WIDOW'S MITE by Carrie Hall|
Center "X" patch grid=8 x 8
Spencer Museum of Art
The WIDOW'S MITE pattern is usually drafted on an 18 x 18 grid (see above). But the center "X" of Carrie's Hall's exquisite 1930's version (illustrated left) is itself drafted on a 8 x 8 grid, that is, equalling one-third the size of the design, and thus actually requiring a 24 x 24 grid because each of the other sections of the nine-patch are of equal size and yet have to be divided into a 3 x 3. The poverty of Hall's rendering, in connection with the Gospels story, though, is quite effective and moving. See also Bettina Havig's full color compendium of
CARRIE HALL BLOCKS, p. 79.
In the parable and in the design, it is the minuteness of the center diamond, which represents the greatest love, or in religious terms, the most profound devotion.
The "mite" or tiny offering the widow makes is far more of a sacrifice for her than the larger sums of money the wealthy might easily contribute. The story is thus universal — it's really about generosity as a way of life, and on deeper levels than the financial, and thus works well for a humble patchwork block.
Of course there are many other beautiful, Biblical quilt design motifs. Ruth Finley, in her book, OLD PATCHWORK QUILTS AND THE WOMEN WHO MADE THEM, has an interesting reflection on the topic in her section on the "Origin of Quilt Names." These would include JOSEPH'S COAT, and JOB'S TEARS, or FORBIDDEN FRUIT TREE, for instance. Compare at this site with GARDEN OF EDEN, also JACOB'S LADDER and STORM AT SEA (possibly derived from the Book of Jonah). Reading through all these Biblical titles, it's nice to see mention of a woman in scripture in "Widow's Mite," and a very precious one at that!!
More blocks celebrating things small, but much treasured include:
DOVES IN THE WINDOW
AUNT PATSY'S PET
ARRANGEMENT OF SMALL PIECES