March 31, 2023

Scrappy Playground Pattern Release

Do you love scrap quilts? I do! I save any scraps bigger than about 1" square, which means I have a lot of scraps! Mostly my scraps are stored in shoe boxes, sorted by colour, but I do have a few bags of scraps cut into certain sizes so they're ready to use. One of those bags is full of 1 ½" squares, so I designed Scrappy Playground especially to make use of them. You can get the pattern now in my shop!
Scrappy Playground quilt pattern |
Photo by Kitty Wilkin

One of the ways I like to tame the craziness of using ALL the colours and prints together in a scrap quilt, is to use lots of negative space. As a bonus, that also makes the quilt faster to stitch 😊 For this version of Scrappy Playground I used a grey solid, but I'm dreaming of a version using a rich blue or purple, with lighter colours for the scraps. I'm also tempted to make a version with a simple white background. I certainly have enough scraps to make them all! What colour background would you want to use first?

Scrappy Playground was originally published in The Quilter's Planner 2022. I've now expanded the pattern to include instructions for a 48" x 48" baby size and a 96" x 96" queen size, along with the 60" x 72" throw size shown.
Scrappy Playground quilt pattern |
Scrappy Playground is suitable for confident beginner quilters, and more experienced quilters will also love highlighting even their smallest scraps. It makes a great leader/ender project, too, which is how I plan to make my next one after I finish my current leader/ender quilts.
Scrappy Playground quilt pattern |
Photo by Kitty Wilkin

The PDF pattern is available now and the printed pattern PREORDER is also available. Printed patterns will ship as soon as they arrive from the printer.

To celebrate the pattern release, Scrappy Playground is listed at the introductory price now through Monday, April 3, so head to the shop now to pick up your copy before the price goes up!

Buy Scrappy Playground now

I can't wait to see your Scrappy Playground quilts!

March 27, 2023


Devotion for the Week...

A couple of years ago, I was in a quilt shop and saw another pattern designer. I had never met him before, but we had interacted a couple of times on IG and I wanted to introduce myself, but hesitated. All kinds of thoughts go through my head in moments like that. Things like ‘I don’t want to bother him’ or ‘he won’t know who I am’ or ‘what would I even say?’ I’m not the boldest of people, that’s for sure!
I think that might be why I like Hebrews 4:16, which says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” I particularly love that the writer said we should come to God boldly. I mean, if anyone were going to intimidate me and make me feel anything but bold, it would be the Creator of heaven and earth! Who am I to even think about approaching Him?  
We can approach God boldly, confident that He wants us to come |
And yet…He invites us. He opened up the way so we could come to Him. He wants us to have that kind of relationship with Him, where we bring all of our worries and concerns to Him and ask for help. We don’t ever need to hesitate, worrying that we’re bothering Him or that He isn’t interested. Instead, we can approach Him boldly, confident that He wants us to come.

March 24, 2023

My First Quilt with Laura Piland

Today I'm excited to bring you the second post in the My First Quilt series, and the first one that is an actual interview. 
My First Quilt with Laura Piland -
Do you know Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts? Chances are, even if you don't know Laura, you've probably seen an Exploding Heart quilt someone made with her super popular pattern. Laura loves trying new things and coming up with ways to make quilts quickly. She also runs a deals group for quilting and sewing, so head to her website if you want to learn more about that (but read the interview first!).

You can connect with Laura in these places: Her websiteFacebookInstagram, and TikTok.

And now, here's Laura's first quilt! Isn't it cute?
Laura Piland's first quilt |

What year did you make your first quilt? What prompted you to make it?

I made my first quilt in 2010. A friend of mine had a baby prematurely, and she was going to be in the NICU for quite some time. I knew I couldn't take a casserole to the NICU, so I asked my mom what else I could do. She said I should make a quilt! I had not enjoyed sewing as a kid, but I knew a quilt was the best gift for the situation. So I said, "FINE!" and went to my local JOANN store to look for fabric.

What techniques were used in that first quilt? Did you quilt it yourself?

At JOANN, I found a panel that was really for making a quiet book. It had bright colors, so I matched some solids to the panel and decided I turn it into a quilt and make it up as I went!
Laura Piland's first quilt |
I used the images from the panel to piece blocks, then I fussy cut some of the shapes and appliqued the girl's name in the center block. I didn't even know the words "applique" and "fussy cutting" at the time!
Laura Piland's first quilt |
Laura Piland's first quilt |
I stitched in the ditch AND free-motion quilted around the designs on the quilt. I even sewed the binding on with a wavy decorative stitch. It blows even my mind that I attempted so many things on that first quilt!
Laura Piland's first quilt |

Who taught you to make the quilt?

Mostly YouTube! I did make a lot of calls to my mom and my grandmother too.

Are the colours you chose for your first quilt ones you would still choose today?

Yes! The bright colors were perfect for a baby, and I'd definitely use them again!
Laura Piland's first quilt |

Did you fall in love with quilting right away? Or was there a gap between making the first quilt and the next one?

I was instantly hooked! I LOVED the thrill of trying new things and figuring them out! I started another quilt immediately after finishing this one!

Where is the quilt now?

I gifted the quilt to the baby just as soon as she came home from the NICU. (Yes, it took me that long to make the quilt too!) Her mama was so thankful for the quilt, and years later, she sent me a photo of her daughter still using the quilt. Knowing the quilt is loved and appreciated is just about as addicting as making the quilt itself!
Laura Piland's first quilt |

Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself as you made that first quilt?

Keep going! You have no idea what this is going to lead to!

Anything else you want to share about your first quilt?

It's been 13 years and over 450 quilts since I made that first one, and I can still remember the failures and late night Google searches of the very first one. It still thrills me, and I have continued to try new things in the quilts I make to keep learning - and failing. I learn something new with every quilt I make.

Thanks for sharing your first quilt with us, Laura! I'm sure Jocelyn and her family felt your love for them in every stitch ❤

Isn't it fun to see how our quilty friends got started quilting? I'll have another My First Quilt post to share next month!

March 20, 2023

Spiritual Maturity

Devotion for the Week...

As Christians, we are not meant to be stagnant. We are meant to be always growing and learning, becoming more like Jesus as we mature. I love that Peter wrote, “May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2) as part of the greeting in his second letter. This is what he wished for his readers, and what God wishes for all of us.
As we learn more about God and how He wants us to live, which Jesus demonstrated for us, we notice more of the ways we fall short. Not because we’re doing more things wrong, but because we become more focused on trying to live His way and so we notice ways we get it wrong that may not have been obvious before. But God doesn’t want us to wallow in guilt; after all, He has already forgiven us! Instead, Peter tells us the solution, which is that we also become more aware of the grace that God extends to us, which gives us more peace since we can be confident that we are secure in Him.
It’s a positive feedback loop, where we grow in our knowledge of God, which causes us to recognize more of the grace we’ve been given, which makes us more mature as we aim to imitate Jesus more and more, which takes us right back to growing in our knowledge of God. Spiritual maturity doesn’t come necessarily with age, but with an intent to know God.
Spiritual maturity doesn’t come necessarily with age, but with an intent to know God |
It’s inevitable that we all get older. The more interesting question is, are we growing in our knowledge of God?

March 15, 2023

Playing with Nine Patch Blocks

Sometimes I like to take a traditional block and play around with it in EQ8 to see how I could use it in a more modern quilt design. Today I thought I'd share the results of my time playing with the super traditional nine patch block.

How to make a Nine Patch block

First, let's make a Nine Patch block. You'll need 9 squares that are all the same size, either all different or 5 of one colour and 4 of another. I used 2 ½" squares for mine. Arrange the 9 squares in a 3 x 3 layout as shown.
Nine patch quilt block tutorial |
Stitch the squares together into rows. The finished rows should measure 6 ½" x 2 ½". Press the seams open or press them towards the outside squares for rows 1 and 3 and towards the middle square for row 2. That will make it easy to nest the seams. I pressed my seams towards the blue squares.
Nine patch quilt block tutorial |
Now stitch the rows together to complete the 6 ½" square Nine Patch block. I pin at the intersections to help me get them to line up nicely. I usually press these seams open, but you can press them to one side if you prefer.
Nine patch quilt block tutorial |
That's it! It doesn't get much simpler than a Nine Patch block!

Nine Patch blocks in modern quilt designs

Now that we know how to make a Nine Patch block, how can we use it in a modern quilt design?

My first thought was to separate the blocks and give the quilt some negative space.
Playing with Nine Patch blocks -
I quite like it. It's still pretty traditional looking, but it makes for a fun scrappy quilt that would be really quick to put together.

Then I decided to try adding some tippy triangles around each Nine Patch block. 
Playing with Nine Patch blocks -
I really like that! I love that it gives the design a lot of movement, even though the Nine Patch blocks themselves and the finished blocks are all straight.

Then I decided to try combining blocks in different sizes, with the larger ones tipped, and the tipping alternates direction from row to row.
Playing with Nine Patch blocks -
That's definitely my favourite of the three designs! It feels playful and fun and now I can't wait to make it someday. This, my friends, is how my to-make list grows and grows, no matter how many quilts I make!

Do you have a favourite of the three designs? 

March 13, 2023

Parts of Our Past

Devotion for the Week...

I’ve always found it interesting that the apostle Paul never tried to hide his past. He had been a Pharisee, a member of a group that prided themselves on how well they followed God’s laws, and yet they were one of the groups Jesus criticized, going so far as to call them hypocrites and whitewashed tombs. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Paul was, by his own admission, ‘zealous’ in his efforts to track down anyone who believed in Him so they could be imprisoned or even killed. 
Instead of trying to cover it up, though, or to spin it so it sounded better, Paul fully owned the fact that he had once been far from God. He wasn’t proud of his past, but it did give him the opportunity to show the depth of God’s grace. In 1 Timothy 1:15-16 he wrote, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Essentially, Paul was saying, ‘If God can forgive me, He can forgive anyone.’
While we’re likely not out hunting down people so we can send them to prison for their beliefs, we all have parts of our past we’re not proud of and that we’d rather no one ever hears about. But what if those parts of our past are actually the parts God could use to show others they aren’t too bad for Him to forgive? 
What if God could  use our past to  show others they  aren’t too bad for  Him to forgive |
If we started sharing the stories that show how far we once were from God, then we, like Paul, could display God’s immense patience to those who haven’t yet believed in Him.

March 09, 2023

Stick With It {Lessons from Quilting}

It's time for another Lessons From Quilting post! I've learned a lot of things in over 20 years of quilting and so many of those lessons apply to life away from the sewing machine, too.
Lessons from quilting |
In the first Lessons From Quilting post, I pointed out that sometimes it helps to take a break when we're getting frustrated with a quilt or some other work. Today's lesson is the flip side - sometimes we need to stick with it!

Have you ever noticed that quilts take a long time to make? I'm sure you have! It's one of the things non-quilters comment on most often, saying, "You must have a lot of patience to make that!" The bigger the quilt, or the more intricate the piecing, or the more dense the quilting, the longer it's going to take to finish. This is why quilters are notorious for having so many WIPS.

While I do run an annual WIPS-B-GONE challenge to help us finish more projects, I don't actually think there's anything wrong with starting all the projects that grab our attention. There's also nothing wrong with setting aside a project that isn't interesting us anymore. But there is something amazing about finishing a quilt and being able to use it, give it to someone we love, or donate it to help someone in need. That feeling of accomplishment never gets old!
Lessons from quilting - Stick with it - Devoted Quilter
When we really want to get through a particular project, a little focus and old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness go a long way. Sometimes, though, we need some extra incentive and I've found a few different things that help me stay on track when I want to finish something.
  • I've promised myself I'd finish certain quilts in time to give them to someone for a special occasion.
  • I've had someone else hold me accountable. Usually that has meant submitting the quilt design to a magazine, so I'd have a deadline to finish it. Other times it was just telling someone that I was working to finish and asking them to ask me how it was going now and then.
  • I've made my finish goal public, and invited other people to join me, to help me keep working on it regularly. That's how the WIPS-B-GONE challenge came to be!
  • Most recently, I joined The 100 Day Project to help me work on some of my many scrappy projects. Though I doubt anyone on IG would even notice if I missed a day here or there, I find the extra accountability of posting daily to be a big incentive to keep working on those projects.
This Stick With it lesson is true for so much of life, too! From weight loss or fitness goals to learning a new language, there are plenty of things we might want to do that take a long time to accomplish. In my case, I'm still forcing myself to stick with physio exercises to improve my core, reduce my back pain and hopefully enable me to get back to running. The exercises are incredibly boring and it has often felt like it's taking forever to get me where I want to go. I do see improvement, though, and I'm feeling hopeful I might be able to start running again soon. Sticking with those exercises, even imperfectly, is making a difference!

When have you found sticking with a project or goal has made a difference? What tricks have you used to help you stay on track when a project was taking a long time? I'd love to hear what works for you!

March 06, 2023

What We're Praying

Devotion for the Week...

I’m not good at small talk, especially with people I don’t know. Years ago, when my boys were little, our church hosted the Watoto Children’s Choir and our children’s program kids and their parents had supper with the choir. When everyone was seated, our table was me, my three boys, a couple of kids from the choir and one of the choir’s male chaperones, and no one seemed to know what to say. Ours was the quietest table in the whole room. It was so awkward!
Even if they’re good at small talk, a lot of people struggle with knowing what to say when they pray. Even the disciples didn’t know what to say when talking to God, which makes them pretty relatable, doesn’t it? When they asked Jesus to teach them, He gave them what is known as The Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father in heaven,
   may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
   as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
   as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
   but rescue us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:9-13)
What I find interesting about the prayer is that Jesus included that line about us forgiving the people who have sinned against us. Not only that, but He said, ‘forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven’ them. Oh, dear. Do we really want to be forgiven the same way we’ve forgiven others?
I want to point out that God’s forgiveness of our sins is NOT conditional on how we forgive others, just so there’s no confusion. It wouldn’t be grace if we had to do something to earn it, remember. The fact that Jesus used this phrase in a prayer meant to teach His disciples how to pray does beg the question - why?
I wonder if He included it so we would be continually acknowledging that we have a responsibility to forgive others. We ask for forgiveness, while affirming our commitment to give forgiveness, all in the same breath.
In the Lord's Prayer,  we ask for forgiveness, while affirming our commitment to give forgiveness, all in  the same breath |
The challenge for us, then, is to be conscious of what we’re praying rather than just saying the words mindlessly. And then, of course, to follow through on what we’ve prayed by forgiving when we are hurt or wronged.

March 02, 2023

10 Years (And a Pattern Sale)!

What were you doing 10 years ago today? On March 2, 2013, I was writing and then hitting publish on my first post here at Devoted Quilter and wondering if anyone would ever read it. Thankfully people did!
Before I could write that first post, Paul had to teach me how to move pictures from our camera to our computer; that's how limited my technology skills were. I've sure come a long way since then 😊

So much has changed because of this blog. Back then I had no notion of becoming a pattern designer. I thought you had to have some kind of special art degree or something to be able to design quilts, so it never occurred to me that it was something I could do. I sometimes wrote devotions, but I wasn't sharing them anywhere and most times I'd start them without finishing anything. 

I had never heard of quilt alongs, so I certainly didn't think I'd ever be hosting my own. But once I started reading blogs I learned about them and in 2016 I hosted my first one. It was a mystery QAL called Just The Basics and this was the final result. There are three quilts shared in the finish parade for that QAL and I was thrilled that people wanted to sew along with me 😊 Now my annual Easter QAL grows every year and I'm still just as thrilled that people want to quilt with me!
Just the Basics mystery quilt along |
More than anything, starting this blog gave me a community of quilting friends. In 2013 I didn't have friends to quilt with, so starting to meet quilters online opened up a whole new world of people who shared my love of fabric and thread and time at the sewing machine. It is a daily joy to share pictures of my quilting and spend time checking out what other quilters are doing, either on social media or on their blogs. I've been able to meet a few of you in person and I look forward to the day I get to meet even more of you!

To celebrate 10 years, it's time for a pattern sale! Now through Monday, March 6th, all patterns are 25% off, no coupon code needed.

Shop the sale now!

Fifty-Fifty, Sparkler and Stand Out Starburst are just three of the patterns available in my shop and on sale this weekend.
Quilt patterns from Devoted Quilter |
Thank you for reading and commenting on these posts, for likes and comments on social media, for buying my patterns and taking my workshops. Thank you for sharing your quilts and your stories; I'm constantly inspired by the amazing things I see other quilters making.

I can't wait to see where this quilting journey takes us all in the next 10 years!