After the recent braid in, Dianne and Kris and I went to the Chadds Ford/Kennett Square area outside of Philadelphia and stayed in a hotel together. We did our usual post-braid-in review of the event, discussed thoughts of how to make it better, and hung out in pajamas and hooked and braided.
We also went to: the Brandywine Museum, Longwood Gardens (we had lunch/dinner there, see above photo, it was delicious) and Winterthur.
The three of us are united by the common history of writing a book together…a book that, while the price ended up being higher than we would have liked (the publisher determined that, not us), we still are proud of. Immediately after publication, though, there was some serious repair work to do on our friendship.
During the writing, illustrating, and editing of the text, it seemed we were an unlikely combination. At the beginning of working together, Kris was the only one who both hooked and braided… and this was, after all, a book on COMBINING rug hooking and braiding. Dianne at least had the grace to learn how to rug hook and has remained captivated by rug hooking as well as braiding. I whined a lot about how I just didn’t like rug hooking and I couldn’t get my old loops to stay in when I hooked new ones. (I continue to whine, just like that).
The book took a long time to write — at least two years, I forget exactly, I think I’ve blocked it out — and there was some friction among us during that time. Dianne bossed us around a lot (which we needed, because she’s good at organizing and managing, and Kris is too nice to yell at people, and I procrastinate something awful).
But, every year since, we’ve tried to get together at either the Valley Forge braid in or the Methuen gathering, or both, to renew our friendship. Dianne flies our from California and copes with jet lag amazingly well. I still drive the same beat up old van filled with braiding supplies and fabric to pick her up from the airport. After Methuen, we often stay in Boston at Kris’ apartment there. The three of us even wrote together again: two book chapters for the Finishing Rug Hooking book. But I think that’s probably the last time we’ll collaborate on a writing project — I think we’re all afraid we’ll get too ticked off with each other again and lose our friendship if we do.
Dianne has asked me, “Do you think we’d be friends if we lived near each other?” and “Do you think we’d be friends if we didn’t have the book in common?” and the answer is, I don’t know. I meet a lot of very nice people at braid ins, and while I greatly look forward to seeing them again, they don’t necessarily cross into day-to-day life the way that the three of us have. I think, in some respects, that having a real friend is knowing their faults and liking them anyway… I try to protect most people whom I meet only at braid ins from seeing my worst flaws, but I gave up trying to conceal that long ago with Kris and Dianne. I think our closeness is, in part, that they have seen what I’m really like and still put up with me.
In any case, the common history of writing a book together, with the difficulties and still with pride in the outcome, has united us… hopefully forever. We make enough from book royalties to take each other out to lunch or dinner once a year… although soon I think it’s going to have to just be breakfast! It’s not exactly been a lucrative experience, except in the friendship department.