A Cat and (Apparently) Her Quilt


This quilt has been taped down on our living room floor, partially assembled, for 3 days. (By the way, no one in my family questions why its there.)

I took a smallish break from basting it to nurse a blister that had formed on my finger from the pushing the needle through all those layers, and we even left town for an overnight trip while it was living on the floor.
When I came back in town I realized Gracie had probably been laying on it pretty much the whole time we were gone. (Good thing quilts get washed in the end.) She seems to have taken ownership of this quilt. Maybe its because its new, maybe its just because. Whenever I work on it, she sits with me and watches. She’s smart, that one. Because it will definitely be cozy. The backing is cream flannel. I don’t usually back my quilts with flannel, and every time I touch the back I think about how nice it will be to curl up under in the family room this winter.

For those that may be wondering why its taped down on my floor? I tape the quilt back onto the floor (the living room floor has always made the most sense for this), then add the layers on top (batting, then quilt top itself). This is about an hour’s worth of ironing, smoothing, and checking for unwanted wrinkles. You can’t rush it. From there, I hand baste a running stitch with the ugliest, brightest thread I have (so I can see it later) to hold all three layers together smoothly. My vote is all for hand basting versus pinning, hands down. I have done several quilts using both methods and the thread basting (which takes more time) always makes everything easier in the end. A well-basted quilt can almost be treated like one piece of fabric because its quite secure. (Gracie also seems to approve of this method, that little thread is so fun to play with.) I hand baste starting from the middle and going out, making a “star” shape coming from the center, then I continue on, basting at right angles all around the quilt, sitting in the middle of it and turning clockwise around the quilt. On the back, it ends up looking something like this-
The weather is Seattle right now is reminding me that Fall is right around the corner. I’m going to go work on finishing that quilt. I really need to see something finished around here.

  • Lauren

    August 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Reading your description of how you baste is like being inside my head! I do it the exact same way. I am newer to quilting than it appears that you are, so I am glad that I am doing it the same way as someone who actually knows what they are doing. I even use a hideous color thread so it shows up easily. I have been using this awful orange thread from the first halloween costume my mom made me (I was a pumpkin.)
    Thanks so much for writing this helpful description, I feel much better about my own quilting adventures.
    P.S. I love your blog! 🙂

  • Valarie Budayr

    August 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I’m in the same process as you right now on my quilt. I even have a black and white cat who took some ownership of the quilt himself. It’s on today’s blogpost. Great Cats think alike. Happy weekend.

  • blair/wisecraft

    August 14, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Yes Valarie, apparently they do. Good luck on finishing your cat’s quilt ; D

  • greta

    August 14, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I just looked at Make Your Place. I think I will be giving it to many of my friends for Christmas. Thanks soooo much for sharing!

  • domesticali

    August 15, 2009 at 12:20 am

    I’m a hand baster too – and your cat has excellent quilt taste.

  • The Orchard

    August 15, 2009 at 5:13 am

    What a beautiful quilt! Can’t wait to see it finished.
    Your cat reminds me of my cats. They do the same thing. If we are doing anything new or interesting at home both cats come by to observe and be part of the action.
    It is like your cat thinks you put that quilt there just for her. Aren’t cats great?
    Enjoy your day.

  • Erin | house on hill road

    August 15, 2009 at 5:30 am

    it’s beautiful, blair. and gracie does look very comfortable there.
    i guess i will have to try hand basting since you say it’s worth it.

  • Jessica

    August 15, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Beautiful! This is really inspiring me to make one of these as well. That is exactly how my mom and I baste all our quilts too – it’s a lot of time on your knees on the ground, but worth the effort for ease of handquilting …

  • kate

    August 15, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Gracie has great taste; that quilt is lovely! I love the 2nd photo, where she’s staring intently, at absolutely nothing. Cats are so deliciously weird.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to explain your handbasting technique. That’s going to come in very handy if I ever work up the courage to try a 2nd quilt.

  • rachel

    August 15, 2009 at 6:38 am

    One of the many Rules of Cats (different from Rules For Cats, which are there to be ignored) is that anything on the floor officially belongs to them. Quilts, dropped food, newspapers, your slippers – it’s all theirs.
    Lovely quilt too.

  • becky

    August 15, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Beautiful quilt! My cat did the same. Every time I had it laid out, whether the floor or my sewing table, she ensconced herself on it. So, since she asked, my next project is a small quilt for her…and to protect my workspace from CAT HAIR!!

  • Peanut

    August 15, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I’m also making a quilt for our family room. THe pieces have just finally gotten big enough to lay out on the floor (to get an idea what it’s going to look like) and every time I do our cat is suddenly there and on top of it. I like the idea of backing it with flannel. I hadn’t thought of that and it would be so cozy. I think I’ll try the hand basting before I quilt this one. I’ve always used pins before (none of my quilts are very big so far) and tend to end up with a lot of pin pricks in my fingers and arms while wrestling the sandwich around.

  • Alicia

    August 15, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Thank GOODNESS Gracie approves, eh? I love that cat — and that QUILT — very much. xo

  • Angel Jem

    August 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Do you think if cats could craft they’d do quilting or knitting? I always imagined a pretty good painter myself, called (sorry)….. Picatso.
    Muchas apologias for the joke 😉

  • penny

    August 17, 2009 at 5:52 am

    Love the quilt, and the cat pictures! Cats do like a bit of handicraft don’t they? I was knitting a rug a while ago and my cat Henry was asleep on one end while I struggled to knit at the other end!

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