Cat Blocks and Blockheads

Well, I just have to start out by saying that I did make my way to the swimming pool yesterday. Yay me! That's one day down on my new quest to turn swimming a couple of times out of the week into a habit. Only lots of days to go. It was okay on my knee, except for the pushing off the wall part. Since I can't bend my knee past 90 degrees, getting into a crouch and "springing" off the wall was a challenge I wasn't expecting. And because I wasn't expecting it, I said "Youch!" the first time I did it. I'm a quick study when it comes to pain. I didn't do that again.

So that was the only thing standing between me and my sewing machine yesterday, and I went to work on the 5th of the Folk Art Cats blocks. As I started putting the block together, I discovered something about my pattern I hadn't noticed before. It started out as a block-of-the-month, and when the block-of-the-month was complete, the pattern was sold as a whole. I might not have liked this pattern so much if I had not seen the second iteration of it first. This is the second iteration (the version I'm making) with its bright colors:

Here's how the original block-of-the-month looked:

The colors are more muted and the backgrounds tend to be lights and whites. I much prefer the version with brighter colors and more whimsy. So far, I've made the three blocks in the bottom row, and the block in the upper left corner. 

Now here's where it gets tricky: If you compare the two versions, you'll see that from here on, the blocks were done in a different order. My plan was to do the middle block, top row, from the colorful version. Then I noticed that the little "whirly-gigs" in the sashings are only in the original version. Furthermore, I noticed that the block I want to make has the cat leaping for a bird in the original version, but not in the more colorful version. I've indicated those in the original version.

Well, this sort of threw me for a loop for a few seconds because the bird is fused to the checkerboard sashing above the block in the corner, and I'd already fused and top-stitched the whirly-gig. Now I have a placement problem for the bird.

After staring at it for a while, I decided I could move the bird down so that it is positioned over the pieced cornerstone, but I'll have to be a little bit careful about my placement of the cat. The cat is also positioned so that his feet extend out into the checkerboard sashing. 

So yesterday, I made the background for the block and added the narrow border.

My next move will be to add the checkerboard sashing. I made the two pieced cornerstones. These are each 3-1/2 inches.

I already have most of the pieces to make up the checkerboard sashing, but I needed to sew together two more strip sets to complete them, and that's where I left off.

These blocks are really fun to work on, and once I get started I just want to go and go and go until they are finished. It was hard to stop yesterday.

This morning I'm getting my hair permed and I have a few errands to run. For one thing, someone chewed the pull cord off one of our accordion shades. I don't know who would have done such a thing. It couldn't have been this angelic person:

Or could it?

Anyway, I know a place that repairs them. We've had to keep a careful eye on the above angelic person because he seems to have taken a liking to the pull cords on all the shades in the house. The pull cords are now tucked away safely out of reach of chewing teeth. Honestly. And I thought puppies were the only people who did such things.

He also seems to have discovered a nest of shrews somewhere because he keeps bringing them into the house and then promptly losing track of them.

They're tiny little critters, around two inches from the tips of their noses to the tips of their tails, and they run so fast it's hard to see them, let alone to catch them. It keeps him busy for hours...way past the time I've given up trying. Mike and I suspect he has them stashed in every corner of the house by now. Yes. Cat parenting. Never a dull moment. It's a good thing he's such a sweet guy otherwise.

Also, I'm going to the Backyard Bird Shop today to replenish the sunflower seeds and the peanuts. Also, I'm going to look for another feeder with a shelter over the top. Usually we don't feed the birds in winter because we are often gone. But even when we're home, we (translation: "I") don't like tramping out over the mud and wet grass to get to the feeder...in the rain. It has occurred to me that we are on the Pacific Flyway, and we probably get birds traveling through in winter that we don't ordinarily see. For example, last spring I noticed a Western Bluebird at the feeder.

These guys don't usually hang out in our part of the world, but apparently, the one I saw was passing through and probably appreciated the bird seed we left out for him. So, when I saw that, I decided I wanted to start feeding the birds through the winter to see what we'd get. We're going to move the feeder up closer to the house so that I can fill the feeders without leaving the sidewalk. And with my handy birdcam, I shouldn't miss any bird tricks.

So that's about all on my agenda today. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Naughty Smitty! I just love the kitty quilt and what a difference in the two versions. I like the more colorful one, but what a whammy. We changed some of of 'summer' feeders to our 'winter' (more durable & protected) and changed up some of the feeding seeds to the birds' needs.

WoolenSails said...

That quilt is going to be fun to do, nothing like a piece with happy and fun designs. I used to go to the pool, think I need to go back, babysitting is wearing me out;)


Junebug613 said...

Hooray for you getting to the pool! Yay you! (we could all use a cheerleader sometimes). How odd, that they would change the location of those items in the different variations of the quilt. The colors, I can understand and I agree that your rendition will be much more fun than the original. Thankfully none of our fur-kids chew on the cords to the blinds, but I keep them tied up safe so no one can get themselves entangled in them, or chew on them. I can't wait to see what winter visitors you get on your bird cam!

Teresa in Music City said...

Wow! I had no idea there even WAS a first version of the cat quilt! Now I'm saving your photo of it so I can decide what to do with my blocks too. I love the way the cat jumps out of the block to catch the bird!!!

Poor little Smitty - he's SO misunderstood and unfairly accused of crimes that of course he would never dream of doing! I bet the voles are chewing up the cords - yeh, that's it!!!!

Diane Wild said...

Love the colorful quilt. But, I can see the challenge of it. My cat chewed every end off of the blind cords. What is it with them? How many voles do you have in the house now?

Pat Broe said...

Smitty does look angelic. What a nice kitty to bring the shrews in out of the cold and give them a nice warm home and it sounds like he is very careful not to hurt them. I am sure he is just chewing the cords so the shrews will not climb them and get hurt. How thoughtful. His antics clearly are to inspire you to make more pretty kitty quilts. Thanks, Smitty ... :) Pat

Brown Family said...

I like the bright one best. I do not think I would have bought the muted one. Smitty, are the shew fun to play with? We do not have those here!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

The cat quilt will be beautiful, I love both versions. Our cats tore up every pull cord they could reach, even the strings. Frustrating.

Dana Gaffney said...

I really like the cat quilt and the colors you're using. We are doing battle with critters right now and they're not as cute as your shrews.

Tami C said...

Good for you for getting a swim in yesterday! I too like the brighter version of the cat quilt. Your little angelic Smitty has been a little stinker for bringing shrews into the house. He should probably be chewing on them instead your your pull cords! Good luck getting some lovely winter pictures of your visiting birds.

quiltzyx said...

Smitty's not the only one with that cord problem. The kitties I take care of, Possum & Ries, also caused pull-cords to be tucked away. Maybe it's their coat color that causes it?

I agree with you on the bright vs. original colors. I wouldn't have done the first one either.

Kate said...

Good job sticking with the swimming this week. Looking forward to seeing the new cat block completed. The brighter quilt is a lot more fun.