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Quilting Lessons

by Rhonda Clark  
10/19/2006 / Short Stories

The needle wove in and out of the quilt pieces that lay in Jennys lap. Even though her 85-year old hands were starting to tremble with age, Jenny refused to give up quilting. She squinted her eyes and focused what was left of her dimming vision on the cloth pieces she held. Using mostly her sense of touch, she would lace the large quilting needle in and out of the fabric, but this time her judgment was off. As the silver needle pierced her thumb, Jenny in took a sharp breath.

Cassie, who had been sitting next to her great-grandmother's knee, gasped, Granny, youre bleeding. Ill get you a Band-Aid. Quickly, the eight-year-old jumped to her feet and ran to the bathroom.

Jenny reached for a tissue and wrapped it around her thumb.

Cassie returned and said, Here you go, Granny. Let me see your thumb, and Ill put the bandage on. Aunt Candy would flip if you got blood on her new quilt.

Jenny let out a high-pitched, raspy giggle. My mother always said, a quilt wasnt a bit of good unless it was christened with a touch of blood.

Cassie managed to wrap the small bandage around the quivering thumb, and dropped back down to her grannys knee. Puzzled, she asked, What does that mean?

Placing a thimble on the sore thumb, Jenny went back to her quilting. That was mommas way of saying the quilt was made with love. When youre quilting, youre bound to stick yourself at least once, and your finger becomes sore, but you have to push forward and finish the quiltor somebody will be cold come winter.

The little girl frowned as she thought how the only thing this quilt would be warming this winter was the wall of Aunt Candys new bedroom. Mom says the reason you stick yourself is because you cant see.

Does she now? Jenny answered as she wove the needle in and out of the fabric. Let me tell you this. I can piece quilts as good as anyone; Ive been doing it since I was your age. I can even do it with my eyes closed, watch.

Jenny lifted her head and closed her eyes. Cassie watched in amazement as her great-grandmother placed the needle in and out of the fabric in the most precise places. Then, Jenny asked, Is my seam right as rain or what?

Cassie inspected the short, straight stitches. Looks perfect to me, Granny.

Humph, Jenny said haughtily. If they think I need to stop quilting because I cant see, then why do they keep giving me projects?

Giggling, Cassie shrugged, I dont know. Meme says you shouldnt be living here alone because you cant see.

Jenny sighed; she had had that argument too many times with her daughter. I know, sweet girl, but your meme doesnt realize that in this house my eyes work fine.

They do? The child gasped.

Jenny kept quilting and smiled. They do. Here in this house, I see all the important things. I see your pappy, all young, handsome and strong. I see your meme and her brothers running through the house with muddy shoes chasing that shaggy dog. I see my boys in their military uniforms and college graduation gowns. I see your meme in her wedding gown. I see all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren as toddlers learning how to walk. I also see every one of you digging through my scraps box looking for just the right pieces for your special quilts. Do you know what else I see?


I see my home in heaven and my Jesus waiting for me.

Really? What does it look like? The child asked, spellbound.

Jenny just kept running the needle through the layers of fabric. Its beautiful. The house is white, not too big and not too small. All the furniture is big and fluffy, and your pappy is there. Hes young, strong and handsomeoh hes such a sight. Stopping her thoughts, Jenny secured the needle in the fabric, and put her project in her quilting basket. Dropping her hands into her lap, she exclaimed, Whew, thats about all the sewing I can do for today. Why dont you go make us ham and cheese sandwiches while I rest for a minute?

Obediently, Cassie walked to the kitchen. Jenny closed her eyes and dwelled on visions of her heavenly home.

(c) 2007, Rhonda Clark
Rhonda Clark is a stay at home mom of two and a freelance writer. She and her family makes their home in Bartlett, TN. For more information about her writing visit: or contact her through

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