Cantankerous Kitty and the Birthday Quilts

Scott Hastings pretending to be a cutie
Scott Hastings pretending to be a cutie

Let me introduce you to our cat Scott Hastings, who passed away last month.

Now, don’t be swayed by the photos – he was not exactly a little cutie!

He was a remarkable guy who blew through his nine lives in about two years and lived the next 16 years on borrowed time. He almost died from a million things including being shot by a BB gun many times, broken spine bone, crazy bacterial infection, multiple face surgeries after cat fights, lacerated tongue with plenty of stitches, just to name a few.

Scott Hatings in a rare moment of repose
Scott Hastings in a rare moment of repose

We named him Scott Hastings after the ballroom dancer from the movie “Strictly Ballroom,” and he went by many nicknames, Grumpy Dude being the favorite one towards the end there.

Scott was the LOUDEST, most vocal cat I’ve ever seen, and as he went deaf in the last few years, he took to howling in the bathtub – charming.

He was really my son’s cat. He picked my son out at the pet store by snagging his shirt with a claw when we walked by. He was a bit older than the age of a kitten we wanted, but it was clear from the start that he was going to be Nathan’s cat.

Cowboy Trip Around the World, by Alethea Ballard; 1993
Cowboy Trip Around the World, by Alethea Ballard; 1993

I have made a quilt for my son about every 10 years. When he was 8, I made this Trip Around the World, which was on his bed or his wall for ever. It was made of all cowboy fabrics and a great starry border fabric from Robert Kaufmann fabrics.

Fly By Blue, by Alethea Ballard; 2003
Fly By Blue, by Alethea Ballard; 2003

Then, at 18, I made a very manly quilt for Nathan, which ended up in my book Maverick Quilts. It’s all from 1/4 yard pieces of blue batik with great green “butterflies.”

Bit O'Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2013
Bit O’Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2013

Now that he’s 28, I figured it was about time for a new quilt. I made him an Irish flag quilt with his favorite lucky charm, shamrocks, on it.  I absolutely love it and I think he does, too!

Sharing the birthday quilt, mother & son
Sharing the birthday quilt, mother & son

Most of the fabrics in the quilt are of something that has meaning to us and I was able to use many of my conversation prints – always a good thing. From the State of California to golf to football to barbecuing, all of Nathan’s interests are there.

Of course, I had to include Grumpy Dude, right?

I started with a fabric that had an orange cat. But it was too light, and didn’t have Scott’s white bib, his deep orange parts, or the right face shape.

So I got out the fabric paints, added fabric medium, and went to town.

cat image on fabric - no paint
Cat image on fabric – no paint
Adding white to fabric
Adding white to fabric
Finished portrait of Scott on fabric
Finished portrait of Scott on fabric

Not too bad, right?

Scott and Priscilla the Silver Purse
Scott and Priscilla the Silver Purse
Detail of Bit O'Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard
Detail of Bit O’Blarney Quilt, by Alethea Ballard

I’ll finish the binding on the quilt any minute now and give it to my son to keep!

Post script: Scott passed away at home after being able to say goodbye to Nathan. He’s buried under the redwood tree he used to climb.

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7 thoughts on “Cantankerous Kitty and the Birthday Quilts

  1. Sorry about Scott….seems cats are the perfect pets for quilters…always wanting to lay on them when you have your project on the dining room table…and now mine always wants to be in the middle or nearby when I am photographing them. How neat you made a replica of Scott for your son’s quilt….will make it even more special!

  2. Sorry about your kitty. I was in love with Scott Hastings. ( not yours, the other one) How did he ever survive that wretched mother?!? I thought Tina sparkle was the best name ever!

  3. Aw, you’ve brought a tear to my eye! Love the quilts you’ve made for your son over the years and how wonderful to include Scott in the latest one. You Ballards seem pretty photogenic too 🙂

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