Sometimes we need protection against life. That’s where quilts come in.
The Quilt Story, by Tony Johnston and Tomie dePaola, is a beautiful tale of a quilt made by Abigail’s mother. Abigail loved the quilt, used it well, drew comfort from it when her pioneer family moved out west, then put it away in the attic when she no longer needed it. The quilt was discovered by one of her descendants, another little girl, who loved the quilt, used it in games and daily life, and felt comfort from it when her family moved to a new home.
I love this story for many reasons. I mention it here because it describes the way I feel about quilts nicely. On this page it says, “One day Abigail’s family moved away, across wide rivers and over a rock-hard trail. The quilt went too. Not stuffed in trunks with the blankets and clothes. It kept the little girls warm from the wild winds. Warm from the rain. Warm from the sparkling nights.” The quilt was different from a blanket. It was the thing that brought comfort to Abigail and her sisters, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes store-bought, machine-made versions of a quilt are called “comforters”, but they seem to lack the extra measure of comfort brought by the love that is stitched into a quilt by careful hands. Not just any hands; quilts are usually made for people the quilter knows and loves. Those are the true comforters.
The Spirit of God is sometimes referred to as a means of comfort as well. God knows us and loves us and helps protect us from the wild winds, the rain, the cold nights, the upheavals and moves we experience in life. Not that He eliminates the difficult experiences from our path, but He is there with us to warm us and give us the power to endure harsh elements and unwanted changes.
You might remember that I began a quilting project last year. I wrote about it when I was thinking of how Christ helps us exchange beauty for the ashes of this life. Part of this project’s purpose was to help me create something nice out of something bitter- to bring comfort to myself. When the rubble has been cleared and the world is more certain, I will describe that in more detail, but not yet.
The quilt is finished so I’d like to share that part with you. The colors and patterns are somewhat more chaotic than I would normally choose, but that was part of the plan for this project. The design for the final hand-quilting is a mix of sunshine, clouds, rain, and stormy seas. The words embroidered on the blocks are Norwegian terms for seasons, weather, and water. The next project percolating in my mind is very peaceful and light and I will share that, too, if it ever gets made. For now, here is the culmination of a therapeutic and successful effort to bring comfort to my own soul. It’s called “the winds of change”.
Many thanks and much credit go to my mother, Carol, for teaching me how to quilt and opening the door to understanding how to use it for my own benefit. I love you.