When a sewing machine beats you down, sometimes the only thing to do is just to fall back on what your Grandma taught you - thread through needle and sew along a straight line until it's done.
That was the first lesson in quilting I learned this weekend as I began sewing together the 36 squares submitted for the first Wilmington Faith and Values Cape Fear Spirit Quilt.
Writer Bonny Logsdon Burns lent me her Singer sewing machine to make the process of sewing the squares together so much quicker. But my inferior sewing machine skills soon proved me wrong.
I kept pushing the machine too fast and getting the threads all tangled.
Bonny checked in that afternoon with a text exchange that went like this:
Bonny: "Things going better with the machine?"
Me: "Well...I gave up and am sewing by hand. Typical Greene response. . .sticking to what I know so far."
Bonny: "Is 3:00 good for you tomorrow? I can come down then."
"Thank God!" I thought.
So I pulled out my needle and thread and the trusty Garfield ruler I've had since middle school, and measured and sewed seams on three rows of squares - five across - before I went to bed that night.
After Bonny came on Sunday, we sewed together - her showing that sewing machine who was boss and me with my thread and needle. Bonny sewed the rows together, and I finished a few more rows.
And finally, the quilt top was done. We have quilt squares from all different traditions and philosophies: Christian, nondenominational, Mormon, Catholic, pagan, atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Unitartian Universalist, Unity and other world faiths.
Laura Frank, the originator of the idea for the quilt and Wilmington Faith and Values interfaith events coordinator, wanted this quilt to be an expression of undivided community - that though we may believe differently from house-to-house, we are still neighbors.
And that's why this quilt doesn't have any traditional ribbon or cloth divisions between blocks. A Muslim block sits beside a Christian block. A Christian block sits beside a pagan one.
This quilt is truly a community-assembled work of art. You did this, Cape Fear region!
And I hope you will come out to help us do the decorative quilting on the finished product 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday (March 2) at the Cameron Art Museum. Please bring your own quilting thread and needles, and we'll do the rest.
If you can't sew and just want to come see the quilt, the Cape Fear Spirit Quilt will have its unveiling March 16-17 at the Cameron Art Museum on the corner of 17th Street and Independence Boulevard.
Along with the exhibit, please come be part of Yarn Bomb the CAM 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. March 16 at the Cameron Art Museum. To represent the religious diversity in the Cape Fear region, bring different colors of yarn to the Cameron grounds and use your spare stashes of yarn to wrap anything and everything possible. The event is free to the public.
The museum is also hosting its monthly Kids @ CAM with quilt-inspired art activities for kids in conjunction with the Cape Fear Spirit Quilt showing noon-3 p.m. March 16. CAM Members: $3.00 per child, Non-members: $5.00 per child, adults free.
Here is a list of the contributors to the Cape Fear Spirit Quilt. (Some crafted more than one square.)
Bonny Logsdon Burns
A foreign exchange student from Italy
The Gioielli family
St. Jude Metropolitan Community Church
St. Mary Catholic Church
St. Therese Catholic Church
Lillian Joy of the Creative Spirit Knitting Group at St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church
Tauheed Islamic Center
Han Hills and the Humanists and Freethinkers of Cape Fear
Special thanks to Bonny Logsdon Burns, Melody Gordon and Laura Frank.