Sunday, February 5, 2017

Quick Cat Hat Quilt Block

There are a lot of cat quilt projects and patterns out there, but I never made one - I'm more of a dog person. But that whole pink #pussyhat project (blogged here and here), got me thinking about cat quilts and forbidden words.

Last week, after thinking about this for couple of hours, I stood up and made this.
Yes, it's a worried cat quilt block ornament. It's 3 1/2" square, the ears are flaps (known as "prairie points"), and it's literally a one-hour project. 

(Unless you add whiskers and a keychain, in which case it's a 1.25 hour project:
Start by cutting four squares: 
  • One 4" background square (yellow in this case, I didn't iron enough, but you should) 
  • One 4" head color (bright pink)
  • Two 2" squares for the ears (I used a pink print) 
    Fold each of the 2" squares in half down across the horizontal fold; and then bring the corners into the center. Press shut and dab the flaps with a glue stick to hold the inner flap corners down.
Trim a quarter-inch from each side of each ear:
Fold the head color square down, at least an 1.5" or more. (If you're making more than one block, you can vary the fold to vary the head size.)  Press with an iron to make a clear crease.
Lay the head, raw folded edge down, directly on top of the background square. Bottom corners should match.
Insert ears at least 1/4 inch under the folded head edge, and at least 3/8" in from each side.
A dab from a glue stick under the ears is helpful.

Now you have a choice - either topstitch straight across that fold, 1/8" below it, from one side of the head to the other. (The white dotted line shows where your stitching should go.)
Or, flip the head fabric up temporarily, and sew across the line you pressed in with an iron. You'll be going through the bottom horizontal edges of the ears, to hold them in place permanently.
Trim the seam allowance on the head fabric down to 1/4". Fold the flap back down. Everything's in place.
 This can be pieced into a quilt, with other blocks. Or, to make a hanging ornament, (like mine), cut a piece of quilt batting to the same 4" size (Here I used the top as my template for cutting batting).
Cut a 4" backing:
Stack as follows: Batting on bottom; backing, face up; cat's head, face down.  If you've stacked it correctl7y, you should be looking at the horizontal seam that holds the cat's head to the ears.
Sew 1/4 " in from each raw edge, all the way around, leaving a gap of at least 2" along one side. The gap should not incorporate a corner.
(In this picture, I didn't leave a large enough gap, and had to pull some of the stitching out to make it big enough to turn.) Trim the corners at an angle, and don't cut through the line of stitching.
Turn right side out.
There's still that gap on the side. If you're going to machine-embroider all the features, you can hand-sew the hole shut now.
But if you're going to hand-sew embellishments, leave it open for now. The hole will make it easier to hide starting knots.

I drew the features on with a  water soluble marker, but wasn't crazy about my first draft...
Nasty needed to shift a bit to the right. I tried to correct for that when I sewed over them with straight and backstitches. I hid the starting knot between the layers, using the hole on the side.
The ending knot was buried in the back. (Here's a tutorial on how to do that.)
Almost done. Two green buttons make the cat look startled. (But don't use buttons if this is going to serve as a coaster.)
The outer eye lines took my cat from stunned to world-weary.
 What else can you do with this idea?
  • If you want to add rick-rack whiskers, like in the second photo down from the top of this post, cut the rickrack to the width you want, and drip a fray-checking liquid or glue on either end.
  • Make angled heads. (But do these look more like roosters?
  • Make a bunch of blocks, with different colors, head sizes and angles, and turn it into a signature quilt - have friends sign and/or embellish it. 
  • Embroider a political statement.

(Now that I look at this drawing, it looks more like pyramids, or maybe pointy bosoms?)
  • Beanbag
  • Pincushion
  • Coaster
  • Pin (brooch)
  • A nap quilt for a small child. Go wild with colors and prints.
  • Make it 14" square background, and sew it into a pillow.
  • Make it 18" square and turn it into a tote bag.
  • Have fun! Send pictures!
To see the #pussyhats I made, check out this post and this one. To see this idea turned into a card holder, check out my next post!

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