October 18, 2021


 Devotion for the Week...

I read a Chinese proverb years ago that I love. It says, "A book unopened is but a block of paper." The value isn't in the fact that the book exists, but in our reading of it. We gain so much by reading, whether we're reading fiction or non-fiction. We gain facts or empathy, understanding or escape. If the book just sits on the shelf and we never open it, we never learn about the characters or the struggle or the new idea. If we don't read the words printed on them, the pages of the book might as well be blank. 

You can probably guess where I'm going with this. The Bible is a book. When was the last time you cracked the cover and read the words it contains? Whether that's a literal cover of a physical book or the opening of an app on your phone doesn't figure into it. When was the last time you read from the Bible for yourself?

Now, before you start to think I'm some super Bible reader, spending hours at it each day, let's just stop and look at the reality for a minute. I read my Bible while I have breakfast, since I'm usually alone at the table for my morning bowl of cereal. On those rare occasions when I'm having breakfast with someone else, I usually chat with them rather than reading, but on the rest of the mornings I read my Bible. I rarely read even a full chapter at one time, but I read a little bit. Slowly, I make my way through one book and then another and then another. Emphasis on the slowly part.

Is it always easy to understand? No. Are there sections I skim over? Yes (genealogies and endless passages of numbers, I'm looking at you). Do I often read something I end up thinking about for a while? Yes and those things often find their way here.

Breakfast might not be the right time for you, but is there a time you can set aside? I'm not talking about hours here. I'm not one of those people who get up before the crack of dawn and read their Bible for two hours before getting on with their day. I'm serious when I say I read while I eat breakfast, so it's the time it takes me to eat a bowl of cereal. It's not much, but it's better than the nothing I was doing before I added the Bible to my breakfast. And over the years, those few minutes a day have added up to a lot of Bible reading.

When would work for you? You may not have a lot of time each day, but being consistent with even a short time each day will eventually get you through the whole Bible.
Being consistent with even a short time each day will eventually get you through the whole Bible | DevotedQuilter.com
Do you have a consistent time you spend reading your Bible? If you do, I'd love to hear about your routine!

October 16, 2021

Shining Through Pattern Release

This quilt has been made to wait and wait and wait. First it had to wait because Covid shut down the class I was teaching, where the students were making their own versions. At that point the quilt hung out in a bag for months and was only ever called 'my class quilt' because I couldn't come up with a name. Finally the class was able to resume and the students finished their quilts 😊 Then it waited some more to finally get a name, thanks to my husband's Aunt Jennifer who suggested it on an IG post when I asked for help a few weeks ago. Even then, it was still waiting for the pattern to be finished.

But today Shining Through isn't waiting anymore! This beginner friendly pattern is now listed in my Etsy shop. The PDF is available immediately and the printed pattern is a preorder that will ship as soon as they arrive from the printer. To celebrate the pattern release, it is available at the introductory price through October 20th.
Shining Through quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Using simple shapes, Shining Through is perfect for beginners, with a few half-square triangles and a few places to match up seams, but not so many of either as to be overwhelming. On the other hand, with its abundant negative space and bold lines, it's a great choice for more experienced quilters looking for a quick project.

Along with the 40" x 45" baby or wall size shown here, the pattern also includes instructions for a 60" x 70" throw size. Either size would make a great gift! 

With some yardage for the background, Shining Through is also fat quarter friendly and stash friendly. Because the squares aren't cut super small, the pattern would be beautiful with medium scale and even large scale prints as well. Really, I think any fabrics would look great in Shining Through and I can't wait to see the versions you make so I can check it out in all the variations 😊 Truly, that is my favourite part of being a quilt pattern designer.
Shining Through quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I have fabric picked out for a version with a light background that I'm really excited about, though I won't get to it until sometime in 2022. I'm hoping to be able to do some fun quilting in the negative space of that one. Since this version was made as a class sample, where I would be teaching the students to quilt straight lines with a walking foot, that's what I did on my quilt, too. That negative space just seems to be asking for some free motion quilting, though!
Shining Through quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Get your Shining Through pattern in my Etsy shop today. Buy the PDF or preorder the printed pattern now through October 20th and save $3 off the regular price.

Buy Shining Through - PDF

Preorder Shining Through - Printed

October 14, 2021

TGIFF - Dragon (Stage 1)

Welcome to TGIFF for this week 😊 I am really excited to share this finish because it has been a loooooooong time coming!

The pattern is The Castle, by Teresa Wentzler. When I went looking for a link to her shop, I was surprised to see that the pattern has been discontinued, but you can find many of her other designs here. I remember that I bought the pattern the summer we got married, so 1999, but I don't remember when I actually started it. I know it was a few years after I got the pattern, but that's as precise as I can get. Whenever it was, it was close on 20 years ago. By any standard, that's a long time for a project to languish as a WIP!
Dragon cross stitch | DevotedQuilter.com
It was this cross stitch that got me thinking about a way to get some of my older WIPs finished, which led me to create the WIPS-B-GONE 100 day challenge. I'd say the challenge is working! If you want to join in, there are still more than 75 days left to the challenge. Just think how many WIPs you could get finished in that time!

Teresa Wentzler is known for using blended colours in her designs. Cross stitch is often done with two threads of the same colour, but Teresa's patterns call for using two different threads at the same timefor most of the x's that make up a cross stitch design. It makes the colours more subtle and variable, which adds dimension to the piece. It's really hard to photograph. Here's the best I could get.
Cross stitch close up | DevotedQuilter.com
While my dragon isn't completely finished and ready for framing, I'm celebrating getting this far in the same way we celebrate when we finish a quilt top. There's still a lot of work to be done, but one big stage is finished. In this case, I have all of the backstitching to do. The backstitches outline everything, which brings so much definition to the cross stitch. Adding the backstitches is really fun because it brings the whole picture to life. As a bonus, the backstitching goes a lot faster than the cross stitches!
Dragon cross stitch | DevotedQuilter.com
I've always loved dragons, so I'm excited to finally be able to see all of my very own dragon 😊

So, that's my finish for this week! What did you finish? Link it up so we can celebrate with you! Be sure to visit some of the other links, too, so you can celebrate their finishes with them.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

October 11, 2021

Do the Work

 Devotion for the Week...

Do you write in your Bible? My in-laws both write in their Bibles - notes from sermons, underlining passages they find meaningful, that sort of thing. I can't do it! It's not that I think they're wrong for doing it, I just can't do it myself. Part of it is that I don't like writing in books in general. The biggest part, though, is that when I read something that has parts underlined or that has notes written in the margins, I can't see anything other than what is already noted. I worry that if I write in my Bible, I'll only ever see the things I already learned from that passage, but I want to keep learning new lessons.

Here's an example. This week I've been reading the book of Nehemiah and chapter 3 lists the various groups of people who were responsible for rebuilding the sections of the wall. One particular verse stood out to me: "Next were the people from Tekoa, though their leaders refused to work with the construction supervisors" (Nehemiah 3:5). I was impressed with the people of Tekoa, who were getting on with the work even though their leaders were being difficult. And then I remembered that I've already written a devotion about the leaders of Tekoa!

Nehemiah doesn't tell us why the leaders of Tekoa refused to work with the construction supervisors. The people, though, knew that the work needed to be done, so they went around their leaders and started laying bricks in the wall. They took the initiative to do the work. On a much smaller scale, it makes me think of when a child starts to recognize the work that needs to be done around the house and starts pitching in without needing to be asked.

Is there work you see that needs to be done, but someone you would expect to be in charge of it isn't doing their part? Maybe it's at your actual job, or maybe it's a community or church project that needs help. Maybe it's a social justice cause where you feel the government should be doing something, but they're not and there's a gap that needs to be filled. 
What would it look like for us to step in and do the work? | DevotedQuilter.com
Maybe our leaders aren't going to step up and do their part. Maybe it's time we be like the people of Tekoa and get the work done ourselves. What would it look like for us step in and do the work this week?

October 04, 2021

Not the Expected Response

 Devotion for the Week...

Some kids love to point out every little thing another kid is doing that is against the rules. This amuses me to no end, especially since those same kids are often guilty of doing the same things, they just don't tattle on themselves. Unless the other kid is in danger of hurting themselves or someone else, I usually tell the tattler something like, "You worry about what you're doing. It's not your job to worry about what they're doing." More than one youngster has looked confused when their attempt to get someone else in trouble backfired and instead earned them a reprimand.

Unfortunately, this trying to get someone else in trouble isn't limited to toddlers, nor is it anything new. In the book of Ezra we read about the exiled Jews who had returned to Jerusalem and were working to rebuild the Temple. A lot of years had passed and the king who had allowed the rebuilding to start was gone. In fact, they were on their second king since him, thanks to opposition under the king in the middle. Now the governor, Tattenai, and some others wrote a letter to King Darius, explaining what was going on and asking that a search be made in the royal archives to see if King Cyrus really had given permission for the work (see Ezra 5). I'm guessing Tattenai was counting on his belief that the Jews were lying or on the record being lost.

However, since it was the truth and the record was found, Darius replied, "Stay away from there! Do not disturb the construction of the Temple of God. Let it be rebuilt on its original site, and do not hinder the governor of Judah and the elders of the Jews in their work" (Ezra 6:6-7). Not only that, but King Darius decided to fund the work! "I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted" (v. 8).

Can you imagine the surprise Tattenai and his cronies felt as they read this letter? They wanted to stop the rebuilding altogether and instead found themselves handing over government funds to help the work along! Darius went even farther and decreed (in verse 11) a death sentence that would be carried out against anyone who violated his decree and hindered the work on the Temple. Just like the toddlers who are confused by my reprimand for their tattling, I'm sure Tattenai was confused by Darius' response!

Reading that story made me remember Gamaliel, who appears in Acts 5. He's said to be "an expert in religious law and respected by all the people" (v. 34). Peter had been arrested for preaching in the Temple court and had just told the high council, "We must obey God rather than any human authority" (v. 29), and the members of the high council were furious and wanted to kill him and the apostles with him. But Gamaliel addressed the other members of the council, saying, "So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!" (vv. 38-39). Wise words, Gamaliel.

It's possible we could be on either side of this situation. We could be the ones doing the work we're supposed to be doing, but still facing opposition by people who think we're doing something wrong. In those cases, we can find comfort in Gamaliel's words. If it's God's will, the opposition will find themselves fighting against God Himself. We're not alone in the work we're doing and He will see us through, even if there are delays and setbacks.
We don't want to find ourselves fighting against God! | DevotedQuilter.com
Or we could be the ones who are so worried about what others are doing that we forget they might be doing what God wants, even if it's something we disagree with. In those times, maybe it would be best to imagine God saying to us, "You worry about what you're doing. It's not your job to worry about what they're doing." After all, we don't want to find ourselves fighting against God!

September 29, 2021

Winter Frost - Scrappy Improv Quilting

Welcome to my stop on the Scrappy Improv Quilting blog hop! Scrappy Improv Quilting is by Kelly Young of My Quilt Infatuation and it's her second book using her method of creating improv panels and then cutting them up to create quilt blocks. It's such a fun process and I love getting to use my scraps, so you know I wanted to be part of the party to share the book 😊

The projects in the book are all mini quilts, which is great if you're new to playing with improv piecing, but also for anyone looking for a fun, scrappy project. Kelly also includes instructions for making a pillow or a larger quilt, if mini quilts aren't your thing.

I chose to make Winter Frost, which seemed appropriate considering how much I enjoy snow (not that I'm anxious to see any just yet. It's too early in the year, even for me!). Kelly's version of the quilt in the book has an aqua background, so I chose to go very different with this red. I did consider using a green background and using pinks and purples for the improv sections since the layout of the quilt also kind of reminds me of the layout of a formal garden, but making myself a new Christmas quilt won out.
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Only when I was editing the pictures for this post did I realize that I used a pinky-red background for my quilt from Kelly's first book, too! Not only that, but I'm pretty sure they're the only quilts I've ever made with red backgrounds. You can see my Murrina quilt here.
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I found this red incredibly hard to photograph as it always seemed to look either too dark or too light. The contrast between the red and the white probably didn't help, either. 

I used my white and cream scraps to piece the improv panels and I had fun using even tiny little pieces. I discovered in the process that, while I have a shoebox full of white and cream scraps, there's not a lot of variety in there. Because these fabrics often get used for backgrounds, I have a lot of pieces of the same fabrics in all different shapes and sizes.
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Some of the scraps in the box were white or cream with touches of other colours and I mostly didn't use those. One, a white with blue swirly vines, I used with the wrong side up. That muted the blue nicely and let it fit in with the other scraps. Note this is probably the only time I will ever purposely try to tone down a blue!
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Another fabric I meant to use with the wrong side up, but habit got the better of me and I stitched it right sides together. I decided to keep using it right side up, as the blue and grey swirls weren't so dark they were overwhelming. I then made sure to use several pieces of it throughout the quilt, so it doesn't stand out as an odd piece.
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I chose this particular red from my stash because the print kind of reminds me of the patterns frost makes on windows. Because of the quilting, the print is easiest to see now on this corner hanging square on the back of the quilt. The fabric is a basic from Northcott, called Essence, and it comes in lots of beautiful colours.
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
This quilt had me stumped for a while on the quilting. The improv sections are lots of different shapes, but they're all part of one thing - a snowflake - so I wanted to keep from using too many different motifs in the quilting. In the end, I chose wishbones and simple lines. 
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Some of the lines have curved ends, some lines are angled, some go right to the edges of the shapes they fill, and they're different distances apart, but they're all basically just lines. The wishbones are in the central octagon and the diamonds in the middle of each side.
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
All of the quilting in the improv sections is done with Aurifil 50 wt white thread (2024), which shows up very nicely on the back, where I used the same red Essence as the background.
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The background sections had me stumped because there are a lot of shapes there, too, and they're mostly irregular shapes. I decided to echo around the improv sections twice, then fill the spaces between the echoing lines with stippling, all using Aurifil 2270.

This shot of the quilt, taken early Monday morning when the light was coming in from the side, shows the beautiful texture all that quilting created. Yes, it does feel as wonderful as it looks!
Winter Frost mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I'm looking forward to hanging my Winter Frost mini when it's time to decorate for Christmas! Because it's red and white, I probably won't be able to get away with keeping it up all winter, but it will be great as a Christmas quilt.

There are 22 fun quilts in Scrappy Improv Quilting and there's a quilter making and sharing each one during the blog hop/book party, so be sure to check them all out 😊 

Scrappy Improv Quilting Blog Tour Schedule-

8/31- Intro, Single Block Beauties, and Simple Shapes - My Quilt Infatuation

9/7- Seasonal Sensations, Standards With a Twist - My Quilt Infatuation

9/13- Summer BlossomLori @ Crossquilt
           Up, Up, and AwaySandra @ mmm...quilts!

           BotanicsDiann @ Little Penguin Quilts

9/20- Face the SunLaura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
           Full SpectrumJayne @ Twiggy and Opal

9/22- PrismaticAnja @ Anja Quilts
           DownpourNancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

9/27- FunkytownVasudha @ Storied Quilts
           Cherub WingsMichelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

9/29- Chapel WindowKris @ Sew Sunshine
           Winter FrostLeanne @ Devoted Quilter - you are here!

           Star SpangledChristine @ Triangles & Squares

10/6- Birds of a FeatherPreeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts
           Fall FoliageSusan @ Quilt Fabrication

10/11- OrnamentalGail @ Quilting Gail
            Churn, Churn, ChurnCynthia @ Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

10/13- Sunset CrossingKate @ Katie Mae Quilts
             Positivity- Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts

10/18- All Dressed UpLinda @ Flourishing Palms
             ShockwaveAnne-Marie @ Stories From the Sewing Room

10/20- Sweet Bee (a bonus thank-you pattern), Finishing, and Wrap-Up - My Quilt Infatuation

September 28, 2021

Having Fun with Peacock Plumes

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Peacock Plumes virtual blog hop, celebrating Tammy Silvers' new signature line with Island Batik. Peackock Plumes is full of rich colours and beautiful prints. For this blog hop, rather than having us make one project each, Tammy asked us to mock up some of our favourite patterns using Peacock Plumes, which was so much fun! Let's start with a peek at the whole fabric line. Aren't those colours fabulous?
These patterns (and more!) are available from my Etsy shop, in both PDF and printed versions. I offer free shipping on the printed patterns. Click on the shop link or on the individual pattern names to go pattern shopping 😊

The first pattern I mocked up in Peacock Plumes was Night Sky. I love the fall vibes of this version! 
For a different seasonal look, I used the Peacock Plumes fabrics and added a white solid for the background in my Divided pattern to create a mod Christmas kind of feel.
I used white again for the background of Level Up. I love those two-tone starbursts and the gold glowing centers of the pluses.
Level Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Mix It Up is all about exploring mixing colours with fabric, so it was fun to try it out with the green and gold fabrics, mixing together in the green/gold fabric. These fabrics work so well for it! And those plum orange peels make the perfect frame.
Mix It Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Next up is Flower Path. I love how this looks with the pink and gold orange peels! Have you noticed I have a thing for applique orange peels??
Flower Path quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Last, but certainly not least, I mocked up my You're a Star pattern, using a grey solid background and the pink and plum fabrics. Wouldn't that make a great gift for a pink-loving girl? You're a Star is a free pattern, which you can get here.
You're a Star quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Which Peacock Plumes mockup is your favourite? I think Mix It Up is my favourite, though Divided comes pretty close. 

If any of the patterns caught your eye, be sure to visit my Etsy shop to pick up a copy!

Visit these other designers for lots more Peacock Plumes inspiration:

Sept 27:        Tammy Silvers - Tamarinis

                      Jen Frost - Faith and Fabric

                      Geeky Bobbin  

Sept 28:         Leanne Parsons - Devoted Quilter (you are here!)

                      Laura Strickland - Orange Blossom Quilt Design

                      Sara Flynn - Offbeat Quilts

                      Pamela Boatright - Pamela Quilts

Sept 29:         Swan Sheridan - Swan Amity Studios

                      Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World

                      Claudia Porter - Create with Claudia

Sept 30:        Laura Piland - Slice of Pi Quilts

                      Raija Salomaa - Quilter's Treasure Chest

                      Kathryn LeBlanc - Dragonfly's Quilting Design Studio

Oct 1:            Kate Colleran - Kate Colleran Designs

                     Sherry Shish - Powered By Quilting

                     Becca Fenstermaker - Pretty Piney Quilts

September 27, 2021

Only a Second

 Devotion for the Week...

Paul is a Blue Jays fan, which means I spend a fair amount of time sitting and watching baseball games with him. Usually, when a batter is walked, they put their bat on the ground, then take off their batting gloves and shin guard and put them with the bat, before going to first base. Normally, they leave the bat, etc. there on the ground for the bat boy or bat girl to pick up, but occasionally the bat person reaches them before they're finished removing the gear, so they hand everything over to them. The other night, though, a player on the Minnesota Twins team caught my eye. He finished taking off his gear, gathered everything together and then waited a second for the bat person to reach him before handing everything to them. It was only a second, but the fact that he stood there waiting to pass his gear, rather than leaving it on the ground to be picked up, struck me as a kind gesture. To be clear, the players leaving their gear behind on the ground aren't being inconsiderate; that's actually what they're expected to do so the game keeps moving quickly. This one player's actions just felt extra considerate to me.

It's possible that moment only struck me because earlier in the week I had read Philippians 4:5, which says, "Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon." When I read the verse last week, the words considerate and all really hit home for me. 

Considerate means, "careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others" and for me it calls to mind the idea of thinking about the feelings and needs of other people before we speak or act. It also makes me think of small actions, like waiting a second to hand our gear to someone rather than leaving it for them to pick up off the ground. It's little things people might not consciously notice, but that leave an impression of kindness.

Being considerate also makes me think of the idea of living in community, in the sense of trying to make life better for everyone rather than just better for ourselves. It's the opposite of buying six packs of toilet paper to hoard for ourselves when there's fear of a shortage. 

As for the all in the verse...can I just say there's not a lot of wiggle room when we're told to be considerate in all we do? 'Be considerate whenever you're in a good mood' would be a lot easier to live up to. Or maybe 'be considerate when you've had enough sleep' or maybe the most important one 'be considerate when the other person isn't being rude.' But no, we're told to be considerate in all you do. 

Essentially, though, all that really means is that we are to make thinking of others a habit. Will there be times when being considerate is hard? Absolutely! But just a few verses after telling the Philippians to be considerate in all they did, he also wrote, "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (Philipians 4:13). We don't have to do it all in our own strength! The Holy Spirit will help us, if we will listen and follow His little nudges and suggestions.
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do | DevotedQuilter.com
"Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do." What a revolution that could create in our society!

September 20, 2021

Consider Carefully

 Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever sat and read the comments on a social media post that was full of people vehemently defending their views, while attacking anyone who happened to disagree with them? It can be very entertaining, especially when the argument is over something trivial and the comments are heated. Zach once read me comments from a post on Reddit about whether or not Canada is part of America, with some arguing that 'America' refer to the entire continent and not just the US. The comments were funny, but there were a surprising number of personal attacks in them. There were people on both sides attacking the intelligence of people on the other side, with sarcasm and name calling showing up in abundance.

We're quick to judge other people on very little evidence, and this is magnified by the anonymity of comments typed in on a screen rather than spoken out loud to a person in the same room. I've seen it time and time again on posts about everything from the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' to the covid vaccine to political policies. Sometimes the most innocuous looking comment attracts dozens of attacks that make me shake my head and wonder how people made the leap from what was written to how they interpreted it.

We can all be quick at times to apply labels to the people who don't agree with us. Maybe we wouldn't actually type in the judgmental comment, but it's entirely possible we'd still be thinking it.

They're stupid. 

They're selfish. 

They're an idiot.

Never mind that we're seeing only one facet of the person. Since they don't see the world the way we do, they are obviously inferior. Let's also ignore the fact that they're probably putting the same labels on us for disagreeing with them.

When I was reading 2 Chronicles a few weeks ago, I was struck by King Jehoshaphat's words. He "appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, 'Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery'" (2 Chronicles 19:5-7). Yes, he was speaking to people who would have been working officially as judges and their judgments would have been legally binding, so it doesn't apply to us in the same way. Even so, I love the phrase, 'consider carefully what you do' in relation to judging others.
considering carefully before we pass judgement would be a good habit | DevotedQuilter.com
Consider carefully that an opinion that differs from ours is not an indication of another person's intelligence. Not only that, but a person's intelligence is not a measure of their value or their dignity.

Consider carefully that we don't know why they feel the way they do or what their experiences have been.

Consider carefully that we might actually be wrong. That's a tough one, for sure, especially because we are often so attached to our opinions that we have a hard time letting them go. But we could be wrong. The other person, the one we're convinced right now is stupid, might be right and we will never see it if we're not willing to consider carefully rather than heaping judgment on them and moving on.

Just as a general rule, considering carefully before we pass judgement would be a good habit.

September 16, 2021

WIPS-B-GONE 2021- A 100 Day Challenge

When I set my goals for 2021, I included the goal of finishing some WIPS. I even named the ones I wanted to finish. I chose my 2020 temperature quilt, my Indecisive quilt, my Let It Snow wall hanging and my dragon cross stitch. We are in the 9th month of the year and I have worked on precisely one of those projects (the temperature quilt, in case you were wondering). Yikes!

On the way home from getting Aiden settled in for another (hopefully normal!) year at university, I was thinking specifically about the dragon cross stitch, which I would really, really like to finish, and trying to come up with a way to motivate myself to work on it. My thought process went like this:

  • I don't actually have that much left to go on it, a little time each day would get it done before long.
  • Something like a 100 day challenge would work.
  • I wonder how many days are left in the year. 
  • Grab my phone to look that up...118.
  •  So what day would be 100 from the end of the year? 
  • September 23...Hmmm, I could work with that.
  • It would be more fun if I had other people working on their WIPS with me.
  • Okay, let's plan a big 100 day WIP finishing challenge to end the year, with tips and prizes and everything!

And that's how we come to today's announcement of the WIPS-B-GONE 100 day finishing challenge! Cue the confetti (well, not really, because that stuff is awful for the environment, but imaginary confetti is perfect 😉)! 
I hope you'll join me and end off 2021 with an abundance of finished projects. Here's all you need to know about the challenge:

When and where is the challenge happening?

The official start date is Thursday, September 23rd, since that is 100 days from the end of 2021, and the challenge is happening on Instagram, using the hashtag #wipsbegone2021. The hashtag will allow us to cheer each other on as we work on our WIPs and turn them into finishes. There will be other hashtags for check-ins after each quarter and I'll use those to randomly choose winners for the prizes our amazing sponsors are providing.

I know not everyone is on IG. If you're not, you can certainly join in and bust your WIPS, too, but you won't be eligible for the prizes.

100 days is a long time. I'm gonna need some reminders and encouragement.

Oh, me, too! I'm concerned about running out of steam before the 100 days are up. That's why I'm lining up weekly emails with tips and tricks to help keep us on track. Trust me, these tips are so good you don't want to miss them! There will be fun printables, too, for setting goals for the challenge, for celebrating our finishes and at least one just for fun. You don't have to sign up for the weekly emails to take part, but they'll be a great motivator and cheerleader popping into your inbox each Monday of the challenge if you do.

Here's a sneak peek at one of the printables I've been working on for the challenge. My temperature quilt blocks make pretty props, don't they? I bet they'll make an even better finished quilt, lol.
WIP printable sneak peek | DevotedQuilter.com

Which of my WIPS are eligible? Do they have to be quilts?

Any stitched project counts! It doesn't matter if it's a zip pouch you started and then set aside, a dress you cut out, but haven't sewn together, a scarf you have half-knit or a king size quilt top you haven't gotten around to quilting yet. If it's a WIP and you finish it during the 100 days between September 23rd and December 31st, then you're eligible for a prize 😊 Remember, the project that got me started planning this whole challenge is a cross stitch, so this is definitely open to projects other than quilts. I will say, though, that the prizes are pretty much all quilting related.

I'm also not going to be strict on what qualifies as a WIP. Use the challenge to tackle projects that have been hanging around for years, projects you started last week, projects that are just a fabric pull so far or (shhh!) even projects that are nothing more than a plan in your head. I won't be going back in time to see when you started your projects!

Did you say prizes?

Yes, yes I did 😊 Prizes are a wonderful, motivating force, aren't they? There will be prizes after each quarter of the challenge - so after days 25, 50, 75 and, of course, 100. Anyone who has finished even one WIP in that quarter will be eligible for the prizes, which will be awarded randomly. 

I'll get into the specifics of the prizes when it's time to award them, since prizes are still coming in. I will say there are fabric bundles, magazines, planners and patterns to be won, so you'll be all set to start something new as a reward for all the WIPS you finished during the challenge!

These are the lovely sponsors who are contributing prizes. I've linked here to their IG profiles, since this is an IG challenge and I'll be adding more in the coming days. Please follow the sponsors as a thank you for their generosity!

I'm in! What do I do now?

  • Sign up for the weekly emails to get your Monday dose of inspiration and the challenge printables.
  • Share the Let's Do This graphic on Instagram to let everyone know you're participating in the challenge (accountability can help keep us on track, so we need to let everyone know what we're doing!) and to invite them to join in, too. The bigger the cheering squad, the bigger the celebration every time we finish a project! When you sign up for the emails, you'll get a link to be able to download the graphic or you can find it in my IG story highlights and take a screenshot to share.
  • Dig out those WIPS and decide which one(s) you're going to tackle first.

Let's do this! 😊

September 13, 2021

Is It Really About Us?

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever been around someone you normally have a good relationship with, who seemed like they didn't want to talk to you, or like they were mad at you about something and you couldn't figure out what you had done? When that happens to me, I wrack my brain trying to figure out how I upset them, or what I can do to make it better. Then come to find out hours later they were dealing with something work or family related, something that had nothing whatsoever to do with me. It's always a relief, and a somewhat painful reminder that not everything is about me. Sometimes another person's mood, and even how they treat me, has nothing to do with me personally, even when it feels like it must be about me.

I was amused this week to see an instance of this in the Bible, though it was one with dire consequences. In 2 Chronicles 35:20, we read, "Necho king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle." Josiah, king of Judah, saw another king approaching with his army and assumed he was coming to attack Judah. Now, I've never been a king, but it seems like that might have been a logical assumption. If nothing else, it was probably wise to gather the army and be prepared to defend the land.

But Necho wasn't coming after Josiah's kingdom.  In fact he, "sent messengers to him, saying, 'What quarrel is there, king of Judah, between you and me? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.'" (v. 21). Necho came straight out and said to Josiah, 'This has nothing to do with you. I'm dealing with something else,' but Josiah didn't believe him. Necho even pointed out that there wasn't any quarrel between them, no prior history of problems that might have led him to march out to battle against Josiah.

Josiah, though, was so convinced that Necho's military moves were focused on his kingdom, that he couldn't believe it even when Necho said he was moving against someone else on God's orders. Josiah probably thought Necho was lying, invoking God's name so Josiah would back down and Necho could defeat him without needing to fight. 

That's when things went very wrong for Josiah. "Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, 'Take me away; I am badly wounded.' So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his other chariot and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died." (vv. 22-24).

Necho's actions weren't about Judah, or about Josiah himself at all. If Josiah hadn't engaged in battle, he could have continued on ruling his kingdom, but he couldn't believe the situation wasn't about him and it cost him his life. Had he taken the time to pray and ask God for direction, maybe he would have realized Necho was telling the truth, that God was directing the other king and that Josiah should just mind his own business.

How many times do we do something like this? We assume a situation is about us, even sometimes when there is evidence that it has nothing to do with us, and we react to what we think is going on without bothering to stop and pray for direction first. Then, instead of making things better, we make them infinitely worse.
Before we act, it would be helpful to ask, "Is this really about me?" | DevotedQuilter.com
Yes, sometimes the situation or problem does have something to do with us and we need to do something about it. But other times, it's just not about us. It takes discernment and prayer to know the difference. Before we act, it would be helpful to ask, "Is this really about me?"

September 10, 2021

You're a Star in Coffee Chalk

I love the smell of coffee, but I can't stand the taste at all. Paul, on the other hand, loves, loves, loves his coffee. I tease him that he's a coffee snob because he orders his coffee beans from independent roasters and only buys a coffee from a chain coffee shop if we're on the road (since they're nowhere near as good as what he makes at home). When I saw the Coffee Chalk fabric line by J. Wecker Frisch for Riley Blake Designs, I immediately wanted to make something for him.
Coffee Chalk fabric line | DevotedQuilter.com
The big question then was...what should I make? Eventually I settled on making him a You're a Star mini quilt. You're a Star is a free pattern, go here to get your copy!
You're a star mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I love the big, bold star in this pattern. It's the perfect place to highlight a couple of fun fabrics. I definitely had to use the coffee bean print in his quilt. When he opens a new bag of coffee he always comments on how the beans look and gives it a good smell, rather like how we quilters have to pet new fabric 😊 And I'm a sucker for a swirl fabric, so that was the perfect choice for the accent fabric.
You're a star mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I generally don't use large scale prints (though I seem to remember typing that a few times now, so maybe it's changing), but the text and coffee themed images made me want this fun fabric for the background. I was a little worried it would be too busy, but the tone on tone colours keep it in the background, even with the busy-ness of the print. I don't fussy cut often, either, but the words 'Jitter Mugs' were a perfect fit for the center of the star. They were actually part of a larger motif that said, "Today's special...Jitter Mugs," but that wouldn't all fit. And I'm amused by the notion of coffee as a jitter mug.
You're a star mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I used Aurifil 50 wt in 2360 (brown), 2270 (red) and 2600 (grey) for the quilting and kept the quilting fairly simple. I was super impressed with myself for making the stipple in the background much larger than my usual tiny stipple and actually maintaining that size for the whole thing. Sure, it's still smaller than a lot of people do, but it was big for me!
You're a star mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I usually prefer solid backing fabrics, so the quilting really shows up, but this time I couldn't resist this text print all about growing and selling coffee beans. Paul thinks it's a shame no one will see it, since we plan to hang the quilt. You can still see the quilting a little, especially where I used the red thread.
You're a star mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
You're a Star is a quick sew (gotta love mini quilts!), so I was able to cut all the pieces for the top and stitch the top together in one afternoon. The quilting didn't take long, either. I may have spent more time trying to decide on quilting than I actually did doing the quilting, lol. And then the red fabric was the perfect choice for the binding. I love how it frames the quilt on both the front and the back.
You're a star mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Don't forget to go here to get your copy of the free You're a Star pattern! I hope you'll tag me on social media when you make one so I can see it!

Thank you to Riley Blake Designs for providing the fabric for this mini quilt. I loved working with it and I love Paul's new quilt 😊 Now to get it hung on the wall!

September 09, 2021

Fifty-Fifty in Make Modern

I have been anxiously waiting for the time to share this quilt because I really love this one! Fifty-Fifty is in issue 42 of Make Modern magazine, which is available today 😊 Get your copy by clicking here. Make Modern is a digital magazine, so you could be reading it within minutes (but stay and finish reading about Fifty-Fifty first!).
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Fifty-Fifty takes the traditional idea of a two block quilt and makes it modern by slicing the blocks in half. Planning the colours for the quilt was fun, especially when I hit on the idea of using warm orange and yellow for the log cabin blocks and two shades of cool teal for the bursts, further enhancing the split feel of the quilt.
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
All of the fabrics for Fifty-Fifty are Century Solids, from Andover Fabrics. This was my first time using the Century Solids and I love how soft they are and the richness of the colours. I also found they hardly frayed at all, unlike some other brands (Kona, I'm looking at you).
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
As usual, I spent the piecing time trying to figure out how to quilt it, but was still undecided even when I sat with the quilt under the needle, ready to start. After staring at it for a while longer, I started by echoing the triangle of the dark teal in the burst blocks a few times, using Aurifil 4182. Then, because I couldn't decide how to quilt the light teal, I moved on to the orange part of the log cabin blocks. I quilted those with simple back and forth lines in Aurifil 1133. Partway through doing that I realized that by quilting the dark teal and the orange, I had quilted half of the elements in the blocks, which amused me considering the name of the quilt, so I decided to go with that theme. I then quilted the grey background of the burst blocks with Aurifil 2600, but left the black borders of the log cabin blocks unquilted, so the whole quilt is roughly half quilted 😊
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I love the texture of it and how the different colours show up on the solid grey backing!
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I had the quilt finished before Paul and I went away back in July, so I took it with me, thinking I would get lots of opportunities for pictures. That wasn't really the case, what with all the hiking we did and the windy days. I did take this one, though, draped over the railing in the AirBnB we stayed in.
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
The chair on that landing would be my favourite reading and hand stitching spot, if we owned the house. It was in a little narrow nook outside the master bedroom and directly across from the huge windows looking out over the ocean. With a cup of tea in hand, it would be perfect for watching boats and keeping an eye out for whales. Not sure how much I'd ever get done with all that ocean wathcing, though, so it's probably a good thing we don't live there!

When we got home from our trip, we took the quilt to my usual quilt photography beach and got the pictures for Make Modern and this post. I love days when I need quilt pictures, so I have an excuse to go to the beach. Not that I need an excuse, mind you! Quilts always look good with the ocean in the background, don't they?
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
For 10 new patterns (including Fifty-Fifty), interviews with three fabulous modern quilters AND some great articles, get your copy of Make Modern issue 42 now! Or subscribe so you get this issue and then get each issue as they come out, since Make Modern is always great. Get the 6 month subscription, the 12 month or the All-access subscription that gives you access to all of the back issues, too.

One last picture, of Fifty-Fifty blowing in the wind 😊
Fifty-Fifty quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

I'm linking with TGIFFCan I Get a Whoop WhoopNTT, and Beauties Pageant.