all about grace ~

MarveLes Art StudiosArt and Collage Quilts, Blogs, Mixing It Up 10 Comments

“what in the world, in all this world, is grace?
“One act of thanksgiving, 
when things go wrong with us,
is worth a thousand thanks when things 
are agreeable to our inclinations.”
Saint John of Avila
 from one thousand gifts by ann voskamp
chapter five

and good morning!  i’m reading ann voskamp’s book, “one thousand gifts” and it’s an amazing read.  in a nutshell, it’s about thankfulness… and exploring more of what grace means.  that perfect quote {above} as i read it last evening for my devotions.  the small book is stunning in it’s simplicity, and incandescently written!  i am so appreciative for the blessing.  {thank you lisa for the gift}!  soli deo gloria!

i’ve finished my latest ‘grace’ piece!  yes ~ there will be more! i began with a long-ago, hand-dyed and hand-painted piece of fabric i’d played with several summers ago.  i just fell in love with the color, the shadows, and glowing color theme of this fabric, and for several seasons, it has hung on a wall in the studio, as i’ve studied… studied… studied “what shall i do with this?” 

and bingo!  
it was time.  
i knew what i wanted, and there was no hesitation… 
with sureness of heart and stitch, i began.
it’s all about grace.

i knew a couple things for sure.  golden sunlit colors.  a pink with depth, and highlights in warm gold, for thread.  i didn’t know i would put silver metallic on it, until i finished with the feather quilting.  but afterwards, i knew it was what i wanted to give this piece a feeling… a symbol of what overflowing grace looks like on fabric {to me!}

i begin with a chalk pencil and lightly write the letters the way i think they look good together, in my own handwriting.  but ~ things are flexible, as i begin quilting those letters… and it evolves, and changes… and is pure delight for me to go with the flow this way.  let me say ~ it’s not always the way i perfectly love… but is the way of being human, and flawed.  {just like in real life!}

i paused many times to reflect as i quilted this beauty.   doing {better}, i trust… and hope, to listen as to what God’s Grace means to me.

my initial letter stitching was done in a dark brown thread, that established the boundary of the letters. then i switched to pink.  all of the threads, with the exception of the silver metallic, are from superior threads, and this is again, is their magnifico thread.  the name alone… perfect for this grace quilt!!

in all the thousand gifts of each thousand stitches i do, i appreciate the quality, and easy-going temperament of this thread.  it never breaks on me.  there is much to be learned from that quality alone, as i contemplate about myself… learning to be more flexible, versatile, forgiving, pliable, and willing to be moved in any direction God gives.

my tension is something to pay attention to…  i {try to remember} to look at the bottom thread tension often.  {hopefully} before i get too caught up in another thousand stitches.  it’s good to stop!  and pay attention!  {just like looking for … and soaking up … grace}.  

my top tension is often at 2.0, or 2.25… or less than 2.0.  it’s interesting how it changes on the same piece… given my current condition at any specific time of “body tension.”

i don’t hesitate to cross lines.

and in this piece, i knew i wanted to leave open spaces, of ‘eye resting’ and letting the letters speak for themselves with impact, as well as the colors and stitching. 

after finishing the piece with my ‘faux piping’ technique, i added more stitching, as i like to do. 

more delicate swirls, flowing inward… outward, all around. 

and by the way, i accented this hand-dyed fabric with lumiere paint, in several different colors, notably gold and a bit of silver, too {as far as i can remember!}

stitching with silver metallic thread is a big challenge, usually.  you must use a topstich needle in 90/14 size.  that needle as an extended eye, and the eye is fashioned so that there is less friction on the delicate metal fibers of the thread, and my best tip of all?  use bottom line thread, which is a fine, 60 weight polyester by superior threads.  it plays oh so very, very nice with this fussy, shiny, frilly girl thread!  adjust top tension downward… sometimes to as low as 1.0 on your machine, or even lower if it calls for it. and use a white color in bottom line as it blends with the silver color in value. 

yes.  it’s all about grace.  and while you can never buy grace, {it’s a free gift} … this piece can be bought as it’s for sale in my etsy shop.   and while i will loving hanging this piece on the wall, i do not cling to it so closely.  this is how i feel about all of my quilted pieces. i don’t sell them necessarily for profit, but {i am grateful when they do}…

they point to the One who knows and shows Amazing Grace, and hopefully… inspire others to explore, and listen {more} about what grace overflowing is … and means.  

i pray that i will see God’s amazing grace in things that don’t work out to my expectations, or {the world’s or my own} definition of success… to see it ~ grace ~ when things are heart-breaking, and not just “happy.” 

that’s real grace amazing.  it’s in everything, and everywhere… just like those stitches in that fabric!  a thousand and a thousand more.  

and so … i count the gifts, and thank God for the free gift ~ of grace amazing. 

not to talk it, but to live IN it.

and so grateful to have found this beautiful website and… a can’t-wait-to-get-my-eyes-on this book!  by emily freeman from chatting at the sky!  so glad to have found her beautiful, graceful writing. {October 29th i ordered this book!}  i’m sure you, dear readers, will hear much more about it.  i can’t wait to explore  a million little ways.

thanks for being here, and listening! 

i pray you have a grace FULL day. 

soli deo gloria!

Comments 10

  1. I love this piece and the colors are sublime. Even better is the sentiment. I have my own copy of Ann's book and re-read it from time to time.

  2. Hey Leslie…..your photography truly captured the beauty of your quilting. Just lovely. Keep at it!

    LuAnn in Oregon

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