catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 13, Num 11 :: 2014.05.30 — 2014.06.12


Patchwork prayer

Our praying and creating hands become God’s resource as we determine how to embody what we are experiencing through the cloth.

Susan Towner-Larsen & Barbara Brewer Davis, With Sacred Threads: Quilting and the Spiritual Life

A dear friend asked me to make quilts for her two daughters using the baby clothes she had saved. She and her husband decided to not have any more children, but she couldn’t release those baby clothes. Instead, she handed me two large plastic containers filled with sweet baby dresses, cute onesies, and charming knitted caps for the quilts. As I sorted through the bins I wondered what I could do with these clothes: how can I make a quilt for each of the girls?

I decided to cut up the adorable clothes into 2.5” squares. I first traced squares on the various clothes then cut them out using scissors, which required me to slow down and work meditatively rather than speed cutting with a rotary cutter.

And as I worked with those clothes I remembered each girl as a baby. I met each girl shortly after she was born and leaned over the hospital bassinet to stroke their heads and whisper a blessing: “We are so glad you are here. We’ve been waiting a long time for you and here you are! We are so happy!  You, ____, are beloved and blessed child of God.”  I recalled how the girls have grown from babies to elementary school children, each with her own distinct personality. I also held the entire family in my heart, grateful for our friendship and the joy I experience being with them.

As I assembled the quilts I imagined how the girls might use them: reading books under them, snuggling under them in the winter, and, maybe, if the quilts are still in shape, taking them along to college.

The girls have the quilts on their respective beds and the older daughter has told me several times how much she loves her quilt. Two weeks ago she told me about the dog accidently pooping on her quilt and she was furious! She seriously assured me that the dog is no longer allowed on her bed, and especially not on her quilt.

My other friend, Sarah, posted a picture on Facebook of her husband and their two children reading together with a quilt over them. It was a quilt I made when Sarah was pregnant with her first child and it was a joy to sew together. I prayed for Sarah and her husband as I stitched those squares — I prayed for a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery for Sarah, and for wisdom for both of them as new parents. When I contacted Sarah for permission to use the photo she said her son continues to sleep with the quilt and used it a lot. I am grateful.

I also made a twin-size quilt for my youngest niece, Alice. As I cut, pieced and sewed, I thanked God for Alice as she was an unexpected gift to our family via adoption. I prayed for her, her adoptive parents and her birth parents. I also prayed for Alice to sleep well under this quilt knowing she is loved by many people and especially loved by God.

When I finish a quilt, I prefer to hand-sew the bindings as a final way of handling the quilt and praying that my loving energy will be transferred onto the quilt and they will experience God’s loving embrace as they are enveloped by the cloth.  As Towner-Larson and Brewer David write in With Sacred Threads,

Playing with cloth to birth a new design can be an act of prayer. When one is aware that the Divine is guiding the process of creation at every step, there is a profound sense of a partnership, a Guiding Hand, and a readiness to receive a magnificent message from the Holy Other. Our praying and creating hands become God’s resource as we determine how to embody what we are experience though the cloth patches.

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