The Lives And Times Of A Quilter's Cats

Random thoughts of three or four cats and I about the importance of wearing slippers if you happen to share your home with a quiltmaker who drops pins, and other similar and related nonsense, from fabric to gardening and of course, about the cats who inspire all this madness. En inglés y en español.

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Location: Idaho, United States

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Of Miniature Cats and Miniature Quilts

Phoebe is the middle cat of the crowder. She's the ordinary, common run of the mill tabby, a stereotypical cat, aloof, antisocial and crabby. But I think to even things out, she got the super cute factor going for her. She never grew much (well, her girth did go up quite a bit when she hit two). She's nearly nine years old now and she still looks very much like a kitten. There is something about her that makes her irresistible, no doubt it's the miniature size and her miniature meows. Phoebe hates the world outside the front door and everything connected to it. She has the deepest dislike for strangers (stranger = anyone who comes in the front door and doesn't sleep here on a regular basis)

The last few years, I've been drawn to small quilt blocks. Most everything I've done is six inches or smaller. One of the first quilts I made after getting Phoebe was a miniature cat wallhanging. It just kept going from there. The latest quilt I finished is a miniature as well. The blocks are three inches and it's going to hopefully travel all over the USA. A reproduction of a Civil War soldier's quilt that will get to visit places neither Phoebe nor I will be likely to see anywhere in the foreseable future. It's a "travel bug", an item that will be moved and seen by many strangers from place to place ( It's a scary yet exciting idea, and when the little quilt returns back home, it will have signatures in the back from those who have helped it along the way. It has been one of the hardest quilts to let go of, not knowing whether or not I'll ever see it again. I plan on keeping its own journal, a history of the travels and the places it goes to and the people that help it along the way. This might end up being the most interesting quilt I own in spite of being so small. Phoebe might also just be the most interesting cat of the crowder, a small cat with a big personality.

Phoebe es la mediana del grupo. Es una gata parda corriente y moliente, una gata puro estereotipo, antisocial, solitaria y con mala leche. Pero para igualar la partida, tiene el factor "monísima" muy marcado. No creció mucho (bueno, en anchura si que ha crecido desde los dos años). Tiene casi nueve años y todavía parece una gatita. Tiene algo que la hace irresistible, posiblemente su tamaño miniatura y sus mini miaus. Phoebe odia el mundo desde la puerta hacia afuera, y todo lo conectado con extraños. Para ella un extraño es cualquier persona que no duerme en esta casa. Odia a todo el mundo.

Durante los úlitmos años me han atraido los quilts en miniatura. Casi todo lo que he cosido han sido bloques de seis pulgadas o menos. Uno de los primeros quilts que hice cuando llegó Phoebe fue uno con bloques de gatos en miniatura y el último que he terminado también es una miniatura. Los bloques miden tres pulgadas y espero que viaje por todos los EEUU. Es una reproducción en miniatura de un quilt para soldado de la guerra entre los estados que espero viaje a sitios donde ni Phoebe ni yo tendremos posibilidad de ir en el futuro. Es un "bicho viajero", un objeto que será visto y tocado por muchos extraños mientras va de sitio a sitio ( En cierto modo, es una idea que da un poco de miedo pero mucha alegría a la vez, y si el quilt vuelve a casa, tendrá las firmas de los que le han ayudado a viajar. Ha sido uno de los que me ha costado más separarme, no sabiendo a ciencia cierta si lo veré en mis manos otra vez. Estoy pensando en hacer un diario de sus viajes, una historia de los sitios que visite y de la gente que lo vaya moviendo. Puede que acabe siendo el quilt más interesante de los que he hecho hasta ahora, a pesar de su tamaño. Phoebe puede que también sea el gato más intersante del grupo: una gata muy pequeña con una personalidad muy grande.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Of Shrillbert and Nearly Insane

Originally uploaded by mlbatres.

"She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?" (Norman Bates, Psycho).

If there is such thing as reincarnation, Shrillbert, the youngest cat in the crowder is Norman Bates reincarnated in a light version wearing a cat coat. His attachment to me is uncanny. I can almost hear him say "moooooooother!!!" when he meows.

Shillbert is very passionate about everything he does, whether meowing or wanting attention or mauling his cat toys. Shrillbert came in 3 years ago now. His first memory of living indoors must be me sitting while quilting my Dear Jane. It didn't take him very long to figure out whatever was in the quilting hoop got my undivided attention. Soon he was sitting inside the hoop every time I took the quilt off. That is very much our story the last three years. He gets what he wants just about all the time.

As of lately, he's been getting between me and the light when I am hand piecing blocks. I've been piecing blocks for a Nearly Insane quilt for the last two and a half years, just recently having reached mid point. I wonder how much of Shrill's passion has rubbed on me, or for that matter, how much of his insanity. Each block is like a little quilt all on its own. Naming quilts is not an easy thing, at least for me, but after having pieced a few of these little blocks, I knew it had to be Gone Bananas, Be Back Shortly. Shrillbert's insanity is contagious, obviously. I hope his passion is as well.

"Ella está un poco loca a veces. Todos nos volvemos un poco locos a veces. Y tú? (Norman Bates, Psicosis)

Si la reencarnación existe, Shrillbert, el gato más joven del grupo, es Norman Bates reencarnado en una versión light con abriguito de pieles. Me quiere en extremo. A veces creo oirle decir "Maaaaadreeee" cuando maulla.

Shrillbert es pasional en todo lo que hace, maullando, pidiendo atención o rompiendo sus juguetes. Entró hace tres años ahora. Sus primeras memorias de la casa deben ser de mí acolchando Dear Jane. No tardó mucho en darse cuenta de que lo que estuviese en el bastidor recibía mi atención completa. Desde entonces se sienta en el bastidor cuando no tiene un edredón. Es la historia de los tres ultimos años. Shrillbert recibe todo lo que quiere casi siempre.

Ultimamente se mete entre mi flexo y yo cuando estoy cosiendo. Llevo cosiendo a mano bloques para el Nearly Insane dos años y medio, llevo más o menos la mitad hechos. Me pregunto si la pasión de Shrillbert se me ha pegado, o su locura. Cada bloque es un edredón en pequeño. Poner nombre a un edredón nunca me ha resultado fácil, pero con éste casi desde el principio sabía que se iba a llamar "Me he vuelto loca, enseguida vuelvo". Obviamente, la locura de Shrillbert es contagiosa. Espero que su pasión también lo sea.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's Superbowl Sunday

And so far, it seems like any other Sunday if you are a quiltmaker's cat. I've dished out their breakfast, had my first cup of coffee and read the mail and the newspaper. While millions will sit at home glued to their television screens, the quiltmaker's cats will have a different sort of Superbowl Sunday. No parties, no noise coming from the tv, no deli platters to steal cold cuts from (I can almost hear Tito's sighs, he's a born urchin-stealing-pedigreed-sort of cat).

One thing is for sure, the quiltmaker's cats know that there will be some stitching happening today. I'm torn between quilting some on Paula's little doll quilt or piecing a Nearly Insane block. Who will win? Paula's little quilt has turned into one of the smallest nightmares I've ever made. It's been a project in the works for the last two + years. I have to finish it, else she'll be too old to play with dolls. I put borders on it, got the last bit of the appliqué sewn, basted it, started to quilt it and realized that I should have taken the time to grade the seams. The blocks are small, the quilting is painful because of all the seam allowances. I am finding excuses to put it in the backburner again. Finishing it will be the battle of must vs. I'd rather be.

Es el domingo del Superbowl. Y de momento parece cualquier otro domingo si eres un gato de una quilter. Les he dado el desayuno, me he tomado mi primera taza de café, he leido el correo y el periódico. Mientras millones se sentarán delante de la tele en sus casas, los gatos de la quilter tendrán un domingo diferente. Ni fiestas, ni ruido de la tele, ni platos de embutido de los que puedan robar (casi puedo oir a Tito quejándose, es un pícaro-ladrón-de pedigrí).

Una cosa es segura: los gatos de la quilter ya saben que va a haber costura hoy. Estoy sin decidirme ent