05 June 2013

Whiskers: a Free Baby Quilt Pattern

It's no secret: cats are my favorite.

"Cat" was my second word, I'm told.

I've got one on my lap right now (he loves computing).

If I'm at your house, and you have a cat, I'll find it and pet it. Even if there is a party going on.

(I like dogs, too, don't worry.)

Inspired by the inventive work of many paper-piecing designers, I thought about creating a cat quilt block that would satisfy my own sensibilities about using animals--not too cartoony or literal, and more geometric and silhouette-ish.


I was also a bit tired of paper-piecing for hours and only having half a block to show for it, so I wanted to create templates that would result in a big, easy quilt block.

The result:  Whiskers!




Free paper-piecing templates for this 15-inch (finished) cat face block are available via Craftsy, and if you're interested in making six of these blocks into a baby quilt, a full pattern is below.

Makes: 
45"x 62" baby or toddler size quilt

Prerequisite skills: 
Foundation paper-piecing
Quilt Construction

Fabric Requirements:

  • 6 assorted quarter yards "cat face" fabrics (fat quarters work fine)
  • 1/4 yard "whiskers" fabric
  • 2 3/8 yards background fabric (or 2 1/2 yards if you're new to paper-piecing and want some extra wiggle room)
  • 52"x67" batting
  • 3 yds backing fabric or a pieced back of your choosing, measuring at least 53"x68" 
  • 3/8 yd binding fabric (for straight-cut 2 1/4" binding) OR 1/2 yd binding fabric (for straight-cut 2 1/2" binding)

Construction:

1. Paper-piece 6 "Whiskers" blocks as desired, and square up to 15.5" (Block construction directions are included in the templates document).  Fabric requirements will differ based on your method, but the recommendations above cover even the more wasteful techniques. If you're new to paper-piecing, check out this post for tutorials and resources, or this one on the way I like to paper-piece.

2. Arrange your cat blocks in three pairs.

3. Sashing: Trim selvages, and cut width of fabric (WOF) strips from background fabric for sashing as follows, using the diagram below if it helps:
(2) 5.25" strips
(1) 5" strip
(3) 5.5" strips
(2) 4.25" strips

Refer to this diagram for steps 3-5
4. Join Pairs: From the first 5.25" strip, cut two 15.5" sections. We'll call the remaining fabric "Scrap A."  From the second 5.25" strip, cut one 15.5" section.  We'll call the remaining fabric "Scrap B".  Use the 5.25"x15.5" sections to join the three pairs of cat blocks to create three sets as pictured below.

5. Join the three sets of pairs: Trim "Scrap A" and "Scrap B" down to 5" wide, and join to the 5" WOF strip (end-to-end).  From this looong piece of fabric, cut two 36" strips. Join to the three sets of pairs as pictured below, and trim any excess fabric.

6. Attach side borders: Join the three 5.5" strips, and cut two 56" strips for the vertical borders. Join to the pieced center rectangle as pictured below. Trim any excess fabric.  

7. Attach top and bottom borders:  Measure the WOF of your two remaining 4.25" fabric strips.  If you do not have enough length to cover the approximately 45" across the top and bottom of your quilt top, use scraps from steps 5 and 6 to extend the 4.25" strips to the required length. Attach to top and bottom as pictured below.

Refer to this diagram for steps 4-7

8. Trim quilt top and square up. 

9.  Assemble backing, batting, and quilt top.  Quilt and bind as desired.  Meow. Celebrate!


For my quilt, I used some spring green (and maybe kiwi?) and aqua solids, along with leftover scraps from the cat faces, to make a pieced backing. 


 I quilted it in an irregular cross-hatch straight line pattern, and bound it with my favorite DS Quilts dots (I prefer 2 1/4-inch binding for a snug fit).  




You could beef this pattern up to a larger size with additional cat blocks and/or wider sashing.  Just one block would make a sweet pillow, I'd imagine.

I'm more often haphazardly "throwing some sashing on," than following directions, so I'd welcome any feedback or questions about this pattern, especially if anything is confusing!



Pin It!

14 comments:

  1. This is so cute! Pinning for future use :)

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  2. Love your cat quilt - thank you so much for the pattern!

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  3. So cute! I really love the colours you have used too! It seems like a few people have cat quilts on the brain at the moment - both Elizabeth Hartman and Aneela Hoey have been posting cat quilts in progress on instagram.

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  4. So cute! I love my kitties and I think they need a new quilt ~ thanks for the pattern.!

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  5. This is completely fantastic! I'm heading over for the pattern. Now if Aneela Hoey's cat fabric would just come out before December!

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  6. Oooh this is so cute, I love it!!! I found you via pinterest :)

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  7. Happy New Year!
    My daughters would be right next to you....group cat petting any feline in their vicinity. By the second visit the cats are usually searching them out at parties.... Would a backing of fiber fleece work?
    Thanks for the pattern.
    delia in rb

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    Replies
    1. fiber fleece? Sure, I suppose. I've never worked with it, but if you think your machine could handle it, I don't see why not.

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  8. Hi, I was googling for a cat block and came across your adorable quilt. I am making a quilt for a friend's cat. Thank you so much for this awesome pattern! I am enjoying making the paper pieced blocks :)

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  9. I want to make this, but I think the instructions really need a diagram that shows which pieces go where on the kitty face... it's like a jigsaw puzzle. I still haven't made sense of it. :(

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    Replies
    1. Great suggestion! I can work on a diagram, and in the meantime, maybe you could try coloring in or cutting out the templates to help you with your jigsaw mission? There are six pieces, and three sets of mirroring pairs of pieces. (If you cut the cat face in half vertically, there are three pieces that make up each half).

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