December 28, 2022

Escape Scrap Overwhelm

If you've been quilting for even just a little while, you probably have a collection of scraps. If you've been quilting for over 20 years, like I have, you probably have a lot of scraps! Somehow it doesn't seem to matter how many scrap quilts we make, the scrap pile never gets any smaller. I'm sure the scraps multiply when we turn our backs 😏
Escape Scrap Overwhelm |
When our scraps aren't organized, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount and the mess they create whenever we start digging through them to use some for a project. It's also easy to just bypass the scrappy mess entirely and cut into yardage instead. But doing that can leave us feeling guilty, because we know we could have used scraps if they were less overwhelming and easier to access.

I lived in that scrappy mess overwhelm for a long time, so I get it! But now, I'm happy to say, my scraps are organized and accessible, which makes actually using them a joy. There's no more scrap explosion when I start making a scrap quilt and if I only need green scraps I can lay my hands on them quickly without rooting through a big rainbow mess. I mean, yes, a rainbow mess sounds pretty, but it was still annoying when I was looking for something specific, and having my scraps sorted by colour is a big improvement.

If you'd like to escape the overwhelm, too, enter your email address below to download my new, free PDF guide titled Escape Scrap Overwhelm. I promise it is possible to get the scrap situation under control!

The 15 page guide isn't a 'my way is the only right way' kind of guide. Quilters are all different, so what works for me may not work for you and the quilts you love to make. Instead, the guide includes questions to help you think about what kinds of quilts you like to make and how that could influence how you sort and store your scraps. 
Escape Scrap Overwhelm |
It also includes tips for using your scraps, both for quilt patterns written for scraps and for ones that are written for yardage, but could be made with scraps, too. Because that's really the goal - to use the scraps, rather than storing them forever, no matter how organized they are!

Just think of all the beautiful scrap quilts you could make once your scraps are organized and accessible! Download the free guide now to get started 😊

December 26, 2022

A Prayer for 2023

  Devotion for the Week...

As has become my tradition, I'm letting the apostle Paul speak for me for the last devotion of the year. This is my prayer for all of you for 2023.

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

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:16-21).
May you understand how  deep God's love is |

December 21, 2022

2023 Goal Planning

It's getting close to the end of December, which means it's time to check in on my 2022 goals and set some goals for 2023. It's also time for Yvonne's annual Planning Party, over at Quilting Jetgirl, so you can write a post about your own 2023 goals and share it, while also checking in with fellow quilters to see what they're planning for the new year 😊

First, let's see how I did with my 2022 goals.

1. Make more small quilts

As of my mid-year review in July, I had already made 6 small quilts, plus one small quilt top. Since then I've made another 7 small projects. They include this cushion, plus a mounted embroidered piece and some quilts. I haven't blogged all of them yet, but I'll get them up eventually! 
Scrappy HST cushion cover |

2. Learn to sew pants

I never did get to this one. I have looked at so many patterns, but haven't started anything.

3. WIPS-B-GONE 2022

Yes! I had so much fun hosting the slightly shorter version of the WIPS finishing challenge! I finished 6 projects during the 2 months of the challenge, including my Burst mini, and made progress on a few others, so I feel great about what I got accomplished 😊 A couple of those finishes are the small quilts I mentioned earlier that haven't been blogged yet, so stay tuned to get a look at them.
Burst mini quilt |

4. The Add Grace QAL

Having done it for two years now, I can honestly say my Easter QAL and devotional journey is one of the highlights of my year! I love getting to share daily devotions as we get ready to celebrate Easter and I love getting to make a new quilt together. Or, in my case, a new quilt top. One of these days I'll actually quilt the 4 tops I now have from those two Easter QALs!

5. More workshops

I don't know how many workshops I taught this year, but it was definitely more. I love getting to share the magic that is paper piecing with freezer paper or helping quilters conquer curves, not to mention getting to meet with quilters all over the world. The online quilting community is amazing and it's so much fun to get to connect with people who love quilting as much as I do. If you'd like to have me teach with your guild, you can send me contact information for the program coordinator, or send them to visit my teaching page.

6. Patterns

I didn't set goals for pattern releases, but I did release three in 2022: Points of Connection (shown below), Stand Out Starburst and Fifty-Fifty.
Points of Connection quilt pattern |

I didn't do everything I hoped, but I'm still very happy with how I did on my goals for 2022! So what do I hope to do in 2023?

1. Keep making small quilts

The scrap batting box is still pretty full, though I did manage to fit all the random bits that were on shelves into the box, so I've definitely made progress. I can still make a lot of small quilts before I'd be able to say it was getting low, though. And bonus, small quilts are fun to make!

2. Make new placemats

This fits into the first goal, but if I make it a separate goal, it's more likely to happen. I made our current denim log cabin placemats in February 2016. They're super soft from all the times they've been washed and have held up really well considering they've been used for almost 7 years. They're looking pretty grungy now, though, so it's time to replace them. I've been thinking about it for months, but haven't decided on a pattern yet. 

3. Learn to sew pants

It's going on the goals list again! I'm super intimidated by all the fitting considerations that will go into making pants, but I really want to conquer it. 

4. Release 4 new patterns

I have so many patterns I could release, so there are plenty to choose from. It's just a matter of taking the time to get it done. I'm going to aim for one new pattern in each quarter of the year. My Scrappy Playground is one of the ones I want to get ready for release.
Scrappy Playground quilt |
Picture by Kitty Wilkin for The Quilter's Planner

5. Women of Wisdom Easter QAL

Of course I'm doing another Easter QAL and devotional journey! The quilt is designed and I can't wait to get started on the test version of it 😊 This time the theme will be the wisdom we can learn from the women in the Bible and I'm looking forward to diving into their stories with you. If you want to be sure you don't miss it when registration opens in late January, you can join the waiting list here and registration info will be sent straight to your inbox. Here's a sneak peek at a small part of the quilt design.

6. WIPS-B-GONE 2023

There's no shortage of unfinished projects around here, even after two WIPS-B-GONE challenges, so I'm planning to host it again next year. Will you be joining me?

7. A secret project

I'm super excited about something new I have in the works. Right now I'm planning to have it ready to share by mid-late Spring, but that could change. Hopefully by the time I do the 2023 mid-year review, you'll know all about it 😊

I've also signed up for Yvonne's Diatom quilt along, which starts in January, and I plan to do more garment sewing throughout the year. As always, I don't expect to be bored in 2023!

December 19, 2022

Advent 2022 - Love

Devotion for the Week...

Here we are, in the final week of Advent, already. Over the past three weeks, we've looked at the traditional Advent themes of hope, peace and joy, which means this week the theme is love.

I hope you have someone in your life who loves you well. Someone who makes you feel safe and treasured, no matter what. Someone who makes you feel good about yourself and who doesn't try to get you to change. For just a moment, think about how it feels to be around that person and how that person makes you feel about yourself.

Now, with that feeling fresh in your mind, think about this: God loves you so much more than that person ever could.

God loves us more than any person ever could |

I know, it's hard to comprehend, isn't it? How could we be loved more than this person loves us? And yet the Bible tells us that "God is love" (1 John 4:8) and "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). That last, very famous, verse says God loved the world, but really it means God loved the individual people who make up the world. He loved you and me so much that He sent Jesus to rescue us from our sins.

Because we can't see God, we often have a hard time feeling His love. We can't get a hug from Him or see His smile when we walk into the room. Without those physical reminders of His love, it can feel kind of abstract. But when Christmas comes around again, we are reminded that Jesus gave up all the glories of heaven and came to earth as a baby. Eternal God became a helpless child, dependent on human parents for everything. He had to learn to walk and talk. He had to endure sickness and physical limitations. There's no reason He would make that sacrifice, unless He was getting something better in return. Isn't it amazing to realize that what He was getting in return was relationship with us?

December 15, 2022

Making Quilts That Go Together

Today I'm excited to have Monika of Penny Spool Quilts here with a guest post all about making quilts that coordinate with each other in some way. Monika is a fellow Canadian designer, originally from Switzerland, who creates great modern quilt patterns, as you'll see in this post. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook and if you'd like to hear more from Monika, be sure to sign up for her newsletter by clicking the link below.

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Making quilts that go together |


Hi, I’m Monika from Penny Spool Quilts. I’ve been a quilter for 20 odd years, and started to write patterns a few years ago when a good friend encouraged me to send a design I drew off to a magazine. I didn’t think they’d be interested, but lo and behold, they loved it, and I had to quickly learn how to write instructions. 🙂 I’ve since had patterns published in both magazines and books, and have an online shop at where patterns are available as PDF downloads, along with tutorials, ideas and inspiration. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook as @pennyspoolquilts, or sign up to my email list if you’d like to keep up to date on new patterns, tutorials etc.

Today I’ll be talking about “quilts that go together”, and showing you how I pick design elements to make a matching-looking set of quilts. And by that I mean quilts that match without being the exact same. Sometimes you want to make quilts for siblings, or cousins, and while you want them to go together, you don’t want them to be the same. Or maybe you’re hoping to make a series of cushions for your couch or bed, or planning on a family cuddle quilt and a couple of matching pillows for those family movie nights. Using a few simple design tricks you can make yourself a set of quilts that work together, without feeling like you’re making the same thing over and over.

There are various ways you can go about it, and I’m going to talk a bit about fabrics and colours, patterns, and design elements within patterns.

Same Pattern, Different Colour or Fabric

As a simple but very effective option, choose the same pattern but pick different fabrics. If you look through any designer’s blog posts for their quilt patterns, you’ll likely see the quilt made in a range of different colourways and fabrics. Certain fabric choices can really change how a pattern looks, so your options are wide open to customise a single pattern. This is something I might choose to do for siblings or cousins, or maybe His and Hers quilts for the TV couch, where I’d like the quilts to have a similar theme but be very obviously for one person or another. Depending on the fabric choices, these quilts might not look very similar at all, so this is a good choice where the individual tastes are more important than the matching aspect. 

I’ve mocked up my Bar Quilt pattern using different colourways to show the effect. As you can see, even just reversing the colours of a two-colour pattern can make two quilts look quite different, yet still keep the cohesive feel you’re going for. 

Bar Code quilt mockups

In this blog post here I show how my Victorian Tiles pattern gets a different look with different colour choices. There are even a couple of colour combinations that almost make it look like a different pattern.

Victorian Tiles quilt pattern

Same Fabrics or Colour Scheme, Different Pattern

The flipside of that idea is to use two different patterns, but use the same colour scheme or the same fabric line. This is something that would work well, for example, for quilts for two beds in the same room, or for a couch quilt and a matching coffee table topper, or a series of throw pillows. Choosing the same fabrics or the same colour scheme will pull the overall look of the quilts together, even if the actual patterns are quite different.

Matching Design Elements

Choosing a matching design element can also give cohesion whether you choose the same types of fabrics or different ones. Design elements are things like the use of curves vs. straight lines, HSTs, small or large blocks, etc. My Ripple & Swirl quilt pattern is a great example of that. The pattern uses simple HSTs, but they’re set in different layouts to make either the Ripple look, or the Swirl.

Ripple and Swirl quilt pattern

Ripple and Swirl quilt pattern

I’ve made both options in similar colour schemes, using white and a pastel colour, and while neither the colours nor the layout actually match, the quilts look like they definitely belong together. Something like this pattern would be perfect for sibling quilts again, or twin babies, whether you go with the traditional blue and pink for boys and girls, or choose different colours.

Design Your Own Quilt Series

If you’d prefer to design your own matching set of quilts, grab a pencil and some graph paper and start doodling. Focus on one design element (like I mentioned above, those are things like straight lines, triangles, curves etc.)  and then see what sort of variations you can come up with. Change their size or overall shape, repeat them, turn them, flip them, and see what patterns come out, or what ideas it might give you.

That’s how I developed my Bar Quilts series, even though I didn’t set out to design a series at all, but rather just played around with placement and scale to see what would happen.

I originally started with a simple striped quilt, and then played around with the thickness and length of the stripes until I arrived at the design that became Raise The Bar.

Spinning Top is simply the inversion of that same design, and Staccato is the “morse code version” of it 🙂

For Bar Code, I went back to my original striped design and shrunk it down to a block size. I played around with the number, width and length of the stripes, turned blocks this way and that way, until I liked the looks of it. Bar Code looks different from the rest of the series, but in a sense it is actually closest to the original striped design.

Bar quilt patterns

All four of these patterns come in a pillow size as well as the baby and throw sizes, so I turned them into my very own set of matching-but-not-quite couch pillows. I chose the same colours for each of them, adding an extra shade of blue for the Bar Code pillow because it uses six colours while the others only have five each. Then I picked four of the colours (yellow, dark pink, light pink, and dark blue) as the pillow backings. Seeing them all lined up on the couch, they all work together like they’re meant to despite the different patterns. But the matching colours and the stripe element in all of them add cohesion and make them look like a deliberate set.

Bar Quilts pillows


Thanks, Monika! You certainly got me thinking about how I could try making quilts that go together 😊

If any of these quilts tickles your fancy, head over to Monika's shop to grab the pattern so you can make your own. Don't forget to use code DQVIP15 to save 15% through December 26th.

December 12, 2022

Advent 2022 - Joy

Devotion for the Week...

It's the third week of Advent! You can read this year's previous two Advent devotions for hope and peace; this week the theme is joy. While thinking about joy, the first thing that came to mind was walking with the child care littles when they spot Christmas decorations. They're so excited about every Santa and snowman and reindeer! The two girls are just-2 and not-quite-2, so they don't really understand everything that's going on, but they sure understand that Christmas is cause for excitement.

The next thought I had was about the shepherds. When the angel appeared to them, he said, "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!" (Luke 2:10-11). The shepherds followed the angel's directions and found the newborn Jesus and "after seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child...The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them" (vv. 17, 20).

The angel told the shepherds that this baby was somehow 'good news that will bring great joy to all people,' so the shepherds went to see Him. They probably peeked in at Him in His manger bed. They may have even asked Mary if they could hold Him (I have no idea...would a stranger have asked to hold a baby back then?). We know that they told Mary and Joseph about the angels, and that they told everyone else they met, too. But did they understand what was going on? Even though they were right in the middle of it, I seriously doubt they understood anything. They were excited and amazed, for sure. They were probably giddy with the joy brought on by seeing angels and receiving a personal message from God. But did they understand how Jesus would bring great joy to all people? I don't think so.

Even when Jesus was grown and teaching, people didn't get it. No one understood that He would save them from their sins because they were looking for someone to save them from a political conqueror. They wanted out from under the yoke of Roman occupation; they had no clue Jesus was there to give them something far greater.
Jesus' birth is good news of great joy for all people |
What about us? Do we really understand the joy that He brings for all people? We know about the salvation offered to everyone who believes. We know that He has redeemed us and restored our relationship with God. We know that we will spend eternity in heaven with Him. Yet even with all that, I can't help but wonder if we're like a 2 year old who just barely understands the excitement of Christmas.

December 08, 2022

TGIFF - Burst Mini

Welcome to this week's edition of Thank Goodness It's Finally Finished! I'm sharing my Burst mini quilt, which was one of my finishes from the WIPS-B-GONE challenge 😊
Burst mini quilt with dense free motion quilting |
The Burst pattern includes this mini size, plus two more sizes. You can get the pattern in my shop as a PDF or a printed pattern. 

I find it really hard to get a good picture of quilts with yellow in them. Most of the time the yellow ends up looking more neon than it is in real life. For these pictures, I changed the white balance setting on my phone camera, which helped a lot.
Burst mini quilt with dense free motion quilting |
I thought I made the top of the Burst mini quilt in 2018, but when I actually looked back at my posts it turns out I made it in 2020. I even quilted the yellow and orange sections and part of the blue. Then I must have set it aside for some other project that had a deadline and that's how it stayed for 2 years.

The yellows and oranges are all scraps. The navy background is a Confetti Cotton solid from Riley Blake, which was also leftover from something, though I can't remember what.
Burst mini quilt with dense free motion quilting |
I made the first few blocks while teaching a Paper Piecing with Freezer Paper workshop. I love teaching that workshop and introducing more quilters to the wonder of paper piecing without ripping out bits of paper at the end! 

I quilted the yellow and orange Burst sections with Aurifil 1135 (I think that's the one that matches, anyway!). The back and forth lines and curves were finished quickly and it seemed like this would be a quick finish.
Free motion quilting detail |
Then I started quilting the background with this dense flow quilting using Aurifil 2785, which slowed the process down considerably! And then something came along that meant I had to set this aside for a while and the while became two years.
Burst mini quilt |
During this year's WIPS-B-GONE challenge, I pulled this out as one of the projects I really wanted to finish. I had a big deadline quilt that had to be finished during the challenge, but I still wanted to be working on old WIPS, too, so I quilted 20 minutes or so on this each day before moving on to quilting the deadline quilt. It meant switching thread every day, but I found I didn't mind all that much. I also found it helped if, when I finished quilting for the day, I switched back to the blue thread for this one. That meant I could just jump right in to working on this, making it more likely I wouldn't decide to skip it.

Even with only 20 minutes or so a day, I was surprised at how quickly I finished the flow quilting. Of course, it helps that this is a mini and not a large quilt!
Burst mini quilt |
I still had some of the Confetti Cotton navy in my stash, so I used that for the binding, too.

It feels great to have this finished! I still have a bunch of WIPS, though, so I plan to host WIPS-B-GONE again in 2023. If you want to be sure you don't miss the challenge announcement next year, you can sign up for The Bulletin and the announcement will come straight to your inbox.

That's my finally finished project...what did you finish recently? Link it up below so we can celebrate with you. Be sure to visit some of the other links and celebrate their finishes as well 😊

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

December 05, 2022

Advent 2022 - Peace

 Devotion for the Week...

Welcome to the second week of Advent! Last week we started this Advent series by looking at Hope and today we're continuing on with Peace.

As I was getting ready to write this devotion for today, I reread Luke 2, where it recounts the story of the angel visiting the shepherds. It's one of my favourite parts of the Christmas story, and I explain why in this devotion from 2016. This time, though, I was struck by one part of what the host of angels proclaimed to the shepherds. 

"Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased'" (Luke 2:13-14).

That vast host of angels proclaimed peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased. Various translations render it differently, but the gist of it stays the same. The peace promised is not for everyone, but only for those who have pleased God. That kind of made me do a double take since it seemed to go against the rest of the message given to the shepherds, the "good news that will bring great joy to all people" (v. 10).

But then I realized there isn't any conflict at all. The good news is for all people. Jesus had been born and He is the Messiah. He is the Savior of the world and everyone who believes in Him has their sins forgiven. Good news of great joy for all the people, indeed! 

And those people who believe in Him? They are the ones who have pleased God because faith is the only thing He requires of us. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." When we believe in Jesus, our relationship with God is restored and that, more than anything else we could ever do, is what pleases Him.
To everyone who believes, God gives His peace |
The good news of salvation is available to everyone, just as the angel presented it to the shepherds. Then, to everyone who believes and receives salvation through faith in Jesus, God gives His "peace, which exceeds anything we can understand" (Philippians 4:7).

I pray you all experience that peace this Christmas!

December 02, 2022

Scrap Management Series Guest Post

I was honoured a couple of weeks ago when Monika, of Penny Spool Quilts, invited me to write a guest post for her. She's sharing a whole series of posts on Scrap Management, with several guest writers as well as her own posts, so there are sure to be tips to help us as we try to manage and use our scraps.

For my post, I've written about how I organize my own scraps (of which I have an abundance!), plus a brief overview of crumb piecing (an excellent way to turn those scraps into quilts!). Head on over to Penny Spool Quilts to read the post.
Scrap management |