Tag Archives: cats

Quilting – For the love of cats

My latest quilting project was a labour of love from day one.  I decided to make a throw for my son and daughter-in-law, who, like me, are both cat mad.  My obvious choice was a cat theme, but I thought I’d go one further than just a cat theme and make them a quilt featuring photos of their own three cats.  What fun this turned out to be, but I didn’t realize what a labour-intensive design I had chosen.  I only had a few weeks in which to make the throw as they were coming out from the UK for a visit and I wanted it ready for them to take home with them.

Fabric photos

Step one was finding nine photos to use – three of each cat (I only learned much later that one of the cats was actually a fourth cat, but that’s another story!)  Our local quilting supply store printed the photos onto suitable fabric for me and with their help I selected some amazing material – six different fabrics in matching shades.

Chain piecing

I framed each picture in a brown fabric and then followed a log cabin design around each block until I had built up a square.  Chain-piecing made the sewing go faster and of course I pressed each seam as I went.  It was great seeing the blocks come to life with each new fabric that I added.

Quilt as you go

I don’t have a terribly big sewing machine, so opted for the ‘quilt as you go’ technique to make the quilting part easier (using ‘stitch in the ditch’ for all the seams).  For those of you who don’t know what ‘quilt as you go’ means, each block is completed, quilted and then sewn together.  I love the ‘quilt as you go’ method and this was my first attempt at it.  Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials – they were amazing – as was the help I received from my friend, Liz, who uses this method a lot as well.  My joins were pretty good, even if I say so myself, and with my choice of backing, they were difficult to see.

Joined in rows

Liz also told me to join the blocks in rows going down first, and then match them going across. This was a good tip and I had few problems in actually getting all the blocks to line up.  I have to confess that as the quilt progressed I grew more and more fond of those darling kitties gazing at me all the time.  I could have adopted the lot of them right there and then!

Ready for the borders and binding

Finally the central joining pieces went in and then the outside borders were added.  What a dream it was to see the whole throw quilted and finished as I went.  The backing was the perfect choice as it blended in well with the fabric on the front.  Liz embroidered a label for me – I called the quilt “Three’s Company” because all three cats are great friends that curl up together all the time, as well as being great company for my son and daughter-in-law.

All done!

All that remained was to bind the quilt and it was done.  It sounds like it went quickly, but it took weeks and weeks of work.  As I said before, it was a labour of love and I can honestly say that I loved every minute of the time I spent working on it.  I hope that Tamsyn, Whisky and Bailey enjoy sleeping on the throw – perhaps some of the love that went into it will ooze out into them and they will know how much I grew to love them all.

The African Wild Cat

There’s something special about being in a game reserve and seeing the big cats like lions, leopards and cheetahs and then coming across a little African wild cat.  Wild cats look so much like domestic cats that it’s hard to believe that they aren’t the tame, lovable creatures that rule our hearts and homes.  Although they live side by side with their larger cat family members, Wild cats have to be alert and cunning as they are preyed upon by lions and leopards.  Because they’re nocturnal you don’t see them very often, so when you do, it makes the occasion quite memorable.

African wild cat

We’ve come across these cats a few times in the wild.  They’re usually seen at sundown and disappear very quickly when they see humans.  However, on our last two visits to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, we were able to spend some time photographing them.  They are mainly terrestrial, especially when hunting rats, mice, spiders and birds, but you actually need to keep an eye out for them in trees, as our most successful sightings have been during the day when they’ve found a nice spot on a branch to sleep on.  If you’re very lucky, they will lie there warily watching you without running off.  Our biggest problem was not being able to get out of the car to get close enough for a decent photograph.

African wild cat

Wild cats are solitary animals that only get together to mate and a successful copulation results in a pregnancy lasting about two months.  Breeding takes place throughout the year, peaking during the summer months, and litters usually comprise of two to five kittens.

African wild cat

African wild cats (Felis lybica) are greyish in colour with stripes on the legs and tail, and the females are slightly smaller than the males.  They’re found throughout the region.

African wild cat