Showing posts with label cats and quilting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cats and quilting. Show all posts

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Quilts and Quilting: In History, the News, Superstitions and On Our Beds

If you have a cat then you most likely know that cats love quilts! And sure they love fuzzy blankets, boxes, baskets and other surfaces. Science has even shown that if you use tape applied to a floor in a square, cats will still climb inside! Crazy right!?!
But even crazier is the saying "Shake the cat." Shaking is not literal it just means something closer to shake down. Removing something you want out of something else. And if your cat is on your favorite quilt, or one that might be for someone else (someone who might have cat allergies for example) then removing cats from quilts is a whole 'nother thing! And good luck to you!
But there are also traditions and superstitions that the old phrase "shake the cat" came from. And what about other superstitions-especially ones having to do with quilts and quilting?


At long-ago quilting bees, "shaking the cat" meant that a cat was placed on a quilt and usually four girls would grasp the edges and shake the quilt. When the cat jumped off, the girl closest to the cat would marry next!

(Seriously?  They shook a cat?  Oh my! Poor cat!)

2. Some quilters believe that if you sleep under a new quilt, your dreams will come true.

(I certainly hope this doesn't include bad dreams! I sleep under 2 quilts in the summer but five quilts in the winter!)

3. Some quilters believe that if a thread broke while quilting, it would bring bad luck.

(Well now, that explains a lot of things as well as accidental Amish --which traditionally included one imperfect block--quilts!) Stay humble quilters and hide your vanity quilts!

4. Quilt lore suggests that the center squares of log cabin quilts were usually red, to signify the heart and hearth of the home.

(Indeed!  And my heart and a little quilted heart are always part of my quilts signature elements!)

5. Hawaiian quilt lore says that those who make "Ulu" their first quilt will always have abundance.

(The`ulu (breadfruit) quilt was often the first quilt made to insure plentiful food and prosperity to the maker.

 6. The earliest recorded example of quilting can be found on a garment worn by a carved ivory statue from Egypt in 3400 B.C.

Awesome and very interesting! I never knew some statues wear quilts though I've seen a few  wearing face masks in the news lately! And then there's that rapper at the 2021 Met Gala. 

Wrapped in a very puffy quilt that a fashion designer embroidered his first name on claiming design rights. Guess what?  

She had dozens and dozens and dozens of inherited quilts so she donated the this puffy quilt to a thrift shop.  And that designer had purchased it and claimed design rights. Leading us to wonder if he made the quilt and then turned it into a garmet. Answer is neither.

By giving the quilt to someone else turn it into an evening "wrap".  Interesting--what!? 
The oldest actual quilt still in existence is also from Egypt, from 980 B.C.. This quilt, held in a museum in Cairo is made from colored gazelle leather.

(Poor gazelle! And the cats thought they had it bad! No wonder gazelles run so fast!)

7. Piecing together a quilt as a memorial for departed loved ones has a long history.

(Indeed but not as great or long as our own memories of them! Love memory quilts!)

In 1987, a group of activists formed the NAMES Project Foundation, and began gathering quilt panels stitched together by people who had lost loved ones to AIDS.

The Aids Memorial  Quilt continues to grow, and new panels are received every week. The quilt is now way too large to be displayed in its entirety.

In October of 1996, it covered the entire National Mall in Washington, D.C., and weighed approximately 50 tons!

(A major effort and beautiful example of loving and accepting others as we do our own loved ones and honoring all health struggles that lead to loss.)

8. Early schoolteachers used thimbles as  "must-have quilting tools" to enforce strict discipline. The teacher would knock disobedient students on the top of the head with a thimbled finger.  

(Oh dear! Poor thimbles!)

The term “thimble knocking” was used by "ladies of the evening'  around the same time period.  They used a thimble on their finger to knock on the window glass to attract the attention of males walking by.

(Oh my goodness! Who knew?  Ladies! Be careful when wearing your thimbles NOT to knock on the window to get someone's attention. It might not be the kind of attention you meant! )

During the 1800s, a thimble was used as a spirit measure or alcohol shot glass, helping coin the phrase, “Only a thimbleful.”

(Caution! When experiencing a bad quilting day, look out for repeated thimblefuls!)

9. One old quilt superstition says you must never make human figures on a quilt. It is believed that the figures will walk and visit you at night.

(Darn these Sunbonnet Sue's and Sam's, away! away! No wonder I don't sleep well at night!)

10. Another superstition is that if you make a quilt, be sure to finish it or marriage will l never come to you.

(Lucky my marriage came BEFORE my first unfinished quilt! Because they're stacked up ever since and even more in my pile once 3 kids and  4 grandkids came along!)

11. Tulips in quilt patterns signify love, pineapples indicate hospitality.

(So breadfruit, tulips, and pineapples are all good on quilts so far! Glad i made a tulip pillow at least! Sorry breadfruit and pineapples!)

12. Postage Stamp Quilts are made as the name suggests -- each square is the size of a postage stamp and a quilt may contain many thousands of these tiny pieces of cloth.

(My closest quilt to a postage stamp was one honoring free precut 2" aquarist!  Are those considered  "extra large collectors stamps"? 
But the recipients haven't known the difference at least! But it was pretty clear that this quiltmaker must have been given all those tiny little cut squares as I don't have the patience much less the hand agility anymore to scissor cut thousands of squares!)

13. There are many quilts most of us hope hope to make some day, but many quilter's greatest ambition is a Dear Jane Quilt.

The Jane Stickle quilt was made during the American Civil War. She signed her quilt "In War Time 1863."

(Its take me from now until 2063 and then both the quilt and the still-living quilter would BOTH be miracles!)

Jane created a masterpiece consisting of 169 4.5"square blocks surrounded by fifty-two 8"x5" triangles and four corner triangles.

She pieced and appliquéd her blocks and every block is different!

And I love those amazing quilts and their even more amazing quilters!

But right now I'm worn out from creating my clever to me in my own mind comments.

It's almost winter. Going to climb under my 5 quilts for a bit of a rest with a good book now and oh yes my cat! I used to have three cats all piled in a line on me in bed. Does that make me a square tripled? Thank you very much dear cats. If you were dogs it'd be called a "three dog night!"

Happy Quilting to all of you hopefully Happy Quilters! Dont walk under any ladders carrying your unfinished quilts and step on a black cat! Poor thing is always being tossed about as it is!!!

Sleep well all of you cats allowed on quilts. Dogs too!


And Chickens? Yes my newly hatched chicks had their own quilt placed on their screening roof inside my house at night!

  Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon.

 Currently fluctuating between #32 and #56 . Now #48. Just scroll their site until you find me (look for my pink and wine art quilt logo) and hit subscribe in their feed.  

If you're on Google or Google blogger, use this sites "Friends Connect" side bar gadget.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Top 100 Quilting Blogs: Thank You Readers!

Almost 12 years of blogging, over 9 million views, and average that was once 3 new posts a week that has slowed down more than a bit, I'm still here, still sewing, crafting and most of all quilting!

So, it was lovely whenever my creative efforts are recognized. Thank you,
Anuj Agarwal, the amazing Founder of Feedspot for the honor of being selected from the top 200 blogs they list to appear as #65 under the Internet's "Top 100 Quilting Blogs"!

#65: Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands


Anuj Agareal wrote:
"I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands* has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Quilting Blogs on the web.

I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Quilting Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!"

Thank you, Anuj! I am most certainly honored as well!

Please do check out the list, scroll past the top rated ones to find mine at #65 and give it a quick click of acknowledgement and then come on back to read here! And yes, it is a promotional site so know that there's a fee to actually join the feed, itself, but you can check  out the list,  click at least on their web hyperlink and enjoy.

My blog has so much content, as many readers have commented "I could spend on day just reading on your blog alone, oh wait...I have!" Love that! Thank you readers!

Please do check out all of my primary sections, pages, and sites and my now almost 5,000 free patterns and tutorials!!! Just switch to full desktop view ..even from your mobile see more than just the current blogs. 

It can get very interesting and often a bit nutty around here...from grown children, to my little grandchildren, to my cats and chickens, to visiting squirrels, opossums, raccoons, coyotes, deer, to stray dogs, cats, a cow in our garden, a horse on a deck, three pigs in our chicken coop, get my drift!  

And the craziest of all might just be me! 

(I almost never sleep..haven't since I was born..but I live life to the fullest and have so many interests and things I love that I'd better live to be very old because I want to keep going and do most of my to do list! And it's a long one!!)


Love my chickens, all of my beloved cats, and now my grandcats and a grandpup. They've all loved quilts and yes, even the one day old chicks sleep under a quilt on top of their warmer!!

 Now, back to sewing, quilting, crafting, wildcrafting, decorating and creating new things to share with all of you! The past week has been dedicated to my precious littles..grandchildren ages 3,2,1 years old. 

Yesterday was the "Awesome 3000" area wide fun run for all ages. My own children now in their 30s and 40s ran the "Awesome" every single year it was available from beginning in elementary school to their senior year in high school!

It is near and dear to my heart and makes me cry and cheer and clap for every runner with a full heart! 

 Preschool Group

We held our littlest 1 year old grandbaby and watched the 2 and 3 year old run their little hearts extended out with determination and joy. And please forgive this grandma for especially cheering for her 3 year old granddaughter who crossed the finish line first among the gigantic crowd of 3 and under year olds, (non competitive all in fun but I can't help but be so proud!) and my precious little grandson, age 2 who ran and ran and finished the entire 300 meters...3/4 of a college track loop. So fun to watch and so proud of ALL of the kids who ran!

Love children of all ages, love their energy and spark, and love most of all their sense of fun, exuberance and joy in all they do! Way to go Salem runners! What a fun run for all ages from kids to the proud friends, parents and grandparents watching them!

Now,back to creating lovely and fun experiences with heart and hands in my own life with that same energy, spark, and joy that children carry in their lives and in their hearts! 

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Fabulous Fabric Fun Plus Some!

Alexia's Cozy Covers Fabric Sale..two days of great, great fun! Beginning on Friday and finishing up on Saturday, we set up our tables,


Pat learned to use the mobile cash register app called "Square"..and the line began to form before we even had time to put on the Daisy Kingdom aprons that Marsha created!


What fun! We'd all unloaded our boxes of fabric onto tables that filled the entire lawn, driveway, and grassy strips and our shoppers had a ball and so did we!

Our chance of showers forecast turned into a bit of a downpour! 

But Hey! We're Oregonians!

Initially,  we covered things up ..but our fabulous shoppers peeked underneath and kept we obliged by peeling back the covers and helping them out!

With hoods pulled up or a "who cares it's raining attitude",  almost everyone kept shopping!

                A few umbrellas popped into view and the lines at the registers grew!

So much fabric, so much fun! And so many wonderful people! 

"There's my cousin from Albany!" said one surprised shopper. 

"What are you doing away from work? asked one woman. He replied.."the same thing you!"

It was actually a school holiday..and we had young shoppers and young helpers.

And even some fabulous blog readers that I had the opportunity to meet! I'm always a tad bit embarrassed and most people never mention that they know who I am, where I live and almost every thing I'm up to during any given week for the past almost 10 ten years. But it's really very nice to know someone reads all of this!!

 Hi Olga! Great fun meeting you! It was fun visiting with you and thanks so much for stopping by, buying some of our fabric and letting me know that you read my blog!!

By Saturday, we were ready for anything from short sleeve shirts, to jackets, to winter coats, to pieces of fleece off of our tables that we literally wrapped around ourselves. Another day of volunteering, laughing, being fabric pushers wonderful greeters and helpers...

 We had some sunshine ...

We had some rain...

We had more shoppers and made new friends....

But mostly we laughed with each other, at ourselves, at each others and with our fabulous friendly shoppers and their families!

Here's our fearless first founding families, the Anderson-Krafts as we all donned our warm coasts and draped fleece here and there to fend off the wind and the chill that would hit us one moment and having us warm and sunny the next!

But oh, how we laughed through it all!

A fun, fun two days, lots of helpers, lots of shoppers and lots of great, great fun!

Previous post with ideas of how to use any of those Daisy Kingdom panels and pieces you might have purchased at our sale!
Click on blue link below!
Woo Hoo!!!

Public Disclaimer: This post composed on a cell phone from 1:45 to 3:00 a.m for the Friday Segment
and with 1 hour and 45 minutes of sleep before 5 hours of volunteering and posting of the Saturday Segment. I don't dress in fleece yogas just for the fun of it!...oh, wait,...yes, I do.


Don't ask why I got less than my usual 4 hours of sleep,  but it had to do with dogs trying to get into the coop after my chickens, me barefoot in pajamas yelling and clanging pot lids at 1 a.m. The dogs crashing through our garden woofing, setting off dogs for at least 3 acres over.

My life is one long story after another ;-) And most of my family would rather not know what I've been up to.

Please send good thoughts to my dear long suffering husband, a long line of semi tolerant cats...
and then of chickens!

You're welcome and I'm so sorry, neighbors! But someone has to chase off the 1 coyote and 6 stray dogs that have been creating my night terrors as I defend my beloved chickens!!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.