February 23, 2024

My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser

It's the last Friday of the month (say, what???), which means it's time for our My First Quilt interview! This month Shannon Fraser is sharing the story of her first quilt with us. Shannon is a pattern designer and self-proclaimed "colour and textile lover who accidentally stumbled into quilting!" 😊
My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser | DevotedQuilter.com
You can connect with Shannon at her website, on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and by signing up for her newsletter.

And now, here is Shannon's first quilt! It's so fun!
My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser | DevotedQuilter.com
All photos in this post courtesy of Shannon Fraser

What year did you make your first quilt? What prompted you to make it?

2015. I'd discounted quilting as something I'd be interested in until I stumbled on a HST tutorial, got curious, made one, then 2 and, before I knew it, I was well on my way to making my first quilt!

What techniques were used in that first quilt? Did you quilt it yourself?

It was a deep dive in all things half-square triangles. I didn't know anything about what I was doing. I didn't know I was supposed to trim my dog ears or even trim down the HSTs! I learned about quilt sandwiches, cried while I quilted it on my tiny domestic sewing machine and then figured out all about binding. The latter eventually had me committing to learn how to hand sew, so that I could nail my blind stitch on my binding!
My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser | DevotedQuilter.com

Who taught you to make the quilt?

YouTube, trial and error, and some lovely guidance/suggestions from my Montreal Modern Quilt Guild Members!
My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser | DevotedQuilter.com

Are the colours you chose for your first quilt ones you would still choose today?

Yes! Surprisingly my taste is bold colours and textures hasn't changed!
My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser | DevotedQuilter.com

Did you fall in love with quilting right away? Or was there a gap between making the first quilt and the next one?

I fell hook line and sinker in love from my very first HST. It was as though I'd found my creative home and I haven't looked back since! That was almost 9 years ago and I'm so thankful I didn't stick with my initial thought that quilting wasn't for me!

Where is the quilt now?

Sitting in my ever expanding pile of completed quilts!
My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser | DevotedQuilter.com

Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself as you made that first quilt?

That I was about to embark on the most creative period of my life, and that it would teach me not only how to reconnect and trust my instincts, but also connect me with a community that is near and dear to my heart.
My First Quilt with Shannon Fraser | DevotedQuilter.com

Anything else you want to share about your first quilt?

I love going back to my quilt and seeing all the 'imperfections'. They remind me of just how far I've come in my quilting journey. Plus, that quilt with all its 'imperfections' brought me hours of comfort as I snuggled under her!

Thank you for sharing your first quilt with us, Shannon! I love that HSTs were your gateway into quilting 😊

February 19, 2024

God Permanence

Devotion for the week...

Here in Newfoundland, most people try to avoid driving on the highways after dark as much as possible because of the danger of hitting moose on the roads. This past week, though, we've had to drive home after dark twice. Saturday evening as we drove, I found myself looking off to the side a couple of times, where I knew there were pretty views, if only there was enough light for me to see them. Then I remembered this devotion I wrote back in 2015, so today seemed like a good time to share it again 😊


Last weekend we spent a day out of town visiting Paul's family and drove home after dark. As we drove down the familiar highway, I thought of all the things I wasn't able to see because of the dark. There were places along the road where I knew I should have been able to see a pond or a hill off in the distance, but instead I could only see what was illuminated by the headlights.

The experts say that babies have to learn 'object permanence' - the concept that people and things still exist even when they are hidden from sight. That's why peek-a-boo is so exciting for babies. They think we disappear and they are genuinely surprised when we reappear, until their minds begin to understand that things still exist even when they can't be seen. Understanding object permanence is why we don't panic when we go out in the dark and can't see past our lights, or why a thick fog doesn't make us think the world has vanished, even though it looks like everything is gone.

I think sometimes we would do well to focus on 'God permanence' - the concept that God continues to exist even if we can't see Him or hear Him, that He is there even if we can't pinpoint His hand working in our lives. When things go wrong, we can feel like God doesn't care, or that He's not paying attention, or we may even start to wonder if God is real at all.

It makes me think of 1 Corinthians 13:12, which says, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
God is still there, even if we can’t see Him or hear Him | DevotedQuilter.com
Mirrors today are really clear. I can look into the mirror and see every little hair on my head, including the grey one that likes to stand straight up at the top. I can see the room behind me; everything that is within the scope of the mirror is reflected back to me just as clearly as it would look if I turned around and looked at it straight on. But the mirrors in biblical times were not quite so clear. The mirrors then were made of metal, polished so that it could reflect the image of the person using it. Though it could reflect, it wasn't like looking in mirrors that we have today. That explains why Paul wrote that now we see only as in a mirror...the reflection wasn't as clear as seeing face to face would be. What was close to the mirror (the person using it) would be most clear. Everything else would be indistinct, if it could be seen at all. In the same way, what was in our headlights was clearly visible, while what lay beyond them was invisible, even though I knew there was more out there. 

I can't see God. I know that He exists, that He is there, but I can't see Him with my eyes. He isn't within the scope of my mirrors or my headlights. I can't always see what He's doing in my life, either, but that doesn't mean that He has stopped caring for me. Now we are seeing only a partial, dull reflection, but one day we will see as clearly as God sees. Then we will understand it all. And while we're waiting, we remember that He is there. That He exists and cares for us, even when He is out of sight.

February 12, 2024

Strengthening Their Faith

Devotion for the week...

Today we're going to consider another of the many women of wisdom whose stories were recorded in the Bible for us.

In the days of the book of Judges, the Israelites were prone to a cycle of following God for a time under the leadership of a person called a judge, then when that person died, they abandoned Him and suffered oppression because of their evil actions. Eventually they would cry out to the Lord for deliverance and He would again send them a judge, beginning the cycle all over again. Only one woman is recorded in the Bible as a judge, and she is our woman of wisdom for today. 

"Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment" (Judges 4:4-5). We aren’t told much about Deborah, but we know the Israelites respected her and would come to her when they needed to hear from God. She was truly a woman of wisdom!

"One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.'" (v. 6-7). Sisera had "ruthlessly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years" (v. 3), so gaining victory over him would be a big victory, indeed, and now Deborah was telling Barak to head out to battle with the assurance, straight from God Himself, that he would win. 

Barak’s response? "I will go, but only if you go with me" (v.8). 

God was going to go with him; why did he need Deborah? What was she going to do in the battle? She could contribute nothing to the battle. She wasn’t a warrior or a military leader, she was a prophet and a judge, but still Barak trusted her more than he trusted God.

Deborah didn’t hesitate, though. "'Very well,' she replied, 'I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.' So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and 10,000 warriors went up with him. Deborah also went with him" (vv. 9-10).

Deborah didn’t have to go. It wasn’t her job and it wasn’t her battle. She knew, though, that if she refused there probably wouldn’t be a battle because Barak wouldn’t be able to go without her. She went, not because she could do anything in the battle, but because Barak needed her support. His faith in God, whom He couldn’t see, wasn’t strong enough to carry him through; he needed Deborah so he knew he wasn’t alone as he went out to fight. Maybe she represented God to him, or maybe he just trusted in her word more than His. We can’t know which it was, but he needed her, so she went with him.
Whose faith might be strengthened by our presence, so they don’t feel alone as they go out to fight their battles | DevotedQuilter.com
Who needs us today? Who can we stand alongside and support, even if we think they don’t need us? Whose faith might be strengthened by our presence, so they don’t feel alone as they go out to fight their battles?