April 18, 2018

30 Quilt Designs Challenge 2018

Sandra, at Musings of a Menopausal Melon, hosted the #30quiltdesignschallenge2018 on Instagram, which has just finished up. I had a blast participating again and my to-make list is lots longer than it was before we started, lol.

Not only that, but some of the quilts are already finished or in progress 😊 The doll quilts I made a few weeks ago were design #8, and my April Island Batik challenge quilt is design #15. That one just needs binding and then I'll be able to share the finished quilt. I also have all the fabric I need for design #3, which is scheduled for an upcoming issue of Make Modern magazine, so I won't share the picture here. Last, but not least, my plan for my June Island Batik challenge quilt is to use design #16, though it won't be in these colours.
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Here are some of my other favourites from the challenge. If you see one you think I should make and write the pattern for, be sure to let me know!

This was design #30, which reminds me of sunflower fields.
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Design #2 - Boxed In
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Design #28. I see this one made with recycled jeans for the strippy squares. I have dozens of pairs of old jeans stuck in a closet, so I could easily make a few of these!
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I love this design, #27, which I nicknamed A Million Pieces, because it looks like that's what it would take to make it!
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
A huge thank you to Sandra for hosting the challenge and to the sponsors Clinton Modern Creative and The Red Hen Shop

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a whole bunch of quilts to fit into my schedule, somehow 😊

April 16, 2018

Stash Statement Blog Hop

Kelly, of My Quilt Infatuation, is launching her new book Stash Statement and to celebrate there's a big blog hop starting today.
Stash Statement by Kelly Young | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I was thrilled when Kelly asked me to be part of the blog hop and I can't wait to share my quilt late in May. You've seen some sneak peeks of my quilt already, here and here.

My background fabric arrived a few days ago. It's an Island Batik fabric, from their Foundations Blenders line.
Island Batik background fabric | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Isn't it pretty? I just have to finish up two other quilts and then I can get back to getting this one put together. Why aren't there more sewing hours in the day?

There are some gorgeous quilts in the book and a lot of wonderful bloggers are taking part, so you can be sure the blog hop will be a lot of fun. Here's the full list so you can check them all out.

Stash Statement Blog Tour Schedule-

4/16- Grand Bazaar    Shelley @ Cora's Quilts
                                    Connie @ Freemotion by the River

                           Diann @ Little Penguin Quilts

4/30- Precarious  Jess @ Quilty Habit                       
                             Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
5/7- Beach Retreat  Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts                               
                                 Liz @ Savor Every Stitch 
5/14- Fire Pit   Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts                                          
                         Preeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts
5/21- Detour    Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts                         
                         Shelley @ The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts
5/28- Murrina    Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl             
                            Leanne @ Devoted Quilter
6/4- Scattered    Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal                      
                           Christine @ Triangles and Squares 
6/11- Bloom Chicka Boom   Chris @ made by ChrissieD            
                                               Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
6/18- Regatta   Susan @ Quilt Fabrication                             
                          Debbie @ A Quilter's Table    
                          Christa @ Christa Quilts
6/25- Catch a Falling Star  Cynthia @ Quilting is More Fun Than Housework        
                                              Anja @ Anja Quilts
7/2- College Prep   Hilary @ by Hilary Jordan                 
                                Lori @ Crossquilt
7/9- Take Flight (bonus digital pattern)  Kelli @ Seriously, I Think It Needs Stitches 
                                                                 Paula @ The Sassy Quilter

I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the different, wonderful and scrappy quilts over the next few weeks!

Wavy Borders

Devotion for the Week...

My local quilt shop owner recently bought a long arm machine. After she'd had it for a while, she started offering long arm quilting services and a while after that I asked her how things were going. She is really enjoying the quilting, but we had a good laugh together about wavy borders.

"I never understood what other long armers were talking about when they complained about wavy borders," she told me. "I thought they were just being over dramatic, but they weren't! One quilt I had was 6" wider at the ends than it was in the middle!"

Wavy borders happen when quilters cut a strip of fabric to be the border, but they don't measure the quilt and cut the length of the border to fit. Instead they just start sewing it on and when they reach the end of the quilt, they cut the border even with the edge of the quilt top. The problem is that as we sew, we tend to stretch the fabric just slightly. If you're adding multiple borders, stretching the edge each time, then the edge of the quilt gets bigger and bigger while the middle of the quilt stays the same size. It's a slightly hourglass-like shape when it's supposed to be a perfect rectangle. Then, when a long arm quilter is trying to make the quilt edges square up, there's all kinds of extra fabric in the borders, which makes it almost impossible to quilt the border smooth and flat.

She tried to explain this to a couple of customers, but they just waved their hands and shook their heads. "I've been quilting for thirty years. I know how to put on a border," was a typical response.

 Obviously, sewing on quilt borders is an inconsequential thing. Whether it's done properly or not doesn't have an effect on much at all (except the long armers patience, probably). But it is a good example of an attitude we can all exhibit at times.

"I've done this before. You don't need to tell me what to do."

Proverbs 10:8 says, "The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces." In that moment, when someone is trying to correct something we're doing wrong, we have a choice. We can listen or we can wave them off and insist we know what we're doing.

The other person won't always be right and we might actually know what we're doing, but that's not the issue here. The issue is our attitude. Do we just assume that we know what we're doing, without being willing to listen to what the other person is suggesting? Or are we willing to consider another point of view, another way, and in so doing maybe find something valuable?

A person is not wise because they know everything. Dictionary.com defines wise as "having the power of discerning and judging properly what is true or right." Being wise, then, starts with being willing to listen to what others have to say, even if they're saying we're doing something wrong. Being wise means we listen to them and then evaluate whether or not we think they're right.

And if they're right, of course, then we do our best to incorporate their advice into our lives. We let their instructions change us for the better. Proverbs 15:If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise."
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The next time someone offers a little constructive criticism, let's take a moment and think about what they're saying, rather than brushing it off. I'd rather be at home among the wise than be a babbling fool, insisting I know everything I need to know, and falling flat on my face. Wouldn't you?

April 12, 2018

Wood Grain Quilting

A few days ago, I had my April Island Batik challenge quilt pieced, but I couldn't decide what to quilt it with. I considered wood grain quilting, which I've admired for a long time, but for some reason I thought it was a complicated design to stitch. Unsure what to do, I posted on Instagram, asking for suggestions.

Wouldn't you know it, wood grain was the very first suggestion!

I found this great tutorial by Angela Walters, which also shows three common mistakes people make when quilting wood grain (and how to fix them without ripping anything out) and that's when I realized how simple this design actually is. I'll just add this to the many (many!) things I would love to personally thank Angela for someday 😊

Here's a shot of my first few rows of wood grain quilting.
Wood grain quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
One of the best things about this design is that it doesn't need to look perfect. The organic look of the lines just makes it look more natural. As long as I don't forget where I'm going, lol, little variations will just blend right in 😊

And here's how they look on the back of the quilt. I really love the orange thread (Aurifil 2210)  on the green backing fabric. It's not a big contrast, but it's different enough that it shows and that seems perfect for this quilt. The first of these two pictures shows the colour of the backing fabric most accurately.
Wood grain quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Wood grain quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Have you tried any new quilting designs lately?

Thank you to Island Batik for giving me the fabrics for the front of this quilt as part of their ambassador program!

April 09, 2018

It Never Ends

Devotion for the Week...

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "A woman's work is never done." How true is that?? I know that for me, it often feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day for all that I have to do (day job, housecleaning, laundry) and that I want to do (quilting!) and all of the things that are being left undone can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Imagine my surprise when I read a familiar section of the Bible and discovered that Jesus fully understands that feeling!

To set the scene for you, Jesus had spent the previous evening healing people in the town of Capernaum. We're told, in fact, that "The whole town gathered at the door" (Mark 1:33). Though Jesus healed 'many' you can be sure that in a crowd the size of a whole town, there were also many who didn't get to the front of the line to be healed that night.

Then, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: 'Everyone is looking for you!'

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons" (vv. 35-39).

I've said before, the Bible doesn't give us much in the way of details to help us picture the scene. It's not like a novel where every sigh or smile is detailed to make you feel like you can see everything that's happening. That's probably a good thing...the Bible would be several volumes long if it did have all those details! But it does mean that we can sometimes gloss over the emotional side of the story as we're reading.

Just imagine how you would feel if you had gotten up early to get a few quiet moments to pray by yourself, but before long your friends pour into your quiet place, exclaiming "Everyone is looking for you!" Can you feel the weight of the expectations on your shoulders, the weariness that would fall on you at those words?

Because when Peter says 'everyone' he really means all of the townspeople who need something from Jesus or who want to see the miracles He can perform, or who just want to sit and listen to Him teach. There was still plenty of work to be done in Capernaum.

Jesus wasn't turning His back on the people in Capernaum when He suggested they go to the nearby villages rather than returning to where they had already been. It wasn't that their needs were unimportant to Him, or that the people in the other villages were more deserving of healing. It was simply that Jesus knew His time was limited. He couldn't stay in Capernaum and heal everyone there. He was needed in other places too.

Hebrews 4:15,16 says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Yes, this verse is usually used to remind us that Jesus understands our weakness in relation to sin and temptation. He was tempted as we were, after all, but didn't sin. But after thinking about Jesus being maybe a little overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done in the world, I thought about how He understands all of our weaknesses.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
He understands our physical limitations, that we need times of rest and rejuvenation. He understands the limits that come from having only 24 hours in a day and how sometimes that just isn't enough to meet all of the needs around us.

Isn't it wonderful to know that Jesus understands all of our weaknesses?

April 02, 2018

He is Risen!

Devotion for the Week...

We did an Easter craft with the kids at our mid-week kids program at church last week. On it was printed the words "He is risen!"

When we got home, Nathan asked why it says He is risen, rather than He has risen. I told him that it's because Jesus is still risen and we left it at that. I kept thinking about it afterwards, though, and wondering which word the Bible uses, so I looked it up and discovered that the word used depends on which version of the Bible you're reading. Here is Matthew 28:5,6 in a few different versions:

NIV - The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.

KJV - And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.

NLT - Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.

Then I did a little grammar research and discovered that used this way, the word has plus another verb is the present perfect tense, which can be used to describe "An action or situation that started in the past and continues in the present." For example, she has lived here for two years.

So no matter which version you're reading, the verse means that Jesus rose from the dead that one miraculous morning, and His life continues into the present. In all of the years between then and now, He didn't die again.

He is still risen!
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

March 29, 2018

WIPs This Week

I have a bunch of projects on this go this week, so I thought it was a good time to do a WIP post 😊

First up is my Island Batik ambassador project for April. The April challenge is called "Looking Back: Vintage Quilts Inspiring New Creations."

One of the goodies in my box from Island Batik was a layer cake of the Northern Woods line, which is a beautiful collection of greens, browns, creams and oranges with a couple of blues and teals thrown in for good measure. Island Batik also sent 1 1/2 yards of a light and a dark from the collection to supplement. It's the perfect collection for a masculine quilt and since I'm wanting to gift a throw size quilt to a man this summer, I chose it for this challenge.

When I set out to create a design, my must-haves were layer cake friendly, good for a man (so no applique flowers, lol) and using classic blocks. Here's what I came up with, coloured to resemble the Northern Woods line, although somehow some purples snuck in there.
Quilt Design | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
There are 4 patch blocks, pinwheels and those large neutral squares remind me of old fashioned album quilts. They'd be great if you were looking to make a signature quilt for a special occasion.

So far I have the rows all pieced together. The lighting isn't great in this picture, so the colours aren't quite right, but they're close.
Quilt rows | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I'm looking for pattern testers for this design, so if you're interested just let me know. I'm hoping to have the pattern written and ready for testing by the end of next week.

Next up is my scrap sewing. I've finished all of the units I need for the quilt 😊 They look so beautiful all stacked up.
Scrap sewing blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Here are a few scattered about.
Scrap sewing blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I love some of the tiny pieces that made their way into the blocks, like the small green triangle and the small blue rectangle in this block. It was fun to use the tiniest pieces, though it did make piecing these blocks take longer than if I had been using larger scraps.
Scrap sewing blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I took these pictures with a solid blue fabric as the background, which I quite like, but it's not what I've chosen for the actual background. I'll share that just as soon as it arrives 😊

And as my last project in the works this week, I have another first responder quilt ready to be basted and  quilted.
First responder quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I thought I would get it basted last night, but I ran out of time. Hopefully it will happen tomorrow morning. Next week is our Easter break, so I'm hoping to get it quilted during the week off. Fitting in these last few first responder quilts (8 more after this one) around my deadline quilting means that it will probably be a few months yet before I get them all done. I'd really like to get them done and gifted before the summer, but we'll see. At least I'm down to single digits left to go, lol!

That's what on the go in my sewing world this week. What are you working on?

March 27, 2018

Island Batik - Everyday Skirt

March's challenge for the Island Batik ambassadors is to try something new. It could be anything, so long as it was new to us. I was planning on doing needle turn applique, because I've always wanted to try it, but I couldn't decide on a design and didn't really feel like doing a new hand stitching project with my two EPP projects, Scattered Stars and my Hexie Rainbow, already on the go. In the ambassador facebook group we had a huge list of possibilities, but nothing really grabbed my attention.

Then I thought, "I've never sewn with rayon before. I wonder if that would count." When I checked, I was told I was good to go, so I've made myself an Everyday Skirt (pattern by Liesl + Co) with the beautiful rayon sent to me by Island Batik.
Everyday Skirt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Focus on the pretty fabric, not my non-existent modeling skills, lol!
I was a little nervous about cutting the rayon. I've made skirts before, but only with quilting cotton, denim and poplin (which behaves almost exactly like quilting cotton). The rayon is softer and shifts around more. It feels more fluid, which doesn't make much sense considering it's a solid, but it just feels like it has more movement to it. That's great when you're wearing it, but it made me nervous as I was laying it out to cut the pieces.

Sewing the rayon wasn't much different than sewing with quilting cotton. There's no stretch to it, so I didn't have to worry about that. Again, it felt like it shifted around a little more than a quilting cotton would, but I had no problems sewing it.

The Everyday Skirt is a great pattern and I will definitely want to make more. The pattern is well written so I had no trouble with any of the steps and I'm a novice when it comes to garment making. I wasn't sure what size to make, though. My waist measurement said I needed a large, but the pattern said that if you wore it a little higher (which I figured I would), then you could maybe make the smaller size as long as that size's measurement for the elastic when extended would fit over your hips, which the medium would.

I printed out the pattern and cut the waistband pattern piece for the medium and held it up to my waist to test it. It seemed like that would fit so, with a little trepidation, that was the size I cut out. It fits! Actually, I ended up using a shorter length of elastic that the pattern said to use for the medium, so I'm very glad I didn't start out with the large!

I also cut 2 1/2" from the length of the skirt before I hemmed it because of my short legs. I've made a note of that on the pattern for next time and I'll just cut the pieces that much shorter to conserve fabric.

And the best part about the Everyday Skirt (aside from the super-comfy elastic waistband)? It has pockets! Nice, big, roomy pockets. I'll be able to carry my phone and/or my keys no problem this summer, even when I don't want to carry my wallet. That's good because I often go for walks and I want to have my phone with me, but I don't want to have to carry anything in my hands. Pockets in a skirt are a must!
Everyday Skirt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I wore the skirt to church on Sunday and it was wonderfully comfortable. The rayon feels wonderful and doesn't wrinkle much while being worn, which is a definite plus. I've been trying to find a Canadian source to buy the rayon batik in other prints because I'd love to make a dress with it for the summer and I see that Along Came Quilting carries 3 prints. They carry a large selection of the quilting cottons too, if you're looking for those 😉

While I was making the skirt, I kept thinking about the slow fashion movement. Have you heard of it?  Basically, it's a movement to get people to be more intentional about their clothing choices. To buy fewer pieces, to buy pieces that are made sustainably and by people who are paid a fair wage, to throw fewer pieces into the landfill. Making this skirt had me thinking about how much fabric actually goes into an article of clothing (almost 2 yards for this skirt), and how much time it takes to make vs how little we are often willing to pay for things at the mall. I know I'm guilty of trying to only buy things when they are on sale, which doesn't really make much sense when I consider the real cost in both fabric and time. It's the same as trying to sell a quilt for what it's actually worth, isn't it? It's something to think about, for sure.

Well, that's my something new for this month's challenge! Thank you to Island Batik for giving me the gorgeous fabric to play with. I'll be wearing my new skirt a lot this summer 😊

March 26, 2018

Like a Child

Devotion for the Week...

I'm looking at another familiar portion of Scripture this week, this time it is Mark 10:13-16: "People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them."

I've always liked this story, this picture of Jesus welcoming little children to Him and scolding his disciples for trying to keep them from bothering Him. Maybe it's because I love kids too and I like that Jesus wanted to take the time to bless them. Maybe it's because I'm a little suspicious of those who view children as nothing but a bother and so it's reassuring to see Jesus treating them with love and respect. Certainly it is because I like the idea of accepting the kingdom as a child accepts things, with a steady and certain faith that what they believe is true.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I came across this story in a way that made me think about Jesus' words a little differently. When He said, "anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it," I always focused on accepting the kingdom, as in accepting it for the first time. I took Jesus' words to be about our initial faith in Him, but never really thought about how being like a child would impact our faith in the long term.

But then someone pointed out that being like a child includes being dependant. Kids don't provide for themselves, and they don't question whether or not provision will be made for them.They just depend on their parents to take care of them. Likewise, we should be like little children and depend on our Father to take care of us.

How much do we like to question His provision, though? We worry and fret about the things we need (and sometimes over the things we only just want), stressing over whether or not we will have enough. Never mind that Jesus tells us specifically not to stress over those things (in Matthew 6:25-34), we feel the need to work ourselves up about them. I love when Jesus says, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (v. 27). Doesn't that just bring home how pointless worrying is?

Being dependent not only means trusting God to take care of us, but also acknowledging that we can't take care of ourselves. Kids aren't physically or financially able to care for their own needs. They are dependent on their parents to do for them what they can't do for themselves.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
We like to think we have it all together. We like to think we can take care of ourselves and do what needs to be done in our own lives. The truth of the matter, though, is that we are dependent on God for everything. Acknowledging that one simple fact can go a long way towards curing us of our worry habit.

Like little children, we depend on our Father to care for us. And like the wonderful Father He is, He will.

March 22, 2018

Pinwheel Square in Quilter's Connection

I can finally share my Pinwheel Square quilt, which is in the spring issue of Quilter's Connection magazine 😊 Pinwheels have long been one of my favourite quilt blocks and I loved making this simple baby quilt with an abundance of pinwheels. Pinwheel Square finishes at 42" x 42".
Pinwheel Square baby quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Pinwheel Square is made with batiks from RJR's Blossom Batik Geodes line along with a beautiful greenish grey solid. I love the jewel tones and marbled look of the batik fabrics.
Pinwheel Square baby quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I backed the quilt with the same solid grey and quilted it with all-over echoed loops. I love how quickly those loops stitch up and I love the texture they give to a quilt.
Pinwheel Square baby quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Pinwheel Square baby quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The spring issue of Quilter's Connection magazine is available on newsstands now, or visit their website to order your copy.
Pinwheel Square baby quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

March 19, 2018

Our Toddler Nature

I have been sick all weekend (my usual devotion writing time), so I've chosen to republish this devotion that was originally published in March of 2014.

Devotion for the Week...

Aiden will be 12 in May, so over the last almost 12 years I have spent a lot of time with small children. There have been my own three boys, of course, but also the kids belonging to my friends and the kids I babysit. While the kids have all had their own distinct personalities, there have been some obvious similarities.

1. They all throw fits when they can't have something. Have you ever taken something from a child because they're not allowed to have it? Their little fingers grip so tight you have to pry them off the item in question, and once you take it away they howl as if you actually cut off their fingers.

2. They all take what they want, when they want it. Their sibling has a truck they want? No problem. They'll just snatch it and start playing with it. How many times as parents (or babysitters) do we take a toy from the snatcher and hand it back to the child who had it first? 

3. They all head straight for the things they know they're not allowed to have. Whether it's an electrical cord, an older sibling's ipod or a kitchen cupboard, they want nothing more than what has been forbidden. As soon as they think the adult in the room is distracted they make a beeline for it. You can tell they know it's wrong by how they react when they see you coming. They either drop it and try to look innocent or they grab on tighter as if daring you to take it away (see point #1).

4. They all push limits, testing how far they're allowed to go before they actually get into trouble. If you say 'no' to something, but then allow them to do it with no consequences, you can be sure they'll do it again, and they'll push a little farther next time.

5. They all hate to clean up their messes. Spreading toys and books all over the floor is fun. Picking up those same things to put them away is awful, capable of inducing whining, complaining and crying.

Gradually, with plenty of work on the parent's part, these traits are replaced by things like self-control, sharing, patience and responsibility. I find it interesting, though, that toddlers reveal our true nature as humans. As adults, we like to believe that we are good people and, for the most part, we are good people. But we're still people who have the nature of those toddlers, even if we have been trained to behave in a more civilized manner.

The Bible says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and looking at toddlers we see that this is true. No matter how sweet a child may be, there are always times when selfishness or disobedience shows up. A child has to be taught to share, to follow rules, to consider how their actions affect others.

Even when we are grown, there are times when those less-than-desirable traits show up. Maybe we get angry with God because we aren't getting what we pray for or maybe we're pushing the limits, testing how far we can go before God disciplines us, or avoiding an apology we know we need to make to clean up the mess we made with our words or actions. Whatever the case may be, if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that our inner toddler is not completely grown up.

I love the book of Romans. It's a tough book to understand, but there is so much food for thought in there that the effort is worth it. We might be tempted to think the apostle Paul had it all together, that he was perfect in his thoughts, words and actions. After all, he wrote a big chunk of the New Testament and God uses his writing to help us learn how to live a godly life. But Paul struggled too. "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15). Can you relate? I know I can.

Though we work hard to live godly lives, there is no doubt that we are working against what our human nature wants. Our human nature is like a toddler - selfish, demanding, wanting to explore as far into the forbidden as possible. In short, sinful and in need of Jesus.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

March 18, 2018

Spring Into Colour 2018

It's that time of year again, when people in more southern climates are sharing pictures of their first flowers of the season while outside my window is white, white and more white. There are new tulip bulbs planted under the snow, but it's still going to be a while yet before I can see them 😊

Spring is almost here, though, and I'd love to be surrounded by lots of colour. To get a dose of all the colour I'm craving, I'll be hosting my Spring into Colour Instagram photo challenge again this year. This will be the third edition of the challenge and I'm so looking forward to seeing all the glorious colour that will fill up the hashtag! I hope you'll join in!

The fun begins on Tuesday, March 20, the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere, and runs for 14 days with a new photo prompt posted each morning. This year I've changed up the prompts. Rather than using a single colour as a prompt most days, I've chosen categories of colour, like 'analagous colours' or 'primary colours' to give everyone a chance to use the colours they like best.

Here's the list of prompts.
Spring into Colour 2018 | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
We'll be using #springintocolour_2018. Don't miss the _ before the 2018, or the 'u' in colour (I am Canadian, after all 😊).

And did I mention there are prizes? Well, there are! Thanks to some wonderful, generous sponsors, I have the following prizes for participants in the challenge.

Three 6-month subscriptions to Make Modern magazine (affiliate link).

A $50 gift card to Mad About Patchwork.

Winners choice of 2 PDF patterns from Quilting Jetgirl.

A $50 USD credit towards patterns in the Sew Fresh Quilts pattern shop.

Winner's choice of 2 PDF patterns from Slice of Pi Quilts.

And I'll add a prize myself, which will be the winner's choice of 3 PDF patterns from my pattern shop.

To be eligible for prizes, IG accounts must be set to public for the challenge. I'll use a random hashtag picker to choose the winners the morning of April 3rd and they'll be contacted by IG message. The more photos you post in the challenge, the more chances you have to win!

I hope to see your colourful pictures in the challenge 😊

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

March 12, 2018

Beautiful Generosity

Devotion for the Week...

I love that Jesus used parables to teach us because I love how easy it makes it to identify with the lesson He wanted us to learn. Stories are so much better than just straight teaching, don't you think?

Take the parable of the vineyard workers, for example. It can be found in Matthew 20, but here is the condensed version: A vineyard owner goes out looking for workers first thing in the morning and hires some, saying he'll pay them the going rate for a day's work. A few hours later, he goes out and hires a few more, saying that at the end of the day he'll pay them whatever is right. Twice more through the day he goes out, hires a few workers and says he'll pay them whatever is right.

The end of the day comes and the owner tells his foreman to pay the workers, starting with those hired last. Those workers get the going rate for a full day's work, which makes those who were hired first assume they will get more. When their turn comes, though, they are also paid the going rate for a day. Feeling cheated, they protest that they worked longer than those who were hired later and so deserve more.

The owner says to them, "Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?" (Matthew 20:13-15).

Jesus was telling us that those who serve God all their lives and those who give their lives to Him at 90 are all going to get the same reward. Don't you love that generosity?

Just think of the thief on the other cross as Jesus was being crucified. He acknowledged that Jesus was innocent and asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, to which Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). It can't get much more last minute than that. He was a man who, by his own admission, deserved to die for the crimes he had committed, and yet when he acknowledged Jesus as King, Jesus immediately conferred on him the right to eternal life.

That man would never live a single day as a Christian, never tell anyone about how Jesus can save people from their sins, never show by his radically changed life the power of God. And yet Jesus promised him eternal life in paradise. Do you know why?

Because what we do for God has nothing to do with our salvation.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9). It wasn't our work that brought us salvation to begin with. It is entirely through faith in the work Jesus did for us, which means that how long we have believed or how much we have done in service to God is completely irrelevant.

All that matters is that we believe. The moment we believe, we have eternal life with Jesus thanks to His beautiful generosity.

March 09, 2018

Scraps Squared Pattern Release

Are your scrap bins overflowing? I know, it's a silly question, isn't it? It seems like if you're a quilter, then your scrap bins are always overflowing, no matter how many scrap quilts you make. It's like they multiply when we're not looking 😊

To help you tame those scraps, I'm pleased to release my Scraps Squared pattern today.
Scraps Squared quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Scraps Squared finishes at 60" x 72" and uses small squares in two different sizes. Change your scraps into a gorgeous quilt!
Scraps Squared quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Scraps Squared quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I made my quilt using 4 patch blocks I had made as leaders and enders, which is a great way to make a lot of units easily. Make the 4 patch units while you're making other quilts and before you know it you'll be ready to put your Scraps Squared together 😊

To celebrate the pattern release, Scraps Squared will be available for 25% off the regular price until March 20th.

Get your copy now from my Payhip shop or my Etsy shop!

As always, if you make Scraps Squared, I'd love to see your version. Tag me on IG (devotedquilter) or FB (devotedquilterdesigns) or send me an email at devotedquilter at gmail dot com.

Happy scrap sewing!

March 06, 2018

Cross Stitch in Make Modern

My quilt, Cross Stitch, is in issue 21 of Make Modern magazine (affiliate link), which is available now. The issue includes a lot of other gorgeous designs too, and I can't wait to have time to properly enjoy them all, rather than the quick flick-through I've managed so far.
Cross Stitch Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The X design reminds me of the stitches in cross stitch, though they aren't quite the same. I really loved using the two different sizes of blocks to create the design and the limited palette gives the quilt a striking simplicity.
Cross Stitch quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
My Cross Stitch quilt is made with fabrics from the Northcott Gradations and Gradations Brights collections. If they look familiar, maybe it's because I used the leftovers to make my Necessary Clutch wallet once the quilt was finished. I have always loved near solids and Northcott makes some of the best ones I've ever seen. There's so much texture in each one. I wish I had yards and yards and yards of all of them!

I debated for days about how I would quilt this and I didn't actually decide until I was sitting with it on the sewing machine, with the needle down and ready to go. Talk about waiting until the last minute! I finally decided to do simple back and forth lines, but to vary the direction of the lines to emphasize the shapes in the design.
Cross Stitch quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Cross Stitch quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Cross Stitch quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Cross Stitch finishes at 65" x 65" and with only one block (in two sizes) it comes together really quickly.

To get your copy of Make Modern issue 21, just click here (affiliate link). Because Make Modern is a digital magazine, you'll get a link to download the issue immediately so you can dive right in 😊 And, since this is issue 21, Make Modern has created bundles of their first 20 issues, so you can pick up bundles of issues 1-10 and issues 11-20 (more affiliate links). I'm willing to bet you'll find lots of fun things to make in there!

As always, if you make Cross Stitch, I'd love to see your version, so tag me on IG (devotedquilter) or FB (devotedquilterdesigns) or email me at devotedquilter at gmail dot com. Hopefully you won't have so much trouble deciding how to quilt yours, lol.

*Note - this post contains affiliate link, which means that if you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may receive a commission. This does not affect the price you pay. Thanks for you support!

March 05, 2018


Devotion for the Week...

When we moved into our house 10 years ago, the family room was hardly furnished. We had a TV, couch, a couple of chairs, Paul's desk and some bookshelves that were only about half full. Since the room spans the entire length of the house, it felt huge and empty. Now it's crammed full. We've added a piano, a full drum set, an elliptical and a rowing machine, a coffee table and three end tables and the bookshelves are crammed so full we're stacking books on top of books in places.

When we moved in, the storage room in the basement held our Christmas decorations and a few random other things. Now it's so full it's a serious chore to try to find something in there. Much of it probably needs to be donated or sold, but we just don't have the time/energy to deal with sorting it all out. I have joked that people should be forced to move every few years so they have to regularly declutter and get rid of all the excess that builds up.

This accumulation of stuff is obviously not a new problem. In Matthew 19 there is a story of a young man who came to Jesus to ask what he needed to do to have eternal life.

"And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (vv. 18-21, NLT).

The young man's response is recorded in verse 22, which I think may be the saddest verse in the whole Bible: "But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions."

Isn't that sad? This young man let his possessions, his stuff get in the way of his eternal life.

But how would we react if told to sell all of our stuff in order to follow Jesus? Would we immediately set up a yard sale and get rid of it all? Or would we be like the young man in the story, walking away dejected because we couldn't bear the thought of being without our stuff?

I will be the first to admit that I like my stuff. I like our book collection, my quilts and fabrics, my sewing machine, our board games, my phone and laptop. I even like the stuff that isn't directly mine. I can't play music at all, but I love that we have a piano for Paul to play and drums and guitars for Aiden. I have a hard time imagining life without the stuff we have accumulated.

Matthew 6:19-21 says, "Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."

Obviously, the young man's possessions had captured his heart. Have mine? Have yours? Is our stuff getting in the way of living as Jesus would have us live? Is our focus more on things than on impacting people for eternity?
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It's not that we shouldn't own anything. That's impractical. As with so many things, it's a matter of our heart. What do we value most? What is our treasure?

If it is the stuff of this world, then we have opted to treasure things that will decay and be destroyed. But if our treasure is found in serving God and others, then it is treasure that will last for all eternity.

March 02, 2018

Celebrating with a Free Quilt Pattern!

I feel like celebrating!

Devoted Quilter is 5 years old today!!

I can't believe how much has changed because of this blog. I never could have dreamed five years ago that I'd be publishing patterns in magazines or that I'd have my own pattern shop. I wouldn't be an ambassador for Island Batik if I hadn't started blogging, and I probably wouldn't have a to-make list that stretches from now into eternity! How is it that the more I make, the more I still want to make?

Most of all, though, I wouldn't have quilting friends scattered all over the world if I hadn't taken the plunge and hit publish on that first post. Thank you all for joining me on this adventure! I love being a part of this community! (And yes, I know that's way too many exclamation points, but sometimes you just have to let all the excitement out 😊) I have loved the IG chats, the inspiration from all of your beautiful makes, time spent reading about your daily lives and just everything that goes with making new friends.

To celebrate my blogiversary this year, I have a new free pattern to share. I had hoped it would be a finished quilt, but that didn't happen. It's basted, but not yet quilted, so a quilt top will have to do for now. It is 60" x 72".

I'm calling it Indecisive because the blocks can't decide if they want to be vertical or horizontal, lol.
Indecisive PDF Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The block was inspired by tire tracks on a snow covered road last winter. It's a lot like a traditional basket weave block, but I made a subtle change, making the middle white strip in each block wider than the two outside white strips. It's hard to see in the pictures, though it's a little more obvious in a close-up of one block, especially if you look at the very top of the picture where there's just a smidge of the block above visible.
The block is super quick to piece and it's stash-friendly. Don't you love quilts that let you use what you already have? I don't have a very extensive stash and I pulled all of these fabrics no problem. Of course, I pretty much depleted my greys and blacks, but that just means I need to do some fabric shopping, right? I love quilts that let me do fabric shopping too, lol 😊

You can download the free PDF pattern from my Payhip shop, with many, many thanks for all of your support and friendship these past five years. And if you've never signed up for The Bulletin, my monthly newsletter, I invite you to do that too. You'll even get another free pattern for signing up!
Indecisive PDF Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
If you make Indecisive, I'd love to see it, so be sure to tag me on IG (@devotedquilter) or FB (@devotedquilterdesigns) or send pictures to devotedquilter at gmail dot com.

Here's to the next five years! I can't wait to see how things have changed and I'm hoping to have met some of you by then 😊
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