For a long time I haven't really been into crafts. I used to make a lot when I was younger, but then GCSEs, A-levels and University took over and I was too busy. Following those, I was soon married and helping my husband with fulltime ministry alongside trying to run a household. Then children came along and lots of house moves!
I think also, when I was 18 and fully gave my life over to God, I was so caught up with seeking God's kingdom that many other things besides reaching souls and discipleship seemed insignificant in comparison.
However now I have a 6 year old daughter, and last year I read Little House in the Big Woods to the children as part of our Sonlight curriculum. In there it talked about how Laura and her sister, who was about Hope's age, would sew and knit clothes for their dolls.
I immediately thought, "Wow, Hope would love that!" She really likes crafts, just as I did when I was younger. So I resolved that I would try and learn to knit so I could teach her. I had once tried to learn when I was younger but it ended in tears!
So a kind lady from church taught some of us who were interested how to knit, and then I went on to teach Hope. I think that sparked my interest in crafts again as I realised it was fun to be able to make clothes for Hope's dolls, and it was also a very sociable hobby.
I can't blog or read and talk to my husband. But I can knit and talk at the same time! And while I wasn't very fond of the beach, I could take some knitting along there and it would make it more interesting while the children played.
My mother is a great quilter, which you can see if you look at her amazing blog. But I had always thought that I would never do that - a year to make a quilt just sounds toooo long! Then one day we went to Costco and I was looking at the books (very predictably) and my eyes suddenly lighted upon a book with beautiful colours.
It was a Patchwork book by Cath Kidston, with a kit on the inside to make a cushion, and photos of really pretty fabrics on the front. All the projects looked quite small and doable and I thought that would make a really fun birthday present for myself as well as for a lot of other people I know! So I ended up with it :)
Then a good friend was expecting a baby and I started to think of what I could make for her, and looked through that book along with another similar one my mum had given me. There was a project for a baby quilt in there which was labelled as taking 3 hours. That definitely sounded doable. So I decided to go for it and ask my mum to help me with anything I got stuck with!
It definitely took waaaay longer than 3 hours but it was a lot of fun. I think what took longer is the fact that I hand pieced it together rather than doing it with the sewing machine, and then instead of tying knots through it to quilt it like the book suggested, I did actually quilt it properly (although I resisted my mum's hint that I might like to hand quilt it and decided on the sewing machine instead since by that time the baby was already born!).
Here are some photos:
My first two fabrics cut into squares. I was so excited at this point that I had to take a photo and send it to my mum! I based all the colours around a lovely farmyard fabric I found on ebay. I figured if I did a farm rather than baby owls or bears, it might stay fun even after the baby has grown a bit! The batik fabric I just couldn't resist because I loved the colours too much.
This is all the fabrics cut into squares and arranged. We took final photo from above so I could make sure it looked OK!
Here is my brand new quilting tin my mother gave me, with all the rows of squares pinned together in the right order so I wouldn't forget how to put them together.
A cup of tea and some hand piecing with my lovely chinese baby pin cushion :)
Quilting a sample
My mum showing me the ropes on her sewing machine. I didn't dare borrow it without her being there as I was too scared of something going wrong and I didn't want to break it!
All the quilting done, now just the border to go...
And the finished product
Complete with baby!
I was reading in Exodus this morning, and struck as I always am when I read it, at how God gifted the artisans who made everything for the tabernacle:
'All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord had commanded'...'All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands'...'And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats hair'...'See the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works'
What I take from that is that God gifts us for crafts as well as other things, and we can use them for His glory and minister to others with them. Just like Dorcas did who made tunics and garments for widows, and the excellent wife of Proverbs 31 who made tapestry, linen garments and willingly worked with her hands.
Here are some benefits of crafts and making things as I was thinking about the woman of Proverbs 31 today:
- She made her home beautiful
- She brought profit to the family by selling what she made
- She kept busy and was not idle
- It's a constructive way of using rest and relaxation time
- Creativity is reported to reduce stress
- It can bless others