Making a Gift

I occasionally make quilts as gifts…I sometimes get hints from people that they’d like a quilt, but often that’s just not an option for me…whether I don’t have an idea for them or because my larger quilts are pretty significantly time-consuming. You’ve got to be a fairly important person in my life to have one of those, and it might be even more difficult now, because I did give one of my big ones away and now I wish I hadn’t. It’s hard to think about one of my babies out there where I don’t think they deserve to be…but that’s life. I don’t mind selling them…that’s a fulfilling transaction. But if I give you a $2000 quilt, hell, you better deserve it. That’s months of work.

Anyway, so I made one gift quilt this year. I was making those cats and realized someone I cared about would probably like a quilt of his cat…so I took some pictures of Satchemo’s squished little face…

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He has a tiny nose and kind of a grumpy cat facial structure. These pictures were dark too, and I realized I had no full-body pictures, so I trolled Facebook to find this one…

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Perfect for his body coloring and how he curls up. Then I spent about an hour trying to draw him…the first few weren’t quite right, but then I got his face right, traced it, and added it to a better body shape.

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So if you’re wondering if I could make a quilt of your cat…well, probably. Because if you had a perfect picture, that would be awesome, but obviously I can take one cool picture (the sink one) and mess with it to make a straight-on quilt. Although maybe I should have done the sink too. Except then there was no way I would have finished it in time.

Tracing the Wonder Under…

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That’s all of it…

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And then cutting it out…

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Satch has 40 pieces, so more than most of the small cat quilts I did earlier this year. Some stages of the quilt took longer than with other quilts, because I wanted to make sure the quilt looked like its namesake. So color choice and drawing were kind of time-consuming. I’ve found that people like the quilts to be in the $100 range, but with the style of quilt I make, that’s really difficult. That’s about 3-4 hours of work, not counting materials, and I make these in more like 5 or 6 hours. And yes, I know people who would work on something for 10 hours and charge $100. I won’t. I work hard to put my kids through school and keep my head above water (most of the time). I’m not working for $10/hour, because my 25 years of quilting experience has to pay better than that.

I had the sink photo up for the body fabrics on my iPad. The face photo was up earlier. The grays are always a challenge.

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Here they are all ironed down. I thought his back end was too dark until I saw him sitting there again. He really is darker in back.

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It didn’t take long to trim the pieces…although now I’ve lost my little scissors. No idea where they went…and that’s the second pair gone missing. I need to do a deep clean. There’s gotta be 50 pairs of scissors in this house.

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Ironing is the next step…I did the head separate to make sure it all went together well…


Before I put it on the body. Faces are important. If it’s human, I iron the eyes together separately and then put them on the face, to make sure they’re not horrendously crooked.

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Then to pick a background…can’t be too dark, because of the dark parts. Can’t be too gray or too light, because the lights won’t show. Has to be a color and pattern that isn’t too busy.

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I finally found one…mostly blue with some green in it. Then I stitched it down and pinbasted it. Starting quilting with a dark thread around the cat itself.

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Then found the thread for the background, except it wasn’t anywhere near a full spool. Oh well. It’s a small quilt, right?

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Oh yeah, I ran out. Oh well. I did a fairly good job of quilting evenly around it before that happened.

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It does change colors in different light.

Then yesterday, in between cookie-baking, I trimmed and bound it…

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Finishing the hand-sewing about 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave to meet the recipient (it’s OK, I had a backup plan).

I forgot to measure it though. I can do that later. But here’s the finished piece.

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Satchemo took about 6 1/2 hours to make, not counting drawing time…in a commission, I would count that…legitimately. I think he looks like his namesake. That cat spends a lot of time on my lap, clawing the crap out of my thighs and/or boobs, so I’m prettty familiar with his face. And he was the 25th quilt I finished in 2015. I’m unlikely to finish another one by January 1, so I guess he’s the last quilt in 2015. Not bad. Now on to the next one…

2 thoughts on “Making a Gift

  1. I. Love. This. Piece! Seriously Kathy, it’s beautiful!
    I had to let you know, again, how much you have both inspired me and how much I’ve learned from you. My husband designed a quilt that he felt I’d be up to creating because my skills have improved exponentially since reading your blog. It’s a Beatles appliqué quilt he calls “Revolution”. Trust me, without you, there’s no way I would ever had the confidence to tackle this project! I posted some pics of our progress on if you’re curious as to how you’ve inspired this newbie lol! I also mentioned you in one of our podcasts…thank you so much Kathy!


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