January / 2004
Kindred Spirits

Patchworks of life
by: Teresa Bell Kindred

Every winter for many years, my mother and grandmother pieced quilts. In the fall they would choose a pattern. One year they made a beautiful Log Cabin quilt, the next a Wedding Ring, and the next Little Dutch Girl. Every year it was a different design.

It was sort of a winter project, a way to break the monotony of being housebound from the snow and the cold. After the pattern was chosen they would pin it to the material and begin cutting out the various shapes.

Mama saved scraps of fabric from my Sunday-go-to-meeting church dresses that a seamstress made for me, and those scraps were often used in the quilts. Today all I have to do is look at the different colored squares and childhood memories flash before me.

Once they had the quilt pieced they took it to a lady to be quilted. When it was finished it was truly a thing of beauty.

Because of this past weekend I have learned to appreciate the art of quilt making even more. I was the guest speaker at a Ladies Day held at a church in Henderson. The women of the church brought their homemade quilts and displayed them throughout the building. Every quilt had a story and I loved seeing the bright colors and the familiar patterns, as well as the unusual ones. I also loved hearing the women discuss the quilts and how much they meant to them.

Besides the fact that quilts are beautiful, another reason they are so special is because of the purpose they serve. My mother has been gone 13 winters and this is the first one without my grandmother, but when I have one of their quilts wrapped around me itís almost as if they are hugging me, reminding me that even when a loved one is gone, their love lives on.

I know because I can see it in their quilts.

The following poem, from an anonymous author, paints a simple picture of quilts and our entwined lives:

And what is life? A crazy quilt,
Sorrow and joy, and grace and guilt,
With here and there a square of blue
For some old happiness we knew;

And so the hand of time will take
The fragment of our lives and make
Out of lifeís remnants, as they fall,
A thing of beauty after all.


Teresa Bell Kindred is a wife, mom, and teacher. Her latest book is Mom:PHD: Leadership Skills for Moms. Visit her online at www.teresakindred.com.