Pay it Forward

“Labor of love” quilt donated to Resurrection Lutheran

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Emma Cait Breeden

Accomplished quilter Pauline Luther has given a quilt titled “The Life of Jesus” to Resurrection Lutheran Church in Franklin of which she is a member. Designed and made by Luther, the quilt illustrates the life of Jesus, from birth to resurrection, highlighting some of his notable miracles, with each piece of the quilt conveying significant meaning. 

“Each picture is encircled with flames because the Holy Spirit is with Jesus the whole time, but also with us,” Luther explained. “And the [border] is encircled with a grapevine because that was significant, since his very first miracle was turning water into wine.” 

Butterflies and crosses represent the concept of new life and both have a place on the quilt within each story panel. Above and below the story panels, Luther included some of the names used to refer to Jesus, such as “Messiah” and “Emmanuel.” 

Luther said creating the quilt was a “labor of love” and quilting is a great passion of hers. 

“You know when an artist has a painting they just have to do? That’s what this was for me, I had to do it. It was very introspective. There were a lot more things that I could’ve done. But I chose the stories that I did because they have a lot of good teaching,” she said. 

PAULINE LUTHER, a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Franklin, recently donated a quilt she designed and made titled “The Life of Jesus.”

To create what Luther hopes is a “teaching quilt” about the life of Jesus, she said, “I worked nonstop for four days, 12-hour days, just on the quilting. That’s after the machine is set up. Before that I had to plan. [To make a quilt] you have to go out and you have to buy [supplies], and you have to know what you’re looking for.” 

This unique level of dedication is a reflection of the value of the art of quilting. Luther is a part of a group of women who meet at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Wednesdays to make quilts that are donated to mission organizations, with a current goal of giving away 100. 

Quilting has always been popular in Macon County and the region for many reasons. Jada Bryson, an employee at the Walker Quilt Company in Franklin, shared: “The original purpose was to create warmth – a quilt was something every family had or needed to know how to make.” 

In modern times, quilting shifted from being a necessity to becoming more of a hobby. As a quilter who personally views quilting as an artistic outlet, Bryson added, “Quilting is still important because it preserves traditional methods, but there are new ways and techniques for creativity. Piecing a quilt together is fun, and doing the actual quilting is bringing it all together.” 

Both Luther and Bryson, as well as many other quilters in the area, understand the value of protecting Appalachian heritage and finding new ways for important traditions to stay relevant through future generations. 

“The Life of Jesus” quilt now hangs in the church and was officially dedicated in February. 

“For anyone who looks at it, the quilt is a graphic reminder that Jesus is Lord and Savior of all,” said the church’s pastor, Glenn Roseman. “Through images and Bible verses, it draws folks to the Bible for a more detailed account of this marvelous truth – hopefully.” 

Emma Cait Breeden is a senior and an honors student at Franklin High School.