I have this thing with colour. I can’t get enough of it. I’m drawn to shades and hues and blends.
I want to be the one who discovers you really can put orange and purple in a room and not have it look like a Halloween theme party.
For years my colour obsession manifested itself in scrapbook paper. I have boxes of the stuff…still. Unused; untapped potential to be cut and matted and pasted into something amazing. When I look at it, I get a fire in my belly once again and I remember what I thought I might use it for. But that doesn’t really redeem the fact that I have all of this paper sitting in boxes, unused and unfulfilled.
Photography has filled that need for capturing and harnessing the power of colour and sharing it. Making it into something for everyone to see and bask in the glory of God-given colourful creation. Sunflowers are my favorite flower to photograph; literally bursting forth with the most vibrant, intense yellows, oranges and reds. The magnitude and depth of colour in one petal is like a drug to my thirsty, colourless soul. I crave colour.
And so it goes with fabric. Get me into a fabric store and I am lost. My heart beats faster and I find it hard to not scoop up armloads of chintz, calicos, toiles and run full-force out the doors. Where would I go? I have no idea. But there must be a special place for lovers of fabric, texture and colour. I am there.
For years I have been building up this stash. I don’t know exactly when it started but I happen to have remnants of my bridesmaid dresses from 20 years ago so I guess that’s as good a place as any. Tafetas , silks, broadcloth, gingham. I can see the decades passing by in this one box of colour. The colour trends of the early 90s were smoky and moody. And then there were cheaper, brighter cottons later on followed by more elaborate patterns in the 2000’s.
Red is the dominant from the past 10 years. I picked up one yard meant for a small craft. And then a few metres on sale begging to be created into some curtains that never got off the floor. A little here and a little there. Over the years, through several houses, I’ve been buying and collecting. And what of it all? Why buy and never use? What is wrong with me that I start but never finish?
It’s an awful lot like life with Jesus. It feels a lot of the time like we are just grasping at colours and textures barely long enough to appreciate them. Storing up and waiting for something. Never really knowing what the outcome will be. We gather and prepare and plan. And then we throw it all away because it’s outdated, we’ve grown up; we mature and no longer do those plans fit who we are. And we wait.
I sat down this week and decided it was time to finish what I started. I gathered some pinks and reds, a bit of white with flowers. A cheap yard that was leftover from someone else’s project. Another bundle from a long-forgotten goal plus a few other pieces and all of the sudden a plan was born.
I don’t do well with patterns. I work best by just starting and learning as I go. Adjustments come along the way and sometimes the tension messes up the work I’ve done.
That’s the one thing about sewing that can really cause a lot of grief. Too tight or too loose and you’re ripping out seams and stitches. You have to find that sweet spot where there’s just enough to make it right.
The Lord began to speak to me as I was adjusting the tension control. He reminded me that sometimes he pours on the heat to push us forward and other times he lays right off depending on my mood, my circumstances and my spiritual maturity. Sometimes I can’t handle much tension at all and other times I thrive in it. Just like this fabric I’m working with.
I started out around 4.5 for tension and soon found it could handle 6. In fact, the whole project is coming together better and faster since I upped the tension. Hmmm. I wonder if there’s something I should be learning here?
I am beginning to see that the Lord has been making me a quilt for many years. He’s given me a bit of colour here and there. He’s pulled me and shaped me. Cut me down a few times to something smaller. He’s weaving and stitching the experiences of my life. I haven’t always liked some of these times. In fact, some of them were so ugly that I’d like to forget them and throw them out. And then I read this:
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
God doesn’t sew the way I do. He uses fabric and thread that I would never go for to make something beautiful. If it wasn’t for some of the colours, textures and the tensions that He’s chosen, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Just like this quilt I’m making to mark 20 years married to my husband. I didn’t plan this project when I first bought that little floral pattern or that brick red cotton. I liked the potential of what they might become but I had no idea I’d get this:
God is making me a quilt. He will redeem these seasons of my life. He promised me joy instead of mourning and provision over poverty. Our family will be redeemed and this quilt will be finished. I can hardly wait to see the end result.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”