|Margaret's glitzy bag|
With the advent of the internet and social media, I have been blessed with opportunities to make friends literally around the world. In the early 2000s, I remember seeing somewhere about yahoo focus groups, many devoted to quilting. I scrolled through them, looking for a fit and stumbled upon The Alternative Quilt Group. I was just dipping my toe into what felt like art quilting, and this group was a big supporter of all things experimental and arty, but most of the active members were NOT from the US where I reside. Would they accept me into the fold? Why yes they would, giving me tons of support and valuable information, and I got to know some of them quite well. As blogging became a thing, many if not most of us started our own blogs, and activity on the yahoo group fell to nothing, which I regret. But I'd made close enough bonds to continue some of the friendships through the blogs. And occasionally that pays off when one of these blogger friends has a giveaway, as Margaret Cooter did earlier this year. She's been busy for some time now going through all the nooks and crannies of her living spaces sorting out what to keep, what to bin and what to give away. She came across 3 bags she'd put together out of scraps and was willing to give away if anyone wanted one. I quickly raised my hand if she didn't mind sending one "across the pond". She didn't mind at all.
|Margaret Ball's Embeadery book and the other side of Margaret Cooter's bag|
The bag's shape reminds me of the shoe bags I used in high school, our winters requiring snow boots until we arrived at our destination where we would slip into our good shoes. It is a collection of fancy brocades, lame, velvets and sheers, and for all it's variety and glitz, it seemed to want more added, but what? Not long after it arrived, another AQG member whose blog had gone silent suddenly started blogging again. Besides working in textiles, Margaret Ball from Texas is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (some titles here), and also published a book on her "embeadery" beading technique in 2005. I'd always meant to buy that book as I'd done a lot of embroidery in my younger days, was learning beading through Mary Stori and was intrigued by the thought of marrying the two. Now I was reminded of it again and thinking some embeadery was just what the fancy bag needed. Of course, by now the book is out of print, but in some back and forth with newly emerged Margaret, she generously offered to send me a "bruised" copy gathering dust on her shelf. I'm looking forward to using the bag as a no stress means to try out the embeadery stitches just for fun and end up with a sampler that may be functional as well.
Far afield family has been good to be lately too. My cousin in Western Washington does a lot of traveling and often sends me a little something she's picked up along the way. Not sure if this is from her Hawaii or Virginia trip, but a bit of batik is always welcomed in my stash and she knows it! And my New York niece included the Taproot magazine with her thank you note for a little something I sent for her birthday, mostly because of the eco-dyeing article because "it so seemed you." I don't think she knows of my less than stellar attempt at eco-dyeing but the article is making me want to try it again. And there's lots more of interest in it too, so glad she introduced me to this magazine.
So a big thanks for the thoughtfulness of far-flung friends and family who don't wait for special occasions to show me some love. Whenever I get a little down, I just have to remember these bits of kindness sent my way.