It began as a thread of an idea.
Someone needed to be comforted.
And what better way to be comforted than by a quilt.
It would be a quilt of many colours, made by many hands, a labour of love, of hope, of faith.
The idea grew from a thread to a well-designed plan.
Quilting books were pored over and patterns were chosen. Colours were harmonized.
The women held their pieces of fabric to their hearts, took them home, arranged their triangles, tiny squares, squares within squares, and began the task of sewing them together.
For some, it was not so easy. Edges would not align. Points were not crisp. Curves would not flow. Quarter inch seams were wobbly, meandering, and needed to be removed and redone.
But nobody forgot for whom the quilt was for. Tears fell, hot tears of hope, that shone fervently on the surface of each square, then disappeared, absorbed, by the weave of the fabric.
One by one, the squares were completed, and each was joined to a sister square. Each was like a flower in a garden, a star in the sky; each had a story of desire and longing spun into its stitches.
Several ladies gathered to put the layers together: the backing, the glorious top, and in between, the soft batting. Carefully arranging so nothing was stretched or awry, the women pinned the three layers together, as always, praying, smiling, laughing their thoughts into the quilt as they worked.
Then, the quilting finished, the last thing was to hem the binding, a final time together before the quilt would be given to the beloved one.
The women gathered around the table as the multicoloured quilt was unfolded and spread out.
“She’ll love it.”
Gentle fingers smoothed the fabric and traced the deep-toned designs as the women murmured their approval and admiration for the fabric kaleidoscope of earthy colours.
“What’s the name of this square?” asked Susan, pointing to a square comprised of rich green and deep blue triangles.
“Flock of Geese.”
“And this?” queried Rachel.
“Cup and Saucer.”
Silence ensued as each woman reflected on her own journey through the making of her square, her trial, her triumph, her prayer, her love for her sister, indeed, her love for every sister standing in the circle. Every heart was joined by a single strand, that of intense love.
“Shall we start?”
The binding had been attached; it only needed to be turned under and sewn in a blind hem. Some of the ladies set to pinning, and some started threading needles.
“Maybe we could each share something about our square, or share a little bit about our sister, or maybe you’d just like to say a prayer,” suggested Susan.
“I chose Star of Hope as my square. It seemed appropriate.”
“I know she’ll think we’re close to her while she’s away. Our prayers will go with her.”
“She’ll feel our love. When she wraps herself in the quilt, she’ll feel covered by our love.”
A few tears fell, unheeded, onto the quilt. A few more wouldn’t matter. Yet, every tear mattered very much.
“Jesus, be with our sister. Allow this quilt to comfort her in the dark hours to come, to remind her that we are here for her, just as You are, that we love her, just as You do. Keep her warm, when the chill of fear threatens to overwhelm her. Above all, shelter her in love.”
And so the quilt was bordered with prayer and the gentlest and kindest of affectionate thoughts and words. The needles hummed as they darted in and out of the binding, as if they bound the words themselves into the cloth, holding them there until those dark nights when peace would be broken and faith would be challenged.
Finally, it was time to attach the label.
Made specially for our sister. This quilt has been stitched with hope, filled with love, and bound with prayer.
There was no doubt that the much loved sister would be delighted with her gift. She loved colour and fabric, textures and designs. Most of all, she loved her sisters, and anything that came from their hands would be a treasure.
Now, there was nothing left to do but gather up the needles and thread.
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