July 13, 2020

Moving Forward - Designer Shop Hop

I have a fun designer shop hop to share with you today! Ten designers are each sharing a free 12" block this week, plus a layout that shows how all 10 blocks could be used together to create a fabulous sampler quilt 😊 That's 10 blocks and 10 possible layouts!
The theme for the shop hop is "Moving Forward, separate, but working together" and it was inspired by life in quarantine. The hop starts today and all of the blocks are free only through the 18th, so be sure to visit everyone to get their blocks before the price goes up. 

July 13 Tamarinis                    https://www.tamarinis.com
July 13 Laura Piland               https://www.sliceofpiquilts.com/
July 14 Sherry Shish              https://poweredbyquilting.com
July 14 Amy Friend                 https://www.duringquiettime.com/
July 15 Kate Colleran             https://seamslikeadream.shop
July 15 Becky Jorgensen       https://patchworkposse.com
July 16  Leanne Parsons        https://www.devotedquilter.com   
July 16 Patti Carey                 https://pattispatchwork.com/
July 17 Swan Sheridan          https://www.swanamity.com     
July 17 Cherry Guidry            https://www.cherryblossomsquilting.com/  

As you can see in the schedule, I'll be back on Thursday (my birthday!) to share my block and layout. In the meantime, here's a little peek at the fabrics I'm using.
quilt block pieces | DevotedQuilter.com
If you looked at all those pieces and thought it looks like an awful lot for one 12" block, you'd be right! I love the scrappy potential of my block so much that I decided to make a whole quilt's worth. They won't all be done for Thursday, though. So far I have two finished and the components made for another 4, I just need to assemble those.

Off you go, now, to hop around and collect your shop hop blocks! I'll see you back here on Thursday 😊

July 07, 2020

Quilt Block Mania - Starfish Dance

Welcome to Quilt Block Mania! I'm happy to be a part of the group of designers sharing their Summer Fun blocks today 😊

Allow me to introduce my Starfish Dance block! You can download the free pattern here. Because I'm trying to avoid growing my collection of orphan blocks these days, I even finished my block into a mini quilt 😊 This is a rather picture heavy post, but we quilters always enjoy lots of quilty pictures, right? Here's the finished mini...
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
And here's what the block looked like before it was quilted.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Starfish Dance is a 12" block that is made using fusible raw edge applique. It is perfect for scraps or random charm squares you have left from other projects.

After the applique is done, you have stars, but they don't really look like starfish to me. I mean, they're the right shape, but starfish have such amazing details and markings and these fabric ones needed some of that, too.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I chose 5 matching, or almost matching, Aurifil threads to do some free motion embroidery. That's exactly the same as free motion quilting, except without batting and backing.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Here are the colours I used - 1135, 2610, 1158, 2390, 4140.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I made a test block, with only one star, to see if the free motion embroidery would distort the block. I was afraid it would, but I didn't want to use interfacing or stabilizer if I didn't need to. I'm glad I made the test block as the embroidery didn't distort it much at all. Doesn't it look much more like a starfish with the embroidery?
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
After a successful test block, I stitched around the edge of the starfish on the block.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Then I stitched a straight-ish line not quite at the base of each arm, creating a pentagon in the center. I chose to leave it empty, to make it stand out a little better, rather than stitching inside it as I had on the test block. Then I stitched four small pebbles in each arm.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I asked Nathan (my 12 year old) what he thought of my starfish and he said, "I don't see starfish. I just see stars." Ah well, not everyone gets it! Anyway, once they were looking properly starfish-like, to me at least, I pulled out a scrap of Warm and Natural batting and some white solid for the backing.

I used Aurifil 2024 for the quilting. I started by quilting around the starfish and then echoing around them, using the width of my free motion foot as a guide. Then, since it's only a 12" square, I dove in for some micro stippling 😊
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I remember once hearing that if you echo a shape, then whatever you quilt outside the echo needs to have the lines closer together than the echo or you lose the effect. I think I succeeded in having the stippling lines close enough together, lol. I love how the starfish puffs up.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
The stippling reminds me of the shapes in this coral.
coral | DevotedQuilter.com
And here's the quilting from the back 😍 A beach photo shoot seems like a requirement for a mini quilt of starfish.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
A white quilt is hard to photograph well, but just look at all the wonderful texture.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I took a lot of pictures at the beach. This one might be my favourite.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Not wanting to leave out the little test block, I finished that one as a mini mini 😊 It's about 6" square and got treated to some matchstick quilting.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I followed a tutorial by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl to bind the mini mini and it worked like a charm. I added small hanging triangles and my label and I love how they frame the starfish on the back. It makes me wish I had added something to the fourth corner.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
The mini mini deserved a special picture, too, I thought.
Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I told you there were a lot of pictures! There are a lot of Summer Fun quilt blocks for you to collect, too 😊 

Don't forget to download your free Starfish Dance pattern, then hop around to collect the rest in the series.

Here are links to all the blocks in the Quilt Block Mania Summer Series:
Camping Tent by Carolina Moore
Beach Umbrella by Jennifer Fulton
Flip Flops by Becca Fenstermaker
Summer Cocktail by Marian Pena
Beach Ball by Laura Piland
Popsicle by Sherry Shish
Curvy fish by Velda Roy
Angelfish by Lisa Amundson
Bucket and Shovel by Heidi Pridemore
Wonky Beach Umbrella by Jamie Siel
Starfish by Leanne Parsons
Sailboat at Sunset by Glenda Wilder
Yacht by Sue Griffiths
Food/Ice Cream Truck by Laura Strickland
Crab by Afton Warrick
Sleeping bag and star by Sarah Vanderburgh
Funky Flower by Kathryn LeBlanc
IceCream Cond by Sarah Marcina
Sunglasses by Celine Perkins
Sun by Charisma Horton
Hello Summer by Amarar Creacions
Tall Ships by Kris Driessen
Life Saver Preserver by Sandy Fitzpatrick
Dragon Fly by Julie Luoma
Up in The Air by Judit Hajdu
Surfboard by Susan Arnold
Beach Treasures by Linda Bratten
Two Scoops by Shari Butler
Free to Fly by Marcea Owen

Just because, here's one last shot of Starfish Dance 😊 I hope you get to enjoy some summer fun, too.

Starfish Dance quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com

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?
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