Happy New Year (22 days after the fact)! I have been remiss in keeping up to date on my projects, but here I am, with one of them. This post is about a Christmas present for my favourite sister-in-law! I have made quilts for several family members, but she was the only one who had not yet received one, and I felt really, really bad about that fact. For the record, my mum has three, my nephews (SIL’s sons) have three, my aunts each have one, my cousin’s sons (except the latest, but I’m on it!) each have one, even my brother and my dad (via my mum!) have one each. This was not entirely neglect on my part; I was waiting for the right pattern and fabrics to speak to me on my sister-in-law’s behalf. And it finally came together this autumn.
I love Elizabeth Hartman’s animal patterns, and have already made Fancy Foxes and Hazel Hedgehog. When I saw this one, I immediately thought of my sister-in-law and downloaded it. I knew that I did not want to make it as a 30 block quilt and plotted it as a baby sized, 12-block quilt. Until I found two things:
1. all of the kittens have names, one of which is shared by my sister-in-law
2. the ideal fabric
There is a pair of adorable, friendly cats in her household. There is also a great love of movies. There is a block with her name in the quilt. Could this combination be any more perfect? Her block, then, had to be the centre block, which meant an odd number of blocks. There were four other kitten blocks in the pattern, which meant I could not get the balance of blocks I like to have in a baby sized, 15-block quilt. So, I went up to 25 and decided on five of each block. But, that wouldn’t work with only one of her block! Luckily, the pattern had a solution.
There is a plain cat block in the quilt pattern! These four blocks became the four corners of the quilt! I used these larger scale prints because I felt that they wouldn’t work as well in the more detailed, named blocks, which have many little pieces.
Before I got to the point of construction, however, I spent a long time (3,5 hours!) plotting the layout. If you have read one of my quilt posts, you already know how obsessive I am about balancing colour and blocks in a quilt. This one involved six different blocks (5 named kittens and the plain cats above), so I could not simply run up the blocks and hope for the best.
I attempted to get all of the main background colours into each row: white, orange, grey, green and black. I also tried to get a balance of print: the little x-print either side of the centre, the dots diagonally around the centre, the TV print and film reels on the corners, the film strips print at the centre of the top and bottom rows and so on. Once the fabric was chosen, I plotted the different blocks to get a balance of kittens.
I constructed blocks five at a time, as there were five of each. Here is one (Mr Snuggles), laid out before construction.And here are the finished Mr Snuggles blocks:
I worked in this way for all of the blocks, constructing them five at a time until all were finished. I constructed the four plain cats with the centre block.
I should have used a colour other than black for the eyes and nose on this block. When it was complete, I noticed that the darkness of the background makes it difficult to discern the little facial features. Oops!
And, that is where the photos end! I was absolutely convinced that I had taken a picture of the quilt top, pre-quilting, but I am, apparently, not that clever. I took all these process photos to help with playing “Spot the kitten” on the finished quilt. Again, oops! Maybe my favourite sister-in-law will be a dear and snap one for me…