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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Purple Cross Block for Lydia


For week 51 of the Women of the Bible study group I have completed the Purple Cross block for Lydia. Lydia was Paul's first European convert to Christianity. She was a dealer in purple dye and the first European church met in her home. The purple dye came from sea mollusks in the Mediterranean Sea and it took so many to make a tiny bit of dye, that only the rich and royalty were able to wear purple clothing. [I've been interested in natural dyes since taking a course in Navajo spinning, dying, and weaving at Henderson Museum, CU Boulder a little over 30 years ago so was excited to study about Lydia. Unfortunately, there were no sea mollusks in Boulder, so we used plants, lichens and cochineal bugs to dye our homespun wools.]

The choice of purple fabric was pretty much a given. I also added a little green to symbolize the life of the new European church with gold to indicate the presence of God. The block was done with fused, machine applique and stitched with gold thread.

The story of Lydia is found in Acts 16:6-40.

It is not clear to me, from the way her story is written whether she was selling the actual dye or purple dyed cloth. Some people think she was a weaver, who was selling her purple dyed cloth. This makes sense to me, because according to the book "Women's Work: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Years" (which I highly recommend) by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, weaving and trading and selling cloth was the first industry and was done by women because they could do at home while caring for the children. There were many extremely successful fabric businesses run by women in this part of the world during the time of the New Testament and earlier.

Her information was gathered through the discovery of spinning and weaving tools and writing on tablets in archaeological digs because very little actual fabric has survived.

7 comments:

Deb Sews Quilts said...

This is a beautiful block. I have read several blogs on Women of the Bible and making quilt blocks. Is this a quilt book or are you making up the blocks when you are studying from the Bible. I am very curious!

Deb Geyer said...

Very nice block, Fran. You are getting into some very complicated blocks!

Kim said...

Nicely done Fran. I like purple and green together.

Rian said...

Another winner, Fran. I love that you symbolized the presence of God with the metallic gold--I didn't realize that before.

Granny Fran said...

Deb, WOTB is a Bible study on Yahoo. The original quilt was designed and made by Carol Honderich and won some major quilt show awards. She then started the study group and the patterns for the blocks can be purchased from her, or members can substitute other blocks if they choose to.
Her original blocks were chosen from the EQ Block Base Library. It's amazing how different the blocks look based on fabrics and colors chosen.
Carol recently started another study and quilt group on the Psalms. She is designing fantastic applique blocks for the Psalms studied.

Deborah said...

I love this one because of the purple fabric. Also, the gold & green really enhance the block and the story. Very beautiful. how many more blocks to go?

diva of quilts said...

It's wonderful! I love the way the green and gold goes with the purple.