Creating With Cats: Quilted Kitties for Fun and Charity

Section from quilt
"Let Sleeping Cats Lie" quilt

So I walk into my customer’s house on a visit to photograph her portrait, and I’m faced with the cat faces on this quilt. It’s difficult to greet and carry on a conversation being distracted by something I desperately want to investigate, but time is short and I hope I’ll be back at some point to satisfy my curiosity with a good study of the quilted cat images in front of me, and then I see another one…

Art, craft and animals

rack of quilts
One rack of Missy's finished quilts.

Nearly every artist and crafter I know lives with at least one animal companion. It may just seem like that to me because people with animals tend to gravitate toward each other, but even in the professional art organizations of which I’m a member that have nothing to do with animals conversations often tend toward our pets because most of us live with one or more, or are even involved in rescue.

And as I’ve met many animal fanciers among my creative friends, I’ve also met quite a few creative people among my friends who live with animals, especially those who have commissioned portraits.

small quilt with cat
The lap quilt that hangs in Missy's studio.

Missy Bauer and her passion for quilting

Recently I was back for a visit with this customer when I included the portrait of her cats Milan and Felix in the exhibit at my book signing because they are included in Great Rescues. As I studied and photographed the quilts we discussed fabric and patterns and using our creative passion for good, donating quilts to charity, especially to animal shelters.

Missy is a serious quilter, producing six to eight quilts tops a month, sending them off to one of three people who back, quilt and bind them for her.

cat on quilt
Milan models the quilt.

“They’re all from patterns, but I really enjoy putting the fabrics together,” Missy said. “I have fabric designers who are my favorites and I buy the fabrics I really love and I put the quilts together from what I have.” Not cat-related except for Milan posing for another photo, I loved the color combination and the patterns in the quilt on the back of her couch.

I finally had a chance to study the Let Sleeping Cats Lie cat quilt and take a number of photographs, and I noticed the intricate quilting patterns, then noticed it wasn’t the same quilting pattern over the entire quilt.

“She (the quilter) wanted to use different patterns I different areas, and believe it or not that is done freehand,” she said, pointing at the detailed swirl and wave pattern.

12-month cat quilt
A Year of Cats
cat quilt patch
May Cat.

We turned to the 12-month cat quilt. “This square is my favorite in this quilt, it makes me smile whenever I look at it,” she said, pointing to the cat with two flower pots for ears representing May.

One of her own design

square from quilt
Square from new cat quilt.

Unlike all the other quilts, the next quilt Missy showed me was one she designed herself using “In the Beginning Fabrics” in patterns designed by Julie Paschkis.

“I have one more cat quilt right now, but it’s not done yet,” she said, heading down her hallway to a rack of folded quilts and quilt tops at the end of the hall. “The one needs to be quilted, and I really, really like it.”

Oh, my, so did I! I watched the bright colors and whimsical animals and plants appear as Missy unfolded the finished top to see the squares surrounding blocks and shapes and then the border. It’s too bad it was difficult to photograph more of it; the quilt was too big to slap onto her flannel wall panel or hold up, but it’s a totally magical quilt.

border fabric for quilt
Border fabric on cat quilt.

“Garden Patch Quilt” for charity

Missy then mentioned a “charity quilt” she was currently working on which she intended to donate to a shelter or animal rescue to auction for donations and began pulling appliquéd patches out of a plastic bin, each with a colorful and whimsical kitty.

patches for quilt
Patches for the new quilt.

“This is a monthly quilt,” she explained. “The artist publishes a new block every month. I am up to 19, but I think there may be as many as 23 blocks. She’s not sure—the artist may draw more. You can find them on StoryQuilts.com, and this one is called Garden Patch Cats.”

At the size of these blocks, approximately 18” x 18”, that would be one huge quilt! Missy explained that she intended to trim the blocks down and fit the kitties together to make a more asymmetrical quilt, though it was still destined to be a large quilt. “I just hope I can keep it to king size!” She mentioned that people would probably use it as a wall-hanging rather than a bed quilt, but just because it would hang on a wall didn’t mean it could be limitless.

patches form the quilt
Patches from Garden Patch Cats quilt.

And here are Pepper Puss, Eggplant Purr-mesan, Catus Romanus and Podcats and not only are they named after garden vegetables, but each pattern also comes with a recipe. All of this information would be forwarded to the lucky winner of the quilt.

So what shelter will be the lucky recipient of this quilt when it’s finished? “I’m not sure,” she said, “I’m looking around for an organization that would want something this big and be able to auction it off for a good amount of money for the benefit of the animals,” she said.

cat in bed
Missy's cat Nacho.

While her two kitties Felix and Milan and Murphy the Corgie were wandering in and out she introduced me to Nacho, a tabby cat curled quietly on a bed in the corner. “She kind of lives in here,” she said. “Sometimes I put her over here by the window and she enjoys looking out. The dog is okay with her, Felix is okay with her, but Milan is her nemesis so she kind of stays in here on her bed,” Missy continued. Well, it’s such a cozy room and filled with mom’s love of what she does, at least when she’s not at work during the day, what kitty would mind?

background on computer screen
The background on Missy's laptop.

You can see the stocks of fabric she has in this tiny room, immediately available so she can begin a new project without the need to go out shopping for materials. In crafter talk, this is called a “stash”.

Learning to sew through 4-H

Missy grew up on a farm near York, PA, which generated not only her obvious love for animals, but also her skills as a sewer.

three animals on floor
Milan, Murphy and Felix in the middle of the room.

“Out there in farm country, we had 4-H, and my grandma was a 4-H Sewing teacher,” Missy explained. “She would put a bunch of us kids in the basement with the sewing machines and say, ‘Here, do something’, so I started out with clothing and went from there,” she continued.

“I still have my great-grandma’s treadle sewing machine that I learned on in my basement,” she added, smiling fondly.

Missy at her machine
Missy at her sewing maching.

One of Missy’s other charities is Quilts of Valor, where quilts are made to be given to wounded veterans. “I may choose one I’ve already done or make one in patriotic colors, but I also make pink ones for breast cancer and I’ll donate a pink one—women serve too!” she said. While she donates the quilt, her quilters donate their time to her when then know it’s for Quilts of Valor.

“This last time I donated one I got to meet the recipient,” she said, “and that was really special for me to hand it to him and talk to him about his injury and his recovery.”

fabric purses
Missy's designer bags.

Where you can find Missy’s sewing

In addition to her volume of quilts, Missy also makes “bags”, large fabric purses in a wide variety of patterns with lots of pockets for stuff. In addition to the ones pictured here, you can see more in her Etsy shop.

And handling the new brightly-colored kitty quilt pictured above, she said, smiling, “I have a lot of this border fabric left, I mean a lot, and I’m sure it’s going to end up being a bag or two.”

missy's husband
Missy's husband Vic.

Missy lives with her husband, Vic, three cats and one dog, Murphy. Her husband also grew up in farm country, though they met in graduate school at California University of PA. Both are fitness trainers, she for a high school, he for Duquesne University. I’ll be writing more about both of them at another time when I profile them as animal rescuers.

missy with felix
Missy with Felix

If your organization might be interested in the Garden Patch Cats quilt as an auction item for the benefit of animals, please contact Missy by conversation through her Etsy shop. She’d like to make sure it goes to an event where something that big and unusual will bring the highest bid for the benefit of the animals. Likewise,if you’d like one of her bags, are interested in one of the ones made from the special cat fabric or you have an idea for a custom bag, contact Missy through her Etsy shop.

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

21 thoughts on “Creating With Cats: Quilted Kitties for Fun and Charity

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  • October 3, 2011 at 10:25 am
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    Know Missy and her work and heart are terriffic. Very proud to know and love her

    Reply
    • October 3, 2011 at 10:32 am
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      I’m glad to share her with all my reading friends!

      Reply
  • October 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm
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    ohhh…i see a potential CAT MAN MONDAY submission! Can you get Vic to write a post?!

    Reply
    • October 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm
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      Tamar, Vic’s kind of humble so I’ll be writing one about the two of them soon–this one had to come first because I was so excited about the quilts. I’ll let you know when it’s coming up and we can coordinate something!

      There are at least four other cat men in my calendar as well! They don’t understand what the big deal is, they’re guys, they rescue cats.

      Reply
  • October 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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    Actually I think I might do another quilt post at some point, as the camera I used was rubbish! Will keep it in mind.

    Reply
    • October 2, 2011 at 11:36 am
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      Christine, I thought of you when I put this together. I think some of your paintings would make lovely fabric patterns.

      Reply
  • October 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm
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    Bernadette, these are magnificent! Will have to come back and have another look. My Aunt is a quilter and I did a post about her work a while back. I am in awe, especially with the kitty connection!

    Reply
    • October 2, 2011 at 11:35 am
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      Carolyn, you’ll have to share that post again! Quilting is not simple, and I have always thought that people who excel at things like this should get all due credit.

      Reply
  • October 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm
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    She is an amazing and talented person, her friends have benefited from her talent and love of quiliting. I am so glad to see she gets the recognition she deserves for all she does for charities. Way to go Mis!!!

    Reply
    • October 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm
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      You sound like you might be a friend to Missy, and while I know her from her portrait and related things, I imagine she’s a warm and generous person with her friends. I couldn’t help but share her with my readers who I knew would appreciate what she does.

      Reply
  • October 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm
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    These quilts are GORGEOUS! What a talented and wonderful woman Missy is! I used to quilt myself and it is such a lost art now. I am thrilled to see the passion she has for cats as well as this craft. Thanks for sharing Bernadette!

    Reply
    • October 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm
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      Deb, don’t you love those patterns? Missy is truly dedicated–I love her studio, it tells the whole story to me! And though Nacho is shy the other three are right in the middle of everything when people visit.

      You sound like me–“used to do” a lot of things! My dream life is, in part, being able to get back to all those things.

      Reply
  • October 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm
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    How absolutely wonderful!

    Reply
    • October 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm
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      I think this is Denise–and yes, they are truly wonderful quilts! And Missy is a wonderful person.

      Reply

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