Gizzy Quilts

 In 2007 I had three cats. My #1 cat, Gizzy, got sick and needed expensive tests I could not easily afford. I had just had the front end of my car rebuilt, and had maxxed out the credit cards to pay for it. I knew I could make small "kitty" quilts, but wondered if the readers who followed Millie's blog would be interested in buying them. So I made a sample quilt and posted it on the blog and asked if anybody would be interested.


They were. By the end of the first week I had orders for thirty quilts, and enough money to pay for Gizzy's tests. By the end of the second week I had had to raise the price and had to buy fabric.


I filled the quilts with fleece, and ordered it ten yards a time.  I had to figure out Paypal, and find a way to ship the quilts in a cost-effective way. (USPS Flat Rate.)


Orders for the quilts came from all over the US, but I also received orders for quilts from New Zealand and Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Germany and Austria. I had to figure out Customs, and shipping internationally.


But what surprised me were the customers who ordered multiples. I received a lot of orders for pairs of quilts, but I was amazed at the number of orders for three, four and five quilts at a time.


 At first I used the scraps that I had, but eventually I had to buy fabric to fill orders. I'd get an email with the name and gender of the cat, usually a photo, and a color preference.  I'd design a quilt to make the cat look good.


I'd make quilts in bunches. If I had a lot of purple quilts to make, I'd make them all at the same time, send them out, and then move on to the next batch.


Some customers were fussy, but most said, "Hey, it's a quilt for a cat. Have some fun."


Sometimes buyers of multiples wanted the quilts to co-ordinate.

I couldn't quite fathom WHY anybody would buy a quilt for a cat until one British lady asked for a quilt that would look good on her sofa.

 The quilts were 24" square, made with top quality cottons, filled with fleece, quilted and bound.


I never had a cat reject a quilt, and never had to refund a customer's money.


The money from the quilts paid for Gizzy's medical bills, but nothing could help Gizzy. He died of cancer two months later.


The cat bloggers called the quilts "Gizzy Quilts" in his honor.


The orders kept coming in, and I kept making them.


The quilts shown here are the first fifty. In just over two years, I made and sold two hundred Gizzy quilts to cats around the world.


Cat owners reported their cats loved them. One cat dragged his around wherever he wanted to nap.


Multiple / Cat / Quilt owners reported their cats knew which quilt was theirs, and wouldn't let the other cats near them.


I made Gizzy quilts in practically every color combination known to man (or cat.)


I even made them for "woofies," the term cats used for dogs.

I heard stories from owners claiming their cats waited in front of washing machines and dryers for their quilts to be laundered.


Cat owners told me they LOVED the Gizzy quilts because it was a good way to keep the cat off the furniture, the quilts looked better than an old towel on the furniture, and that the quilts were so easy to care for, and washed so well.


I received photos of the quilts with the cats napping on them.


I tried to fulfill all specific requests.


Many folks sent me fabric to use as backings or bindings.


I made wonderful friends, and two customers became best friends.


Two hundred quilts meant I sewed binding on eight hundred corners.


Bindings do NOT freak me out as a result.


Six months after Gizzy went to the "Rainbow Bridge" my second cat, Jasmine, got sick as well, and followed him to the Rainbow Bridge.


The wonderful community of cat lovers around the world comforted me.


I auctioned Gizzy quilts as fundraisers for the AIDS walk and other charities.


When one fellow cat lover reported her daughter had been burned in an accident,


I held a raffle to raise money to help with the medical bills. The prize was a custom Gizzy quilt.


We raised over five hundred dollars.


It wasn't the first time I'd make a quilt to raise funds for an injured child, cat, or family affected by hard times.


I never advertised for sales of the quilts, aside from a small button on Millie's blog.


I didn't realize I had found a niche in the billion dollar pet market until I happened to mention my after work activity to the VP of Finance at work.


I made the first fifty quilts, the equivalent of eight king-sized quilts, in six months, while working full time.


Most folks would laugh when I told them I made custom kitty quilts to sell.


They stopped laughing when I told them how many I made, or how many countries I sent them to.


I used to joke that I could drive across the United States and never have to have dinner alone in a restaurant,


that there would always be a Gizzy quilt customer nearby that I could meet and dine with.


Even now, I look at these quilts, and I know which cat owned them.


I see quilts for Speedy, Zippy and Sadie. For Sophie, Monty, Poppy and Angus. For Midnight, Diesel and Zeus.


For Max, Dragonheart, Daisy and Skeezix. For Bonnie, and KimoSabe, Buttons. For Shadow and Kelly, and Beezer.


For Cocoa, and Bob and Tucker. For Daisy Mae and Abby.  For Annie, and BonBon and Yuki.


For Kimiko, and Eclair and Merlin. For Wiley and Angel and Ollie.


For Gleep, and Maddie and the Meezers.

For Tara and Junior and dozens of others.

It was quite a journey, and remains an incredible story. You can read more of the story here.

4 comments:

Pat said...

I didn't know about the Gizzy quilts and am so glad you posted this. I laughed at your comment on bindings as I had just thought that 800 bindings HAD to make you quite an expert. What a wonderful story.

Just Ducky said...

I loves my Gizzy quilt Miss Lynne. Wonderfully made and filled with LOVE!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Angel took her quilt with her when she went to the Rainbow Bridge. The quilts for Star and Shadow went with them when they were adopted out to new homes after their beloved Cat-Mom (my MIL) passed away. Yes, our family's cats definitely loved their Gizzy quilts.

Lynnwa said...

Just dropped in to visit your blog and saw the Gizzy quilt story and love it. So wonderful, thank you for putting this up.