The spirituality of quilt making

This article, Building Spiritual Capital, appeared in the New York Times several weeks ago. At the time I remember reading it, being moved to tears thinking, “Yes!” way to go grandma. Then in true quilterly fashion thinking of the spirituality of quilt making.

This morning I heard both of these songs one right after the other. They both speak of being open to God’s prompting and leading. I’ve had the title of this blog post for days with words, lots of words about the spirituality of quilt making. When the words flow easily I know it’s the right direction to go. When they don’t I know it’s time to stop to reflect. From the beginning to the end quilt making, for me, is a spiritual experience. There is a beauty and grace that flows. There are highs and lows and painful moments and down right struggling figuring out where on earth this quilt is going.

For a while on TerifiCreations my tagline was, “Quilting is a Beautiful and Complicated Art”. It has much to do with fancying myself as an artist and embodied an effort on my part to help quilters understand that quilting is a complex process. There is math and geometry involved, there is color theory and basic (and more complicated) principles of art and design. Quilting involves complicated thinking. Even if it’s “just” (good grief that is my least favorite word used in the quilting world!) a quilt that will be used on the floor to provide a colorful, place for a kid to play.

I changed the tagline to, “Giving quilters permission to do whatever they want since 2009” to really honor my original intention – to let quilters know that they can do whatever they want with their quilts from bed quilts to art quilts the quilting world is yours to pursue with reckless abandon. Freaks you out I know. But it’s Your Quilt. It’s your conversation with God. It’s you listening to where God is leading. It’s your quilting journey, your quilterly faith walk, as it were.

I fake complicated really well. I’m first and foremost a technician and that is what I teach, the technical part of quilt making. When I talk needles and thread and tension it’s because these are the components that made a huge difference for me in my quilt making. When I show you how to use your rulers, it’s because someone made a comment once about how the lines on the rulers work, it stuck with me and improved my piecing a lot. When I go further and say that the thread, needle, stitch plate and our own mindfulness makes a difference, it’s because it made a difference for me in my own quilt making.

When I made Twilight in The Bronx it was in part because I was afraid of making a Lone Star Quilt. When I made Dad Would be Honored my friend Cathy had to talk me into getting the book. I kind of got freaked out (with a little help from someone). Cathy simply said to me that I could do it. I took my time, cut up my dad’s ties and made the quilt. I still have pieces of the silk and dad’s ties left from this project.

As I pieced this quilt I remember a few bang.head.here. moments but they were worth it.

JOURNEYMaking quilts has opened my eyes to so much about the faith journey:
patience
acceptance
kindness
gentleness
doing my best work
doing the work
leading and being led
being open to the possibilities
not being totally freaked out by them

IMG_0558finding peace with mistakes
forgiving
accepting forgiveness
use the brain God gave me
it’s not all about me
listen
there are things I can not control
there are things I can control
it’s okay to let go
it’s okay to grow

I’m still working on all of this. It’s a day by day, pause, reflect, think, pray, grow, take a few steps back, make mistakes kind of life. This quilting life. It’s about being being connected to ourselves and one another. This connected-ness is essential whether we connect in person or on-line. Lord, open my eyes and heart to love and see, to guide and be guided, to quilt and learn and teach. Lord open my eyes and heart to enjoy and embrace this journey you have me on. Remind me to be grateful and caring and generous. Let me be open to being kinder (especially when driving the car, by myself, when the operators of the motor vehicles. . . ) Remind me that times of rest are necessary.

God bless!

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2 thoughts on “The spirituality of quilt making

  1. Right on!!! Your post today sure struck several chords of acknowledgement with me. Before reading your post, I had just had a conversation with God about helping me let go when there are things I can’t control as well as to help me take control of what I can!! 🙂

    1. Terry I can tell you that when I started this post I thought it was going in an entirely different direction. I know that when I struggle writing it’s not a good thing and I need to pause and listen. I paused. I listened. The whole post changed. God bless dear friend!

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