December 31, 2020

TGIFF - The Last Finish of 2020!

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first TGIFF of 2021! Have we ever been so collectively happy to switch to a new calendar?? Here's hoping that 2021 brings new levels of peace, stability and justice for everyone 😊

My finish this week has been almost a full year in the making and I managed to get it done in the last couple of days before the year ended, allowing me to officially cross off one more 2020 goal. Woo hoo! Technically, it's two finishes, but I've always thought of 'the guitar quilts' as one unit, so it's just one goal crossed off. It feels great to get it crossed off, though!
Rock Concert quilt |
Rock Concert quilt |
The pattern is Rock Concert, by On William Street, and I love how they turned out!

December 29, 2020

Let's Get to Know...HollyAnne Knight of String and Story

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Today I'm kicking off a monthly series of interviews! I'm quite excited about these 😊 Are there any quilters you'd like to get to know better? Let me know in the comments and I'll try to make it happen!

HollyAnne Knight is the quilter behind String and Story, as well as Free Motion Quilting Academy, which will be open for registration again on January 9th. You can go here to be added to the waitlist for registration. HollyAnne is also the creator of the What Free Motion Quilting Motif Are You? quiz. Have you taken the quiz yet? Apparently I'm Hooked Swirls 😊 

Without further ado, let's get to know HollyAnne Knight! 
Let's get to know HollyAnne Knight |

December 28, 2020

A Prayer for 2021

 Devotion for the Week...

Once again, I'm going to let the apostle Paul have the last devotion of the year. Here is my prayer for all of you for 2021.

"I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

December 26, 2020

Goal Planning for 2021

Yvonne, at Quilting Jetgirl, is hosting her annual Planning Party again, and that's just what I need to get me to finalize my goals for 2021.
Despite the weirdness that has been 2020, it has been a good quilting year for me. Before I dive into my goals for 2021, let's take a quick look back at my goals for this year and see how much of the list I accomplished.

1. Guitar quilts

Oh, boy, these still aren't finished. I realized a while back I had two hold ups. I felt like they should be custom quilted, but I really didn't want to invest that much time into them. I felt guilty every time I thought about just doing an all over design, though, so I kept waffling on what to do. The other hold up was that I didn't have batting big enough, and I kept telling myself I'd piece the battings rather than buying more. Of course, weeks and weeks and weeks went by and I didn't piece the battings. Finally, I got more batting and just went with my go-to double circles and one is now ready for binding. The second one is basted so hopefully I can officially cross these off the list before we ring in the new year.

2. Finish my Quilter's Planner bag

Yes! I finished this back in November and I love getting to use it. You can see the finished bag in this post.

3. More patterns, in more shops

Yes and yes! I don't actually have the number of new shops to share, but I know there have been more shops ordering directly from me, plus some of my patterns are now carried by Brewer Sewing, which expands my reach quite a bit 😊

And I reached my goal of releasing 10 new patterns during the year. They were Hollow Jewels, Formal Garden, New Life, Pinwheel Garden, Intersections, Burst, Level Up, Windows, Between the Stars and Flower Path. You can see all of them in my Etsy shop.

4. Teach a class

Yes...and sort of, lol. The sort of is for the in-person class I started back in February. It was going wonderfully until Covid shut us down. I'm going to see about resuming the class in January, since the room we were using has plenty of space for social distancing, there are only 9 of us and Covid cases in our province have remained very low. It would be great if the participants could actually finish and use their quilts!

The yes is for the totally unexpected online workshops I've been able to do. I've taught four workshops and I love being able to teach without needing to worry about traveling. I already have two more workshops booked for 2021!

5. Tame the UFO situation

Nope. This did not happen. I have been trying not to make it worse, though, so maybe that counts for something.

6. Make more little quilts

Yes! I have made a bunch of smaller projects this year, which has been a lot of fun. Not only did it allow me to use up some of the batting scraps I've been hoarding, but small projects are also faster to finish 😊 I'll just keep making small projects and see if I can shrink the batting scrap pile.

7. More garment sewing

So much yes! I've been having so much fun with this! I've made shirts and dresses and a skirt for me, shirts for Mom, plus baby and toddler shirts. I also tried making shorts for myself, but that wasn't quite as much a success. I did learn a lot from the attempt, though, so there's that. It's such a great feeling to wear something I've made and to gift clothes I've made for others. As a bonus, making a shirt is faster than making a quilt!

8. Make a sewing machine cover

Another nope. I still want one, though, so it's going back on the list for next year.

Okay, now on to the goals for 2021! In no particular order, here's what I plan/hope to do...

1. Finish my 2020 temperature quilt

Right now I'm way behind! I'm working on a set of blocks that will bring me up to about mid-October and if you follow me on IG and feel like you've heard that have, lol. I cut those blocks out in mid-October and I've been slowly picking away at them since. Emphasis on the slowly part! I really want to finish it, though, so I'll just keep going and eventually I'll get there. These two blocks were the most recent bit of car stitching 😊
temperature quilt blocks |

2. Make a sewing machine cover

Hopefully I'll actually get to this in 2021! If I get really ambitious, maybe I'll make a cover for my serger, too...A girl can dream, right???

3. Finish three UFOs

Last year I named one UFO and then just said I'd finish some others. Well, the named one got finished, but I didn't get far with the others. So, this year I'm going to name three and try to get them all moved over into the done pile.
  • My dragon cross stitch. I can't even remember when I started this, but it was many, many, many years ago. I love dragons and would love to have this on my wall. It's not even all that far from finished!
Dragon cross stitch in progress |
  • My Indecisive quilt. I made this as a free pattern back in 2018 to celebrate my 5th blogging anniversary. I started quilting it, but then set it aside for something else. It's way past time to get it finished! When I took it out to take this picture, I discovered I have 10 of the 30 blocks quilted.
Indecisive quilt in progress |
  • My Let it Snow wall hanging. I made two of these last year as part of an Island Batik ambassador challenge. One I finished and gave to Mom for Christmas. The other is still sitting, basted and waiting for quilting. Strangely, I couldn't find it to take a picture, but I know it's around here somewhere.

4. 8 more printed patterns

I still have so many patterns that either need to be updated so they can become printed patterns or that just need to be written at all. There are easily 8 that I could do, it's just taking the time to do the work to get them ready.

5. My Easter project

Oh, I am so excited about this one and I can't wait to share all about it next month!!! For now, I'll say this much - devotions + quilting together 😊 And I'll share the gorgeous fabrics I'll be using, that arrived last week from Northcott. I'm kind of swooning over here!
Easter project fabric pulls |

Okay, that's definitely more than enough to keep me busy. And that's not even considering the garment sewing I'm sure I'll be doing, or the little tangents that will pull me off into new projects I haven't considered yet. I've said it before, but it bears repeating - I'm never going to be bored!

 Do you have any sewing goals for the year? What is one project you really hope to finish in 2021?

I'll be linking up with Yvonne's Planning Party. Head over there to see what sewing goals others setting for the year!
2021 Planning Party

Here's to a fun, productive and fabric filled 2021!

December 21, 2020

Advent 2020 - Gift Giving

 Devotion for the Week...

It's the fourth week of Advent! I get daily updates now from Nathan about how many days are left to Christmas 😊 We have started our Christmas break and it feels wonderful to know I don't have to set the alarm for two weeks. Not that I'm capable of sleeping in anymore, but at least I don't wake to the sound of the alarm.

For the Advent devotions this year, we've been looking at some of our Christmas symbols/traditions and so far we've focused on Christmas music, angels and stars. Today we'll turn our attention to gift giving. Oh, what a tangled web this one turned out to be! When I started researching the history of gift giving, I found everything from 'it's to remind us of the gifts the Wise Men gave Jesus' to 'it's a creation of society's elites who were protecting their own interests."

As far as I can make out, giving gifts was common for centuries, but those gifts were mostly handmade and/or edible. It wasn't until sometime in the 1800s that it started to become more common to buy Christmas gifts, especially for children. Marketing departments quickly realized how beneficial this could become and their efforts gradually led to the shopping season we know today.

There is a biblical basis for giving gifts, though, of course. Speaking of the Wise Men, Matthew wrote, "They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh" (Matthew 2:11). Why gold, frankincense and myrrh? Well, that's a source of speculation, too. There are scholars who believe the gifts were symbolic, with gold representing Jesus' kingship, frankincense His role as priest and myrrh either His role as prophet or His death. 

There are others who believe these gifts were given purely because they were valuable and would be of financial benefit to the young family. When Jesus was presented in the temple at 8 days old, "they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—'either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons'" (Luke 2:24), which reveals that they weren't a wealthy family, since the Law stated, "If a woman cannot afford to bring a lamb, she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons" (Leviticus 12:8). Those gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh would have been a treasure to Mary and Joseph, for certain.
Jesus Himself is the ultimate gift |

On a deeper level, the whole of Christmas is the giving of a gift. "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us," it says in Isaiah 9:6. Jesus Himself is the ultimate gift, the Son given to all humanity to offer salvation from our sins. Shop all we like, we'll never find a gift to top the news that "The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!" (Luke 2:11).

December 16, 2020

A Christmas Surprise! - Holiday Tales and Traditions

Welcome to my stop on the Holiday Tales and Traditions blog hop! Bernie, of Needle and Foot, has come up with a fun hop idea and I'm so happy to be a part of it 😊 I'm going to share the stories of two similar Christmas surprises, both of which are among my favourite Christmas memories, even if one is mostly the memory of all the times I've heard about it, lol.

The first is from the Christmas of '84 or '85, when I would have been 7 or 8 and my brother would have been 3 or 4. Nanny and Grampy were supposed to come visit for Christmas, but they called early on Christmas Eve to say they wouldn't be able to make it because Grampy had to work. When Mom hung up the phone, Dad said, "If you can be ready in an hour, we'll go." I can only imagine the whirlwind that next hour must have been! Just think about dropping everything and packing for a family with two young kids, including all the Christmas gifts, in an hour, all while making sure the Santa gifts stayed well hidden. Oh, and Mom told me that we were driving a Volkswagon Rabbit at the time, so there wasn't a whole lot of extra room for all that stuff.

I don't actually remember any of the preparation to go, or much of the visit itself. I do remember that when we arrived late on Christmas Eve (late to my young self, anyway), neither Nanny or Grampy were home. They were visiting across the road, so my uncle called to tell them to come home, while Dad hid our car in the garage. I remember clearly that Nanny cried when she saw us sitting in the living room.

My Mom thinks this picture of my brother, Grampy and me is from that Christmas.
Christmas morning |
Probably the funniest part of the whole story is that when Mom went to get dressed on Christmas Day, she discovered she hadn't packed a single shirt for herself. She had been wearing a jumpsuit the day before so she had none! I guess when you've only got an hour, it's hard to remember everything 😄

This is a younger picture of me, but I had to include it. This was also at Nanny and Grampy's for Christmas, but this visit was planned.
Christmas morning |
Fast forward now, to October of 2015, when my husband says to me, completely out of the blue, "Want to go to your parents' for Christmas?" We've always said that we wouldn't travel at Christmas, in good part because the weather is such a big factor, so when I said I would love that, he then said, "Don't tell them, though. That way if the weather is bad and we can't get there, they won't be disappointed." Our boys were 13, 11 and 7 at the time...not exactly prime secret-keeping ages, so we didn't tell them either until the day before we were to leave. Then we told them that if Grandma and Grampy called, they weren't to answer the phone so they wouldn't accidentally spill the beans.

I mentioned our plans to a friend a few days before we left and she asked if my mother would like it, saying she would never want anyone to surprise her like that. I laughed and said, "She did it once to her mother, so I think I'm okay!"

In true Newfoundland fashion, we did have a fair bit of snow the day we left town, but off we went anyway. Walking in their door the Saturday afternoon before Christmas was so much fun! Nobody cried, but Mom was good and flustered for at least an hour after we arrived 😊 One of the first things she said was, "Good think I bought two turkeys!"

That was the first time my brother and I were in the same place for Christmas since '98. Aiden and Zachary both have considerably less hair now than in this picture!
Christmas 2015 |
We had great weather for our visit, so there were walks and football games and plenty of fun.
Christmas 2015 |
If you look on the tree in this picture, you'll see Nathan's Batman ornament that I made for him for that year. There are plenty of other handmade ornaments on Mom's tree, too. 
Christmas 2015 |
Again in true Newfoundland fashion, our trip home involved the ferry being cancelled because of wind, which delayed us a day. Though the ferry was running the next day, it was anything but smooth sailing and that was the only time I've ever felt seasick (and it's a 6 hour ferry ride). Then there was a snowstorm happening when we got off the ferry in Newfoundland, so we had to stay overnight in Port aux Basques, finally getting home late in the afternoon on New Year's Eve. We haven't traveled at Christmas since!

Thanks, Bernie, for giving me a reason to walk down memory lane 😊

What are your favourite Christmas memories or traditions? I'd love to hear about them!

December 14, 2020

Advent 2020 - Stars

 Devotion for the Week...

It's the third week of Advent! This year for our Advent devotions we're looking at four of our Christmas symbols/traditions and today we're going to take a look at the stars that are so prevalent in out decorations. In this Advent series, we've already looked at Christmas music and angels, so you can go read those if you've missed any.

The star in our decorations comes from  the story of the wise men who came from the East and asked King Herod, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2). Later, as they continue their journey, "the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was" (v. 9). From these verses, we have created a picture in our minds of this massive star that would have been as big and as bright as the full moon, if not bigger and brighter. After all, it was enough to lead these men on the journey to find Jesus!

In reality, though, the star wasn't so obvious. For the ordinary person, looking into the sky at night, it would have blended in with all the other stars. The wise men, on the other hand, were astrologers and made their living out of studying the night sky. They would have noticed any new light, no matter how small.

As educated men, they would also have known prophecies about the coming Messiah from when the people of Israel had been captives in Babylonia hundreds of years earlier. Something about this particular new star brought those stories to mind and sent them on their journey to find the baby who would be king.

A tiny speck of a new star doesn't lend itself to artistic renderings very well, which explains why the Christmas star is always so big and showy. I think we lose something important from the story, though, when we make the star impossible to miss. The sign the wise men followed to find Jesus was miniscule. Anyone who was not watching intently would never have seen it and wouldn't realize the miracle it pointed to.

What miracles do we miss in our lives because we don't notice the tiny signs that point to them? God is still at work in the world around us, but He rarely sends the angels to declare His works like He did for the shepherds (see Luke 2:8-20). More often there are tiny signs - a restored relationship, a changed diagnosis, a new job - things that could be taken for normal, but actually come directly from His hand. Are we paying attention well enough to see those signs of His work? 
Are we looking closely enough to see the miraculous |
Plenty of people would have seen the new star that the Wise Men saw, but they wouldn't have known it was new. They would have thought it just an ordinary star that had always been there. They missed the miraculous because they weren't looking closely enough. Are we looking closely enough?

December 11, 2020

Rahab and the Ram - Jesse Tree Blocks

I'm still picking away at the Jesse Tree blocks, designed by Jen at Faith and Fabric. There's no chance I'll have them all finished before Christmas this year, but maybe if I keep at it I'll have them finished before Christmas 2021. It's something to aim for anyway!

I have two more finished blocks to share today. This is the ram caught in the bush. I've always wondered how Isaac felt about that day, when his father was prepared to sacrifice him and God sent the ram to be the sacrifice instead. You know it had to have had an impact on the rest of his life, but it is never mentioned at all.
Jesse Tree QAL blocks |
Then I jumped ahead a bit and made the Rahab block. In the pattern Jen suggests using a few different greys to make the bricks more interesting. I had fun digging through my grey scraps - apparently I have a lot of different greys! Unfortunately, with my enthusiasm for using ALL the greys, I overwhelmed the block a little. I'm not sure it's really easy to figure out what the block is supposed to be. Ah well. That's definitely on me and my fabric choices, though, not a problem with Jen's design. Also, if anyone was cloud watching on this particular day, they would have seen an abundance of ladybug shaped clouds.
Jesse Tree QAL blocks |
I like Rahab's story because she's included in Jesus' genealogy, even though she wasn't an Israelite and she was a prostitute. Not the sort of woman you would normally expect, right? But God has a habit of using people we wouldn't expect 😊

If you want to make your own Jesse Tree blocks, you can get Jen's pattern here. She designed 25 great paper pieced blocks that tell our salvation story from Creation to the birth of Jesus. I now have 7 finished...only 18 more to go.

December 09, 2020

Guess Who!

I've got just a short post for you today, to let you know about a fun game being hosted by Bernie, of Needle and Foot. She asked me and some other quilt blogging friends to send her a picture of ourselves as kids and now we get to try to match the youngsters in the pictures with the quilt bloggers of today 😊 Want to play? Head to Bernie's post to give it a try!
I've already taken a peek at the pictures and I have to say that we were a pretty adorable bunch back in the day!

December 07, 2020

More Garment Sewing Fun - with Riley Blake Designer Knits

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link. It doesn't affect the price you pay.

I have three new additions to my wardrobe to share today, all made with Designer Knits from Riley Blake. Thank you, Riley Blake for providing the fabric for this post!

Back in September one of the moms I babysit for arrived the first day with a gift for me. It was a shirt with a sewing machine on the front, made by a woman here in town who makes clothes to sell. I loved the fit of the shirt (and the sewing machine on it!), so I messaged the maker to ask what pattern she used. It was the Cachet, from Sinclair Patterns, and now I've made a Cachet of my own. It won't be the last! There are only three pieces to this shirt - the front, the back and the neckband. It's super fast to put together and it's so comfortable. 
Cachet shirt |
I really like the curved hem detail. It's simple, but it makes the shirt more interesting, I think.
Cachet shirt |
I can now thread my twin needle without needing to get out my machine's manual, so I feel like I'm making progress.
twin needle stitching |
I've mostly worn solid colour shirts for years (decades, maybe?), but I find that as I sew my own clothes I'm wearing more patterns. Partly it's that I love the pretty fabric and want to play with it, but also I think it's that the patterns I'm drawn to aren't ones that would be available in ready-to-wear shirts.

Of course, with its short sleeve, the Cachet is completely inappropriate for winter in Newfoundland, but if you throw a cardigan over it you're good to go! 
Cachet shirt and Harper cardigan |
This is my second Harper cardigan from Sinclair Patterns. Did you see the first Harper I made, where I cut two identical sleeves? Well, this time I remembered to mirror the sleeves so I had a right and a left sleeve! It's almost like I know what I'm doing, lol. I love this cardigan and have worn it a bunch of times already. The fabric is so soft and the grey is the perfect colour to wear with just about any tshirt.

Next up, I made a new Tessa Sheath dress, from Love Notions, except I changed the skirt portion. You can see the first two I made here and here. The Tessa pattern says you can use any of the skirts from the Sybil Illusion pattern, so I used the swing skirt. The first time I sewed the skirt to the bodice, though, it looked awful! The skirt was much too big, which made it look lumpy at the waist (right where we want to look lumpy, right?) and the only word I could use to describe how the dress made me look was 'frumpy'. Not at all what I was aiming for! The next day I took that seam apart and compared the width of the skirt to the width of the bodice and the skirt was 3" wider. Yikes! I cut 1 ½" off each side of the skirt and put it back together. Sooooo much better!
Tessa dress with swing skirt |
And it has pockets! The other two Tessa dresses I've made were short sleeve, but I was aiming for a winter dress this time, so I went with the long.
dress pockets |
Should we play a game of 'what stupid mistake did Leanne make cutting the sleeves this time'? Well, I had to cut the sleeves one at a time again, which is what made me cut two identical sleeves with my first Harper cardigan. I remembered to mirror the sleeves, though, so that was fine. But for some reason I cut them out with the wrong side of the fabric facing up. Wanting to conserve fabric as much as possible, I had the pattern piece right to the edge of the fabric...not even thinking about the the fact that the design didn't go right to the edge. Ooops! Thankfully the bit of selvedge that shows after the sleeves were sewn is under my arm, where I doubt anyone will ever notice. Sometimes I just have to laugh at my mistakes, especially when I should know better!
sleeve with selvedge |
sleeve with selvedge |
I had a big box of knit fabric arrive on Friday - happy dance! I'm going to make shirts for the kids I babysit for Christmas, plus for the two siblings I don't babysit if I can fit all the pieces on what I ordered. Plus I have fabric for two Lotte hoodies, with hopefully enough scraps left over to for the Calypso. I haven't tried either pattern yet, but I can't wait to get to them. I may just be obsessed with making clothes. I wonder if Santa can bring me an extra three hours per day, just to spend sewing...

Advent 2020 - Angels

 Devotion for the Week...

It's the second week of Advent and here in Newfoundland we still don't have any snow. It's so weird! As I'm typing this it's pouring rain, actually. There is the possibility of snow in the forecast for this week, but I'm the only one in the family who would be happy about that. Do you have snow where you are? Or do you ever have snow? 

For this year's Advent devotions, we're looking at four of our Christmas traditions/symbols and their origins in the Bible. Last week I shared some thoughts about Christmas music and today I'm going to look at angels. Angels top Christmas trees, adorn cards and gift wrap, keep watch over manger scenes and look adorable in Christmas concerts and plays (or at least they do most years, not so much in 2020).

There are certainly angels in the Christmas story. There's Gabriel, who appeared to Mary to tell her about the child she would bear (Luke 1:28-38), the angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him to go ahead and marry Mary (Matthew 1:20-21), the angel who spoke to the shepherds and the "vast host of others—the armies of heaven" who joined him (Luke 2:8-14).

Have you ever noticed that the Bible never tells us what angels look like? The only indication we ever get is that they appear as men and the two angels who are named have male names - Gabriel and Michael. But in terms of their actual appearance, there's nothing. Your guess is as good as mine, and as likely to be right as any artist's representation.

I find it interesting that when an angel appears, they usually immediately tell the person they're visiting not to be afraid, as Gabriel did with Mary and the angel who appeared to the shepherds did as well. I've always wondered if they look that frightening or so obviously otherworldly, or if it's just that their sudden appearance would be frightening. I mean, if some being suddenly appeared next to me as I'm going about my business, I'd probably be scared and need a little reassurance, too, no matter what he looked like!

On the flip side, Hebrews 13:2 says, "Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" It seems angels can look just like us at least some of the time, when they need to interact with us without drawing attention. It makes you wonder if you have ever looked at or spoken to an angel without realizing it, doesn't it?
Representations of angels are more prevalent at Christmas, but real angels are around all year long |
Like us, angels are created beings, not beings to be worshipped. The writer of Hebrews says of them, "angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation." And the angel who appeared to John in Revelation said to him, "No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!" (Revelation 22:9).

Representations of angels are more prevalent at Christmas, but real angels are around all year long.

December 06, 2020

Bloom - Love and Kisses blog hop

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link. This does not affect the price you pay.

Welcome to my stop on the Love and Kisses blog hop! The Love and Kisses line from Island Batik is designed by Kathy Engle for Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting and it was impossible to resist these colours. 

I chose to make another version of my free Bloom block with these beautiful fabrics. I love seeing how different fabric choices completely change the look of a pattern! My original Bloom block looked like a sunflower, with it's yellow/orange petals, but this one has a more fanciful look to it, with these purple, pink and turquoise petals.
Bloom quilt |
I got to use another piece of the Warm and Natural batting scraps I've been saving the past few years for this Bloom quilt. Setting a goal to make more small quilts has really helped keep me focused on small quilts and using up the batting scraps. I think that goal will be making another appearance for 2021 - there are still lots of batting scraps in the box!

I chose Island Batik's solid grey for the background this time and I love how the swirl hook quilting looks. Swirl hooks are really relaxing to quilt and they fit nicely into any size or shape of space. I used Aurifil 2600 for the quilting and for the zig zag stitching around the applique shapes. It's the perfect blend-into-anything thread colour.
I couldn't resist throwing in some tiny swirl hooks, even if I was trying to keep most of the motifs on the somewhat larger side.

Are you wanting to learn free motion quilting? I recommend HollyAnne's Intro to FMQ course as a great way to get started. The course is available now, so you can get started right away. Plus, signing up will get you $20 off HollyAnne's Free Motion Quilting Academy when it opens up in January. It's a win-win. 

I left the flower petals unquilted again. Maybe if I make another Bloom quilt I'll quilt the petals, but for now I really like their puffy look compared to the background.
Bloom quilt |
I used this fun heart print for the flower center and decided to quilt around some of the hearts, with a random meander to get me from one to the other. It was a quick and fun way to quilt it.
Bloom quilt |
And, since I used Aurifil 2530, it shows up really well on the solid grey back!
Bloom quilt |
Want to make your own Bloom block? Download the free pattern!

Lots of my blogging friends are creating with Sherry's Love and Kisses line this month. Hop around to see their projects, too.
December 2 - Jen at Dizzy Quilter
December 6 - Leanne at Devoted Quilter -- You are here 😊
December 16 - Anja at Anja Quilts

December 01, 2020

Combination Star - Quilt Block Mania

It's time for Quilt Block Mania again and the theme this month is Stars. I loooooove star quilt blocks! I've used stars in a bunch of my patterns - see Between the Stars, Medallion Magic, Reach for the Stars, Friendship Galaxy and Night Sky.

For my QBM block, I wanted to play around with combining stars together in one block, then I couldn't come up with a name, so Combination Star just kind of stuck. Naming blocks and patterns is harder than it looks!
Combination Star quilt block pattern |
I like the shapes of the secondary pattern that happens when you tile four Combination Star blocks together. 
Combination Star quilt block pattern |
I thought the secondary pattern would look even more interesting if you added another square in one corner. With that extra square, you get another four patch in the center when you put four blocks together. I started out with the Quilt Block Mania colour palette, but blue and yellow or orange is pretty much my default colour setting. Almost every quilt I design in EQ8 gets coloured with blues to start and then sometimes I convince myself to branch out to different colour possibilities. Other times I just stick with the blues because they make me happy. Do you have a default colour setting?
Combination Star quilt block pattern |
I liked that variation so much I decided to use it for my block, with the blues and yellows, of course. Here's one block...
Combination Star quilt block pattern |
And here are its three friends! The Combination Star pattern includes the cornerstone variation, too, so you can make your block with or without the secondary four patch.
Combination Star quilt block pattern |
The plan was to have these sewn together and maybe even quilted and bound, but life got in the way and they're still separate blocks. Ah well, I'll get back to them again soon.

Combination Star is a great scrap buster and you know I love scrappy quilts, too! I have a big stash of 1 ½" squares already cut, plus another stash of them already sewn into same-colour four patch blocks. That stash was the basis of my Scraps Squared pattern and I still have plenty left over. I keep toying with the idea of another Scraps Squared quilt, but it hasn't happened yet (never enough time!!). In the meantime, I used four of the four patch blocks and four of the individual squares to make these blocks.

Want to make Combination Star for yourself? Get the free pattern here!

There are plenty of other Star blocks available from the Quilt Block Mania designers, so hop around and collect them all!

Stargazing Sue
Starburst at Slice of Pi Quilts
Massachusetts Star with
Nova Star at Always Expect Moore
Nativity Star
Star Bright - Cotton Street Commons
Five Pointed Star at Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
New Year Star at Stash Bandit
Poinsettia Star
Wish Upon a Satar by Heidi Pridemore
Falling Star at Pretty Piney Quilts
Star Splash at QuiltFabrication
Seward Star at Blue Bear Quilts
Moon Star at Perkins Dry Goods
Starburst at Patti's Patchwork
Cherokee Star
Christmas Tree Star
Christmas Star by Oh Kaye Quilting
Starfish by Appliques Quilts and More
Snowy Star by Seams To Be Sew
Combination Star by Devoted Quilter
Ablaze by True Blue Quilts

November 30, 2020

Advent 2020 - Christmas Music

 Devotion for the Week...

It's the first week of Advent! Is your tree up yet? Ours isn't, that will be our task next weekend, but I have been listening to lots of Christmas music 😊

This year for our Advent devotions, I'm going to look at four of our Christmas traditions and their origins in the Bible. Today I'm starting with all that Christmas music I've been enjoying. It's usually one of the first signs of Christmas approaching, but in the biblical accounts of Jesus' birth there are no mentions of anyone singing or playing any music. We almost always associate the host of angels who visited the shepherds with singing, but that's not what Luke records. "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased'" (Luke 2:13-14).

But just because there's no biblical record of music around Jesus' birth doesn't mean we shouldn't have music to celebrate it today! There are plenty of times in the Bible that we are told to sing. These are just a few examples:

Ephesians 5:18-19: "be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts." 

Psalm 100:1-2 says, "Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy." 

Psalm 147:1 says, "Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting."

And Psalm 95:1-2 says, "Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him." That's in the New Living Translation, which is what I usually use. In the King James Version, though, those verses say, "O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms." That is very appropriate for me since my singing is definitely more on the level of joyful noise than actual music!

Jesus coming to earth as a baby, the beginning of salvation for everyone who believes, is an event more than worthy of the many, many songs that have been written in celebration. As Psalm 147 says, it is fitting that we sing songs of praise about His birth.
The whole world sings Christmas songs |
I once heard a preacher point out that Christmas is the one time of the year when the whole world is signing the songs of the church. Isn't that wonderful? I wonder how many people have first heard the message about Jesus in a song about His birth or how many have found themselves drawn to Him when they heard those familiar songs again and it reached a place in their hurting hearts. Only at Christmas are songs about Him broadcast in stores and restaurants, in concerts on TV and just about everywhere else a person can go.

This Advent season, I'll be making my joyful noise to Him. There's plenty of Christmas music to sing along with, after all, and He doesn't mind that I can't sing worth beans 😊

What are your favourite Christmas songs? Mary's Boy Child, by Boney M, has been my favourite ever since I was a little girl.

November 26, 2020

Sneak Peeks

Being a quilt blogger is hard when you've signed up for a bunch of fun things that mean you're sewing, but you can't share it yet! I have three projects coming up the first week of December, so I thought I'd share some sneak peeks today.

Quilt Block Mania is coming next Tuesday and I have a fabulous scrappy block to share. I love it so much I made four blocks instead of the one that is required. I'm not sure if I'll have time to get it quilted before Tuesday, but I'd really like to.
Scrappy star project to come |
I've started working on the annual cross stitch ornaments for my boys. I'm only making two this year, since it was always my plan to only go until they finished high school. I'm trying only stitching from the front, like this, and it seems like it's a bit faster, especially where there are blocks of the same colour. 
cross stitch |
The Love and Kisses blog hop starts soon and my day to share is on the 6th. I'll be sharing a new version of my Bloom block and it looks so completely different in the colours of the Love and Kisses fabric line! The background is solid this time, which means the swirl hook quilting shows up soooo well 😍
swirl hook fmq |
Are you wanting to learn free motion quilting? I just learned about the Intro to FMQ mini course, which would be a great way to get started. Full disclosure, I'm an affiliate for HollyAnne's courses, which means I earn a commission if you purchase the course after clicking my link. I haven't taken Intro to FMQ, but I'm all about enabling you to learn fmq because it's so much fun 😊

Another blog tour I'm working on is the Designer Knits tour for Riley Blake. I'll be sharing three new garment makes, one from a Love Notions pattern and the others from Sinclair Patterns, from these fabrics, plus a solid grey that is already stitched up.
knit fabric |
I can share this Harper cardigan I made as a test, before making the version for the blog hop. I bought this sweater knit last year to make a different cardigan, but when it arrived I discovered it wasn't as wide as most garment fabric, so there wasn't enough. Lesson learned - check the fabric width before ordering! The Harper (a free pattern from Sinclair) has different length options, though, so I could just barely squeak out a cropped version.
Cropped Harper cardigan |
Because I was so focused on fitting all the pieces on the fabric I had, I wasn't paying attention when I cut the sleeves and I forgot to flip the pattern piece over for the second one. That meant I had two right sleeves (or two left, I'm not sure)...whomp, whomp...and no extra fabric to cut a replacement. After staring at it for a while, I figured I might as well keep going so I'd at least be able to tell how well the cardigan fit, even if one of the sleeves was weird. Luckily for me, the shape of the sleeves isn't all that different from the front to the back, so it isn't weird at all! I love wearing it and I'm so glad I didn't just give up when I realized my mistake.

Aside from all the sewing I've been doing, I'm also thinking a lot about next year and what goals I want to set. I've been designing more quilts, too. I've added at least two to my to-make list the past week or so, which explains why that list never gets any shorter 😊

How many things are you working on right now? And how many are you dreaming about??

November 23, 2020

Crowd Noise

 Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever been in a group of people where everyone is talking, sharing their ideas or telling their stories and you have something to say but it's impossible to get a word in edgewise? It's so frustrating, isn't it? Especially if you're more prone to being quiet and letting others speak rather than pushing yourself to the forefront. It's hard to feel like your voice and your contribution matter when everyone is always speaking over you.

Now, just think about how many people are praying at any given moment. It's a mind-boggling number, right? And yet God can hear us. All at the same time. We're never told to wait in line, to take turns, to worry about whether or not someone else is already talking to Him.

Here are a few verses to consider:

"In those days when you pray, I will listen" (Jeremiah 29:12)

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

"And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for" (1 John 5:14-15)

"Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere" (Ephesians 6:18).

Major League Baseball had crowd noise piped in during their games this year, to make up for the fact that there were no actual fans there. When you read the phrase 'crowd noise,' you can imagine the sound, can't you? It's that constant buzz created by the chatter of thousands of people. Now imagine the crowd noise created by the millions of people being persistent in their prayers right now as you read this. Imagine trying to get a word in edgewise in that conversation!

I don't understand how it's possible, but God doesn't hear crowd noise. He can be fully present in every conversation at all times or He would have told us to use some kind of schedule or mediator so we could be sure He was paying attention when we were talking to Him. Instead, He tells us to pray at all times and on every occasion and He assures us that He hears us whenever we pray. 
Our prayers aren't just crowd noise to God |
Background quilt is Windows

I find it reassuring to know our prayers aren't just crowd noise to God!