The Making of a Catkin Quilt (part one)

I’ve been working on the Catkin quilt for the past few days. (The free pattern for this quilt is here.) Panel prints can be a little tricky. I always prewash my fabric before sewing, and while the two cat panels shown below are designed and printed as squares, once I’d washed and dried them they were slightly rectangular.

Catkin (1JPB1)

Luckily, this quilt pattern is designed to compensate for size variations in the panel. I needed to cut out the panel shown on the left, above. I didn’t worry about the finished dimensions of the panel…I focused on getting the same amount of border design on each side of the panel. Note: The ruler below is not placed for cutting. It is showing that my cuts on each side of the panel were one inch from the edge of the white stripe. You can see it better in the photo following this one.

Catkin Panel: Trimmed to Size

The detail below shows that the panel was trimmed one inch from the edge of the white stripe. It’s important when you’re cutting to not only align the ruler with a (hopefully straight) motif, but to also make sure that you’re cutting each side squarely to the adjoining sides. (This doesn’t mean that your cut panel will be a square, but that each corner will be a 90 degree angle.) If your chosen motif (the stripe in this case) wavers in straightness, go ahead and fudge that part…it’s more important to make sure that your corner angles are all square to one another. In this case, I found the stripe motifs to be consistently straight. My cut-out panel measured 21″ wide, and 21-1/4″ long.

Catkin Panel: Trimmed to Size (detail)

Since the center of the quilt needs to be square, the pattern calls for spacer strips. These are wider-than-needed strips that are sewn to the panel. The panel-with-strips is then trimmed to the correct size. You can see in the photo below that the strips on the sides are slightly wider than the top and bottom strips. But this piece is now a square. Yay!

Catkin Panel With Spacer Strips Added

Next, I strip-pieced a bunch of strips, and cut them into slices.


Catkin: Strip-Piecing

The slices were then sewn together into blocks.

Catkin Block

And, jumping a couple steps ahead, I’ve got the center of the quilt done. The spacer strips around the center panel worked perfectly.

Center of Catkin Quilt

I’ll be using spacer strips again on the border. The results will be posted next week!



Filed under Cats, Fabric, Pattern, Quilts

12 responses to “The Making of a Catkin Quilt (part one)

  1. Helen W. Fernandez

    I am in love with the Catkin Quilt and found some of the fabric – but not all. I am in need of 2 yds of the Black Berry Vine, 1 yd of Yellow/Orange Tonal Cats and 1 yd of Turquoise Dot Tonal fabrics. Can you help me with finding these fabrics. Thanks so much! Helen

    • Hi Helen,

      Your best bet for finding these fabrics is probably to do an online search. (These prints are two years old at this point, and that makes them a little harder to track down.) Try searching on “Julie Paschkis Catkin” or “Catkin fabric.” Often fabrics will turn up online, even when they haven’t been stocked in stores for a while.

      Good luck!


      • Helen W. Fernandez

        Thank you Wendy. I have been all over the internet looking for these fabrics. Do you think – Catkin & Her Kittens Floral Vines 22140 – would be a good substitute for Black Berry Vines?

        • Hi Helen,

          I think that looks like a very good substitution. Go for it! (I’m glad you’re finding some things that will work.)


        • Arlene Dalton

          Naturally I didn’t buy the fabric when it first came out! By the end of that year I started looking online and I had to buy various pieces from a variety of vendors which cost me a lot more than if I had originally bought a kit. I wish I had enough of what you need to help you out. Sorry I don’t.
          It’s a great pattern. I especially like the blue fabric used to square up the design. Worked like a charm. Good luck with finding substitute fabrics.

  2. kim

    The blue borders measurements were wrong on pattern that I got a copy off internet. This made the blue borders not stand out.

    • Hi Kim,

      The blue borders are “spacer strips” (used to bring the dimensions of the quilt-center to the correct size to match the pieced sections that will be joined to them) and will look differently on each quilt, depending on whether or not the fabric is prewashed.

      The blue spacer strips will stand out *most* with prewashed fabric (the panel will have shrunk slightly in the wash, leaving more room for the strips to show), and *least* with fabric used straight off the bolt.

      In the sample shown, the fabric was prewashed.

      I hope this helps!


  3. Arlene Dalton

    I just found this. Dis you write more on making the Catkin Around the World pattern?

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