May 28, 2018

Murrina Quilt - Stash Statement Blog Hop

Have you seen Stash Statement, the new book by My Quilt Infatuation's Kelly Young?
The book is absolutely beautiful and I was honoured when Kelly asked if I'd be part of the blog hop to introduce each of the quilts. I chose to make Murrina, after being assured by Kelly that it is much easier to make than it looks. Thankfully, she was right!

All of the quilts in the book are made by sewing scraps together to make large improv panels that are then cut to the sizes needed. You can read my thoughts on sewing the scraps together here. The short version? I really enjoyed the process and I'm looking forward to doing it again, especially since my scrap bag is still full and there are other quilts in the book that I want to make.

And now, after many sneak peeks, here's my finished Murrina quilt 😊
Murrina quilt |

Murrina quilt |
 With all the negative space in this design, I knew it would be a great place to highlight a beautiful batik and I'm so glad the people at Island Batik agreed to send me all of this loveliness.
Murrina quilt |

Murrina quilt |
I debated whether or not to share the story behind this fabric choice since it makes me look foolish, but in the interests of keeping it real, here goes...When Katie at Island Batik agreed to sponsor the background and backing, she asked which fabric I wanted and I immediately sent her the SKU number for a gorgeous blue. A few days later I wanted to check something about the fabric, which is when I realized I had sent her the WRONG NUMBER! I was looking at thumbnail pictures of the fabrics and I had copied the number below the picture when I should have taken the number above it. Insert forehead smacking emoji here. After a few moments of staring at my computer in disbelief, I ran to my stash and pulled out a length of pink and threw some of my scrappy blocks on it to see if they'd work with what I had accidentally requested. To my relief, it did work. Phew. Even better, I loved the fabric when it arrived!

And, since I had made my scrappy blocks with no plan for what I would use as the background, there are a lot of blue scraps in them. That might have made the blocks a little less distinct, as you can see happens when some reds or pinks are at the edge of the blocks.
Murrina quilt |

Murrina quilt |
I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the top came together, even with Kelly's assurances. It looks like a complicated quilt, but it isn't at all. There are a lot of pieces, but some of them are really big, so it doesn't take long to piece a big block 😊

With some Warm and Natural batting and Aurifil thread (2600 for the blocks and 2530 for the background), it was time to get quilting. I quilted around the edge of each snowball block and then worked my way in to the center in a spiral. These small snowball blocks were satisfyingly fast to quilt!
Murrina quilt |

Murrina quilt |
I already wrote about quilting those straight lines, so I won't say much about that here. I will say that a few people suggested that lowering the pressure on my presser foot would help with the pleats, but unfortunately that isn't an option on my machine. I guess I'll just have to be more careful as I plan my quilting in the future.

While I was quilting those many lines, I found this...
Murrina quilt fix |
I have no idea how it happened, though it looks like it was either the water erasable pen I was using to mark registration lines, or the edge of the ruler I was using to keep them straight, since it is exactly on the drawn line. Neither makes sense, though. I have felt all along the ruler and can't find any sharp spots and the pen has a soft tip, so I can't see it tearing the fabric. A few deep breaths later, I kept quilting while I pondered how I would fix the problem.

Eventually, I decided to cut a heart out of the background fabric and glue it over the tear. I used the pen to outline the edge of the heart so that I could see it and then I stitched twice around the edge.
Murrina quilt fix |
Here's how it looks after the pen marks were washed away.
Murrina quilt fix |
You can't see it from a distance, so it's a little surprise detail for anyone who looks really closely 😊

Also while I was quilting, I was on the lookout for teeny little pieces in the snowball blocks. Because the scraps were pieced in large chunks and then cut to size, some of the pieces are ridiculously small. Here are some of my favourites...
Murrina quilt |

Murrina quilt |
A scrappy binding seemed the perfect way to finish this quilt, so I pulled out my bag of leftover binding pieces and joined them together. I left out any red or pink pieces, so the binding wouldn't disappear into the background, but anything else was fair game.
Murrina quilt |
I purposely didn't join two pieces that were the same colour, just to keep it looking really scrappy. And then, when I stitched it to the quilt, the ending piece and the starting piece were both black with white dots! Go figure. I (very briefly) considered cutting the last piece off and adding in another fabric, but that seemed like too much work when I was so close to finishing, so the two black and whites meet. Oh well!
Murrina quilt |
Thanks for inviting me to be part of the blog hop, Kelly! I had so much fun making this quilt and you can be sure I'll be playing with this improv technique again 😊

Yvonne, at Quilting Jetgirl, has also made a version of the Murrina quilt, so be sure to check that out. Her quilt and mine are nothing alike (judging from her progress pictures) so I can't wait to see it!

Just a few housekeeping items before you leave:

Are you subscribed for The Bulletin, my monthly newsletter? If you are, you should have received an email last week asking for your consent to continue receiving emails from me. It's important that you update your subscriber settings to indicate that consent because going forward I will only be sending the Bulletin to those who have consented (because of the new GDPR regulation that has just gone into effect). If you didn't see that email, you can contact me at devotedquilter at gmail dot com (using the same email address you have subscribed with) and I'll send it to you again. And if you're not yet subscribed, but you'd like to be, just click here 😊 I'd love to have you!

Lastly, Blogger seems to be having problems with sending comment notifications, which may or may not be related to the GDPR regulation as well. That means I'm not getting emails about each comment and I can't easily reply to those comments. So if you comment on this post, or if you have  commented on my blog in the past week and you don't get a reply from me, it's not because I'm ignoring you. I am still reading and appreciating every comment and I'm really hoping Blogger will get it straightened out quickly. Technology is wonderful, when it works, am I right?

Phew! This has been a really long post, hasn't it? Well, this is it for me, but I highly recommend you hop around to everyone else who has made a quilt from Kelly's book. But be warned - you may find yourself highly inspired to play with scraps, lol! Here's the full 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

Have a great week!


Devotion for the Week...

There are lots of times when I think, "Who was the first person who figured out that if you do this and this and this then you can eat the result?" For example, have you ever read the process to get coffee beans you can use to make yourself a drink? It involves picking beans, removing a slimy layer, washing and drying the beans. And that only gets you to the point where you can start roasting them. Who ever came up with all of those steps?

Likewise for chocolate. You start with a pod, from which you remove the bean, which has to be dried. Then you can remove the nib, which has to be ground and liquefied to produce chocolate liquor, which is only the starting point for making chocolate we would recognize. Who was the first person to look at that pod and think of working with it for so long to produce a sweet treat?

Yeast is another one that interests me, though there isn't actually any documentation to show how it began being used to make bread. Researchers think it probably came about because a mix of flour and water was left longer than usual, which allowed the naturally occurring yeast to begin to grow, which made the bread rise when it was baked. But how did people get from that to the bread we eat today? I remember reading stories about how people heading to the Yukon during the Gold Rush would carry their bread starter in a jar inside their clothes. It had to be kept warm because having that starter meant having the beginnings of food. Whoever it was who first started using yeast, I am grateful to them! I love bread and I love baking different breads. I enjoy watching the yeast as it froths up in a bowl of sweetened water before the other ingredients are added and it has always amazed me how little yeast is needed to make a batch of bread that requires so many cups of flour.

When talking with His disciples, "Jesus warned them, 'Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.'" (Mark 8:15). The Pharisees had just been arguing with Jesus and "testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority" (v. 11). Frustrated with them, Jesus and the disciples left the area and it was when they were alone that Jesus warned the disciples.

As I said, it doesn't take much yeast to affect a lot of flour. Likewise, it wouldn't have taken many Pharisees to have affected a lot of common people. They were respected as the religious leaders of the day so the common, less learned people would have accepted the opinions of the Pharisees as being God's own. That would have been fine if the Pharisees were leading according to God's will, but they weren't. In Matthew 23, Jesus actually called them hypocrites, whitewashed tombs and snakes!

The Pharisees affected people not only because they were respected, but also because they were vocal. It's hard to ignore people when they're constantly repeating the same message. 'The squeaky wheel gets the oil' after all. And so the Pharisees constantly reminded people of the many regulations they must follow. They were outspoken in their disapproval, even going so far as to rebuke a woman after Jesus healed her on the Sabbath. Never mind that she was set free from the pain she had been living with for years, they were indignant because Jesus had done 'work' on the Sabbath.

So what was Jesus warning His disciples about? He was talking about the influence of people who would insist that things must be done their way, but they have stopped looking to God for direction. Beware of people who insist on their own self-serving view of the world and of God, who expect others to rigidly adhere to their rules and who have little or no concern for people.

These people still exist today and they still influence those under them, steering people away from God and towards their own interpretation of what God wants.

And as much as we are watching those in positions of authority, being certain that those we follow are following God, we also have to be mindful of our own attitudes. Are we following God? Or have we allowed our opinions to become rules we insist others must follow?
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
The yeast of the Pharisees is a dangerous thing. We don't want to be influenced by it, or to be guilty of becoming it.

May 24, 2018

Straight Line Quilting

This will be the last sneak peek post about this quilt, I promise! The finish post will be up on Monday, which means I better get it finished, lol 😊

I debated for a long time how to quilt the background and I kept coming back to the idea of straight lines. I don't usually use my walking foot for anything except binding (see my machine binding tutorial here for all my tips and tricks), but I pulled it out for these lines.

The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer, though. There's not a perfectly straight line in the entire quilt! Every one of them wobbles or even goes completely off course. If imperfections are what give a handmade item its character, then this quilt has character in spades!
Straight line quilting |
Isn't that background fabric gorgeous? It's from Island Batik and I love the subtle texture it adds to the large areas of negative space in the quilt. There are subtle variations in the colour too - light pink, dark pink, red and orange are all in there.

I started off quilting lines that were just under half an inch apart since that was the width of my walking foot, but I quickly realized that would take f.o.r.e.v.e.r to finish the 72" square quilt. I widened the spaces slightly in an effort to preserve my sanity and actually finish in time for my blog hop post deadline. Truth be told, even using the guide with my walking foot, the spaces are rather inconsistent, but the overall effect works. I'm a big believer in organic lines 😊

I have been struggling with one thing, though. I quilted the snowball blocks first since I was still trying to decide how to quilt the background. Now, as I approach the blocks, I find I'm getting a lot of these puckers.
Straight line quilting |
Straight line quilting |
I'm trying to minimize them as much as I can, but there's just no way to avoid them completely. I'm not quite sure why they're happening. I don't remember there being any fullness in the quilt top when I finished piecing it and I thought I had it basted securely enough. I'm wondering if more basting would have been helpful. And it may just be because I quilted the blocks first. If you know how I could avoid this in the future, I'd love to know!

When I'm between the snowball blocks and just stitching lots of long lines, there are no puckers or ripples at all
Straight line quilting |
And the back is perfectly flat too, even right by the blocks.
Straight line quilting |
The back of the quilt is another beautiful print from Island Batik. The first time I checked the back of the quilt I thought it was full of puckers, but then I realized it was only the dark lines in the print. Phew!

With an unexpected morning off today because of snow (yes, snow!), I have about 11" left to quilt, which shouldn't take much longer. I may even get through it all this evening, which would be great.

I have this scrappy binding all ready to be put on as soon as I can finish the quilting.
Scrappy binding |
Check back on Monday to see the finished quilt. I can't wait to share the whole thing with you 😊

One last Churn pattern is still available at the introductory price for another couple of days. Saturday morning I'll be changing the price, so get it now to save 25%! Get your copy at either my Payhip or Etsy shop.

May 21, 2018


Devotion for the Week...

I took Zachary to see a physiotherapist last week. His basketball coach suggested it when he and Paul were talking about Zach's unusual running posture, saying that maybe she could identify the problem and offer help to correct it. It turns out that Zach has weak hip and butt muscles, which she says is really common, and those weak muscles cause his legs to turn in slightly. Because of that, he's running on the insides of his feet which is causing him to look awkward now and would likely lead to knee and back issues later. We came home armed with resistance bands and a few exercises for him to do to strengthen those muscles.

One of the things she told him really struck me. He doesn't need to go back to see her until he finds the exercises are all too easy for him because she can't do anything for him except tell him what exercises to do.

"I could hook you up to all kinds of machines and poke and prod you, but it wouldn't help any," she said. "Only you can make yourself stronger."

How true is that?? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could go to someone once or twice a week and have them hook us up to a machine and when we were done we'd be stronger and more fit than when we walked in? People everywhere would be so much healthier than we are now.

But that's not the case, of course. If I want to lose weight, then I have to take responsibility for my eating and my exercising. If I want to avoid back pain, I have to do the exercises I've been given. If I want to stay healthy as I age, then I have to keep moving. No one else can make me stronger and healthier.

The same is true spiritually too. No one else can give us knowledge of the Bible. No one else can memorize Scriptures for us. No one else can strengthen our faith and no one else can deepen our prayer lives.

At the most basic level, no one can make us accept salvation. I can take my boys to church, take them to the kids' mid-week program and drop them off for the youth program, but I can't believe for them. They have to make that choice themselves. I have to make that choice. You have to make that choice. John 3:16 says "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." Notice it says "everyone who believes in him", not 'everyone who knows someone who believes in him' or 'everyone who has been told about him.' No one can have that belief for another person.

Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." You can't hide God's word in my heart and I can't hide it in yours. Sure, reading or hearing someone else explain a verse might help, but to really remember verses we have to make the effort to read them for ourselves.

2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." Paul wrote this to Timothy, a young pastor, but it applies equally to anyone who may ever tell someone else about what God says in His word. That means it applies to every believer. We can only correctly explain the word of truth if we take the time to know it and to understand it. Again, listening to sermons or reading books and devotions can help, but they are not enough by themselves.
Weekly devotions for Christian living |
It's easy to forget to do exercises as often as we should, or to put it off for another day when life gets busy. It's just as easy to put off the things that make us spiritually strong. But there is no substitute and no one else can do it for us. We are responsible for our own spiritual fitness.

May 17, 2018

Churn Pattern Release

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

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

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

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

Happy stitching!
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