The HeatherCat shoes - Part 1, zzzzzz... or Lazy Cat

After my last shoe adventure  I had vowed not to work on something big that fast again. How silly of me. I thought of the HeatherCats and knew there would not just be another pair of sneakers in my "near" future. I wanted to go a step further. With the last shoes I didn't have to think about a pattern. With vertical seams in the fabric and bugles for beads there wasn't much room for a pattern. But the HeatherCats ....

For those who don't know the HeatherCats yet, here's a little explanation.

"Heather is a friend of mine, a painter from New Zealand. I met her on deviantART and got to know the Essencestudios. I couldn't even tell you in what group it was, but among her talents Heather has a talent for bright, whimsical paintings, many of which are cats, so how could I not be fascinated the moment I saw the first one?" This is from the first blog post I wrote about the HeatherCats and in which you will find the whole story how it started. As a matter of fact the cat in the first bracelet I ever made after her paintings was also the first cat that I chose as my first shoe pattern.

This project really needs a lot of patience which I'm not necessarily blessed with. I beaded this two beads at a time, and there are a lot of beads in this.
So, instead of writing one big blog post sometime in spring I decided to write one for each side of both shoes as there will be four different patterns, anyway.
Here's the first one.

Heather called her gouache painting "zzzzzz..." which is very accurate. I don't know if the other name came from me, but in my head it was always "Lazy Cat".
Lazy Cat is sleeping on a wall in a garden under blue skies. It's very peaceful and you can almost hear birds singing and bees buzzing even if you can't see them.
This is the original painting.

It's not always easy to transfer Heather's distinctive style into beads, but she graciously allowed me to make changes where needed. That is one thing in the loomed HeatherCat pieces and another in a bead embroidery piece as I was to find out. She likes to use points and swirls as in the plants, and often there are details with fine, differently colored borders. That's where I had to let my fantasy play.

The second challenge was to fit the details on the shoe which obviously isn't rectangular. So I had to lose the tree for example and the flowers couldn't be quite as high. I also had to deal with some seams even if there weren't any vertical ones.
Last but least there was the part next to the heel which is thicker as the rest of the shoe, just like the part where the tongue meets the denim towards the tip.
Doing just that little white part to the left of the big plant took me forever because  I had to work blind again and find the right spot to poke through the layers - with the help of pliers, of course - and I don't even want to talk about the part on the right where I settled for a few stray beads.
I won't show you the pictures of the inside, but if you ever need my DNA, you can try to get it from the blood stains ;-) I also did my best to help out the needle industry. My record was five brandnew needles in one hour.

I honestly can't believe I even made it that far. I already started the second side when I was waiting for a bead order, so hopefully it won't take too long until you get to see more.


  1. Cat, this is absolutely fantastic! So cool to learn of Heather too. I love everything about this piece - with the possible exception of your wounded fingers!

    1. Thank you, Michelle!
      Heather's cats are really special to me.
      Regarding my fingers I sometimes think maybe I shouldn't be given needles at all, but as long as I just poke myself, it's okay ;-)

  2. And, here I thought your first shoe project was amazing! This one is just incredible, Cat! The changes you had to make due to the space you had don't in any way detract from the original painting. Heather must be thrilled with your interpretation!

    Can't wait to see the rest of the shoes as you complete each section. Incredible!

    1. Thank you so much, Dawn!

      I think I'm about ready to start on the second shoe soon.