Lessons from a Quilt Square: The Next Generation


Hannah and I calculated the other day that between the two of us and Rachel, we’ve made 25 baby quilts in the past three years. That’s been so many hours of working, planning, and sewing together, talking, listening to sermons, and watching movies while we did so.

We’ve hoped to bless those bringing the next generation into the world, and also those babies that make up the next generation.

And more recently, with Mrs. C’s help, the next batch of quilters is being raised up as well.

Candace and Grace have started learning how to sew, and with the large amount of bundles of joy coming to our church, we enlisted their help.

So they worked hard, sewing and re-sewing seams, ripping and re-aligning, until they had a quilt top.

Then they pinned the layers and tied them together.

Hannah and I finished the binding and delivered it to our friends in a nearby Emirate.

They did a wonderful job, don’t you think?


Lessons from a Quilt Square: 25 Years


My parents celebrated their 25th anniversary in March. In April the year before, I had started planning to make a quilt for it, and then started work on it in August. In the end it was a sibling effort – Joel & Cait bought the fabric, Nate helped maneuver copious amounts of fabric, and Candace was my assistant – pinning, ironing, and sewing a few straight seams.

But piecing wasn’t really the hard part, even with all the curves (but we were so glad when they were done, and after that the pace really picked up). The quilting wasn’t all that hard, either (but Hannah can testify the times I’d look at her on a Thursday afternoon and say “What was I thinking?”).

The hard part was keeping it secret. At first it was easy – I’d sew when my parents were gone, and the parts were small enough to store in drawers. But as it got closer to their anniversary I was trying to find more time to sew in order to finish it in time and it was harder to hide. I didn’t finish it in time for their anniversary, but the quilting was mostly done (only the borders were left) so we put it on Cait’s bed and showed it to them. I did finish it before the end of May, though! I learned I really don’t like keeping secrets, even if they’re just surprises. Unless you can do it in complete secrecy there’s some “nothing!” and “Don’t come in!” involved, which was easy around Christmas but otherwise annoying.

But even more than the quilt, the wonderful thing is my parents’ 25 years of marriage. God has been good to us all, and their marriage is one I have learned much from and hope to emulate.

Here’s to 25 more years! We love you, mommy and daddy!

Lessons from a Quilt Square: Mississippi Bandanna


When I heard some friends of ours from Mississippi were pregnant, I got so excited 1) because they were going to have a baby and 2) because I knew exactly what fabric I’d use – some bandanna fabric gramma had let me take a few years ago. I’d used it for some headbands, and wasn’t sure if I had enough for a quilt but thought I’d try and would see what other fabric could go with it.

I found some black & white polka dot I’d used for a dress (which needs altering – there’s too much fabric in the skirt), and thought it would work well, but nothing else seemed to fit. I figured the polka dots “went” for a girl, but the bandanna and colors could go either way but were more “boy.”

I cut as many squares as I could from the red and the black, then we put the squares on the floor and arranged them. Hannah and I kept playing around with them and the moms were giving us advice about how they thought it’d look better. It was sometimes hard to follow others’ advice, but in the end it looked a lot better.

The baby was born early, so the quilt was “late,” but we got to deliver it in person, taking it to a nearby Emirate and meeting the baby and visiting with our friends. On the way home I was thinking about how my time in the Emirates is running out, and wanting to savor each moment. Getting married is somewhat bittersweet. I jotted down phrases here and there to remember the trip.

Red-gold dunes
With pockets of shadow

Buildings change
Juxtaposing West & Arab
Striped sidewalk and scattered edifices
Boats and water.
So near.

Sweet baby, dear friends
Bandanna is perfect
Heart yearning

Conversation speckled
with words of English
But mostly Arabic
Baby held gingerly

Lights on the water
But bittersweet,
Savoring moments
As time in this land
Runs out.

Lessons from a Quilt Square: Remembering


When we were in Lebanon in 2010, we spent a day exploring the hippodrome and Roman road in Tyre. Amidst the crumbling graves by the roadside, we stumbled across this beautiful floor.

My first thought was that it looked like a quilt, and so I took a picture and saved it to turn into a quilt someday. I got to work on it a few months ago, calculating size and how many pieces and how it would all fit together. I decided to leave off the circle in the middle, because I didn’t have enough fabric and I didn’t want to figure out how to cut it.

So I made the quilt, which was then a wallhanging, which is now a table cloth or something since my measurements were off on the equilateral triangles and it doesn’t lie flat. If someone wants to do the math for that part and come up with a better pattern, I’d love it. 😉

{Hannah and I have been experimenting later, and we decided we wanted to see how it would look if I quilted with brown thread}
I thought a lot about Tyre while I made this, and prayed a lot for our friends who are there. It’s definitely one of my favorite places. That’s the first remembering.

The second was while I was making a quilt for baby #4 of a family that moved a year ago. Before they left, I’d go over every so often and spend the day helping with homeschooling, playing with the kids, and talking with the mom.

I learned so much during that time (and have been missing it a lot lately, both with time of year and because she’s posting a series on that sort of thing over on Domestic Kingdom).

A third remembering is patterns. Hannah and I write down patterns every time we make a quilt… but always lose them or forget by the time we’re making another, so we have to recalculate everything. This time I wrote it down in a place I can find it again, and save us time and math.

It’s also helpful to figure out exactly how the pattern works before you start making it. These were both going to be rail fence but I messed up so the blue one is pinwheel – and in the end we can’t decide which one we like better.

As I was working on this post, I was also remembering how scripture is full of reminders to remember – so we don’t forget what the Lord has done. Looking back on His past faithfulness often brings strength for the future, as does looking ahead to promises yet fulfilled.

{written and scheduled in May, to be posted after families received their quilts. I’m currently enjoying 3 weeks at Csehy!}

Lessons from a Quilt Square: Blessed with Plenty


Plenty of babies to make quilts for
Plenty of time with Hannah and Rachel to quilt

Plenty of fellowship
Plenty of fabric

Plenty of color and light
Plenty of thread

Plenty of joy
Plenty of Him
Plenty of grace
Plenty of His blessings

Plenty of babies to go ’round
Plenty of arms itching to hold and be held
{Bargello + butterflies}

Plenty of fellowship

Plenty of plans
Plenty of time to do what He asks

Plenty of hearts and waves and butterflies
Plenty of patterns to try and invent

Lessons from a Quilt Square: Trust


As I was putting together this quilt, lots of things had the potential to be falling apart.
I was on what felt like a major time crunch when I was designing this quilt. Cait and Joel had just announced they were moving, and I wanted to get it done before they left. I had the fabric but no idea what I wanted to do with it. The patterns I was looking at just didn’t work with the fabric, but it did help gather some ideas. Once planned, it was fairly quick with mass production of about 140+ little triangles, lots of little squares and rectangles, and some bigger squares. I really enjoyed making it, especially because once I was quilting, it gave me time to rest and think and pray, and catch up on watching a few things I’d bookmarked – like 180, and a Spurgeon movie.

But even so, I was overwhelmed with the long list of things I wanted to get done. Most of those things had to be pushed aside to make room for more time practicing, tuning, and helping others. No writing, no composing, little spare time for reading… Joel and Cait were moving. I was practicing the same scales and arpeggios over and over again trying to get them right, and furiously ironing out wrinkles in pieces for an oboe exam – wrinkles that never wanted to get out (and some of them never did get out. F# harmonic minor, I never want to play you again). Then were troubles with an accompanist, and no time to really enjoy our early Thanksgiving or prepare anything extra special for our later Thanksgiving.
The lists were growing and time wasn’t.

Editing books for the third time, new ideas for things, more quilts, more social functions, temperaments that won’t stay set…
One night I was especially worried about my oboe exam, mostly because of issues with the accompanist I’d had originally. I was talking about it with someone at church,  and his words helped me see this as an opportunity to trust God. This was a situation that was out of my hands – but not out of God’s.
I had heard someone pray recently for opportunities to trust God. I wondered at that. Why would anyone WANT that? Situations where we have to trust Him are HARD places to be.

But I kept thinking about that and have begun to pray it for myself and others. It’s a scary thing to pray because we don’t know exactly what it will mean – but it makes us more like Him to trust Him more, which makes it worth it, even if we have to give up things we love for a season or forever.

I have a note sitting on my computer that says:  “Trusting God and choosing faith doesn’t necessarily mean that our yearnings will change – it just means that our priorities change. It doesn’t mean that our desires necessarily change, but now we will the will of God above our own passions.”

I don’t know the outcome of a lot of this yet, and may not for some time.
But I’ve come to realize that a lot of trust is resting, and waiting on God. We like to have things in our own hands, and like them to be done now. This is a time to rest and let them be in His hands and in His timing.

– Kyleigh

Lessons from a Quilt Square: A Quilt for A Special Baby


We’d just been at JoAnn’s. I’d picked out red and yellow fabric, just like I’d planned since before we knew she was pregnant.
“If they ever have a baby, I’ll make them a Ferrari quilt.”
Red and yellow, Ferrari colors, because he loves Ferraris. Red, because of the blood of Christ, as they were reminded daily by the red in their house.

And then we heard there were complications. She was on bed rest.
“No! I just bought fabric for a quilt!” I thought. “Baby has to make it!” (That’s a silly reason, but it was true. And there were lots more reasons, of course).
We began to pray, and so did the church. Whenever I thought about the projects I had to start when I got home, I prayed for their baby. Whenever I read the weekly emails from church, I prayed for their baby.
By the time I got home from the states, she was allowed to leave home to go to church.

I started working on the quilt with the deadline of the baby shower. The fabric pre-shrunk, I cut and stacked the quilt. Then I began quilting. Red thread on the yellow fabric. Football pinwheels, while watching Sound of Music, and talking with Hannah, and praying. Praying for others, and for this baby God had so miraculously saved.

This is his quilt.
Red for the blood of Christ, what saves us all and gives us grace, the same grace that allowed him life.
Yellow for light, and glory – how He’s glorified in the intricacy of birth, and how He was glorified in saving this infant.
Joined and held together by thread, like the church that prayed for baby is joined and held together by Christ and every joint with which it is equipped.