March 04, 2015

Round Trip Quilts - Round 4

Another round of the Round Trip Quilts round robin bee is finished. This time I had the quilt started by Kim, of Ties That Bind Quilting. Here is what it looked like when it arrived here from Jennifer.
I stared at this quilt for a long, long time trying to figure out what I could possibly do next. The whole quilt felt very busy to me, which is exactly what Jennifer had said when she first saw it. She added the improv flying geese to two sides, which I found helped to give the eye a resting place, so I wanted to add something to the other two sides that would also have a lot of background space.

I thought some drunkard's path circles would fit the bill. Kim had sent along some Kona Sky for the background, to help the whole quilt have a little unity, so I went to my stash to see what fabrics I had that would work with her colour palette. To my surprise I actually found nine fabrics that blended nicely with what was already in the quilt. My stash may not be very large, but I'm often surprised by what I find in there!
You can read more about the making of the circles in this post. I'm pleased with how they look now that they're pieced onto the main piece of Kim's quilt. I sure hope she likes them too!
The two other pieces are still loose, waiting for someone else to fit them into the design of the quilt. I tried to incorporate at least one of them, but nothing I tried looked right. It will be fun to see how they eventually make their way into the finished quilt.
We are halfway through the rounds for this project now and the quilts are all looking amazing! If you'd like to check out the progress of all the others, check out Jennifer's Round Trip Quilts page.

March 02, 2015

Happy Birthday Devoted Quilter!

Devotion for the Week...

Devoted Quilter is 2 today!

I started this blog thinking it would be fun to maybe connect with other quilters, and it would be a great way to push myself to do more writing and especially to actually finish some writing. I didn't realize how fun it would be to become a part of the quilt blogging community, or how I would make friends with the people who comment on my posts. I didn't realize how many more blogs I would start reading, or how much I would be inspired by the bloggers I started to follow. I also didn't imagine how great it would be to have people comment on my devotion posts, or how I would spend days writing devotions in my head before getting around to typing them into my computer.

In the past two years...

...I have written 96 devotions...96 finished pieces of writing that wouldn't have been finished if not for this blog. I've missed a couple of Mondays, but for the most part I've been consistent in keeping to my self-imposed schedule.

...I have designed a few quilts, and now have those patterns for sale in my Payhip and Etsy shops. The pattern for my Twirling Star mini quilt is currently being tested and will soon be available too. I also have two more designs in the works, one for the next issue of Make Modern magazine (eeek!) and the other for a tutorial in Fat Quarterly (eeek again)!

...My free motion quilting has grown by leaps and bounds. Partly because of Craftsy classes, especially those by Angela Walters, and partly because I see so many other bloggers doing amazing fmq designs that I want to try for myself. I am especially inspired by Renee, of Quilts of a Feather (who does her work on a domestic machine too), Angela Walters and Judi Madsen, both of whom use long arm machines.

A birthday or anniversary is a great reminder to look back and see how far we've come, whether with our quilting, blogging or anything else and I've had fun the past week or so thinking about all the things that have come from my decision to start Devoted Quilter. God wants us to look back and remember sometimes too. In fact, He commanded the Isrealites to set up memorials that would ensure they remembered how He had protected them in the past.

The Passover feast is one memorial, a reminder of how the Lord rescued the Isrealites from slavery in Egypt. You can read the story of the first Passover in Exodus 12, including God's command to Moses: "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance" (Exodus 12:14).

God commanded another memorial while Joshua was leader of the Isrealites. They had just crossed the Jordan river and entered the Promised Land when God told Joshua, "Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight" (Joshua 4:2,3). Joshua chose the men, and told them, "Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (vv. 5-7).

Each time they prepared the Passover feast, or each time someone saw the pile of stones and asked why it was there, the people were reminded of what God had done for them. This wasn't only a reminder of the power He had shown them in the past, but also a reminder of the love He had for them, and of the power He would continue to use on their behalf.

If we're always focused on the here and now, always looking at what we need God to do for us, then it's easy to doubt Him. We can't always see what He is doing today, but when we look back we can trace His hand in the events of our past. The psalmist Asaph found this to be a great comfort, which is immortalized in Psalm 77. The Psalm starts out with Asaph presenting all his fears and worries to God, asking how long he will have to put up with the current state of affairs. But then Asaph turns his mind to the past, to remembering all the things God has already done for him, which reminds him that God is in full control of our circumstances. Simply remembering what God has done for us in the past can help to put our current situations in perspective and give us hope that He will help us again in the future.

How often do you look back and remember all the ways God has been at work in your life? Is there a special event or place that always makes you think back and notice God's hand in your past?

February 27, 2015

Going in Circles

I've been working on my contribution for this round of the Round Trip Quilts. This time I have Kim's quilt and I wanted to add something that had lots of negative space because the quilt feels busy to me. I decided it needed some circles.
FYI these circles take a loooong time to make!
This was my first time making these blocks after having admired them for years. Mine finish at 5 1/2" and I'm pretty pleased with them. They're not perfect, of course, but they're not bad. Most of the matching points around the outside of the circle are really close to being properly matched, which is good enough for me. There are a few small puckers around the circles, but they're all small enough that I don't think I'd do better if I were to try again. I do find there are a lot of wrinkle marks in the background fabric and I'm not sure how to get rid of those. I'm going to try spraying them with water and pressing them again and hopefully that will help. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Next I need to add some strips of background fabric to the blocks to space them out so the borders will be the right size to fit the quilt. I'll be back next week to show you how Kim's quilt is looking before I mail it off to Mary.

February 23, 2015


Devotion for the Week...

We have lived in small town Newfoundland for almost 10 years now. For much of that time, the town was under a "Boil Water Advisory," because our tap water was unsafe. We were to boil the water before drinking it, using it in cooking, washing produce, brushing our teeth or anything else that involved us consuming the water. We mostly avoided that by filling jugs with purified water at the store several times a week, but, while I don't actually know what was in the water, I am glad that the Boil Water Advisory is over now and the water is safe to drink and use.

I thought of the advisory last week after reading this verse in James: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27). When I first think of pollution, I think of things like urban smog, or oil spills that contaminate lakes or coastlines. Glaring, visible, examples of how humans have mistreated the environment and turned something beautiful into something ugly and dirty. But the water that was coming out of our tap while we were under the advisory didn't look, smell or even taste any different than the water that comes out of our tap today.

Contaminates in water are measured in ppm (parts per million), or mg/L (milligrams per liter), which means the tests are looking for very, very low levels of the contaminate compared to the amount of water being tested. Many of the contaminates that water is tested for must be at zero ppm for the water to be considered safe (see this table from the EPA). When a contaminate in the water exceeds the safe level, that water could make people sick, or it could even be deadly, depending on what has contaminated the water. This is true even though the water doesn't look, smell or taste any different than safe water would look, smell or taste. Also, the effects of consuming the unsafe water may not be noticed immediately. Often the effects are cumulative, so the more of the contaminated water a person consumes, the more effect it would eventually have.

Spiritually speaking, God wants us to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world. Unfortunately, spiritual pollution is a lot like physical pollution. Some of it is obvious, while a lot of it may be invisible, insidious and hard to identify. Sometimes the effects are immediate, but mostly they build up over time and with repeated exposure.

Since we are told to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world, that means the pollution comes from outside sources. And there are many sources:

*television and movies
*social media
*books and magazines
*false teachings in the church

I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that spring immediately to mind. How careful are we to screen those sources, to guard ourselves against the contaminates of the world? And how high is our tolerance for those contaminates? How many 'parts per million' do we allow before we deem something to be polluted?

Paul wrote, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8). That seems like a good test for the things we intend to allow into our lives. If it is not any of these things, perhaps it is nothing more than pollution.

February 20, 2015

Friday Finish - Eli's Quilt

What? Two finishes in one week? I know, "Who are you and what have you done with the woman who normally blogs here," right? Let me assure you, after this post we'll be back to regular programming, where it takes me forever to finish almost anything.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the cute baby quilt I finished last night.
The squares are 5" finished, so the quilt is 40" square. I hope that's a good size so little Eli will be able to play with it and use it even after he grows out of the baby stage.

I quilted it with an all over pattern of loops and stars.
I used a light blue thread, and I like how it really shows up on some blocks and blends in with others. Of course, I think the stars are the wonkiest in the blocks where they show up the most! Working in an all over pattern like this I really noticed how small the bed of my machine is. I don't have an extension table for it, but I think one would be really useful for this type of quilting.

I backed the quilt in a blue flannel, so that light blue thread shows up well there too. I had planned to bind it with a scrappy blue binding, but couldn't find enough blues in my stash. Apparently I need to do some fabric shopping ;) In the end, I'm really glad I couldn't find enough blues because I love how this soft yellow solid looks.
Now, before you are too impressed with this second finish for the week, I should point out that when I put Eli's quilt on my Finish-a-long list for this quarter, I said I hoped to have it finished before the end of the week. That was over a month ago! In my defense, though, I did abandon all other projects to focus on the wedding quilt. And now I have two finishes for my list!

I'll have Eli's quilt in the mail next week. I sure hope he enjoys rolling around on it, and looking at all the bright colours!
 Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, TGIFF and Finish it up Friday.

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