Gather magazine’s summer 2022 Bible study uses the concept of quilting to explore rest, renewal, and Christian community. This blogger writes of the importance of quilting in her life. Learn more about the Bible study “Crafted in Christ.”
by Kristy Henricksen
My first quilt was a gift from my dying grandmother. I was an infant, and the yellow radiant star quilt was made by my grandmother’s mother in the 1930s. My dad remembers her making it when he was a small boy. It was wrapped in cloth for protection and put away for me. That could have been the end of my quilting, but it was not!
I served on the board of directors for Shetek Lutheran Ministries in the 1990s and was asked to serve as the liaison to the Quilt Auction Committee. No quilting knowledge was required. I was to keep the board informed of the camp’s largest fundraiser. No problem, I can do that. It was so fun! They offered monthly quilting classes which I attended, and I gave quilting a try. I now have a stash of fabric, patterns for several lifetimes, unfinished projects, and a love of quilting.
My first quilts were made for the quilt auction only. It was fun to see if anyone would bid on my items. I love camping ministry and love to see generous bids. I like to make children’s and teen quilts. My target bidders are grandparents– hopefully two sets that really want that quilt! I was and am gifting the camp.
One year at the camp a vintage quilt was donated. It was an autograph quilt made with peach fabric. I recognized a couple of names and visited with the families in case they wanted it. They already had a similar one, so it went on the auction. I decided to bid on it, bought the quilt, and knew exactly what to do with it. I gifted it to the ELCA Archives. The names on the quilt are officers of the American Lutheran Church Women, the women’s organization for a predecessor women’s organization.
When my children were all in school, I started attending the quilting group at my church. Great fellowship is shared while tying knots and pinning binding. I heard a speaker once tell of visiting an ELCA mission. When the local people heard the Lutherans were coming to visit, they ran to their dwellings and came out with their Lutheran World Relief quilts, yelling “Lutheran, Lutheran.” I love that! It wasn’t a Jell-O salad, hotdish, or Luther’s Small Catechism. It was a quilt or comforter that said “Lutheran” to those people.
When our congregation celebrated our 125th Anniversary, we had a goal to make 125 quilts. I would have been happy with half of that, but we DID IT! Quilts were donated to the police department, fire department, Lutheran World Relief, and other places. It felt so good to gift the quilts.
We also gift our high school graduates each spring with a special quilt. We try to make something they would like. The group talks about each teen, and fun stories are shared. The quilts are presented during a worship service with families invited and photos shared on our screen. It’s a special day. On the back of the quilts, a blessing is printed. It reads: “I am with you always, (graduate name), to the end of the age.” First Lutheran Church (the year).” We pray that the message will be remembered when things get tough and that it will remind them that they are a beloved child of God.
Sweet stories have been shared by parents. The tough athlete who keeps his quilt in a special place because it’s from his church. The one who wrapped herself up in her quilt after the grad party and took a nap. The one who has hung his quilt in his living room for the last 10 years. These stories are blessings to the quiltmakers.
Our latest special quilt was for our retiring pastor. We decided to use liturgical colors and words embroidered on the white blocks. These words reminded us of lessons learned and memories shared. It was backed with Celtic fabric to celebrate her love of Celtic spirituality. It is used on a bed in her new home. A gift given for her blessed gifts.
I was once asked if I had lots of quilts in my house that I had made. “She gives them away,” was my daughter-in-law’s quick reply. It is true. And during the quilting process, I think about who will receive it, friend or a stranger. There is a lot of time to think when you quilt. Remembering good times and bad. Hoping the quilt brings joy or comfort to the recipient. Thankful for all the gifts given to me by the Lord and happily gifting quilts to others.
Kristy Henricksen, of Pipestone, Minn., is a former president of the Southwestern Minnesota Synodical Women’s Organization.
The photo of the quilt,”All anew” was created by Jennifer Schaudt, League City, TX.