When I moved to this lovely place a couple of years ago one of the things I missed most was my regular sit and sew days with other quilters. We were a group of about eight women who met through a quilt guild as strangers living in the same area, and over a period of years became firm friends who shared ideas and creations, crises and joys. They continue to meet and I see them occasionally but I now live too far away to join them as I did before, and I miss those special friendships and shared interests.
Some months ago I tentatively suggested to some new friends here that we could do a similar thing with each person doing whatever was they wanted, one morning a month in each others homes. We made a rule that there was to be no competetive catering, that we would bring our own lunch, and the hostess would provide tea and coffee only. We are a quilter, one who does tapestry or knits and two embroiders - it does not matter one bit that we do different things and each is interested in the work of the others. We have now met about four times, and each time have had a great day away from our usual chores , demands of families and partners and I'm delighted that the idea is working so well.
Today it was the turn of one of us who actually lives in Melbourne during the week, but is here most weekends, so we three locals decided to visit her in Melbourne. As well as being a skilled needlewoman, this friend is also an avid collector of old linen, vintage embroideries, buttons, old haberdashery, needlework tools, and antique china. We had a wonderful time exploring her city terrace house and her extensive collections, and then headed out to do some retail therapy of our own.
A visit to an importer of Japanese furniture, kimonos and vintage kimono fabrics scored some hanks of silk and a couple of old kimono pieces, then to a specialist stationery shop for archive boxes in which to store textiles and Journal quilts, to a discount fabric shop for some necessary stash additions, lunch in a great Lygon Street bakery called 'Sugadough' and then a visit to an antique shop where we admired the beautiful but very expensive vintage monogrammed French linens and other imported French homewares. None of us made any major purchases, but it was a fun day made so much more enjoyable as it was shared with like minded people who understand a common passion for fabrics and other textiles. Long may these friendships and such adventures continue!