Pretty much everybody’s got a patron saint. For example, there’s St. Isidore for farmers and St. Matthew for accountants. St. Rita of Casia is for parenthood (boy, we bet she works overtime) and Sts. Nicholas of Myra and Bernardino of Feltre for pawnbrokers. (Little wonder that this risky profession needs two.)
Of course, we quilters and needleworkers have St. Rose of Lima, one of the reputed patron protectors of needleworkers, embroiderers and quilters. (Or so proclaims a magnet we picked up in an airport gift shop recently. And the retail world is so truthful.)
There is some difference of sew-alogical opinion on this, however. Quilt history guru Barbara Brackman, known for her excellent references on pieced patterns and appliqué (and so much more…you have no idea!) has named St. Ann the patron saint of seamstresses in her tongue-in-cheek book, A Book of the Saints (self-published via print-on-demand, December 2010) . She also cleverly designates St. John the Baptist as the patron saint of cutters. The PhotoShopped image of him is more than worth the pauperly price of the book, in our opinion.
And it would be so wrong to omit any reference to artist, writer and teacher Susan Shie, www.turtlemoon.com, and her creation, St. Quilta the Comforter, a central character in many of her paintings, cards and art quilts.
But quilting and sewing have gotten so popular lately, and it seems like there are hundreds of little niches or specialties. (“Oh, I only sew things in a straight line,” one young mom/sewist told us recently.) So it seems to us that every little niche or specialty in the quilting, sewing and crafting world deserves its own saintly protector. We’re pretty sure the Vatican is too busy to consider this spiritual need, so with apologies to both Barbara Brackman and Pope Benedict, GenQ is happy to step up. Here’s our own take on the saints venerated by many of us quilty/stitchy/crafty types.
Light a candle, won’t you? (But keep it away from the fabric.) Bless you, my child.
(NOTE: Save your letters. We mean no disrespect toward the Catholic Church, the Pope or any of the vast Vatican hierarchy. This is just fiction, people. Really.)
St. Jane of Stickle: For the Civil War reproductionistas and all those who dedicate themselves to stitching looks of the past. Clothed in her signature colors of yellow, brown and pink, St. Jane is your girl when you’re attempting to make a king-sized quilt composed of 2” appliquéd blocks…before hell freezes over.
St. Tactila: For art quilters (and those who really know what to do with Angelina Fiber). Invoke her particular help when stitching window screening, dryer lint or anything from the hardware store to your wall quilts.
St. Patcherina: For those quilters devoted to intricate piecing, particularly the Irish Chain or the Double Wedding Ring quilt. When you’re beating down a 10-seam intersection, she’s your gal. (Note: She gives special dispensation to those fond of HSTs smaller than 1”.)
St. Hazel of Pricked: Revered by needle-turn aficionados the world over. Known for the damn-near invisible stitching that caused her blindness, she accidentally appliquéd her robe to the harness blanket of a donkey, which bolted and caused her death. She lives on in every Baltimore album block.
St. Craftolo of the Glue Gun: She smiles down on crafters everywhere, particularly those who find bliss in original works of cute, but often useless, art. A favorite intercessor for homeroom moms and fabric shop educators who specialize in the no-sew genre.
St. Thready of the Long Arm: Venerated by those who like power and might between their hands as they pilot stitchy journeys over a landscape of quilts. Ask his intercession when you’re pebbling a monster with not-so-square corners.
St. Moderna: This patron saint of the no-rules school of quiltmaking particularly watches out for all those who groove on wonky blocks, white space, solids and intense quilting in straight lines. Special indulgences for those who can identify Bauhaus and Mies van der Rohe.
St. Comforta: And finally, a saint for the rest of us eclectic quilty/stitchy types who just get a buzz from fondling fabric and making beautiful—if flawed—stuff for ourselves and others. Amen, sister!