June 28, 2024

My First Quilt with Cristina De Miranda

How is it the last Friday in June already? 2024 is certainly flying by! Since it is the last Friday of the month, that means it's time for a My First Quilt interview, and this month Cristina De Miranda is sharing the story of her first quilt. Cristina is a Canadian modern quilter and owner of Ships & Violins, which offers quilt patterns, workshops, lectures, and blogs for adventurous quilters.
My First Quilt with Cristina De Miranda | DevotedQuilter.com
You can connect with Cristina at her website, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

And now, here is Cristina's first quilt! It's so fun and colourful!
My First Quilt with Cristina De Miranda | DevotedQuilter.com

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


I made my first quilt in 2018 after a colleague introduced me to the craft. She showed me a picture of a quilt she had made, it was colourful and featured appliquéd graphic monsters. I was so impressed that it inspired me to give quilting a try. I scoured the internet for a quilt pattern that excited me and landed on Criss Cross Apple Sauce by Vanessa & Co. I purchased some quilting tools (I already owned a sewing machine) and a bundle of her ombre fabrics. I recall the financial investment was a little daunting, but I wanted to give it my best shot and have a quilt that I would like at the end of the journey. I then binged a Craftsy workshop by Gail Kessler and set to making my first quilt.

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


The pattern is block-based. The "X" blocks use the stitch-and-flip method. It's always a little scary cutting into expensive fabric, but I talked myself through it. I kept the offcuts and made a mini quilt with them that remains a UFO (unfinished object). The method required a lot of matching between blocks, which I gave up on doing pretty early on in the process. 

I quilted the top on my Janome Fashion Mate using straight lines on the left and right of the vertical and horizontal seams. The stitching is wild - large stitches, tiny stitches, wibbly and wobbly stitches, but I finished it!
My First Quilt with Cristina De Miranda | DevotedQuilter.com

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


Like many new quilters, it's simpler to use a quilt kit when getting started. I loved using all the colours in Vanessa & Co.'s ombre bundle, and I hope to use some of the colours again in the future. 

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


Yes! I loved the motivation it ignited in me. I was often running up to my sewing room to make progress on the next step of the process, and this excitement and creativity was something I really needed at that time in my life.... and something I still need today, 6 years later.

Where is the quilt now?


On my couch!

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


Not really, but I suppose I'd like her to know that quilting would become one of the most important sources of her personal, artistic, and professional growth for years to come. 


Thanks for sharing your first quilt with us, Cristina! I'm so glad your colleague introduced you to quilting so we could 'meet' you.

June 26, 2024

Merry Mini QAL

Back in November/December, I made two Merry Mini quilts. One I gave to my grandmother for Christmas, which was the reason I designed the mini quilt to begin with. The other I used for the gift exchange with my book club. That leaves me with no Merry Mini quilt, which is just not acceptable, lol.
Merry Mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Since I'm going to make another Merry Mini, I thought maybe you'd like to make one, too, and it would be even more fun if we made it a Christmas in July event. So today I'm launching the Merry Mini QAL. Each week for the month of July we'll work on another portion of the quilt so that by the end of the month we'll have a finished mini quilt ready to use to decorate or give to someone special for Christmas. Just think how good it will feel to be so far ahead when December rolls around!

Here's the QAL schedule:

July 1 - Make the text block (I'll be sharing a couple of alternate techniques if you don't want to hand embroider the text)
July 15 - Make the tree borders
July 22 - Quilting
July 29 - Binding

Merry Mini is a small quilt (you might have guessed that from the 'mini' in the name!), and it uses scraps, making it a perfect summer quilt along project. You probably already own most, if not all, of what you'll need to make it and you'll be able to accomplish each week's work pretty quickly. The hand embroidery is the most time consuming part, but even that doesn't take too long, plus it's portable, so you can work on it out on the deck, or by the pool, or at the cabin, or wherever. Or you can choose one of the alternate techniques I'll be sharing instead of the hand embroidery, making it even faster.

Want to join me? From now until the end of July, the Merry Mini pattern is 20% off with the code MERRYMINIQAL. Use the link below and the coupon code will already by applied.

Get the Merry Mini pattern


Enter your email address below to receive the weekly QAL emails with links to the blog posts, so you won't miss any of them. I can't wait to get started!

June 17, 2024

Perfectly Reasonable

Devotion for the week...

Before we get into today's devotion, just a note to let you know this will be the last devotion until after the summer. While I love writing these devotions, I have definitely reached the place where my brain is ready for a break!

On the theme of taking a break, I was thinking about Jesus' habit of resting. He had so many people clamoring for His attention, for healing, and for His teaching, and yet He always made time to rest. The most famous example of Him resting involved Him asleep in the boat while traveling from one place to another, even as a storm raged around them: "Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion" (Mark 4:38).

At one point, Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs, and they "went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil" (Mark 6:12-13). When the disciples returned, full of stories of everything they had done, "Jesus said, 'Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.' He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat" (v. 31).

Do you see how many demands were placed on Him? He didn't have get a chance to grab something to eat! What I find amazing is that He didn't feel the need to run Himself into the ground trying to meet everyone's needs before He got to take a break. Instead, He looked at all the chaos and decided it was time to step away and rest. He didn't apologize for needing rest or for taking care of Himself. He just said, 'Let's go get some rest' as if that were a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Because it is!

It is perfectly reasonable to take a break when we need one. It's perfectly reasonable to take a nap, or to spend a few hours reading, or to get away from all the noise to spend an afternoon at the beach. We don't have to earn the rest or make sure everyone else's needs are met before we look after ourselves.

Of course, rest isn't exactly what happened when Jesus suggested they get away. "They left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things" (vv. 32-34).

The Bible doesn't say how long they were traveling in the boat, but I imagine it was enough time for everyone to get a little something to eat, to relax for a bit, and maybe even to get a quick nap (since Jesus obviously didn't mind sleeping in boats). It wasn't the time away in quiet Jesus had intended, but when they arrived and saw the crowd, Jesus was refreshed enough to spend the next few hours teaching. A little rest can do wonders for our ability to help others.
If Jesus made rest a priority, we can, too | DevotedQuilter.com
We might not always be able to manage hours away on our own, but it's still important to honour our need for rest. If Jesus made rest a priority, we can, too!

June 12, 2024

Stash Artists Doors Are Open!

Would you call yourself an artist? Maybe you wouldn't, but I think you are - you're a stash artist, using your fabric and thread to make the world more beautiful, one quilt at a time. The Stash Artists membership is for Stash Artists (like you!) who want stash-friendly and scrap-friendly patterns, along with a community of quilty friends.
Stash Artists membership | DevotedQuilter.com
The membership doors are open now for new members, but only until the end of the day, Monday, June 17th. 

Join Stash Artists now!


Here's what is included in the Stash Artists membership:

  • 6 new patterns per year, released every other month
  • 6 virtual Sew Together Sessions, in alternate months to the pattern releases
  • a Block of the Month pattern - we're starting a new, Christmas themed, one in August!
  • the Reverberate baby quilt pattern
  • an ever-growing library of video tutorials
  • monthly devotions
  • discounts on patterns, workshops, and QALs outside the membership

Patterns


The patterns and the Sew Together Sessions are the backbone of Stash Artists. All new members can download the Reverberate baby quilt pattern as soon as they login to the Stash Artists membership site.
Reverberate baby quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Here's a look at some of the patterns that have previously been released to Stash Artists members, to give you an idea what to expect.
Scraps Take Flight quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Scraps Take Flight

Grateful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Grateful

Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Blooming Beautiful
As you can see, Stash Artists patterns are designed to allow you to shop your stash and your scraps, often with a single background to unify the scrappiness. If this kind of pattern makes you want to run straight to your sewing machine to get started, you'll love being a Stash Artists member 😊

Video Tutorials


There's a growing library of video tutorials inside the Stash Artists membership site, including:
  • How to sew Drunkard's Path blocks
  • How to do crumb piecing
  • Colouring quilt blocks with crayons
  • and more!

Devotions


Each month I also add a new devotion to the membership, just like the devotions I share here on the blog each week. Lately I've been sharing a series on the Proverbs 31 woman. When new members join, they have access to all the devotions previously shared, so you can easily go back and get caught up on the series.

If you want stash-friendly patterns, a community to sew with, monthly devotions, and more, I hope you'll join us inside the Stash Artists membership. 

Yes, I want to join Stash Artists!


Making the world more beautiful, one quilt at a time | DevotedQuilter.com

June 10, 2024

Ruth - Part 2

Devotion for the week...

Today I'm sharing the second in a two-part look at Ruth that was first shared as part of the 2023 Women of Wisdom QAL. Ruth has a four-chapter book named after her in the Bible, so I’ll have to do a lot of summarizing, even though we’re not going to be following all of her story. If you do want to read the whole story for yourself, you can do that here. You can also read part one of this devotion here.

When we left her last week, Ruth was heading off to find a barley field where she could follow behind the harvesters and gather the bits of barley they left behind. God had made provision for the poor and the foreigner living among the Israelites, by commanding that the harvesters would always leave some behind to be gathered by those who had no other means of supporting themselves. Ruth, who was a poor foreigner, “found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech” (Ruth 2:3).

As a foreign woman, Ruth probably stood out among those who were working the field, and she was noticed by Boaz, the owner of the field, when he came to see how the harvest was going. "Boaz asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?” (v. 5). The foreman not only knew who Boaz meant, but he knew what Ruth had been doing all day. "She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi. She asked me this morning if she could gather grain behind the harvesters. She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes’ rest in the shelter.” (vv. 6-7) The overseer had noticed that Ruth was working hard, spending hours in the field with only a short break and, since he mentioned it to Boaz, I take it he was impressed by her work ethic. Notice, too, that the foreman said she was the young woman who arrived in town with Naomi. I imagine they were the talk of the town, especially this young Moabite woman who showed such devotion to her mother-in-law.

But Ruth wasn't trying to be noticed. She didn't leave Moab with Naomi to be noticed. She did what she thought was right. She wasn't gleaning in the field in an attempt to be noticed. She just did what needed to be done to get food for their table. She probably didn't think she was doing anything special, or doing anything that others wouldn't also be doing if they were in her place.

The fact of the matter is, we are all being noticed by someone. It’s human nature to watch the people around us, to see how they go about their daily lives. Seven or eight years ago, I started babysitting a little boy from a family I hadn't met before I started babysitting him. One day I went to the grocery store and the cashier told me the boy's grandmother had asked her if she knew me, because the grandmother didn't and wondered what sort of person I was. I had never before thought about my grocery shopping being something that people would observe, but it is. Because we live in a small town, this cashier has been seeing me for years, popping into the store with my own boys or some of the other kids I've looked after, chatting with her, keeping the kids from demolishing the store displays and that sort of thing. She could assure this grandmother that the kids in my care are happy with me and that, in her words, "you have no worries with Leanne." That report brightened my day, but I wasn't doing anything while in the store to try to be noticed as a competent caregiver. I was just doing my usual thing.

All of which begs one simple question: for what are we noticed? Jesus told His followers, "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:14-16). 

Whenever I have heard or read this verse I have heard 'good deeds' and imagined it meaning those things we do specifically to be nice to others, but the word translated as 'deeds', ergon, actually means "anything done or to be done; a deed, work, action."

Maybe Jesus wasn't only referring to special kindnesses, but to all the good things we do in the run of our daily lives. All the things that get noticed by others and make them see us in a positive light will bring glory to God. All the things that get noticed in a negative way will not.
As we go about our daily lives, just doing what needs to be done, how do people see us? | DevotedQuilter.com
As we go about our daily lives, just doing what needs to be done, how do people see us? I'm not suggesting we should put on an act when we're out in public, trying to fool people into thinking we're something we're not (remember Sapphira?). But rather, do our actions and our attitude line up with what we say we believe? Are we exhibiting the fruit of the spirit? "The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Like Ruth, are we noticed for those things?

And if we aren't being noticed for these things, is that a problem?

June 03, 2024

Ruth - Part 1

Devotion for the week...

Today I'm sharing the first in a two-part look at Ruth that was first shared as part of the 2023 Women of Wisdom QAL. Ruth has a four-chapter book named after her in the Bible, so I’ll have to do a lot of summarizing, even though we’re not going to be following all of her story. If you do want to read the whole story for yourself, you can do that here

At the beginning of the book of Ruth, we’re told that a man named Elimelech moved his wife, Naomi, and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab because of a famine. In Moab, Elimelech died and his two sons married local women named Ruth and Orpah. Then the sons died as well, leaving Naomi, Ruth and Orpah alone. Naomi got word that the famine in Bethlehem had ended, so she decided to go back home, but she urged Ruth and Orpah to return to their own families so they could find new husbands. Orpah did as Naomi suggested, but Ruth refused to leave her mother-in-law and so "they arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest" (Ruth 1:22).

With all that Ruth and Naomi had been through, it would have been understandable if they just sat and licked their wounds for a while at this point, which is what it seems like Naomi actually does. Upon their arrival, she told the women of Bethlehem, "Don’t call me Naomi…Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?" (v. 20-21). Mara means 'bitter' and Naomi sounds more than a little bitter here! 

Two women alone, without husbands, fathers or sons, were at a severe disadvantage back then, with few resources and few options for making a living. But Ruth didn’t let that stop her, nor did she let herself wallow in her grief or succumb to bitterness like Naomi. Instead, she got to work.

God had commanded the Israelites, "When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:9-10). Since the barley harvest was just beginning, Ruth "said to Naomi, 'Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it'" (Ruth 2: 2). Naomi agreed, so Ruth got ready and went to find a field to work in.

I’m going to stop there with the story for today, because it’s Ruth’s ability to move on that impresses me most. She and Naomi had both lost everything except each other, but Ruth didn’t join Naomi, wallowing in bitterness. Instead, she took stock of their situation and their options and got started on what she could do to make their lives better. Starting with their most pressing need, she made a plan to get them some food, so they wouldn’t have to rely on charity. This complete change in her life circumstances forced her to find a new way to provide for herself and her mother-in-law, and she rose to the occasion beautifully.
If we find ourselves in new and unexpected circumstances, we can let Ruth be our inspiration | DevotedQuilter.com

When life changes drastically, it can be hard to find our way forward. If everything is different, what comes next? If we find ourselves in new and unexpected circumstances, we can let Ruth be our inspiration and just get started by finding a way to take care of one need. Getting started is often the hardest part, but once we’re started, that forward motion will carry us through to the next thing.

Read part two of this series on Ruth here.