Friday, July 5, 2024

TIME and a new free stitch-along...



A slow stitching project…

I’ve begun designing a new version of the Promises & Borders quilt I made and shared back in 2012, and thought you might like to slowly stitch along with me? At first I was simply going to re-release the original patterns, but most of the photos have vanished in the ensuing years as now three computers later, many photos and folders were regularly deleted. So I decided to begin a new version, similar in some ways, but also quite different.

This first block is the beginning, but as my intention is to make my new Promises Quilt a slow, unhurried project, the blocks that follow will not be shared on a weekly or monthly basis, but only when I am inspired to design one. 

In my mind I think there will be nine blocks overall, each with a Scripture that declares a promise from God – which in these darkening times is an oft needed reminder of how close He is to us day by day, and not to fret nor be troubled, but to be assured we are never alone or without His help.

I’m using a bit of needle-turn applique, and hand embroidery to embellish each block. I chose the threads to blend with the fabrics I shall use for borders, most especially a piece of vintage tablecloth which I will need to use sparingly.

The first block has it featured as a border, and then I’ll probably add some varied fabric squares for a second border, but may change my mind as the project grows.

It is up to you how you border your blocks, and whether you want to house them inside a quilt layout or use them for individual projects such as cushions, runners, bags, or perhaps framed.

You may choose to use blanket stitch applique, needle-turn applique, or completely hand embroider the blocks. Just do what you’re comfortable with, and what brings you joy.

This could become a nice project for a sewing group at church, or with friends in your home or online. Think about the Scripture verse and discuss your thoughts, share burdens, and encourage one another with faith and trust in the Lord. 

Feel free to email photos of your progress as I'd like to share them here once a month - that's another way of you encouraging others.  So often we need to see the work of another to be inspired with our own. My contact details are in the pattern download.

Use the link below to download this free pattern.

DOWNLOAD Promises block 1 Micah 7-8

The next tea towel curtain...

I completed the second crochet edged tea towel curtain this week and love how it has brightened up our small laundry. 

I chose to use a turquoise cotton yarn for the crochet this time, and think it's just as nice as the coral I used HERE on the kitchen curtain edging. Both windows are now covered by six pretty tea towel curtains...if you are looking for a change in your own curtains perhaps you might try shopping for tea towels? 

My friend Julie told me she calls these type of curtains a 'valance' and I can see why as they do resemble one, and of course neither of them cover the whole window. I love learning new things!

Up the mountain again...

Yesterday Blossom and I took the children 'up the mountain' for the morning and had the loveliest time together. It's been two years since our last trip there, and we were so relieved to see the relaxed atmosphere of a decade ago has returned. We had stopped going because things changed with new owners and you needed to book a table for 90 minutes and then leave...we had always arrived and stayed as long as we liked, often all day. But it's back to normal, and we'll be visiting there often again...

But now let me tell you all about TIME...

This is my theme for July. It came to me one afternoon in late June, when I was thinking about how good a stew or soup or curry is when it's been simmering away for eight hours in the slow cooker. 

Letting my mind ramble a while, it occurred to me that when given time, and not hurried, many things in life turn out better than if we'd rushed them along. 

I suppose stitching is an example that naturally comes to mind. The most common question I am asked is "how do you keep your stitches so small and neat?". It's because I take my time, I don't rush, and I will happily unpick some stitches if they're not tidy and and redo them. 

Gardening takes time. A seed planted may take months to bear fruit, or a tree can take many years, but it should not stop us from planting. In time there will be a harvest to enjoy, and it will all be worth the time and effort invested. 

Reading a book takes time, though some prefer to watch the movie instead, not willing to slow down and savour the story in its written form. That used to be me...but now I love to read again, and enjoy a couple of chapters each night before bed, not wanting to rush through, but giving time to the journey. 

Hand quilting is a slow process which cannot be rushed; it needs time. I find this measured rhythm of working needle and thread through a quilt top to be meditative, soothing, good for my soul. There's also a joy in putting it down and picking it up. 

Knitting and crochet take time, especially for larger projects - but what beauty in the finished rug, or cardigan or shawl!

Babies grow quickly, but it takes time for them to mature and age and eventually be little people we can share thoughts and ideas with. Looking back on these years of watching my own grandchildren pass each new stage in life, the time it has taken for each milestone...such a gift. And to be able to call precious daughters my best friends, our relationships built over decades in love and trials and hope. 

I'm currently working on a cross stitch, my first in more than a decade, and compared to my love of the hand embroidery which I've designed and stitched slowly for the past fifteen years, it takes more time, and is even slower to complete a large piece this way...but worth it in the end. 

Prayer...oh the years of prayer given to my family members. Many prayers still not answered, or not answered the way I had hoped, yet other prayers answered more abundantly than I'd asked of the Lord. Just last month, sixteen years of prayer over a grandson was granted with his heart turned to Jesus and his life given over to our Saviour. Don't stop praying, don't get weary, give it TIME.

Relationships take time - for trust to grow, and familiarity to flourish. Like a garden they need tending, but not with water - they need encouragement, kindness, ears to listen, and TIME.  

There are so many examples of TIME being needed to see fulfilment in varying aspects of this life, and in order for this to occur, we of course, need patience. Blog posts take me a long time, and over the past year especially I have often thought of writing a 'final post' and stepping away, but then the Lord nudges me to give it TIME and lean on Him in this season a while longer. I do not know how long, but He does, and as long as He gives me something to share I expect I'll be here. 

I am enjoying how this year my mind has become increasingly geared to step back, slow down, think more carefully about my plans and choices, and treasure the time given me each day. I like intentionally slowing, and giving myself more time to be about my business, because the benefits to my relationship with the Lord, my husband and family, my health and my home, are increasingly evident with each passing month. 

What about you? How are you using your time these days? Have you been rushing, or are you also moving into the season of slow? 

God bless dear ones, and I pray that you find much joy in this season of life as you intentionally seek His will and follow the path He has opened before you. Follow Jesus and you'll always be going in the right direction.

Love and hugs,

Don't miss out on any Elefantz news or free patterns. 

Subscribe to my blog posts HERE and receive them direct to your email inbox.  

Or sign up HERE for my free newsletter which often has extra benefits, freebies & tutorials!


Lin said...

I LOVE the fabrics you have chosen for your new quilt Jennifer, and such gorgeous colours. Great pictures of you all 'up the mountain'! Lovely way to spend a day. I have always been a fan of slowing down and much prefer slower stitch, cooking and watching things grow and mature slowly. Thank you for your thoughts. xx

Angela said...

O Jenny, such a beautiful post. Thankyou. It reminded me of the words of the Psalmist... "my time is in His hands'...❤️🙏

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Glad you are blogging and stitching on your own time, at your own pace.
Time to make memories and enjoy all the little things that come along is important.
Someone we know, her best friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April. Funeral was in June. At the same time her, someone we know, ex husband but still on good terms for 30 years, died suddenly. No wanrning. All this within days.
On her funeral card was written " ...laugh every day ..."
Peter and I are working on creating a beautiful low maintenance garden, enjoys trips when we can and spending time on our hobbies.
I was thinking about quilting and cross stitch. When it comes to quilting I have more that one project going, applique, embroidery, stitcheries, Tilda apples, ... but with cross stitch, I start and keep going on the one piece until it's done. Why ? That was the question that popped up :) So I thought I better do something about it :) So now I have 3 cross stitch projects staring me in the face :) One was started in 1998 ! The second is a pattern bought last year and just found the right bachground fabric this year. The third is the secret stitch along by Nancy last month. Should be fun to see how these progress. This doesn't include the patterns and cross stitch kits waiting in the wings :)
Spending time with friends is wonderful and cherrished :)
Thank you, hugs, take care,

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer, thank you for being such an encouragement in all you do and share. Love the work that you do and always look forward to your next blog post. God bless your kind and faithful heart! X

Peg said...

Thank you for continuing your blog. The world needs more encouraging than ever. Your post always remind me to slow down, be in the moment and find your joy everyday. Sometimes we get so caught up in life we need reminding. Thank you for sharing all you do with us!

Candis said...

Thank you Jennifer for this reminder of Time. Your words inspire, and encourage me. I read each word, looking for what the Lord wants to show me through your writing. There is almost always something that touches my heart. You are such a blessing to me! Thank you so much for sharing.

gracie said...

Just look at all the smiles. Lovely photos. Time....yes, it is good to slow down and take time. I am trying to do just that. Your words and advice is always welcome. Blee=ss you dear lady.

Anonymous said...

I finally got my Magnesium Lotion. I rub it on the bottom of my feet then put on my socks. I rub my arms. I am sleeping much better now. Thank you for your encouragement in your posts. I am praying that God will give me a real purpose for my life. I am trying to do a cross stitch quilt. I have macular degeneration which makes it difficult to see the crosses. God bess you.

Kristy said...

Clearly Jesus is using you in our lives. We are so blessed to have you and we are so thankful for your thoughtful posts. I have picked up cross stitching again after 25 years of not doing it! I am now working on way too many projects at once! But I love them all even as I love my quilts! I am hand quilting a quilt too and yes it is slow but I am close with only 1 corner and 2 shorter (70" or so) borders to go! It is so rewarding to complete things but I also know that joy of just being quiet and stitching too. Your daughter and her children are so lovely! So glad you could go and enjoy your favorite place. Many blessings on you and your family. K-

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing this free pattern. It will be wonderful to meditate on the promises of God. I appreciate and encourage you as you give us these as you're inspired and not on a schedule. It matches so much where you are in life and what God is teaching you. Now that I am a Grandmother, I can appreciate wanting to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, mine live almost 12 hours away. May God bless you in all you do.

Anonymous said...

The pictures of your grandchildren just make me smile. And the one of you smiling big with Blossom . . . just so beautiful!
Kathleen -- kakingsbury at verizon dot net

Wanita said...

Jennifer, I'm so glad you are still blogging. The pictures of you, Blossom, and your grandchildren are lovely. Thank you for the encouragement you always give. You are a blessing.

Liz Stevens said...

“In His Time “.came to mind immediately. Thank you for your thoughts and words. Wonderful news about your grandson🙏🏻

Winifred said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful post Jennifer. You inspire so much hope when things seem so sad.

Charito said...

Hola Jenny. Gracias x compartir tus patrones. Me da gusto verte junto a tu linda hija y nietos. Que bendición poder disfrutarlos. Saludos cariñosos desde Guatemala

Julie said...

So much beauty to absorb in this post Jennifer. Your laundry curtain ... be still my beating heart 💗 Your new quilt-in-the-making ... just beautiful. You are an inspiration to all of us. Yes Time - that elusive thing we always want to hurry. I find things just take me so much longer now that I have had to learn NOT to hurry. For everything & yes, prayer included. But OH MY - those photos of you all up the mountain - how beautiful. I think I would be putting that one of you & Bloss in a frame - it is so lovely. And those dear children, how they've grown. It seems many years that I have been "following along" on your trips up that mountain in the winter time. Wishing you a blessed weekend dearest friend x0x

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Beautiful photos of you all!! I was imagining myself being there!! Thanks as always Jennifer XXMary-Lou

Susan said...

I totally agree with Peg and Candis in their comments.

homesweethome said...

There is a lot of beauty in this post!

Love the (quilt) design re promises of God.

What lovely pictures! And the grands are sooo sweet.

The musings about 'time' are inspiring.

I do appreciate all the effort you put into your designs and your blog, Jennifer! It's a lot of work, so thank God, and you, for this gift of love. It IS a gift.

x Es (the Netherlands)

Kerri said...

Dear Jennifer, over the years, your words have been balm to my weary soul. Thank you for listening to the nudge of the Holy Spirit, for sharing His words and the wonderful gift of creativity with which He has blessed you. love and hugs said...

cara Jennifer, ti leggo sempre volentieri dal Nord Italia, condivido molti dei tuoi pensieri, delle tue riflessioni, che mi ispirano. la Vita non "è rose e fiori" per nessuno, come si dice qui- continua, se puoi a scrivere, sei di ispirazione anche per alcune delle "mie creazioni", adattate e modificate, un poco, per i miei "progetti" e cercherò di seguire il tuo prezioso consiglio: rallentare, prendersi il tempo , tutto il tempo(che comunque sfugge) grazie

Scarlet said...

Dear Jennifer, Your posts speak to me and this one is no different. After literally years of starting, giving up and frustration on how to get a handle on my disaster of a craft room, the Lord spoke to me. I dedicated the month of June to sorting the many hobbies I love. Being able to take time and give myself permission to do this slowly has been amazing. The month of July is dedicated to more culling, and organizing. My dear husband loved my idea and supported me fully (as sorted boxes were stacked in the living room.) He said you need a “ staging area “ to work from. Thank you and may God bless you.

Cheyenne said...

This was so beautiful and such a treat to be able to see the gorgeous smiles and lights of the family members. Your words are, as always, so inspiring and pure perfection. This made me so happy today- thank you and God bless you all.

Lolita said...

Hola Jennifer simppre te leo aquí en Costa Rica 🇨🇷 y amo tus publicaciones siempre me cercan más a Dios, solo una vez hice un proyecto tuyo pero este semestre ocupo mucha luz en mis días me estoy animando hacer esta colcha lentamente contigo 💓🎀

Anonymous said...

I have reached the season of SLOW! I’m 79 so it’s about time, don’t you think? I taken up knitting again. It’s slower than crochet. I have also spent the last two years catching up and finishing old projects! It’s a wonderful way to make gifts!!
Thank you for your lovely newsletters and your blog posts!
It is so nice to follow and enjoy the writings and handwork of one who loves the Lord like I do!!

Anonymous said...

That’s me above! I couldn’t sign in.
I’m Linda Badurek from Colorado. We will be in Australia in March next year! Can’t wait to see your beautiful country!

Miriam said...

I must repeat myself and all the friends before me: thank you Jennifer for this post. Thank you for all you write, create, show. We love you and you all are very, very, nice.
Big hugs and kisses,
Miriam from Italy

Angie in SoCal said...

As always, your post touched me. The Lord is reaching out to us through you. Never doubt it.
Loved the photo of you and Blossom. Immediately I thought my Cully May has grown, then I realized she is Blossom. They look so alike.
Many blessings,