Old Things

Pieces

I asked some friends a while ago, “What’s your favorite quilt pattern and why?” For some, the choice was hard. Cause really, we like them all. Hard not to. Neatly cut shapes stitched together in geometric wonders gives us a sense of order and art, together in one, cozy covering.

Even the old fashioned kinds made from the scrap basket are made to look matched and meant to be. But most of you? Hands down and highly favored: The Crazy Quilt. Multi-colored and multi-shaped, the pieces take a little more thought and care to sew into a quilt.

Perhaps you are thinking in analogies like I do. How God takes our ratty scraps and makes something of our lives. Like lemonade or some such. Like we’re making the best of it, such as it is. Life’s been hard, here’s our scrap-bag-mess. Can He use it? He can if He likes.

But I’m having a hard time with these thoughts. An antique crazy quilt used to hang on the wall when I was a child. My brother and I would cozy up to the fire crackling in the stone fireplace with our cups of tea and Little Debbies and listen to Mom read aloud. As she read, I’d stare. Not always at the mysteries found in the sparking flames, but at the quilt. Old, much loved, and definitely not a family heirloom. I didn’t care. The velvets, silks, corduroy, cotton all hemmed in by feather stitch, chain stitch, and fly stitch guided my eyes through a history I couldn’t possibly understand outside of my small knowledge.

But I remember. The silks were often black. The velvets, green and wine. Embroidered animals and initials remarked a happy stitcher. Whoever she was, she loved making this quilt. I wonder how many years it took to save the fabric? How many holiday gowns had seen it’s last daughter through another season–how many mourning gowns had served their purpose and could no longer be remade?

No, these quilts weren’t made from the mere sour scraps of life. They were made of memories. The yellow-velvet-good and the black-silk-grief of them. They were made from the best parts left over after having lived in them, and found valued enough to keep.

She may have wondered, all those years ago, how the pieces would all fit together. How the story could possibly be bound within one, unified covering. Crazy how it all worked out.

Yours will too.

With Love,

Ann

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