An 8 point star quilted by Mary Clyde Terrell (1887-1977)
Today is a day for Solstice musing. A day containing the moment of turning, the marking of winter, the promise of returning light. I want to dwell on that promise and write about darkness and light – but I am drawn to a Crazy Quilt made by my maternal grandmother.
I often bring it out at this time of year because it reminds me of her, of a country Christmas, a scraggly fence row cedar cut for decorating, of homemade gifts and family coming back home for Christmas. As I spread the old quilt out, I admire once again all the love in the repeated patterns and random pieces. I love the briar and feather stitches adorning patches of fabric scraps left from sewing clothing or even the pieces of old clothing. A Crazy Quilt usually uses the fancy cloth from an old church dress or something worn for a special occasion. Some of these quilts have silk or velvet or satin. Grandma used what she had.
So I will use what I have as well. For the first time in all the years I have had this quilt, I am seeing a new message in the pattern. If I only look at a few patches at a time, I miss the bigger picture – the pattern of the 8 point star. Stunned by a new perspective, I am called to the symbol of this star. An 8 point star is the symbol of a compass. It speaks of navigation and direction.
This fourth week of Advent, I feel the cadence of pounding hearts and plodding feet – Joseph and Mary on their way to Bethlehem, the wise men who saw a star that was so different it sent them on a distant journey. I imagine their desperate need for direction and how they sought it. Grandma’s 8 point star reminds me that I have a compass, that I will be given the navigation I need for Advent, for Christmas, and beyond.