Rachel and Leah Quilt

I've been wanting to make this quilt for a while after I had used the same pattern in a quilt for a friend. Recently DH's sister moved overseas and donated to me her fabric scraps. Unlike many quilters, I don't have a stash of fabrics. I love scrap quilts and I collect left-over fabrics from past projects to use in future projects but I don't collect fabrics just because I love them or they 'speak to me'. If I need more fabric, then I go and buy small amounts of what I need. I do not have floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with fabric (although the idea is tempting).

So when my SIL gave me a stack of fabric I just had to put it to use. The concept of having it just lying around is totally foreign to me. I made small fabric bags, Christmas stockings, and a few other small items, but when I realised I had enough for a quilt, out came the rotary cutter and the sewing machine.

It's a quick pattern and goes together easily but this is definitely not one of my better quilts. As I was quilting it by machine, the needle kept skipping stitches and the thread kept splitting. I had used a well-known brand of sewing thread rather than a cheap one from the supermarket (I've never had this much problem with those cheap ones - but then I've never had this problem with this brand of thread in the past either) and I'd also put a new needle in the machine before I begun. I can only surmise that my machine is on its last legs (finally!) or that the new needle is to blame.

Keeping with the Biblical theme I probably should have named this quilt The Jonah Quilt or Tribulation Quilt. Either would be appropriate. But I chose the name based on the fabrics. Some are attractive and some are less so. Sometimes they work well together, other times they clash. And there's another reason I chose the name which my friend will know if she ever reads this blog.

I have a feeling that Rachel and Leah's household was not often a happy one. What woman wants to share her husband with her sister? As the older - and less beautiful - sister myself I can just imagine the jealousy, the tensions, the spitefulness, that must have characterised that household. Had they had different husbands, I imagine they could have been friends and confidants ... but the situation they found themselves in must have tested their patience and ability to love on a daily basis. For Leah, she had the comfort of children to ease what I imagine was at many times an unhappy existence. Rachel, what did she have? Well she had a husband who loved her and her beauty that was admired, but it would be years before she would have children to bring her comfort and joy.

Hopefully the Rachel and Leah Quilt - as imperfect as it is - will provide some comfort or joy to some one. Perhaps a granddaughter will curl up under it on a cold winter's night or will take delight in looking at the different fabrics and colours. Perhaps it will be used to make a cubby house or to put all the dolls to bed or to spread Lego out on. Maybe - just maybe - I'll snuggle under it myself when the temperatures drop and I need some cheering up ... and I'll count my blessings for I have much to be thankful for.


Ohtawen said…
Let me say, Jules, that the quilt looks wonderful. At least to me. You say it's not one of your best - well, I think it's great, and whoever gets that quilt is a lucky person :)

The symbolics behind the quilt is interesting. The story of Rachel and Leah had always made me shudder, even when I was a child and couldn't exactly put my finger on what made me so uncomfortable. The whole concept of sisters different in character and looks who had to share a husband didn't sit well with me, I guess. I can only imagine how hard their life must have been...
However, you managed to translate the story into a beautiful quilt, without any of the negative emotions that must have been present.
SchnauzerMom said…
That quilt is beautiful. I think it turned out very well. Whoever gets it will be blessed.
Jen said…
What a beautiful quilt! I am so impressed at what a great job you do. I am just learning how to quilt. A woman from church who homeschools is teaching Evie and I.

The story of Rachel and Leah is always a sad one to me. I could never imagine having to share my husband with anyone, let alone my sister. I always feel bad for Leah, because it seems so obvious in the Bible that she didn't feel loved by her husband. She knew she was "second best" in his eyes. When she had children, even her children were second best in Jacob's eyes. He favored Joseph and Benjamin over the other sons. I would imagine that her life was pretty painful in a lot of ways.

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