Good morning everyone, and a happy November to you all!
Today we're going to begin a long 14 month project, The Virtuous Wife quilt. This idea has been on my mind for years, but as with all big design projects I need to wait on the Lord for what is in my thoughts to become tangible sketches and eventually a set of embroidery blocks. And as always, His timing is perfect, and His grace to lead me through the process is more than I deserve.
Some things you'll want to know about The Virtuous Wife project...
* This quilt project comprises 16 blocks, which I'll share over 14 months, so somewhere along the journey you'll receive two blocks instead of one for a couple of months.
* The stitchery/applique centres measure 6.5" before being bordered in a Bright Hopes patchwork block.
* The finished size of each block is 10.5".
* The fabric requirements, applique and embroidery instructions etc, are included with the Block 1 pattern.
* A previous tutorial for adding the Bright Hopes border to a centre block is HERE. If you do not know how to sew that border, please watch the tutorial.
* The finished quilt top will have four rows of four blocks, but it's up to you to decide if you want to add a final border or two to the outer edges of the quilt. Personally, I will make that decision for my own quilt when I have all the blocks stitched, but it will probably be a simple 2" or 3" wide border all around.
* Each block is released on the 1st of the month, and is FREE
* In the instructions I have not given thread colours as you will need to choose your colours to match the fabrics you'll be using.
* I am using a total of four fabrics only in my quilt top, so you may like to try that yourself. Shop from your stash, as I did, and pick four pretty co-ordinating prints. I have 1/2 metre of each, which will see me through to the end (apart from a final border and binding).
* If you don't want to do the applique, that's fine. On your pattern sheet you'll find more detail in the designs for hand embroidery alone.
Something different I did with the applique in this block (and in following blocks) was to blend the thread colours for the blanket stitch applique with the flow of colour in the fabric. So, if you look below, you can see that I used a green for the green sections of floral fabric, pink for the pink sections, and blue for the blue sections.
After completing the blanket stitch, I then chain stitched around the large flower, doing the same thing again with thread colours.
The blanket stitch is sewn with a single strand of thread, whilst everything else is sewn with two strands.
Use the link below to download the pattern.
I thought we might also take a look at Proverbs 31:10-31 as we stitch our way through the next 14 months, but rather than begin with verse 10, let's go back to the preceding verses, those which lead us into the heart and home and life and faith of this dear woman.
The beginning of this chapter opens with King Lemuel's mother, an obviously wise and godly woman, speaking very candidly with her son about the kind of king he needs to be in order to rule righteously, but she also gives him counsel on the character of a woman he should pursue to be his queen.
For the longest time I overlooked that Proverbs 31 is, in fact, the counsel of a mother to her son, and not originally intended as a recipe for we women to emulate. Yet, we must thank God for these instructive verses being included in the canon of Biblical Scripture, because it's simply loaded with advice for women of all walks of life.
I also think this passage of Scripture is a wonderful teaching tool for our sons and grandsons as well. Being taught what to look for in a future wife - and I have rarely heard anyone discuss this, if at all - compliments the lessons we teach our boys on growing into faithful, strong, righteous husbands and fathers one day. It's certainly something to consider.
Now let's move on and look at The Virtuous Wife described in verse 10 of Proverbs 31...
The word "virtuous" is translated from the Hebrew word 'chayil', but as with much English translation from the original Hebrew language, virtuous is only one word of many which fully describe 'chayil'.
To gain a deeper understanding, we could read verse ten like this - "Who can find a capable, virtuous, strong, valiant, war-worthy wife?"
You see 'chayil' is also used to describe a force, such as an army, (hence 'war-worthy')! Ladies, this woman King Lemuel's mother is describing is no wallflower, no lazybones, no woman of little value...in fact, this word is used to describe Naomi's daughter-in-law Ruth (Ruth 3:11), a band of soldiers (Ezra 8:22), the valiant men of Israel (1 Chronicles 10:12), strong men of war (Jeremiah 48:14), riches and wealth (various Scriptures), character and substance (Deuteronomy 33:11)....and I could go on, but I think you can grasp the depth of character describing the Proverbs 31 woman.
Knowing this, it gives the remainder of chapter 31 (verses 11-31) far more depth as well, and I hope you are as excited as I am to dig deeper into the example of this godly woman King Lemuel's mum wanted for her son. The more I thought about it, the more I have come to believe that the King's mother knew of a woman like this, or perhaps a few women she'd observed over time who lived their lives as exemplary 'chayil' wives.
You may not be a wife yet, you may be a widow, or you are no longer a wife...but I think there's so much in Proverbs 31 to instruct women of all ages and life circumstances, because the key to this Virtuous Wife is her character. I read this recently in the Complete Jewish Study Bible and think it gives a wonderful description of this woman's heart and motivation, especially in the world of today...
"But who is this capable woman? She is a woman who is attentive to herself and to those around her. Her heart is bound up in the well-being of others. She is creative and resourceful, and she radiates beauty in her own unique way. She cares for herself, but she knows she is more than just a physical body: she emanates this beauty from her soul as well, in servitude and in love. She is fully aware of her place in the plan of God, seizing each moment with intention. This practical and spiritual woman aligns her thoughts, body and actions for the sake of heaven. She approaches life with fortitude and presses forth despite obstacles. She might be single, she might be married; she might work in the home, she might be a corporate executive; she might be a teenager or a grandmother. Whoever she is, she is the eshet chayil: the woman who strives to live a full life of service to God."
Translation of 'eshet chayil' - a woman of worth, valour or strength
Ladies, let us think on these things. Let us thank our Father for the gift of being a woman, for the treasure we have in Him and the instruction for living the life He has mapped out for us all through His holy Word.
That sentence, "She is fully aware of her place in the plan of God, seizing each moment with intention." really stands out to me at this time of life, because it reminds me (yet again) that as long as I have breath, God has a purpose for my life...and I need to live it out each day with intention.
I hope you enjoy stitching along with this project, and as our quilt grows, may we also grow beyond where we are today into wiser, more godly, more industrious, more generous and much kinder women, wives, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and friends.
God bless you as you stitch, as you pray, as you work on your character, as you seek to live a full life of service to Him, as you teach the young ones in the way they should go.
Blessings and hugs, `
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