Quilts


 
My great grandmother, who was born in 1870, sewed a quilt for each of her grandchildren as they were born.  The girls got patches showing a little Dutch girl with wooden shoes and a granny bonnet and the boys a Dutch boy.  Fifty years later, Grandmother Edna sewed one for each of our generation.  I loved that warm quilt she made for me.  Somewhere I still have the paper pattern to make a quilt for my grandchildren. 
 
When our Navy ship moved from the Philippines to Hong Kong in January, I needed a quilt to sleep in warmth.  The last of our seven days there I bought a quilt that sold from a booth next to an incense store.  These incense sticks were not in neat little boxes.  I’m talking massive burning clutches of them, bigger around than a cantaloupe. Each city smelled differently, especially the port cities with the population and the salt air coming off the harbor. The smells from the water, Chinese food, the streets of Hong Kong, and the incense were infused in the quilt.  I had it for years, and every night as I slept, I dreamed of Hong Kong.
 
My friend Barbara is a quilter of more than 20 years.  She recently walked me through the construction and history of quilting.  Did you know in the 1860’s there were white women along the way that made certain quilts that were a signal as they hung on the windowsill or clothesline of their houses?  They came to be called “underground railroad quilts” and were indications of both paths to follow and homes which sheltered slaves escaping from the South.
 
Barb explained the components.  The patches are called squares.  The fabric is cut across the bias, different from the way a yard or two of material is cut from the bolt.  These cuts have names: Fat Eighths, Fat Quarters and Layer Cake. A quilt will use up to 25 Quarters.  The squares can be a single color or have all sorts of intricate artwork sewn in called applique.  They can be specially dyed and include stencils, photographs, or an overlay of lace.
 
Then the posh squares are either sewn together or glued together in the creative designs which will make up the fancy top side.  Batting, the thick insulation, is lined up behind the fancy top followed by the plain material which is the bottom of the quilt.  The assembly gets sent off to someone who owns a Long Arm.  That is the machine that puts tens of thousands of stitches up and down and side to side that create the warming puffy pockets that make it into a quilt. 
 
My life and yours are like one of the squares.  We are surrounded by the squares of others, each as unique as the parents who put us into the world and groomed our individual personalities.  No matter what life brings, we are forever stitched and glued into the lives of those closest to us.  We are highly visible to all who see us.  Our beauty is a reflection of how clean our lives are and the proximity to those nearby.  How strong are the bonds that hold us together?
 
God is the Long Arm of our lives.  Laying down all the tiny connections, He is the only one that can see and feel the entire pattern of this Kingdom Quilt as it is on Earth and in Heaven.  Quilters say their favorite creations are those where the recipient is in mind throughout the making of it.  God is just like that too.  He loves you and had you in mind when He created.

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