Christmastide officially ended on January 6th. This was the date Christmas was celebrated on until the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar pushed the date back twelve days to Dec. 25.
My Macedonian friends from working for the Macedonian Patriotic Organization (MPO) for nearly 14 years celebrate January 6 as “Little Christmas” as do many of the Orthodox faith. The twelve days are the basis of Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night, a romantic comedy romp full of gender switching, mistaken identities and confusion until the very last when all is revealed and set right. January 6th is also celebrated as Epiphany, the Feast of the Three Kings bearing gifts for the Christ Child. A little German lesson: Incense, one of the king’s gifts, is Weihrauch in German. Literally: Holy Smoke!
On Friday the 7th, the decorations were taken down, the creche is no longer on display at Born Again Quilts having been replaced with snowmen and woman. It’s now time to settle into deep quilting mode. What is that you ask? It’s picking up a project that hasn’t been touched during the busy summer months, turning on some soft music and becoming one with the dozen needles already pre-threaded so as not to break my work’s rhythm. Methodically hand quilting, not counting how many blocks are yet to go, but relishing that with every stitch the project was closer to completion, closer to being reunited to its owner.
This past September I finished a quilt that came to me as a waterwheel top made by Ruth Proctor’s grandma, Estella Bales, who died on Nov. 21, 1962. Ruth was quite surprised to find it in her mother’s belongings more than 50 years later with a little piece of paper attached with a safety pin stating “From Grandma Bales to Ruth Ann Bales on her first birthday November 9, 1944. The top first had to have a couple dozen pieces removed and replaced. After that work was completed, the top was sandwiched, and I started quilting and its 42 blocks made up 33 fabric pieces. The quilting stalled and sputtered as life, job, family matters, took their toll on my time. So last winter I challenged myself to keep focusing on it, keep working on it even if only for a half an hour here and there. When I severed service from the MPO it allowed me more time to keep up the pace and in September it was completed. What a happy day when Ruth and her spouse, Del, came by to pick it up: She was overjoyed! I wore my “To Quilt is Human to Finish Divine” sweatshirt for the occasion, photos were taken of the couple with the quilt, and the workmanship received high praise from Ruth.
Experiencing the euphoria of having reunited Ruth with her quilt, it was time to reunite other quilts. Between September and the New
Year, four other quilts were reunited. I’m still working on a backlog, but now that I can sit in bed with a bolster at my back, nice and comfy, I can keep on quilting in the cold silence of winter.
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