Thursday, May 11, 2005

Close to Nowhere
By Linda Jones

Friends are best thing in quilting

I’ve discovered so much about people since I began quilting and I’ve finally realized something — quilting is not just needle and thread — it’s a common thread that runs through everyone.

Last week Irene Caldwell from Red Banks called me. Irene and I met through a former preacher, Rev. Pat Elmore, who is retiring again — this time from the Victoria-Red Banks United Methodist Charge. Our two churches have visited a good bit and Irene’s husband Ed was kind enough to remember me while he was cleaning out a shed.

According to Irene, he’d pulled a couple very old quilting frames out and when Irene asked him what he intended to do with those he replied — “I’m going to give them to Linda!”

I understand these were from a grandmother and a great-grandmother (or a grandmother and a mother; my memory is not what it used to be).

And the nicest thing about this generous gift was the memories that came with it.

“When I was about her size (my granddaughter Binkster was with me) they used to put the quilts in the frames and draw the swirling lines to be quilted. That was one of my jobs, to sit there with a needle and thread and quilt those lines,” Ed Caldwell said.

He shared many memories of his mother and grandmothers while they were sewing — how they sewed on a treadle machine (which is what I learned to sew on — until my mother had her “electrified”) and sitting around quilting and talking.

I belong to a “Dear Jane” message list on the Internet, which is supposed to be tips and help in making the very complicated and beautiful Dear Jane and Dear Hannah quilts.

It’s much more than that though. On that message list we share our problems and our joys — deaths, new jobs, new grandchildren and joy of joys — completed quilts or a new skill mastered!

The thread of quilting runs through almost everything I come in contact with lately — I think that’s only because I’ve become more aware of it.

At our church, we’re planning on keeping the “threads” running through Ed’s quilt frames.

We’ve talked with a bunch of ladies about having quilting “bees” in the basement, along with maybe a lesson or two on rotary cutting or some such other “modern” advance in the ancient art.

We’re going to hang one of the frames and sit and quilt around it; talking and sharing and putting together much more than a quilt — we’ll also be sewing together strong friendships and wonderful memories.

Come and join us! Call me, 252-4261, 252-3948; or Jane, 526-9330.

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