Can A Quilt Be Used As A Prayer Rug?

tracy • February 03, 2017 • 15 Comments

#QuiltedPrayerRugs

 

Quilters know better than any other group that fabric often builds a bridge between people that is stronger than steel. This is proven time and again by quilt drives to help comfort victims of natural and not-so-natural disasters, such as 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, last year’s Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida, or the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. Then there are the families who lost homes in the Colorado wildfires and the Haitian earthquakes and storms. (It’s so painful that we can just go on and on with recent examples.)

For every one of these events, and so many others, we’ve watched and participated as the call for quilts was rallied and answered. These quilts are always made and sent with the most basic of motives: to let the recipient know he or she is cared about. Regardless of religious/sexual/political creed or preferences, these quilts are simply offered as literal and figurative comfort.

So last week, when a mosque was burned to the ground in Victoria, Texas, and six Muslims were shot and killed unexpectedly in a Quebec mosque, that familiar let’s-make-a-quilt impulse surfaced.

That impulse got stronger for our senior editor Tracy Mooney as she watched news coverage of a local legislative outreach event in Austin, Texas. The event was Muslim Capitol Day, a day on which Austin Muslim school kids visit the Texas Capitol to learn about government. Two years ago, this event was interrupted by Christian extremists chanting “Muhammad is dead” and sabotaging the microphone to denounce the religious beliefs of this small group of Muslim American kids. As this year’s event date approached, there was plenty of concern about repeat harassment. About 500 people were expected to attend, and organizers were wary. Instead, 2,000 showed up, with hundreds of volunteers forming a protective human chain around the Capitol building so attendees could peacefully have their event.

“It made me think about all of the Muslims I interact with in my life, Americans who have lived here all their lives who are coming under attack because of the actions of religious extremists,” Tracy says. “What could I do to show them support? Could a quilt be a prayer rug? Is that a kind gesture? Or inappropriate?”

Tracy shared her thoughts with the Generation Q staff and with her friends on Facebook. To say the idea grew legs is an understatement. And so we are announcing the #QuiltedPrayerRugs initiative.

Now, the Generation Q staff members hold very diverse political views and religious traditions. We don’t always agree on everything. But we DO agree that–at least for us–we often feel connected to God as we make quilts, especially for others. And we believe that connection finds its way into the stitches.

“I connect with God deeply while I’m making,” says Teri Lucas, our associate editor. “And I like to think someone else can connect with God on my quilts.”

Prayer quilts–sort of a sub-niche in the gifted quilt tradition–are not an innovation. Groups in countless churches and houses of worship in the United States and other countries make quilts that are blessed, prayed over and given to people struggling with health or life problems. A quilt used as prayer rug is merely a variation. And it is not a stamp of approval on any political view; it is a symbol that the recipient is cared about.

Want to get involved by making a quilted prayer rugs? Here are the basics:

 

 

Guidelines for a quilted prayer rug:

  • 24″ x 48″ to 30″ x 48″
  • Use solids or blender prints. Flowers and leaves are fine. Avoid fabrics that contain motifs that resemble humans or animals.
  • Geometric designs would work beautifully, but any design is appreciated.
  • Use bright colors. Green is considered spiritual. Cobalt blue is also a commonly used color.
  • Finished like any quilt, with batting, backing and binding or fully enclosed edges.
  • Dark fabric for the backing may be a good choice since the quilt will be laid on the floor.

Please send quilts to Lovebug Studios, 1862 E. Belvidere Road. PMB 388. Grayslake, IL 60030. We will keep you posted as to what the needs are as soon as we have more information. However, donations of quilts can also be made to mosques located in your city or state. This way you can meet new people and find out what they really need and offer support.

If you would like to volunteer to collect quilts for distribution, please email tracy @ generationqmagazine.com.

Email Tracy if you would like to donate funds for shipping. We will likely need approximately $10 per quilt to get the quilts to their recipients.

We have also set up a Quilted Prayer Rug Initiative Facebook Group.

International author and quilt artist Linda M. Poole reached out after reading about the idea of prayer quilt rugs. She shared her own experiences with Turkey, a nation where the majority of the population is Muslim.

“I was invited by the Minister of Culture of Turkey to represent America in their first Peace with Quilts quilt show back in 2000. Since that time, I have been back to Turkey four times to study the culture and the artworks, hence my first book long ago was Turkish Delights to Applique. I have been to many mosques to study them and also have many Muslim friends there,” she says. For prayer rugs, she recommends anything colorful and easily rolled up for carrying. 

Author/quilter/designer Latifah Saafir, who was raised Muslim, says prayer rugs are often very colorful (green was said to be the Prophet Muhammad’s fave color) and that geometric designs and patterns would be perfect. No fabrics or designs that resemble humans or animals would be suitable. (Our thought: This might be a perfect project for blenders.)

UPDATE: Toni Smith, of quiltoni.com and Craft Hackers, has volunteered to be the collection point for Ontario Canada. Contact her via email, toni@quiltoni.com.

 

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe. Pray.

Share This Post
Categories Piece Corps Uncategorized

15 Comments

  • Ellen McKinley • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #1

    I think this is a wonderful idea! And thanks for the suggestions as to how to make them so they will be appropriate for the recipients (fabric choice, size, etc.)

  • Heather L Kinser • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #2

    Thank you so much for sharing this idea and topic. My mail lady is a Muslim and I can’t wait to make her a prayer quilt. She always brings me such lovely fabric.

  • Gloria Hernandez • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #3

    I wish I could do something like this but what I have tried comes out cooked I have given up trying to quilt . I have lots of fabric that I was thinking of donating to goodwill but I don’t think people are interested in fabric. I bought it from Golden Needles , Keepsake Quilting, Connecting threads and some local store.

    • teri • 7 months ago
      COMMENT #

      Hi Gloria I’d say keep trying. There may be a guild or quilt shop near you that offers lessons. You can do this!

    • Bonnie Bean Panattoni • 7 months ago
      COMMENT #

      Gloria H, PLEASE do NOT give to Goodwill as it will only be resold. If you definitely don’t want to try (You could cut squares and sew them together and then layer with batting and backing and then quilt by sewing from corner to corner in rows) at least give your fabrics to a local quilt guild or group.

    • Michelle Valencia-Stark • 6 months ago
      COMMENT #

      I volunteer with a local Project Linus chapter. We accept fabric donations and given them to quilters who are on restricted budgets. You might see if there is a local chapter in your community. If you do decide to donate the fabric, I know my mom and aunt find really a good assortment of fabrics there.

    • Nancy • 6 months ago
      COMMENT #

      I was hoping to start a small group within my guild to make prayer rugs. I will be glad to pick up the fabric.

  • Cynthia L Potter • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #4

    The address “For More Information” doesn’t work for me.

    • Tracy • 6 months ago
      COMMENT #

      You are actually on the page that the link leads to. We are still developing info for this project.

  • Connie Hudson • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #5

    Don’t forget the mosque that burned to the ground before it was even opened in Austin, TX. This is down the road from my place. I would be willing to collect & distribute for them as they rebuild.

  • Libby Williamson • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #6

    Well done Tracy!!! I hope to get making one (or two) soon!

  • Tracey Brookshier • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #7

    I have just checked with a dear Muslim friend. I think ideally they would be rectangular – a common prayer rug measures 40 x 26.5. She said (in answer to my question) that 40 x 30 would be fine. No fabrics with animals or people on them. Thank you for this!

  • betyangelo (@betyangelo) • 7 months ago
    COMMENT #8

    What wondeful amazing beautiful people you all are, halos dripping with the sweat of your brows as you make, and gift, the rugs on which slaves of Islam will pray for your death, and the deaths of your children, and anyone else who will not also submit to Islam and become a slave, like them. As you are so clever, perhaps one of you ought to translate a few if those prayers to see for yourselves. No? Incurious? Alas for the west.

  • Zohra S Arastu • 6 months ago
    COMMENT #9

    I am a Muslim and teach (for the sake of blessings) children to learn to read the Quran and as a gift I make them a prayer rug and they love it. This is a very generous gesture on your part. I have always wanted to make a quilted prayer rug and also have designed some to make someday. This would be the time. Thank you.

    • Annie Stewart • 6 months ago
      COMMENT #

      Zohra-
      What kinds of designs? any you can share?

Leave a Reply