Have you ever loaned a book and then been unable to trace it? My copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House on the Prairie’ had been missing for several years. I’d asked friends and family to no avail. It seemed the book had disappeared! I try not to be too precious about my possessions but this particular copy of the book was one of a complete set of Puffin Books I collected in the early 1970s. I’d read them all many times and despite the yellowing pages and tatty spines they remain special to me.
And then joy! Quite unexpectedly, just a couple of weeks ago, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ was returned to me and the set was restored. I was so happy (still am!) I did a joyful dance and then sent texts to various family members who knew how much I had missed that book! My daughter pointed out my reaction resembled that of the woman who searched and searched for a missing coin: ‘And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ This parable of Jesus’ recorded in Luke 15 ends in a remarkable way, he says:
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Re-reading this familiar parable I realise that God is not content to have most of the sinners repenting – he wants the full set! And He’s ready to draw us to Him one by one and rejoice for each and every one who turns to Him through Jesus. Hallelujah!
A fresh reading of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books even brought the bonus of discovering a reference to patchwork! (I should explain that Laura wrote these books in the 1930’s recalling her childhood in American ‘pioneer country’ in the 1870’s and 80’s). In ‘On The Banks of Plum Creek’ Laura recalls the following:
Next day another blizzard came. Again that low, dark cloud rolled swiftly up from the north-west till it blotted out the sun and covered the whole sky and the wind went, howling and shrieking, whirling snow until nothing could be seen but a blur of whiteness.
Pa followed the rope to the stable and back. Ma cooked and cleaned and mended and helped Mary and Laura with their lessons. They did the dishes, made their bed, and swept the floors, kept their hands and faces clean and neatly braided their hair. They studied their books and played with Carrie and Jack. They drew pictures on their slate, and taught Carrie to make her A B C’s.
Mary was still sewing nine-patch blocks. Now Laura started a bear’s track quilt. It was harder than a nine-patch, because there were bias seams, very hard to make smooth. Every seam must be exactly right before Ma would let her make another, and often Laura worked several days on one short seam.
So they were busy all day long. And all the days ran together, with blizzard after blizzard.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
There are novels written about quilters. I’ve read a few of Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek series, having been given the first three as a gift. I found the first, ‘The Quilter’s Apprentice’, a bit ‘clunky’ but the story-telling and characters develop through the series and make a relaxing read.
I wonder if there are other autobiographies or novels that have a link with patchwork and quilting?
Time for a bedtime read…