A Kaleidoscopic Life

Kaleidoscopes! As a child I was fascinated by the way the little pieces moved around in the end of the tube. Whenever I turned the cylinder they were reflected by the side mirrors and what beautiful new patterns they formed. They made me think of the bright stars in the night sky and the movement of the planets.

So when I discovered kaleidoscope quilts, I wanted to make one, but first I prayed. An odd beginning? No! With my unmathematical brain, if anything turns out wonky, I know it’s my fault; if it’s good, God’s been involved in it!

I found a fabric with attractive repetitions along its length. Measuring from the beginning, I ran my eye along the edge to be sure I would cut exactly at the end of the pattern before it started again. I sliced off one repeat after another until I had eight identical lengths.

Carefully I laid each one exactly over the other and positioned my wide ruler on the edge of the pile. Once they were cut on the other side of the ruler, I had a heap of eight strips to use. (Stay with me, now!) Without separating them, I cut nine triangles across their width. How excited I was! I knew I was in for nine surprises!

I picked up the first group of eight identical triangles and laid one from it on the bench. The next triangle went beside it with the design matching at the sides and the same points touching in the centre. When I’d used all eight of them and there were no gaps, I stood back. What a beauty! Nothing like the original fabric. (Sorry, no video of my excitement.)

I did the same with the next heap. Soon I had nine amazingly different designs along the bench top. Now to play with them and see which I liked the most. I turned the pieces in each group to make a different point meet in the centre. Ah lovely! What fun!

Kaleidoscope back fabric

Yes, beautiful…until I tried to sew them together. I spent more time unpicking seams than building kaleidoscopes. I wondered if the original fabric (shown at left) would have been better left uncut.

I cried out to God in my frustration. Mercifully he calmed me down and eventually all the matching triangles were sewn together with their mates.

Now those eight-sided blocks had to be joined to form the front of the quilt…but I had no idea how to do it! Again I prayed and a patient friend explained how to cut extra triangles from leftover fabric and sew them to four sides of the hexagons. This made straight edges so I could join them.

Kaleidoscopes on front of quiltOn the right, you can see my fingers holding the top of the finished quilt as it sags a little between my hands. Can you imagine God holding the other side?

The border of this lap quilt is made from the basic fabric, but how different are those new blocks inside the square!

I know there are faults in this creation of mine because I sometimes hurried a bit, but my heart still responds to a special message in it: when I try to put my life together, I can’t succeed. But if I let God use his materials for my new life, he creates a miracle! And he has a purpose in it all.

Many years ago these words were written to a church at Ephesus:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

He wants to make lots of masterpieces. Will you let him do that for you?

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4 Responses to A Kaleidoscopic Life

  1. Jacqui Conlon says:

    I love this story, Lyn, and the message it brings. I love being reminded of God’s workmanship – US!

    • Lyn Thiele says:

      Thanks, Jacqui,
      Yes, we have so many reminders, don’t we, Jacqui? Such a creative God! Even my mess-ups are worthwhile in a way because I feel his hand on my life, touching, refreshing… and changing me.


  2. Ruth says:

    Ah yes, the unpicking! I am sure a good sewer needs to also be good at unpicking! How many times have we needed God to unpick our mistakes? Even when we are broken he can make something new and beautiful. x

    • Lyn Thiele says:

      My quick-unpick tool is so handy! That’s where I need to go slowly or I will tear the fabric. So unpicking properly is very important. And yes, I’m relieved that God knows they are MY mistakes and still loves me! Thanks for your comment, Ruth! xo

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