Today school began in Los Angeles, and last week in the county where I live north of LA. This made me think about the school girl darning and practice samplers, piecework and books I've been collecting and will continue to save. I adore them. I have school books of samples from grade school to college classes.
There was a time following the invention and perfection of the sewing machine, think post Civil War, when women who could afford to have a sewing machine wanted to show it off, in a lady-like way, to their patchwork and quilting friends. I think this was gleaned from period diary entries.
So you might think they made patchwork blocks with their machine. Yes, of course, they did that. But machine stitching blocks together only shows on the underside, tucked away from view. It was machine stitching appliques down onto a block that gave their secret away.
They turned the edges of the handles under and sewed a straight stitch along the outer edge of both sides. That curve is tricky even today without practice.
What is extra interesting to me about these blocks, and others I've seen, including quilt tops, is that they did all the piecing by hand! Maybe they couldn't match their corners as well? Maybe it is because they couldn't machine sew while in a friendship or quilt group, or while sitting with their family? Eventually, some women did sew all of their block by machine, while others preferred to handpiece everything.
It seems to me that using sewing machines is all the rage again, and for all kinds of things. Recently, my facialist asked me what kind of sewing machine she might get because she'd like to get one now. I asked her what she plans to make. Her response came as a surprise. She said : I don't know, but I think it might be fun to make things for my farmhouse, (not her primary residence but she's a modern farmer growing food, herbs and caring for hens so they lay good eggs) curtains, place mats, little bags for gifts kind of things. I just want to have one on hand. I think it would be fun."
So there you have it. The cycle of life through the lens of a sewing machine. Its now been placed into the category of a tool to have on hand! I have five machines and I use one. I have a Wilcox & Gibbs that was the first soundless sewing machine, a gun metal, war era, Singer in a beautiful curved wood carry case, a 221-K Centennial Featherweight, which is for sale and includes 3 quilting feet made for it, a Bernina, and a Project Runway Brother. It's from the first series, not the current one. Have you seen their current PR machines? A M A Z I N G ! I have no idea how well they work, but they offer everything there is to offer for a clothes maker or quilter.
Here are some more pictures of the 24 1880s basket blocks for your viewing pleasure. They are currently available in my FB store. To my blog readers only I will offer a 10% discount. Mention the title of the blog in your comment to purchase from my FB page and I'll adjust the price on the invoice. It'll be our secret. xo
Have a wonderful week. Remember to stop and smell the roses,
A link to my FB sales page is in the top right of this page. Like the page and you'll get the new stuff when I post it.
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