Sunday, 5 April 2015

Red Sky at Night - Crown of Thorns.

When God told the Ancient Israelites to remember his words by fixing them to their hands and wearing them on their foreheads, I wonder if the American version of stitching these stories into quilts was exactly the kind of thing he had in mind.
"Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." (Deut 11:18)

Quilt blocks inspired by the old stories found in the Bible were common in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Tales of hope, faithfulness, miracles and sacrifice were represented in quilt blocks and the quilts given as gifts with prayers of protection and blessing, maybe even to the point of superstition. 

So I couldn't go past Easter, without making a Crown of Thorns block. And I couldn't make the block without talking of it's inspiration. 

There are actually several blocks named the Crown of Thorns, the other most common, a variation of the New York Beauty. And this particular version has been known by several names, including a Single Wedding Ring, Memory Wreath, and Georgetown Circle. All of these first appear in publications after 1920.

Yesterday morning, to mark Good Friday, I sat with the kids and we read together the first part of the Easter Story from the Children's Story Book Bible. I was struck anew by the way Jesus stilled the arguement about who would have the dreaded job of washing feet for passover by volunteering himself. He hosts the passover dinner, despite being overwhelmed by dread and grief of what he knows will come. He heals the guard's ear, cut off by his friends trying to protect him. He asks his friend to care for his mother after he's gone. The Crown of Thorns is on his head to mock him, to make fun, make him appear small and ridiculous. But no matter what one might think of who this man was, or what he achieved, you have to agree, he was so kind. He was so courageous and patient. 

I wonder if a quilt made of these blocks would remind me to be brave and kind when I am going to bed and getting up. I think I might have to add it to my list.


What you will need:

From the red and white, cut one 4.5" strip. From those strips cut:

Red: Four 4.5" squares, four 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles.
White: Five 4.5" squares, four 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles.

1. I learned a new trick this week from Heidi Staples' new book Sew Organized for the Busy Girl. This will make our half square triangles go faster! Set aside one 4.5" square for the centre. Sew the red and white squares to each other, around all sides, as below.

2. Cut through the squares diagonally. And then cut in half again.
3. Press seams flat and trim to 2.5" square.

 4. Lay out the block as below. Can you spot the nine patch? Sew the rectangles together.

5. Then sew the triangles together. Sew these squares together in rows and the rows together.

 Isn't Autumn beautiful? It's always felt a bit funny to me to not have Easter in Spring on this side of the world. But these fallen leaves are a sweet reminder that there can be beauty even in death, and that new life is on the way.

May the courage and kindness of the Crown of Thorns bless your home this Easter.

Jodi. xx


  1. Love love. And oh don't we all need those reminders to be patient and kind!
    looking forward to some quicker hst, actually I used this method the other week ... (check her comments at the end re sizing for the half inch sizes though and I rounded up to the nearest inch for mine and really only just had enough to trim) xx

  2. Gorgeous...another beautiful block! I recently tried that same method for HST' it!

  3. You should look into the Magic 8. I just made a broken chevron quilt and used the Magic 8 HST technique. It saved so, so, so much time!

  4. Your "want to make" quilt list must be huge by now. Another interesting block and story.
    Happy Easter to you and your family.

  5. Lovely block and a lovely reminder. I made a quilt of these for my first nephew.

  6. What size does this block finish at?

  7. I love this post and your words about Jesus - makes me want to build a whole crown of thorns quilt to remember his kindness. Thank you.


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx