As I was anticipating a trip to Scotland last year, Celtic crosses were on my mind. A little research revealed the concept of the circle prayer, also known in Gaelic as a caim: a traditional prayer of early Celtic Christians. These are simple prayers for God’s encircling presence, with a single request. “Circle me, Lord, keep peace within and fear without” is an example of the basic prayer structure. You can pray these prayers for yourself or for others, and substitute any kind of need or request.
I liked the concept and wanted to incorporate the Celtic cross image with the text of a circle prayer. I have come up with several pieces thus far on the theme.
The first one is very symmetrical. As as I have made others since then, I find I like the asymmetry of the newer ones. I used a freezer paper stencil to paint the words, “Circle Me, Lord” with Jacquard Lumiere acrylic paint. I didn’t trust myself to paint the words freehand. Cutting the stencil was tedious, but effective – I used a fat marker to write the words, then cut along the edges. I ironed the freezer paper to the background, then used a cosmetic sponge to paint the words.
The red quilt, Freedom Found, got its title from a line in a Francesca Battistelli song on playing on the radio around the time of its construction. I pieced the cross, then painted the black circle with acrylic textile paint. I usually stitch the text freehand, but sometimes do a mock-up on paper with a pencil to see how things will fit. The rectangles at the bottom represent our burdens that we can choose to lay at the cross, and let Jesus carry them with us. I used Lumiere paint for those, also.
I then made a trio of smaller pieces. For the negative space around the cross, I fused some fancy handmade paper with circles onto gray felt, then cut it up into quadrants, rearranged the pieces, then fused them to the background. I also stitched them down to make sure they would stay put.
I have had a lot of positive feedback from these pieces, and I expect I will continue to make more in this vein. Two of these pieces have been selected for the Sacred Threads Quilt Show in Herndon, VA, in July 2017. www.SacredThreadsQuilts.com for more information.