My friend Jana is one of the most talented people I know. She can do anything and frequently dazzles us with her creativity and imagination. Luckily for us, she got an embroidery machine for Christmas. (I think the fact that her first grandbaby is on the way had something to do with it!) For her beginning practice projects she made tea towels for several of us and ourdaughters. “They’re easy,” she said as we were oohing and ahhing. “Really. There’s nothing to it.” I am unconvinced. Because that’s the same thing my younger daughter — another one of those awesomely talented people — says about the appliqued and quilted tea towels she makes, inspired by projects in “Alabama Stitch Book” by Alabama native and fashion designer Natalie Chanin. I love all things with black-and-white patterns, and my daughter made me this black-and-white tea towel for Christmas. I am in awe of these talented people who do such incredible work — and am grateful I know them. Otherwise, my house would be pretty bare.
There were just two of us for Sunday school so we didn’t have class at my little church this past Sunday, but I learned a lesson anyway: (K)not all sermons come from the pulpit. When I got to church on Sunday morning and it became apparent only one other of the usual five or six women in our class was going to show, I contemplated going home for more coffee and Sunday New York Times. But before I could head for the door, our minister asked the two of us (our church is small so there’s no place to hide!) to finish a prayer quilt from the women’s group. The quilt is for a church member who’s fighting cancer, and our minister wanted to bless it at the service and deliver it that afternoon. My brain said, “But I have no crafting skill whatsoever and besides, I want Sunday Styles and another cappuccino,” but my mouth said, “Sure! Of course! Love to!” That happens a lot at church. But I was so glad — this time, at least — that my mouth paid no attention to my brain. Turned out all the quilt needed was tying some knots, and I’m very good at tangling things up. Our church women’s group makes these prayer quilts for people who are sick and in need — when you tie one of knots you say a prayer for the intended recipient, who then gets to wrap up in cozy warmth and love. As we tied and talked, I suddenly sort of time-traveled back to old-fashioned quilting bees, where women gathered to care for each other through fabric and friendship, and I finally understood the timeless power of needle and thread. To make it even better, this quilt was for the husband of a friend of mine. I sat beside her during the church service. When our pastor blessed the quilt and announced it was for her husband, I got to hand her a tissue and give her a hug. Definitely worth the loss of a second cappuccino.