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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: What A Quilt Can Do
By Janet Richey


When I was seven, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, without hesitation I would have told you a quilter, just like Grandma. That was in 1975 and I lived in a countryside village in Pennsylvania. Like a lot of country communities across the nation at that time, the church was still the center of the community in both literal and figurative terms. It was there in that United Church of Christ basement, where my grandma and a group of women friends set up a wooden quilt frame, complete with the “C” clamps. All day until supper, every Saturday, they would sit around that frame, quilt and gossip, and throw around an occasional recipe. When it was our turn, Mom and I would take sandwiches and iced tea for lunch, then stay for a visit. I would watch these women in their aproned cotton calico dresses, gliding their needles through the fabric with wrinkled hands and translucent skin. I loved the pretty motifs that they sewed, and would learn the names of all the different patterns. Nine Patch, Four Patch, Dresden Plate and Log Cabin. Even at that early age, I wanted to make them all, and I begged Grandma to teach me.
On my ninth birthday, Grandma took me into her sewing room, and showed me a very simple, but colorful nine patch quilt top, made mostly of fabric scraps of clothes I had out-grown. She presented it to me with pride and said “You're going to learn how to tie a quilt,” and we got busy with it. Since she lived with us at the time, she and I would work at it little by little.
We were about half way through with it, when the storm that was brewing would finally break loose. We were moving. Away from the little church that held the quilt frame, away from everything I'd ever known, and away from Grandma.
Dad felt called into the ministry, and as if to affirm that, was offered a preaching job at one of the very few Protestant churches in Scranton, a coal mining town, that is rich with descendants of European immigrants: Irish, Polish, Italian, and German. If you weren't Catholic, you were an Orthodox Jew. As if going from country to city life wasn't enough, I couldn't identify with any of those cultures, and so, I withdrew. Grandma would come to visit occasionally, and we would work on the quilt, but with each passing visit, I became less interested. And then, I became defiant. I started hanging around the wrong people, and distanced myself from my family.
In 1985, grandma moved it with us, and I was so aggravated over this. She was taking up what little space we had in that house. The quilt was pushed back further in my mind. The divide between the two of us couldn't have been wider.
Six years later, Grandma died before my eyes. I was 21. Nothing has affected me so profoundly since. Riddled with guilt, I moved away from home, but God lead me back to the faith I was born to.
The unfinished quilt resurfaced when I moved into my house with my husband. It was there that I was given my own sewing room, and my love of quilting was rekindled. Fittingly, Mom and Dad gave me that old rickety quilt frame Grandma used. I had since bought a modern one, but it's presence was a reminder of the good times we shared.
When my oldest daughter was nine years old, I dug out that unfinished quilt from so many years ago. I told her the story behind it, and I taught her how to tie a quilt. Eagerly, we finished it in a few months. It is her heritage quilt, neatly tucked away.
I have two girls now, both in their teens, and once in a while, I see the rebellious side of me in them. Before I get too consumed with worry, I remind myself of where I've come from, that God loves them, even more than I do, and He's got their lives in His safe hands.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11, ESV. A powerful promise, for the worried parent.

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This article has been read 313 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 03/08/13
This is good. Makes me wonder if it was a true story.

You might want to consider adding an extra line of space between paragraphs. It makes it easier on the eyes. :)

Nice job with this.
Bonnie Bowden 03/11/13
This story brings back happy memories for me. I remember taking quilting classes when I was in high school. I got the pieces sewed together, but I never quilted them.

Spacing between paragraphs would make it easier to read but nicely done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/13/13
I really like this story. You did an excellent job of pulling me into it, I felt like I was right there watching the little girl grow up.

One thing that many writers will struggle with is the concept show don't tell. An example of showing would be instead of saying she presented it with pride, show what that looks like calling for example:Grandma handed me the quilt, a smile spread across her face as her eyes sparkled. Something like that will paint a picture for the reader.

Overall you did a great job. I think your take on the topic was unique and interesting. You brought the story full circle while delivering a great message.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/17/13
Congratulations on ranking 12th in level one! (The top 15 in level one can be found on the messages boards!)