The Easy Cat Quilting Block
This is a wonderful block for beginners. It is very easy. It also exposes the new quilter to working with black. Black is often a difficult color for new quilters. When you are holding the delicate pastel of the cat in your hand, it can be hard to imagine putting black in the block. However, once you do it, you get it.
I also like this block because it is fun to go through scraps and find two fabrics that match (for the cat and the frame), and use them up. I matched the aqua color, but you could use opposites, such as an orange calico for the cat print and a frame of blue, or you could just make them random.
I try and cut most of my strips at 1 1/2 inches raw or 2 1/2 inches raw, to keep my scraps all in simple measurements. The block above finishes at 12 1/2 inches, and the border strips are cut at 12 1/2 inches raw, so it is great for simple measurement scraps.
This quilt doesn't have grids, but you can make it smaller by reducing the size of the pieces. For instance, if you want to make the block exactly half as big, the frame strips would be cut 1 1/2 inches wide, raw. (Remember that the 1/4 inch seam allowance does not change. Divide the finished size in half, and then and the 1/4 inch seam allowances again.)
Here is the way to piece this block to finish at 12 1/2 inches.
For the cat head (where the eyes go), cut a piece of the cat body fabric 3 x 4 1/2 inches raw.
The block above that, the ear block, is cut from the black, or background fabric. Cut that piece 2 x 4 1/2 inches raw. You are now going to use the snowball method to make the ears. Cut two 2 x 2 inch raw squares from the cat fabric. Put them on the ends of the rectangle, and sew diagonally, as described on the snowball page.
Sew the two parts of the cat head together. Press the direction the seam wants to go- toward the large rectangle.
Now cut the black square to the right of the cat head 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches raw. Sew this block to the cat head.
Next cut the rectangle for the body of the cat at 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches raw. Then cut one small black square 2 x 2 inches raw. Again, using the snowball method, attach it to the top right corner of the rectangle.
Sew the top half of the block to the bottom half of the block. Press the seam up.
All that is left to do is attach the 2 1/2 inch raw strips to the side and top. The side strip is cut 2 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches raw, and the top 2 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches raw.
If you are making a wallhanging, think about adding a collar, and embellishing the face. If you are making a quilt, you can make the quilt more interesting using a variety of colors. Even the most simple block looks interesting when you vary the fabrics and colors.
Flower prints would look great in the frame. I think the cat would also look pretty sitting behind flowers and plants. You could fussy cut a flower print (backed with adhesive), and just iron it on top of the block. Or you could appliqué it on top.
You can do a lot of fun things with this easy block to give it personality.