Monday, February 22, 2021

Mr. Whiskers Project Quilting 12.4

This is my quilt which, sadly, annoyingly, my own fault-ingly, missed the deadline by eight hours.
Sorry, crazy windy today, so it's a bit of a wonky look!

No matter. It is done, and I absolutely love it. 

It was a literal DrEAMi, (I did nothing but madly sew on this all weekend) because as I have been ahem, known to do before, I left it until the last minute.

I had wanted to finish and post my 9-Patch Spectrum quilt for Friday, and in full disclosure, I hadn't quite settled on an idea. All I knew by Friday afternoon was that #1: I would make a 'full-size' quilt, like baby or bigger, either for donation or my Etsy shop, and #2: I would make the one that I sort of remembered in Nancy Johnson-Srebro's book, Rotary Magic
When I leafed through the book to find the quilt, it was not a snail's trail block after all, but Indian Puzzle. And that's when it happened...

In leafing, I happened upon her cat quilt, which I've long intended to make. Sidenote: I have made Indian Puzzle, for a guild challenge back in 2000, but in tabletopper size. Anyhow, back to the cats.

Ping! I remembered a cat quilt I'd seen somewhere where the tails are entwined, using the snail's trail block. Off to the interwebs, as they say... It didn't take too long and I came upon Patti Carey's design for Northcott Fabrics which is a free download

The best part came next: rummaging through my scraps to see what I had for basically primary colours plus green. Amanda Jean's Good Neighbors line was a great starting point, as I had some scraps left from 'Sparkle On!'. I had a Snail's Trail block done in next to no time.
The red is a Riley Blake, given to me several years ago by the lovely Lara, who several of us miss from QBL.

Next, came the four cats to match their tails. I'd figured on just doing the four cats, with black solid squares in the four corners, but then I thought meh, I could probably make four more cats in prints...

Then came the thought that it was just nine blocks, and only 24" square...what does one do with a quilt that size? I'd originally planned to make a 'real' quilt, and I didn't want/need a tabletopper with these bright cats...maybe I could turn this into a dog mat for Rufus. Love the irony of it. ..

In the end I decided to go for 16 blocks and make a few more tails. One snail's trail block in the whole quilt just seemed Remember in my 9-Patch Spectrum post I'd said I would be using up more of the fabrics I'd bought for kaleidoscope quilts? Well this one has three within it: the brilliant oranges and yellow fireworks type one, the blue bubbles one beside it, and the turquoise fireworks one on black.

I liked this better. Now it was more like a baby quilt, at 32" square. But something just seemed off. It was late on Saturday night. Maybe it was that the centre four cats with tails tessellated, were no long centre. Maybe it was that turquoise cat... He seemed like he needed his tail...

He did! 
But without any other unclaimed tails entwined with it, thus giving this a rectangular shape and a modern flair.
Well, Sunday morning I got up (not as early as I'd planned), and sewed up a snail's trail block with turquoise, and two of the three blacks in the quilt. Added an 8" block to the one side and a 16" rectangle to the other, and now I had a rectangular, more like a baby quilt size, quilt at 32" x 40"! And with that, his name, and the quilt's popped in my head: Mr. Whiskers.

Off to get backing. I knew I had some yardage of Good Neighbors but would it be enough? Barely, not even one yard. What to do... 
My solution was to layer it and do some stitch in the ditch to anchor the quilt so I'd be assured of the layers aligning. I only had 1/2" to spare on either side, it was that tight. A quick pinning and off to the Bernina to SITD.

That's where it started to go south. Because I was rushing, I hadn't pinned enough, and the centre SITD was along the crosswise grain which is stretchier, and well, ya, I flipped the quilt over only to find two teeny tucks in the backing. Nope, it would not do, especially since I had decided I would put the quilt in my Etsy shop.

So unpicking (and a few choice words) ensued and I got the tucks straightened out and loaded it without as much SITD as I had intended, onto Avril. 
The first time I'd done it as regularly, top to bottom. However, it was not behaving, again because of that crosswise stretchier grain, the not-as-much SITD as I'd wanted, and the extra bulk of three rather goofy layers rolled onto the belly bar. So, off it came and I reloaded it sideways with very very little uptake as you can see, between the quilt top and the leaders. 

At that point, with an hour to go, I knew I was toast for the deadline. So I uploaded the "at this point" photos and admitted defeat.

Note: I wanted to add here that I am so grateful for my friendly bloggers out there, who continue to blog, despite the trend now towards Instagram. I get that; it's faster, and I know I am blogging a bit less than in previous years, partially for that reason but also because I'm trying to curb online time. However, thanks to Janine at Quilts From the Little House, I was able to rectify a very weird skipping stitches like crazy, or not even picking UP the bobbin thread issue I had when stay-stitching the quilt edges. On one black fabric this kept happening, but nowhere else. Now this had happened a bit on a white-on-white fabric on 9-Patch Spectrum, and I'd put it down to it being an embossed fabric, maybe a bit of a cheaper quality?? Yet the Blueberry Park fabric is not in a cheaper category, and it has that same rubbery embossed feel. Anyhow Janine had the same issue with quilting over a certain fabric, and wrote about it, and most importantly, about how she solved it:
she switched to a denim (heavy) needle and had no problem. So, I switched to a 125 needle, up from the usual 100 I use on the longarm, and had no problem at all. Interestingly, I didn't have a problem with skipped stitches when swirling with the 100 needle... I had tried it just to see. Regardless, I switched out the needle after a couple of swirls, and it was off to the races, with absolutely beautiful tension top and bobbin, as you'll see from photos that follow.

Despite admitting defeat, I still finished the quilt (with a smooth back with no tucks). I'd known from the time I sewed in Mr. Whiskers tail that I would quilt it with huge spirals to mimic those swirling cats' tails. I love how it turned out. It's not purr-fect (couldn't resist) as would happen with a pantograph, but I'm fine with that. I like the human imperfectly perfect effect anyhow. And oh, the texture!

I used Hobbs 80/20 cotton/polyester black batting, and Aurifil 1147 a perfect lime green, on both top and bobbin. It gives a bit of a punch to the black, which is exactly what I'd hoped for, without being all 'here I am lime green!' about it.

For the binding, I used a plaid orange and yellow from stash, and I used that lime green thread to apply it, top-stitching it down on the front. It blends in wonderfully, front and back.

I even remembered to sew in my satin label.

May I say how very much I love this quilt? It will be a hard one to let go, but with no grand babies on the horizon, and no real need of another small sit-upon quilt for teaching yoga, (I have several!) I will let it go.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Kool Kats Kwilt by Patti Carey (my own twist on the bottom row)
Size: 32" x 40"
Fabric: scraps and stash
Backing: Good Neighbors by Amanda Jean Nyberg for Connecting Threads
Batting: Hobbs Black 80/20 Cotton/polyester
Quilted: on Avril: 24 464 stitches
Threads: pieced with Gütermann cotton grey 50 wt; quilted with Aurifil cotton 1147 50 wt


  1. I love the intertwined cats tails and the swishing tails quilted in, too. I'm sorry you missed the deadline, but clearly you loved it enough to keep going and get it finished shortly thereafter anyway. What a fun quilt!

  2. Maybe you will find a place for this, a real beauty after the problems , and to miss that deadline, there will be a very good reason for this, just wait to see. Love those tails.

  3. I love it too and as an animal lover it really does hit the spot. Not sure I could let it go either and done so quickly. Loved hearing about the trials you had along the way & it makes me realise we all have those days. Take care & hugs.

  4. That's wonderful, Sandra! The snail's trail block is perfect for the cats' tails. And your swirly quilting that mimics the tails is perfect for the quilt, too. So sorry you had trouble with the quilting, but so glad a blogging friend could help you out!

  5. I love this, with the tails and swirls quilting it is beautiful! And oh yeah if you'd gotten up at 5 AM you would have finished it on

  6. A very wonderful cat finish! The middle cats have created a secondary black bow.

  7. Are you sure you need to let this one go? Surely Bella needs a quilt??? Enjoyed reading your process, really sorry you missed the deadline, but such fun to see you going where the quilt takes you! Sometimes those last minute deadlines work really well, sometimes everything seems to go wrong. Still, this quilt is meowvalous (couldn't resist).

  8. It was totally worth missing the deadline. You just knew it wasn't done yet! It is better to keep going until you are thrilled with the result than to stop short just to 'finish on time'. This is so cute and I think the addition of the turquoise tail was the purrfect finish to the top!

  9. Oh, yes, you may say how very much you love this quilt! It’s wonderful! When I first saw parts of it, I was thinking it was symmetrical, but the way you added to it is just so much more interesting. And that last cat’s tail. Fabulous! Another part I really like is the lime green swirls on the black. Can you imagine the pain in the eyes if you had tried that with black thread? I’m glad I could inadvertently help with the stitch- skipping problem through my own foibles. But yeah, blogs do help with that sort of thing, don’t they? ;) Also glad you didn’t let a little thing like a deadline interfere with your creativity and with getting that quilt just the way you wanted it.

  10. The whole deadlines thing is why I don't even try to do Project Quilting. This cat quilt is super cute and the snail's trail cat tails are adorable. Someone will snatch this up in a hurry.

  11. Sorry about the missed deadline but glad you persisted and finished! It is a great quilt and the swirling tail quilting is purrfect - not to mention that gorgeous plaid binding.

  12. What a purrrfectly beautiful quilt! I love the creativity that you put into the blocks. Your sense of color and quilt design always make me smile. Those kitties are wonderful and I think it will find the forever home somewhere if not at your house! I kept thinking in the back of my mind about the Project Quilting Challenge and didn't get inspired last week. But all that I've been seeing has me amazed. So glad you could figure out the problem. Yes, I love the people who still do blogs.

  13. That last turquoise tail makes the quilt! You are one clever, cool cat, Sandra! I still enjoy reading blogs. Keep writing!

  14. Maybe Rufus would like to lay on a quilt of cats . . . just wondering out loud. Love everything stinkin' tail in this quilt but especially those tails that we don't get to see the rest of the kitty. L.o.v.e. ~smile~ Roseanne

  15. Stunning and definitely worth missing the deadline. I certainly wouldn't be able to let it go. Instagram is great for quick pictures, but I like the stories and background in a blog.

  16. Very pretty!!! Quilting is so time consuming. I love and hate a deadline but it definitely helps push me to more completions than I'd have otherwise.

  17. So fun! I love the entwined tails and the other cats that are near the party. Sorry you missed the deadline!

  18. Someone is going to be very happy when they receive this cutie.

  19. A really bright and fun finish. Love the kitty cats. Sorry you missed the deadline, but you still ended up with a lovely finish.

  20. Beautiful quilt, the pattern is fabulous and the quilt has a great story! Cute cats, I love their tails.

  21. Thanks for linking up to TGIFF! Just catching up on everything post move. I was sooooo exhausted yesterday but will be back in shape by mid week!

  22. A dog mat for Rufus!! Snort!! I am glad you made this bigger and went with it, even though it made you miss your deadline - it is a really cool quilt - and the cats *snails* Tails - is awesome!!!

  23. Hi Sandra, what a whirlwind adventure! I'm glad that it came out so beautifully in the end. It really looks great, especially with that last cat!
    Thanks for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks a while back. I'm rather late with my comments. Take care.