Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Or insert winter holiday of your choice. We're not picky! =)

As I commented in my previous post, my mother definitely helps 'feed the need' when it comes to fabric. One of my gifts this year was 10 fat quarters, 7 as a set and 3 just for fun, and  a beeswax holder for conditioning thread for handsewing.

She and I always wreak havoc when we set foot in a fabric store. Neither she nor my husband are appropriate chaperonage, it seems. Both of them seem to have ideas for projects for me, so the stash never seems to get smaller!

Hopefully once the baby is here, and has given us a little breather, I'll be able to start planning and sewing more items for my shop. It will be a good challenge for me, and one that I am looking forward to.

Speaking of the baby, we found out on Wednesday we are having a boy! We are all very excited, although my daughter would have preferred a sister for Christmas. =) Baby boys are not very common in my husband's family, so knowing that family name will continue makes the whole family very happy. We still hope to someday be able to move back to his hometown, even if we don't continue in the family business.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season, and best wishes for everything you need in the the new year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How many yards is that?

aka Why my husband doesn't believe me when I say I don't have the right fabric for a project...

So I started out with a box of fabric like this:

And using Happy Zombie's fabric folding methods (found here) as suggested by Amy at Park City Girl ended up with this:

And trimmed the scraps into strips, squares & triangles resulting in this:

I've been working on it for a few weeks, here & there as I have time. Now that I can *see* what I have, maybe I can finally get it all used up. This is the risk you run when you (used to) work at a fabric shop and get a 30% discount on everything. That, and my mother is also a seamstress, so she sends me her leftovers from costuming. I love getting packages from her, as I never know what goodies will emerge!

Next step, getting our friend who offered to install the flooring to come out so that I can finish my work room & get all my sewing supplies out of the baby's room. We find out Wednesday what we're having, and I want to get started on painting & decorating that room! =)

But for now, I'll keep working out of boxes. Next project- get the community project quilts for my daughter's school finished. I'll post those when they're done, too.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

12 Days of Catmas

This fun wall hanging quilt evolved from shopping during a trip to a quilt show back in 2003. If you haven't met my mom, all you really need to know is that she *is* the crazy cat lady.

We found this fabric, all cats in groupings that are plays on verses from 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', like 'Ten Toms a-Peeping' or 'A Tabby-cat in a Pear Tree'.

The base of the quilt is a log cabin wreath, and the motifs are appliqued on using fusible web and then machine stitched down. The quilting was all done with embroidery thread to give a little shimmer to the finished product.

It only took me 5 years to actually get it finished- not too shabby, right? =)

Holiday Traditions Quilt Contest

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sky Pirate

Logahn made his grand entrance to the world on 10/30/09, and his quilt was finished and delivered 10/31/09. Mom & Dad were thrilled, and they loved the back of the quilt, where I had planned a little surprise for them.

I am very happy with how the alternating diamonds worked out on this quilt. Not sure I want to make this pattern again any time soon, but they love it, so it was worth it.

The back of the quilt is pirate themed (hence the name, Sky Pirate), and the fabrics bordering the center are the fabrics Mom & Dad used for their binding for their handfasting ceremony. They knew nothing of what I had planned for this part.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2 new items on Etsy

I was able to finish up two of my mini-quilts the week before I had to go to PA, but never got a chance to photograph them for Etsy until yesterday. Here they are!

Garden Paths

Garden Square

Ok, so I'm running out of naming ideas for any garden-themed block. ;-)

As you might guess, I had started a quilt with a number of mini-blocks, but the quilt never materialized, so I am turning the blocks into trivets and selling them by themselves. My hope is that they will bring traffic to the shop, and will provide good smaller items for the craft shows, when I am able to start setting up at them.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's been a hard week...

I've been awful quiet for a few weeks, due to business, and family needs. My grandmother, the recipient of my first quilt, passed away last Monday the 19th. She was 80 years old, and passed away on her mother's birthday. My daughter's 9th birthday was Tuesday.

I'm glad I flew out to PA to say goodbye, but it was hard to see her in hospice. Maybe she knew we were there, I don't know. But she's at peace now, with grandpa & the various dogs & cats she had over the years.

I love you grandma. I'll keep the quilt and pillow in my steamer trunk from grandpa.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baby Quilts #2 and #3

I've been a little remiss in posting, but I was working furiously on getting these two baby quilts finished in time for the respective showers. Both moms were thrilled, and I'm glad they're done!

Land of Lincoln

I used the block 'Cross in a Cross' and did an on-point setting. I'm very happy with how this one turned out. The back (silly me forgot to photograph) is all auto shop tools, as dad is a welder & gearhead.

I did a simple quilting following the inside of the squares on the quilt, using varigated thread.

Lily Pads

This darling is the Monkey Wrench block done in batiks, and tied to finish. I generally don't tie baby quilts, but this one just wasn't lending itself to being quilted in any way that made me happy, the night before the shower.

So there you go. A two-fer this morning! Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cattails Quilts has a new home!

Or at least a door to the new home. My darling husband took it upon himself to have my logo turned into a stencil for the door to my workroom as an anniversary gift. We painted it Saturday morning, and while it's not complete, I'm very happy with it.

What do you think? We will be adding a border & the name eventually, but this was the goal for Saturday morning, as we had people invading that night.

And I suppose this post should have come before 'Sky Pirate', in honoRRRRR of tomorrow & all, but I was just happy to have the quilt completed!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sky Pirate

So you all get to see the finished top before the mom & dad do, but that's ok, they don't mind! =D The name may not make sense at the moment, but when the back is pieced & finished it will. The alternate name for this quilt is 'Logahn in the Sky with Diamonds', as dad is a huge music fan.

I am very, very happy with how this quilt turned out. I have some ideas on how to make it better the next time I attempt this pattern.

I hope you like it, I know they will!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quilt Testimonial: Royal Retreat

Here is the first commissioned quilt I completed. Unfortunately, the photo does not do it justice, but the combination of the burgundys and golds is stunning, and the floral on black print just tied it all together. The ladies whom this quilt was for were quite happy with the results!

From Cattails Quilts
"The quilt Elaine made for us was exactly what we were
looking for. She took our very vague directions and
turned them into a beautiful addition to our home.
Every step of the way she wanted to be sure we were
pleased with her direction, gave us the option to
change our minds infinite times and was always very
forthcoming about her progress. We felt very much
involved in the creation of our quilt and as a result
are extremely pleased with the final work. Elaine's
intuitive sense of color and matching patterns is very
much evident in her work. When she showed us the
first sample square, we were so pleased at both her
instincts about what we wanted and her creative
impulses on the color matching and such. She is a
very skilled seamstress and a lovely artist to work

Jodi Clark & Jenny Karstad, Marlboro, VT

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Unnamed Baby Quilt #1

Progress has been made!

From this:

To this:
Only 11 more to go. Still not quite sure how I managed to draft such a complicated pattern for myself. Only 336 pieces in the quilt top (counting each Half-Square Triangle as a single unit, since I strip-pieced them.) Did I mention I'm insane? And I hate HST's. With a passion. And there are 192 of them in the quilt.

Oh, and as far as I can tell (or remember), I drafted this mess on my own. Maybe I had inspiration from another quilt, but I think this block mess is my own making. When it's done, there will be alternating diamonds, black with lavender centers and white with purple centers, and the criss-crossing grey stripes should have a woven look to them.

I don't know why I do this to myself, but I know they'll love it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We have a foyer!

The boxes have been relocated: some that are items I don't need right away into the new workroom, others that have projects that need to be done have been moved to the baby's room. We figure it's at least 10 months before there will be any occupant for said room, so I can use it for a temporary workspace until my workroom is finished.

Three baby quilts to get made in the next 2 months, as well as 6 quilts for my Etsy shop. Another baby quilt for February, and a bridal party for next fall, I've got quite a bit on my plate!

All this and a full time job too! Life is good. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sorry I've been so quiet...

But packing is a bitch! Ok, so I've been mostly offline for the last month because the hubby & I were finally able to buy a house. So it's been a month full of packing, more packing, stress, more stress, and a few injuries to boot. I sprained my ankle by rolling it on the stairs in the new house, about 78 hours after we closed on it, about 60 hours before the movers were to arrive. And we weren't done packing yet. Fun, huh?

All of my myriad sewing supplies are in those boxes you see up there. All sitting in the hallway, outside my glorious new workroom, waiting for the new flooring to be installed. Some of it will be moved upstairs to the baby's room (s/he won't need it for at least 9 months yet!), so that I can work until I do have my workspace set up, but it is very frustrating having it all so close, yet not really usable yet.

So hopefully tonight we can move a few things upstairs so I can work, and get a few more boxes unpacked.

Monday, July 6, 2009


So, my family is comprised of geeks & nerds. My brother forwarded me this link for TGIMBOEJ (aka The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronic Junk), and it got me thinking- What if us quilters/costumers/general sewers got together and started The Great Internet Migratory Box of Sewing Paraphernalia?

The premise is whatever fits in the USPS large Priority Mail flat-rate shipping box ships. You sign up on a site to be a recipient, and when the box reaches you, you take out a few items that appeal to you, and add in some new ones from your stash. Then you log the travels of the box, and ship it off to the next recipient, ideally within a 2-3 week timeframe.

The contents could be anything, from embroidery floss you bought for one cross-stitch, trim leftover from your latest costume, scraps from that baby quilt that you couldn't bear to just throw away, to that spool of lime green thread that you needed for one repair project and will never use again.

I'm not entirely sure how I would go about getting this off the ground, but it is certainly a fun-sounding idea!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Best Wishes, Yvonne!

When my daughter's second grade teacher announced at the beginning of the school year that she would be retiring in June, I knew I wanted to do something special for her. After doing all the sewing for 14 people for my September wedding, I needed to take a break from sewing for a few months. Unfortunately, I'm also an accountant, so my 1-2 month break turned into almost 6, and then suddenly the end of the school year was right around the corner.

Fortunately, one of the other moms had done a craft project with the class, and I was able to get the self portraits that all the children had done, and using t-shirt transfers and my ink jet printer, I turned them into quilt blocks. My daughter picked out the fabrics, and off I went! I did a simple sashing around the blocks, and the finished piece was machine quilted in the ditch.

As you can imagine, she was surprised and absolutely stunned. I know that she'll remember this class for many years to come.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New (to me) Quilting Resource Site!

I was recently contacted by Connie of Quilt Qua about being added to her directory of Etsy merchants and quilting blogs. She has compiled quite the collection of quilt related links and resources, and she is still adding to it. There are links for blogs, fabric shops, 'missing fabric' resources (for when you need just one more yard to finish that project, but its been discontinued), guilds, supplies, giveaways, you name it!

From her website:

And welcome to Quilt Qua (definition of qua: In the character of or capacity of). I invite you to enjoy the web site. There are many resources to explore, avenues to advertise your business, and articles to read.

Win: 1 Frosted Memories Fat Quarter Bundle by Holly Taylor for Moda Fabrics !
To enter simply "tell a friend" to spread the word about Quilt Qua. You can send an e-mail to people, post on your blog, comment on someone else's blog, put info in your guild newsletter, etc. Then send an e-mail to: and let me know what you did. Enter as often as you wish. Random drawing for the winner will be at 10 pm July 31st.
Check it out! I'm sure to spend more than a few hours poking around her site.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To err is human...

But when you really foul things up, it usually involves a PC.

I installed a new hard drive in my machine, and in the process of getting it set up, managed to screw up the old hard drive. I was able to run a data recovery tool, but I have to go through each file by hand over the next few weeks to figure out what is worth keeping and what is junk.

Which means that I lost all of my photos from the past 7 years, at least until I can locate my photo archive disk, and then I will have only lost a year's worth of photos.

Unfortunately, that's quite a few photos. I was worried the old drive was ready to die, which is why I bought the new drive. Of course, it was user error that caused this to happen, and I have no one to be mad at but myself, which, I suppose, is better than being ticked off at my darling husband.

Here is a photo, however, from my LiveJournal blog, CattailsQuilts. This is Blue Danube, a bargello wall-hanging quilt in blues & whites that was sold through my Etsy shop.

From Cattails Quilts
I am quite happy with how this turned out. It was the first time I ever attempted a bargello, and I will admit, I was concerned about my seams lining up, but they all came out perfect!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

In honor of the men and women who serve and have served, I post this quilt that I made for my younger brother when he enlisted in the US Marine Corps. I drafted the pattern myself, using half-square triangles to make pinwheel blocks, and alternating those with solid blocks. The back of the quilt is also pieced, using USMC emblem fabric as the focus.

I hand quilted around the EGA of the USMC emblem, and machine stitched 'USA' down the center of the quilt.

This quilt has been to Iraq twice, and now both it and my brother reside safely in Massachusetts.

Thank you to all who have served. I hope you are never forgotten.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Garnet & Freshwater Pearl Choker & Bracelet set

Here's a non-quilt item for sale in my Etsy shop. I like to be able to showcase my wide and varied set of abilities every now and then (by the way, did I mention I'm also a musician and a hockey player?)

From Cattails Quilts

This 16" choker & 6" bracelet set is made with garnet and freshwater pearls, accented with quartz chips and sterling silver beads. Simple yet elegant, it would suit both business and casual wear.

The darling fluffball is our kitten, Bob, who was quite interested in what I was doing that night. He's nearly 3 times that size now, and still quite the lover.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Grandma's Little Helpers

I realized over a VERY busy weekend, that I have neglected to post in a little while! So, without further ado, here is a blast from the past- Grandma's Little Helpers.

This quilt was the very first one I made. I had been working part-time evenings at a fabric store as a way to have some adult interaction while my daughter was an infant. This store is (or at least was at the time) two stories, first floor all decorator fabric, second about 1/2 quilting fabric and the rest notions or dressmaker goods. Many people came through with their quilt projects, and it got me very interested, as I'd been sewing for quite a while, but didn't (and still don't) like making clothes.

So, I picked up a book and fabric, figuring how hard can it be, and dove in. This wild quilt was the result. I had a good time making it, and the quilting has evolved and taken on its own life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sailor Boy Blue Pt. 2

This quilt is now available to purchase in my Etsy shop! I am currently working on the companion quilt to this one, titled Sailor Boy Green. When it is complete, there will be the option to buy both as a set.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sailor Boy Blue

This darling quilt hasn't hit my Etsy site yet, as I am waiting to see if I can accomplish the task of finishing another baby quilt this week. Babies, babies everywhere! I am friends with no less than five couples who are all pregnant and due within the next six months, and there are probably some that I don't know about yet!

This quilt is approximately 36" x 46" and has been machine pieced and machine quilted. I machine sew all the bindings on baby quilts, so that they are more durable.

Closeup of the focus fabric and the machine quilting. I am very happy with the contrast of the red and yellow on this quilt. The blue is quilted with blue thread, for a much more subtle look.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2009

So there is this lovely little online quilt festival that is being hosted by Amy at Park City Girl, and I love showing off this quilt, so what better chance than this?

Presenting: Under Cover of Night

This quilt was created as part of a Block of the Month challenge, and I added my own blocks to it to make a nearly queen-size quilt, the largest I've made to date. The smaller blocks above and below the center star contain blocks that represent the life path I traveled to meet my husband.

The background fabric of each block is a nighttime star field, hence the name. Plus, we're both space nuts, so the theme seemed appropriate.

Each main block was quilted with an astrological symbol. This was also a learning quilt for me- I had just purchased my long-arm quilting machine & frame, and through trial and error learned what I can and cannot do with it.

Even the label has meaning: This quilt was a gift to my husband, started when we had just started dating. The dwarf and elf in the label represent our characters from World of Warcraft, which is how we met (so corny, I know).

I hope you enjoyed this (not-so) little post!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oriental Gardens Mini Quilt

Every quilter has extra bits and pieces left over from projects. I take mine and make mini-quilts that are useful around the house!

This 6-1/2 inch mini-quilt is made with 100% cotton quilting fabric & batting, with a cotton backing. It's just the right size to use as a trivet for a small serving bowl.

Available in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Aventurine, Quartz and Malachite Necklace and Bracelet Set

This 19" choker and 7" bracelet are made with genuine aventurine and quartz chips and malachite 4mm beads accented with sterling silver beads. The toggle clasps are sterling silver.

Available in my Etsy shop!

Trees by the Pond Mini Quilt

Every quilter has extra bits and pieces left over from projects. I take mine and make mini-quilts that are useful around the house!

This 6-1/2 inch mini-quilt is made with 100% cotton quilting fabric & batting, with a cotton backing. It's just the right size to use as a trivet for a small serving bowl.

Cabin in the Garden Trivet Mini-Quilt

Every quilter has extra bits and pieces left over from projects. I take mine and make mini-quilts that are useful around the house!

This 10-3/4 inch mini-quilt is made with 100% cotton quilting fabric & batting, with a Therma-Flec heat resistant fabric backing. It's the right size to use as a trivet for your serving dishes.

Country Bargello Trivet Mini-Quilt

This 14-3/4 by 12-1/4 inch mini-quilt is made with 100% cotton quilting fabric & batting, with a Therma-Flec heat resistant fabric backing. It's the right size to use as a trivet for your larger serving dishes.

A Log Cabin for a Princess and her Cat

This darling 35" x 35" baby/lap quilt is made of 100% cotton flannel, machine pieced in a log cabin block, and machine quilted in a meandering design. The binding has been machine stiched for for added durability.

Make a new mom's day with this as a baby gift. She'll get a lot of use out of it as a lap quilt, and as the baby gets older, mom can use it in her crib.

The entire quilt is pastels: the front is lavenders and pinks with beige, and has an adorable pink 'fat cat' border. The back is a white princess print with castles, dancing princesses, and ballet sippers, perfect for your little princess.

This quilt has been pre-washed in dye- and perfume-free environmentally safe detergent to give it extra softness and an heirloom feel.

Welcome to Cattails Quilts!

Like many other folks, I learned to sew from my mother and grandmother, around the age of seven or eight. I have been making outfits to wear since I was about 9.

In the fall of 2001, I became addicted to quilting, and nearly every new baby in the family has gotten a handmade quilt since. I also enjoy cross-stitch and frequently incorporate it into small quilted wall hangings.

My arsenal of machines includes a Pfaff Varimatic 6091 sewing machine, a Husquevarna Huskylock 905 serger, a Pfaff Hobby1200 GrandQuilter quilting machine (in a NewJoy Gold quilting frame), and the most recent addition, a Pfaff Creativ 1475CD sewing machine.

My eight year-old daughter has also joined the 'fray' on her own machine, a Janome SewMini (this is a real machine, folks, not a Toys'r Us special!), and completed her own first quilt in December of 2008. She has since graduated to using my Pfaff 6091!

Occasionally, I can be found making renaissance garb and fantastical costumes as well as semi-precious stone jewelry.

I have 3 cats & 2 dogs that are always willing to help 'supervise' and always put in their .04.

I am always willing to talk to you about a custom order quilt or jewelry, so please email me! Check out my Etsy shop at