Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Grace Wedding ~ Our Quilt

On July 23, 2011, I wrote a really long blog post stating that I was going to make a quilt.

On July 31, I posted an update saying I had begun the quilt, and on August 2, I announced I had finished sewing the little ribbon flowers.

In September, my mom was coming for a visit, and we wanted to use the red coverlet as part of her bedding, but it was still full of pins.

So Jeff sewed down the ribbon and took the pins out.

We used the coverlet for various other guests throughout the winter. In January 2012, we decided to renew our vows, and we decided that as part of our new beginning, we really wanted to finish our quilt and start sharing covers again.

So at the beginning of February, I embroidered the center design. I had originally pictured one giant rose, but I ended up doing two roses, eyeballed from a drawing I found on Google images.

Took about two weeks.

The weekend before our vow renewal, Jeff and I worked together to attach all the quilt layers to each other. There's a white sheet on the underside of the quilt, and above that is a heavy cotton blanket, on top of which is recycled comforter batting, covered with the red coverlet. They're all bound together on the edges with white satin blanket binding. It is the heaviest quilt in the whole wide world. Even heavier than Jeff's much beloved quilt from childhood.

After we finished actually assembling the quilt, there was only hand sewing left to do. I needed to square off the ribbon frame corners, sew down the blanket binding corners, and tack all the pieces of the quilt to each other so they didn't shimmy. I planned to use my little white flowers to double as tacks and a decorative border around the ribbon frame. I naively thought I would somehow magically have time to do all those things the day before our vow renewal, but that was overtly wishful thinking.

I'm happy to say we began using the quilt as scheduled in February. We took it with us on our second honeymoon, and on that trip, I got the frame corners squared off and sewed down the blanket binding corners.

But I didn't tackle the flowers.

After that, I alluded to the quilt in a couple of blog posts, whining about not having it finished yet and being subsequently grace-wedding-blog-post-stymied onaccounta having to blog about the Grace Wedding in chronological order. Somehow, in my mind the quilt came next in chronology, and I really have no idea why. Maybe because it was my first pre-wedding project. I don't know.

This post that I'm writing today has been a draft post in my queue since March 23, when I sewed on eight of the flowers.

But here's the thing. One of the main concepts I am trying to emphasize about our Grace Wedding is that it was done in community with our church family. Every aspect of it was a community effort.

Except this quilt.

In fact, way back in July, when I began working on this quilt, I actually said, in a petulant disclaimer about not wanting to hear anyone else's ideas, "I can do it all by myself without your help."


Then, yesterday morning, I saw this quote on Twitter.

"The greatest threat to the church is not its weakness, but self-righteousness, self-sufficiency and self-rule. You were not created to live an autonomous or self-sufficient life. To try to do so never leads anywhere good. Sturdy self-righteousness and perseverant autonomy are no match for irresistible grace. Grace will win!"

~Paul Tripp

I suddenly realized that my huge mental block against finishing the quilt could be alleviated by only one thing: Help. From my community.

When I emailed Jeana to ask for help, I felt like an invisible chain had broken and I was free. "I have a request," I wrote. "I really want to finish my quilt, but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. Would you please help me?"

Less than 24 hours later, Jeana was to be found seated on my living room floor, sewing little flowers onto the quilt. Together, we got all the flowers tacked on before snack time, and we had started the invisible tacks inside the rose frame when Jeana had to leave unexpectedly to pick a sick kiddo up from school.

But the incentive she provided carried me to the end of the project, and I am ridiculously excited to announce that as of this afternoon at 1 pm, after months and months of whining and lamenting and mental blocks, the quilt is finally finished!!! :D

I just love that what I thought I could do "all by myself" dragged on for ten months, but as soon as I humbled myself and asked for help, BAM! Done the next day! That is SO like God. Always ready to provide a solution, as soon as I lay down my pride.

Now. What does all this have to do with the Grace Wedding, apart from the fact that Jeff and I got bored of having separate covers?

Mainly, it represents our renewed commitment to unity. Our desire to be not independent but interdependent. I mentioned that I had originally intended to embroider one giant rose inside the frame, but as I looked around Google images for rose line art to copy, I saw two roses intertwined and knew the design was perfect for our quilt.

See, this is Jeff.

(Ordinarily, I don't compare him to flowers, but I'm making an exception.)

And this is me.

And we're together.

"What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." ~Mark 10:9