Thursday, April 28, 2011

You've Got A Friend

American Idol is doing Carole King songs this week. She is one of my favorite artists. I've owned the Tapestry album in every available format except for 8-tracks. One of her greatest hits is "You've Got A Friend." I couldn't agree more.

I've done a couple of guild talks in the last few weeks. I bring a bunch of my quilts and use them to illustrate how I got from quilting to writing. The basic gist is that we all need a little help from our friends.

I started writing for publication and quilting about the same time, in 1988. I put away the writing after one failed attempt at a romance novel. But quilting stayed with me, even though my first class was a very boring 4-patch, hand sewn sampler. The teacher was extremely worried about me because I wanted to use more than three fabrics in my quilt. She thought that was too much.

I didn't let that sway me. I went out and found a quilt guild. Not an easy task, pre-internet in NE PA, where the nearest meeting was 40 miles north of me. It's not like quilt guilds advertise in the yellow pages. At the meetings, I met women who lived nearby who were also quilting. From them, I learned to teach quilting and we tackled every conceivable type of project.

My writing languished, mostly because I knew no other writers. The quilters gathered once a week to share patterns, fabric, ideas, and praise. We egged each other on and celebrated each completed quilt. We also ate a lot of cake. Quilters are often wonderful bakers.

Talking in front of guilds, I'm constantly reminded how lucky we quilters are. We get to hang around with folks who love sewing as much as we do. We always have a ready audience to admire our latest fabric purchases or to lament a crooked seam. We know people who are better technicians than we are or better artists and we can learn from them. With the internet, we can admire quilts of people in far away lands.

Studies are beginning to show what we already know to be true: Friends make the difference in life.

Tell me about your friends and how they add to your life.

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