Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sanctuary Quilts

Our congregation received a grant from the Lilly Foundation, and part of the grant was set aside to make a banner for the sanctuary.
We have a Spanish mission style church, and we chose to replicate the carved cross in the chancel. The congregation contributed fabric that had personal meaning, and we received fabrics such as  a traffic vest, a baby bib, a high school letter jacket, military symbols, a wedding dress, and lots of tee-shirts. For our congregation, this quilt has become a symbol of who we are. We are the Body of Christ, as represented by the seemingly incongruent fabrics, tied together by the love of God.
sanctuary quilt
I just happen to have a picture of the sanctuary taken at a wedding 42 years ago. You can see the motif the designer selected to replicate.
sanctuary wedding image
The quilt was designed by Eleanor Frye and pieced by a group of us, but I had the privilege of quilting it.
This past year I was asked to coordinate a quilting project to make a pall or casket cover for use in funerals. As many services this day do not have a casket, the pall was designed to either be placed on a casket or to hang from a loft at the side of the chancel. Again, the congregation submitted fabrics and we received as much variety as for the sanctuary quilt. Our Wednesday morning quilting group pieced it and we counted over 3,000 pieces of fabric in the pall. It measures 72”x78”. I quilted it with Superior variegated gold metallic thread and YLI silk 100wt thread.
The pall has several liturgical symbols throughout that were appliqu├ęd to satin fabric left from making bridesmaid dresses.
butterfly from pall
Both pieces have been entered in the biannual Sacred Thread quilt show which will be in the Washington DC area this summer. It’s a jurried show, so I won’t know if either piece has been accepted until late April.


  1. Susan, both are beyond amazing! So beautiful and meaningful. Lovely work.

  2. It's beautiful! Reminds me of a Klimt painting.