Post Christmas – PreChristmas


I’m only a year late posting last Christmas’ quilt and realizing it is time to start thinking about this year’s Christmas projects.  This fabric was another find I couldn’t leave behind.  It was a layer cake I bought at the IQS in Gimli, MB.  The result was a lap quilt to donate to the church’s annual bazaar.

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Alas, it did not sell.  I gifted it to a wonderful and faithful member of the congregation.  She does not get out to Sunday morning worship any longer.  She has type of dementia that she handles fairly well by leaving post-in notes everywhere as a reminder.  She would call me Mondays after she had attended church with appreciative words for the sermon.  Not long after she would call again, same reason.  And then again, and again, until she remembered to throw out the post-in note reminding her to call me to tell me she appreciated my sermon.  It was a blessing.

I gave her this quilt at the end of the bazaar, just as she was preparing to leave.  During her ride home she mentioned to the driver someone had given her a lovely quilt.  The driver answered, “Yes, I know, the minister gave it to you.”

“Did she?!  How thoughtful of her.  A good preacher and generous too!  To bad I won’t remember to thank her.”

Psalm 119:49  Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.
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Friendship Ties


Our denomination encourages her clergy to pursue continuing education opportunities.  The seminary from which I received my degree offers courses in the summer that are often of interest.  In July of 2017 I flew west to attend a course on Sacred Dying.  Part of the attraction to return is spending some time with my friend, mentor and now, colleague.  She is wise and faithful, caring and lovely.  I have learned so much from her.  I have had the pleasure of staying with her and her husband on many occasions.  About time I brought a token of my gratitude for their hospitality.

This quilt is similar to one draped over the sofa in our living room.  The bow tie blocks had already been sewn together as an accent wall hanging to complement the throw in the living room.  I couldn’t envision a way of hanging the finished project, it was the width of a block and twenty feet long.  I ripped them apart and reconfigured them into this quilt.  Now my dear friend and I share similar quilts, in fact, the centre block that is slightly different from the rest in the quilt is exactly the same as blocks on the back of my quilt.  We are tied together, in faith, in friendship, in affection.  I give thanks to God for her.

Proverbs 17:17  A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

Stars and Stripes


Over a decade ago I met one of the most interesting people I have come to call a friend.  We met in the Where’s Willy forums.  He is a veteran living in Ohio.  We’ve had some serious heart to heart conversations.  He is intelligent and funny and thoughtful.  He has interesting hobbies, a fascinating life, and a great family.  The popularity of fb gradually lured us to other ways of social media and we don’t connect as much.  I miss it.  While still in northern BC I came across a quilt pattern in a magazine that immediately reminded me of him.  Over three years already!  The cut pieces came with me to Manitoba and I managed to complete the project last summer.  My bad waiting so long to get around to posting once it was completed.  I know it was last summer because that was the summer we had the purple paint petunias bracketing the bench on the front veranda.

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I quite pleased with this one.  I used my favourite sort of fabrics, reproductions of civil war designs – blues that incorporated tiny stars, and red with stripes.  The finished quilt was lap size.  I think that bed size quilts are presuming too much.  First colour preferences, second bed size, and this one was a surprise, so I couldn’t very well ask.

I mailed it off end of summer.  They were surprised, and delighted, I think.  They sent a thank you stating as much, my friend commenting it would be most welcome once the cold weather arrives.  This quilt carried many prayers with it.  Serving in the navy does not come with a plethora of good memories, especially when one serves in a way that sees atrocities done to bodies that no one should.  The thought gives me a heavy heart and an ache in my throat.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to witness the hatred and violence of the world.

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The quilted design of loops and stars was applied by The Quilty Guilt.  So blessed to have a long armer in the house.  This quilt is one of the first to not have a flannel back.

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2 Chronicles 14:13  Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army.

 

A Christmas Wedding


Christmas is always crazy for clergy.  Multiple worship services, parishioners ill because of the weather, wind-up parties, more often than not a funeral, even more rarely a wedding.  Add in all the personal preparations for Christmas and you have a recipe for an abundance of stress and little time to sit still in awe of the reason for the season.

Today there was a wedding.  Lovely, appropriately white and red colour scheme for Christmas.  Two 30 somethings, 14 children between them, tattoos and pretend bling, chaos and nerves.  It has been my practice to give a quilt as a wedding gift.  I had this top finished for some time, the Quilty Guilt quilted it yesterday and I spent the rest of yesterday and this morning binding it.  Turned out beeeeeautiful!  Hubby didn’t think I should give it away, but I did.  It really did turn out nice.

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As usual, I didn’t have enough fabric for the back.  I pieced in an orphan block and a few other odds and sods to make a piece big enough.

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It was quilted with hearts, perfect for a bride and groom.  Wrapped in God’s love in grace I pray them all the best for their new life together.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

UFO Progress


I’m being very deliberate in attempting to finish some projects. I’ve had these bow tie blocks finished for some time. I bought four charm packs of Seasons Gatherings in Fort St. John, BC over four years ago. I love this fabric, it began my love for reproduction/traditional/civil war type fabrics.

 

I had no motivation to finish this one since I didn’t have anyone in mind to give it to, and I didn’t have suitable fabric for the back.  When we moved into the new house we needed living room furniture.  A local furniture store was having a sale and we picked up a lovely chocolate brown leather couch, chair and loveseat.  This quilt compliments perfectly, recipient me!

I pieced the back with more Seasonal Gatherings fabric.  I used a variegated thread for the quilting – perfect on the solid black back.  The only drawback is a solid colour shows all the dog hair, so don’t look too close.

Ecclesiastes 9:4
Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

A Triple Double IC


What is not a basketball term , a surgery procedure, or a specialty coffee of some sort?  An experiment in quilting, of course!

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What to do with way too many brown and red 2 1/2″ squares?  I’ve always wanted to construct an Irish Chain.  Straight forward is not my style.  The idea formed to combine a double and a triple Irish Chain. The result was some interesting secondary patterns.  dsc_0282-3

The use of a so many colours makes the contrast  a little difficult to discern.  On the right is a grey scale copy that shows the pattern a little better.  If you squint to look will be even more noticeable.  It give me the urge to make another one.  Bigger, better.

There are many of my favourite fabrics in this project.  Upon completion it found a permanent home on my bed.  It makes me happy.  Mood adjustment, I fall asleep feeling better, and wake up comforted by loveliness.

    But come on, all of you, try again!
    I will not find a wise man among you.
     My days have passed, my plans are shattered.  Job 17:10-11

Strength for Today


It has been a trying year.  Too many prominent members of the congregation have died with difficult circumstances surrounding their deaths.  It is emotional fuel for continued conflict and hurt within the leadership.  Too much personal anxiety around mental health issues in immediate family members, inheritance details, feelings of isolation, and decreasing hours of daylight has given birth to a silent litany of “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care” as a way to cope.

I’ve been quilting, constantly, but not finishing a single project.  I’ve started three major pieces in the last month, all with deadlines.  I get almost finished, pull it down off the design board and start something else.  I contemplate whether my inability to finish mirrors my inability to let grief go.  Daily I begin by praying I will have enough emotional resources to get through today.

14729352_10202070259313637_5136655464477300416_n A couple of weeks ago the widow of one of the recently deceased members celebrated her 65th birthday.  Attempted to celebrate.  It has been very difficult for her.  The first anniversaries after a loved one dies typically is, the first Thanksgiving, the first birthday, the wedding anniversary, the baptism of a grandchild.  Christmas is going to be bleak.  I managed to finish this quilt and gift it to her.  I named it “Strength for Today, Hope for tomorrow.”  A line from the powerful hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness.  I pray it brings her comfort and some measure of peace.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Lamentations 3:22-24   The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”