I was totally overwhelmed by the number of people who liked the mini quilt I made for the UKQU Spring 2018 Mini Quilt Swap. I received dozens of comments and Facebook messages asking if I had bought the pattern or if I had designed it myself. It has been so popular that I have been persuaded to write the design up into a pattern.
Writing up the pattern has been quite a long process – particularly as I made the original design up as I went along and didn’t make any notes! I also had to decide whether to use the original quilt for the pattern. This was quite a dilemma for me as I had made the original mini quilt especially for UKQU member Sally Dodsworth. I had designed it specifically for her, with her two cats, Dylan and Dixie in mind so to me it is very personal.
In the end, I decided that I would write up a versatile pattern, using a different quilt design of quilt for the step-by-step instructions, but giving all of the pattern pieces that I used for Sally’s cat quilt. That way, anyone who wants to make it will have the instructions and methodology to produce the quilt, but at the same time has the choice of either copying the original design or adapting the pattern to make something completely unique and personal to them.
I really enjoyed making the quilt again. I did make the quilt pattern example quite different though, despite using the same fundamental principles and pattern templates. This one was based on my friend, Jo Graham’s two dogs, Amber and Eddie. Amber is a Cockapoo – and as you’d expect, mad as a box of frogs. Eddie is a Jack Russell, more laid back and very affectionate. It was quite an easy decision to make as to who would be sleeping and who would be pulling the pile of cushions over!
I love the process of auditioning fabrics. I know Jo’s favourite colours are purples and teals so it wasn’t hard to come up with a colour palette to work with. I chose a subtly patterned FQ for the backing fabric rather than piecing it. I decided to use a narrow zigzag stitch to appliqué the cushions down, so I dug out matching threads for the fabrics I had chosen. I also picked out the trims I was planning to use. If I am securing the trim by machine rather than by hand, I like to do this as I go along – otherwise I find myself forever changing the threads on my sewing machine.
The cat quilt features silhouettes of cats, but I decided to reproduce Jo’s dogs so that they had a resemblance to them rather than just an outline. Amber has curly fur so it was quite a challenge drawing her out. I chose a mottled, mid-brown batik to represent her fur, which I think worked well. When it came to sewing her down, I had to use a straight stitch rather than a zigzag because her outline was so detailed but it doesn’t detract from the finished piece.
Eddie is black and white. Making his black face was quite straightforward but I decided to add some details in black as his sleeping position was lost without any other definition.
When I was part way through the quilt, I decided to make a third – this time for Juliet Nice and featuring her beloved guinea pigs. I knew this would be quirky but hopefully quite appealing and would also demonstrate the versatility of the pattern design.
I used a rainbow palette for Juliet as she prefers brighter colours. This enabled me to really dig through my scrap box to find some fabrics and trims that worked well together. Apart from the cats themselves, the original cat quilt was made entirely of left over jelly roll strips so this pattern really can be a brilliant scrap-buster if you want to make up your backing fabric from scraps rather than using a single piece of cloth.
I just love the detail you can get into these quilts. You can embellish them as little or as much as you want to. I have a small collection of metal charms that have ‘Made with Love’ stamped on them. As I primarily make baby quilts, I rarely have an opportunity to use them, but these minis gave me a perfect excuse to dig them out.
Finally, I made a fourth version of the quilt for the Warley and Childerditch Quilters’ 5th Anniversary Exhibition on 28th and 29th September 2018. The theme is ‘Five’ so I went with a design of five cats and five cushions. I called this quilt, “Five Toms and a Jerry – a game of hide and squeak”. If you look very carefully you can see the mouse they’re looking for in the bottom right hand corner of the quilt.
I really hope that you have a go at making this fun little mini. The pattern is available here. I would absolutely love to see photos of your own creations, so please do post them on the UKQU Facebook page and tag me in so that I don’t miss them!