Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Have Something to Say: An Ongoing Project

Hey y'all! It seems I blinked and nearly 2 months flew by. I've been busy sewing, but I can't share anything quite yet. Today though, I'm sharing a really personal project. To explain it, however, I feel like I need to go back a bit.

The past 8 months have been...surreal. There's been so much growth and learning and faith and all-around living. I left an unhealthy marriage and essentially started back at square one. I sorted through a lot of guilt and confusion. I struggled through loneliness and disappointment. I've learned to smile and laugh for real again. And I'm learning to speak. Really speak.

I know I can't be alone when I often put my thoughts under wraps. True to Southern hospitality, I'm asked, "How are you?" a lot. And for years and years, I've simply replied, "I'm fine." Even when my world was in shambles and the strongest thing on me was my shoelaces, I bit the inside of my cheek and managed the lie. Because who would want my burdens?

I learned though, when I was put to the fire, I would speak. During the hardest time of my life, the first thing I did was call my mother. I had something to say and dang it, I was going to finally say it. And months later, that idea stuck with me and inspired me. I've finally decided that I have something to say. What better way to say it than with quilts?

If you follow Jess @ Quilty Habit, you know she is really passionate about words on quilts and saying things that matter to you. Though my quilt is far less political, it was her that got the idea rolling that I could say what I wanted in the way I was most comfortable speaking.

I'm (Not) Fine is a piece inspired by my valley, my dark patch, my low point. Though it is in my rearview mirror, I was still coping when I planned this quilt. The entire process has taken nearly 6 months. I often worked on this when the house was empty because, frankly, it was heavy. Heavy on my heart, heavy on my mind. And working with that heaviness has lifted a weight off my shoulders.

The words are paper pieced, using patterns from a book called Quilt Talk. I can't remember the Kona colors except the pale blue/green, which is Ice Frappe I believe.
I listed many of the things I should have said rather than 'I'm fine' and free motion quilted them in the background with matching thread, causing them to nearly disappear. Only when you look, really look, can you read what's written.

This mini quilt is the most intentionally designed piece I've ever made. Never once did I leave anything to chance or just wing it --- I had every detail picked out from the beginning. Though that normally isn't my style, I couldn't imagine approaching this quilt any other way. I plan to make more quilts following the theme ' I Have Something to Say' and I encourage y'all to join me! It's both terrifying and liberating to bare yourself in fabric and thread and, I'm sure, you have something to say just as much as I do.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Keep Your Weinee Warm: A Baby Quilt!

Happy Friday, y'all! I'm excited to share my latest finish today! If you follow me on Instagram, you caught a sneak peek of this one.

A work friend of mine, who I lovingly call the Weiner Queen due to her love of weiner dogs, is having a baby boy soon. When she first announced she was pregnant, I knew right away that a quilt with wiener dogs was a must! It really was meant to be because the awesome pattern by Elizabeth Hartman came out not long after the gender reveal, giving me plenty of time before her baby shower.

The instructions for piecing the dogs were absolutely fantastic and I recommend this pattern 100%! There were a lot of pieces, but labeling my stacks with painter's tape and clover clips kept everything in order. Elizabeth is a fantastic pattern writer, I'm sure I'll be buying from her again!

I quilted a boxy meander all over, leaving the dogs untouched so they would be soft and have a little poof to them. I couldn't help but pet them when I was done! :)

I also made some bibs and burp cloths with the scraps. Having a matching set just sets this gift to a new level, don'tcha think?

I was so excited to gift this to my friend at her baby shower last weekend. I couldn't have been happier when she opened it and squealed before hugging it. Everybody oohed and aahed, but her happiness really made my quilty heart smile. The next day, she let me know it was already hanging on his crib, waiting for his arrival so baby and momma could snuggle in it. :)

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Needle and Thread Thursday!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Because I Needed to Quilt the Crap Out of Something

Howdy y'all, I'm back with a finish to share! I pieced this little quilt for the sole reason that I needed something quick and easy to 'cleanse my quilting palette' after the monstrous Crown Royal quilt. I went with a simple coin quilt design, and just flipped it on its side to add some interest. This ended up finishing around 40 inches square I believe.

This little baby crinkled like crazy after washing and drying!

For the quilting, I went a bit crazy! I really want to improve my quilting skills and branch out beyond the simple designs I've come to love. And the only way to spread those quilty wings is to try it, right?! So this little quilt became a canvas for me to quilt the daylights out of!

I tried my hands at a modified feather pattern around the edge and it went surprisingly well! I actually squealed a minute or so after starting because it actually looked like my doodles! A quick tip I found helpful: I doodled my design on paper, then taped it on my sewing machine. This way, the picture was right at eye level, I just had to glance to the side if I felt lost in the design.

In those narrow little alleyways between the stacks of coins, I'm not sure what to call the design. I think I've heard it called a wishbone pattern, but don't quote me on it. I did the design once, then staggered it slightly and repeated the same design to make it feel fuller.

In the 'tweener area, I did simple straight lines because I realized I was getting a little carried away. Hahaha! I topped things off with a simple binding to blend in, but I couldn't help myself from adding a few little pops of color. :)

In my eyes, this quilt is a little crazy, especially for me. But I had SO much fun trying out new quilting designs and just cutting loose! It's far from perfect but for the first time since I started quilting, I started feeling really confident in what I can do. Like maybe I can run with the big dogs of the quilting world that I admire so much. I've still got tons to learn but I'm on my way!! :)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pardon My French(ie): A Finish!

Happy Sunday, y'all! I hope your weekend has been fun and restful! The weather is beautiful in my little corner of KY today, but I couldn't help but stop and share this pillow I finished yesterday. My little cousin, Ella, is having a birthday next weekend and I realized, like I normally do, that time had slipped away and the party was nearly here and I was present-less!

Cue this pillow! Ella is French Bulldog crazy, especially since they got their own not long ago. So it only seemed proper to make her a little something with a Frenchie on it to celebrate her birthday. In fact, it looks like HER Frenchie! :)

I drew out my plan on a piece of paper the size of the pillow, making sure everything fit how I wanted. The overall layout was inspired by a picture of a Boston Terrier I found with a simple Google search. Then I used Heat n' Bond to applique the face onto the background fabric, straight stitching around the edges.

Like most of the fonts I've used in the past, I drew the letters out by hand. These were inspired by some scrapbooking stickers I saw, modified a bit to fit better in the space I had for her name.

I finished things up with an envelope backing and...IT ACTUALLY FIT! Y'all, this is the first time I've made a pillow cover that fits the pillow form! I was so ecstatic! I just did a quick search for tutorials on Pinterest beforehand and it paid off. :)

I still need to stick a little label somewhere if I can remember to, then it is ready to make a road trip this weekend! Thanks for reading y'all!

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Finished Commission: Spring has Sprung Laptop Bag!

Howdy y'all! Once again, time slipped away and I went a while without blogging again. But man, I've been sewing up a storm and having fun as the weather turns spring-like. And what better way to celebrate spring than with a bright, happy laptop bag?!

A work friend's mom saw some of my creations on Facebook and asked if I could make a bag for her laptop. Of course!

I was given free reign with design and fabric choices, which was surprisingly scary. I like having project guidelines when I'm creating for somebody else! But I persevered and I used this tutorial as a guideline to get started.

Rather than buy pre-quilted fabric, which is expensive and my Jo Ann's didn't have much variety, I simply quilted regular fabric with a layer of batting. I get serious heart eyes when looking at that gridwork of quilting. If you follow me on Instagram, you got a peek of my happiness as I discovered a seam guide (or at least I think it is, I still haven't checked the manual for sure) and used it to make a darn-near perfect grid of quilting without the hassle of taping or marking a bunch.

This was my first time buying hardware, but I only had eyes for that adorable zipper. Isn't it cute?! It added a bit of a hitch sewing it in; I had to make sure that cute little design didn't get sewn into the seam allowance, but it was worth the extra brain power! :)

I absolutely love the print for the lining. I used the yellow colorway of it in the Crown Royal Quilt and I'm pretty sure I would buy it in every color of the rainbow if I could. I just wrote on the lining with a fabric pen rather than sew in a label.

I've got some secret sewing in the works right now, but I've got some shareable sewing as well! I'm hoping to get to a point where I can share soon!

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Quilt to Crown a Royal: A Finished Commission!

Guess which side my 5'4" mom was on and which side my 6'3" dad was on. Poor mom was stretching as tall as she could and still couldn't get it straight! LOL
Howdy y'all! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be able to say 'Look at this finish!'. I've been working on this commission for what feels like forever, but the end has finally arrived! This quilt was a commission for a coworker's boyfriend. He gave me a bag full of Crown Royal bags and said to have fun. The only guideline was that is needed to be king sized.

My parents' poor bed was dwarfed by this king-sized monster!
I didn't reinvent the wheel with this design, but I did draw it up on paper and audition different layouts before settling on this one. It really made me feel like a designer when I was coloring in my little notebook! :)

I learned a lot with this quilt. For example: No more king size quilts! Lol. To the ladies and gents that make quilts this large on a regular basis, you are super heroes! I was exhausted after lugging this monster around. I also got my fill of log cabin blocks to last me for a long while, I'm sure.

I did loop-dee-do quilting in the yellow areas and did some minimal straight line quilting around some seams in the purple areas. In the borders, I alternated some purple and white straight lines around the seam lines.

Now that this one has been delivered, I can finally take a breath it feels like! It's so good to have this one off my shoulders, I'm proud I finished it! :)

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday and Needle and Thread Thursday!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Finish It Up Friday: A Finish is a Finish, No Matter How Small!

Yikes, y'all! It feels like I blinked and February was gone! It zoomed by in a fun-filled blur, so I can't complain.
The crew and I enjoyed some very unseasonal warmth, catching some rays on the back porch.
It's back to cold and rainy now, but these days were ah-mazing!
We even made a new friend!
This is my new cousin! :)
I've been enjoying myself more than I have in a long time, and guys, it has felt so good. :)

And of course, part of that fun has been at my sewing machine! I finally got around to making a pixie basket! This tutorial was uber popular a while back, but I just never got around to making one back then. I use two layers of batting rather than batting and muslin, so mine is a little squishy, but it is still wonderful and I love it!

It's so cute and tiny!
I also made myself a little magnetic pin dish! I'm bad for dropping pins or keeping them in my mouth when I sew because I don't want to look at my pin cushion when I'm focused on sewing straight seams. I figured this may help since I just have to set it in the dish and the magnet will do the rest! This cost less than $5 to make (yay for coupons and sales at Hobby Lobby!) and most of the construction time was me dancing around waiting for the glue gun to heat up. Lol. I've used this and I love it so far!

Alsoooooo, I've been quilting the heck out of the Crown Royal quilt. I was terrified to start quilting this king sized monster, but besides some tension issues in the beginning, it's actually been really good. My machine has been amazing! I'm down to quilting the borders, then it will be time to bind and deliver! :D

So all in all, a very busy, very happy month! By mid-March, I may have some cool news to share, so keep your fingers crossed! Happy stitching, y'all!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Quilt With No Name - A Finished Quilt

<3 I can't even make words to describe how much I love this. :)

Hey y'all! I have a special finish to share today. Do you ever have one of those quilts that you are almost afraid to finish? You want to, but it is sort of bittersweet as you near the finish. I was so excited to wrap things up with this quilt, but as I sewed the binding on, it literally took me hours because I kept dawdling, not sure I was ready to be done with such a long running project.
Simple rainbow piecing and quilting. Makes my heart sing. :)
This quilt was all kinds of new for me. In previous posts, I mentioned that this was the first pattern I 'designed', drawing it on paper and doing quilty math after being inspired by the loading screen of a video game! I used my precious Alison Glass fabric from Christmas 2015 and metallic Essex Linen from my birthday last year. I even went crazy and hand quilted this one! Even crazier, it was rainbow hand quilting! I don't foresee myself doing such large scale hand quilting again anytime soon, but I know I'm not finished with it. :)

I couldn't resist adding a few little pops of color on the binding!
I layered up and ventured out into the cold, knowing this quilt needed natural light to really shine! Depending on the angle, this quilt can look soft or it can be bold and shiny. You can see how the colorful strips are a bit puffy, courtesy of me learning how to keep things straight while hand quilting. Lol. I like it, so I'm not too worried about it!
No snow stuck in the last flurry, so this quilt gets a green backdrop.
Part of the driving force behind me pushing through and finishing this quilt is the Alison Glass linky party over at Quilting Jetgirl! I'm cutting it close, but I couldn't miss putting my quilt in with all the other lovely finishes. Head over and check out the scrumptious Alison Glass creations! :) Also linking up with Finish it Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts!

A slip of the camera and the finger resulted in a lovely little shot of the backing. I couldn't help but share. :)

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!