Most people think a quilt is made as a utility item, usually to keep people warm. And that would be correct. in many cases. A quilt is very good at keeping people warm and cozy in bed. It has been doing that job well for centuries.
But I have seen quilts perform many other functions over the years as well. They are very versatile and multi-functional things.
For instance, a quilt can give a great big hug to a grandchild from a grandmother. Watch the child wrap the quilt around himself, close his eyes and spin around in the magic of grandma’s bear hug. It is mystical!
A quilt can say “thank you” to a veteran for his/her years of loyal service. I have seen grown men cry while humbly surrounded in the red, white and blue colors of their Quilt of Valor.
A small quilt given from a Police Officer can comfort a little child in a time of trauma. Nothing is more soothing than a soft cuddly quilt that can be squeezed and held tight while taken with the child on a tough journey.
A quilt, any quilt, can decorate a space. It can add color or design or a statement or whimsy to any room. Big or little, traditional or modern. two color or scrappy, every quilt has something to add to every domain in which it exists. It has a life – a reason to be.
A quilt can be an inspiration to others. It can encourage someone to try a color combination or a design or a new skill. Hanging in a Quilt Show, every quilt is a little beacon of light, begging to be copied or followed in some small way. Every quilt has something to give.
A quilt can teach – in fact, every quilt does. I learn something new from every quilt quilt I make, which makes me a better quilter. It may be something small or something really significant, but there’s always a lesson. A lot like life, right?
Every quilt is good practice for my skills. It keeps me honed and sharp. It’s like going to the gym or working out everyday – keeping the muscles in shape. Working on quilts keeps me in tip-top sewing shape.
Quilts bring joy. I would rather sew and quilt than almost anything else. Making them brings me joy. Seeing them brings me joy. Seeing other people’s quilts brings me joy. Knowing about brings me joy. Using them brings me joy.
Quilts make great gifts. They say “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Anniversary”, “Congratulations”, “Good Job” better than anything I know. Quilts practically jump out of the box on their own, they are so happy! They make people smile, laugh, cry and squeal.
For some, their quilt is their home, They live on it, sleep on it and eat on it. Their quilts are sturdy, well made, hard working items, meant to stand hardship and tough use. We make them at our church and send them mostly to India with lots of hope and prayers.
But the best thing EVERY quilt can do – convey love!!! All quilts are made with large doses of love sewn right into them, so they carry that love wherever they go. You can feel it the instant you touch it.
Whether you are a newborn baby or an elder on Hospice Care, the love is there for you. Whether the occasion is funny, intense, happy, sad or proud, the quilt brings just what is needed and just the right touch of care. Whether the recipient is a stranger or the closest loved one, the quilt is always appropriate and always gathered up in loving arms.
Quilts are meant to used and loved.
I know I love mine – and I believe they love me back.
My sewing room is my sanctuary, my creative HQ, my center of all good therapeutic things. I can stay in there for hours and not notice the time passing at all. It is really where my soul is happy, content, at ease and challenged, all at the same time.
EXCEPT when it is so cluttered that I can’t see the floor or any horizontal surfaces or even where anything is anymore!!!!
And that is exactly what happened to my precious sewing room – it got too full! It was like sewing in New York City, where the piles of stuff were the skyscrapers and I was down on the street trying to sew in the shadows and congestion.
I was miserable and I didn’t want to even enter the room anymore. Heck, I couldn’t enter the room for all the stuff on the floor!
A major intervention was needed but that was totally overwhelming. I decided to start with one bookcase. I could purge one bookcase.
And so I did. I ended up with six kitchen garbage bags of books and magazines to give away. That felt so good and the bookcase looked fabulous!
So I decided to do one more bookcase. Another six bags of fabric and stuff were collected. I was on a roll! This was going to be easy.
Day three and bookcase number three began with lower back pain and thigh pain. Five more bags were filled after several breaks and Tylenol. Maybe it wasn’t going to be quite so easy but still doable.
Day four began with Tylenol for the back pain, hip pain and thigh pain. After numerous breaks, a nap and more Tylenol, eight bags full sat in the hallway.
Day five was much like day four – painful but productive. Seven bags added to the pile from previous days.
My sewing room now was reorganized and sparkling again. A place for everything and everything in its place. I had a floor and a cutting surface again. All the fabric was folded on the shelves in groups by color or type. Projects were in boxes. Books and magazines nicely stacked. Room to sew, piece and iron.
I could see and enjoy everything. I could get into my room and use it as it was meant to be used. I could be creative and productive again. What a joy! What a blessing! I felt like I had lost at least twenty pounds!!!
And the final count of the bags taken to Goodwill? Wait for it . . . . . . . . . . . . 32!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gramps and I have been going to weekly high school football games recently. Not so much to see the football game itself, but to see the halftime show. You see Mac plays the sousaphone in his high school marching band.
In Texas, marching bands and music in general are a big deal in high school. And this is a competition year, so performance levels are pretty high and expectations are even higher.
So being the good grandparents, we attend every game to support Mac and cheer him on. We wear the school T-shirt and ball cap. We sit next to the band with all the other band families. We clap and cheer at the appropriate times. And we know where our specific child is on the the field at all times. We have this band thing down pat.
Since we arrive early, we watch the football team in action. At the beginning of the season, we thought this was the disposable part of the evening. But we have since learned it is the appetizer to the whole meal.
Gramps and I have become part of an entire village of supporters of high school kids doing their athletic best. We delight with them when they do well. We mourn with when they don’t. We encourage them when they face a challenge. We constantly tell then how much faith we have in them .
Students, parents, grandparents, friends, and family – all one community. All backing a team of teenagers with a ball and one goal in mind. All while enjoying the “great” stadium food!
Then there is halftime!! How much fun can we stand!! We are loving it!!
We get to watch Mac and his band put on a fantastic show with precision marching and a phenomenal musical sound!!!!!
Of course it is followed by more football, to round out the evening. By this time, I feel like I know everyone seated around me and which child is theirs (football player or band member) on the field. I start to care how all the kids are performing – not just my Mac
I love my little football community! It’s a little different each week but the same in many ways.
Can’t wait for Friday night when my village gathers in the stands again for “good” food, good conversation, good fellowship and good cheering.
This pandemic has left it’s mark on everyone – some marks deeper than others. Some will be too frightened to go anywhere again. Some will wear a mask from now on. Some will have nothing more than bad memories. But the epidemic of hopelessness among teenagers seems most tragic to me.
According to a psychologist I know, children in their teen years have lost their will to live in unheard of numbers. Can you even imagine being 14 or 15 and seeing no future for yourself? I really couldn’t imagine that myself.
Or at least I couldn’t until I found out that my 16 yo grandson Matt had confided to his physician that he was having some suicidal thoughts. Then it all came crashing in. This is real! This is happening! My baby is in danger!
My poor sweet boy had not planned the date or time but had definitely planned the method to end his life. That’s how absolutely real it is to have no hope!
My first instinct was to get on a plane, fly two and half hours, go to Matt’s school and scoop him up in my arms like a baby. Then hug and kiss him all over, follow him around so no one could say or do anything hurtful to him. And if anyone tried, I would beat the snot out of them!
That was the Granny bear response in me. But first responses are often primal and not thought out very well.
So what did I really do? After some careful thought, I wrote my sweet darling boy a love letter.
I told him how much I loved him, how much Gramps loved him, how lovable he is in general.
I told him all the things I loved about him – his energy, his love of music, his sense of humor.
I told him how much I appreciated his love of astronomy, his joy of marching in the High School band, how well he plays his saxophone.
I told him how much I enjoyed being around him, the good memories I have of our vacation together and how well he can tell a joke. I ended the letter saying, “Remember you are my favorite!”, which is something I say to all my grandchildren. They all laugh, but it is true. They are ALL my favorite!
Of course, one letter is not a cure-all but lots of love and prayer can certainly tip the scales. And that’s what I have lots of – love and prayer.
Look out Matt! You’re about to be loved on and prayed for, Granny style!!!!!