Tuesday, December 31, 2019

BLOCK ONE - my new block of the month for 2020...

Indeed it is a day early, eight seven hours actually (in my part of the world), but here I sit munching on green grapes and thick slices of Brie after eight straight hours of sewing, photos, formatting, pattern writing and more formatting...and it occurred to me that I'd really enjoy time off on new year's day just to relax with my husband and experiment in the kitchen with all the eggs our hens have laid but which have not been used and are overflowing in the egg shelf of my fridge. 

But isn't it nice to receive a gift just a few hours early anyhow?

Well, what a journey this Psalm 23 project has been for me. Years of waiting for the right time, the right inspiration and God's leading to bring it all together in fabric, needle and thread. 

I knew all along it wouldn't be a quilt but it wasn't until I released Phyllis May's Kitchen as a memory book in 2019 that the idea to make a smaller book, every page dedicated to God's nature through David's beautiful psalm, began to form.

This block of the month will be free all year and runs from January to October so you'll have time to finish it before CHRISTmas rolls around again. 

There are thirteen stitcheries; one on the cover and twelve inside on the pages. Nine of the pages are the complete passages from Psalm 23 and the other three are pretty 'extras' without scripture.

The twelve pages are not attached to the cover; it is used to store the book when you've made it. The pages have cotton lace spines which are sewn together to create the 23rd psalm booklet. 

When the booklet is slipped inside the cover it is secured by a ribbon closure.

I won't be showing you any of the pages other than the first because that would spoil the surprise each month, though you have already seen the cover and that will be our final month in October.

SO...let's begin this new block of the month with Psalm 23:1...

You know, reading just that one verse I can sit and ponder it for ages. There's so much within those nine words...it tells us who God is, it describes how He watches over us, it reminds us we will never have a need which He cannot meet...and it tells us that HE is enough.

I cannot tell you how often just that verse alone has encouraged me and lifted my head.
Knowing that He is all I need and will shepherd and protect me in any situation life throws my way means I never need be afraid or lost or in want.

I won't show you how to make a page until February's block is released because we need two completed stitcheries to make one page. 
 In your pattern for block 1 there's a list of requirements to make the project as a book and cover but you might prefer to use the blocks in a quilt so have a think about that before choosing your fabric and threads. You may even prefer just to stitch the blocks each month and leave that decision to the end of the year.

Something else I thought to share today was a quick tutorial on stitching words because I know many people struggle with it - all those little curves really frustrates them and if you're not used to stitching a lot of words it can rob you of enjoyment when making a project like this.

First thing is to stitch small.

Please go HERE and watch my backstitch tutorial because I explain very clearly about the size of the stitches and what different sizes look like.

My embroidery has 15 backstitches to the inch so my curves are nice and rounded, even the tight curves.

Go slow as you stitch the curves and feel free to unpick a few stitches and redo them. That's how I taught myself to embroider so small.

Start this project with a new needle and before that first stitch carefully feel the point of the needle. Even expensive ones can have a burr on the end and that will catch on your fabric and annoy you no end. If your needle has a burr throw it away and get another one.
A nice smooth pointed needle makes hand embroidery far more enjoyable.

Thread is important too. As threads age they become dry and break easily. Certain climates can play havoc with threads as well. If you find your thread knotting often or not gliding through the fabric smoothly you might be wise to purchase a new skein. 
I mostly use DMC (though I love Madeira too) and they are quite inexpensive.

In the tutorial over HERE that I suggest you watch, I share a free little practice pattern which has a number of curves. It's a great way to hone this skill before beginning the Psalm 23 project. 

Another tutorial you might like to watch is THIS ONE, which also includes a free practice pattern and shows how to stitch my little jenny-leaves. They are backstitched around the outer shape with a line of blanket stitch through the centre. I've used these leaves in all the Psalm 23 blocks, but instead of straight along the centre of the leaf I now like to curve the line sometimes. You can see this in the photo below...

Once I've written all the patterns for my thirteen blocks and the instructions for the pages and the cover (I'm so glad we have a real grind-the-beans-and-make-cappuccino coffee machine) this sweet Psalm 23 booklet and cover will be gifted to a dear friend, sooo...I am making another Psalm 23 just for me.

My second version is being stitched onto a white linen/cotton blend fabric and the colours are very pastel. I had some older pieces of Lecien Flower Sugar on my shelf and thought they'd be perfect...

Not sure if this will be another booklet or if a new display idea will form in my imagination, but I will show you its progress through the course of this year.

Well, that's it for me on this final day of 2019.
I'm rather exhausted and in need of a hearty meal so my beloved is going to pick up some Pho Beef Salad from our favourite Asian cafe and then we'll curl up with a movie and sparkling mineral water. I doubt we'll be awake at midnight because we've not made it to the stroke of a new year for a very long time...but really, it doesn't matter. 

Every new day is a gift, whether it's a new week, month, year or decade, so I intend to give thanks as usual tomorrow morning and pray for more opportunities to serve God and grow in grace.




  1. Thank you Jenny. This is beautiful. Your tips an instructions are very clear. God Bless this New Year!

  2. Thank you so much Jenny, just beautiful

  3. I've not embroidered for a long time what is the best fabric I love this Psalm this has been a rough year thankyou

    1. Hi Purple Possum :-)
      In Australia search online for 'hanky linen' - it's available at most quilt shops. Not at all like a hanky at all, but it's a cotton/linen blend fabric. Check this blog post to learn more: http://www.elefantz.com/2015/04/supplies-things-i-use-when-i-stitch.html

  4. Really wonderful work - thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Hi Jenny,
    23.1 psalm always reminds me of my Grandma who passed away years ago.
    What a beautiful project for 2020 !
    Happy 2020 !

  6. What a wonderful project. Like you this Psalm is very special to me with so much truth which when reflected on opens up so much of the heart of our God. What a very blessed people we are to know Him intimately. I'd love to do this project a d will look at how to incorporate it into my life. It looks quite a meditative process. Thank you so much

  7. This project is simply beautiful Jenny. Love this so much.

    Happy New Year!


  8. Happy New Year to you and yours. Excellent tutorials for another exquisite piece. Thanks

  9. I would like to wish you a happy New year

  10. Deseo que el nuevo año que comienza esté lleno de paz y alegrías, que se conviertan en horas de costura

  11. Thank you so very much. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  12. Thank you so much Jenny. I love this new BOM... How wonderful to stitch his word and create beauty with our hands and allow his word to steep into our hearts. Thank you and Happy New year my sister in Christ & stitchery

  13. Thank you, Jenny, for sharing your beautiful work. Psalm 23 holds such rich words and thoughts about our Father's care for us. Happy New Year to you and your husband!

  14. Hi Jenny, I was so glad to see this project for 2020. I am going to make this booklet for a friend who brought me back to the Lord. You inspire me to be a good Christian woman and live the life I was meant to do. Where do I find the pattern for the cover?

    1. Sharon, did you read the blog post? The answer is in there. :-)

  15. A Happy New Year 2020!! to your good husband and your sweet self! Take a rest, and enjoy your food and movie. Being a homebody is a good thing, I think. No better place to be than at home. Thanks for a thought filled 2019, your blog posts, patterns, and recipes. Sharing lovely pictures and your thoughts are inspiring. Just appreciate what you do. Be blessed in Jesus' Name.

  16. Hello Jenny, This is one of my favorite verses and I look forward to stitching it throughout the year. I know that I have rarely commented this year, it has been a very horrible year for me in every aspect. I chose to just stay in the background, your posts were always welcomed and read, I want you to know that. As I have no idea where this new year leads, always know that your posts are very much appreciated and help continue to keep me on the Lord. Have a spectacular New Year!

  17. I love this idea of a book and have several people I would like make this for. I will just start with the first block and see where it goes. Thank you for sharing this.

  18. Un proyecto precioso!!! Muchas gracias por compartirlo. Espero que el Nuevo Año os llene de bendiciones!!!
    Besos desde España,

  19. Thank you for the beautiful pattern, Jenny! I don't embroider, but I am going to try this, so I really appreciate all the information on how to do each stitch!!

  20. I dont see in the patterns how big our farbic block is to be

  21. Oh Jenny. What a beautiful gift.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and talent with us.

  22. Wonderful Jenny. Looking forward to stitching this. An old friend died just before Christmas after a long battle with cancer. What a testament she was both living and dying to her Saviour. Hard way to end the year. But the Lord is my Shepherd. Amen

  23. How beautiful. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt gift with all. x

  24. This is a beautiful project! Psalm 23 is a very special Psalm to me so I am dying to start it! Thank you for your generosity! God bless

  25. Happy new year for you and your familly Geneviève de France

  26. Thank you, this is will make a darling book for Great Grandchildren!

  27. Happy New Year to you and yours, Jenny. New Year--Same God! Thanks for the first block in what I think is going to be a wonderful experience.I remember memorizing this Psalm as a kid, but it wasn't until I was an adult and started reading the Bible in different versions that the real meanings in this Psalm started penetrating my mind and heart. God bless you.

  28. Thank you for this new & free! block of the month. So lovely, and so precious to be in God's Word. I hope you are feeling better. Hope you enjoyed the Pho salad and movie. Since you mentioned Pho, I'll share that my family gathered at my house Christmas Day and we put together homemade Pho for our evening meal. Yum!

  29. I haven’t talked to you in ever so long. It’s been a couple or three years at least. I got so busy trying to work and take care of my husband and just do life.
    This is your old “Ms Hillbilly” friend from back of the Hillbilly handiworks days .
    You’ve no idea how badly my heart needs this stitchery and my hands have needed it as well. I’m super excited to get started.

  30. Muchisimas gracias por este proyecto. Me encanta. Yo lo estoy haciendo con el texto en español para regalar a alguien que lo va a apreciar muchisimo.

  31. What a gorgeous project!! I am looking forward to the challenge of making this on the days our almost-2 year old grand daughter is at daycare (we are her legal guardians)! :)

  32. Dear Jenny,
    I just want to thank you for this lovely project. I am making one for each of my adult daughters because your stitchery reminds me of their beautiful hearts. They both love Jesus and put Him first, they are such a blessing to us. Hand stitching is a balm to my soul and in these troubled times, Psalm 23 is just what I want and need to focus on. Thank you for this unique quiet time project that lifts my soul as I focus on your wise words. God is indeed enough!

  33. I am thrilled to find your pattern. I completed your Lord's Prayer quilt and kept looking for the
    23 Psalm because my mom and dad said this every night before going to bed when he was so sick. Now
    my mom's memory is fading and I wanted something for her when she is going to bed and I think I will
    make it into a lap blanket and the seniors will love this. Thank you so much for the pattern.
    God Bless

  34. This is so beautiful, Jenny. A friend told me about this and we're going to stitch along. Thank you very much. From east Texas, out in the country, Barbara


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