Thursday, January 3, 2019

TBT: Hand of Friendship

Well, Happy New Year! I am off to a great start. I just spent several hours working on this post. I even got my husband involved scanning old photos of quilts I was going to share. Then I started jotting notes for what I wanted to say about them. It was going to be another post about my tiny quilting career, which--as you know--I've been writing about for a very long time, it seems, in my Throwback Thursday posts. I wanted to tell about my craft show quilts. Somewhere into this little time-consuming project, I decided to check something and pulled up pictures from the blog. Uh, oh. It seems I already did a whole post on these quilts back in December 2015. I had forgotten to label the post and had forgotten it was there. Well, that's a fine kettle of fish! If you'd like to read that old post, go ahead. I'll wait.

So here I am starting again. I do have a quilt to share that sort of fits the theme of those old quilts I was going to write about because--as they were--it is a one-block quilt from that same era. I don't really think of these as minis--just a framed block. (This one is 18 inches square, machine pieced and hand quilted with cotton thread. The batting is a very lightweight polyester made by Mountain Mist, I think. It was a dream to quilt.)
Given the colors and style, you probably can tell I made this in the 1980s, the summer of 1986, in fact. The block has a number of names, but I chose to use "Hand of Friendship." You see, that year I was the stay-at-home mom of a preschooler and a toddler. We often took walks around our neighborhood. We liked our neighborhood, but there weren't a lot of people our ages. One day, as we were walking around the corner of the next block, a woman came running out of her house to introduce herself. She and her family had recently moved in. She didn't know anyone nearby, but had seen our little family on our walks. She was watching for me. It turns out that we were both a little starved for some adult contact during the day as well as some playmates for our children. Her son and daughter were just a bit younger than my daughter and son. Soon we were spending lots of time together. In fact, her son developed a little preschool crush on my daughter. It was wonderful. And then came the day not long after we met that she told me her family was moving because of a job transfer. To Florida.

Of course, my way of handling the disappointment was to make her a little quilt. And because it was the 1980s, and my idea of Florida was sherbet colors and warmth, I chose pastel country colors from my stash for a Hand of Friendship block. I wanted her to embrace Florida as her home but not forget her time in Michigan, so I chose quilting designs to represent both states: a pine tree and a snowflake for Michigan and a sun and a shell for Florida. In the border, I quilted waves--for Lake Michigan and the Atlantic Ocean. 

I wish I could tell you that our friendship has continued to this day, but that was not to be. After her move, we kept in contact for awhile, writing letters and exchanging Christmas cards. (It was before the era of social media.) Our friendship was in its infancy, so as our kids grew and we got involved in other things, it was hard to keep the friendship alive long-distance. Her husband's job required a few more moves. One Christmas, she wrote that they were moving again. There was no return address on the envelope and when I wrote later to the previous address, the letter was returned with no forwarding address, and we lost contact. 

Life moves on, but it's nice to remember this little friendship at a time when we both needed it. I still have a photo of our kiddies taken just before the move. That, and these quilt photos are sweet mementos, but isn't it wonderful that social media makes it easier to keep in touch these days?

As always, I'm linking up with Sandra at mmm! quilts for Throwback ThursdayI'll be back next month with more TBT quilts from my tiny quilting career (yes, there are enough for at least a couple more posts), and today I found more loose photos from my personal quilting, so it looks like I'll keep sharing TBTs for a little while yet this year.


Sandra Walker said...

I'm so glad that you ended up starting the year off with a friendship quilt! Quilters do tend to be so friendly and generous. I well remember the 80s pastels; my entire living room was wallpapered by yours truly in an embossed pink, and the couch was grey with pink and blue flowers here and there on it...I've lost touch with a couple of friends that way too, but life moves on, and today's social media means friends can communicate so much easier and instantaneously...gosh I think of IG message chats with friends in Ireland, Brazil, New Zealand, England, just to name a few! Love that. I love the symbolism you quilted into this little quilt too, and the overlapping of the waves' meaning. Thanks for linking up; now to go back into my post and finish telling my quilt's story, ha!

Linda said...

Janine your posts are such easy reads for me. I found myself thinking you should write a book - seriously. I read your 2015 post and loved every word. Those block quilts are exquisite, and the quilting is unbelievable, as it is with this quilt block. The story you shared about your long-ago neighbor brought back such memories for me when my kids were young. Now I think I'll go top it all off with a nice glass of wine. ;)

PaulaB quilts said...

Memories...I had an almost identical friendship. As a mom of a three-year-old and a one year old I was walking to the Market when a young mother ran out and asked if I could buy her some hotdogs. She couldn’t leave the house because she had two y/o twins, very rambunctious.So we became good friends for several years until her husband was a transferred and they moved. We visited them a few years later but then they moved and we lost touch. You learn that you are lucky to have a few long lasting friendships. I have had a wonderful one cross country for almost forty years. So I do love having so many online friends, mostly Quilters.

Mari said...

What a sweet little quilt! I'll bet she still has it and thinks of you fondly. It's very hard to get back in touch after years have gone by. Life moves on, and we're all lucky to have a few people we've been friends with for decades. Did you ever make Thimbleberries quilts? This has that same vibe. Happy 2019, and I'll be happy to read as many TBT posts as you want to make this year. They always make me smile!

Louise said...

I really enjoyed this story of a friendship that came and went, but lingers in your memory as sweet and timely. The little quilt was a perfect parting gift. I love all the special quilting motifs!

And I also really enjoyed revisiting all your 2018 projects in the previous post. You had a very productive year, full of lovely pieces! May 2019 bring you more quilty happiness and friendship :)