Monday, August 17, 2015

Pets on Quilts 2015: The Ollie Memorial Quilt

Getting this post up now while I have a few minutes (even though the link up isn't available yet).

2015 Pets on Quilts show is my second time participating and it's bittersweet.

Last year, I entered under the "cats on quilts" category (see it here) with a mini quilt that was much loved by my two cats, Eugene and Olive.  I was thrilled when I won a batik jelly roll from one of the random drawings.  That was the sweet.  Then came the bitter.  Olive died.  We only had her for one year and a week when FiP, a horrible disease, took her.

After she died, Eugene was just not enjoying life as an only cat so we checked the Humane Society (where we got Gene and Ollie) to find him a new companion.  Enter, Murray.  They were a great fit from moment one and things are very good now, though we still miss Ollie.

And I still had that jelly roll.  Months ago I discovered the jelly roll race "pattern" (in quotes because it's not so much a pattern as an event!) and decided it would be perfect for the Ollie jelly roll.  Hey, I needed to start actually making "real" quilts (not just small wall hangings) and that would be the easiest way to start that process.  So I made the top and it just hung out in my craft room.  Until the announcement for the 2015 Pets on Quilts show rolled around.  It was time to get that top made into a quilt.

But not without some feline supervision!

This was back when I had first finished the top.  I draped it all pretty like over the couch to get a pic and BAM, cat-ttaked.  No blanket in this house shall be without hair (their motto).

Fast forward to about a week ago when I finally got my butt in gear to finish the quilt.

(oh, by the way, I'm entering under the "cat on a quilt" category, or whatever category is close to that. . .any of these pics of my cats HAIRassing the quilt can be my entry since I couldn't get both of them to sit on the finished quilt for anything. . .that shouldn't surprise me, they're cats and they will do as they please and no they don't care what you think about it)

Ever so helpful, Eugene.  Just plop down on the quilt sandwich and have a bath why don't you.

"What?  Were you trying to do something?"

Could you get up so I can flip it over and get the backing fabric layered on?

*sigh*  "If I must. . .but there will be a price to pay for disturbing my beauty rest."

No joke.  You folks with cats can't be surprised by this at all.  I had to flip the top and batting over to get the backing all smoothed out on it and didn't Gene get right up on it and just go insane.  He was rolling around on it, squeaking and even pulling off a very odd backflip.  Then, to make sure there was plenty of hair on it he had a good scratch.  It was hilarious.  And I just couldn't care.  The quilt was for the family (which is me, my hubby and the cats) so why freak if there's hair on it while I'm making it.  It's going to get good and haired up over its life.  And Gene was having such a high old time (really, it was like there was nip in that fabric. . .I think he really likes batiks) I just had to enjoy it.  He was having so much fun with the Ollie quilt it was like she was there in spirit (showing us her bewbies!).

Eventually I did have to chase him off it so I could get to the sewing.  I went with a very easy straight quilting and it went really well.  Got the binding machine stitched on one side and then it was time to hand stitch the binding to the back.  Enter Murray.

"What are these, mom?  Cat toys?"


Murray really likes the binding clips.  He was particularly taken by the ones holding the corners all neat (of course).  I did have to fish one out of his mouth after he pulled it off and did start to crunch on it like it was a treat.  No, we shant be destroying my super cool clips (they are so wonderful for binding).

"Mom, you're no fun.  I just wanted to try and break off a tooth and ruin a clip or two.  Party pooper!"

I say it all the time and I'll say it again.  Good thing they are both so dang cute because they sure aren't well behaved (ok, they're not really "bad" but they do get into everything and Murray in particular sheds like it's his life's goal to coat the entire planet in a thin layer of white hair, and the hair is super soft so it's like trying to wipe off spider webs. . .tons and tons of spider webs).

Don't fret, I'm not going to forget to show off the quilt sans cat.

The front (it's a bit longer than pictured, I had it draped over the edge of the wall a bit to hold it down since my spouse was all "meh" when I asked him to come outside and hold it up. . .ha ha, he was replaced by a brick wall, you know I told him as much, too, and he still didn't care in fact he was pleased to hand the task off to a truly inanimate object).

The back (with its minor flaws. . .I was not going to point them out because to be honest they don't bother me, I really kind of like them because this quilt is about so much more than being "perfect" but I didn't want anyone to think I didn't know there were flaws.  They are there and I love each and every one of them).

I wanted the back to be all cat fabric.  I've been wanting to make a totally cat quilt but I keep putting it off (what? me procrastinate? well, maybe later) so this was the perfect opportunity to make the back all cats.  I was going to make it a totally pieced back but then I happened upon this cat batik fabric and I just had to have it.  It was SO PERFECT.  Batik to match the batik front but also cat so I could tie in some of the cat fabric I already have in my stash.

From a distance you can't really see the cats but up close they are fabulous!  This pic is washed out a bit, the fabric is a nice dark charcoal color which matched pretty well to the black in the Moda Prisma Cats fabric from my stash.  I love that fabric so much I went and found a shop that still has some so I can hoard a bit more of it (when it comes to cat fabrics, I allow buying just to stash).

The Prisma Cats fabric is super bright colors and so dang cute!  Oh, and even the binding is cat.  I had some light gray fabric with polka dots (and some of the dots were cat faces) and it worked so well for the binding.  It's light colored but still works with the kind of haphazard feel of the entire quilt.  (I forget what line it's from, but it's a fairly recent line that was cat themed)

If I could change only ONE things, I'd have used a darker thread for the quilting.  I used the natural color I tend to use for all my sewing and against the dark backing fabric it looks bright white.  I didn't want it to pop that much but I don't hate it or anything.  It just stands out more than I really wanted (and because of that you can see the flaws in the stitching. . .I was using a basic Singer sewing machine with a walking foot and the weight of the quilt sometimes pulled a bit and you can see it in the stitching--the stitching isn't "bad" but if you're really looking at it you can see it's uneven and I know that's why).

I'm really surprised how much emotion is in this simple quilt.  When it was done I was almost giddy.  I gathered it up and just hugged it.  So silly, but I was just so happy to have it done.  The sense of accomplishment was huge and it's just such a special quilt for me.  It's the first "real" quilt (meaning bigger sized--the only other size I've made was a lap sized but I traded that away) I've ever made JUST for me (well, and the family) and it's so freaking special and I just love it.  But now I'm worried it will just fall apart when I wash it (I know it won't, but I love it so much I have to find something to worry about so that has become the thing I'll worry about).

Thanks for checking out my crazy quilt and even crazier cats.  I can't wait to see what everyone else shares for the Pets on Quilts contest.  It's such a fun and great event!

NOW, go back to the linky party and check out what everyone else has been up to.  CLICK HERE, YOU NOSEY THING YOU!


  1. "Cat-ttacked" and "Hair-assing" Heeheehee. JL, i think that quilt has an emotionaql effect on all of you! Eugene and Murray (great names) sure enjoy it! Love how it looks and especially love the backing you used! It's Purrfect!

  2. Your kitties are so cute... and just like mine! You are right.. they like to get into everything I am working on. Sorry about your loss, but you two companions are adorable! Oh... and your cat quilt is GREAT!! What a wonderful use of that jelly roll.

  3. I'm so sorry to read about Ollie, I remember the two of them on the quilt last year. I'm glad you gave Murray a chance and everything is working for the two of them. The Jelly Race is really pretty and that cat backing fabric is gorgeous, I know you will all enjoy it, cat hair and all.

  4. Oh my heavens, I love it! Where did you find the batik cats? I love that Eugene was loving all over the memory of Olive, what a smart kitty...
    I too have one gray (Belle) and one orange tabby (Thomas)! You'll have to visit my blog when I get my cats on a quilt photo up! Or I suppose you could visit sooner... whatever :) Belle is also a chewer of the Clover clips, that silly girl. She's walked off with a couple, fortunately has not hurt herself on them, yet. It's helpful that I don't bind all that often too, not as many opportunities to get to them, haha!
    I'm so happy to "meet" you, and to see your pretty quilt, thank you for sharing!

    1. I got the batik cats from They're a good place to buy from.

  5. what a wonderful quilt full of cat memories past and future. That makes it truely terrific. I love the backing fabric. Great cats . Well done all the way around.

  6. How purrfect that the won jelly roll would become the following year's quilt for the Pets Show. Love your furkids and so understand the hair and catitude that follows. I have some of that backing fabric (in blue), purrfect for your Ollie quilt. And I have a collection of cat fabric that I rarely touch - love to look at and pet it.

  7. What a wonderful quilt to remember Olive by, and I love the new memories you made with Eugene and Murray as you worked on it, too. :)

  8. That quilt is a perfect memory of Ollie and the treasure that Gene and Murray are. They look so cute cat-attacking the quilt. Love the batik on the back - how clever you are to have everything about it cat themed. Brilliant!

  9. Cute cats and cute quilt. Typical hubby. I have a cat that sheds like crazy too, with that fine hair. I became his mommy after my aunt died. He is a 15 year old orange tabby and weighs 18 lbs. senstrings (at) yahoo (dot) com

  10. Cute cat binding - .. oh, the kitties bring a smile to my face too!

  11. Oh, what a shame to hear about Ollie...but so glad you were able to give Murray a furever the quilt that you made and obviously the cat babies do too. Good Luck in the vote.
    ps...My dog Callie is #26

  12. So happy you found a new mate for Eugene. Cute construction antics.

  13. What a wonderful post! I loved this...and the photos are so cute. Your quilt is great, and I so identify with the feeling when it's finished. :) Thank you for joining our party!
    Love, Snoodles

  14. Murray look just like my Colby. Sadly, he's up in kitty heaven after getting out of the house and into the street a few years ago. Happily, I've had Tate for about four years now. He's a Morkie, not a kitty, but both of my pets have been perfect love bugs. (He is also #23 if you want to see him on my strings quilt.)

  15. Such a sweet way to remember! Gene and Murray look like characters! I just received some wonder clips and haven't used them yet - I'm sure Stanley will try to play too! You're quilt is great! The kitty batik is purr-fect!

  16. This is what I love about quilting: all the memories wrapped up in one cuddly place. This quilt is certain to be a family treasure for years to come.

  17. What a beautiful quilt. Loving the bright colours and then to see the detail on the charcoal dark back is cat! Wonderful.

    So sorry to read about Olive. Have just read your LJ post about when you got her and 'Nick' as I think he was know first of all. I know how much it hurts to loose a furry friend. It's fitting that this quilt is a reminder.

    Was on LJ as I had been thinking of you (fondly). Had been and still am, thinking of you fondly, I mean.

    Gheez x

    1. Worded that so badly, sorry - fitting that the quilt is a reminder of furry friends both past and present.

      I keep trying to remember that wonderful Dr Seuss quote: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." But gosh I don't half miss my furry ones that are no longer here.

      I kinda envy you your quilt to cuddle x

    2. SO happy to hear from you again. Just this week I was having a spot of nostalgia over sims stuff and I ended up back over at LJ (to stop the auto payments and for the nostalgia, too).

      I miss the friendships I made over on LJ. Now I'm doubly happy I entered the pets on quilts contest because it reconnected us. This really made my day!

      I hope things are going well for you.

  18. What a beautiful quilt! Your story is touching and funny and so fun to read! I laughed out loud when you wrote about the futility in removing the cat hairs while you were making the quilt!!
    Thanks so much for showing us a glimpse of your life with your cats on your quilts!!

  19. What a lovely story! And am so glad the first 'real' quilt you made, you made for yourself out of the material you won last year. A treasure.

  20. Wow, cat batik. What a great find and it sets off the bright bits really well. Sorry about your unexpected loss.

  21. I'm sorry for your loss of Olive. Cats do make great quilting companions...sometimes too great. Your babies are too cute and I love the "what?" looks they give you, like you are doing something wrong. I didn't know binding clips came in catnip flavor :)

  22. Haha I love the the Gene cleaning photo, pure cattitude.

  23. What cute helpers you have. Your quilt is lovely.

  24. This quilt is just purrfect in every way!

  25. I loved your post... Sweet and touching!! Where did you ever find that batik with cats??!!! Your quilt is very bright and cheerful.

  26. I am so sorry about the loss of Ollie. I have also dealt with FIP and it is dreadful. Your kitties are beautiful and I love your quilts. Hugs!