Monday, May 21, 2018

Chemistry Lab Bench: A Finished Quilt

Howdy y'all! I'm back with a finish that took a little while to make. That's right, the girl who keeps saying 'I won't make big quilts' has made another big quilt. I just can't say no. LOL

This queen-sized quilt was commissioned by a coworker for her daughter. She finished her undergraduate degree this spring and will be starting grad school in the fall. The girl loves chemistry! And though I don't understand that (I HATED chemistry in college), I understand wanting a quilt to showcase something you're passionate about! She showed me a picture on Pinterest that linked to this interview on Craftsy. I looked high and low for a pattern or something similar, but turned up empty handed.
I just want to point out that I LOVE the background fabric, so fun! Also, I want to point out that I actually remembered to keep the print going in the right direction for all the piecing! :)
So I took this inspiration and drew up my own design based off the awesomness --- that makes it derivative, right? (I'm still trying to keep all the definitions straight when it comes to inspired work!). I had to simplify some elements, such as the shapes of the flasks and beakers, but I made things a little different by making each container have a different amount of 'liquid' in each. Everything is traditionally pieced because I don't know how to design a paper piecing pattern and it never dawned on me to learn how. Lol.

I had so much fun picking out of my stash for the rainbow of colors. It's amazing what gems I found when I started digging! :) The backing is a flannel with this awesome varying blue color scheme going on. This was the first time I bought an entire bolt of fabric, it was awesome! Hahaha!

Once again, I'm saying no more big quilts, but let's be honest. We know it'll happen again! ;)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Dainty Chaos: A Finished Quilt

Hey y'all! I've got a finish to share!

I scored this kit on Craftsy (not an affiliate link) because those fabrics are just lovely and it was a fantastic deal back when I bought it. They're a part of the Lily & Loom line and absolutely wonderful to work with! If you clicked the link, you'll notice my finished quilt is a bit different than what it should look like. That's because silly me misread the pattern and completely messed things up and didn't realize until I had sewn ALL the blocks together. So I did what any sane quilter would do and made some super colorful lemonade from those blocks! :) I absolutely love the dainty chaos that is this quilt!

The backing is actually the fabric they sent for binding with the kit, along with some charm squares that came free with my order. Still not sure why I got them, but I think it was because my order was over a certain dollar amount maybe? Regardless, I'm stoked that I was able to flesh out my backing with them and keep me from buying anything to finish this quilt!

I had no intended home for this quilt when I made it, I just made it for the joy of making. :) So I'm bringing it along to the handful of craft shows my friend invited me to set up at this spring. Hopefully somebody loves it enough to want to take it home! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

I'm a Terrible Blogger: A Finished Baby Quilt

Y'all, I've said it time and time again. I still can't figure out how so much time passes without me realizing it until I sit down and count up the days! My days have been full lately with house renovations, but we are nearing the finish line on indoor work (YAY!) and beginning outdoor repairs and replacements as the weather warms up.

During all this craziness, I made a baby quilt for a friend of mine! We were college buddies and roomies and she blames me for introducing her to her husband (guilty as charged!), so I was so excited when she told me she was expecting. :)

Momma requested a gender neutral quilt since the gender wasn't revealed until the shower or right before. She wanted green and purple (their favorite colors) and animals were a must! I used the Triangle Hexies pattern by Emily Dennis of Quilty Love. Such a lovely pattern, I recommend it! :)

Momma-to-be and I were Animal Science majors and share a love for all things sheep-y, so when I spotted the sheep flannel backing, I knew it was a must!

I wish we lived closer together, but after graduation, we both headed back to our hometowns, which are about 3 hours apart. I made the trip to her baby shower though because I wanted to give her this little quilt in person (and give her a long overdue hug!). She loved it! I'm happy to say that she had her baby girl this past week and both are doing great!

Have a good weekend y'all!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Someday Blanket: Crochet Finish

Howdy y'all! Back again with the last finish from the end of 2017 *finally*. Long before I became Little Black Cat Quilting, I was just Jennifer. And I loooooved to crochet. I learned when I was pretty young, but I feel like I hit my stride in late high school and college. During college, I had a group of friends I would often crochet with and I loved making fiddly little toys and such, even making some patterns of my own!

This project was started with the most hopeful of intentions. I was engaged and had big dreams for the future - happily married, kids, white picket fence - the whole nine yards. I picked up this yarn on the clearance rack when I worked at Hobby Lobby one summer (I miss that employee discount still! LOL) and started crocheting this lovely curved chevron. It was slow going with the baby weight yarn and tiny hook, but I loved going through a few rows when I had the chance. I didn't mind slow growth because there was no rush.

At a point in my marriage when things were going south, this project was hidden away, stuffed in a bag and buried. I was terrified of having children with my then-husband. The very thought gave me the shakes and nearly made me sick. Children are a gift from God, but I prayed to not bring a child into the situation I was in. Thankfully, that prayer was answered. :)

Digging through my craft supplies after moving back home, I unearthed this unfinished baby afghan. The sight of it left a sour taste in my mouth. Standing in the garage, my bare feet aching on the cold concrete floor, this afghan reminded me of how alone I felt. There was no sweet baby girl waiting to be wrapped up. There was no pregnant belly stretching my shirt in expectation of this project. Instead, I was single and living at home. I was as far from my dream when I bought this yarn as I had ever been.

And yet...I brought it inside and placed it beside my usual spot on the couch. I started chipping away at it in the evenings, row after row. Sometimes working on it made me sad, tugging at my gut in the cruelest way. But I reminded myself it was a Someday Blanket. Someday it would have a home. Someday it would wrap up a daughter or niece. Or, when I'm ready to let go, it will wrap up a baby in need of yarny snuggles. Regardless, reminding myself that this little afghan is a Someday project instead of a Right Now project helped ease those last stitches into place. And I'm proud to say I even smiled when the last yarn end was weaved in.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Last Commission of 2017: Queen-Sized Diamonds

Hey y'all! I've got another 2017 finish to share and this one is a big one! As you guessed, this was a commission for a queen sized quilt. I know I said I wasn't making anymore big commissions, but this was a family friend and I promised her a quilt before the ban was made, so I didn't break any rules! Lol.

She loved the diamond baby quilt I had made back in the summer and requested colors to match her bedroom: rusty red, earthy greens and browns, golds, and just a smattering of turquoise. This palette was WAY out of my usual tastes, but I thought it came together to be lovely. :) The sashing is an off-white/cream. I quilted it with Aurifil in Dove color, which blended well I feel like. It has become a fast favorite of mine, I can see why everybody raves about it!

As you can see, this monster was nearly impossible to snap a picture of indoors! I wish I could have got better pictures of this one, but like the pixelated heart quilt I shared last time, time was of the essence. Also, it was frigid outside and there was no way I was venturing out and dragging quilt holders (aka - my parents) with me. The woman I made this quilt for sent me a picture of it on their bed not long after delivery, which made my heart sing! She absolutely adored it and it made me so happy!

To make up for the crummy pictures, I had to include outtakes of Elvis being...well, Elvis. Lol. He loves being nosey and checking out my projects!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Pixelated Hearts: A Finish

Hey y'all! I have several finishes from 2017 that I still need to share, so let's start this little show off right! First up is a baby/small child quilt. I used this free pattern from Dear Stella that I found on Pinterest and made a block or two to make a dent in my pink scraps, which were becoming a bit overwhelming. I set them aside since I was working on a big commission project (more on that next week!), but God has a way of picking your projects sometimes! I basically went on a quilting bender and finished most of this quilt in a few days once I knew where it was going.

I used the extra pink squares I cut and put them in the binding! Lots of seams but sooooo cute! :)
In my Sunday school class, we've been praying for a little girl that has cancer. Even though I don't know her, I just kept thinking about this poor little girl and wishing I could help somehow. And I just felt this nudge that she needed these hearts. She needed to know that she's got love coming in from all over wishing her good health and recovery.

Pieced backings are extra work, but they make me smile. :)
 Besides a bit of white yardage I bought for the front, this entire quilt (batting included!) was from the stash. For some reason, that makes this finish feel even better! :) Some of those prints on the back are from the first quilts I made for the kids in my family! Though the fabric choices are similar to quilts past, the quilting has improved quite a bit I'd say! FMQ loop-dee-do's with some hearts thrown in make this a cuddly little finish.

I wish I could have taken better pictures of this quilt, but time was of the essence. I literally finished this just before bed and packed it up to be delivered the next morning!

This will forever be my favorite quilt 'pose'! Lol.
Thanks for stopping in, y'all! Have a good week! :)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Reflections and Goals: Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

Holy cow, y'all! It feels like I blinked and months have passed without a single blog post. I've got several projects to post about, but that's a post for another day. It's that time of the year for reflection and goal setting. Last year at this time, I was still a bit mentally and emotionally frayed from my divorce. I was learning how to be hopeful again and putting the pieces of my life back into order. And what a year it has been! I never imagined a more blessed and wonderful year!

Looking back, I'm more than satisfied with my year. I didn't think I completed a ton of projects, but I think that's because I didn't keep a ton of projects. I blogged about four commission projects (2 baby quilts, 1 king size quilt, and a laptop bag) and have one queen sized quilt I need to blog about still. I gave away or plan to donate four projects (2 baby quilts, a pillow, and a twin sized quilt), and have one baby quilt I need to blog about still. I kept three projects that I blogged about - a mini quilt, a pixie basket, and my Alison Glass 'Quilt With No Name' throw quilt. There were projects I didn't blog about, such as baby bibs and my passport wallet, but overall this was the sum of my finishes!

I've still got some WIP's, but I've really focused on trying to stay on track and finish what I've started. I've done a combination of stash sewing and letting myself buy some new fabric goodies. Even better, I've used a chunk of those new fabric goodies!
I absolutely loved making this Kite Flight quilt! I'm also pleased the recipients loved it as well! :)

My Dad likes this one as much as I do; I catch him snuggled under it with the dogs quite often!

The biggest quilt I've ever made, I'm still proud of finally finishing this king-sized beast!
Outside of my quilting world, several big things happened. I bought a (much) newer car earlier in the year. I went on a dream vacation and cruised with my friends to Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, marking my first big trip without any parents present! Hahaha! I was promoted at work, earning a sort of leadership position I never imagined being able to fill. The biggest 'big thing' that happened this year happened just after Thanksgiving though. I bought a house! If you follow me on Instagram, you're already privy to the news, but HOLY MOLEY! Y'all, I never dreamed I would actually own my own home. But I've been working hard and saving and things fell into line and, man, God is good. :) My family and I are doing some renovations (another blessing is a Dad that's practically a contractor!) and Elvis and I's little castle will be ready in the spring! Complete with a fenced in yard to play in for him and a sewing room to play in for me! :)

Oh, how I miss those beautiful waters!

Like I need an excuse to share a picture of my best guy. :)

Last year, I simplified my goals to 3 things: Choose Joy, Treat Yo'self, and Take Care of Yourself --- it was a year of focusing on self-care and learning to just be. Overall, I feel like I worked hard on these goals and kept good focus on them throughout the year.

Looking forward, I was having trouble thinking what goals I wanted to write down. I struggle to make quilting specific goals normally because my interests and plans change so much within a year. But I think these are a good overview of what I would like to see done this coming year.

1. Choose Joy - I am writing this one down again because it is such a central sentiment of my life now. Even when things are hairy and stressful, I make it a goal to choose joy. It's easier said than done, but it's amazing how things change with such a simple shift in attitude.

2. Serve Others - Over the past year, I have really been praying and asking God to use me how he wants. And I've really felt called to serve others, I just don't know how. So I'm making it a goal to keep my heart open to helping others. I want to make people feel loved and pass on loving service like it has been done for me. Whether this is baking cookies for a neighbor, hosting a movie night for friends, or tagging along and helping with a service project, I want to make a difference in my community, no matter how small it may be.

3. Continue Learning - I love learning. I never realized that fully until I finished up my college coursework, but I love it. So I hope to pick up more quilting skills, but I also like picking up other skills, whether that be gardening, cooking, foreign languages, or whatever strikes my fancy. If I can swing it, I'm really hoping to learn how to play the ukulele this year!

I think I will leave it at 3 goals again, it worked well for me last year. It's not an overwhelming amount of things to think about, but these goals pack a lot of punch! I'm excited to see what this next year holds and hope to share it all with y'all!

Hope y'all have a Happy New Year! I'm linking up with Yvonne over at Quilting Jetgirl!