Cat Laps

If you follow my work, you know that from time to time I fixate on a pattern, a fabric line, a pattern maker or a concept. Really, I have a couple obsessions going at any one time. Esther Aliu applique patterns? Totally fixated. Klimt fabric? I might not be completely over that one yet. Purple? Purple is taking a break, but don’t count it out!

My recent Tale of 9 Cats quilt got such a big reception that I have been inspired to do a series of cat-themed quilts, lap sized quilts to make the cat lovers in my orbit happy. I am calling them Cat Laps. This inspiration is further fueled by the quilt shop that I discovered less than a mile away! (Now this may be a dangerous thing, but hey what is a little danger to an intrepid quilter?) The Shibori Dragon is a tiny, but packed to the rafters and amazingly well organized quilt shop that features Shibori supplies, shibori-themed fabrics and Japanese fabrics. It is glorious.

And then (as if I wasn’t already inspired enough) my quilting partner dug up this free pattern called Kimono Rose that goes together in lightning time and features Japanese fabrics. And it even has a bit of applique! You can find the pattern here at

The pattern! Kimono Rose.

After dropping some serious coin at Shibori Dragon and leaving with fabric for three quilts, I dug right into Kimono Rose. Yes, I will make three Kimono Cat Laps. The first time I make a pattern is all about learning the pattern. How the directions read, how well it goes together, how the fabrics and colors work. I try to follow the pattern the first time. The second time is about using what I have learned to really put my own twist on it and perhaps make a few “design modifications”. The third time making a pattern is time to really go for it and just have fun!

Lovely fabrics from Shibori Dragon!

Up first is Cat + Koi #1, which features a cat fabric that I fell in love with in a pink/burgundy color way. (I purchased three color ways!) My central fabric has aqua/teal as well and I am using some grunge aqua metallic from stash for one of the sashings. The Cat + Koi pairing promises a bit of tension in the subject matter, a little tongue in cheek humor. But be assured that no koi were harmed in the making of this quilt.

To further play on the dynamic tension inherent in Cats + Koi. I decided to give the Koi a starring role in the arrangement of panels. At first, the Koi seem dominant, swimming lazily in a beautiful dobby weave with lovely texture. And then (cue the scary music) you realize that there are a few cats watching them. Well, now that you look, there are a dozen cats watching them! And then in the checkerboard print there are more cats. Tiny cats, but cats none the less. Yikes! I chose a burgundy grunge metallic to provide some nice wide spaces to provide lots of nice FMQ space between the wonderful Japanese fabrics.

Some close up of the fabrics…

Note the tiny cats in the block fabric!
I first appliquéd the half frames with a matching white thread, and then used a teal twist thread to applique around the turned edge half frames.
The full frames are appliquéd with a matching off white thread, and then over stitched with a metallic bright gold in a bi-directional blanket stitch.
Closeup of the cat in frame with metallic stitching.
Those big Koi are so beautifully positioned, you can almost see them swimming!
Pink Cat is watching those koi intently!

Kimono Rose uses the long length of the fabric for the panels, without piecing, which means that there is a lot leftover, (Fabric manufacturers like their pattern designs to maximum fabric purchases!) so I used leftovers from the center panel for the outside panels as well. I decided not to use the fan appliqués in the pattern for this version as they did not quite fit with Cat/Koi theme.

A word of warning if you use this pattern, the frame pieces did not fit together easily and I wound up reserving one section to trim so that they would fit better. There are still a few subtle overlaps to help the fit of the sections. The pattern also uses narrow strips of fabric between the frame sections (the better to hide ill fitting sections!), but I chose to use the bi-directional blanket stitch as between the sections.

The basic pattern does make up quickly and everything in the pieced part of the pattern fits well. Just be certain to measure your pieces precisely!

And here is the completed quilt top, which measures 56 x 64″.

Time to get this little beauty under my quilting needle! Play time!

Happy quilting to all!


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