Thursday, September 15, 2016

May I Borrow Your Sewing Machine?

Ad from County Capital
The ad at right is from the County Capital published in St. John, KS.  Isaac B. Werner subscribed to that newspaper, and one day as he was returning home from St. John he stopped at a neighbor's home to borrow their sewing machine.  I do not know what kind of a machine he borrowed, but it is possible that whatever it was may have been purchased from Gray & Company in St. John, the local dealer.

Neither do I know why Isaac needed to borrow a sewing machine.  However, as a bachelor homesteader, Isaac would have needed to do his own mending.  I doubt that he made his own clothing, although he was so handy at doing anything he chose to do that he probably could have been a tailor.  More likely, he borrowed the sewing machine to patch his old clothing.  There wasn't much spare cash for buying anything new!

Quilt block & picture of quilt
You may recall that in my recent blog, "Waiting & Rejection" I said I would spend time learning to use my 'new' but untried sewing machine to take my mind off of waiting to hear from a publisher to whom I submitted a proposal.  Well, I kept my commitment, but after sitting unused for 2 1/2 years, the machine would not start.  Back to the store it went, and a new circuit board was installed.  My quilting project is now underway.  All the pieces are cut, and the first block is sewn.  The finished quilt alternates pieced blocks creating a cross shape and appliqued blocks of a bunch of flowers tied with a ribbon.  

Some of my quilting fabric
Apparently September has been designated Quilting Month for 2016, at least a website I visited made that claim.  That is a wonderful excuse for me to spend time at my "new" sewing machine and to take some classes to learn how to use it.

I like to make scrap quilts, using leftover fabrics that would otherwise have no purpose.  Since I no longer make garments, my collection of scraps is stagnant; however, I doubt that I will ever use all of the scraps I have inherited from my mother, my husband's mother and grandmother, as well as from others!  

State Fair Quilt
Some of my friends make lovely quilts with perfect corners.  My quilts will never win a prize for their perfection, but they are wonderful to sleep under.  I enjoy using my imagination to find uses for my collection of scraps, and when the quilt is finished I enjoy recalling the original purpose for which the fabric was purchased or the person who shared the scrap.  I believe my sister-in-law shared the green fabric used in the block pictured above.  Even when a pattern inspires my quilt I don't follow the pattern completely.  My flowers in the quilt use yo-yos as the blossoms, with antique buttons for their centers.  I also plan to change the border.

Pat Knochel at Pratt Area Quilt Guild
I like to think of myself as following the tradition of the early prairie quilters, who made their quilts from scraps because they were thrifty and did not have the money to buy new fabric to cut up for quilt pieces.  They used their imaginations to make beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilts, as well as crazy quilts with oddly shaped pieces of fabric.  Some of their one-of-a-kind quilts were so beautiful that they were copied and became traditional patterns.  For me, using my imagination is a big part of the fun of quilting!

This week has been a busy quilting week for me.  On Monday I took Lesson 1 from my wonderful teacher Michelle Nichols and gained a lot of confidence about using my new machine.  Tuesday we attended the Kansas State Fair and, as always, I enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful quilts.  One of my favorites was the crazy quilt pieces in circles placed on a black background.  We returned home in time for me to be a guest at the Pratt Area Quilt Guild's meeting at which Pat Knochel, sister of Eleanor Burns of Quilt in a Day fame, presented a demonstration and shared many beautiful quilts with hints about how to make them.  Thank you Quilt Guild for welcoming guests!

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