April 28, 2016

100,000, Something New and a Surprise!

It feels like it has been a big week here at Devoted Quilter!

I've been watching my blog stats page a little more closely lately, waiting for this:
...and it happened yesterday morning. 100,000 pageviews!! Thank you all so much for visiting me here :) If it weren't for you, I'd just be talking to myself!

Also yesterday, I finally stopped procrastinating and got everything set up for a Devoted Quilter newsletter. How often do I really want to do something, but put it off and off and off because I don't know exactly how to do it, or where to start, only to try and then find it's not really all that hard? I really should learn this lesson and stop the procrastinating!

It's funny the things that can hold me up sometimes. Picking a name seemed like a major hurdle, though I'm not sure why. I finally just googled 'newsletter name ideas' and when I saw the word bulletin I knew I'd found my name. I love that the word has an association with church too!

I was also hung up on what date to send it out. I knew I only wanted a monthly newsletter, not weekly or even twice a month. That part was easy. But when in the month should I send it? The first of the month seemed too crowded...everyone sends out their new BOM blocks on the first of the month. I don't want to get lost in the flood of new quilting stuff coming into inboxes all on the same day. The 15th of the month, while less crowded, felt uninspiring. I briefly considered the last day of the month, but wasn't really feeling that, either. Then I thought of the 16th. Now, to most people, the 16th would seem like an odd choice, but I've always felt a certain fondness for the 16th of the month. My birthday is the 16th of July, my mother's the 16th of April, my grandmother's the 16th of May and my husband's the 16th of June. I thought for sure at least one of our children would have a 16th of the month birthday, but alas, they all landed on different days. For my newsletter, though, the 16th of each month is perfect!

So, The Bulletin will be a monthly round-up of Devoted Quilter news and links to fun things to make, sent on the 16th of each month beginning in May. The links in each issue will be themed, so if you think of any great theme ideas, you can let me know. There will probably be recipe links too, because we all need good food to fuel the sewing. To receive The Bulletin each month, add your email address on this sign up form.

Are you still with me? I promised a surprise in the post title, didn't I? The whole time I was watching my stats page, calculating when I thought I'd hit the 100,000 mark (sometime in May, I thought), I was also wondering what I could do to celebrate. I'd like to send you all a little something to say thanks, but obviously I can't do that. But I can give you all the chance to win something!

To show my profound appreciation for your visits to my blog, for your friendship and your many kind comments, I'm giving you the chance to win my Denim Hexies mini quilt.
To enter, since these are hexie flowers, leave a comment on this post telling me something about you and flowers. It could be your favourite flower, the flowers you just planted in your garden, the last time someone gave you flowers...anything! I look forward to reading all of your flower tidbits :)

This giveaway will stay open for one week and I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner the evening of Thursday, May 5th.

Good luck, and don't forget to sign up for The Bulletin!

** This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Tish Stemple (comment #9)! **

April 26, 2016

EPP Denim Hexies Mini Quilt Finished

I love, love, love this quilt!

As a reminder, this quilt started because I wanted to see if it was possible to do EPP with denim (spoiler alert - it is possible!). I used 1" hexagons to make these three flowers.
Denim EPP Hexagon Flowers | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Then I machine appliqued them to a solid white background.
Denim EPP Hexagon Flowers | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 I used three designs from Angela Walters' book Shape-by-Shape to quilt the flower centers
Free motion quilting in hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Then I started flow quilting the white background. That's when I completely fell in love with this little quilt! It's really fun to quilt the life into it!
Free Motion Flow Quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Free Motion Flow Quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Free Motion Flow Quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Free Motion Flow Quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I used Connecting Threads 100% polyester thread in Honey (affiliate link) for the flow quilting, which was a little scary at first on that solid white fabric, but I really like how it turned out.

Here's the quilt again, unquilted and then quilted...
 Denim EPP Hexagon Flowers | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Free Motion Flow Quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

I had thought I'd use one or more of the yellows for the binding, but when I finished the quilting I felt like the quilt needed a darker binding to act as a frame. Thankfully, I had enough of the blue swirl fabric I used for the backing.

I have an exciting plan for this quilt, which I'll be sharing in a couple of days, so be sure to check back! I'm also working on a binding tutorial using pictures I took while binding this quilt, so that should be finished and posted soon.

I'll be linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, NTT, TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Finish it up Friday.


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

April 25, 2016

Rejected

Devotion for the Week...

No one likes to be rejected. We want people to like us and accept us. When it comes to our work, we want people to think we're doing a good job, whether it's for our paid work or our quilting or parenting or whatever. None of us would like to have a superior step in and tell us we've been rejected because we're doing things wrong.

It does happen sometimes, though. People are fired from their jobs. Authorities step in and remove children from homes that are abusive or neglectful. The Bible even tells the story of a man who was rejected by God because he did not do what he was told to do.

King Saul was supposed to attack the Amalekites and completely destroy them, killing every living thing (human or animal) and destroying all of their possessions. Saul and his army attacked and won the battle, but then Saul made some adjustments to the plan. "He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed" (1 Samuel 15:8, 9).

Soon after the battle, Saul met up with the prophet Samuel and said, "The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions" (v. 13). Oh, how we deceive ourselves! Saul really thought that his plan was better than God's plan, since Saul's plan included a sacrifice to the Lord of all the animals they had kept from the Amalekites.

Except, God didn't want a sacrifice. He wanted, and still wants, obedience from His people. Samuel said to Saul,

"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    he has rejected you as king" (vv. 22, 23).

'He has rejected you as king'. How awful those words must have sounded to Saul! Just imagine how awful they would sound if they were spoken to you.

Of course, we haven't been chosen to be king (or queen!) over the nation, have we? We have all been chosen by God to be something, though. I believe that we all have a purpose in God's kingdom and that God has a special job for each one of us. 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 tells us that the church is made up of many people, just as the body is made of many different parts, all of which are essential to the proper functioning of the church. 

What is your role? What has God called you to be and do? Some have big, public roles to fill, roles where it's obviously God's work that they're doing, like musicians and pastors. Others have small, lesser known roles, like accountants and grocery store clerks, where maybe it's less obvious that God's work is being done. But all of these roles are equally important to God and all of them offer opportunities for sharing the good news about Jesus. All of these roles, whether public or not, are part of God's plan for His church. 

But in order to be effective in our role, no matter what role we fill, we must commit to following God's plan rather than changing it to what we think is best. Like Saul, we can easily deceive ourselves into thinking that our way is better than what God has called us to do, but God doesn't want us trying to improve the plan. He calls us to obey and heed His plan, not our own. 
Devotions at DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

And if we insist on changing God's plan and doing what we think is best? Then it's possible we will be told, "He has rejected you" for that role. I don't think we can even begin to imagine how awful that would be. I know I would prefer to hear, "‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'" (Matthew 25:21).

April 21, 2016

EPP Stars and a New Pincushion

I haven't shared my EPP stars in a while, but I've been working away at them (mostly only when we're driving somewhere) and my collection is growing.
EPP Stars | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I still don't know exactly what I'll do with them, so I just keep making more!

I have 63 made so far, which sounds like a pretty good number. They make a nice stack here, too, right?
So then I thought, if I want to make a throw-sized quilt, it would need to be about 60" wide...my table is 60", so why don't I lay them out on the table and see how many it would take to make a row.
20! It would take 20 stars to make one throw-sized row, meaning I have enough stars made so far to make 3 rows, with 3 stars left to start the 4th row. Hmmm. This may never make it to throw size! Then again, I'm not bored of making them yet, and I certainly haven't run out of fabric, so who knows!

 Last night I finished quilting my denim epp hexie mini quilt (more on that next week) and I wanted to make something quick. It seems like all my projects lately are rather time-consuming. There's the quilt I'm making for our bed, which is scheduled to be in Make Modern magazine in September, so I'm not going to be sharing a lot of that here, though there are sneak peeks now and then on Instagram (I'm @devotedquilter). There are the EPP stars and the denim hexie quilt, which is small but has taken a lot of time for the quilting. I wanted something fast for a change!

Enter Jenn at Quarter Inch from the Edge, who shared a link to this tutorial for a pincushion that attaches to your sewing machine. Brilliant, right? I'm always finding I forget to grab my pincushion before I sit down at my machine (I have to put everything away when I'm done sewing since I work at the kitchen table), so having one stuck right on my machine is wonderful.
 
I copied Jenn's modification and used elastic instead of the ribbon ties recommended in the tutorial and this whole project took me very little time. Seriously, stitching the opening closed after stuffing the pincushion took as long as everything else combined. It was exactly the quick finish I was looking for, and it's functional too!

What have you been working on lately?

April 18, 2016

Letters

Devotion for the Week...

I have a friend, Carol, who lives on the other side of Canada. We are pretty much as far apart as we can be and still live in the same country. We met when we both lived in Igloolik, a tiny town in Canada's arctic, more than 10 years ago. When she left Igloolik we agreed to write letters, which is the only way we keep in touch (though I think she reads my devotions here too...Hi, Carol!). She's the only person I exchange letters with and it's always a thrill to open the mailbox and see an envelope decorated with the little flower she draws.

Though I am often slow to write when it's my turn, I never start a letter to Carol feeling that it's a chore, as in "Ugh, I have to write to her, but that's the last thing I want to do." Not at all! I enjoy writing those letters, sharing little snippets of what life is like for us here, what I'm up to and what everyone else is doing, how the boys are changing as they get older. I enjoy reading her letters for the same reason. It's fun to read about their family activities and about how her three kids are changing as they grow up. The pictures she sometimes sends are fun too! These letters back and forth are important to me because her friendship is important to me and the letters are how we continue to know each other.

I've heard the Bible referred to as a letter to us from God. Though He did not write it with His own hand, "all Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16,17), meaning that He inspired the various writers with what He wanted them to say. And just as with my letters to Carol, God wrote to us because He wants a relationship with us. He didn't have to write to us, but He chose to send us a letter so that we could know Him.

God tells us many times in the Bible that He wants a relationship with us. These are just a few examples:

John 1:10-23 - "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God."

John 3:16 - "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."

Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Revelation 3:20 - "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."

1 John 3:1 - "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him."


God loves us! He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to restore our relationship with Him. He also wrote us this letter telling us about Himself, about how much He loves us and how to live as His children. The only question is, Have you read it?













April 13, 2016

Rainbow Ripple Pattern Release!

Rainbow Ripple Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I am excited to release the pattern for Rainbow Ripple today! The PDF pattern is now available in both my Etsy shop and my Payhip shop.
 Rainbow Ripple Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I love the combination of vibrant rainbow colours and a black print to make them pop, don't you?

This quilt finishes at approximately 44" x 44", making it a perfect baby or wall quilt. It comes together quickly and there are no points to match up anywhere. Easy!

I had a lot of fun quilting feathers in each of the coloured strips of my version, but it would also look great with straight line quilting and spiral quilting would be amazing.
Rainbow Ripple Quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.comRainbow Ripple Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
What about if you're not into rainbows? I think this quilt would look great made many different ways and I couldn't resist playing around in EQ7 to test out my theory :)

 Maybe alternating the black strips with strips made in different shades of one colour...
Rainbow Ripple Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 or using only two different fabrics...
Rainbow Ripple Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 or three fabrics, like this...
Rainbow Ripple Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 or this...
 Rainbow Ripple Quilt Pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
There are so many possibilities! How would you make your Rainbow Ripple?


Click to buy your copy of Rainbow Ripple in my Etsy shop or my Payhip shop.

April 11, 2016

Why Wait?

Devotion for the Week...

I have to say that life is pretty good in the Parsons' household. Paul and I both have work, the boys are all healthy, we have an abundance of food, there is wood stacked out back to heat the house and spring is on its way. Oh, and I've been doing lots of fun quilting! I hope you can list a similar abundance of good things in your life. But have you ever stopped to think about how the good things in life sometimes make us forget about God?

Moses knew about this prosperity-induced forgetfulness, and he warned the Israelites about it in Deuteronomy 8. He told them, "The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills" (Deuteronomy 8:7-9). In other words, God would bring them into a land where they would have everything they needed. They would not only lack nothing, but they wouldn't even have to start from scratch because the land had already been settled. The Israelites would simply move in and enjoy vineyards and land ready to be cultivated. No taming the wilderness needed.

But listen to what Moses said next. "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (vv. 10-14). He knew what would happen. He knew their hearts and how quickly they would turn away from God, forgetting that everything comes from Him. 

Of course, that's exactly what happened. Over time, the Israelites turned away from God over and over, choosing instead to worship the gods of the people around them. To regain their attention, God allowed other nations to rule over His people, including the nation of the Midianites, and "Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help" (Judges 6:6). They were living in a land where they should have had everything they needed and wanted, but because they forgot God they lost everything. Then, when they had nothing, they remembered their God again.

More than anything, God wants our attention to be focused on Him. When life is easy, sometimes it's also easy for us to be distracted by all the good things we have. We 'eat and are satisfied' and we forget about God. But then, when life gets hard, we remember Him. We cry out to Him for healing or for financial help or in anguish for a child in trouble. Many people will say that the hard times in their lives brought them closer to God. King David even said, "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees" (Psalm 119:71).

My question is, why wait? Why wait for the hard times before turning to God? Why not focus on Him when life is good? Moses told the Israelites, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you" (Deuteronomy 8:10). Let's live our lives full of thanks and praise to God for the good things He has given us.

Keeping our focus on God when life is good doesn't mean we'll never encounter sickness or trouble, but it does mean God will never have to send the Midianites to impoverish us to get out attention.

Want to start now? Leave me a comment sharing some of the good things God has given you.

April 06, 2016

Just the Basics Mystery Quilt - HSTs

Welcome back for the next installment of the Just the Basics mystery quilt!
Just the Basics Mystery Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Introduction


Running from March to August 2016, the Just the Basics mystery quilt-a-long will require no special rulers and no scary techniques. The design is confident beginner level and there will be no paper piecing, no applique, no improv piecing and no y-seams! Not that there's anything wrong with any of those techniques, but sometimes it's fun to see what you can make out of basic blocks.

I promise, the basics are anything but boring!

It's never too late to join in. All of the posts can be found under the tab at the top of the blog, so you can start anytime. New posts will be published here on the first Wednesday of each month. You can follow Devoted Quilter by Bloglovin, email or Feedly to be sure you don't miss anything - the links are all on the sidebar.

Remember, you can choose to make the Just the Basics mystery quilt in the 48" x 48" baby/wall size or the 60" x 72" throw size. Either way you'll cut and piece the units the same, but you'll make more of each unit for the throw quilt.


This Month's Instructions


Last month was fabric selection and this month we get to start cutting that fabric up and sewing it back together!

We're starting with one of the most basic units in quilting - the half-square triangle, or HST. HSTs are used in so many different quilt designs, from pinwheels and chevrons to stars and herringbones. Check out my HST Quilts board on Pinterest to see some amazing ideas for using HSTs.

Just as a reminder, here are the fabrics I've selected for my quilt.
Just the Basics Mystery Quit Fabric Selection | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This month we'll be using Fabrics 2 and 5 to make our HSTs. In my fabrics, that means I'll be using the blue and red fabrics.

For the baby/wall size, you need 128 HSTs.
For the throw size, you need 240 HSTs.

Before you panic about making so many, let me assure you that we won't be making that many units every month! I figured I'd start with the highest number, get that out of the way as soon as possible and then all the other months will feel easy :) Also, we'll be making them two at a time and chain piecing them, so although the number looks big they come together pretty quickly.

We'll also be making them slightly larger than needed and trimming them to the proper size. It's an added step, and a bit tedious, but HSTs are notorious for being just a little off, no matter how carefully you cut and sew. Making them big enough to trim means they'll be perfect when you're finished, and that makes assembling the quilt top much, much easier. It's definitely worth the extra time spent trimming.

Let's get started, shall we?

Cut


For baby/wall size

From Fabric 2 - 64 squares 3" x 3"
From Fabric 5 - 64 squares 3" x 3"


For throw size

From Fabric 2 - 120 squares 3" x 3"
From Fabric 5 - 120 squares 3" x 3"

Choose which of your two fabrics is lightest and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of each of those squares. My blue fabric is lighter than my red one, so I drew the lines on my blue squares. This step seems to go faster if you are watching TV or otherwise engaged in something else at the same time!
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Pair a Fabric 2 square with a Fabric 5 square, right sides together, and pin. Do this with all your squares at once so the whole pile will be ready for chain piecing.
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Stitch 1/4" away from the line on both sides. Don't break your thread between squares, just keep feeding them into your machine with only a couple of stitches between them to create a long chain of squares. Chain piecing in this way is much faster and reduces thread waste. When all the squares are sewn, cut the threads joining them.
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Cut the squares apart on the drawn lines.
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Now, I'm going to show you how I trim my HSTs. If you have a Bloc Loc ruler, then by all means press your blocks open and trim using that. I don't have a Bloc Loc ruler, though, and I trim my HSTs before pressing them open to make it a little faster.

I have a 4" square ruler that I usually use for trimming my HSTs, unless they're bigger than 4". I have used the same method with a 6" x 24" ruler, so if you don't have a small square ruler you can still trim HSTs this way.

The first step is to turn the ruler on point and find the proper measurement for trimming your HSTs. For this quilt, we need to trim them to 2 1/2", so find 2 1/2" on either side and mark a straight line from one side to the other. I have mine marked with permanent marker, but I've also taped paper across the ruler to mark the line when I was using a friend's ruler. I've also used masking tape and painter's tape...whatever was on hand at the time!
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Please ignore the extra two lines on my ruler...I've also marked it for trimming 1 1/2" and 3 1/2" HSTs.
Place your HST unit on your cutting mat. Position the line on your ruler directly on top of the stitched line.
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Use your rotary cutter to trim off the excess fabric on both sides. Repeat for all the remaining HSTs. Again, a good TV show or movie can help make this feel less tedious. I watched a Craftsy class (affiliate link) while trimming mine :)
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Press the HSTs open, trim off the dog ears and you're done!
HST tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

I can't wait to see the beginnings of your quilts! Tag me if you post your progress on Instagram (I'm @devotedquilter), leave me a comment here with a link to a blog post or even just email me a picture (devotedquilter at gmail dot com).

That's it for this month. I'll be back with the next step in May :)


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

April 04, 2016

Move On

Devotion for the Week...

Nathan has developed the habit of saying sorry A LOT. Now, normally I would not consider this to be a problem since apologizing when you've done wrong is a good character trait. But Nathan is saying he's sorry at times when he hasn't done anything wrong, like when he asks me to get him something he can't reach and says, "I'm sorry for making you get up," or when he wants me to read to him and he apologizes for that. The thing that really get me, though, is when he does do some little thing wrong and he apologizes for it over and over and over. Even when he knows we're not upset with him, and he knows we've heard and accepted the first apology, sometimes he just can't seem to move on and be okay with what happened. He keeps feeling bad about it. Sometimes it's even weeks or months later when he apologizes again.

Do you do that with God? Do you keep feeling guilty and apologizing over and over for the things in your past? I know I've done it with things before. And yet, God isn't upset with us over those things anymore because He heard the first apology. Not only that, but once He forgives us for our sins, He doesn't remember them anymore!

Don't get me wrong, God isn't some forgetful old man whose memory has holes in it. No. He's still omniscient and knows everything, but He chooses not to remember our sins once we have repented of them.

Psalm 103:12 says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." They're gone. Not to be dragged back into view again and again to remind us of how we've failed in the past. Gone. As far away as we can possibly imagine, that's how far away our sins are once we've been forgiven.

Romans 8:1,2  says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." Read that again. No condemnation.

Do you truly believe that? Or do you feel like God has a list somewhere of all the times you've sinned, a list that He checks frequently to keep his memory fresh? God tells us in these verses that there is no list because we are in Christ Jesus. Once we have repented and accepted Jesus' sacrifice for our sins, there is no record kept of them. God no longer condemns us because those sins are forgiven and He chooses not to remember them.

But what about you? Have you chosen not to remember your past sins? Or are you like Nathan, bringing them up again months later, or even years later, and feeling the need to apologize for them all over again? If that's you, then let this thought settle into your heart and mind...God doesn't want you to apologize for that sin again. It's already been forgiven and now He chooses not to think of it anymore. Now it's time for you to forgive yourself and give yourself the freedom to move on with no condemnation, from God or from yourself.
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