For our first RST quilt-along, Rachel van Tilborg’s Friendship Bracelets quilt, we’re inviting participants to share their experiences and reflections of the quilt-making process. Resident long-armer Amy Wade is our first month’s quilt-along guinea pig! It’s not too late to join — check out our details for more information and see contributions at #RSTQAL on Instagram!
I love to see a woman’s arm stacked with bracelets. I love it just about as much as I love to see a woman’s sewing room stacked with modern fabric! When I first thought of doing the RST quilt-along I thought it was quaint and would be a good distraction from some of the more serious quilts I have in mind for this year. Also, it might take me back to summer camps of my youth when it became a competition to see who could make and wear the most friendship bracelets.
The stack of bracelets in this quilt has me thinking about the bracelets I’ve worn throughout my life. Come to find out, I’ve been a little obsessed with bracelets for many years, way before style was any concern. In the early 70’s I wore a POW bracelet. Since I was an Army brat, our family actually knew the serviceman whose name was on my bracelet. When I think of that, it seems a little heavy for seven year old, but I was probably much older than my years (just as I am much younger now than my years). Also, in the 70’s I collected and wore an abundance of charms on a bracelet. I’m positive I drove my elementary teachers crazy with the jingle-jangle of that thing. I wore it faithfully until one of the charms dug into the palm of my hand during recess. Let’s just say, the thread-knotted friendship bracelet that came into favor in the 70’s proved much more ergonomically acceptable for a 10 year old’s lifestyle.
With this quilt, my first instinct from a fabric-selection perspective was to choose fabrics that would appeal to a future recipient. Looking through my stash I realized I have the most perfect collection of “friendship” fabrics: a whole bunch of Angela Walters! However, they mean too much to me to put them in a quilt that I am willing to give away. Problem solved, this friendship bracelet quilt is going to stay with me. The symbolism is too ripe not to harvest. As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy Angela Walters’s style and have been able to get to know her a little more than I ever thought I would. She has been inspirational for me. She has shown me and reinforced in me the kind of creative friendship that I think is so important for women. None of this is about competition; it is about the process and seeing things through to the end. January’s bracelet is very much in process, but I’m working through it and love Angela’s fabric in all of the rectangles.
If you haven’t already, I would really like to invite you to participate in the Friendship Bracelet quilt-along. In addition to the #RSTQAL where you can find us on Instagram, my favorite hashtag right now is #makeaquiltmakeafriend. To me, that is what this sweet quilt pattern is about. Let’s throw a little whimsy into the wind and clear out some stash so that we can wrap ourselves in quilts of friendship. Who knows; maybe throughout this process, we will become friends and you will inspire a whole new quilt for me! (By the way, I love Halloween quilts so if you are a little witchy, we’ll work well together.) Inspire me and #makeaquiltmakeafriend.