May 17, 2018

Churn Pattern Release

I love getting to release one of my patterns 😊 Today I'm releasing my Churn pattern, which was originally published in the 2018 Quilter's Planner.

The pattern is now available through both my Payhip and Etsy shops and, to celebrate the release, it is available for 25% off until May 25th.

Churn finishes at 60" x 70", which is my favourite throw size, perfect for curling up with a good book or stretching out for a nap.
Churn quilt pattern |
Churn uses the traditional churn dash block in a fun modern setting. The simple patchwork background stitches up quickly, but adds lots of visual interest. As a bonus, it's a great way to use favourite prints from your stash. In fact, the whole quilt is a great scrappy stash buster.

As always, if you make Churn, I'd love to see your version, so be sure to tag me (@devotedquilter on IG or @devotedquilterdesigns on FB) or email me a picture or link to a blog post (devotedquilter at gmail dot com).

Happy stitching!

May 14, 2018

Raising Them to Serve God

Devotion for the Week...

To all you moms reading, I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday 😊 The highlight of my day was when Nathan gave me the gift he planned and bought all on his own...a spool of gorgeous blue thread. Little things like that are enough to melt my heart!

As Mother's Day approached, I kept thinking about a woman in the Bible named Hannah. You can find her story in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah and she had no children. We don't know how long they had been married, but it was definitely long enough that there should have been several children and the lack of a child was heartbreaking for Hannah.

Nowadays women who deal with infertility suffer intense disapointment, frustration and more. In Hannah's day, she would have dealt with not only her own emotions, but also the judgement of her whole society. At that time, a woman's biggest purpose was to bear children and not doing so was seen as a black mark against her. Being declared 'barren' was an awful stigma to bear.

To make matters worse, Hannah was not Elkanah's only wife. "Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not" (1 Samuel 1:2). And "Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children" (v. 6). Can you feel the awful weight of heartbreak Hannah carried?

So Hannah prayed. Verse 10 says she "was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord." Hannah prayed, "O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut" (v. 11).

And God answered her prayer, giving her a son she named Samuel. What joy she must have felt!

Then, after Samuel was weaned, she fulfilled the promise she had made to God. When the family again traveled to worship at the Tabernacle, she took Samuel with her and went to Eli the priest, telling him, "I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life." (vv. 27,28). "Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest" (1 Samuel 2:11).

She gave Samuel back to God, leaving him to be raised in the Tabernacle where he would serve God every day. Thankfully, we aren't called to give our kids to our pastors so that they can serve in the church all the time, but we are to do our best to raise them to serve God.

While talking about the commands God gave him to give the people, Moses said, "Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up" (Deuteronomy 6:7). Our goal is to teach our kids about God in such a way that they will want to follow Him too.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
And don't despair if your kids are grown and out on their own, but not yet following Him. You still have opportunities to share God with them whenever you talk to them (texting counts!). I heard one mom say that she would occasionally send her son links to Christian songs that she was really enjoying and that sometimes he would go and listen to them.

What is your best strategy for teaching a child (of any age) to serve God?

May 08, 2018

Island Batik May Challenge - Flower Box Cushion

Note - the fabrics for this project were given to me by Island Batik as part of their ambassador program.

I'm finished the Island Batik Ambassador challenge well in advance this month! The theme for May is Playful Pillows and it really did feel like I was playing as I made this one 😊
Flower Box was my first published pattern, in Make Modern magazine (affiliate link) back in May 2015. I made a cushion for that publication, then made a mini quilt in December 2015 using 4 blocks.

I made a cushion again to fit this challenge, but completely changed the colours, using two bright orange batiks for the flower and two greens for the corners. Normally when I think of orange and green together I think of fall, but the limey colour of the greens makes this feel more like spring to me.
Flower box cushion |
I used Warm and Natural batting and basted it together with a random bit of old (content unknown) fabric for the backing, which will not be seen, and got to the quilting.

I love to use blanket stitch around applique shapes, this time in Aurifil 2210 (caramel). My first ever quilt had hours and hours worth of hand embroidered blanket stitch done with black embroidery floss, but machine stitching goes much faster!
Flower box cushion |
I quilted a design called Flourish, from Christina Camelli's book Step by Step Free Motion Quilting, in the flower petals and a spiral in the flower center, both with the Aurifil 2210.
Flower box cushion |
In the green triangles I used Aurifil 1231 (spring green) to quilt loops. This is my favourite design for triangles and I'm sure it has a name, but I don't know it.
Flower box cushion |
Using Aurifil 2024 (white) I stitched around the applique, then again about 1/4" away from the applique. Finally, I quilted a stipple in the background. Even with the tight stipple I finished all of the quilting in one evening 😊 I had forgotten how quickly you can quilt something so small!
Flower box cushion |
I used the bright orange dot batik to make an envelope back for the cushion. I managed to put it together with the outside piece facing the wrong way, but since batiks don't have a wrong side and the stitching looks neat enough, I decided to leave it.
Flower box cushion |
Having now made this pattern 3 times, it is really fun to see it in such different colours. If you'd like to make your own Flower Box cushion or mini quilt (or full size quilt, for that matter!) you can get the pattern from either my Payhip or Etsy shops.

Zachary and I had fun at one of my favourite beaches last night getting these pictures and some of another quilt that I'll be able to share this summer. I love Newfoundland scenery!
Coachman's Cove |
Can you see Zach out climbing on the rocks? And there's a sneak peek of the quilt 😉
 Coachman's Cove |

Coachman's Cove |
Thanks again to Island Batik for letting my play with these beautiful fabrics and for the fun challenge. Now it's time to get started on the June challenge!

Don't forget to pick up your copy of the Flower Box pattern from Payhip or Etsy!

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

May 07, 2018

Following Through

Devotion for the Week...

I can remember one day when Aiden was about three and he was not cooperating when we were shopping. I said that if he didn't behave I'd return something we had already bought at a previous store and Paul looked at me and said, "Are you really going to do that?" Of course, Paul knew that I had no intention of going back to that other store, so my threat was an empty one.

Empty threats are easy to make as a parent, but they rarely work. Kids figure out really quickly that we won't actually follow through with those consequences we're threatening and then our words mean nothing. There's no incentive for them to do what we're telling them to do because they know there will be no consequence if they don't.

After Paul called me out in the store that day, I became much more careful about only threatening real consequences that I would actually follow through on. Not that I was perfect at it, but I certainly tried. I also became aware of just how often parents use empty threats and how often they elicit no reaction whatsoever from the kids. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for!

We talk a lot in church circles about God keeping His promises and usually we're talking about the good things He has promised us. Things like salvation (John 3:16), a home with Him for eternity (John 14:3), an eternity free of sickness, pain and death (Revelation 21:4). Wonderful things, and wonderful promises.

But there are also consequences spelled out in the Bible. The most important one is "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Since "everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard" (Romans 3:23), which means everyone's earned wage is death. Thankfully that first verse continues, "but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). So there is a consequence spelled out (death), but also the way to avoid the consequence (believing in Jesus).

There are other consequences as well. Consider these:

"Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ "(Matthew 7:21-23). This one might seem confusing, but it means that those who merely say they follow Jesus, without having any actual faith in Him, will not enter heaven. These verses are about those who say they believe, maybe because they think it's what others want to hear or because it is what is expected of them, while in truth they actually don't believe.

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Those who refuse to have faith in Jesus will find one day that there is no other option that God will accept.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
Just as with a parent, God does not want to have to follow through with the consequences. "The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent" (2 Peter 3:9). He has shown us the consequences along with the clear path for everyone to follow to avoid those consequences precisely because He longs for us all to take the path of faith. He does not want to lose even one person, which is why salvation requires nothing of us except belief. "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it" (Ephesians 2:8,9).

I love knowing that God keeps His promises. There is comfort in knowing that He means what He has said to us. Of course, that also means that the consequences He has presented are not empty threats.

May 03, 2018

Snowballs in Spring

These spring snowballs aren't made of real snow, thankfully!

I've been working on my Murrina quilt, from Kelly Young's book Stash Statement, in preparation for my stop on the blog hop later this month. There are 51 snowball blocks in the quilt, in three different sizes, and mine are all finished 😊 Don't they look pretty all stacked up?
Snowball blocks |
Island Batik provided this gorgeous fabric for the background of the quilt and it was so much fun to press open each corner and see how the bright pink batik interacts with the crazy busy-ness of the scrappy block centers. Here's one of each size block.
Snowball blocks |
 Some of the small blocks. I love the tiny tents in the top right block 😊
Snowball blocks |
Some of the medium blocks.
Snowball blocks |
And some of the big blocks.
Snowball blocks |
There are a lot of background pieces in this quilt, but now that they're all cut, I think the quilt will stitch up really quickly. Here's my tower of quilt top pieces 😊
Since I was going to be sewing all those corners (204 of them, to be exact), I figured I might as well also make some bonus HSTs while I was at it. No sense wasting all those corners, right? I drew the lines for 1 1/2" finished HSTs on all of the corners. On the smallest blocks the seam allowances ended up being slightly smaller than 1/4", but I think they're still wide enough to not cause problems.

I loved pressing these open too!
Scrappy HSTs |
With 204 tiny, scrappy HSTs, I couldn't resist playing around with a few of them in a fun layout. I found that any HSTs with red or dark pink in the scrappy half of the block messed up the look of the layout because there isn't enough contrast. I'm sure I'll find a use for them sometime, though. Maybe a pincushion or something like that.
Scrappy HSTs |
I'm thinking this would make a fun cushion cover or mini quilt, whenever I can find time to get it pieced together. In the meantime, they're hanging out in my fancy pants storage system 😊
Scrappy HSTs |
I'll definitely want to play around with Kelly's method of scrap sewing again. And those tiny HSTs have sparked an idea for a future quilt too. One thing's for certain...I'll never run out of ideas for things to make!
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