Tag Archives: sewing

What Some People Do With Fabric

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.

Don’t Look Too Closely, You Might See The Flaws

At the after Christmas sales at our local Fabricville store I found really nice pre-quilted fabric with chickadees and holly leaves on it.  If you follow this blog you will already know that I am a sucker for chickadees, so I bought the remaining amount without any clear idea of its eventual purpose.

While still on our break I made a tea cozy which turned out just as I wanted, and a cover for my Kobo reader which works but is not quite what I wanted.  This left quite a bit of fabric, enough to make a table-cloth or place mats.  I opted for the latter and cut them out.  I purchased enough bias tape to finish all the edges and then I was back to work and the project just sat.

I recently got back at the project and with some advice from a friend on mitred corners I did my first one.  It took several tries and corrections but it worked pretty well.  The second one worked really well and I am happy with it.  After school yesterday I finished four more of the place mats with varying degrees of success.  On a couple the bias tape pulled or puckered, on one the zig-zag stitch got all messed up on the corner.  I stopped for the night after finishing one and remarking to my daughter that my mother-in-law would be rolling over in her grave if she saw the work I had done.  Maybe the last two will go better tonight.

The thing is, if you aren’t actually looking at the stitching, they are quite nice.  And really, how many people will sit and scrutinize the stitch work on their place mat when they are eating a meal and talking with friends and family members?  This leads me to my point…

We have come to expect that things should be perfect.  With machines doing much of our manufacturing we expect that what it does on one item will be exactly the same as it is on every other.  Assuming the set-up was done correctly, the machine would have had none of the problems I faced on my place mats.  

Can the same be said for our lives?  Are we expecting perfection?  If we are. we will be sadly disappointed!  People are not perfect.  We can not expect that everything will turn our just as we like, that we will get everything we want.  We certainly know the possible results of getting obsessed with having the perfect body.  Some people take steroids which have all kinds of nasty side effects, people fry their skin in tanning beds, and worst of all some people end up starving themselves.  With this being National Eating Disorder Week the dangers of Anorexia Nervosa are front and center for those of us who have no first-hand experience.

There are two thoughts that come from all of this.  The first has to do  with what we should expect of ourselves and others.  If you are coming to my place I have invited you to see me and I trust that you are not there to judge my house keeping skills.  For me this situation would mean that I need to let go of obsessing to have everything perfect so that I can enjoy your company.  For you I guess it means that you shouldn’t look too closely in the corners when you come to visit me.

My second thought is that God sees every detail, every nook and cranny, but through Jesus we know that He has already forgiven our sins and is more focused on our conversation and our time together.