Saturday, April 16, 2005

Spreading the Quilt

Chrysalis quilt
Originally uploaded by Quotidian Grace.
Tonight this quilt will be raffled off as part of the fundraising dinner for the school which is part of our church. It is called "Chrysalis" and was made by the Ministers of the Cloth, our quilting group who I have posted about before.

Since the theme for the evening is "Spreading our Wings" (butterflies--also a symbol of the resurrection), we chose a name for the quilt that echoed the theme. To be honest, I have to confess we choose the pattern and had begun the quilt before we knew what the theme was--but it's appropriate, don't you think? Since we're Presbyterians, we would never say this was a coincidence...

Just like the fundraising event, which has outgrown every venue used each year, the skill and ambition of the quilting group has grown. A few years ago we would never have attempted piecing a pattern this difficult: there are about 1000 pieces in it!

People always ask us how long it takes to make a quilt like this. The answer is that we really don't know. The one thing we are sure of is that there is more time and effort put into a quilt like this than most people are willing to pay for.

We have members of the group who only cut, iron, hand-sew, machine-sew,or quilt the top together with the batting and back. There are about five people who choose and direct the pattern and the rest of us are very happy to do what we are told. Many hands can either make light work or a big fat mess!!

Our division of labor is totally voluntary--each woman contributes what she thinks she does best. This has always reminded me of St. Paul's teaching about the variety of spiritual gifts: "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." 1 Cor.12:7.

When we first began donating quilts to the school fundraiser, we sold raffle tickets to the congregation, school parents and the community.The first event was held in the church sanctuary and was more like a flea market than a fundraiser.

A couple of years ago as the auctions at the event were bringing in more money so we decided to have the quilt auctioned off.This year we are raffling the quilt again so that more members of the congregation can participate by buying tickets.

This spring our first fifth grade class will graduate from our church school. (We don't have a middle school.) As that group of children who were in our first kindergarten class have grown and developed, so has the school, the church and the Ministers of the Cloth.

One of the reasons I began this blog was to showcase the life and vitality of the Christian witness in a modern mainstream Protestant church. Doesn't this picture equal a thousand words on the subject?


Songbird said...

I love this idea! We have a group of knitters who meet together, but I would love to do a quilt project as well. The beauty is in the community nature of the work you describe.

Quotidian Grace said...

Yes it is. I think this group approximates the New Testament ideal of agape better than any other group, within or without the church, that I have known.