I would have to ask my sister-in-law how many tiny pieces of fabric went into the making of the quilt in the picture above. When some people go into a fabric store they envision clothing for themselves or their loved ones. Some think of curtains or upholstery. And there are a large number of people who see fabric on the bolt and see it becoming a part of an intricate design like the one above.
When fabric comes off the bolt at the store it is cut in a large rectangle. No matter what you plan to do with it, it is likely to be cut. If you are making a table-cloth or a sheet you might just trim off the selvage edge in preparation for hemming. If you are making a dress you lay out pattern pieces and may cut all kinds of oddly shaped little pieces that will go together to make the dress. I don’t think anyone cuts that 45″ or 60″ wide fabric any smaller than a quilter (oops, just thought of people who make Barbie clothes).
You know the saying about breaking eggs to make an omelette? Well, for the most part, you don’t get a quilt top without cutting up and then reassembling the pieces. Originally quilts were made this way because they were made of the remaining good parts of material left from clothing that had worn out, been outgrown, etc. It was not cheap to buy fabric and every last scrap was used for something. People who piece quilt tops have a special kind of talent for putting together patterns and colours. It is quite amazing to see the combinations they come up with and how beautiful they can be.
So each tiny piece of material has its own place in the greater design, much like we each have our own place in God’s design. Some of us are the people with the vision and colour sense to plan the quilt top. Some of us are the ones with the patience to sew all those little seams. Some of us are the warm batting layer that gives the quilt its lift and makes it cozy. After the layers are put together there is another group needed. If you were to wash this fabric sandwich of plain cloth, batting, and quilt top, you would find the batting up in a ball at one end or the other. The last people in the process are the ones who spend hours meticulously quilting the three layers together. With tiny, even stitches through the three layers and following patterns from block grids, tea-cup sized circles, to outlining the quilt pattern itself they make it so the resulting piece will remain evenly warm throughout its use.
No matter what role you play in God’s design, without you it wouldn’t come together, nor stay together as well without you. Remember that the next time you are feeling unneeded. There is an unfinished quilt there just waiting for your particular pattern or talent to make it complete.