Stairway to cat heaven

January 3rd, 2015

Done! OK, so maybe I’ll think of a place to add a touch more - like the light part of the moon, but I declare this quilt DONE!!!!

January 2, 2015

I finished my task for today, which was to hand stitch the binding down. Now I can go back to adding details and I need to do some quilting in the border.

January 1, 2015

I’ve got the main area done except for adding more little embroidered details. So now I’m working on putting a border and the binding on. I can keep adding details, as we used to say, “until the cows come home.” Once I get the binding done, I’ll have to decide what to quilt in the borders - maybe some stars, but who knows?

My current project update December 26

After consulting with the intended recipients, I made some changes in my plan. It occurred to me that although I like the scrappy look, they might prefer something more sedate, and I was right. This dark blue cloth has gold flecks in it that make me think of stars, so we’re going to use that. My original plan was to do the cats with painted fabric to look like theirs, but I’m going to do the cats in a gray batik that I have so that it won’t be confusing with the busyness of the stairs.


I have been looking at the web page by Sherri Lynn Wood ( and, at the same time, thinking about how I want to approach a project I’ve been gathering fabric to work on for about a year. My starter pattern is Stairway to Cat Heaven ( Starter, not because it’s for beginners, because it’s not, but because when I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one for my youngest son and his wife who are cat lovers.

The thing is, I’m not good at sticking to the instructions. I’m always wanting to tweak it. So, I set it aside and, now and then, picked up a fabric I thought would work in it.

Now I should tell you about the cats. Rob and Cori have had four of them: George and Callie (litter-mates rescued from a pet shelter), Miss Balthazar (also a shelter rescue) and Kobi. Kobi’s story is more complicated. I don’t know where he was when my oldest son’s grad school roommate adopted him. Since the roommate lived outside the US, my youngest son took Kobi to cat-sit for the summer. Then, back to Savannah. When the roommate left, my oldest son kept the cat. But when he graduated and left the US, Kobi went back to Louisville. When Rob and Cori got married, the place where they were living didn’t allow pets, so all the cats got farmed out. When they finally got a place of their own, the cats got together again, all but George, who had made a mad dash out of the house and went right in front of a moving car. Now, you’ve got to appreciate George. I always said that George was God in cat form. All he ever wanted was to love and be loved. So, he returned to cat heaven, I guess.   Kobi went to join George last week. Calli and Miss Balthi continue to reside with Rob and Cori, but they’re also getting old.

So, back to the quilt. When Kobi died, I thought about this quilt again. I figure it’s time to make it. And, I was looking at Sherri has different projects on her page, but three quilt-alongs caught my eye. She has aKeepsake quilt-along, that’s a memory quilt project to help people in the process of grieving. She has a Mod Mood quilt-along -  the picture for that is curvy - it’s about moods, colors and free-form quilting. And, she has an I Ching quilt-along, also a meditative project and a quilting project. I looked at them, read them over and went to bed.

In the morning, the lights came on in my head. The brick wall in the Stairway to cat heaven lends itself to the I Ching process. The night sky lends itself to the Mod Mood quilt. And, of course, it’s a memory quilt, too. I’m not much into the meditative part of the quilt-alongs. I can meditate while I work on the hand quilting, although I also anticipate that this quilt will combine some machine quilting with the hand work. I spent most of Saturday reading about I Ching and how to do it, and sorting my fabric into two piles, brick wall and sky. Then I sorted the wall fabric into Yin and Yang, but not really strictly Yin and Yang since they’re all dark. I cut long strips, subcut them, and began to toss the coins, building up a nice list of numbers. Now for the sewing. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Somewhere into the process, the quilt whispered to me that I needed another color to separate the coin tosses, a color that would bring some light. I have lights in the split rows - the ones of changing Yin and changing Yang, but it needed more. So the lighter blue rows add a nice accent. I don’t always listen to the coin toss. If the quilt tells me that it’s time to do a split row, I listen.  So, back to sewing.

Here’s the stairway pieced. I hung it upside down, so I’ve reversed the photo to get the stairway right side up.

And here’s part of the night sky, pinned on top of the stairway. I may need to take out a bit of the fullness of the wedges for it to lay flat. I’ll look at that tomorrow.

Oh, it’s Kobi and Balthi on the Christmas tree skirt on that page of this blog. Here’s George and Callie:

© Janet 2013