I am a lover of cats.
Here is Jasper, the 17 year old resident at our house.
Griffen, one of our grand-cat visits occasionally, and Mavis (another grand-cat) makes herself totally at home in my studio, which is in my son’s house.
But this story is about Jake, a greenhouse cat that lived with us for a winter in between his greenhouse gigs.
Besides being cute and adorable, cats are pretty easy to draw – for those of us that are artistically challenged. So it is not surprising that I would work them into my quilts.
This post is about the two times I made challenge quilts with cats as the subject. The first one resulted in my most embarrassing moment ever as a quilter. The second one resulted in a trip to the Houston Quilt Show, and a Caribbean cruise.
We will start with the embarrassing story first …
I signed up for my first beginner quilting class the month I retired from work. Signs of a quilting addiction came early. I bought fabric. I read books. I looked at patterns. I signed up for classes. And I joined the local guild. I thought I would only ever need to make 3 or 4 quilts (silly me!). Then what? Who needs more that that? So I looked for reasons to make quilts, ways to become involved.
Six months later a challenge caught my fancy. It was for an upcoming quilt show. Funds raised would go to the Humane Society. I had never been to a quilt show, and didn’t know what a challenge quilt was. The parameters given were- use 3 fabrics they provided plus any of my choice, include an animal on the front, and make it with a circumference of at least 150″.
That winter I worked hard on the quilt. Interested in Hawaiian quilting, I took the concept of mirroring an image – in this case a cat, and placed it in the center of a white square. Then I added a border with the fabric provided plus others so that length plus width equaled 150 inches. Here was the result.
You may have already picked up my mistake. Obviously it had been too long since I last attended school and had forgotten what ‘circumference’ meant.
When I went to hand it in, the person was speechless. Not knowing what to do, she showed me the other quilts and I was mortified! But she was gracious. We decided I would keep the quilt and she encouraged me to bring it to the next meeting for ‘show and tell.’ Which I did. Without telling the whole story.
Fast forward 2 years. Another challenge was in front of me. This time it was a 12″ completed block on the theme of ‘home’. Once again, I had to use 3 fabrics provided plus any others. You can be sure I read the instructions many times to make sure I had it right!
If you had to design a block (in January) on the theme of ‘home’ what would you put on it? I spent a night or two thinking about it and decided to reuse the cat design. After all, it was winter and not many exciting things happen in winter. Cats provide the most entertainment and what do cats do in the winter? If the cats you know are anything like mine, they sit on the sofa and look outside all day long. On the other side of our window is a cedar tree with a bird feeder that sees plenty of action.
So here is my block called ‘Jake’. The 3 fabrics I had to use are in the 2 flower pots and Jake.
Jake won Viewer’s Choice. I have had almost 18 months to savor the win and look forward to the prize. By the time you read this, I will have spent 3 days at the Houston Quilt Show and will be almost done an 8 day Caribbean Quilting Cruise. Talk about a suburb prize!
So, here is a plug for Sew Many Places, the company that sponsored the prize and provides many different craft tours around the world. They are wonderful to work with, and provide top-notch teachers for all of their tours. If you are interested in traveling, learning, and making, I would strongly encourage you to consider one of their trips.
I anticipate being totally inspired and stimulated over the next 10 days. If you want to see and hear more, feel free to check me out on Instagram (j.stupak), Twitter (@jquiltstudio) and Facebook (Judy’s Quilting+ Studio.)