Base QuiltTwists and turns. Sometimes that’s what life is about. A new friend from Australian has recently turned me onto a quilt pattern called Twisting Pinwheels that has been a timely find. I’ve spent the last few days piecing this rather simple base quilt and thinking about the twists and turns in the life of our youngest grandson Ian.

Ian was born on December 23 almost eight years ago in Northern China and abandoned on Christmas Day. In a country where it is common to abandon unwanted female babies, abandoning a favored male child is uncommon unless he has a physical defect. Although born in a hospital, Ian was mostly likely abandoned because he was born with a cleft palate, a defect believed by the culture to be a result of bad karma deserved from a former life.

After adopting a Korean son, our daughter and son-in-law sought to complete their family by adopting a daughter from China. But the twists and turns of two international moves from Kentucky to Frankfurt, Germany to Shanghai, China over three years necessitated new home studies with each relocation. The adoption process for a Chinese baby girl became glacially slow. When the social worker asked them if they would consider a slight special needs child they said yes. Within 48 hours they had a referral for a four year old boy with a lip repair but a substantial cleft palate. They were soon on their way to bring him home. Within a matter of months he was having his first palate reconstruction surgery. Over the years as he grows, he will have more surgeries. It could have been otherwise for Ian.

This happy, talkative little guy isn’t always easy to understand, but he’s more than willing to patiently spell any word we don’t understand! Yet, having progressed as far as possible with his speech therapy, yesterday Ian had surgery at Duke University Hospital to repair the next stage of his palate reconstruction. Now with practice he will be able to articulate more of the difficult consonant sounds in English.

As for the twists and turns of pinwheel quilt I was piecing while I prayed for Ian, it began as the colorful base quilt pictured above – using many leftover or castoff fabrics from others. Colorful, but not very dynamic. But the base quilt was only the beginning. Using a special “Twister” template, the base quilt was cut up into forty-nine new squares, turned slightly, and re-stitched together for a dynamic new twist. That re-cutting was a daunting process to begin, but it made all the difference.

Twisting PinwheelsWhile this “Twisting Pinwheel” quilt is destined for another grandson, he’ll know the story of his cousin Ian, the twists and turns in his life that have gone from a base experience of abandonment to a dynamically reconstructed new life of love and hope.

If you’ve experienced some significant “twists and turns” in life, what were they? How have those base experiences been transformed into something dynamic and hopeful? If you were to create something that represented that process for you, what would it be? What would it look like?

By the way, I loved all the shared wisdom from last week’s post on The Art of Aging!

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