I've been going to craft night at my friend Julie's house for the last year or two. I can't actually remember when we began, perhaps it's been even longer than that. Julie does beautiful embroideries and everyone else bumbles along with some crafty idea. Nathan plays selections from his excellent record collection or some field recording he made overseas or Will Arnett's sex tape. I knitted a toy kangaroo that I never sewed up and now I'm making a quilt. It's a slow, slow process. I'm hand sewing because I want to be able to talk to people, not sit behind a sewing machine.
I've always loved old quilts but I knew more about the American tradition than the Australian one. I knew about the Wagga quilts and I'd vaguely heard about the National Quilt Register but have fortunately now found their website. Some of the featured quilts are in national collections but others are in private hands. The private quilts aren't photographed well a lot of the time but that is part of the charm. They are on beds, hanging on the line, unfolded from linen cupboards. And the stories that accompany them can be very moving. For starters read Margery Smith:
and Doreen Carter:
It makes me appreciate the time it takes to slowly sew my own quilt in the company of good friends.