The Making of the Cross Quilt

 My home has always been filled with crosses. They are ancient and holy symbols throughout the world and in many religions and forms of spirituality.

 The cross is a holy and sacred sign. It finds the center, it grounds the unruly and unstable energies, and it points the way, albeit in four directions to the truth.

The Latin Cross, 'Crux Ordinaria', was called in early time's "God's March". As the most exalted sign of the Christian faith, is is considered the sign of all signs. But by far the greater number of signs in the Western world are based on the shape of the cross, whether it be imperial monograms, masonic signs, family signs or crests, dyemical symbols, or trademarks.

In world religions, we have St. Peters, St. Andrews, St. Anthonys or Egyptian, the Greek cross (Crux Imissa Quadrata) and all of its variations..the Cross Patee, the Maltese, the Cross botonnee treflee, the Cross Fleury or Cross of Cleves, Cross pommee with little rounded ends, the Patriarchal Cross of Lorraine with two bars, the Papal Cross with three, there is even an eight ended cross of the Russian Orthodox Church! The Holy Cross of the German Cross of Gnostics also called the Jerusalem Cross, the Svastica of Sylfot Cross derived from the Sun wheel...misused and appropriated by Hitler.

The Crux dissimulaa which was used in disguise during the persecution of Christians.. It goes on and on and on. I love knowing all of this, researching it, owning books about crosses. The symbol was one of the earliest things I drew, my children drew, and most children draw.

For the Native Americans, for the Buddhists, Hindus, Zen practitioners, it has different but the same meanings. It is simply a sign of the Tao, the way, the path, the journey. Hence, it lies at the very basis of my own multi-cultural and accepting of all belief systems as long as they are for the 
good of all.

Even very small children will make a cross before they make an 'x'. They will make a cross before they draw a circle. And they will make a cross as a mark of themselves. We teach children to make 'x's to represent their signatures. But it is the innate holiness of understanding of the cross symbol in all cultures in all styles that marks the point of grace, along with symbols like the dove and the sacred heart and the flames of the burning fire of metaphysical transformation.

And if you are familiar with the Egyptian staff of life, then you have already recognized its basis in the cross shape, as well.It is known as a looped or Tau Cross. Tau, the Greek letter, and Tau the Tao..the way, the path, the journey.

As someone who has been doubly blessed with a double baptism (both Catholic and Protestant), someone who has studied most world religions, I have always found and innately known it to be the perfect symbol of finding one's way to grace and to healing.

Therefore, when a dear quilter, Mary Lou Weidman, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, I was suddenly thrust into the forefront of the healing energies of quilting when combined with my own intrinsic gifts and blessings of heart and hands in service.

Our goal, in Mary Lou's 'wonky' style, and my own 'liberated quilting' one, was to make and use primarily liberated or wonky blocks. A wonky cross would be fun and improvisationally free pieced style and give a more modern and artistic look to the quilt.

In the end, 32 quilters responded with anywhere from one to five or six blocks each. I turned in a few bits and pieces of my own to fit them all in, designed the layound, cut all of the blocks down to sizes needed to transform a quilt with blocks that began as big as 12" to as small as 4.5" and would have created a double sided California King sized quilt in basic appearance and simplicity, into a lovely and very liberated and wonky version that ended up as a useable comfort quilt at 4' x 6'. The perfect 'throw' size to cuddle up under without being too large or too heavy ..especially for someone recuperating from surgery!

I used another 32 blocks, also cut down as needed, to create a double sided pillow side in mostly reds, another side in mostly oranges. Powerful and healing and beautiful blocks and energies to aid in the healing journey.

And in 30 days from start to finish, plus another 3 days where the package took a bit of a nap in the Spokane Post Office ;-) it was done and our own sweet (most of the time?)  Mary, filled and surrounded by love and grace.

 Cross Quilt: a wide assortment of fabrics, from scraps to yardage of mostly brights, many prints, many shades and layers of complexity.

Backing: Timeless Treasures "Quest for the Cure" (lovely floral) and "Faith" word fabric, combined with addtional cross blocks, these deliberately raw edge applique to symbolize the raw edge to the journey with cancer.

Quilting: with my own domestic sewing machine, organic vertical lines to symbolize the flow..both of the holy waters and spirit of grace.

My Blog Posts on the making of my quilt:

 Cross or Plus Quilts: Free Patterns



 Designing a Liberated Cross Block and Quilt



Making Mary Lou Weidman's Cross Quilt



 With Heart and Hands: The Healing Power of Love Cross Quilt