Thursday, December 8, 2016

Seeing Circles

A few months ago I finished a quilt I had been working on for well over a year. When I finished it, I put it away for several months and could not bring myself to photograph, much less write about, the quilt. I normally take photos within a few days of finishing a quilt and rush to blog all my thoughts.

This quilt was different. Well, not the quilt. My season in life. You see, I worked on this quilt through a season of much pain. 2016 has been a hard year. Battle after battle. Attack after attack. And, I felt numb and without words while I looked to God for constant help. I have a list of scriptures that I kept on my nightstand and would say when I felt weak. Here is one of them: "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1 KJV) and another "See, God has come to save me. I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. (Isaiah 12:2 NLT)

Now, to the quilt, I loved how it turned out. I am so grateful to have an artistic outlet to process my thoughts and emotions, to pray, to listen, and to see beauty. I am so grateful for sewing and how it was a constant through this year. I have several other projects that came out of this time of pain, but this will be the first one for me to share. Hopefully, with each post, I can speak more about how God spoke to me and carried me through this time.

The quilt pattern is a variation of the Drunkard's Path quilt block. The finished quilt is a throw size (or picnic size) at 70 inches wide by 90 inches long. Here is the back, pieced from some of my favorite prints. The lines on the quilt were machine quilted and the circles were hand quilted with perle cotton.

Here is a close up of one of the blocks. Some of the words on the darker gray fabric are: "Be Unstoppable *Laugh Loud * Be Grateful * Take Chances * Smile Often * Let Go * Have Hope * Love Deeply" These words are so perfect for this quilt!

Cheers to 2017!!! How was your 2016? Do you like the quilt? What have you been working on? How do you "cope" through pressing or traumatic times?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vera quilt - Modern Quilting Pattern by Bryan House Quilts

Today I am happy to get to show you my recent finish of the Vera Quilt. I always love the opportunity to get to test for Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts. The quilt is a throw-sized (56" x 72") and came together very quickly. Everything was sewn on the bias, which made it pretty easy to get most of the points to match up nicely. Near the end, however, I did have to get out my seam ripper because the straight borders sewn on the bias triangles required extra attention. This pattern is perfect for large scraps and fat quarters. It was such a great stash buster to highlight some of my favorite fabrics.

The name "Vera" means faith in Russian. Vera is also associated with the Latin word versus, which is where we get the word "veracity." Veracity means conforming to facts, truth, or accuracy.

There is so much I could say about faith or truth, but instead, I would like to share with you two passages in Proverbs that have just captivated me over the past few weeks. I have dwelt on these words, chewed them up, and rehashed them over and over in my head, letting them soak into me and help me through my day.

Proverbs 3:3-8 (AMP) "Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you]; Bind them [securely] around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Seek his way in all you do, and he will show you which pay to take."

Wouldn't it be so amazing to have a life defined by mercy, kindness, and truth? These attributes are part of who God is. Allowing mercy, kindness, and truth to define you, allows God to guide you. And, oh, His guidance is good. 

Proverbs 4:18, 19 "The way of the righteous is like the morning sun which shines brighter and brighter until the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over." 

For the back of this quilt, I broke out one of my favorite prints and combined it with some left over quilt blocks to make it big enough. I think it turned out wonderful and makes me feel just as happy as the front. This quilt came together so nicely and is so cozy that I should make a few more. :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bryan House Quilts BFF Quilt - A Modern Spin on th Traditional Friendship Block

I recently had the joy of testing out a quilt pattern for Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts. The pattern is called the BFF Quilt, which is available for purchase here. It is a modern take on the traditional friendship block and is such a fun pattern.

Working on this quilt gave me lots of time to think about friends and how special it is to have the support and love of a friend. Solomon tells us in the book of Ecclesiastes that "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

A good test of a true friend is this: A friend is someone who seeks to give advantage, not take advantage of you. A great example of this is David and Jonathan in the Bible. They had an amazing friendship that lasted even after Jonathan's death. 1 Samuel 18:1-4 says, "Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt." 

“Anyone who establishes a friendship for access to power, money, or sexual relations; when these ends are not attainable, the friendship ceases…love that is not dependent on selfish ends is true love of the other person since there is no intended end.” -Rabbi Shimon ben Tzemach Duran, Spain, North Africa 14th-15th century

Jonathan was willing to remain by the side of his friend through triumph and tragedy and was even willing to relinquish his future as king to David. Even after Jonathan's death, David went looking for anyone who was left in the house of Saul so that he could show kindness to them for Jonathan's sake. 

Proverbs tells us that "There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24 NLT) The International Standard Version says "A man with many friends can still be ruined, but a true friend sticks closer than a brother." I think this version does such a great job of pointing out that its not about quantity but quality.

I hope this post encourages you to think about the people in your life and the intentions that they have. Do you believe God brought them to your life? Do they give you advantage or seek to drain you? I am so grateful for those that call me their friend and have showed unwavering kindness towards me. My prayer is that God continue to help me show compassion and be the friend I see in Jesus to those around me. Some of my close friends don't live so close to me anymore, but they are still so close in my heart and always in my prayers.

Now, onto the quilt! I decided to hand-quilt my finished product. During the five months of hand quilting, I got to watch a bunch of movies with my husband, read funny books with my kids, and just relax when a full day was over. I also had lots of ups and downs that allowed the slowness of hand quilting to let myself meditate on God's word and find refreshment while my hands stayed busy.

I had some little helpers to photograph the quilt and a sweet friend over at Capture, Craft, Create who took all the photos. I always enjoy getting time away to sew with her. I always learn something new when we are together, and she always encourages me to buy all the fabric. What a great friend!