Through Tears She Saw More Clearly: a quilt top

Frustrated and discouraged, I pulled the first fabric and hastily cut a shape.  A teardrop.  That feels right.  So I cut more, and that felt right too.  Tears adding up, falling softly at first, then faster and harder and darker.  Meet my first coronavirus inspired quilt:  Through tears she saw more clearly.

I needed to make something that reflects the tension, stress, loss, and blessings of this time.  My requirement was that every print be a floral (large scale preferred) with a blue or green background (though a few at the top have white backgrounds).  They’re loosely organized from light at top to dark at the bottom, a cascade of flowers in a sea of blue and green.  I literally ransacked my fabric stash for these prints.  No collection was safe; I cut everything that qualified, and I’m still re-folding and putting fabric away!

My biggest decision concerned the triangles beneath each teardrop.  What color to make them?  Print or solid, light or dark, or scrappy?  I considered cutting a few to audition ideas, and then I saw the red.  Red fabric I bought for a project at a retreat that didn’t happen.  My gut said, “YES” so I started cutting and never looked back.

I LOVE the tension between the bright red solid and the beautiful florals.  It begs the question: which shape is the tear?  Are they tears of red-hot pain or anger?  Or are they thoughtful tears, tears of surrender and beauty?  Can it be both?  Can this time be both beautiful and awful?  The answer is yes.  It can and it is.

We’ve lost things and gained things, individually and collectively.  Some of my tears were chosen on purpose:  a tear on the day my Aunt died of cancer, one for the day my husband lost his job.  A tear for a friend’s devastating diagnosis.  One for other friends who lost parents in this pandemic.  Tears for dreams that are simply gone, tears of uncertainty and stress and fear.  Tears of compassion for suffering and tears of surrender.  And somehow, though I’m seeing through a waterfall, my tears also tell me that in the end, it will be okay.  Thus the name of my quilt:  through tears she saw more clearly.

I look at my quilt top and it feels strange to see my struggle in fabric, when I’m still struggling in real life.  Like maybe I’m telling the story too soon?  But on top of all the other things we’re dealing with, we’re learning to live with a lot more uncertainty.  I suppose it’s one more layer of tension in my quilt – being waist deep in the muddy struggle, trying to secure a pretty outcome.

If you’ve cried any of these tears, my heart reaches out to yours.  You are not alone.  I’m so sorry for your pain, and so hopeful for your eventual happiness.  Sooner, I hope, rather than later.



  • Your post brought tears to my eyes… I think we can all relate. A lovely lovely way to express your dreams with things lost. And a very pretty way to use up those precious blue & green scraps too!

  • Marcia

    Dear Jennifer,

    What a beautiful quilt! I don’t see sorrow and tears, although I can see the teardrop shape. The teardrops are full of beautiful flowers. Flowers are full of hope and joy. The teardrop is balanced on, and supported by, a red triangle – red being the color of love, and the bottom point being the Lord giving strength. It is wonderful how He led you to create such a beautiful quilt out of your tension and aching heart. Underneath those difficult feelings, you must have such love and faith working together for usefulness.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Bonnie Ellsworth

    Thinking of you, my exceptional friend, and sending my love…

  • jennifer

    Thanks Bonnie, I hope things are going well for you and all your loved ones.

  • jennifer

    Thank you Marcia! I love reading your thoughts. I hoped it would be a quilt that depicted both the good and the bad; I’m glad you see so much good in there. And I love your idea of the red supporting and giving strength, as the Lord does. Thank you for this. Your thoughts are beautiful. – Jennifer

  • jennifer

    Thank you Linda, I hoped it would be something we could all relate to. – Jennifer

  • Sharon Roth

    Lovely quilt of tears. I think an inspirational quilt.

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