surround
Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
Jen @ A Dream and a Stitch
Abigail @ Cut & Alter

Kaleidoscope Plus
Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
Sandra @ mmm! quilts
Karen @ Run Sew Fun

Thursday, March 15th
Postage Plus
Linda @ Flourishing Palms
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Liz @ Savor Every Stitch
Stacey @ Stacey In Stitches

Rick Rack Runner
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
Patty @ Elm Street Quilts
Melanie @ A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog

Friday, March 16th
Row Addition
Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts

Transparency Chains
Ruth @ Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner
Christa @ Christa Quilts

Monday, March 19th
Faceted Rings
Jessica @ Quilty Habit
Cindy @ Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter

Petal Plus
Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

Tuesday, March 20th
Message in a Bottle
Tish @ Tish N Wonderland
Judy @ Sew Some Sunshine
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood

Cute as a Button
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good

Wednesday, March 21st
Anja @ Anja Quilts

Pinwheel Plus

Thursday, March 22nd

Bear Claw Plus
Joanne @ Quilts by Joanne

Linking up
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication
My Quilt Infatuation
Dizzy Quilts for the Q1FAL.


  1. Stunning, Sandra! I loved reading the backstory of all your fabric woes and how it all worked out perfectly! I know the recipient will be ecstatic! Thank you for taking part in the book hop!

  2. This is fantastic, Sandra! I can see we had a few similar ideas on quilting motifs (dot to dot is so perfect for those triangles, isn't it?!?). I look forward to getting the full, deeper meaning story when you can share.

  3. your story, I can be there, and that is the best way to tell a story ever!!! I can see you trying to match the fabric ...Hooray!! Worrying about the wrinkly part..OHHH!!! And then finishing and quilting. PHEW, I love the fabrics and what a design to choose. Hooray to it all.

  4. I love your choice of fabrics - those prints are great! And what a story!

  5. Beautiful quilt. This is one of those quilts that I think nearly plays mind games . All those components and separate stages yet they all come together like they were always meant to be . I'm not quite sure what minky is but I did quilt once with Ikea backing . It was fir my dad's quilt for your qal . My sister , the recipient lives it but i wouldn't use it as backing again .

  6. Such unique fabric choices and what a beautiful result! I love seeing how a pattern looks with different styles of fabric.

  7. Love, love the colors of your kaleidoscope quilt - your fabric choices are such fun & how well they went together! Thank you for sharing, Susan

  8. Nice! You know someone is special when you use your hoarded Catnap fabric in a quilt for him or her. : ) Many thanks for the tip about spinning seams in blocks like these!

  9. WOW! WOW! Love the colours, the quilting. So glad your fabric woes worked out it is a stunning quilt.

  10. I love your version of Kaleidoscope Plus! What an adventure it was to make this quilt, it was so much fun to read about all of your design choices and how the quilt came together. I really like how the focal print went in the plus signs and the border. Thanks so much for being part of the hop!!

  11. Gorgeous, thanks for sharing your creativity.

  12. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story of this beautiful quilt. I love all of that cat fabric!

  13. Wow, great post and your color selection is wonderful. I'll be looking for the rest of the story.

  14. Interesting story so far on this quilt! It's a mystery to me how you were able to get it on your LA with so little around the edge. Great job! A+

  15. Beautiful quilt, Sandra. Your interpretation is definitely an improvement on the one in the book. Thank you for sharing all the steps in the process. While the (somewhat) complicated design may intimidate newbies, your steps, tips and techniques are so reassuring.

  16. Beautifully done and what an adventure getting it done! We are all waiting on the rest of the story now...

  17. This is a beautiful quilt! I have always wanted to make a kaleidoscope quilt...down the road, someday.

  18. This quilt is beyond beautiful! The recipient will be over the moon!

  19. This is such a great quilt Sandra - love hearing how it all came together and how your quilts travel!

  20. Oh you are so good with Kaleidoscope projects! The hidden meaning and adding all of those kitty fabrics sure makes it interesting too! It is a beauty and will be treasured always by your lucky kitty-loving friend!

  21. Gorgeous quilt - love the cat fabric - it is perfect!!!

  22. It's a beautiful version of this quilt, and I love your process pictures and explanations.

  23. I love this quilt and love your backstory.... You are so much like me - making the fabric work that you have and making it twice as hard for yourself. I can’t believe how often I have done that. I did a kaleidoscope in much the way you describe - making peices fit, etc... It is one of my favorite quilts. I can’t wait to hear the symbolism that you put into it, hope the recipient is getting it soon!

  24. Oh. So. Beautiful!! Having sewn one kaleidoscope quilt, I know this is not a simple pattern. And you had a few "challenges" along the way! But the results are stunning...the colors, the blends, the adorable kitties, and the backing soft as a kitty's belly. As soon as I read that, I reached over and pet Angel's belly for a complete kinaesthetic experience :)

    I'm looking forward to hearing all the special meanings and connections about this quilt after the (incredibly, amazingly lucky) receiver recipients it!

  25. I enjoyed reading about how this quilt came together. It turned out beautiful and I am sure that it will be loved. Thanks for sharing the process.

  26. Hey Sandra, So fun reading about your process. You are a QUILTING McGuyer! You use what you have and make it work! And it turned out beautifully. I'm looking forward to hearing about the symbolism!

  27. This was such a fun post to read! You sure had your fair share of fabric woes with this one. I think my favourite part was when you just chopped half and inch off all around to make it work :) I love how it turned out and your quilting looks fantastic.

  28. Great fabric choices for this - well done!

  29. What lovely fabric choices for this quilt! It looks amazing. And such good stories to tell with it's making too. :)

  30. Beautiful. Glad we got to see the up close quilting - and the fabric! What fun!

  31. It's really beautiful Sandra. You have out done yourself!

  32. Love how beautiful it is with the mixed colors in the kaleidoscope.

  33. However did you manage to think up such fun yet elegant colours and prints, sweet binding too! What a lovely finish and I am sure Bella approved too!


  34. Beautiful! I love your take on this Kaleidoscope pattern. I like the extra border, too. I almost added additional on the top and bottom just to make it longer but changed my mind at the last minute. Fantastic quilting! I'm looking forward to hearing "the rest of the story"!

  35. Beautiful quilt. Thank you for the template information/help. Looking forwadr to the full reveal post.

  36. Brava! Thank you so much for sharing all the details of how you made this quilt. There is so much to learn here about decision making and problem solving. I like all sorts of paper piecing, but using your method (I like to use freezer paper) is such a satisfying way with blocks that repeat because of the no-waste reusable templates. I think of you as a scrappy quilter--not because of using scraps, but in tenaciously making what you have work--and finding what you need to make it all come together.

  37. Incredible quilt, wonderful post. Your interpretation is wonderful and the kitty fabric so cute. I love your can-do attitude where you just keep adjusting your plan to make things work. Quite inspiring Sandra. :-)

  38. What a great post, you took me with you, highs at finding the perfect fabric, then lows when there wasn't enough. I feel like I've been on a rollercoaster of emotions and at the end, Eureka! The most wonderful finished quilt and a great interpretation of the pattern. I'm exhausted now, can't wait for the second instalment.

  39. Really love the shading. Such a lovely use of colour. great quilt!

  40. Beautiful and a good idea for sewing beside the paper!

  41. It's lovely! I really like the focus fabric in your plus signs!

  42. It is so gorgeous! I love kaleidoscopes too and just quilted one this past December for someone I love.

  43. Beautiful quilt , love your placement of color

  44. Your quilt turned out beautifully! I love that you added the border. Nicely done!

  45. Your quilt is beautiful! I'm not the least tempted to try that one (beyond my skill and patience level) but will admit I followed all the links and the book is now sitting in my Amazon shopping cart.

  46. Wonderful! Love the play on words your title uses. Your warm day looks it's very cold!

    1. I forgot to say...I'm having an special "all things green" link up over on my blog. I'd love for you to link this one up--it's so special!

  47. Lovely quilt ! The print you chose for the Plus signs and border is adorable.

  48. Stunning. Beautiful quilt, love the colours and fabrics. Your quilting is so lovely. 💕

  49. I love your interpretation of this quilt! I appreciate the tips, too!

  50. Amazing! Such a wonderful job! Love how all your fabrics work together and love how you placed them. Your quilting is the cherry on top of your beautiful quilt. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

  51. your fabrics are perfect, and your quilt is lovely. I am still wary of foundation paper piecing, although I enjoy it when it works. I love your holding up photo, looks like a still from a workout video!

  52. did an amazing job. It's beautiful.

  53. Gorgeous Gorgeous quilt, love the design and fabric choices! beautiful quilting!!! Happy Sewing from Iowa!