Monday, January 16, 2017

Kite Flight: A Finished Quilt

Howdy y'all! I had hoped to have this one finished before the weekend, but basting with 3 crazy dogs in the house made for a difficult job. I eventually barricaded myself in my parents' bedroom and got it done in record time! Lol.

I did some simple straight line quilting and it was an absolute breeze on my new machine. There was plenty of space so things never got cramped and she stitched like a dream. I just need to get some FMQ under our belts and we'll feel like family, I'm sure of it. :)

I was going to take this one outside for a photoshoot, but it is a soggy, muddy mess outside in my neck of the woods. I just envisioned all that white being ruined and I couldn't muster the guts to take it outside. Lol. So of course, that meant no full length pictures (the closest I have are these from my last post) and not much natural light despite my best efforts. I can't wait for the longer, dryer days of summer!

I tossed this quilt in the washer shortly after pictures and did a gentle tumble dry and, guys, the texture is so soft and cuddly. It crinkled just right and I wanted to snuggle in it, it was so inviting! I'm sewing on the label tonight and hope to get it in the mail within the next couple of days.

Next up is wrapping up the quilting on my Alison Glass quilt! Yvonne over at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a linky party for Alison Glass projects until the end of January, you should check it out!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Kite Flight: A Finished Quilt Top

Howdy y'all! I have excitement to share! I have my first finished quilt top of the new year! I wasn't able to get a picture of the entire thing since my camera wasn't agreeing with the lower light of the kitchen, but at least you get a sneak peek before it gets basted. :)

If you peruse Craftsy's sale section, you may recognize this quilt. A little after Thanksgiving, I was scrolling through admiring all the kits and fabric. I kept coming back to this one though! I'm not normally an all-solids kind of person, but this Kite Flight kit was calling my name! A stunning quilt and a killer price, a win-win in my book. And you know what? I bought it. With barely a second of hesitation even! :)

My very first jelly roll! Such scrumptious bits of Kona! :)
One of my New Year's goals was to treat myself and that's exactly what this was. I've worked on it for the sheer joy of working on it. No deadlines, no pressure. Just getting to play with Kona solids at my leisure. And I'll tell y'all, it has been...absolutely wonderful.
There were triangles everywhere! My Dad was quite amused that I was sewing fabric together, cutting it apart, then resewing it back together. :)
Despite this being a 'treat yo'self' purchase, I won't be keeping this quilt. You ever have those times when a quilt just whispers in your ear where it needs to go? This one did about halfway through piecing the top and, honestly, it really surprised me. It's going to go to somebody I hadn't talked to in a while - she was an RA for a summer nerd camp I went to during high school. I bumped into her at college on occasion and she was always a lovely, nice person. She's going through a tough time right now and I wanted to let her know, even though we aren't that close, I care and wish the best for her. I'm not very good with words, especially during times of distress, but I'm hoping this quilt will convey that sentiment to her. So after this one is finished up, it will be jetting across the country to Colorado! How exciting!
With 3 dogs in the house, this was what most of my outtakes looked like. I can't complain when they're just so darn cute! :)
In other news, I caved and joined Instagram! You can find me here or look up littleblackcatquilting!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A New Year!

It's hard to believe we've made it to the end of another year, y'all! Most of you probably aren't surprised to hear me say I'm ready to kick 2016 out the door and start fresh with 2017. Once again, Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a goal setting link up (with prizes!) and I decided to hop in on the fun!

Last year, I had a big list full of quilting goals and I'm proud to say I've reached some of those goals. I learned how to paper piece and really liked it! I also made some quilts to donate, but I still have to actually donate them. I fell off the wagon when it came to staying consistent with my blogging, as well as giving my blog an update. Surprisingly, I had quite a few commissions this year as well! All-in-all, I count my quilting for the year quite successful.

This year, I'm approaching things completely different. This past year has worn me down. I like to think of it like a river wearing down stones until they are nice and smooth - it makes everything that has happened feel much more positive that way. :) Rather than make a huge list, I've decided to keep things simple. In fact, I've narrowed it down to 3 things. It made me uncomfortable at first because this list feels selfish (there's a lot of me and I in it), but I've thought on it for a week or so and I think it is what I need this year. 

1.) Choose Joy
This has been a mantra of mine during tough times, though it is definitely easier said than done sometimes. I try to remind myself everyday that there is always something to be thankful for. It may be as small as a dog wagging its tail when it looks at you or an extra chicken nugget in your lunch. I'm determined to fill my mind with all those joyful, happy things this year!

2.) Treat Yo' Self
So many people make it a goal to sew from the stash and spend less. I did so out of necessity for a long time, but things are different now. I no longer have to scrimp every penny to make ends meet. I don't have to take on commissions to keep the bills paid. This year, if I really want some fabric, I'm buying it. If I want to catch a movie or dinner with friends, I'm going to. Not to say I'm going to go crazy with spending (I'm saving up for a house!) but I don't want the anxiety that has engulfed me in the past to keep me from enjoying the fruits of my labor. I want to feel free to have fun!

3.) Take Care of Yourself
Over the last couple of years, I have run myself ragged. At times, I would work myself so hard and spread myself so thin that I would get sick. I have been plagued by aches and pains and unexplained 'yuckiness' and, looking back, it was because I didn't take care of myself. My goal this year is to get back to putting myself first some. I want to get back to working out. I used to be strong and fairly athletic - I want to get back to running, dancing, and yoga. I want to get more sleep. I want to stress less and smile more. I'm already getting a start on some of this (despite being sick for Christmas, I've laughed until I've cried multiple times, which is definitely good for the soul!), but I'm making an effort this year to be mindful of myself and what I need.

I hope y'all had a Merry Christmas! And if you celebrate other winter holidays, I hope those were wonderful as well!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

New Beginnings

I've been silent in this space for a quite a while, but I assure you my life has been anything but quiet. A little more than a week before Thanksgiving, my life was completely flipped upside down. I'm not sure I could put it all into words if I tried.

My husband and I split up. Although it was my choice, I still mourn the loss of something I had so much faith in and put so much of myself into. I gave every ounce of myself in hopes of fixing things, but in the end, I was going to lose myself trying to keep a sinking ship afloat.

 I got to keep Elvis, but my husband took LBC with him when he left. I cried harder saying goodbye to that silly, wonderful cat than I did any other time. My sewing machine, The First Born, also went with him since it had belonged to his great grandmother. The two things that defined and drove my blog and creativity were gone in the span of a single night.
As silly as it sounds, this dog is my world. My ray of sunshine. My partner in crime. :) 
My life is in boxes right now, taking up way too much space in my parents' garage. They have been an absolute lifesaver during this entire ordeal and let Elvis and I come back home without a moment of hesitation. When it comes to parents, I really won the lottery with how good they are to me.

I've been making my way through those boxes, pulling out my sewing staples (scissors, rotary mat, pin cushion, etc.). I've managed to wrangle most things and get them in one bag together for easy access. I've been sewing more and more, finally getting used to setting up and breaking down my sewing area every night to leave the dining room table clear and uncluttered.

But this story isn't just a sad one. Despite the divorce, life gets better, things keep moving forward. Old friends that I had lost touch with are right by my side again. Family is keeping me busy and laughing more than I have in a long time. My pastor is helping me work through the things I am struggling with. And you, dear quilty friends, have been posting beautiful projects and WIP's and sharing your stash additions, all of which keep a quilty heart aflutter when times are hard. I may not comment as much as I want to at the moment, but I wholeheartedly appreciate this community I am so lucky to be a part of.  So in the wake of Thanksgiving, I am reassured that I have so much to be thankful for, even when life gets messy.
Hound dog cuddles are my absolute favorite! :)
I have several things to share and I'm hoping to get back on track with photographing and writing blog posts again! I've included a couple of pictures to show things I've made but likely won't write about.
Baby bibs! I sewed some as a commission, so those won't be shared until after they are gifted!

Memory wall hangings - the colored hearts are made from the clothes of my client's passed mother and father. I made one for each child. They're different, but at the same time, cohesive enough to be a matching set. :)
I'm planning to write a post on my new sewing machine as well, but I couldn't resist sharing a picture of the big, beautiful thing now! :)
We've been getting acquainted and I think it will be a long and happy friendship. More on her later though! :)

If you've made it this far, thank you for bearing with me! As many people say, When it rains, it pours. But I am determined to start dancing in the rain, friends, and I hope you'll join me. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Deacon Quilt: A Finish

Howdy y'all! And Happy Saturday! I have a finish to share, so let's get to it. This quilt was commissioned not to long ago by one of my best friends from college. She's becoming an auntie again and asked if I could make a quilt to celebrate! Of course I accepted, I want to wrap up as many babies in quilty love as I can! :)
I'm standing in KY, but across the bridge is Ohio!
She sent me a picture of a quilt she liked, asking if I could add the baby's name somewhere on the front. It seems names on quilts is becoming my specialty! I found a font on Pinterest that she liked and hopped right to it!
Those loo-dee-doo's really give a lot of texture! :)

I quilted it in loop-dee-doo's in a medium gray thread, tossing in a few hearts for good measure. I bound it in Kona Navy and for kicks, I used a red thread for a little extra pop around the edges. :)

I took this one out for a special photoshoot, but I'm not overly pleased with the photos. I was charged with holding the quilt, so I feel like you can tell the pictures weren't taken by me.  No matter though, there's always next time! The riverfront area I went to is gorgeous and I'm sure more quilts will go there for pictures.
It was a windy day, so I was standing just out of frame to save the quilt from blowing into the water! 
I'm pleased to say Auntie texted me this evening and said Momma-to-be absolutely loved the quilt and nearly cried when she opened it! I love when the quilts I make are so loved, it fills my heart to the brim. :)
Trying not to get blown over by the wind or trip over the driftwood! And of course, my ratty bun is peeking over the top. Hahahaha

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Commission That Made Me Laugh

Howdy y'all! Hope your week is looking a bit more bearable now that we've hit the hump! As promised, I have some progress to share with you.

A while back, a coworker of mine said her boyfriend wanted to pay me to make a quilt. Thing is, he didn't want a typical quilt. He wanted a Crown Royal quilt. I'm no connoisseur of alcohol, but I'm pretty sure Crown Royal is rum, right? Regardless, the bottles come wrapped in these nifty little purple and gold bags. And this guy didn't have a few of these bags. Oh no, he had an entire garbage bag full of them - I'm talking more than a hundred of them! Apparently he's been saving them for years just for a project like this! I was rolling with laughter when she told me about it, but I agreed to do it. Who doesn't love a good challenge?!
Purple and gold for dayyyyyssss!
Anywho, he gave me free reign to do whatever I please, he just wanted the bags involved. He ended up deciding he wanted a king sized quilt (YIKES!), but thankfully has no deadline set for finishing and simply said to ask whenever I needed money for supplies and whatnot.

I had hand cramps for days after cutting all the logos off the bags and squaring them up, though I know I've got a few more bags squirreled away somewhere if I need them. And I've been making slow progress piecing blocks. I didn't want anything too difficult, but I wasn't feeling anything overly simple either. In the end, one of my doodles of some log cabin blocks grabbed me and I ran with it!
My sewing table stays in organized chaos anymore, especially with this project in full swing! I'm hoping to get at least another round on the in progress blocks on top tonight! 
I laid all my blocks together a little while back and I'm absolutely loving how things are shaping up so far! I'm hoping to be finished piecing blocks soon-ish so I can get the top together and share the full effect with y'all. I'm absolutely dreading basting this bad boy and, being totally honest, the thought of quilting it on the First Born has me shivering in my boots! But I'm ready to tackle it and make something I'm proud of! :)

Happy Hump Day, y'all! I'll be back on Saturday to share a finish!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sometimes You Just Can't Quilt

As the title implies, I won't be sharing a quilt today. No finish, no WIP, no Sunday Stash. Not a single picture. In the words of Molli Sparkles, I'm serving up a cup of Truth Tea, more for myself than anybody. And y'all, it is a bitter cup to swallow down. I wrote this post more than a week ago, but today I am ready to share. If you are here for quilts only, come back later next week when I share some progress and a finish!

I've noticed a theme in my life. When life slaps me down and craps on me, I hide under quilts. I had so many things to share with you guys, had everything planned. But on Wednesday, I got news.

She's dying.

If you've been with me on this blog for a while, you will remember the quilt, Missed Punchline. I made it for my grandmother who had been steadily declining in her battle with Alzheimer's. That quilt was an emotional journey from start to finish, but in the end, it helped me work through so much...stuff that I had bottled up for years.

She's dying.

I had been working with my Dad when we got the news. We cleaned up and went to the nursing home. It was the first time I saw my grandpa cry. It had been so long since my last visit. Too long. Her condition had nosedived and I barely recognized her. I couldn't say a word, not to her. She didn't know I was there...honestly, I don't think she knew any of us were there. But I sat at the foot of her bed. I did multiplication tables in my head as I looked at her, clinging to something that never changed.

She's dying.

And my eyes fell on it. Missed Punchline was there, pushed to the end of the bed because she was hot. It was crinkled from being washed almost weekly, a few lines of quilting popped and unraveling. It was always there, draped in the chair set up for visitors normally.

She's dying.

I left that night knowing it wouldn't be long. I went home and curled up under a quilt, not sure what to feel. The next day, I had just curled up again, ready to head out for errands but I had time to spare for a bit of cozy reading. My phone rang.

She's dead.

I told my husband. I drove him to work and came home, all errands and plans forgotten. I drug myself upstairs, crawled into bed with some quilts, and I cried. I hid from the sunlight streaming through the window. I hid from the world. I followed the familiar lines of quilting, the improv lines of patchwork. I wrapped up as tight as I could, cocooned in love that only comes from a quilt. Every minute not spent on necessities has been underneath a quilt for me.

We said goodbye today. It was hard, but at the same time, it's like I can breathe a little easier. When I came home, feet sore and head pounding from meeting so many people, I changed into pajamas and retreated under a quilt. Tomorrow is for quilting. Today is for hiding beneath quilts.

I wrote that the day of my grandmother's funeral. I still felt raw, unsure how to step forward after something so shaking. Everything ached, my heart the most. I've slowly shifted my life, like breaking in a new pair of shoes: things still ache at the end of the day, but I'm gradually working back towards...normal? The word sounds wrong honestly, but it's the only one I can find. Normal for me was to sew. Every day, at least a few minutes is spent at the machine or planning or cutting fabric. But it felt wrong. Just the thought made my stomach go sour for reasons I can't figure out. After about a week, my machine beckoned me back, the hum and bang of the First Born more comforting than I thought it would be. So I'm back in business, getting back to neglected projects and finding comfort in fabric and thread.

Thanks for bearing with me through that! I try to keep this blog as quilty as possible, but all of us know that life happens. And sometimes you just have to let it all out to breathe a little easier. I plan on sharing some progress mid-week and have a spanking new finish to share on Saturday!