Monday, November 2, 2015

In Praise of Friendship

I recently completed this Friendship Quilt of blocks made by the Crafters, a group of friends. I sewed the top together by machine and then quilted the piece by hand. Some Crafters will make their own quilt, others will seek help or hire someone to do machine quilting. Eventually we will all have a similar quilt.

Originally, the Crafters met through our work in public schools and special education. In 1979, four or five members got together, ostensibly to carve out a little time to work on handwork and to chat. I knew several of the women from my first three years of teaching and joined them in 1983, when we moved back to Lincoln from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Once a month, we gather in each other's homes with no agenda other than to enjoy being together. The only rule I can ever remember is, if one gets new carpet they are excused from cleaning house. Now days we don't worry too much about cleaning house or new carpet. Dessert is still important. For a good number of years, we were twelve. Now we have two empty chairs. One woman moved out of state and the oldest passed away. We miss them but their blocks are in this quilt.

Everyone brings or doesn't bring their own projects to craft. In the earliest years, counted cross stitch was the rage. Several of us discovered quilting and others knit. Over the years, my friends have stitched, mended, hemmed, quilted, knitted, clipped coupons, sorted through photos, and cleaned out their purses. Now days three or four of us may be working on something. More important is the friendship stitched together through the years. When we began, we talked of our babies and sleepless nights. We commiserated over divorce and teenagers. Then the children grew up and we danced at their weddings. One by one we have lost parents and other loved ones. These days we celebrate grandchildren and new parts via joint replacement surgery. Lately we toasted a bride at her happy second marriage. When I hosted the Crafters in October, we picked up exactly where we left off in September.  

I love being part of the on-line knitting community so this isn't a question of which is better. My knitting friends support each other and charities in other ways. Friendships reach across the country and knitting gathers us together. Locally, I am also part of an intelligent thoughtful group of women who meet monthly to discuss books but that group is worthy of another blog post. I treasure all of these connections to other women.  

Some ten or thirteen years ago, the Crafters set out to make Friendship Quilts, exchanging blocks and helping each other along the way. I honestly can't remember the year we began this quilt. I do remember the times friends from both the Book Group and the Crafters have showed up at my door with a hug and dinner in a picnic basket. They never blinked an eye at the dust in the living room, laundry on the couch, or the sticky kitchen floor. They understood I'd spent a long few days at the hospital with my husband or that I'd just seen my father or mother to the end of his or her life. Books come and go and quilts may be folded away but the friendships remain. They are as rich as deep reds and golds on an autumn day.  



  1. a beautiful quilt and story of friendship. When I lived in MI I had a group of friends who gathered once a week in the evening to knit or cross stitch but mostly we ate junk food and talked, a lot.

    When I moved here to PA I missed that sense of companionship. I have a little knitting group that meets twice a month and sometimes it's in homes and sometimes it's at a coffee shop. I love getting together to talk and talk well and to knit!!

  2. what a lovely tribute to friends----precious beyond words. You are lucky, but you obviously know that!!!