Saturday, December 11, 2010

Catnip Bags for Quilters' Cats

The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, but somebody is going to have to fill!
Whether it's you or Santa, don't forget some treats for the most important person in the house. Yes, I mean your cat! At least that's the way they see it.
Chances are you also have friends who own (or are owned by) a cat...or three, or it's time to do some production style sewing. It's faster and easier to make several Catnip Bags at one time.
Look through your scraps and find some you can cut into squares about 4" x 4". Do not worry about anything being exact! We are making something that will be chewed on, for heaven's sake!
I like to use batiks because 1) they are firmly woven and 2) I have a ton of them! Can't stand to throw out a tiny scrap. And I enjoy seeing those batiks scattered around the house as they get carried and tossed all over the place.
 There's nothing like finding some "pre-sewn" patchwork, or in other words, extra pieces left over from a quilt. The additional benefit is that you do not need to think about the's whatever those HST units are.
Just find a larger scrap for the other side, then sew around the smaller piece using a small stitch (I had my machine on 2.0). 
Right sides together, of course.
 Who cares what the seam allownace is? Make it different on each side if you want! Use any part of the foot to judge, as long as you are inside the fabric.
The tricky bit with anything like this (pincushions, pillows, etc) is remembering to leave an opening. I often do it right away so I don't forget, but today I managed to make four bags that all had openings on the last side sewn!
On one side, sew for a little bit, then backstitch.
Lift up the presser foot and pull the bag along about 2", then put the foot back down, backstitch,  and then continue until you get back where you started.
 If you want to chop off the excess you can...and I do mean chop! Nobody will see the inside!
Note that there looks like a little flap up at the top...I leave the extra fabric there at the opening so it will tuck inside easily when the bag is turned right side out.
Which is what you need to do now.
If you suddenly realize you sewed the pieces right sides out, don't worry about it! Go on to the next step, and when you're done trim, the seam allowances with pinking will look like you meant to do it that way!
 I rolled up a piece of scrap paper to make a funnel for pouring the catnip into the bag.
Don't fill it completely. A couple tablespoons will do...or, as I had two small bags of catnip, I put half into each of the bags I made. Don't measure! Just do it!

Tuck the opening's seam allowance to the inside and top stitch it closed.
You can stitch all around the bag if you like.
This is about as fast as anything you can make!
Put the catnip bags into ziplock bags until it's time to give the gift!

I think these would be great items for a boutique at a quilt show. Even if you don't personally care for cats, how many quilters do you know who have cats? Point made!
With a bit more time you could actaully do a mouse or fish shape for cuteness. But I do like the patchwork look...this would be a good time to make some string pieced fabric.
Just remember to set your machine for a smaller stitch length!

Shayla O'Puss has already received her catnip bags, so Santa will be bringing her some of those plastic cage balls with bells in them!
The bags in this post are for a couple of cat friends at other quilters' houses.

Coming soon: a Challenge FAIL, fabric postcards tutorial, and more Florida quilt shops


Anonymous said...

Most excellent.

We don't have a cat (boo! hiss!), but my sister does, and we'll be visiting her for Christmas. I can bring a stocking stuffer for Dude! (Named by teenagers, can you tell?)


Anonymous said...

I made four catnip bags yesterday, from Mile-a-Minute blocks! Heh!

The catnip was from PetCo, and was way more pungent than the boxed stuff we used to get at the grocery store for our cats when we were kids.

Christmas is a week away. The catnip bags are in a small plastic container which I then gift-wrapped. Boy are those bags going to be infused with scent by the time the cat gets them!