As most of you have realized by now, being a needlework enthusiast brings with it, its own brand of friendship. The non initiated think of needlework as a solitary activity. It certainly can be that and many of us relish that alone time doing repetitive movement and creating at the same time. However, the uninformed are astounded when I say, that needlework for me has a huge social aspect. I have dear friends across the country that I have made over the years at conventions, classes, from guild memberships and stitch-ins. Perhaps the dearest friendships of this type are with three ladies from my time spent on the national board of the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA). We met in 1985 as each of us was going on to the board for the first time. (Technically, one of us came onto the board a year or two later, but we never seem to keep the facts of that story straight.) Let me introduce you. I (Barbara) am from NJ. Bonnie is from Wisconsin, Cary is from Alabama and Regina is from the East End of Long Island.
This friendship of ours certainly defies all odds. We are from different parts of the country, have different religious and political beliefs, had very different professional aspirations and have led very different lives. We have no idea what binds us together so tightly, but it is quite evident that there is an abundance of chemistry. We may not speak for months at a time, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off. Our largest claim to fame are our giggles. There are lots and lots of those.
We meet usually once a year. Formerly, we always got together at the annual SAGA convention, but as our needlework interests migrated we breached out and started meeting in other places. For many years, the ladies came to Long Beach Island to my beach house, but when I sold it (to spend more time in CA with the “little people” ), we had to get creative again. It can take us months to plan (just coming up with mutually convenient dates is quite the challenge) but there is not much that keeps us away from our appointed get together. I missed once because of a death in my family and one time Cary got as far as Charlotte and then the flight was canceled due to weather. This year it looked as if Bonnie wouldn’t make it because of a blizzard in Wisconsin, but somehow she got there at the appointed hour.
So where did we go this year? We went to Nashville. Now one might think we saw the Country Music Hall of Fame or that we took the tour of the Grand ‘ole Opry, but you would be wrong. What we did mostly was scout out yarn stores and the one needlepoint shop, Nashville Needleworks (more about that in another shorter blog entry) and hang out in our suite hotel to knit, stitch and laugh. Cary’s grandmother was from Nashville so we did do some driving to see some of the mansions and horse farms off the beaten track. No honky tonk nightlife for us.
We all cherish this friendship and will be devastated when we can no longer manage these trips. We are always up for suggestions on places to go. However, SAGA turns forty this year. We are hoping to make an appearance at the convention in the fall to honor the legacy of SAGA and more importantly the treasure of our friendship.
I will attempt to upload a photo of us at a yarn store in Nashville called Bliss. That is such an appropriate adjective for how we feel about each other. From left to right, standing is Bonnie followed by Cary. Seated on the left is Regina and on the right, yours truly. Now let’s hear about your needlework friendships.