October 30, 2021

2020 Temperature Quilt

It's finally finished! I am so thrilled with how my 2020 temperature quilt turned out, even if it did take almost all of 2021 to get it finished 😂 
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
This post from January 2020 has all the details about how I planned the quilt and made the blocks, if you're curious. The only change I made from the plan was to add a border on all sides so the binding wouldn't be covering any of the circles on the edge. 
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
For the record, my husband is tucked away behind that quilt! I didn't think it was possible for him to hide behind it, but he managed it. The quilt finishes at 30" x 31". I really didn't want a throw size temperature quilt, so this wall hanging feels perfect to me. I tell you, whenever I finally have a sewing room, I'll have plenty of things to decorate it with! Did you see my A Stitch a Day frameable print? It's just waiting for a chance to look great on a shelf in that sewing room and the temperature quilt will look great on the wall. Someday!

As usual, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would quilt this quilt. I thought about quilting something in each of the circles, but they're quite thick because of how they're appliqued on, so I decided against that. Plus, that would have been a lot of starting and stopping, to do a year's worth of circles. I love how Ali of Exhausted Octopus quilts her Tiles quilts, but her tiles have more space around them than my circles do, so I decided against that, too. In the end, I decided to quilt around each circle and do a tiny stipple in between them, all with Aurifil 50 wt in white. I love, love, love the result!
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Just look at how puffy those circles are! Yes, they do feel every bit as amazing as they look and I love running my hands over them.
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I stitched around the letters for the monthly markers and the numbers for the year, too. They're all embroidered with Aurifil 12 wt 2785 (very dark navy). I was worried I'd stitch over the embroidery with the quilting, but I was able to keep the quilting just a little away from the embroidery, which gives the letters and numbers a little bit of puff, too.
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I wasn't nearly as good at going around the circles. Oops. The first time I nipped up onto the circle, I thought about ripping it out, but then I just kept going. I figured it would probably happen on more than the one circle, but I also figured it probably wouldn't be that noticeable when I wasn't so close to it. I was right on both counts, lol. I have no idea how many circles have a few quilting stitches on their edges, but there are quite a few. You can see a couple of them in the picture above.

The quilting looks so good on the back, too. 
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com

Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I went with a simple white binding so the temperature circles wouldn't have anything competing with them and I like the simplicity it gives to the back, too.
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
It has been interesting to compare last year's temperatures with this year's. For example, for 2020, our first day with a high above 0℃ was February 23rd. This year it was January 6th and there were 6 days above 0 in January.

I had to use one circle representing -13 to -15℃, but this year I wouldn't have had to use that fabric at all. Yet, obviously, but I don't think it will get that cold before the year is over. That's more a February/March kind of temperature.

December of 2020 was unusually warm, which is why there are so many circles representing warmer temperatures right up to the last column, which represents the 14th to the end of the year. There are 5 circles in that last column representing above 0℃ temperatures, one for 1-3℃ (the 21st), one for 4-6℃ (the 25th), and three for 7-9℃ (the 22nd, 26th and 27th). Since I can't yet compare this year's December temperatures, I looked back to 2019 for the same dates. That year December 15th was 8℃ and then every day to the end of the year had a high temperature that was 0℃ or colder. For 2018, the 22nd and 23rd were both 5℃, but the rest of the column was 0℃ or colder.
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
A temperature quilt needs a label that explains what all the fabrics mean, so I made one to put on the back, but you may notice there's nothing actually written on it yet. That's because I've put in a request to Santa for fabric markers for another project, so I'll wait and write the temperatures and our town on it with a fabric marker after Christmas before attaching the label to the quilt.
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
There are a few fabrics I would move, looking at the gradient put together like this. There's one purpley-pink that should be closer to the purple that is for 0℃ and the blue that represents -1 to -3℃ is darker than the next couple of blues that represent colder temperatures. I'm not sure why I didn't pick up on those when I planned the gradient, but it's much too late to change it now!

A temperature quilt was a fun project and I'm glad I made it. I'm also glad it's finally finished! I'm not sure if I'll ever make another one or if this is more of a one-and-done sort of thing for me. Looking at this one does make me very happy, though.
Temperature quilt | DevotedQuilter.com

October 26, 2021

A Stitch a Day

You know how there are some things you know, but you still have trouble actually putting them into practice? Well, getting myself to actually work on my WIPs was one of those things for me. I knew that if I worked on my dragon cross stitch a little bit every day I would make progress. Getting myself motivated to get it out and do those stitches was an entirely different manner. The WIPS-B-GONE challenge has given me the motivation I needed and that dragon is really moving along 😊

I created a fun printable as a reminder to get those projects out and work on them! A Stitch a Day is now available in my Etsy shop. Yes, I did colour the thread spools orange in honour of Aurifil 😊
A Stitch a Day printable sewing decor | DevotedQuilter.com
A Stitch a Day fits perfectly in a 5x7 frame; I picked mine up from the dollar store. Now if only I had a sewing room to display it in!

Since this is a printable, you simply download the file after purchase and print it on your home printer. That means you can print as many as you want to give as gifts for your quilting friends - personal use only, though. No selling them, please.

Go to my Etsy shop for the A Stitch a Day printable. If you display it in your sewing room, and share it on social media, I hope you'll tag me so I can see it!

October 25, 2021

The Root of the Problem

Devotion for the Week...

Many places are saying they're having trouble finding people to work right now. They blame the people, saying they're lazy because they'd rather not work and just take the money that governments are giving out to help people because of the pandemic. The people, on the other hand, are pointing out that they make more money from what the government gives out than they would if they were working. They're not lazy, they're actually better off financially if they don't work. Rather than blaming people for not working, it's important to find the root of the problem and fix it.

Nehemiah had a similar problem once after he returned to Jerusalem from a trip. He came back and found that the Levites were not performing their duties at the Temple and had returned home to their own towns instead. Rather than losing his cool at the Levites and blaming them for abandoning their proper work, he found the root of the problem. Nehemiah 13:10 says, "I also discovered that the Levites had not been given their prescribed portions of food, so they and the singers who were to conduct the worship services had all returned to work their fields." 

A portion of the offerings people brought to the Temple was supposed to be given to the Levites as their pay for their work, but either the people had stopped bringing their offerings or the offerings weren't being properly distributed. The Levites, of course, could not live without food, so they had to stop working at the Temple (for little or no pay) and return to their fields so they could provide food for their families.

Nehemiah got right to work fixing the problem. "I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, “Why has the Temple of God been neglected?” Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties. And once more all the people of Judah began bringing their tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the Temple storerooms. I assigned supervisors for the storerooms... and it was their job to make honest distributions to their fellow Levites" (vv. 11-13).
Rather than blaming others, it might be more helpful to find the root of the problem | DevotedQuilter.com
When there are problems, it's tempting to put all the blame on the people we feel aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing. It might be more helpful, though, to look for the root of the problem and fix it.

October 18, 2021

Unopened

 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!

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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!