Saturday, April 1, 2023

Kool Kats Quilt and RSC Update

A few weeks ago I had a message through my Etsy shop telling me she was interested in the cats quilt I had for sale but would I be able to make a throw, and in softer colours? We chatted back and forth, and I got the go-ahead for this commission. I was such fun to paw through (see what I did there) my bountiful collection of fabrics to give her lots (in retrospect, too many, but I wanted her to be completely happy) of choices for her cats. She was pretty specific in her colours and motifs, and probably as strong and vocally so in her intense dislike of anything remotely teal or turquoise, as my mother was with blue. I am happy to share the finished top!

She has always wanted a handmade quilt, and so she's treated herself for her upcoming 73rd birthday to a cat-themed quilt. She really liked the design of the baby quilt but not the bright colours. Here is that quilt, one I made in a PQ challenge two years ago. It is for sale here.

This ingenious tessellating design is by Patti Carey, who actually adapted it from the original designer, Becky Anderson's quilt in the 1995 Quiltmaker magazine. The pattern is available online for free right here or click the image!

The backing was a lot more discussion than I thought! I am keeping meticulous track of my hours, and at this point, (flimsy-complete, backing and batting-chosen), I have 30 hours into this. She said there were a couple of cat prints she likes, (I assume she’d seen online) so, it took me a little bit of self-talk, but I decided to give her the choice of a soft mauve cats yardage by Buggy Barn that I'd bought several years ago with a quilt in mind for Dayna. I also did more self-talk and included a beautiful forest green Northcott that I've had in my Vault of Happiness backings stash for several years. Here are the four choices I gave her:

I figured she wouldn't want the wide back 'Friends' black and white print that I recently snagged at Connecting Threads (affiliate link - they have 100+ wide backs, lots of text ones, lots of rainbow ones, just so ya know)  but I was sure she'd pick the cats after she said about liking cat prints. However, she said she thought there was enough purple in the quilt, so she ended up (after some confusing back and forth - messaging can be a pain) going with the Northcott green. She had asked for the muddy green or the floral green fabric in the cats in the right half of the bottom row, but both of those were small pieces I'd picked up for my 'palette' of fabrics for future quilts, so there was next to nothing left of either. The Northcott green works well with some of her forest greens. I am doing large swirls as I did on the baby quilt. Hope to get it quilted up this weekend.

This was sort of the way my self-talk went, which may help some of you: 

I can't use this fabric. I bought it for a cat quilt for Dayna.
Did you make the cat quilt yet?
How long ago was that idea?
Like 5+ years.
So.... This is a way to use it; you're getting paid for it; better than when you're dead and the girls end up giving away this good fabric.
This Northcott green though...
I got it at Lori's Country Cottage in Sherwood Park. I remember the Longest Day of the Year sale she always had... 
Yeah, nice memories. Gorgeous fabrics she has.
I can't use it for someone I don't even know.
Why did you buy it?
It would make a lovely backing somewhere sometime. I was into those rich burgundies and greens and creams.
So this is -ahem- a vintage piece as well?
Yeah. Feel it! It's such a gorgeous hand.  I can't.
So you're going to fold it back up onto the pile of greens in your stash...
So, just curious, do you now, several years after purchasing it, have a quilt in mind for this? 
(silence) .......... Okay, yes, put it as a choice.

It's that hard!!!
The grey floral which I just love, wasn't nearly as hard because I had only bought it a couple of years ago on an Edmonton trip on sale as a great potential backing. I always check quilt shops sale sections for potential backing yardage. It does get me some awesome backings and deals, but it also leads to well what has been shown here.

End result of putting these 'too good to use, especially for someone I don't even know' yardage as choices for her is that I feel good about the green actually getting off the shelf, and I have realized I can do that with the cat fabric too in a comfort quilt or a quilt in my shop.

After all the time spent back and forth on Thursday evening, photographing fabric choices and explaining about batting (100% poly or 100% cotton I gave her - first she said poly but then after photos and some of my thoughts on their advantages/disadvantages, she switched to cotton), I spent a happy Friday muddling around in my scraps for my RSC projects before I had to drive up to Hamilton to pick up MacGyver from his Alberta trip. I got the green blocks done for two of the three RSC projects, and I laid out the pieces to make the cats quilt backing. I have just enough, phew!

RSC Project #3

RSC project #1 - this one was quite a study in the variety of greens in my little scraps fabric box!

I have two more AMAZING photos to share with you. Cathy, my contact at Kindred Hearts Guild, who first approached me about doing a presentation, told me that last weekend they got together to sew up some quilts for seniors. They used my Smooches pattern! This is yet another PQ make, but from 2020. She gave me permission to use the photos she sent as long as I 'MacGyvered' them as I do for my husband.😎 sadly, there are no hat options in my phone Photos app so they got rainbow heads!

Aren’t they all just wonderful?

Here's what Cathy wrote to me:

What a great (rainy!) day our small Kindred Hearts group had yesterday!  Your Smooches pattern is just perfect for smaller wheelchair quilts.  Not only does it work both ways (that is there’s no “up”) but a smaller 3x3 layout can just barely fit onto a WOF backing.  And for group block-building, no seams to match and only just the one point at the bottom of the heart.  Because when you have a group sewing, there’s gonna be some variation!


An inspired pattern for so many reasons!  THANK YOU!!!


We had sorted out all the donated blocks into cohesive colours in advance, and Yvonne paired up with sashing and borders to make up kits.  That made the day go really quickly!  And folks who couldn’t attend were able to take a kit home.  Some are 3x3 and others 4x3, so we’ll have a little variety of sizes.  This heart block initiative will carry us through to June, so we’ll be having another sew day at some point.  We make the majority of our donations before Christmas.  They go to both long-term care homes and Community Care Durham, supporting folks in their own homes.

If you would like to make your own Smooches quilt, click the link. The tutorial is free right there. I will be doing a tutorial for my Scrappy Strippy Stars RSC quilt one of these days too. It east up the smaller scraps and some strips, though not as many as I wish!

Okay, I'm off to sew some looong seams for the forest green backing. Watch this space on Monday April 3 for the official kickoff and your homework assignment for the week! If you haven't grabbed a copy of Rainbow Neighbourhood yet, hop like a newborn bunny over to SandraJaneQuilts and grab it before Monday evening when it goes back to regular price. Rose of something rosemade has already got her first week's homework done! Okay, okay, she's the teacher's pet, yeah, the rebel pet. Gotta keep those rebels close! Click the link to her blog to read her post on it.

Linking up with Angela at


  1. congrats on your cat quilt's beautiful! love your green blocks and smooches quilts!

  2. LOVE those GREEN blocks for the RSC, Sandra!! Best of luck with finishing the commission quilt and I'm to really and truly participate in this year's QAL. Most years I'm busy making graduation quilts (better get a move on the one I've got planned for 2023!)

  3. Messaging can be a very hard way for communication to progress, but it sounds like you are working toward having a very happy client. Have fun quilting it up this weekend!

    Also, that's wonderful that the guild worked with Smooches and shared the photos with you.

  4. I think your mum and I would get along just fine... at least about our colour choices. (See how I put the "u" in there!)

  5. Letting go of 'special fabric' can be tough, I like how you talked yourself through it. Love the green RSC blocks.

  6. Lovely cat quilt - bet your customer will be thrilled! Hooray for Smooches!

  7. Wonderful that you have an extensive stash to make this commission quilt and make someone very happy, Sandra! Both the original, and the new quilt are absolutely gorgeous. The Guild's Smooches blocks turned out lovely - great that she shared her photos with you.

  8. I loved the argument with yourself, on using the fabrics in the commission. I decided a few years ago that I had to start using my beautiful fabrics so that I could make room to buy more beautiful fabrics. The cat quilt is really nice.

  9. That was a commission and a half & although I've taken on a few in the past, it's usually been very much, "it's up to you" & mostly for babies. Hope she really loves it. I've used quite a bit of stash over the last few years due to the Pandemic & closure of most Quilt Shops locally. My stash was always intended to be my retirement fund anyway, so I could keep quilting. Was the heart quilt pattern in Modern By the Yard? It's already your b'day here so I'll see if I get started on "THE PROJECT". Take care, have a great day & hugs from a chilly down under.

  10. Pussy cats everywhere, such a lovely design. Many thanks for Shari g the heart pattern, I'd like to give this a go.

  11. The colours of the Kat Kwilt are lovely, and it is really nice to hear that there are others that are as attached to pieces of fabric as I am. I have loads of sewing fabric that moved to England and back with me - I had a high stress, high travel job over there, so my time for sewing was next to nil. But when we were getting ready to move back it all had to be inventoried, and a lot of it I can still tell you what pattern I planned to use it for - I really hope I can use a lot of it when my time is my own again. Then I will have time to do justice to your Rainbow Neighbourhood quilt as well.
    I love all your green blocks especially the stars. The Guild ladies have done a wonderful job, there lap quilts will be something to cherish.
    Take care, looks like we are in for a stretch of sunny days - roll on spring.


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