July 02, 2020

TGIFF - Rock On!

Welcome to TGIFF! I almost accidentally missed my day to host and the start of my month to manage TGIFF...oops! It's so hard to keep track of the days of the week, let alone which month we're in, these days, I find. Nevertheless, here we are at the beginning of July and I have two finished quilt tops to share today 😊 

Before I get to those, though, I want to mention that there are a lot of weeks open for hosting TGIFF during the rest of the year. We'd love to have you sign up to host, which you can do here. Don't worry if you've never hosted before! Anja, Laura or I (whoever is managing the month your date falls in) will be more than happy to help you get it all figured out AND it's actually a very simple process. So go sign up, then come on back here.

Okay, so these two quilt tops are on their way to becoming teacher gifts for two guys who have put a lot of time and energy into encouraging the musical talents of the students at our school. Both have been a huge influence on Aiden and I decided a couple of years ago that when he graduated, they would get quilts. I had intended for them to be finished for the end of school, but since school ended suddenly back in March, that certainly didn't happen. The goal now is just to get them finished sometime over the summer.

Let me just say that I know I'm breaking every quilt blogger photography rule with these pictures. I completely forgot about needing them until today, when it is pouring down rain, so there's zero chance of getting good outdoor light. So, taped up in the family room it is. Better to have photographic proof that they're actually finished quilt tops, even if that proof isn't as pretty as it could be. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Trust me, they're nicer than they look here and there will be good pictures with proper lighting when they're finished quilts!
Rock Concert quilt top | DevotedQuilter.com
The pattern is Rock Concert, by On Williams Street. It requires 6 prints - one each in red, green, blue, yellow, orange and purple. I chose to go scrappy, but I stuck with those same colours. 
Rock Concert quilt top | DevotedQuilter.com
The guitar itself is paper pieced and on the templates it says what colour should go in each section, so I just followed instructions. If the A1 section said red, I used a red; if it said yellow, I used a yellow. Instead of just one of each colour, though, there's an abundance of different shades and prints for all six colours. It was a lot of fun raiding my scraps! The result is that the two guitars look very much alike, without being completely identical. Here they are, side-by-side, so you can see what I mean.
Rock Concert quilt top | DevotedQuilter.com
I love how vibrant and fun they both are!

Now I need to figure out how I'm going to quilt them. The background will be getting an all-over design of some sort, possibly music notes if I feel comfortable trying to quilt those after some sketching. I haven't decided, though, if the all-over design will continue over the guitars or if they'll get a different treatment. If they do get something different (and that's how I'm leaning right now), I have no idea what it should be. Suggestions would be most appreciated!

That's it for me, which means now it's your turn! Link up your finishes and go visit some of the other links to see what your fellow quilters have finished recently. And don't forget to sign up to host 😊

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

June 29, 2020

Where Are You Looking?

Before I get into this week's devotion, I want to let you know that I'll be taking the summer off from writing new devotions again this year. Last year was the first time I took time off from devotion writing and I found it very refreshing. This will be my last new devotion until September. Rest assured, I'll still be reading my Bible and planning out what to write when I come back 😊

Devotion for the Week...

I remember back when I had my beginner's driver's license and I was out driving with Dad one day. There was a group of people walking along the side of the road near our house and I was curious to see who they were, so I kept staring at them until Dad suddenly said, "Where are you going?" I snapped to attention and discovered that the car was veering toward the people! As I straightened back up, Dad pointed out that the car will go wherever the driver is looking, so you always have to pay attention to where you're looking.

What a concept to remember, and not only when we're driving! Our lives will go where we are looking, too. What you give your attention to will affect what you do.

Here's one small example: I love to read fantasy books, so that's the section I gravitate to first whenever I go to a bookstore, followed by the young adult fantasy. Because I'm paying attention to what is on the fantasy bookshelves, I often find new fantasy books to read. On the other hand, I haven't wandered through the mystery section in years, so I don't read mysteries.

On a much more important level, David wrote in Psalm 119: 9-16:

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
I have recited aloud
    all the regulations you have given us.
I have rejoiced in your laws
    as much as in riches.
I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.
I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.

By gravitating to God's word and His commands, David was keeping them front and center in his life.  He purposely studied and reflected on what God revealed in His word so that he wouldn't sin against God. He looked at what God wanted Him to do so he could aim his life in that direction.

Constantly looking towards God means we will move our lives in the direction God wants us to go. Not because people who look to Him are inherently better or more 'spiritual' than people who don't, but because if we are aware of what God wants and we are seeking to follow Him, then we are more likely to hear and then heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If we're not paying attention, we'll miss what the Holy Spirit has to say. 
Our lives will go in the direction we're looking | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Multiplication

Where are we looking today? Do we want to go in that direction?

June 28, 2020

2020 Mid-Year Review

This is by far the oddest year we've ever had, but somehow we have made it almost to the end of June 😊 That means it's time for a mid-year review of the goals I set back in December. This should be interesting!

1. Guitar quilts


I said back in December that these would be priority number 1 in the New Year and they were...sort of. In early January I asked the owner of my LQS to order me a bolt of solid grey next time she placed an order, for the background and backings. She did, but there was a delay on the other end, so it was mid March before I actually had it in hand. By then, the world had gone topsy-turvy and school was closed. Since these are teacher gifts, getting them finished by the end of the school year didn't feel quite so pressing when school was already closed. That being said, I have finally finished the tops! I'll share them as my finish on Friday when I host TGIFF, so you'll have to come back then to see. Here's a sneak peek in the meantime.
guitar quilt sneak peek | DevotedQuilter.com

2. Finish my Quilter's Planner bag


Nope. Haven't touched it. Truth be told, I had even forgotten I have it as a goal! Good thing there are still six months of the year to go.

3. More patterns, in more shops


I have released 6 new patterns so far in 2020. My goal was 10, so I'm well on the way there 😊
Pinwheel Garden quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
As for more shops...so far I've had one new shop carry my patterns. Since my goal was simply 'more' I guess that counts, but it's kind of underwhelming, don't you think? I haven't been reaching out to new shops since the pandemic started, but it's something I need to get back into doing now that things are starting to open up again. Hopefully I'll have more 'more' to report before the year is out.

4. Teach a class


Well...kind of, yes. I started teaching a beginner's class in our church basement back in February. I had 9 students and we were having a blast. They had their quilt tops partially pieced and would probably have finished piecing them at our next class, but then everything shut down. We will definitely resume classes at some point, but I'm not sure when exactly that will be.

On the other hand, since the pandemic started, I have offered two free virtual workshops and absolutely loved teaching live online! I will be doing more of that for sure. If you want to be notified when I'm doing another online workshop, sign up for my newsletter. I always let subscribers know what I'm planning 😊

5. Tame the UFO situation


I have finished two of my UFOs so far this year. Both were quilt tops that needed to be quilted and patterns that needed to be written, so they're like dual finishes. It feels great to have Formal Garden and Burst both finished and released. There are still plenty of UFOs waiting patiently, though. 
Burst quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

6. Make more little quilts


This one I have been doing! By my count, I've made 7 projects that used up smaller pieces of batting. 
Blue scrap basket | DevotedQuilter.com
You're a Star mini quilts | DevotedQuilter.com
Plus, my quilting class students made scrappy pincushions from my 2 ½" squares, then we stuffed them with batting that I had cut into tiny bits with my rotary cutter. Yay for using up more of those long, skinny strips trimmed off after quilting! You can see my sample one I made last fall in this post.

7. More garment sewing


Check, check and check ✔ I have been having so much fun making myself clothes! I haven't blogged about all of them, but this is what I've made so far this year:

  • Another Summer Basics dress (not blogged yet). That's four dresses from this pattern so far.
  • A Summer Basics tank top (not blogged yet). It's from the same pattern as the dresses. I've gotten my money's worth from that pattern, for sure, and I will be making more 😊 
  • Two Tessa Sheath dresses. I blogged about one here and you can see the other in the family pictures here.
  • A Slim Fit Raglan from fabric left over from my first two Summer Basics dresses and another from blue fabrics that I never blogged about.
The Summer Basics and Tessa dresses are both from Love Notions (affiliate link) and the Slim Fit Raglan is from Patterns for Pirates.

I have fabric coming for shorts, a skirt and a top, all using patterns from Love Notions. I've also bought a pattern for making underwear from Patterns for Pirates because the scraps of fabric that are too small for a shirt, but too big to throw away, were begging to be used for something. I haven't made any yet, but I did buy the elastic that I need. There won't be pictures of those, though, lol 😄

8. Make a sewing machine cover


Nope. I've thought of it off and on over the past few months, but haven't started yet. There's still time. Plus, I haven't actually put my machine away and put the cover on it since school closed in mid March. It goes from the table to the floor in the corner near the table and back again, so there's no pressing need for a cover right now. 


Wow, after listing it all out, it feels like I've been making good progress this year! Somehow the to-make list never seems to get any shorter, though. I'm not sure how, but it just keeps growing and growing and growing. Not that I'm complaining. I love having an abundance of projects that I'm excited to make.

How about you? Are you making good progress on your goals for the year?

June 25, 2020

Tessa Dress

I made another dress a few weeks ago, but forgot to share it. I've worn it a few times now and I loooove it! It's like wearing secret pajamas, lol.
Tessa dress | DevotedQuilter.com
This is the Tessa dress pattern, from Love Notions. This is actually the second one I've made and I don't think I ever blogged about the first one, either, now that I think about it. It's the dress I wore for our family pictures on Aiden's graduation day.

The dress is super simple to make and Love Notions patterns are written so that even beginners can be successful with them. I'm definitely still in the camp of "explain everything to me and assume I know nothing" when it comes to garment sewing, but I'm getting better 😊

This fabric is a cotton/lycra jersey knit, which is T shirt fabric essentially, so it's really comfortable to wear all day. I love all the blues that are in it and the irregular waves are fun. Actually, I used a pink/purple version of the same fabric for a Summer Basics dress last summer
Tessa dress | DevotedQuilter.com

I cut out another Summer Basics dress earlier today, which I'm hoping to get sewn together this evening. That pattern also includes a tank top, and I cut one of those out, too, using the scraps from another dress I made last summer, which was also a Love Notions pattern. Can you tell I love their patterns?? 😂

I'm still having a blast learning to sew my own clothes and I really enjoy being able to wear something I've made myself. The next challenge will be making a pair of Allegro shorts. I've heard that fitting pants/shorts is a whole new ballgame in terms of the different adjustments that may need to be made to get them to fit perfectly, so this should be interesting.

Do you sew any clothes? If not, are you wanting to try, but you're a little nervous? I believe quilters can learn to sew clothes, too! Click on the link to learn why 😊


Note, this post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

June 22, 2020

Last Place

Devotion for the Week...

We've taken to playing MarioKart8 as a family most evenings. It's always good for a laugh. My husband yells out "Banana!" whenever he runs into one and the boys love mixing the craziest looking characters with the most unlikely vehicles. As for me, I'm consistently bad at it. If there's a place to fall off the road, I will fall off. Where there are railings to keep you from falling off, I will careen back and forth from one side to the other, banging into the railings. Though only four people can play at a time, the computer fills in with other characters so there are always 12 racers and I am rarely in the top 6. It's a good thing real driver's licenses are not handed out according to your driving record on MarioKart!

At the end of each race, when your character crosses the finish line, the computer takes over control and the character continues to drive along the racecourse. If they finished in the top 6, they wave or thump their chest or pump their fists in celebration. If they finished in the bottom 6, they hang their head in shame or beat on the handlebars of their bike. In the case of Peach, the character I usually play as, she covers her face with her hands and says a rather pathetic, "Oh, no!"

In our races and competitions, we're always trying to be number one. Are we trying to do that in our lives, too? The Bible tells us that being first shouldn't be our life's goal. Jesus and His disciples were walking along the road one day and He could hear that the disciples were arguing. When they were relaxing in the house later that evening, "Jesus asked his disciples, 'What were you discussing out on the road?' But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest" (Mark 9:33, 34). Doesn't that sound exactly like something that would happen today? Maybe it wouldn't be quite so explicit, but people today are still prone to argue over who should get the most credit for an idea or for a project, or who said something first or who won the most awards back in 6th grade...We really love to call attention to all of the ways we are great.

Of course, Jesus knew what their discussion had been about, so "He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, 'Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.'" (v. 35). 

Jesus' teaching that we must be the servant of everyone else goes deeper than just doing things for other people. It's looking into the heart and attitude behind those actions, too. Are we doing things for others grudgingly and because we feel like we have to do it? Are we serving because it's expected of a 'good Christian' and to not help out in some way would make us look bad? Serving others like that is nothing more than serving ourselves and trying to make ourselves look better. It's not 'being the servant of everyone else.'

On the other hand, if we are serving out of love for the other people and a genuine desire to make their lives better or easier in some way, then we are being a servant. In Philippians 2:4, Paul wrote, "Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." Serving others because we have to isn't the same as taking an interest in them. Taking an interest means care and compassion. It means setting ourselves aside so that we can focus on someone else and it means a willingness to let go of the pursuit of being 'the greatest' and to accept being in last place.
Are we pushing and racing, trying to be first in everything | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is You're a Star
It's time to take a good look at ourselves. Are we pushing and racing, trying to be first in everything? Or are we looking around to see who might need help or care, then taking the time to meet those needs?
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