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 from January to October 2020 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.
BLESS YOU ALL!!