May 31, 2019

Churn Baby Quilt - May Island Batik Ambassador Project

Note, the fabrics, batting and some of the threads for this project were given to me by Island Batik and their industry partners as part of the Island Batik ambassador program.

The Island Batik ambassador challenge for May is Make it Modern with Hobbs Batting and the idea was to make, you guessed it, a modern quilt using Hobb's batting 😊 I chose to make the baby size of my Churn quilt.
Churn baby quilt |
I started by pulling out my blues. You know I love these Island Batik blues! Some of my pieces were too narrow to be used for the patchwork background, but they were perfect for the small churn dash block.

I also pulled scraps of bright orange and Rice, which is a creamy white with hints of blues/greys. Churn requires good contrast between the patchwork background and the other fabrics and these two definitely fit the bill!
Churn baby quilt |
I used Hobbs Heirloom cotton batting and whenever I picked up the basted quilt I was surprised by how light and fluffy it felt. I haven't quite figured out why it felt so different, since I've used Hobb's cotton batting before without noticing it being so very light. Maybe it was because this was also a small quilt, so the airiness was magnified by how small the quilt is. I'm not sure, exactly, but it was really noticeable and I still find it softer and lighter than I'm used to even after being quilted. I'm curious about how soft it will feel after it has been washed.

I used Aurifil threads (50wt) for all of the quilting. In the orange, I used 2210 to quilt simple back and forth lines, turning them into diagonal teardrops to fill the corners of the churn dash block. I'm surprised by how often this particular orange is just what I need.

The teal fabric in the very center needed something special, so I quilted it differently from the rest of the quilt, using 5005. I really like quilting these little flowers!
Free motion quilting churn dash block |
You'd think white thread would have been the perfect choice for the white fabric, but it was actually a little stark against the creaminess of the fabric. 2311 was just right for some quick wishbones. I don't usually quilt wishbones that are this wide and it felt very different from quilting them in a narrow sashing strip. I managed to take all the pictures for this post without getting a good closeup of one entire white section, so you'll just have to look at the wishbone quilting in other pictures, lol.

Choosing a thread for the blues in the patchwork background was the hardest part of this whole quilt. I have a few different blues, but none of them seemed to work in the variety of blues included in the fabric. Some were way too light on the dark fabrics while others were way too dark on the light fabrics. In the end, I chose 1158. It's a fairly dark grey, but somehow that seemed to be the nicest on all of the fabrics.
Before I started quilting the background, I worried I wouldn't have enough thread since the spool is getting a bit low. I needn't have worried, though...this is what is left after I finished quilting, lol. I swear some spools last extra long.

For the back, I chose this Pinecone print. I have to admit that I often have a hard time knowing what to do with larger scale prints like this one, so it was nice to be able to use it for this backing. As a bonus, it was just barely wide enough to use as the back for the 42" quilt without needing to be pieced. You can really see the loopy meander I used to quilt the background in this picture. The Aurifil 1158 was perfect for this fabric!
Loopy meander free motion quilting |
I pretty much never cut the binding until I'm ready to put it on, in part because a lot of the time I don't know what colour I want the binding to be. That was definitely the case with this one. I considered orange, but I worried that would take the eye away from the center. I pulled all the blues that were big enough to use for a scrappy binding since none of them were enough to bind the whole quilt. I also brought out the white, though I thought that would detract from the center, too. My friend Michelle was over sewing with me while I was trying to decide and she suggested I do a flange binding, with the white as the flange. Perfect!
Flange quilt binding |
Flange quilt binding |
Of course, I've never done a flange binding before, even though I always love it when I see it on someone else's quilt. A quick search for a tutorial brought up this one from Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts and it was so easy to follow. This is yet another thing on the list of "I've never done it so I assume it must be hard to learn, only to discover it's not at all." You'd think I'd learn, lol.

The little bit of white is just right. Not enough to overwhelm the center, but enough to add a little zing to the edge of the quilt. Plus, it keeps the binding from blending in when it's on a square made of the same fabric. I see more flange bindings in my future.

Want to make your own Churn baby quilt? Or a throw size? Both are included in the pattern 😊 Click here to get the pattern.
Churn baby quilt |
After discovering that I can attach my labels on the diagonal, I'm now putting them on all my quilts that way and I am so happy with the way they look. It's so much nicer than having them flap around. The labels are from Finer Ribbon. I started out with 1,000 of them a few years ago and I still won't be needing new ones soon, lol.
quilt label |
As you can see, my machine binding stitches always seem to veer up onto the binding somewhere along the perimeter of the quilt, no matter how hard I work at keeping everything straight. Does that happen to you, too?
Churn baby quilt |
I'm squeaking in under the wire with this finish, posting only a couple of hours before the month of May is over. I'm not sure how the month has flown by so fast, but I am excited for June. June means there are only 4 more weeks of school/work and then we'll be free for summer break. I'm hoping it also means the weather will start being warmer than it has been as I'm ready to stop putting hats and mittens on the kids I babysit when we go out for our morning walks. Plus, I'm really excited about my June Island Batik project. I don't know if I'll get a chance to start this weekend, but I'm itching to get at it! We'll see if I can get it finished before the end of the month is looming again 😊

May 27, 2019


Devotion for the Week...

When I made heart blocks to send to Christchurch, New Zealand following the shooting there, the man at the post office remarked "You quilters are just like one big family." Hearing that made my day! It's wonderful to be a part of this wonderful, world wide community that is so willing to jump in and do what it can to help others. We've seen it time and time again, when illness strikes, after violence and after natural disasters, when quilters rally together and make quilts to show our love and support to those who are hurting, even if those people are on the other side of the world.

And when it was quilters who lost everything, as was the case during the Camp Fire in California in 2018, quilters rushed to help get them back to sewing by donating fabric, notions and even basic sewing machines. Sure, those things weren't going to replace the homes they lost, but giving them a way to start sewing again was giving them a way to feel normal again. It was a way to give them back the hobby they likely used for self care and 'me time' during a time they needed it most.

Of course, we quilters like to celebrate with people, too! Quilts are made for new babies, weddings, graduations, birthdays, Christmas and any other occasion we can think of to give a handmade gift. It feels good to share in someone's joy by giving them something useful and beautiful that was made by our own hands. It's a tangible expression of our love and our joy for them.

The Bible tells us that Christians are to "Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). Like family, we should be sharing life with those around us in such a way that we feel their pain and their joy. We should be jumping in with both feet, ready to assist or celebrate with them as the moment requires. Like quilters wrapping quilts around people who are hurting, Christians should be there with open arms.

Many of us do this naturally, but sometimes we find ourselves holding back, or at least I do. Do I know that person well enough to offer to bring them a meal? Would they even like something I cooked for them? Do I have time for it? That's a big one, to be honest. But God doesn't want us to hold back. He wants us reaching out, extending His love to everyone around us, especially in their times of need.
Celebrate or mourn with others to show God's love |
Like quilters, Christians are one big, world wide family. We can celebrate and mourn with our fellow believers. More than that, though, we can also celebrate and mourn with non believers as a way of showing them our love and support, which in turn can show them the love God has for them.

May 20, 2019

A Little Thing

Devotion for the Week...

Are you prone to worry? Generally, I'm not, but there are a couple of situations that trigger it for me. One of them is when I have a new child about to start coming to me for child care, especially if I know that child doesn't go to sleep on their own (I can't leave the older kids who don't nap unsupervised to rock another child to sleep). I stress when I know that I'm going to deal with a child who probably won't nap because they can't drift off on their own, which means a sleepy, cranky child who is also unaccustomed to being away from mom for so long. I dread the first day, especially, and it plays on my mind for weeks before it happens.

The thing about worry, though, is that it doesn't change the outcome of that first day at all. The child is either going to deal well with the transition or she's going to scream in my ear for hours or, more likely, something in the middle. Whichever way it goes, the worrying I did for days ahead of time doesn't change our day.

Jesus warned us not to waste our time worrying. He asked, "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" (Luke 12:25). Obviously, the answer to that is a resounding no. No amount of worrying can do something as monumental as adding even an extra second to our lives. If we could, we'd probably all set a goal of worrying enough to add years to our lives.

The interesting thing is that Jesus goes on to say, "And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?" (v. 26).  A little thing like that?? Talk about a difference in persepective. To Jesus, who knows intimately the full power of God, adding a moment to our lives looks like a small task, easily accomplished, whereas for us it is a complete impossibility.

Since we can't do something as little as adding time to our lives by worrying, why do we think that worrying will make a difference in other things?  We would be much better off if we turned our worries over to God, who, unlike us, actually has the power to do something about them. 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."
Whatever worries us is well within the power of God |
It's hard to remember to do that, though, isn't it? Maybe it would be easier if we remember that to God, adding time to our lives is just a little thing, so whatever is worrying us is well within His power, too.

May 15, 2019

Medallion Magic QAL - Part 5

Welcome to the next installment of the Medlallion Magic QAL!
I'm aiming for this to be a slow, relaxed quilt along, with not so much to do each month that you can't keep up. We're all too busy to be stressing over keeping up with a QAL! Here's the schedule of events:

January 15th - Gather fabrics and pattern
February 15th - Cutting
March 15th - Center star
April 15th - Borders 1 and 2
May 15th - Borders 3 and 4 - we're here!
June 15th - Borders 5, 6 and 7
August 15th - Finish party link up opens

If you don't have your pattern yet, you can pick up your copy from my Etsy shop in either PDF or printed versions.

I know that adding two (or even three) borders in one month sounds like a lot, but one of my favourite things about this medallion quilt design is that 4 of the 7 borders are just plain fabric, which gives the pieced borders room to breathe. I've always found most medallion quilts are so busy it's hard to focus on anything and I intentionally designed Medallion Magic to allow the pieced borders to shine.

Here's my original Medallion Magic, made in Northcott fabrics:
Medallion Magic QAL |
Now I have a confession. You know how when you're having a party, you like to have everything ready before the guests arrive? Well, that's what I've been doing each month with this QAL so that each month I could share my version of what your quilt will look like when you finish. Except that I'm not done for this month yet. In fact, I've hardly had time to start. Whomp, whomp, whomp.

This month we're adding a plain border, just like last month, and then adding the flying geese border. The flying geese are paper pieced and this is how far I've gotten. They've been sitting like this since sometime last week, just waiting for me to get back to them. Finishing my MIL's placemats and then some secret sewing crowded out piecing these flying geese, but those things are done now and I hope to get my borders finished up quickly. When I do, I'll be sure to add a picture here!
foundation pieced flying geese prep |
On the bright side, that Island Batik purple is gorgeous 😊 I bet it will look even better when it's made into flying geese, though!

One tip I have to share for when you're foundation piecing a bunch of identical units - assembly line sew them! Sew a seam on all of them, press them all at once, trim them all at once, then sew the next seam the same way. It's faster than piecing one whole unit, then the next whole unit, then the next one, etc.

So, how are your Medallion Magic quilts coming along? Link up a picture so we can see!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

May 13, 2019

The Trophy

Devotion for the Week...

One thing is for certain, providing childcare for a living ensures I will never run out of devotion ideas 😊 Lately they've been all about races. Going down the stairs? Whoever hits the bottom first yells, "I win!" Driving trucks from one end of the kitchen to the other? Whoever stops first yells, "I win! I get the trophy!"

Depending on the day, the trophy declaration can cause two possible reactions. Either the rest of the kids triumphantly yell, "I get the trophy, too!" or they start to cry and whine because they're not getting the trophy. In fact, the very first day Silas claimed he won a trophy, one of the girls immediately started screaming because she wasn't getting one.

Keep in mind, there is no trophy. I don't have a stash of trophies I hand out to the self proclaimed winners of all these races every single day. Whatever trophies they are claiming are entirely imaginary. Which means, of course, that there are more than enough to go around, lol.

Some days (usually the ones where there's crying and whining) I find the whole winning and getting trophies to be super annoying, but most of the time I'm just amazed at how ingrained it is for us to want to win and be given awards. Before they turn three, kids have definitely begun to understand that being first is better than losing and that if there's a trophy to be had they want to get it. Even if it's only the right to claim the imaginary trophy, they want to have that.

This is nothing new, of course. Right from the beginning of society, humans have tried to be ahead of the other humans around them. To control more land, or better land. To have more money, more servants, more power. If it's possible to have more of it, then humans have tried to position themselves so that they come out ahead.

Even Jesus' disciples weren't immune to this. In Matthew 20:21, the mother of James and John comes to Jesus and asks Him a favor, "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left." We could say this was just a mother looking out for her boys, but those boys were standing right there, ready to answer enthusiastically when Jesus asked if they could drink from the bitter cup He was about to drink. They eagerly wanted the honour their mother was trying to arrange for them.

When the other disciples heard that James and John were asking to be given places of honour, they were indignant, probably because they too harboured the desire for a place of honour. So Jesus sat them all down for a little talking to: "You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many" (vv. 25-28).

The Bible doesn't tell us what the disciples said to that, or what they thought. I would imagine they were a little confused, a little frustrated that Jesus wasn't talking about all the power and glory they'd have one day. Whatever their reaction was, they didn't really understand what Jesus was trying to teach them.

At the Last Supper, after Jesus announced that one of them would betray Him, they "began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing" (Luke 22:23). And then, as proof that they didn't understand the concept at all, "they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them" (v. 24). They just didn't get it, did they? So, again, He taught them, "among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves" (vv. 26, 27).

It's natural to want to win a race and get the trophy, even if it's all pretend. When I play a game, I aim to win, even if all I win is the right to brag for two minutes before we set up for the next round. It's fun to win! There's nothing wrong with that and Jesus wasn't talking about races or games.

He was talking about how we live our lives and how we treat others. The world around us teaches that in order to be successful, we have to win at everything and everyone else should have to serve us because of our greatness. Jesus says that's not how we should be at all. We're supposed to be like Him, aiming to serve others and make their lives better rather than constantly looking for other people to serve us and make our lives better.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
And, in the end, if we live His way, then we will hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!" Now there's a trophy worth having! And the best part is, there are plenty of them to go around.

May 10, 2019

Multiplication in Make Modern

Waiting to share quilts can be so hard sometimes! Today I finally get to share my Multiplication quilt 😊 It's in issue 28 of Make Modern, which is available now.
Multiplication quilt |
At 96" x 96", this is the largest quilt I've ever made. Before I started, Dad asked how big it was going to be and when I told him, he nodded and said, "So, 8 feet." That stunned me. Somehow an 8' square quilt feels so much bigger than a 96" square one!
Multiplication quilt |
Because it's so big, getting pictures was really hard, especially since the weather was awful the week I finished and needed to send the pictures to Make Modern. We finally ended up taking it to our church and moving chairs out of the way to get a space big enough to hold it up that also had plenty of natural light. Zach and Paul are standing on chairs behind the quilt to get it all the way up off the floor 😊

Whether you describe the quilt in feet or inches, Multiplication fits our queen size bed with plenty to drape down on the sides. Doesn't it look nice with my Infinity pillow?
Multiplication quilt |
Multiplication quilt |
I used gorgeous Island Batik Foundations fabrics for the top. I love the beautiful, rich colours in these blender fabrics and I really wish I had the whole Foundations line stashed somewhere.
Multiplication quilt |
I used this Island Batik fabric for the backing. Isn't it fun? It has the colours of the fabrics on the front, but in a totally different look.
Island Batik backing fabric |
The batting is Warm and Natural and I used Aurifil thread for all of the quilting. I used 2692 to quilt meandering loops and flowers in the black and blue Xs.
free motion quilting flowers |
Then I used 5005, 1231, 2530 and 2210 to quilt these teardrop shapes in all of the bright coloured triangles. Do you know the proper name for this quilting design? I never know what to call it!
free motion quilting in triangles |
I bought my Janome 6700 when I was about halfway through quilting the Xs, so it was half quilted on my Kenmore machine and half on the Janome. The difference in the throat space was incredible. I went from 5" on the Kenmore to 11" on the Janome. When I put the needle in the exact middle of the quilt, I still had more throat space available on the Janome than the Kenmore had to begin with!
Multiplication quilt |
There are books and bookshelves everywhere in our house, lol. Paul and Zach built this bookshelf, using a church pew 😊 It houses our Brandon Sanderson collection (we have almost everything he has written, Skyward being the most recent addition) and many of our other favourite books.
Multiplication quilt |
I highly recommend Make Modern magazine (and not only because they include my quilts, lol). You can get 6 month and 12 month subscriptions. They have also created an All Access Subscription, which allows you to access all 27 of their previous issues with an annual subscription. That's a lot of fabulous quilty content! Click the link to check it out. Or, get issue 28 here.

I'm just finishing up another quilt for Make Modern, which I'll get to share in a couple of months. I love being a small part of such a wonderful publication 😊

Edited December 1, 2019 to say Multiplication is now available as an individual pattern which includes baby and throw size options along with the queen size shown here. Get the Multiplication pattern from my Etsy shop! And please pin this image to help other quilters find the pattern.
Multiplication quilt pattern |

May 06, 2019


Devotion for the Week...

Paul and I have registered to run the Tely10 at the end of July. The Tely10 is a 10 mile, or 16 km, road race that we've been considering for a couple of years and this is the first time we're going to run it. I've never run 16 km at once before, but I'm really looking forward to the race.

To get ready, I'm using TrainAsOne, which is an app that creates individualized training plans that sync with my Garmin Forerunner 235 running watch. The app sets the duration and pace of each workout, then uses the data from the Garmin to analyze my performance and adjust my future runs as needed. I love the program, especially for the different types of runs it sets for me. There are interval runs (intervals of very fast with recovery periods in between), repetition runs (very short bursts of what I call 'crazy fast' with periods of recovery in between) and economy runs (steady runs at what the app has determined as my natural pace) among others.

The length of each run varies, with most of mine falling in the 25-60 minute range at this stage of my training. Sometimes, though, the app schedules an 11 minute economy run, which hardly feels worth the effort of changing into my running clothes. On one of those really short runs a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how 11 minutes just feels silly and then I thought about how, for someone who doesn't run, 11 minutes would feel like an impossibility. If you're not in the habit of running, doing so for 11 minutes straight just isn't going to happen.

Over the weekend we were talking with my sister-in-law, Kim, about when she used to run a couple of years ago. She said that when she first started she'd walk from one light pole to the next one, then run to the next, walk to the one after that and then run to the next one. By slowly increasing the distance she ran, she eventually got to where she could run for 30 minutes straight. It was hard, but it was good, too.

That conversation, plus my own thoughts during that last short run, made me think of this verse from Romans: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance" (Romans 5:3). That's from the NLT translation. In place of 'endurance' the NIV uses the word perseverance and the KJV uses patience.

Whether we call it endurance, perseverance or patience, most of us want to have it for dealing with life. We don't particularly want to go through the process of developing it, though. We just want it to spring forth, fully formed and functioning, so we can deal with the things life throws at us. Instead, it is those very things life throws at us, especially the hardest things, that cause us to develop the endurance.

Building up physical endurance is hard and it takes time and there's no substitute for doing the work. We can want endurance for years, but if we don't work to develop it then it will never happen. The same is true for spiritual and emotional endurance. Those difficult people in your life, the ones you have to be pleasant to even though you hate dealing with them all the time? They're helping to build your endurance. The financial situation you wish you could escape? Endurance. The chronic illness that has invaded your life? Endurance.
The hard things in life help to develop our endurance |
We all deal with things we wish had been indefinitely postponed, but whatever the situations, they're working to develop our endurance. Eventually, as we work through various hard situations, we will come to the place where things that used to bother us, don't bother us anymore, just as an 11 minute run can become so easy as to be laughable. It's hard, but it's good, too.