Something New

It was a nice day here at the Three Cats Ranch yesterday. My morning got off to a good start when I turned the second corner of the binding on Stars and Stripes.

Usually, I can stitch about three lengths of thread on a binding before my patience runs out. After that, the Smittenator and I went outside to fill the birdfeeders and to do a few other things that needed doing. Smitty was hoping he could scare up a mouse, but nothing doing. You'll notice the frozen ground and cold weather hasn't hurt the thriving Mole Metropolis in our field any.

After that, it seemed like a good time to start a new project. I purchased this pattern by Bonnie Sullivan called "Tuxedo Tales" some months ago, and I've been trying to get caught up on some other things before starting it. I saw this quilt made up in a local quilt shop, and it was love at first sight. 

Originally, it was a block of the month. My LQS had it for sale as a kit, but they were out of the kits and the patterns. Just as well because I found the pattern alone on eBay for half the cost. It was created to go along with a line of wool fabrics, and those are no longer available. That's fine with me because I prefer quilters cotton. Actually, there's nothing to prefer...I've never actually tried making a quilt from wool. So, anyway, you might remember this fabric I found to use for the quilt back.

Also, I needed something for the block backgrounds. I really love these Moda Marbles fabrics. They come in many colors, but I needed only the black.

Then, already in my stash, was this batik I purchased to make Sadie's Pawtrait. I don't think I used any of it when I made her quilt, and so I think this will work well for the cats in the quilt blocks.

I want to keep the cats and their noses consistent throughout, and so I picked out this off-white tone-on-tone to use for the cats' noses. (Might be hard for you to see the print.)

The rest will be done from scraps in my stash. Fabrics at the ready, I was set to get started on the January block. Fortunately (or not), I had my little helper on hand to help me with all of the parts of the process. 

Furrst, you should read over all of the instructions before beginning.

Then, make sure and certain Sadie the Interlopurr isn't anywhere to be seen.

Then, bite everything to be sure all of the impurrtant parts of the quilt are completely dead.

Continue checking for Sadie the Interlopurr at regular intervals.

Assist with sewing machine purrformance.

Okay, and with just a little interfurrance, I was able to fuse down all of the pieces of the block.

After that, all of the pieces were top-stitched. I laid the buttons there so you could see the cat's face. The cat is referred to throughout the pattern as "Tuxedo."

Then there was some machine and hand embroidery to do. The sections of the snowman have been machine outlined with some tan thread to give them more definition and the arms on the snowman were stitched by machine. The snowflakes were all hand embroidered, and there are some French knots for the snowman's eyes. And, there you have it:

The January block is complete. I wasn't planning on keeping up with this month by month, but these obviously go pretty fast. I might try to make a new one each month as we go through the year.

On a completely different topic, my seeds have arrived. The tomato seeds get started indoors (yes, in red Solo cups) next month. I aim for February 1st. The rest are started in April when everything gets moved out to the greenhouse. It's a hopeful sign when the seeds arrive.

It's a pretty morning once again this morning. As I watched the sun come up, I stitched around the third corner of Stars and Stripes. If I'm feeling really energetic this afternoon, I might get this finished. If not, tomorrow morning for sure.

Someone on the Sit Down Free Motion Quilters group on Facebook asked for a diagram of the stylized star quilting, and so I'm sharing it with you too. I hope this is clear. It's a little hard to follow because you travel back over your first line of stitching each time you come out of a curl. I've numbered them in order for clarity (at least, I hope it gives some clarity). It's less important that you stay on the line when you travel than it is for you to keep the center of the star open. Try to preserve that center pentagon to keep the shape of the star obvious.

Today I have some running around to do. There are eggs waiting for me from my farmer, and I need to make a short grocery trip. Also a few other stops along the way, and so I don't know if I'll have time for more sewing today. If I do, I'll get started on the next block for Chicken Buffet.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

claudia said...

Oh the green grass is such a nice change from all the white of the snow! (although I do appreciate snow...)
Smitty is a smart cat! That comment on reading through the instructions before you start. I just learned that AGAIN yesterday when trying out a project in a magazine!
Oh seeds! I am new-ish at this gardening thing. When I moved up here two years ago I had planned on doing lots of veges and flowers and whatever else...um...here I am two years later and I have managed to kill a few trees that were already here! To say I have a brown thumb is an understatement! I am putting up a green house this year. Right after the catio goes up. I want to grow my own vegetables. I did throw some tomato plants in the ground when I lived at my dad's and left them alone. They thrived and we had so many tomatoes, we couldn't give them away fast enough. I have to learn the new weather up here.

FairviewFarm said...

I've been wondering how the stylized start was stitched. Thank you for sharing the diagram.

Sally Trude said...

Dearest Barbara,

I think Smitty is asking why you didn't build a snowman on his head while you had the chance.



crazy quilter said...

Tuxedo Tales is a really cute quilt. I have to say i love working with wool but your fabric choices are wonderful. Sometime you will have to give wool a try, I usually fuse it to cotton and hand stitch the wool down. Smitty really is the very best helper cat! You are so lucky.

WoolenSails said...

I love your americana quilt, I do have a bundle that I want to make something with, similar fabrics to yours. I also love the tuxedo cats and your fabric choices, that is going to be fun. Moki loves to rip things and izzy loves to chase balls of paper.


Angel, Kirby and Max said...

It amazes me that it is time to start seeds. Where has January gone!

Dana Gaffney said...

The new quilt is going to be so cute, just the thought of doing that in wool makes it itch, cotton is so much better.

Wendy Tuma said...

I have two sets of wool blocks that were QALs and now I need to get them finished. While I've stitched quite a bit of wool, I've not done full quilts in wool, so I'm looking forward to the process of finishing them. They are both wall quilts, so not too big. Tuxedo Tales is a really cute quilt. Wish I had the pattern and I'd quilt along with you (in wool). Smitty is a much more attentive helper than my Max; proof of that shown in my IG photo last night! Enjoy your day (we got the snow)!

Beth said...

You've just reminded me (again) about how much I gain from watching your quilting process, start to finish. I don't think it would have occurred to me to use that polka dot fabric for Mr. Tuxedo Cat, but I love it. Once I saw it on your background fabric, with the nose fabric on, it seemed exactly right and I was really excited and felt animated about it--couldn't wait to see him with his eyes on, wanted to race ahead to get a look! It's so much fun to be nudged along like this, since I spend almost all of my quilting time out here in the country, quilting by myself, asking John, "What do you think about this?" He's good, but this morning's discovery was really fun!

And I can vouch for how nice it is to work with wool, although I've only made small Christmas ornaments and little pin cushions. It feels great, it doesn't ravel, and it is pretty charming. I'm always curious about how it holds up in the wash, although we had an old wool quilt from my grandmother and we washed that thing like all the other quilts when I was a kid and it is still around, on our guest bed. So, probably not a problem, if your stitches are tight, I'd guess. But wool is awfully expensive in comparison to cotton, so that's consideration, too; I have decided I'd best not fall in love with it because that's not going anywhere except into the "unrequited" category. :)

Susan said...

Tuxedo cats is going to be another cute quilt. However, I have to tell you that before you put the buttons for the eyes on, I thought the nose and what turned out to be the snowman, looked like an ice cream sundae to me. :-)

My cat is not a helper, he is an inturrfurance.

Auntiepatch said...

Stars and Stripes is beautiful! The binding is purrfect!

Kate said...

Love your new project! That's going to be such a fun one to watch. Congrats on all the progress on Stars and stripes.

quiltzyx said...

It looks strange to see the green instead of snow white in your yard! Much easier to walk around & fill the feeders I imagine. :)

Smitty did an excellent job getting you started on the Tuxedo blocks - looks like another cute quilt for the Cat Hall of Fame Wall!