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Friday, January 18, 2008

A Multiplicity of Patches

In the past few years I have become fascinated with quilts. The heritage of of quilt-making in our nation is rich. Before scrapbooking, stamping, and other popular craft hobbies of today, there was quilting, sewing, needlepoint, knitting, and so on. Initially these "hobbies" were necessary diversions, not just a creative outlet. Women of past generations clothed their families and decorated their homes through these "hobbies"--there was no Pottery Barn, Target, or Pier 1 (ouch!)

I am not saying that I wish to go back to those days, but I do long for a greater connection to simplicity of life of that era-not that is was easy at all, just less cluttered. I love to look in antique shops at old quilts and marvel at the creativity that is displayed. Many are patchwork quilts made from pieces of fabric left over from a multitude of other projects, artfully put together to make something not only useful, but beautiful.

I took a quilt class about a year and a half ago--this was quite an experience for someone who had NEVER sewed in her life. I learned so much and was pleased with the baby quilt that I was able to make for my niece. What I probably enjoyed the most was getting to know other ladies in the class and the ladies who worked at the quilt shop. I was the "young 'un" of the group. It made me think of how women used to get together for quilting bees--what a time of fellowship, a place for women of all ages to connect.

Although we have ladies' groups in churches and communities, it seems we have lost the need to depend on one another like they seemed to years ago. We are more isolated. I think maybe that is why so many of us enjoy blogging--a way to connect. This is a God-given, built-in desire for us. God created us to be in relationship with Him and with each other.

IN ANOTHER DIRECTION . . .I also love the stories that many quilts tell and the metaphors that can be derived from quilting. One of my favorite movies, How to Make an American Quilt based on the book by Whitney Otto, interweaves the story of a group of friends and their lives as they make a wedding quilt together. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

Young lovers seek perfection. Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches.

Isn't that so true? When we are young, we seek perfection in everything, most often for prideful reasons. As we get older, we learn to be content with where we are in life. I am not saying that we shouldn't strive for excellence, but we should also see the beauty in where God has placed us. I once read, "Contentment is destroyed by comparison." I desire to be satisfied with what God has given me and see the beauty in a "multiplicity of patches."


Blogger Keri Wyatt Kent said...

You might enjoy Sue Bender's book, Plain and Simple. It's the story of how seeing an old quilt led her to leave her fast-paced career and city life to live among the Amish people for a while.
It's an interesting book, but I'm of the opinion that you don't have to leave "real life" to simplify and slow down.
I enjoy reading your posts.
Keri Wyatt Kent
author of Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life

January 18, 2008 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Oh that is so beautiful, Kelly.

And what a picture of how God works in us. Where others (and even we outselves) see us as a bag of torn rags, he sees the beautiful quilt to be made in our life.

Thanks for sharing!

January 18, 2008 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Kelly, I'm doing a marriage study right now that speaks a lot to the expectations we have when we're young, and how that sets up so many people for disillusionment and even contempt for their spouse/marriage. Thanks for this reminder, esp. the part about comparisons.

January 18, 2008 at 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Lorraine said...

I've often said that the internet is the new "back fence". Blogging is so much cheaper then therapy. While the ladies fellowship at church is nice, I don't attend. I'm a military wife with no babysitter I can call. Truthfully, I don't want one. My kids have enough trouble with separation when daddy comes and goes, and I've always been then one constant in their young lives (7, 4, 3). I don't intend to change that now. Instead, I've turned to bloggers, and email groups. Some of my best friends are people I've never met in person. Blogs like this one, and Lisa's I Am study, allow me to participate in Bible studies without having to find a baby sitter. Awesome. Keep up the good work! It's been a real blessing to me.

January 18, 2008 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

I love that quote and your thoughts about it, so beautiful!

You are a blessing,

January 18, 2008 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Hi, I have an "older" friend who makes all sizes and types of quilts! She is actually only a few years older than me. She makes wall-hangings, table runners, quilts for each niece and nephew, etc. She is such a fascinating person. Making beautiful baskets is another craft she does. Cindi

January 18, 2008 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Nice post, Kelly - thank you. Contentment is something the Lord is pressing on my heart this New Year.

You mentioned it seems we've lost the need to depend on others like they used to back in the old days. Yep. But women keep so busy, they don't make time for closeness sometimes. I've reached out to many individuals these past five years, only to find women with over-scheduled lives. When it's all said and done, we'll wish we simplified.

Thanks for such a thought-provoking post.

January 18, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I am a knitter and crocheter. I learned to crochet from my grandmother, and regret that I didn't really get into it until after she was gone. We have so many lessons to learn by slowing down and enjoying the moment. You know, Legos and a set of 4-year-old twins reinforces that lesson daily.

January 18, 2008 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

I have a quilt that my grandmother gave me when I got married. She and her grandma friends got together and made these quilts for all of their grand-daughters. When I read your post I thought of her, now with Jesus, and her buddies sitting in her house, just being chicks together and creating something for a new generation - something to pass on and be remembered by - (22 years in the future when one of the lucky grand-daughters reads an awesome devotional about quilts.) Thank you for a solid message and for generating memories that have me reaching for Kleenex.

January 18, 2008 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

Contentment is destroyed by comparison - I know this is true in my heart and how I want to step from the perfectionism of youth to the peace of the next stage. Piecing together what God has given me to make something beautiful out of this life.

January 18, 2008 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger Joyce said...

I love quilting. Many years ago I was encouraged to help with one because of the metal issues I was going through at the time. I spent many hours quilting and listening to the other ladies and the healing of a loss of a child began. That quilt was to be a gift to a daughter of the lady where the quilting frame was. When it was done it was decided that it could not be given as a gift. There were memories of all the hands that worked, talked, and healed from making the beautiful quilt.

January 18, 2008 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

You are right. We do need to slow down sometimes and I also enjoy the connection with other women that I get from blogging. Thanks for a great post! God Bless!

January 18, 2008 at 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Loni said...

It's funny you should write on this. I've not quilted for years, but finally got the "bug" again, and am in hte process of making four - one for my baby, one for a friend's new baby, a quilt I've wanted to make for years with my deceased son's clothes, and helping one of my daughters make one. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. It was neat to read this when quilting is on my mind!

January 18, 2008 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Lovely post sweetie

January 19, 2008 at 3:21 AM  
Blogger lori said...

Perhaps this little blog thing we do is our modern day "quilting bee?"

I love a good quilt...would NEVER have the patience to make one I'm afraid...but I'd LOVE to sit in on one of those bees and listen to the fellowship....

and the QUOTE of the DAY!
"contentment is destroyed by comparison."
I know that, I've fallen victim to it a few times myself!!:)

great post Kelly....
I enjoyed the visit!

January 19, 2008 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Cory said...

Amen! It takes maturity and experience to see what you have as a blessing and be happy with it instead of always looking for something better. Thank you, Cory

January 19, 2008 at 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Lis said...

Your blog spoke to my heart today! I have the most wonderful husband in the world, perfect-no, judgemental-NO, but oh so loving, affectionate, thoughtful, generous, and kind. The Lord has blessed me with this man after many years of searching, and I will compare him to none. He loves me, my girls, the Lord, and who could ask for more... I am Content! Thanks for your blog!

January 21, 2008 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

One of my most prized possessions is a quilt my grandma, grandpa, great-aunt and great-uncle all made while they were living together in one home saving money to afford a second. The quilt is pretty, but the love behind it and the image of them sitting for hours together laughing and dreaming blows me away.

Thanks for bringing this to mind today...beautiful post!


January 23, 2008 at 9:40 AM  

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