My niece, Susan, makes our family proud. She started out as an adorable little cutie like this . . .
and has grown into a lovely young woman. A young woman who has a heart for the Lord and seeks to hide away treasures in her heart and abilities in her being that will honor the home she will one day create. She has big dreams and hopes and plans. What a beautiful world this would be if there were more hearts in it like hers. She is already a young Proverbs 31 woman.
Today is her birthday. She was due to be born on February 14, 1995, but she came five days late. I choose to believe God blessed us with two Valentine Days that year. Below is the speech that she presented at her regional 4H competition. I am inserting some photos of the quilts she speaks of. Enjoy.
Have you ever made anything? You know, created or designed something special. Maybe you’ve made a science project for your school, or created something yummy to eat from a recipe, or maybe you have just made a mess in your room. Well, have you ever made or wanted to make a quilt? I have, and today I am going to talk to you about this wonderful form of folk art.
First, let’s look at some quilt history. When you think of quilts you might imagine several elderly ladies at a quilting bee. Yes, that is how quilts were sometimes put together long ago but that is not all there is to quilts. Quilts not only provided a time of fellowship for ladies, they also provided protection, warmth, and decoration. I bet you didn’t know that the first American pioneers hung quilts over the openings of their wagons to deflect Indian arrows. Pioneer women also made quilts to provide warmth for their families during the long cold winters out west. A beautiful pieced quilt would also have provided color in a dark and dreary log cabin.
Quilts didn’t originate during the pioneer times though. The first quilts can be traced all the way back to Egypt. Then when the pilgrims came over to America from Europe they brought this skill with them to the new world. Immigrants in the 1800s also used quilts as a way to carry their belongings. Just as there are many uses for quilts, there are many different quilt designs as well. I find almost all of them to be interesting and beautiful.
Second, let’s look at some of my favorite quilts that have been designed by some special, loving people. The first is my Mom and Dad’s wedding quilt. It is called a double wedding ring quilt because it looks like two rings interlocked. My Dad’s grandmother made it for them. I have fond memories of waking up early to crawl into my parent’s bed and sleep the last few moments before morning with them under that quilt.
Another favorite of mine is MY wedding quilt. No, I am not engaged or planning to get married in the next 6 months, but I do already have a wedding quilt. My mom asked my great granny to make me one a few years ago. They were concerned that she might not be able to make me one when I get married someday. She hand quilted appliquéd hearts over the entire quilt.
Every spring when my mom and I take it out of the closet to dust it off, I think of my great granny and how she put love into every stitch that she sewed. I pray that my marriage and family will be full of love too.
Speaking of love, another favorite quilt of mine was given to me out of love even though it was not sewn with me in mind. I have an elderly friend at my church named Ms. Janie.
She doesn’t quilt anymore, but she wanted me to have one of her quilts. So, she embroidered my name on the corner of one of her old quilts and gave it to me for a Christmas present a few years ago. Since it is a thin quilt, I use it to sleep under during the summer. Each time I do, I remember Ms. Janie with love.
I also really like a quilt that my great granny designed for me when I was only about 2 years old. It was my first big girl quilt for my big girl bed. It has colonial dolls appliquéd on it in pretty shades of pink, blue, and yellow. My mom says that when Great Granny gave it to me I immediately laid it on the floor and curled up on it. This made my great granny smile.
Not all of my favorite quilts have been made by someone else. Some are not even finished yet, like the one my mom and I are working on right now. It is called a disappearing nine-patch.
We bought enough fabric to make 2 complete quilts, one for her and one for me. When we finish sewing all of the blocks, we will quilt them together so that each of our quilts will be made up of some of her blocks and some of mine as well.
Last, but not least, is a quilt that I will probably never see again. That is because my local 4H club and a few ladies at my church got together to help make a quilt for a homeless child in Michigan this Christmas. Everyone brought together blocks made out of scrap material from different things they had made before. I would have loved to hear all the stories that each of those pieces of fabric could have told if they could talk.
As I was working on the quilt using some of the sewing skills I have learned in 4H, I felt that I was really putting to use what our 4H pledge states—use my hands for larger service for my club, my community, my country, and my world.
In conclusion, let’s look at each of these quilts. The common thread running through them is that each was designed. Someone took time out of their life to design and quilt them, whether long ago or here in the present. That reminds me how an Almighty God took time to be my creator and design me before I was even born. The Bible tell us in Psalm 139:13, “For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb.” My mom has told me before how her grandmother use to make quilts out of nothing but rags. She used pieces of fabric from old dresses, feed sacks, and lots of other things.
Even though her quilts did not start out very fancy, she still put time and love into designing and sewing each piece and the result was beautiful and unique. I think that is how the Lord God transforms us. If we are willing to place the pieces of our lives in His masterful hands he will turn them into a beautiful, unique work of art, just like my great grandmother use to do.
I would like to close with this verse that follows the one I quoted earlier. “I will give thanks to you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it well.” Thank you.
My beautiful niece . . .
She placed first in her county competition and fifth in the Eastern Tennessee Regional competition.
Happy Birthday, Susie Chris, I love you.