Saturday Sigh

Today is a free day for me...no place to go, nothing to do but sew. Given that it's raining out, it seems the best way to spend the day.

Remember the Salt Water Taffy quilt? It's a flannel scrap quilt that I finished up about a year ago.

It's so cozy and comfy. Every morning you'll find me snuggled up under it, drinking my coffee, reading my email, and doing my embroidery. It's Gracie's favorite quilt.

Believe it or not, I have a fairly significant allergy to cats. I inherited it from my mother, whose allergies were so bad that we couldn't have cats when I was growing up. 

I'm a born cat lover. We moved to Hawaii when I was 8 years old, and my folks got me a Siamese kitten. Within 24 hours, my mother was having serious asthma problems, and her eyes had swollen shut. A visit to the doctor made it clear that the kitten had to go. I'll never forget my mom and dad sitting me down to tell me that either the cat had to go, or my mom had to go. In my young mind I thought, "It's been nice knowing you, Mom." Of course, I knew enough at that age to know there was really only one choice. The kitten had to go. They gave me a dachshund puppy to replace the kitten, and that was fine, but I still wanted a cat my whole life. Mike and I were married only six months before we got our first cat. We've never been catless since.

So I'm telling you all of this to explain that I have to wash these well-loved cat quilts fairly frequently. They make me sneeze when they get too overloaded with cat dander. I washed all the flannel quilts recently. A couple of days ago, I was sitting in my usual morning position when I saw this:

Well, doesn't that just frost your nostrils? 


I checked all over the quilt for any similar unravelings, and found none, thank goodness. 

This quilt was made from scraps that were given to me. Some were no doubt from well-used pajamas, and I suspect that's why this piece came apart. So...what to do? At first I told myself I was going to take all the blocks apart and fix it right, although I'm not sure how I'd do it completely right without a pretty significant deconstruction. Then I realized, geez, it's just a utility quilt. It's not like it's ever going to win an award at Paducah or something. So I decided to make my patchwork even patchier. I just made a patch and sewed it on by machine. 

I had some fabric left over from the back, and I used that. Then, just for grins, I gave it its own tie. Just before I sat down here to write this, I showed it to Mike and I had to point out the patch before he even noticed it.

My term for this is "tantalizingly tacky." Here's how it looks from the back.

Good as new, only better, because now it's extra-utilitarian and even more comfy.

With that done, I got the Aspen Tree quilt to flimsy stage. That green border fabric and some of the leaves are made with Vicki Welsh's hand-dyed fabrics. After staring at this for quite some time, I decided to use the top-stitching for the quilting. My plan is to outline the tree and the leaves in black, and then I'll add some thread painting to the tree to make it look like an Aspen tree.

Recall that the Aspen trees have these really lovely white trunks with black markings.

This is the fabric I have for the back.

It's a small quilt at 18 x 33 inches, and so I just needed to cut a piece to size.

At that point, I was ready to start sandwiching my quilts. I already had backs cut for Shoot for the Moon

and Sew Helpful.

But I needed to piece a back for the larger Psycatdelic:

That turned out to be a bit of a chore getting it to the right size, but I got 'er done.


Sandwiching quilts is my least favorite part of quilting. I decided to start with Psycatdelic since that is going to be the hardest one. It's too large to spray baste, and so I'm resorting to Sharon Schamber's method of rolling the top and back onto boards and then thread basting. I've done this before, except the last time I pin-basted. Several of you advised me that it was just as easy to thread baste, and so that's what I'm doing this time around. You better not be lying to me. I do have your names written down, and vee haf our vays of dealing with trouble-makers.

Speaking of trouble-makers...

I would say that my helper cat was helping, except that he's not a good helper. He is a "hinder".


Say, Mom, this quilt sandwich looks delicious!

Let's just say he puts a drag on things.

With no small amount of effort, I managed to get back and top rolled onto their respective boards, and then I was ready to start making my sandwich and basting. Sharon Schamber suggests using white or gray thread for this. I have a whole roll of this brown pearl cotton that I've never used, and so I'm using that. I hope I don't regret it because it isn't the easiest to see.

So I'm just barely getting started on this, but I took a break here because my back was aching from all of that.

My "hinder" cat has moved on to greener quilt-napping pastures.

It's going to be an hours-long process before this is finished. I'll return to it later today, and continue with it tomorrow.

It makes me happy that the remaining quilts needing sandwiching are small ones. In the meantime...


18 comments from clever and witty friends:

Cinder Gal said...

I use the same method as Sharon Schamber only I use the spray basting. You can't do both sides at the same time but it's still faster. Both front and back need to be rolled the same way...right side in.

Vicki W said...

I love your aspen tree! The lime fabric makes a great border.

WoolenSails said...

Love all the kitty projects and I do need to use my laurel burch fabric in something.
I found something online and not sure if it is free or not, but she shows the patterns and they are modern art cats, it made me think of you and something you might like doing.



gpc said...

The terror of sandwiching is half the reason I haven't made a quilt. But I love the flannel one -- maybe I could handle that one!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Lots of great projects that will be ready for the final play. Hey a patch on a patch quilt - I think it is just dandy.

Lee said...

LOVE your method of patching your flannel quilt!

quiltzyx said...

The patch fits in quite nicely, and as you said, coziness is increased! Layering & that stuff is also my least favorite part. Blech. I still haven't brought my sewing machine back into the house from my vacation! It's been enjoying riding around in the car with me all week. I did remember to back into the driveway when I got home, so it won't be so hard for me to go out & carry it up the steps.
Today I actually did some painting at the ceramics shop. I'm making a couple of spoon rests, one to replace my sister's that got broken & the other for my nephew who is really getting into cooking & doesn't have one at all! I'm using 6" plates for them - they seem to be the perfect size & lots of spoons/spatulas/etc. will fit.

Celtic Thistle said...

Basting is my least favourite part of quilt making too. I must check out that method, anything that makes it quicker sounds good to me! Loving all your cat quilts.

Michele said...

I think your fix for Gracie's favorite nap quilt is perfect and I'm sure she won't mind the new patch at all.

Dana Gaffney said...

I've fixed quilts that way, any kind of applique that matches the quilt just adds to it, I think.

Jeanie said...

Your patch fits is just great. I've had that happen before too and don't worry much about the patching technique on a well loved and used quilt. Gracie will just be happy to have it back for napping. Interesting about your allergies.... I can think of several happy cats that are so thrilled that you never gave up on living with cats!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Thanks for the patch tip...and I hadn't seen your Cat quilt done....and continue to love it!! Have fun quilting it! (OH love the leaves and aspen picture!)

Kaja said...

I love your attitude to the hole, and the patch on the flannel quilt - it looks as if it was put there on purpose.

Tami C said...

Love your flannel patch! It makes me want to make a flannel quilt. I haven't done one yet. It is amazing that you are allergic to cats!

Lyndsey said...

Making the quilt sandwich especially on the larger quilts is a drag. Love your patch on the flannel quilt.

Brown Family said...

THose helpers can be big problems. My Kirby loves to lay on the machine and it's table. I was embroidering and he was laying on the unit behind the arm. I glanced away (probably playing computer games) and her a strange noise. I look back and the machine has stopped and the needle is broken. My hubby said, Is Kirby bleeding , We think he got his foot caught under the embroidery arm and pinched his toe. At first I thought he had caught the needle, but the blood was not on the project in the hoop. It was all over the cabinet, machine, floor and storage drawers. He let up was it off and has had no problem since!

Kate said...

Beautiful patch work to fix your patch work!

Dar said...

You did a great job of patching your flannel quilt. Can't even see it on the back very easily either. Your hand basting quilt looks good. If you sit and do this on a table the height of a kitchen table or desk, your back should not hurt. You don't have to lean over any farther than your arm will extend in front of you. I've done many big, big ones with a long banquet table and an office chair with rollers on the bottom. I start at one side and slide myself over to the other. Easy peasy.