Quilts

Jane, Sophie, & Fred

Bassets to keep Colin happy and warm

December 1997

Aleph, Briar, & Shadow

Cats to keep Jared cosy company

January, 2002

 

One quilt has three bassets, profiled from the right side and left side. Jane first – Elizabeth’s dog and our favorite four legged neighbor. Second came Sophie, who lived around the block; my father’s dog Fred completed the set. On the second quilt are the three cats that were a big part of our lives when my younger son was born – our cat Aleph, along with two barn cats, Shadow and Briar. Elizabeth had moved to Indiana by then, but had taken a picture of the cats on a visit. On the next visit came the cat quilt, complete with a blue ribbon from an Indiana fair.

Both quilts were given to infants, but made big enough for beds as well as cribs. They remain favorites, still on top of their beds and in constant use for a dozen and more years. Elizabeth’s sewing is as beautiful as it is precise, and her quilts are art as much as bedding. The bassets and cats are done freehand, cut from fabrics that match the unique coloring of each. This was difficult for each animal, but especially so for Aleph, a tri-color tiger cat with a ring around the end of her tail. Elizabeth has such an eye for detail that anyone who knows the cats and dogs can tell which one is which. Even the cats’ eyes look realistic, shiny and reflective. I don’t know how she knew what fabric would look just right, but it makes me think there’s a visual equivalent to someone with absolute musical pitch: absolute color?

Colin doesn’t remember the bassets on his quilt, but he remembers the cats. Jared remembers Aleph, but not Shadow and Briar. We moved away from their barn when he was fourteen months old. Elizabeth never met Fred in real life. I’m the only one who knew all six, so I tell their tales to the others. When I see the quilts, I remember each cat and dog, giving thanks for the joy and amusement they brought to this world.

The quilt backs are beautiful as well. On the basset quilt, black paw prints on white; on the cat quilt, playful cats on black. The bindings on both are just right, too. Both quilts look like they were meant to be exactly what they are, as if these many patterns, shapes, and stitches were destined to be united with great skill and care.

The words above are neatly written on cloth ovals, sewn onto the backs of the quilts. There are a few more words as well. Considering the time and effort it took to create these quilts, I would have known even without seeing them. But I’m so glad they are there, true in word as well as deed:

 

Made with love by Elizabeth

 

 

Published by

Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *