Round, Rag Quilt Cat Mat

Yesterday I posted about my new cat mats that are in my Etsy Shop. Today I designed and made a new round, rag quilted mat. As with most of my designs I use recycled fabrics and some new cotton fabric for appliques, patchwork etc. dscf4523

I enjoy rag quilting, I used to make alot of tote bags using this technique. It looks good on a cat mat too. Lovely and soft, this mat consists of 4 layers of wadding and 3 layers of cotton fabric, and the raggy bits will get softer after a few washes. The cat in the centre has been hand appliqued by me using the blanket stitch method with a contrasting silk thread.

Measuring approx 18″ these mats are an ideal size to leave anywhere in the home, ready for your little friend to curl up on. Now I have all the measurements etc I can go ahead and make some for the shop, so do visit Etsy and put in the search ‘cattery57’ for the shop.


Thoughts on newspaper weaving

As you have probably seen I went through a stage of weaving newspapers. There are some beautiful videos and websites from Russia, where there are brilliant experts at this craft giving tutorials. I spent many hours watching the videos and trying to listen and watch how the paper sounds and reacts. Was it strong, did it sound like wicker or was it just solid. I am a fool to myself, I always want my handmade things to be strong, survive any sort of handling but I also want it to feel natural and handmade.


One of my newspaper baskets with lid. I make the separate liner and lace decor from recycled fabrics.

These are the things that I noticed when making newspaper woven objects:

The finer and tighter that you can roll your newspaper/magazine sticks, the stronger the feel to your weaving. Also it makes it easier to weave neatly if your sticks are tight.

The only way I got an object to feel and sound like wicker was to varnish the sticks before weaving. This took forever as each stick was varnished individually and had to be dried before I could use it. Then you have to be careful that you don’t weave too tight or the varnish will crack.

I did paint, individually, the sticks with watered down, 50 household matt paint and 50 water. Wove the sticks into a pot, PVA glued then varnished. This didn’t work as well. You have to keep the sticks pliable and damp as the paint really dried them out. Very messy.

I tried all ways, and seeing I don’t speak Russian, and I can’t find the die/varnish in the UK that they die their newspaper sticks with so I went back to basics.


Recycled fabric liner with lace, ribbon and some beads.

Forget Wicker. You are weaving a paper product. I have sewing machine covers, baskets and pots that have lasted for at least 3 years now, that I have woven from newspapers. I have dusted them, and wiped them down with a damp cloth and they still look like they did when I first made them. My cats have slept in them and on them, I have stored alsorts in them and they haven’t fallen apart, cracked or looked disgusting. They have gone through winters in the shed, hot summers in the house and still do what I wanted them to do.

I personally don’t like the different colours, but I have shown how I painted white baskets in one of my tutorials using PVA glue here. I like my paper weaving to look like wood, which is how the paper started in the first place. Therefore I weave the paper into the basket and then hand it over to my partner who uses the Ronseal Quick Dry Woodstain, silk or satin (I did’t like how the matt finish looked). He painted the projct twice to make sure that all the little bits were covered.

To finish and make them special I like to decorate with beads, lace, ribbons etc and recycled fabric to make a pretty liner.


I just hot glued the lace and flower onto this little pot.

I love newspaper weaving, and enjoy peoples faces when you tell them what the beautiful basket they are about to buy is made from i.e local rag, free paper or tabloid, the written word can be beautiful, even today!!!!!!!



Beds, beds and more beds!

I still haven’t managed to get either one of my little boys to sleep on the last one I made. There are so many around the house now, with all of my experiments, they would rather not have to make a decision so sleep on my bed instead.


Stalker after a hard morning, I would love to know what he is dreaming about. He always has a smile on his face!!

So this week I have been trying out my fabric yarn and crochet. This little bed worked out perfectly. Not very inspiring colour wise, but now I know what size it turns out and how much fabric I need I will be able to make them alot more colourful.

It started with a recycled cotton bottom sheet.


Then I tore up the fabric to make my yarn ready for crocheting. There are lots of websites on the net with tutorials on how to make your own fabric yarn. Very simple, you just need to have a large crochet hook to crochet it with.








I made a small pillow with the fabric, before I made the rest into fabric yarn. I then crocheted round the pillow and made a lovely warm cuddly little bed. (Yes, another one!!)








Crochet fabric yarn is lovely and thick so stands up on its own, but is still slightly stretchy and soft. I made this little bed with less than a single sheet size of cotton fabric. It measures 12″ across (nice size for small cats or kitten) and stands 7″ tall with the top folded over, the cushion inside is about 5″ deep but sinks to about 3″ when someone gets in. So it is very cosy and very durable. These will definitely be going into my shop, with a little tweaking and a bigger size, and some decoration, after Christmas.

This weekend I have been busy trying things out to make for the shop. Along with this little bed idea I have made an easy 30 minute make cat pillow. I had seen these no sew, quick pillows before, made from fleece or tshirt fabric. The fleece doesn’t fray, and the tshirt fabric doesn’t fray and stretches. I wondered what would happen if I made it from the left over cotton fabric from the last cat bed. And this is what it turned out like………dsc_0214Perfect, I used to love making the rag quilt bags and I can imagine after a few washes this little pillow will fray and look shabby chic just like the rag quilts. I can see alsorts of designs with this one.

I am still working on my new Etsy shop. Working towards putting items in the shop after Christmas. Alot of the things I will be posting will be hand finished or hand made as I am doing most of my crafting now in my new boarding cattery (sewing machine noise is not acceptable). I am sitting there keeping my little guests company, having catty conversations and crafting. A wonderful way to spend my days…………..


My crafting chair, and a little guest.

Cat mats

My two little boys have never had so many cat beds or mats to fight over before! And I promise you they do fight, they are twin brothers and don’t like sharing unless they have to. And I have made lots of cat beds and mats in the last couple of months, not only for my new Cattery57, but I am also trying to design a nice easy, cosy cat mat to start my Cattery57 Etsy shop. I want to keep the ethos of using recycled fabrics, but they need to be cosy and look pretty enough to leave lying around the home. So I have gone back to patchwork, but with a little twist of hand embroidery on some tiny kat kickers that are attached, they are removable to enable washing or to put your own cat toys onto the mat.  This is my prototype, I am in the process of embroidering the little kickers which will be attached tomorrow.  The mat measures 21″ x 21″, 2cms thick with wadding, this one is Butterfly and Flowers fabric, (although that will change due to the fabrics being recycled), fully washable, and my two boys love sleeping on it, although with the clocks going back I have had trouble catching them sleeping today!!! But I promise photo’s will be available tomorrow!!!!!


Cat Applique Coin Purse

Tody I spent some time designing my new purses for my Etsy shop and Christmas craft fair. I really enjoy applique so decided to use that as well as quilting. These purses are made from recycled denim and cotton fabric, the applique is handstitched and I have quilted the back. The lining is the same fabric as the cat background.  A little lace finishes it off. I’ve already got an order for one with a dog applique.

SAM_2177 SAM_2178 SAM_2179My list of ones to do include: horse, car, rabbit, owl, flower, motorbike and skull, any more suggestions? I can see the next few days are going to be spent with needle and thread and my sewing machine can have a rest!!  Lovely……….

Ready for Christmas!

SAM_2174Had a lovely few days making these little, lined, coin pouches, I have 30 ready now.

All of these are made with recycled fabric which I have quilted (yes I am still hooked on my perfect diy quilted fabric). They are lined, and decorated with lace, a loop on the back with keyring, and zip chain with little ‘recycled’ emblem charm.

Today I was busy putting the finishing touches to them and adding my little labels ready for sale!

SAM_2161Here are some of the tools for finishing off, chains, charms, keyrings and my own little handmade labels.

SAM_2165My labels are made from cat food boxes and Kraft paper. I just printed my logo on the Kraft paper, stuck it onto some card from the cat food boxes then put it through my Big Shot using a little flower die. I have stuck a little gem in the centre to add some sparkle. Then tied the label to a purse with cotton. Easy!

SAM_2171Here is a close up of the little charms I purchased to put on the end of the zip pulls. The logo is supposed to represent recycling. The chain, charm and keyring on each purse is antique bronze colour.

SAM_2169These make sweet little coin purses, and are squishy enough to put into any handbag. I’m looking forward to making lots more of these and hope that other people will like them too as I will be doing another Christmas craft fair this year and these will be the main part of the stall.

I was relying on my friend to take me to the fairs as I don’t drive. Unfortunately she moved away some time ago, so now I am having to think of things that will be small enough for me to carry  on the bus!!! Its surprising how many of these I can get into one of my laundry bags………………….

Inkjet Printing on Fabric

I love, love my computer and printer for my crafts, not just for designing and printing out patterns but for printing on to lots of other stuff too including fabric.

My printer is a cheap Epson S21 inkjet that has lasted me for years and is happy with compatible inks so I can save money there. Here are some tips that I gleaned when putting fabric through it:

Hanging fabric hearts with printed poem and picture

I love to include poetry in some of my fabric projects but I don’t really enjoy embroidery, it’s too slow, and my writing is not that pretty so I won’t use fabric pens. Looking at all the fonts I have on my computer I wanted to use some of them.

There are lots of websites that give instructions on how to print on fabric. Apparently pigment ink (expensive) is washable, top loaders are better as fabric doesn’t get stuck and mess up your printer etc. etc……I would recommend that you have a look first as I wouldn’t want to be responsible for your printer.


The way I do it with my top loader inkjet printer is:

Materials needed:

Cotton fabric (I use plain off white bed sheets)

Carpet tape, it is nice and wide (or strong double sided tape)

A4 Printer card (I use 60gms)


Cut the  fabric about 1″ smaller than an A4 sheet of paper. (I make a template from old cardboard so I can just draw around it onto the fabric, alot quicker than trying to measure each piece)

Give the fabric a good iron so that there aren’t any creases

Place carpet tape or double sided tape onto the back of the fabric, cut away any excess tape as this will stick to the rollers in your printer. Cover the whole of the fabric piece with the tape and not just round the edges, the fabric will stretch between the tape as it goes through the printer if it is not all stuck down.

Peel off the tape backing and carefully stick the fabric to printer card (60gsm), there should not be any creases or any loose ends of fabric as these may get caught in the printer rollers.

Get your pattern or picture organised on your computer and print a practice piece to make sure that it will print onto the area of your fabric.

Use the printer as you would if you were printing a normal page, don’t chnage any printing settings i.e to glossy paper etc.

When you are happy with the placement place your fabric covered card into your printer and print!!!!

Vintage Lady and butterflies were printed onto fabric and used in this collaged wall hanging.

Unfortunately by using the cheaper inkjet ink the fabric is not washable, but most of my projects are pincushions, wallhangings or things that wouldn’t normally be washed anyway. I have tried heat sealing the ink with a hot iron and microwave, or rinsing it in vinegar etc but the ink still seems to fade or wash out completely. But for what I want it for, this method is ideal and easy and a lot cheaper than buying the fabric sheets made for the printer.

You can buy products to help make the ink waterproof just put in your search Printing on Fabric.

I also make my own patterned fabric for small projects like appliqué or patchwork (again, that are not going to be washed), there are lots of scrapbook backing papers free on the net, print them onto plain fabric, some of them are very pretty. Sites that sell household wall paper also have swatches of the papers, copy and paste them onto your programme (I use Word for everything, so simple) resize it to fit a page and print, perhaps you could find the wallpaper that matches your room and make some decorations i.e bunting. Or use one of your photographs to include in a fabric project. There are thousands of ideas out there for using this, I could go on forever, but I think there is enough to think about on this subject already!