the fabric of life

In honor of my newest blog buddies, I have decided to step out of my comfort (no pun intended) zone and speak about quilting.


I am amazed at the amount of people that share this interest, and although you will probably never see me basting, bearding, or binding; I must admit that I was thinking about getting a rotary cutter to help me cut my thin and crispy margarita pizzas into perfect little triangles.

Please understand that you could take everything I know about quilting; put it in a thimble; and still have room for the 300 Spartans.

What I do know is this:

Traditional quilting involves a process that has four steps: piecing, layering, quilting, and binding.

Piecing is the sewing of the quilt top, which is composed of small pieces of quilt 3cloth arranged in a pattern. A unit of the pattern is called a block. I like to think of the “arrangement” of the small pieces of cloth as a symbol of the characteristics that make up an individual being. You know the way you look, the things you like, and the image you project. The “block” is what happens when a few of these arrangements get together. They start to make better sense when they are combined. They actually look and feel better just because they have come to know and rely on each other.

Like a family.

Layering places the quilt’s backing, batting, and top in place. This reminds me of the relationships that come with authentic community. Your family, friends, co-workers, teachers, pastor, etc… These are influences in your life that can make the experience more fulfilling, safer, and more successful. They offer support and they have your back.

quilt 2Quilting involves attaching the three layers together as well as adding decorative elements. When you take advantage of the authentic community around you, there are inevitable treasures that are provided. Putting these decorative elements together, relationally, ensures that if you don’t have the tools, knowledge and strength to continue the journey, you can be sure that someone will help cover your imperfections. The hardness of life will be cushioned thanks to your deliberate preparation and specific placement of the people that are closest to you.

You can surround yourself with the comfort of friendship.

Binding completes the quilt by finishing the edges with a trim of fabric. That touch is God. Without him in the mix, it will always seem like something is missing. He is the strip of beautiful fabric used to cover the raw edges of our lives, he finish the quilt off. He is the tie that binds.

quilt1“Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.”   —-John Faw­cett, 1940

I think I get you “quilterites” a bit more now; and although you may never catch me with a quilting needle; I will be certain to pay better attention the next time I look at your sites and enjoy your work.

I may never make a quilt, but now I know that I am a part of one, and boy is that comforting.


10 Responses to the fabric of life

  1. Chantal says:

    You have no idea how comforting it is for me to read this on this particular morning, Charlie…this post is like being wrapped up in a quilt on a cold winter’s night and reassured that it’s all going to be ok. I won’t even try to put into words the gentle transformation I feel inside since I’ve been reading your blog, and the ripple effects that ensue onto my kids, my friends, and my family (ok, I guess I just DID put it into words, didn’t I….). What you write stays with me throughout my day, like a smooth stone that I hold in my hand and turn over and over while I reflect.
    Thanks, man….

  2. Jan says:

    Yup, you get it! :-D And there really is nothing more comforting than being wrapped in love. Or as the saying also goes, when life gives you scraps, make a quilt. And the really good ones are loved until they are thread bare. Thank you for starting my day out with such an awesome surprise!! I think I’m still speechless with such a great surprise… thanks man!! I love your perspective on this.

  3. Anita Marie says:

    My Grandmother made quilts too- of course she was Filipina and lived in Hawaii and got all of her fabric from a place that made ‘ Aloha Shirts’- so she went with traditional patterns.

    And Hawaiin Prints.

    My Quilts rock.

    anita marie

  4. AllenQuilts says:

    Beautiful, Charlie! Thank you! BTW, I’m a friend of Jan’s. :-)

  5. Jan says:

    I’m back and I found my words lol.. I just want to say I really love how you compare the peicing of a quilt to peicing together a life. I agree it is so important to surround yourself with authentic community for all the reasons you listed as well as you do need a soft place to land and you do need and deserve to be wrapped in love. I swear I may have to ask for permission to print this and hang it in my quilting palace. I just love it. Thanks!

  6. Cabana Boy says:

    Good job Charlie. In pondering what quilt type I might be a part of, I must confess to resembling the randomness of a crazy quilt! Of course, my wife and family would be the fancy embroidery or embellishments that transform the random into a sight to behold!! ;-)

  7. Charlie says:

    Special Thanks to the Quilting community!!!! I had a personal best on hits today thanks to all of you. I had a blast visiting everyone and reading the great things you said about me and my posts. I assume that you have read “about me” and know my heart for this thing. I am on top of the world today as a result of your kindness. —charlie

    Chantal: you repay the favor, ten fold, with your kind words…I am happy that you stop by, honored that it has a positive effect, and amazed that you share it with your family. Thank YOU.

    Jan: Your site was the inspiration for this post, please consider the article yours. (but if you hang it, you owe me a picture of it in Quiltopia.) You and CB seem like cool people. I think our families will wind up being a great blessing for the other.

    AMM: Rocking quilts for a Rock Star!

    AllenQ: Any friend of Jan’s… Please come back soon!

    CB: Your comments continue to be some of my favorite. I have very few men that reply. Which is strange because THEY are who I typically write to or about. Go figure…

  8. traci says:

    I stumbled over here from Susie’s place. This piece is beautiful. I’m gonna go look around a bit now. Peace.

  9. myolivebranch says:

    very thoughtful. i really enjoyed it.

  10. Jayleigh says:

    I like that song. I can play it on my piano, too!!! Thanks for sharing this story. :-)

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