Cotton and Oscar

A month or two ago, our neighbour came over to look at my pictorial quilts after my husband had been talking over the fence about them. She wanted a picture of their two dachshunds for their daughter, but I knew it would be out of price range, even with friend discount.

On my wall, I have this mini quilt from last year’s MQG Mini swap (by Melon Patch Quilts), and she admired it. That inspired me to buy the Dogs in Sweaters pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, and customise it!

I took out the sweater and cut those parts from the body fabric. I discovered as I was sewing that this meant I could skip some stitch and flip parts. The shoulder area became background fabric. Oscar (the merle grey and brown one) was secretly stared at through the fence and memorised by my husband to get the placement of the brown bits right. I also added applique eyebrows to him!

The pattern is easy to follow using diagrams alone, but I have to admit that I felt intimidated to begin with because there is so much information. There’s fabric requirements, how to cut the pieces from fat quarters and strips, lots and lots of pieces per block…. you have to be organised! I stuck bits of tape to my fabrics – just regular clear tape – and wrote on it with Sharpie and that worked really well. I also found that the strip cutting was very generous, and I could entirely eliminate the background 4 1/4″ wide strip and cut the piece I needed from a different offcut.

The pattern also includes instructions to make a large quilt, lap quilt and baby quilt, as well as how to put a cushion together, so the block assembly instructions don’t start until I think page 12. Still, it’s so quick to make a block once you get there!

I quilted both with spirals on the background with a thin cotton Ikea offcut on the back as I’m out of muslin. I then made the cushions according to the pattern directions, but adding some piping to finish it all off. I can’t bring myself to make a cushion without piping anymore, it really finishes it off, even if I dislike doing it.

So now I’m waiting for Christmas Eve (and a decent size gift bag) and I’ll be knocking on next door with this surprise!

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