Friday, February 11, 2011

The cat pillow

One of my favorite books ever is Neal Stephenson's Crytptonomicon. In it Enoch Root talks to Bobby Shaftoe about Shaftoe's morphine addiction, saying "the Germans would describe you as Morphiumsuchtig. The verb suchen means to seek. So that might be translated, loosely, as 'morphine seeky'."  I like to think of my cats as w√§rme suchte, or heat seeky. It's cuter than heat seeking but also suggests that they're pretty sneaky about it, stealing your spot on the bed or couch when you get up, pushing things off counters to be closer to heat registers. If they could reach the thermostat, you know it would be 28°C in here all the time. So when we moved a space heater into the kitchen, near the kitchen chair, you know that became a favorite spot.

And you know I had to make a cushion.

I've been seeing a lot of fun dresden plate blocks out there, and they were suddenly looking modern and fun, not grandma. So a dresden it was, with a simpler back. In orange and pink, of course. Our kitchen is white with big doses of pale aqua (love my beach glass corian counters!) and pale grey. It just screams for orange!

While there are a ton of great tutorials for dresden blocks out there, I've put together my own since I felt I had a couple of ideas that no one has posted yet.  If you want to check out my tute, click on "read more" below!


These instructions are for a 12" by 12" block

Materials:
20 scraps of fabric at least 2½" by 4¼" for the wedges (hey fat stash bee-ers!  the template I send is a bit bigger, so your scraps need to be, too - at least 5" long)
1 piece of fabric at least 5" b 5" for the plate centre
1 piece of fabric 13" by 13" for the background

Print then cut out your templates.  Tape your wedge template to the back of your ruler (a).


Cut all your wedge scraps into 2½" by 4¼" rectangles. 

Lining up the top and bottom of the wedge template with the shorter edges of the fabric rectangles, trim one side of the wedge (b).  Flip the fabric over and trim the other (my pictures show two pieces of fabric, wrong sides together, cut at the same time) (c).


Fold one of your wedges in half along its length, matching corners.  Sew the widest end of the wedge together with a ¼" seam allowance, reversing to anchor your stitches at the fold (D).  Clip the seam allowance at the fold end as shown in (e).  Repeat with the remaining 19 wedge pieces.


Turn the sewn wedge pieces right side out, hiding the seam allowance and resulting in a point at the top of the wedge (f).


Now that your wedge pieces are sewn, it's time to play with their layout!  Arrange them until it's perfect, then, if you have a digital camera, take a picture (g).  This will give you something to refer to if the pieces get mixed up.  Section the wedges into 4 groups of 5 wedges (h), then sew those groups together.



Sew the wedges together, backstitching at the pointed end to secure the seam (i).  Press seams open to reduce bulk (j).  Sew the 4 sections together.

Pin the circle of wedges to your backing fabric then attach using a decorative stitch such as a zigzag or buttonhole or a blind hem stitch for the least visible finish.


Trace the circle pattern onto freezer paper and iron to the back of your center fabric.  Cut around the freezer paper circle, leaving a ¼" seam allowance.  Using starch, press the seam allowance to the back of the circle.  Pin in the centre of the wedges and stitch on as per the wedge ring. Done!


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