Stitching a Work of Art

Stitching a Work of Art

When I say I’ve been a quilter, I mean I’ve enjoyed the social aspects of meeting together with other women in the church basement, learning how to turn old scraps into something warm and useful. During the years when I was home with small children, I enthusiastically churned out a succession of amateurish patchwork quilts­ for friends and relatives.  I loved doing it—I just never got good at it.

My husband and I still cuddle up under a now-ragged patchwork quilt I made nearly 20 years ago. It was never flawless enough to be mounted and displayed, but its blunt and unmatched points never prevented it from keeping us warm and cozy. They say Amish women would deliberately sew a mistake into their quilts as a reminder that God alone is perfect. I never had to be that intentional about it.

Sadly, my skill as a seamstress never grew. Going back to teaching fulltime killed my quilt-making tendencies, and now all that’s left is a deep admiration for the women who’ve persisted in perfecting this craft.

Recently I was privileged to lead a CrossWise Living Retreat in Giddings, Texas and was delighted to discover this gorgeous quilt adorning the stage. I recognized the extraordinary skill of the quilt-maker instantly, and it wasn’t just the harmonious combination of colors and patterns.

It was the points.  It is in the execution of the points that the true tale of excellence is told.  They are supposed to match and meet and line up perfectly. Mine were always fudged. My seams were wavy when they should have been straight; the tips cut off instead of sharp and clean.  I

When I was first attempting to learn the art of piecing a quilt top, I hit the roadblock of my own impatience. The only way you can make a really pointy point is slowly, carefully, and deliberately.  I didn’t have it in me. Connie, the creator of this beautiful nautically- themed quilt clearly does, as you can see from the picture.

When I lost my job and had some free time again, I turned my attention not back to quilting, but to my own long dreamed-of writing project. CrossWise Living: Navigating Transition is a patchwork of stories from my life, the unifying color scheme being lessons I’ve learned from walking with God for thirty years.

As I began to work on the craft of writing in earnest, I saw that while I may be using words now rather than fabric, I still have to take my time in order to make the points really pointy. In my third year of writing, I joined a critique group—a group of generous individuals who are helping me to develop the skill of making my words match and meet and line up just right.  Having a community of like-minded wordsmiths is making this solitary life so much more enjoyable.

The CrossWise Chronicles is a blog devoted to telling stories about the God who loves us, who is always at work in the intricate details of our lives. It is about taking the time to view life slowly and carefully and deliberately so that we don’t miss the point. It involves noticing the skill with which he pieces our lives together in community. It results in rejoicing in the way in which he redeems the scraps of our lives, stitching them into a work of art.