Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Love at Lent

Lent has started and our church has been decorated in purple. 2 years ago I made a banner to go out the front of our church. It goes almost ceiling to floor- and its a high pitched ceiling. It has no words on it but I made a series of words that can be pinned onto it to suit the theme of the service for that week. Our minister at the time, who is also my very dear friend Suzy, came up with a series of suitable words. Purple is also the colour for Advent so some of the words are more suited to that season.

Suzy was always very thoughtful and deliberate with her preparation of the worship space. After she saw some of my quilts at a quilt exhibition run by our quilt group she asked if some of them could be used in the church. I had always thought that banners in church needed words on them I had never thought that my quilts would be suitable for use in church so I was really delighted by her request. Then I made a green banner, for use in ordinary Sundays, and then I made the purple one.

Now Suzy has moved on to another church and at the moment we have a temporary placement. He is a beaut bloke - friendly, articulate, straight forward - but not into decorating the worship area. He is happy to have it done but hasn't got an artistic bone in his body, he says. So I have taken over the role of decorating the sanctuary. Last Thursday I took down the green banners and hangings, removed the green table cloths and put out the purple ones. As well as the long central banner, I spoke of above, I looked at the other purple banners. We had two small ones. They had both been ones that had been interactive banners many years ago, which had been added to each week - a grape vine that had started as the trellis, then had the bare vines added, then leaves and finally bunches of grapes. The other was an apple tree along a similar line. 

I decided that we needed a new banner for lent. My practical side stepped in and I knew that whatever I made for Lent I wanted to be able to use for Advent as well. The text "For God so loved the world" was running through my mind as I sat in church pondering a new banner. Love made me think of the heart shape and I remembered a pattern I had found on the internet and printed off, featuring a large heart made from a charm pack. It was a rainbow coloured heart but I knew I could use purples. I had separated out my purple squares, strips and bricks a while back when I decided I was going to make some more banners for church. I had pulled the cream, white, gold, red and green ones too - all with the aim of making colour banners. I had used the green to make  Riverwalk, a banner for ordinary Sundays for which the colour is green. I finished it last July. (Go here to read about it)

I laid it out on my design wall, using 4.5" squares since that is what I had a lot of already cut. I chose to do a colour fade, with the darker purples at the top and coming down to the pale lavender at the tip of the heart. For the border I chose to use a mixture of purple 2.5" squares and it has turned out really well.

I decided to be a little bit adventurous with my quilting. Usually I do stitch in the ditch or shadowing the ditch if I use my walking foot. I often do free motion quilting but not following any rules. This time I decided to use my walking foot and do straight line quilting echoing the shape of the heart. Inside the heart I did this shadow quilting along the blocks. Outside the heart I used the width of my walking foot to follow the outside line of the heart so about an inch apart. I had intended to change my thread to white for this bit but decided that I would continue on with my varigated purple thread. This means that every wiggle and waver shows up but I was pretty happy with it, even in the photos!

 The quilting wasn't without mishap in that the backing for the quilt on one side got caught up and so was stitched folded and I had to unpick the last inch and a half of each line and redo them. That then meant I had to hide a lot of threads from the top.

 It was very quick to put together. I am thinking of making another one using some more of the 2.5" squares

The banner has no words on it. I don't think words are always necessary however some people may prefer one with words so I am thinking of making another banner to hang near by it with the words "God so loved....." and a picture of a cross and a manger on it. Again it will be useful at both Lent and Advent. I am not much of a pictorial artist though. The cross I could manage but think I will have to find someone else to draw the manger ... or else find some art on line to copy.


  1. The purple banner you made two years ago is simply stunning and so suited to the area where it was hung. Love your patchwork heart banner, too. Both are very nice!