January 27, 2020

Can You See Me?

Devotion for the Week...

When Aiden was about 4, we went to the playground one day in the late fall. He wanted to play hide and seek, so I turned my back while he went to find somewhere to hide. Rather than me counting, Paul stood beside me, watching Aiden so he could tell me when Aiden was ready. When Paul laughed and said "Okay," I turned around to see Aiden crouched behind a bush without a single leaf on it. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing at the sight of him "hiding" behind something that didn't hide him at all.

Over the years I've had so many kids ask, "Can you see me?" Invariably, I look at them to find they've covered their eyes with their hands or they're hiding behind something only big enough to cover their face while the rest of their body is perfectly visible. In their toddler minds, as long as they can't see me, then I must not be able to see them.

We may not be toddlers, but we still sometimes forget how easily and completely God sees us. Sometimes that's because we want to do something (or have done something) we prefer God not witness, so we fool ourselves into thinking our actions are hidden from Him. Other times we feel abandoned and wonder if He sees us.

Either way, God always sees us. There is no place we can go that would hide us from His sight, nothing we could do that He wouldn't see and no struggle we endure that He doesn't witness. Psalm 139 is full of references to His omniscience, beginning with "O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away" (vv. 1,2).

Then verses 7-12 say,

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.
God always sees us | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Flower Path
Next time you wonder if God can see you, remember the toddler who can't hide by putting their fingers over their eyes. Just as we can see the child, God can see us. 

January 20, 2020

Scars

Devotion for the Week...

The band I Am They has a song called Scars in which they say "I'm thankful for Your scars/ 'Cause without them I wouldn't know Your heart." When I heard the song again recently, I remembered once hearing a pastor point out that Jesus chose to keep His scars from the crucifixion.  God's power brought Him back from the dead, remember, so that same power could certainly have healed the wounds from the nails in his hands and feet and the sword in His side.

We know He still has the scars because Thomas doubted that the others had really seen Jesus and he said, "I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side" (John 20:25). When Jesus appeared again, Thomas was there and Jesus said to him, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!" (v. 27). He couldn't have invited Thomas to touch scars that don't exist, so that means He must have kept them.

Why would He choose to keep reminders of such a painful thing? Wouldn't He have wanted a new, completely whole body? Why choose to have those scars for all eternity? While I obviously can't know for sure, I can think of two possible reasons.

First, maybe it was because He knew Thomas would doubt and would need that proof, which would then be recorded for all of us to read about. It's important to notice that Jesus didn't chastise Thomas for wanting proof. He just showed Thomas what he wanted to see without a word of reproach. That tells me that there's nothing wrong with doubting sometimes or with wanting reassurances. God isn't disappointed with us when we have doubts or when we question Him. He knows us fully and He can still use us to help others come to know Him. Doubts don't disqualify us.

The second possibility for why Jesus chose to keep His scars is that we are His prized possession and it was those scars that paid the price for us. James wrote, "He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession" (James 1:18). Isn't that amazing? Out of all the world, God chooses us as His prized possession and He bears the scars of our purchase even to this day.

Remember, Jesus did all the work for our salvation. The only thing we have to do is accept His offer of salvation, which was made possible when He died on the cross to pay the price of our sins. We don't have to work for it, we don't have to earn it and we don't have to be worthy of it. His scars show that He paid the price for us and He considers our salvation to be worth the price.
Background quilt is my newest pattern release, Hollow Jewels
Like I am They sings, I am thankful for His scars, whatever His reasons for keeping them may be.

January 15, 2020

Hollow Jewels Finish and Pattern Release

I have my first quilt finish and my first pattern release of 2020 to share today! Hollow Jewels was my Island Batik ambassador project for November, but it was only a top when I shared it then. It feels good to have it be a finish now 😊 Go back to the November post to see the sweater that inspired this fabric pull.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Hollow Jewels is paper pieced and I used freezer paper for the first time, which is a total game changer. I have a couple more paper pieced quilts coming up and you can be sure I'll be using freezer paper for them!

As per my usual, I couldn't really decide how I wanted to quilt it. I thought first that I'd quilt something dot-to-dot style in the diamonds in the middle of each jewel shape, but then I realized that if the jewels are hollow, then we'd be seeing right through them to the background. That made me want to quilt all of the black with the same design and I spent a lot of time thinking about what design to use. In the meantime, I quilted back and forth lines in each of the jewels, with matching Aurifil 50 wt thread.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
As you can see, I finally decided on randomly spaced straight (ish) lines through the background, in Aurifil 2692. I started out in one section, just randomly quilting lines. Then I realized that if I wanted it to look like the jewels were on top of the background, the lines would have to be relatively straight from the top of the quilt to the bottom and there was no way I could just wing it and have that look right. So out came my long ruler and my Hera marker so I could mark the lines from section to section and keep them looking somewhat the way I had envisioned. It's by no means perfect, but it looks way better than it would have if I hadn't taken the time to mark the lines.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I rarely quilt straight lines with my walking foot, which is one reason they're only straight-ish. Using my free motion foot allowed me to go back and forth, traveling along the stitches around each shape, without needing to turn the quilt eleventy-billion times or stopping and starting for each line. I'm willing to embrace the wonkiness of my free motion quilted straight-ish lines in exchange for simplifying the quilting process.

I chose Island Batik's solid grey for the backing and the quilting looks so cool on the back! I'm not sure it really looks like you're seeing through hollow jewels to the background, but I'm still pleased with it.
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
When I finished the quilt top, I wondered if I'd have the pattern or the quilt finished first. Well, it was the pattern by a long shot! Thankfully, the quilt is finally finished and Aiden and Zachary were willing to strap on their snowshoes for a quick photography session a few days ago. There isn't much fancy quilt styling happening when it's -6 C (21 F) and I don't think we were even outside for 10 minutes for this session.

This quilt will be a wedding gift for Paul's nephew and the wedding isn't until August, so I'm way ahead of the game for once!

Hollow Jewels is perfect for confident beginners (and more advanced quilters) who want to create a jewel-studded quilt using foundation paper piecing. The pattern includes instructions for baby (45" x 54"), throw (54" x 72") and queen size (90" x 90") quilts. It is available at the introductory price now through January 24th.

Click here to buy your copy now


It would be a great help if you would pin this image so other quilters might find it, too. Every little bit helps when you're a small business! Thank you so much for your support!
Hollow Jewels quilt pattern (includes baby, throw and queen size options) | DevotedQuilter.com

I'm linking up to celebrate this finish with TGIFF, NTT, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and the Beauties Pageant.

January 13, 2020

Deeply Disturbed

Devotion for the Week...

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "happy wife, happy life" before. There's also "when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Both are true, aren't they? Not necessarily just about wives or mothers, either. When one person in a home or relationship is unhappy, that emotion tends to spill over into the lives of everyone around them.

Strangely enough, those phrases were what I thought of when I read about King Herod and the wise men a few days ago. The wise men arrived in Jerusalem and asked King Herod about the newborn king, whose star they had seen, and "King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem" (Matthew 2:3).

Now, most of the people in Jerusalem didn't talk with the wise men. They probably had no idea who the men were, where they came from or why they were in the city. The people probably didn't care, either. But they likely cared a whole lot about their king being 'deeply disturbed' about something.

I would imagine that when the king is the sort who might order the murder of all the baby boys in an entire town, as Herod would later do (see Matthew 2:16), everyone probably subscribed to the "happy king, happy life" philosophy. Word would likely spread quickly when the king was in a foul mood about something and that would cause unease among the people.

We may not be royalty, with an entire populace dependent on our moods, but there are certainly people around us who feel the effects. That doesn't mean we should hide or ignore our feelings, though. Neither of those are healthy options. We want to allow for proper expression of our feelings, without negative effects on others.

James wrote, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry" (James 1:19).  If Herod had been slow to get angry, do you think the whole of Jerusalem would have been disturbed along with him at the news the wise men brought?
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Sparkler
The question we must ask ourselves is, do the people around us get deeply disturbed every time we hear bad news or when something doesn't go our way? If people have to walk on eggshells around us, we need to take a look at our responses to situations. After all, King Herod isn't much of a role model!

January 12, 2020

Quilt Block Drive Article in Make Modern

I have an article in issue 32 of Make Modern magazine, which is now available. It feels strange to type article rather than quilt in that sentence! This is the 5th issue in a row that features something of mine, which makes me very happy. I do love working with Kristy, Jane and Lara at Make Modern and I'm thrilled that they have included my contributions in so many issues.

The article is about the quilt block drive I organized when the senior's home across the road from us burned down in 2017 and it includes my tips for organizing your own quilt drive to help people in need near you. I hope you'll check it out!
DevotedQuilter.com
You can pick up issue 32 here, but subscriptions are definitely the better deal, especially since each issue has so much to enjoy. Choose from 6 month, 12 month and the amazing all-access subscription.

January 09, 2020

Slim Fit Raglan Number Three

When I made my first two Summer Basics dresses, I noticed that the pink and stripe fabrics would look great made into something together. This week I finally made that happen! A new shirt made from the leftovers from other garments - it's like a scrap quilt I can wear!

I had intended to cut the front and back out of the stripe fabric and the sleeves from the pink, but I only had enough of the stripe fabric to cut out the front. Turns out I really like when the front is one fabric and the sleeves and back are another one. Don't you love when limitations turn into assets? 😊
Slim Fit Raglan | DevotedQuilter.com
This is my third Slim Fit Raglan (pattern from Patterns for Pirates) and I feel like I've got it just how I want it to look now. I make an extra-large, but this time I cut the neckband a little narrower and took 1 ½" off the length of the shirt. Not needing to figure out adjustments means it'll be even faster to make the next one 😉
Slim Fit Raglan | DevotedQuilter.com
Modeling definitely doesn't feel like my forte, though. Why does it feel so awkward to stand in front of a camera and what are you supposed to do with your hands?? And how do other people make it look so easy?

Modeling concerns aside, the list of garments I want to make is almost as long as the list of quilts I want to make. I can guarantee you I will never be bored, lol. If you're tempted to try garment sewing, too, check out this post for some encouragement!

Now back to quilting 😊 We have a snow day today, so I'm hoping to make a lot of progress quilting my Hollow Jewels quilt. Ideally, I'll have the quilting finished, but I may not make it that far. What are you working on now?

January 06, 2020

Accepting

Devotion for the Week...

I've been thinking the past couple of weeks about how I might tackle a temperature quilt. You can see my plan in this post. While I was making the decisions, I had to find ways to work around a few things I know about myself, like the fact that I know I won't take the time to heat up the iron to press just one piece. I could either force myself to press them all, which would likely mean I'd put them off day after day and I'd fall seriously behind, or I could just use my hands to flatten it as much as possible and accept that most blocks will have imperfections from the lack of perfect pressing. I opted for the second option and I'm quite happy to say I'm still on track for making one block every day so far this year 😊

In the grand scheme of things, accepting the fact that I won't take out the iron for just one piece isn't very important. It's pretty laughable, even, but accepting it allowed me to find a way to work around it so I can do a project I'm excited about.

God knows my limitations, too. Way more significant than anything to do with quilting, He knows how angry certain things make me and when I can't stop myself from judging others. He knows when doubts creep in and my faith falters. He knows how often I complain about things I don't want to do and all of the hurtful things I've ever said. He knows all of those things about you, too. He isn't surprised by our faults or our sins. Psalm 103:14 says, "he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust."

Even though He knows that we are prone to sin, He still wants to have a relationship with us so He provided a way to make that possible. That way, of course, is through Jesus. "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
God knows we are not perfect, but He still wants a relationship with us | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Multiplication
We don't need to deny our sin and pretend we are perfect. God knows we're not. We know we're not, too, but we think we need to pretend we are. Really, that's just counter-productive. If we're pretending we are perfect then we aren't accepting Jesus' sacrifice and the forgiveness that God offers us through Him. All we need to do is recognize that we are sinners and believe that Jesus died for us. Once we do that, God accepts us back into relationship with Him, bestowing upon us the righteousness that comes from Jesus.

God accepted the reality of our nature a long time ago. Have we? Once we do, we are able to then accept His solution and enjoy the relationship He intended for us all along.

January 04, 2020

Temperature Quilt 2020

I've been tempted by the idea of making a temperature quilt for a while now, but hesitated because of the commitment - a block a day for a whole year? Can I really keep up with that? The temptation was really strong to do it for 2020, so I've decided to just go for it 😊

There were a few decisions to make once I decided I'd make a temperature quilt, the first one being what block would I make? Related to that, would I be recording the high and low temperature for each day or just the high? I browsed #temperaturequilt, #temperaturequilt2019 and #temperaturequilt2018 on Instagram looking for inspiration and there are so many great ideas, which kind of made it even harder to decide. I love the flying geese temperature quilts, where the 'goose' is the high temperature and the 'sky' is the low. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that when my sewing machine is set up for free motion quilting I won't want to change it for piecing just to piece one block, then put everything back into fmq mode. And I don't want to be putting the temperature blocks off until the fmq is done because that could be quite a while sometimes and I don't want to be setting myself up to be getting behind on a regular basis.

I had seen several different hand stitched possibilites that I liked, too. There were half hexies, where one half was the high and the other the low, stitched together and then appliqued onto a background square. There were circles, too, and I really liked them. So, I've made the crazy decision to make a hand appliqued temperature quilt, with only the high temperatures for each day.

Once that decision was made, I needed to figure out how big the blocks would be. In EQ8, I drew up a quilt using 3" blocks, but that would have been a throw size and I wanted something a bit smaller. So I shrank the blocks down to 1 ½" and that gives me a 28 ½" x 30" quilt. That fits in quite nicely with one of my 2020 goals, which is to make more small quilts. Here's what the quilt layout will look like. The blank blocks will be monthly markers. I'm thinking I may embroider the months on them or maybe just the first letter of the month, since they are quite small. There are two at the end of the quilt and I'll add the year there.
Temperature quilt layout | DevotedQuilter.com
Then it was time to pick fabric! Most temperature quilts use a blue-yellow-orange-red progression, but I usually find the yellow dominates, which I find distracting. While browsing the hashtags, though, I also saw a couple of blue-purple-pink-red progressions and I liked those a lot more, so that's what I've chosen. I completely cheated and followed the divisions that Anja used for her 2019 temperature quilt, so each colour represents a 2 degree range, starting at colder than -16°C (I probably won't need many of those) and moving all the way up to 28°to 30° (I hope not to need many of those since I really don't like the heat). I meant to have one for over 30°, but it seems I forgot to pick it out. It's highly unlikely I'll need it, though. The largest piece of purple fabric is for 0°.
temperature quilt fabric pull | DevotedQuilter.com
 Here's a closer look at the fabrics for colder than -16° to 0°.
temperature quilt fabric pull | DevotedQuilter.com
And these are for 0° to 30°.
temperature quilt fabric pull | DevotedQuilter.com
A nice bonus of making 1 ½" blocks is that I could shop my stash. Some of those pieces aren't huge, but the circles I'll be cutting are really small, so I can get a lot of them out of even small pieces of fabric.

I chose to use Northcott solid white as my background and I have a lot of scraps of it that I can cut into 2" squares. So far I have the first two blocks finished. It was 0° on New Year's Day and -1° on the 2nd. The circles will probably all be a bit wonky, but I'm quite content with that.
temperature quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.com
I traced around the base of a spool of Aurifil thread to make a template for the circles, then traced it onto the back of my fabric. I cut it out with a generous ¼" seam allowance, stitched a row of basting stitches around the edge and pulled it tight around the plastic template. Being honest with myself, I'm more likely to make these if I don't have to heat up the iron to press the circles before removing the template, so I just used my hand to flatten it and then took out the template.

I folded the background square and the circle into quarters so I could center the circle, then I ladder stitched the circle to the background. Quick and simple. I tried to time myself making one block, but then Zach came with a video for me to watch and I stopped stitching to watch, completely forgetting that I was timing myself. Oh, well. It didn't take long, anyway, lol.

Since I'm already crazy enough to make a hand appliqued block, why not hand stitch them together, too? I mean, they're only a few stitches wide, right? Not trusting myself to stitch a straight line, I drew a line ¼" from the edge on the back of both blocks, then made sure they stayed lined up to keep things nice and straight.
hand stitching quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.com
And here are my first two finished blocks, already sewn together 😊
temperature quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.com
I'm not going to allow myself to stress out about getting behind sometimes. I know it's going to happen. I am going to take a bit of time and cut out a whole bunch of background squares so they're ready to go, which will help keep me on track. I'm hoping that, since it's only a few minutes worth of stitching, I can make the blocks while the kids I babysit are playing. Sure, I'll probably cut out the circle, tend to them, stitch the basting stitches, tend to them, etc, and the block will likely take all morning, but that's okay. A little here and a little there gets things done, as any mother (or babysitter) of littles knows!

Each day I'll look online to see the high temperature from the previous day, then make that block. That's the plan anyway, we'll see how well I stick to it 😆 Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a new, hand stitched mini quilt top ready for quilting.

Have you ever made a temperature quilt? If you have, do you have any tips on keeping myself on track?

January 02, 2020

TGIFF - Can You Hold My Phone?

Happy New Year and welcome to the first TGIFF of 2020! I hope that the year has treated you well so far and that you've had some time for sewing already 😊

I have been doing quite a bit of quilting on my Hollow Jewels quilt this week. The pattern is ready and I just need to get the quilt finished for its cover photo so I can release it. Hopefully that will happen in the next week or two. In the meantime, I have a small finish to share today, which was my last project of 2019.

Do you ever get the urge to make something you can finish quickly? That was how I was feeling between Christmas and New Year's. Since I sometimes watch things on my phone while I'm quilting or cooking and I find myself wishing I had something to hold my phone, I chose this tutorial from Michelle at Factotum of Arts and pulled out a fun blue/green/purple fabric from Island Batik.
Phone holder | DevotedQuilter.com
I cut out the pieces and was ready to sew the first seam when I realized it's such a quick project, I could easily make two and give one to a friend. I paused long enough to cut the second one out and had them sewn them up a couple of minutes later. Seriously, that's about how long it took, lol. The only part of this whole project that took any amount of time was stuffing them, and that only because I cut up batting scraps again, which takes longer than just pulling stuffing out of a bag. It takes longer, but I sure do love using up those batting scraps!
using up batting scraps | DevotedQuilter.com
A few minutes of hand stitching later, I had two finished phone stands 😊 I love making quilts, but a quick-finish project is wonderful sometimes, too.
Phone holder | DevotedQuilter.com
I had to borrow Zach's phone to have a phone in the picture, since I use my phone to take the pictures, lol.
Phone holder | DevotedQuilter.com
 I've already been using my phone stand 😊
Phone holder | DevotedQuilter.com
So, what have you finished already this year? Or do you have some secret gift sewing you can finally share? Link it up! Be sure to visit some of the other links, too, and help them celebrate their finishes.



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