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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)

TITLE: Quilting Lessons
By Rhonda Clark


The needle wove in and out of the quilt pieces that lay in Jenny’s lap. Even though her 85-year old hands were starting to tremble with age, Jenny refused to give up quilting. She squinted her eyes and focused what was left of her dimming vision on the cloth pieces she held. Using mostly her sense of touch, she would lace the large quilting needle in and out of the fabric, but this time her judgment was off. As the silver needle pierced her thumb, Jenny in took a sharp breath.

Cassie, who had been sitting next to her great-grandmother's knee, gasped, “Granny, you’re bleeding. I’ll get you a Band-Aid.” Quickly, the eight-year-old jumped to her feet and ran to the bathroom.

Jenny reached for a tissue and wrapped it around her thumb.

Cassie returned and said, “Here you go, Granny. Let me see your thumb, and I’ll put the bandage on. Aunt Candy would flip if you got blood on her new quilt.”

Jenny let out a high-pitched, raspy giggle. “My mother always said, ‘a quilt wasn’t a bit of good unless it was christened with a touch of blood’.”

Cassie managed to wrap the small bandage around the quivering thumb, and dropped back down to her granny’s knee. Puzzled, she asked, “What does that mean?”

Placing a thimble on the sore thumb, Jenny went back to her quilting. “That was momma’s way of saying the quilt was made with love. When you’re quilting, you’re bound to stick yourself at least once, and your finger becomes sore, but you have to push forward and finish the quilt—or somebody will be cold come winter.”

The little girl frowned as she thought how the only thing this quilt would be warming this winter was the wall of Aunt Candy’s new bedroom. “Mom says the reason you stick yourself is because you can’t see.”

“Does she now?” Jenny answered as she wove the needle in and out of the fabric. “Let me tell you this. I can piece quilts as good as anyone; I’ve been doing it since I was your age. I can even do it with my eyes closed, watch.”

Jenny lifted her head and closed her eyes. Cassie watched in amazement as her great-grandmother placed the needle in and out of the fabric in the most precise places. Then, Jenny asked, “Is my seam right as rain or what?”

Cassie inspected the short, straight stitches. “Looks perfect to me, Granny.”

“Humph,” Jenny said haughtily. “If they think I need to stop quilting because I can’t see, then why do they keep giving me projects?”

Giggling, Cassie shrugged, “I don’t know. Meme says you shouldn’t be living here alone because you can’t see.”

Jenny sighed; she had had that argument too many times with her daughter. “I know, sweet girl, but your meme doesn’t realize that in this house my eyes work fine.”

“They do?” The child gasped.

Jenny kept quilting and smiled. “They do. Here in this house, I see all the important things. I see your pappy, all young, handsome and strong. I see your meme and her brothers running through the house with muddy shoes chasing that shaggy dog. I see my boys in their military uniforms and college graduation gowns. I see your meme in her wedding gown. I see all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren as toddlers learning how to walk. I also see every one of you digging through my scraps box looking for just the right pieces for your special quilts. Do you know what else I see?”


“I see my home in heaven and my Jesus waiting for me.”

“Really? What does it look like?” The child asked, spellbound.

Jenny just kept running the needle through the layers of fabric. “It’s beautiful. The house is white, not too big and not too small. All the furniture is big and fluffy, and your pappy is there. He’s young, strong and handsome—oh he’s such a sight.” Stopping her thoughts, Jenny secured the needle in the fabric, and put her project in her quilting basket. Dropping her hands into her lap, she exclaimed, “Whew, that’s about all the sewing I can do for today. Why don’t you go make us ham and cheese sandwiches while I rest for a minute?”

Obediently, Cassie walked to the kitchen. Jenny closed her eyes and dwelled on visions of her heavenly home.

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This article has been read 1089 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Caitlynn Lowe08/10/06
A touching story, and a good example of what "true vision" is like.
Helen Paynter08/13/06
This was really beautiful - evocative and powerful. A good job.
terri tiffany08/14/06
You did a terrific job here! I was really impressed with the detail and the flow throughout!:) Well-written!! And the ending - well- that really touched me and isn't that what we want our stories to do?:)
Paul Meier08/16/06
Kept my attention to the end - beautiful story.
Joe Flowers08/17/06
Well-written. I was surprised at the level of beautiful detail that was kept throughout the piece. This is a touching story.
Joanne Sher 08/18/06
A beautifully told and "painted" story. Congrats on your well-deserved win!
Jan Ackerson 03/29/07
This is gorgeous--I love Jenny's long paragraph about how she sees just fine "here in this house." Really nice.
Patty Wysong03/29/07
This is so good, Rhonda! You captured Jenny and Cassie beautifully, and I love how Jenny 'sees.'
Julie Arduini03/29/07
I see why this placed! Great work. I loved the line about how quilts christened with a touch of blood, I have a feeling that's the truth for many. Very enjoyable read!
Tabiatha Tallent03/30/07
Great story. The conversation flowed nicely and kept my attention from beginning to the end.
Jacquelyn Horne09/03/07
What a wonderful family relationship article. No wonder the win. I love reading these older entries.