Meow Mix, Top Done!

For the month of March, I set myself a goal of finishing all 25 Catvent kitty blocks for the Lovely Year of Finishes. (I’m #134 at the March kickoff linkup…) I admit I got distracted by my Modern Cross, but not so distracted that I missed making my goal.

The blocks went together very quickly, and often, the most difficult part was picking fabrics. I made the blocks nearly entirely from my scrap bins, with some very kind help from Cindy over at SeeLifeMarvels. Cindy sent me a wonderful pack of orange scraps to help bolster the weakest part of my stash…

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As soon as Cindy’s package arrived, I got to work on my orange kitties.

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I’m so happy with them! One of the brides-to-be receiving this quilt loves skulls, so sneaking in that fabric in one ear was just perfect! Also, not sure if you can see, but the orange-y yellow kitty right below? It has a teacup puppy, in a teacup, on its face. I found some of that wonderful old Heather Ross fabrics in my scraps. A kitty with a puppy on its face makes me smile!

I moved on to red/pink/purple next, and this was the most stressful part. I had a horrible time making the red to pink transition.

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I really wasn’t happy with that iteration. I liked the kitties individually, but, the two in the top right corner seemed too similar. I was tired, so I went to bed, but when I approached it after work the next day, with fresher eyes, I found a solution.

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SO much happier with that version! And, I got to make another funny kitty- the top left cat? Has flamingos on her face… (And, I plan to piece the “rejected” cat into the back of the quilt, maybe using her as part of the label, so all will be well there, too.)

Looking at my wild and crazy cats brings me to a point I’ve been mulling over lately. I was chatting via email with Cath at WombatQuilts who, btw makes the most gorgeous blocks and you should go visit her right now if you haven’t already. She was complimenting my fabric choices, and I was wondering if my love of prints and busy-ness means I am not a true modern quilter. I know that there many different ways to define modern quilting, but when I look around the blogosphere, I get confused. I don’t identify as a traditional quilter- that just feels like a bad fit to me. At the same time, I make quilts from patterns, and am very uncomfortable with improv or creating my own designs. That does feel VERY traditional to me. And then back to my fabric choices. I don’t like “traditional” fabrics, and  I do love loads of contemporary designers. But I also love using massive amounts of color and pattern- I’m terrible at minimal or low-key. These kitties contain everything from solids to Kaffe shot cottons, from batiks to novelty prints and from contemporary designers to random 10 year old scraps.  I think there’s even one piece of 30s repro.

So where do I fit? Do you struggle with these definitions at all?

Phew. All that deep stuff aside, look what I did!

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That’s right- I finished not just the blocks but the entire quilt top with 48 hours to spare. (I realize the month isn’t yet over BUT we head out on vacation at noon Saturday…) I even got it done before the sun set, so I could get a few photos before I totally lost the natural light. Of course, I didn’t realize how wrinkled the right side was until AFTER I took the photos. Oops. But the top IS done.

Now I can head out on my trip with a clear quilty conscience… Everything think warm, not snowy thoughts for us in Boston next week! (Also, there’s a quilt exhibit opening at the MFA while we’re there, AND the To Boston With Love flags with also be on display… so, hooray- for me at least, the kids are not so thrilled.) Hope you all did well with your own March goals. See you soon :-)

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35 Comments

Filed under Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Meow Mix, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, Year of Lovely Finishes

35 responses to “Meow Mix, Top Done!

  1. I really don’t like sticking labels on things or people, I don’t know if there is any one definition of modern and I certainly don’t think it has to be lowkey, there just happens to be a trend of low-volume going on. One of my Guild buddies keeps protesting at us being called Modern quilters as Modern was a period around the 1960s, she says we are post-modern quilters. I think modern (or post-modern) can be many things and not conforming to what the crowd is all making this week on Instagram and which low-volumes they’re all using doesn’t mean you’re not modern.

    Oh, and love the quilt, despite it being cats and not bunnies!

    • Maybe if you squint you could pretend it’s bunnies? ;-)

      I like the label “post-modern”. Or perhaps I could call myself nonconformist modern? Because I think it is the trends I see on instagram and blogs that make me feel un-modern… (Or perhaps it’s just my total inability to make anything low volume, ever, even if I try?)

      -Sam

      On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 6:53 AM, Diary of a Madfabriholic wrote:

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  2. Looks great, love the colour transisitons. I’m with you in that Modern doen’t fit well to all non-traditional quilting, contemporary feels more right but in the end I’m not sure these labels help much!

    • You’re right, the labels don’t help. and yet I still seem hung up on them :-( I do like the word “contemporary”- it feels less preloaded with expectations.

      -Sam

      On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 8:16 AM, Diary of a Madfabriholic wrote:

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  3. I love your top! Fabulous colour flow! I’m not one for definitions, personally. I say do what you love and leave it to others to define your style if they need to. I have heard the term modern traditionalism to signify those quilts that use more traditional block-style quilts but that use new layouts or fabrics for them. Prints definitely fit modern — I just think there are many styles of modern.

    • Thank you for the compliment on the top and the color flow- I’m very pleased with it overall :-)

      Modern traditionalism, hmmm…. I like that! I do need to think less about how to define myself, and just work on being myself…

      Thank you for visiting!

      -Sam

      On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 8:17 AM, Diary of a Madfabriholic wrote:

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  4. What a fun quilt and love your layout! New follower on bloglovin, visiting from Whoop Whoop!

    • Kelly, nice to meet you, and thanks for following :-) This quilt is the Catvent quilt, pattern by Oh, Fransson. Because her original color scheme was perfect for the recipients of this project, I stuck with it, albeit in my own style… I’m very happy with how it turned out!

      -Sam

      On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 9:15 AM, Diary of a Madfabriholic wrote:

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  5. Multiple thoughts on modern: I just listened to the MQG Webinar on modern quilting Wednesday. Heather Grant listed features, said select 1-4, not to use all of them. Of her list you have 1. bright and graphic palette, 2. grid, 3. no borders (when “border” matched background and/or sashing, she called it no border), 4. minimal: distil to the most basic form. That said, she also in the Q and A said people move in and out of categories–making some modern some less so, etc. Label quilts not quilters. BTW, I love your version.

    • I need to go listen to that, if I still can!

      “Label quilts not quilters.” I love that, and I need to embrace it. The next baby quilt I have in the works is distinctly traditional, being made from very old stashed fabric, and that’s okay too! It’s just me moving between categories…

      Thank you for giving me lots to ponder :-)

      -Sam

      On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 10:07 AM, Diary of a Madfabriholic wrote:

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  6. I’m right there with you on the “where do I fit in, and just what exactly is modern, anyway?” conversation. It mostly just happens in my head, though. :D I think I’ve decided that some of my projects are more modern, some are more traditional, and most are somewhere in between. I think the most important question is, “Do you love it?” And if it’s a gift, “Does the recipient love it?”

  7. I consider myself a modern quilter but I like the idea of labeling the quilt and not the quilter. I’m like you in that I like a bright color palette. I also like negative space, the use of solids and I do not like traditional calico borders. But I also do not particularly care for “low volume” – most of the ones I’ve seen just look beige and dirty. Making a low volume quilt would not make me happy so I will not be making one. I quilt because it makes me happy. I also try not to follow trends because, like most people, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment only to realize later that you’ve spent quite a bit of time and money on a quilt and fabric that you do not like just because it was going around on blogs or instagram.
    Love your colorful kitties btw and also your background color. It makes your kitties really pop.

    • I am so glad you said that about low volume- I feel exactly the same way…

      And I love the idea of making things that make me happy- and not needing to define it beyond that.

      Thank you for visiting :-)

      -Sam

  8. It looks great! The kitty with a puppy on her face is rather funny. I think trying to define ourselves as quilters can be tricky sometimes. Me? I think I’m mostly traditional with a little modern thrown in for fun.

    • The puppy faced kitty makes me smile… I can never resist something silly like that, even when I should.

      I wonder why i even feel the need to define myself as a certain type of quilter?

      thank you for visiting!

      -Sam

  9. I love your kitty quilt. I seem to love every quilt with a rainbow gradation. But it certainly helps to have kitties :)

    Hmm you got me thinking, I think I’m simply a non-traditional quilter but I wouldn’t fit into the modern category either. I do things because I like them and not because they are trendy. And the things I like aren’t really trendy either. And if they are it’s an accident :)

  10. Just a lovely and beautiful top!!! And I love how the colors look, it’s going to be a wonderful quilt!

  11. The quilt looks wonderful! And screw putting yourself in a box! You make lovely things, do you need a definition for it? Enjoy Boston. It is supposed to be warmer this weekend. Unfortunately you miss the Quilts and Color expo at the MFA; I hope you come back for it. If you’re ever in town and want to get a coffee and talk quilts, or hit up some fabric stores, let me know.

    • I don’t need a definition, but I owner why I want one so much?

      I thought we were going to miss the Quilts and Color exhibit, BUT, they have member previews all week and my MIL is a member :-) We’re all going together, family bonding at the MFA… Hopefully the Gaderner too- one of my fave places in the entire world.

      We’re staying downtown near faneuil hall instead of in the burbs with family, and we’re not renting a car. any fabric shops you can think of out that way? We will be hanging out in the burbs (Wellesley area) a bit, too…

      Did you know I used to live in Boston? I still think of it as home, and my husband is MA born and bred… Almost time to leave for the airport… I can’t wait!

      -Sam

      • Can you make your own definition? As in, you do “Sam Quilting”? I just do “Jane Quilting”. Some of it is traditional, some of it modern, some of it pattern based, some of it is not. I love solids (probably because I have a huge stash of wonderful prints that I’m afraid to cut up) and I don’t think I fit into any particular category.

        It’s wonderful that you have entry into the Quilts and Color. I want to hear all about it! I keep meaning to buy a membership to the MFA and the Gardener, but there are so many other pressing financial obligations. I still haven’t seen the new addition to the Gardener (can you believe it?!) but hopefully we’ll go some time in April. I’m from Sydney, so I get that winter paralysis, where I just stay in my house and read, and write, and quilt.

        I love the Cambridge Quilt shop, but you’d need a car (Ibelieve there’s some combination of the T and buses that you can use to get there, but it gets too confusing for me.) I love it more for the people than the fabric. If you go down to the edge of the South End (Broadway T Stop side) there’s a lovely little store called Grey’s, and Sarah, who runs it, is just lovely. Across from there, there’s also a shop that sells wool and beads if you’re interested in that. Sarah’s store is more of a dress making shop, but she does stock some amount of quilt weight cotton and is delightful to talk to.

        Near to Wellesley (sort of) is the Fabric Place Basement in Natick. They don’t stock designer fabrics, and their solids are a similar price to most online stores, but they have a huge assortment of what seem to me to be rather random selection of quilt prints that are great for stash additions.

        I hope you still feel at home here. I apologize for the lousy weather, for which I am, of course, solely responsible. It’s actually warmer today than it has been in a few days.

        I have to recommend the bar that my husband/photographer works at. The food is surprisingly good and inexpensive (for Boston standards) and you can bring the kids in when it’s not a time when people are usually drinking. It’s called the Barracuda and it’s on Bosworth, just off Tremont and next to the Omni. Nick will be there tonight and until six tomorrow, so if you stop by and introduce yourself, he’ll take care of you (he’s the really, really tall one).

        I hope you have a lovely trip! – Jane

      • whew! Finally home and back to sort of normal…

        We had a wonderful trip, and it feels like we didn’t sit down for the entire week. I am BEAT.

        The Quilts in Color exhibit was AMAZING. I could have spent days in there. I’ll be posting loads of photos from it later this week… Sadly, we didn’t make it to the ISGM. We just ran out of time…for all sorts of things.

        Also, we didn’t get to see your husband, or to any fabric or yarn stores. (That last part was probably really good for my budget- eating out all week has done in all my discretionary spending through the summer, sigh.) thank you for all the good ideas. I am pretty certain that the cambridge quilt shop is my first ever fabric store from back in the day.

        I’m hoping we’ll be back sooner rather than later, and with a more leisurely schedule. And then maybe i could meet you!

        I didn’t realize somehow that you were from Sydney- the winter must have been hell for you! I am so sorry! We have relatively nice weather for almost our entire stay…

        -Sam

        On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 10:19 AM, Diary of a Madfabriholic wrote:

        >

      • Sorry for the super slow response. I’ve been ridiculously busy of late. Still haven’t been able to make it down to the MFA, but Nick’s managed to get two days a week off, rather than the one he had before, so hopefully we can do it in the next few weeks.

        I’m so pleased that you had a great trip. Sorry it wasn’t nicer for you guys, but we’re still getting the occasional 40-something degree day, so I think it will take a while until we finally hit spring.

        It does get super expensive to eat out all the time, but it’s so impossible to avoid it when not at home.

        Please do let me know when you’re back in town. We really should go shopping/browsing and talk quilty things if you have the time.

        I don’t tend to talk to much about personal stuff on the blog, so there’s no list of all the places I’ve lived or anything. This was definitely my worst winter so far. Hopefully we won’t have any repeats for a while. I’ve been here almost four years, and there was sort of half a winter in the beginning of 2009. I really wish it would hurry and warm up. Unfortunately I’ve got a busy month planned, so any dreams of a tropical holidays are some way off.

        – Jane

  12. What a cute top, I love the rainbow kitties!

  13. I LOVE your cats. You have taken the pattern and instructions and gone beyond – adding your own flair. Your fabric choices are perfect (I may be biased because it includes some if my favorites like Mirror ball and Kaffe). Fabulous job.

  14. Love both of your finished tops!
    I’m just a quilter, though I guess most people would look at my stuff and label me a traditionalist…

  15. Dropped in from Sarah’s blog. I’m chuckling because I posted about cats this week as well. Always a good subject. LUV the quilt–the gray makes such a good background to those beautiful fabrics. I agree with the above comments–who needs labels? Trends are over-rated.
    best from Tunisia,
    nadia

  16. Oh, I adore this quilt! I love the layout with the different colors! You did a lovely job on this! :)

    Thank you for linking up to Fabric Frenzy Friday!
    -Lindsey
    Fabric Frenzy Friday

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