April 29, 2014

One Step Closer

For most of 2013 I stayed right on track with my Sugar Block Club blocks, but then I fell behind sometime in the fall. Finally, I'm finished all the blocks, and yes, I do realize we are now a full four months into 2014. Better late than never!

This is the Novemeber block, which I actually pieced a few months ago but didn't share here for some reason. I was a little disappointed in the block when I put it together. The print is the same in both blues, so I find the block feels flat even though there is good contrast in their values.
This is the December block, which I pieced over our spring break last week. It is one of my favourite blocks of the whole series.
 Here are all twelve blocks together. I'm not happy with the block in the bottom right corner. That blue/tan print feels out of place with the rest of the blocks, all of which have smaller scale/more subtle prints. I may remake that block, I haven't decided yet. If I do remake it, this version could end up on the back of the quilt.
I also haven't decided how I want to put them together. I'm thinking maybe on point, with plain blocks and sashing. I don't know what colours to use for the alternate blocks or sashing, though. A darker brown, a blue, or something different entirely? I'm pretty sure I'll have to make the decision in a store and not in front of my computer. I'll need to lay the blocks out with possible fabrics in order to see how they work together. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

It feels good to have all the blocks made at least. I'm planning to gift this quilt, but the deadline is pretty far away yet. Of course, judging by how long it has taken me to quilt my Scrappy Log Cabin quilt, I better get this top assembled and basted ASAP!

As usual, I'll be linking up to these places.

April 28, 2014

Putting it Off

Devotion for the Week...


My sister-in-law, Nancy does alterations for people all the time. She has suggested a few times that I should do likewise, at least as far as hemming pants. I don't think I could handle the other, more involved, things she does. "You could make a lot of money hemming pants," she tells me. She's probably right. In our small community there aren't many people who hem pants, so those who do are always swamped.

There's just one problem. I hate hemming pants. As in, I'd give away my sewing machine before I'd spend all my sewing time hemming. I once complained to an acquaintance about needing to hem a pair and I saw her eyes light up. "You hem pants?" she asked, eager to jump in and tell me all about the many pairs her family needed done. Let's just say I set the record straight pretty quickly.

There are times I buy pants and then don't wear them for weeks, sometimes months, because I don't want to hem them, and Nancy lives too far away to do it for me:) My husband has, after waiting patiently for weeks, told me specific occasions on which he wanted to wear his new pants, essentially giving me a deadline by which to have them done. The funny thing is, hemming pants isn't all that difficult and it doesn't even take all that long. I just put it off and put it off because I don't want to do it.

Not wanting to hem a pair of pants really only results in a minor inconvenience because I can't wear my new pants, but there are other things we sometimes put off doing that could have much more impact. There are things God has commanded in the Bible that we tend to put off. Things like "love each other" (John 15:17), forgive each other (Matthew 6:14, 15), and control your tongue (James 1:26 and 3:1-12). Sometimes we'd rather hold onto that grudge, or speak unkindly about someone who rubs us the wrong way. We put off following God's commands, even though we know what He expects of us. We just don't want to do it.

I thought of that this past week while reading the Bible with my two older boys before bed. We're reading Psalm 119, a little at a time, and one night I read, "I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands," (Psalm 119: 60).

Hmmm. Do we really hasten, or hurry, to obey His commands? Or are we more likely to dawdle along, maybe making motions so it looks like we're heading in the right direction, but really we're doing everything in our power to put it off?

"In a little while."

"I'll do it later"

"When I finish this..."

We say these things to people all the time, delaying doing what they're asking of us until a time when it's more convenient, or when we're in a different mood. Do we say the same things to God, maybe without using the actual words, or even noticing that we're doing it?

"I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands," says a lot about the writer's heart attitude towards God. About how he viewed God's commands, about how he viewed his own wants and interests in comparison to the things God wanted for him. What do our actions say about our heart attitude and about us?

April 24, 2014

Sell Your Patterns!

How to Add & Sell a Pattern on Craftsy
(This post contains affiliate links which means I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)



In addition to wonderful online courses and craft supplies, Craftsy also has an independent online pattern store that lets anyone upload and sell downloadable e-patterns with no fee!

How do you add a pattern to Craftsy and start your pattern store? It’s easy!

1. Make sure you have a Paypal account. All pattern transactions happen through Paypal, and Craftsy requires that you have a Student, Premier, or Business account in order to sell patterns.
2. Put your pattern in .pdf format. You can’t upload any patterns to the online pattern store unless they’re a .pdf file format, so if they’re currently saved as a Word doc, .jpg, or other file format, you must convert it to a .pdf before you upload it to Craftsy.
3. Include a photo. All patterns must have at least one photo to accompany them, but you can add up to five photos. Colorful, interesting photos tend to work the best for catching our members’ eyes!
4. Fill out the pattern description. We will ask you some basic questions around your pattern making it easier for Craftsy folk to find your pattern and know what your pattern is for. Make sure you have info about your pattern handy for this step.

For more information on how to sell a pattern through Craftsy, or to get started, visit Craftsy today!

April 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday - This and That

I spent about an hour yesterday quilting feathers in the sashing of my scrappy log cabin quilt and I reached a milestone (of sorts). I now have all the blocks and cornerstones quilted, as well as all the sashing that runs vertically.

That means I only have to do the sashing that runs horizontally, the borders and the binding before I can declare this finished.

Yeah, it's still going to be a while.

I have a bad habit of putting this aside to work on smaller and easier to finish other projects, but I will get it done. If for no other reason than I'm getting tired of writing progress reports on the same quilt over and over!

That being said, today's sewing session was spent transforming the last of the four-patch blocks for my Hands2Help quilt.  Now all the blocks are done so I can start putting this one together.
In other news, I managed to give myself a sore wrist by sewing too many hexagons, so I've had to take a break for a couple of days.
Caution: Too many hexagons can be hazardous to your wrist!
I mean, seriously, a hand-sewing injury? Whoever heard of that? I'm anxious to get back at it, but I guess I'll have to be careful not to spend so long stitching each time I take it up.

As usual, I'll be linking to these places. Have a great week!

April 21, 2014

It doesn't need to be done again!

Devotion for the Week...

Life is full of repetitive tasks. Ones that just don't stay done. Like washing dishes. As soon as you're finished cleaning the supper dishes, someone wants a glass of water or you need a cup of tea, and boom...another dirty dish. And laundry. It's never even finished in the first place. There's always another load that needs to be put in the washer, or one that needs to be folded and put away. I really don't know how women survived having so many children in previous generations. The laundry alone would be enough to exhaust me!

The Bible, though, tells the story of two vastly different things that were both done once and never need to be repeated. The first brought death, the other life.

In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:16, 17). Did he and his wife, Eve, listen? No. First Eve was deceived and ate the fruit, then she "gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it"(Genesis 3:6). That one act of disobedience, of a person thinking he knew better than God, has stained all of human history. It has affected the life of every person who has lived since that day. We are all born with the same nature  Adam had. We all go into life thinking we know better than God and we all want to do things our own way. This is sin, and the Bible says, "the wages of sin is death"(Romans 6:23). It also says, "death came through a man" (1 Corinthians 15:21), through Adam. Once Adam disobeyed God's command, it was done for everyone, forever.

Thank God that's not the end of the story! Here is the rest of 1 Corinthians 15:21 along with verse 22: "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."

Jesus' death on the cross paid the price for all the sins of every person affected by Adam's disobedience.  Just seconds before He died on the cross, Jesus said, "It is finished," (John 19:30). He died knowing He had done everything God wanted Him to do, having fulfilled every part of the plan for which He came to earth. He never needs to do it again, nor does anyone else need to do it again. "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God" (Romans 6:9, 10).

Adam's act of disobedience brought death to us all. But John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jesus' death paid that penalty for all who choose to believe in Him as their savior.

Have you made that choice? Have you accepted His sacrifice of love for your sins? If not, you can accept it right now, by simply talking to God and telling Him you understand that you are a sinner and that you believe Jesus died for you.

Then you can know the price for your sins has been paid in full, and need never be paid again.




April 19, 2014

Hands2Help Progress Check

It's time to link up progress reports for the Charity Quilt Challenge. And I actually have progress to report!

 

I started with this piece of fabric from my stash. I bought it to use as the backing for my second quilt, which I made before Paul and I got married, for his sister and her new baby. That baby is now 16! So these vehicles have been hanging around a long time!

I didn't have enough of it to make many blocks, so I decided to make it the center panel of the quilt.

Then I pulled blues, greens, yellows, greys and blacks from my stash to coordinate with the bright coloured machines.




I'm making disappearing four-patch blocks to go around that panel. I love how the personality of the block changes with just a little cutting and rearranging of the pieces. This block went from this...







to this! Doesn't this have so much more pizazz?

 
 So far I have three sides worth of blocks finished, and the four patches made for the other side. I just have to do the cutting and resewing on them. I'm thinking I'll bind it in red, but maybe black would be better. What do you think? And do I need to make blocks that have a little red in them to balance all the red in the center?

I'll be linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the progress check. It'll be fun to see what everyone else it up to.


April 14, 2014

Working or Just Dreaming?

I joined instagram a few days ago (I'm @devotedquilter). I am amused by how quickly I began to feel the pull to check my instagram feed often to see what people have posted. It's fun to get little snippets of their lives, especially snippets of what they're stitching. The list of blogs I follow has been growing too, so I spend time every day checking in to see what's new on my bloglovin feed.

I want to be working on my own quilty projects, though, so I have to be careful how much time I spend looking at others' creations. I only have so much "me" time, after all. If I spend it all sitting with my laptop or my phone I won't get much stitched together myself.

Surprisingly, the Bible even talks about that. "He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty" (Proverbs 28:19). I'm not working my land to grow my own food. I'm not even selling my quilts to buy groceries, but the principle stays the same. If I don't work, I won't have any results.

This may seem very basic. It may seem like it doesn't warrant much of our time, but the book of Proverbs puts a strong emphasis on the importance of work. We read in Proverbs 10:4: "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth" and in chapter 13, verse 4: "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." Chapter 20:4 says, "A sluggard does not plow in season, so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing."

We all have many different types of work we do. When I'm sewing, I say I'm working on a particular quilt, but there's really no part of it that feels like work. It's fun and I love to do it. Then there are other types of work that most certainly feel like work. Housecleaning? That's work. I don't want to do it, but it needs to get done at least some of the time. Whether it is the fun of working towards a quilting goal, or the necessary work that is required to earn a paycheck or keep the house and family in running order, if we don't do it we won't reap the benefit.

Thinking about making a quilt will not produce something I can snuggle under with a good book. Looking at instagram or blogs and dreaming about how I would make a particular quilt in my favourite colours won't either. While it doesn't much matter in the end whether or not I make another quilt, I don't want to spend all my time just dreaming about quilting. I want to dream and plan, yes, but I also want to actually quilt!

The same holds true for my writing. I spent years dreaming about writing, dreaming about finishing a book and getting it published, but doing little or no writing. It didn't get me very far. Now I am writing at least once a week and even when I'm not sitting and typing a devotion, I'm thinking about it, crafting parts of it in my mind as I do other things. Working on my writing has given me better results than just dreaming about it!

As for the housework...well, it won't do itself. My husband does a lot around the house, but there are some tasks that are mine and it's very noticeable when I neglect them. Thinking about how much we need clean laundry is not nearly as effective as putting clothes in the washer, then the dryer and then folding them so they can be put away.

Do you have work you want or need to do, but you find yourself spending more time thinking about it than actually doing it? Let this be your gentle reminder that getting to work will produce abundance, while just dreaming leads to nothing.

April 12, 2014

Joining Rows

Since I last posted about this,I have spent a lot of time working on my hexie flower quilt. It has reached the point where I feel like it's almost finished, so now I want to work on it even more to see it finished. Do you find you're more excited to work on a project as you near the end? Of course, I'm only nearing the end of the quilt top, not the actual finished quilt, but a finished top is something to celebrate too.

Here are all 56 flowers joined into their 7 rows.
 But wait...it gets even better!

I've started joining those rows to each other. So far I have combined four rows into two wide rows.

I am so glad I chose to use two different blues for the background, and that I stitched them randomly rather than trying to create a pattern.
I love the interest it adds to the background, without making it so busy that it takes away from the flowers.

On a totally different note, I have joined Instagram. I am @devotedquilter, if you'd like to follow me there.

And on another completely different note, Craftsy is having a flash sale this weekend, with great prices on some of their classes. I noticed that Angela Walters' Dot to Dot Quilting and Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers are both included in this sale. I have watched both classes and learned a lot from them. I love Angela's teaching style and her fmq is amazing.

I hope you're having a great weekend! I'll be linking to some of these places.

April 08, 2014

Finish-a-Long List for Quarter 2

Can you believe a quarter of the year is gone already? At least we have some quilty finishes to show for it, thanks to the motivation provided by the Finish-a-Long! So here I am, planning out what projects I want to finish for this quarter.

1. Scrappy Log Cabin. I know. It was one of my priorities last quarter, but it's still unfinished. I did work on it though, and now I'm extra determined to get it off my list!
2. This pinwheel project I started last week. I'm ready to start quilting it, once I get some backing fabric. I want to share a series of projects on this blog, but I need pattern testers before I can do that. If you're interested in testing patterns for me, I'd love to hear from you. Just tell me in a comment or email me at piecefullydevoted at gmail dot com.
 




3. My Hands 2 Help Charity Challenge quilt. I have a center portion made using this heavy equipment fabric and I plan to border it with disappearing 4 patch blocks. I've started cutting for those, but that's as far as I've made it so far. Are you making a quilt for this year's challenge? What a great way to help someone and participate in a quilting 'party' too!





  
4. I have offered to test a pattern for Leanne of She Can Quilt, so as soon as I get the pattern, I'll be starting in on that.

That's it for me this quarter. As always, I have a couple of other projects on the go, but they're not far enough along to even think I could finish them in the next three months. Eventually they'll find their way onto the list for another quarter. My snowman runner that was on the list last quarter isn't finished, but let's be honest...I really don't want to look at snowmen now, when the snow is finally starting to melt. They'll reappear on my list in the fall.

How about you? Is your goal list written and linked up with Katy at The Littlest Thistle? You have until the 14th to get in on the fun.

April 07, 2014

A Stenographer?

Have you ever heard of Biddy Chambers? Probably not. She's not exactly a famous woman, even in Christian circles, but her work has had an incredible influence on millions of people trying to live the way God wants us to live.

Biddy was a stenographer. That's not an occupation most of us would associate with inspiring people to live more godly lives, and yet it was her stenography skills that God used. A stenographer writes in shorthand, keeping notes while someone else talks. You might picture the stereotype of a secretary taking notes while her employer dictated a letter. Biddy wasn't taking notes for her employer though, she was transcribing her husband's sermons as he preached. Her husband was Oswald Chambers, whose books have sold millions of copies. The funny thing is, Oswald Chambers died without having written most of the books now published under his name. The work contained in the books is his, but he wasn't the one who set it to paper. That was Biddy's work. She took her shorthand notes and then, after his death, compiled them first into pamphlets and then eventually into books. My Utmost for His Highest, Chambers' most famous book, was published from Biddy's notes 10 years after his death and has never been out of print since.

Many of us feel we don't have much to offer in terms of serving God. We think of pastors, musicians and authors and we can see how their skills can be used to bring people to God, or to help Christians live the way God intends for us to live. But we tend to think along the lines of, "But I'm just a _________. God doesn't need me."

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

If Biddy Chambers had not used her stenography to serve her God, the world would be missing out on the books she helped to produce. Oswald was a preacher, a much more obvious occupation for God to use, but without Biddy's efforts, most people would never have learned from Oswald's insight and teaching. His words certainly wouldn't be on my bookshelf, and maybe even yours, without her work.

For a couple of years now I have been drawn to chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians. I feel like it is the message God wants me to share with those who believe in Him. This chapter isn't meant for evangelism, for telling people about Jesus and bringing them to repentance. This chapter is meant for believers, for those who already know Jesus and want to serve Him. God wants us to fully understand that He has given us the talents and abilities we need to serve Him. We aren't good at the same things, and that's by His design. He doesn't want us all doing the same work. If we all try to do one job then the other jobs won't get done.

In 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6, Paul writes, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." God doesn't only need pastors. He doesn't only need writers. He needs teachers and nurses and doctors and store clerks and bank tellers and secretaries. What we need to do is take an honest look at ourselves. Not a humble look, which says, "Well, I can do ________, but so-and-so does it much better,"  but rather an honest look at talents that may seem unlikely to be useful to God. Then we need to offer those talents in service to Him in whatever ways He sees fit.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

We may be surprised by what He can do with what we consider unlikely skills.

April 04, 2014

Happy Birthday Finish

I have finished the Happy Birthday banner quilt! Actually, I finished it a few weeks ago, but kept it in reserve in case I didn't meet my own goal of having my And Sew On quilt finished for when I hosted TGIFF last week. I wanted to have a finish for my own finish linky party, after all! But And Sew On was finished in time for the party, so today Happy Birthday get its moment to shine.
This was such a fun quilt to put together. I used EQ7 to design it, learning how to write on a quilt in the process. The piecing and applique are both very simple, but I was worried about stitching around the letters because they're a little thin. I shouldn't have worried though, they're just thick enough to make it easy to go around them with a small zig zig stitch.
 I love how the quilting shows up on the solid sheet I used for the back.

I used grey thread for a tight stipple in the center of the quilt, which really highlighted the letters. Then a red thread for a wishbone design in the red border, followed by blue thread for a meandering star in the blue border. Of course, the design in the friendship stars is my favourite part of the whole quilt!
This picture was taken before I put on the binding.
This is my last eligible finish for the FAL this quarter. I guess three out of the five on my list isn't too bad a showing.

I have written the pattern for this quilt, which will soon be in my Craftsy Pattern Store.

*Edited to say I no longer sell my patterns on Craftsy because of the VAT, so the pattern is actually available in my Etsy and Payhip shops.

 My pattern tester, Annette, was doing a great job with her version...
...until she ran into a problem.
Those border pieces are too small, and no, it wasn't her mistake. This is why pattern testers are so important! I had written for the pieces to be cut 1/2" narrower than they needed to be, which obviously doesn't work. Rest assured, the mistake has been fixed, so the pattern that will be available in my store has the correct measurements.
 Happy Birthday quilt banner pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Get your copy of the pattern from my Etsy or Payhip shops!

Amanda Jean is back from her blogging hiatus, so I'll be linking with Finish it up Friday, TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

April 02, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Pinwheels

This little pile of trimmings...
came from making four of these. Trimming HSTs isn't much fun, but it sure makes a difference to the finished block.
Pinwheels have always been one of my favourite blocks. I love all the many variations too, but I haven't made many of those. I recently discovered the disappearing pinwheel block, so I may have to give that a try sometime soon.

These stacks of units are also destined to become pinwheels and join the first four in a simple little project.
I have a series in mind to start here on the blog, so I don't want to share many details. I will, however, be needing pattern testers. If you're interested leave me a comment or email me at piecefullydevoted at gmail dot com.

I'm also working on writing the pattern for Spring Dreams, which works well as either a mini quilt or as  garden flag. If you are interested in testing Spring Dreams, just let me know.
 
If you haven't yet entered my giveaway for a free Craftsy class, go here to do so. Craftsy has so many great classes, and they keep adding more. Most of my free motion skills have come from watching their classes. If you've already entered the giveaway, good luck!

I link to these places.

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