The owl and pussycat applique quilt is obviously named with the Edward Lear poem in mind:
The owl and the pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful peagreen boat
They took some honey and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five pound note
I had originally been fascinated by the clear, simple lines of the owl sculptures placed all round Birmingham, but then I began to hear ‘the owl and the pussycat’ in my mind and so I added some cats to the quilt – and then I couldn’t resist using green boat fabric for the border.
I’ve used five owl blocks made in bright coloured fabrics, two cat blocks showing the backs of the cats and two different cat blocks showing the fronts of the cats. I drew the owls myself in EQ7 – it’s the first time that I have used the free drawing part of it – but I have used EQ7 images for the two cat blocks. I tried really hard to put the three templates together in one document, but the technology defeated me, so there are three links for the templates: back cat, front cat and owl. In the owl template there is a small V in the middle of his forehead – ignore this and just carry the curve straight across his head.
The owl and pussycat applique quilt measures 35″ wide by 44″ long. I have made nine blocks using 9.1/2″ by 12.1/2″ rectangles of light coloured fabric for the background. I cut the applique shapes from nine rectangles 8.1/2″ by 11.1/2″. I’ve used 1.1/4 yards of background fabric, 1/2 yard of the border fabric and sundry scraps for the applique shapes. You’ll also need some fusible both sides interfacing to help your owls and pussycats to lie flat on the background rectangles.
Making the applique blocks
Press rectangles of interfacing to the backs of both the background rectangles and the applique rectangles to add some body to the fabrics. I’ve used Mistyfuse because that’s a nice thin interfacing that doesn’t add too much bulk to the blocks, but everyone has their own favourite interfacing. The important thing is that it’s fusible on both sides for the applique fabrics.
Print the templates, cut round the outlines of the shapes and then draw them on to card. This makes it easier to draw the shapes on to the fabric.
You’ll need two cats from each template, but you can make them mirror images of each other by flipping the template when you draw it on the second fabric rectangle – you can see what I mean in the photo, where the tail is on the right in one block and on the left in the other block.
You need five owls – they have no tails so are much easier to cut and to sew!
Cut out the nine applique shapes and press one on to each background rectangle. You’ll find a Goddess sheet or some kind of protection will help to stop your ironing board getting covered with interfacing.
Sewing the applique blocks
I’ve used a loose satin stitch to go round the outlines of the shapes. On my sewing machine, the settings were 3.5 for stitch width and 0.5 for stitch length. I used the same blue thread for all of the outlines: in the photo the left hand cat hasn’t yet been sewn, but the right hand one has.
For the owls I then satin stitched across the neckline and down the sides for the wings.
For the claws I used the same satin stitch to make three lines on each side of the base of the owl. I’m not sure how effective these are, but I’m sure you’ll think of a better way to depict the claws.
Then I just needed to add large yellow circles and small black circles for the eyes, with a shape for the beak. I drew round an egg cup for the yellow circles and a coin for the black circles.
I added nothing extra to the back views of the cats (the blue blocks), but for the front view cats I cut out two pink shapes for the ears, a small black triangle for the nose and black and yellow circles for the eyes. These are all just fused in place at the moment with Mistyfuse, although I will sew them in place eventually.
I used a darker thread to outline the front legs and the neckline with satin stitch and for the mouth I just embroidered two curved lines from the nose.
The rows of the owl and pussycat applique quilt
The blocks are sewn together in three rows of three. For row one you’ll need two owl blocks placed either side of a front cat block.
For row two you need a back cat on either side of an owl, while for the third row you need an owl on either side of the remaining front cat applique block.
Sew the blocks together across the rows and then sew the rows to each other.
For the border I have used 4.1/2″ strips of a green boat fabric (the pea green boat of the poem). You’ll need two lengths of 27.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 44″ for the sides.
That completes the owl and pussycat applique quilt top. It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding. Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my version of owls and pussycats – I certainly enjoyed making this quilt but I know that this is very different from the usual quilts that I show you.
Here’s the video: