Friday, June 13, 2014

3 is the Magic Number -for Trinity Sunday


Somewhere in the ancient, mystic trinity You get three as a magic number.
-Three is a Magic Number, School House Rock

In the Church Year calendar, this Sunday is Trinity Sunday.
I cannot explain the Trinity to my satisfaction.
I think I understand it, best as a finite human mind can, but my attempts to explain it are lacking . 
Perhaps that is the point. 
The Trinity is something too wonderful and mysterious for simple human words. 
The best illustration I ever heard as a child was the egg analogy. The Trinity is like an egg, the lady at the front of the church said; The egg has three parts, the shell, the white, the yoke.  Each is an egg. Together and apart. See? And she held up the egg, all parts other than the shell, still hidden, invisible to us sitting in the pews. 
For my child mind it sufficed.
An is an egg, no matter how you slice it.

A few years ago I was stitching the above appliques as representations of the Trinity, and while discussing them with Miles, who is always eager to join in the stitching projects, I asked him if he understood who the Trinity was? 
This was his explanation:
God is the father and in charge. 
Jesus is the son and Number One Christian 
and the Holy Spirit is your conscience.
Sounds good to me.
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Recently, ruminating on this mystery, the lyrics of a Christa Wells song kept running through my heart..
In fullness of wisdom, He writes my story into his song, My life for the glory of God.
Fullness. 
In Corinthians Paul writes these words at the close of Chapter 13.
 The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. (The Message, 2 Cor 13:14)

Amazing Grace. Extravagant Love. Intimate Friendship.
That is fullness. 
That is the Trinity.
And when this fullness is at work in me, in all their wonder and mystery, then my song is written into the fullness. 
This is my life for the Glory of God.
It is the stitching of the grace, the love, the friendship, into the fabric of my life - into my words, my actions, my thoughts - that brings about a new thing.
A new creation, unique and full to bursting.

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Trinity Applique
Fabric, needle, thread, are the trinity of sewing. To sew anything, you must thread the needle, pull the thread through the fabric, attaching fabric to fabric, creating something that unique. Creating something that is beautiful, that is useful, that tells a story. 
This applique project is a good hands-on way to talk about the Trinity with your kids, and about the fullness of their intricate, complicated and beautiful their relationship in our lives.

This is a *very loose* explanation of how I created the above hoops (I find explaining how to embroider about as easy as explaining the Trinity.)
Materials needed:
3 Embroidery Hoops
3 Coordinating Fabrics for the Base (one for each hoop)
Small scraps of fabrics in a variety of colors and patterns.
Pencil
Embroidery Thread
Embroidery Needle
Scissors

Directions-ish
Cut your fabric squares out and set aside.
Next draw the crown, lamb and dove shapes onto your fabric scraps and then cut (if freehand drawing isn't your thing, there are lots of clip art images you can print and trace as a guide.)
I used 3 different fabrics for the the lamb, two fabrics for the crown and three fabrics for the dove.
Put base fabrics in hoops, pulling until they are taut.
Next, pin your lamb body to the fabric (I simply placed one straight pin in the middle of the lamb body to hold it in place.)  Using the coordinating embroidery threads outline the body of the lamb with a vertical running stitch.
Next, place the tail and head onto your lambs body and repeat the stitching steps. Add a small triangle as the ear, attaching it at the top only so that it is able to flap.
Using a pencil draw a small dot for the eye, a small oval for the nose and two straight, thin rectangles for the legs. Then using a satin stitch, fill in each of the pencil shapes with black thread.
Repeat these same steps to create the crown and the dove. Remember to layer the fabrics one at a time,
For the dove, stitch the first wing, followed by the body and then the send wing. For the branch, simply copy the one on the pattern or draw one free hand, Trace your deign with a running stitch in a green floss.
The crown can be stitched all together, all at once. Using contrasting floss you can create jewels in each crown tip, and create dimension by separating and outlining the two fabrics in a variety of threads.
I chose to create each piece to look homespun and patch-worked,  therefore the stitches are imperfect and varied in size.
For a dainty look, use only one strand of embroidery floss, for a thicker, bolder look, use two.
To finish, trim the edges of the squares away.

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