It’s scary to step into a room of strangers and say, “Here I am, with all my flaws and fears! Please like me!” Much easier to stay home under a quilt and read, I think. But she summoned her courage and she conquered her fears, and we were all better for it. She taught us how to love with more tenderness and carry our crosses with a little less bitterness, and she showed us what it looks like to be fully and unapologetically the person God created you to be.
Lord, Hallie. On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace (Kindle Locations 948-951). Our Sunday Visitor. Kindle Edition.
These words leaped off the page and into this quilters heart. “YES! YES!” and “Oh Lord this is water for the soul, and just what I needed to hear.” How did God ever know that?There’s this whole omniscient, and omnipresent thing God’s go going on. (I knew when this chapter opened up with a quote from Brene Brown it was going to be good.)
In the pages preceding this quote from the book Hallie shared a story from grade school that changed, and closed her off for a bit. Through meeting a friend in high school, and wanting to be like her: open-hearted, vulnerable, and nurturing, Hallie began to open up once again, slowly, with intention, and over time. It is these qualities that my heart has yearned for, and in a way they live inside my being.
Hang with me here.
Over the course of the day, the last few weeks, oh probably a lot longer thoughts of untangling or disentangling from. Last week during the Great Tidy Up of 2017 was in full swing hank, after hank of yarn that needs balling was unearthed. Well, I could see it, it just needs to be put into a new home in the room, a space is available. Yarn is, as one can imagine, rather soft, and pretty, and occasionally needs to be petted. After having spent a few moments in my Gramma’s sewing kit, the thought of balling yarn seemed a good idea. I picked a hank, loosened it up, wrapped it around my knees (this usually works) and got started balling. Well, this particular hank kept tangling up, knotting, and breaking, reminding me that a yarn swift is a great thing.
Yarn that tangles up can be quite the mess, requiring some effort to over/under the ball in order to wind the ball. In the end it’s worth it, as there is a usable ball, and it’s now possible to get started stitching.
In the midst of all of the clean up and yarn untangling memories of doing this same kind of thing with my mother-in-love’s jewelry. It’s been seven years since she left us, the ache of her departure has eased, though (as you know) it’s not entirely gone. The necklaces take a bit of time as the tangled metal behaves a bit differently than yarn. One thing though they both have in common: if you tug too hard it makes matters worse, tightening the knots, rather than loosening them, making the untangling incredibly difficult.
It’s the same thing with free motion machine quilting when mashing down, flat-handed on the quilt it’s actually much more difficult to quilt. Your body ends up hurting, the stitches are inconsistent, making it look like the tension is off, and depending on speed/pull the eyelashes on the back of the quilt would be to-die-for beautiful, except the back of the quilt, one quick tug and there goes the quilting.
Thanks for hanging with me…
Each and every one of us has something in our lives that hurts, causes us to react with fear, and is in need of healing and often God’s timing is not our timing. We, I, need to experience something, read something, listen with my heart and head at the same time. There is something going on in my soul that is tough, and beautiful, and is untangling allowing me to more full embrace the open-hearted, vulnerable, and nurturing woman God is calling me to be.
When sharing the stories of the quilts I’ve been privileged to make, the stories of the flaws often come out, I don’t, and won’t apologize for those flaws. They are there, trying to hide them makes no sense. I share these flaws with students to show that I’ve been where they are, I’ve miscut fabric, the machine tension was off, or whatever the flaw is…we’ve all made those mistakes – and it doesn’t matter if we’re a new quilter, or one who’s been working at quilt-making a long time and is highly skilled. We want to be accepted, we want to be liked – flaws and all. With quilt making we put our very self on display in our work as this is the work of our hands, and hearts, and minds. When our work is not accepted, is criticized harshly we tend to pull back or remind people from the beginning that we’re a new quilter. I’ve been quilting for nearly 25 years and I still make mistakes. I can show you some on the back of a class sample I’ve been working on over the last week or so.
With the sharing of the flaws I’m also reminded of the first machine quilting class I ever took where the teacher said, “Say to your friends, ‘Looks at what I did!’ rather than pointing out the flaws”. Our friends will see how hard we’ve worked rather than our flaws. They will love our work because they love us.
Think about that, let it water your soul.
In this moment I’m so grateful for the untangling, for the flaws, for the opening up, for quilting, and creativity.