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…
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…
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.
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…
That’s all of it…
And then cutting it out…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then found the thread for the background, except it wasn’t anywhere near a full spool. Oh well. It’s a small quilt, right?
Oh yeah, I ran out. Oh well. I did a fairly good job of quilting evenly around it before that happened.
It does change colors in different light.
Then yesterday, in between cookie-baking, I trimmed and bound it…
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.
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”
Good for you, Kathy. What a great gift and a beautiful rendition of the cat! Merry Christmas!
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 http://www.hobbiesuptohere.com 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!