About 20 years ago, as I was attending Houston International Quilt Festival, I spotted a note pinned to the lobby bulletin board. It said, "Wanted: Pen Pal" The address was England. I left the note
on the board for the whole weekend. When I came back on the last day of the festival, the note was still pinned--so, I took it down to bring home.
Thus, began several years of letter writing with a stranger in a far off land.
What is a Pen Pal, you say?
in these days of instant gratification and instant messaging, the art of letter writing has gone by the way side. But, 20 years ago, it was a good thing to do and I loved writing letters.
It only cost a few cents to mail a letter, but a world of friendship developed.
we exchanged information about our family and friends,
about our surrounding area, our daily activities became writing material.
We also exchanged small gifts about fiber techniques
and these two booklets were ones that Joan sent me.
We both had a love of crochet and knitting, as well as quilting.
I found these books fascinating! What lovely ways to decorate your
boat--a single hook and some thread gave the windows a homey
look and feel.
Crochet lace was introduced to British women in mid-19th century. The boat women took a copy of
netted and darned lace, filet, as one of their styles of decorating their boats. The true Filet lace consists of hand knotted net; taking this work into Filet Crochet, which allowed any design, floral, pictorial, letters, etc, to be worked with a hook and thread.
Here is a photo of one of the canal boats--alas, Joan couldn't find any photos of the crochet work
that fancied the windows. She did find the two booklets though.
Over the years, we slowly drifted apart, much like the boats on the canals.
I re-read her letters and fancy she's enjoying another walk along the canal;
or she's stitching another jumper for maybe a great grand baby.
I miss my pen pal--today, it would be so easy to chat with her
through the internet, but there is nothing like opening a hand written letter.