Something to Think About · This-and-That

This and That • August 2021

Oh my goodness. The brain is fried, the eyeballs are smarting because of smoke in the air and it’s too hot to move or do anything which explains my SECOND round of August This and Thats. What can I say?

I have finally OD-ed on podcasts (more on that later) and found myself a good book: another Maisie Dobbs novel. I have three hours left to go.

What I mean is, it’s the first one done of four I have to do for the first-of-nine giant Bear Paw’s Ruler-free block. I’m playing along in the FingerPaintsQAL on IG and had the opportunity to take a class with Laura yesterday morning (I scribbled on the pattern above to hide her work). It was fun to see people I recognized! Above this block are scenes from class: the fabric key at the ready, the stack of fabric (I took her advice and cut 5″ strips of fabric from all the colors: saved me a lot of time) and ruler-free cutting in process.

Like the lady says, it’s not a race.

Did I mention that California is having a gubnatorial recall? Like either of these goofballs will win my vote, but check out Mr. Drake. Wouldn’t it be cool to tell your kids that one time you ran for governor of California? Or drop that bit on a first date?

Just want you to know I still have a few things on my To Do List from March 2000. This is because we chatted about To Do Lists in the last post.

Occasionally I fall down the rabbit hole of art galleries on Instagram. Jim Isermann turned up. Quilters, start your engines:

I think this is a quilt…

We’ve had more than a few fires in our state this summer, but I loved the write-up about grabbing a quilt.

Generally, the news has been weighty and ponderous and horrifically sad, with covid, airlifts, fires, babies in hospitals, angry young men (and some angry old men), divisiveness, coupled with more suffering and death in country far far from here. I realize that this post could be construed as lightweight and frivolous. But all this news reminds me of old news: the fall of Saigon long ago, my father’s bout with polio and stories my mother told me of getting her first vaccines for Whooping Cough because her baby sister had died of that disease. That is why I have avoided podcasts: they are wearying. Add in the sorrows I read daily on Instagram in all your lives, the divisiveness in our families over vaccines and masks (and yes, I’m making more masks this weekend) and it’s no wonder I’m grabbing bits and pieces, sewing and quilting, poking fun at candidates for California’s governor when inside I’m weeping a bit that it has all ended up in a Big Fight All The Time.

Our individualism has run rough-shod over our ability to come together as a community and do what’s best, what helps those babies and children have a better world. And then I see little toddlers held tight in Afghan arms as they walk into the belly of a very big plane with no seat belts and no snacks and somehow they all don’t need to be ducktaped to their seats (what seats?) for their 3 hour flight to freedom, to what we have and what we fight over but somehow don’t understand how fragile it is. They leave everything behind: little treasures in their bottom drawer, ties to their communities, friends and that bowl that Grandma always had on the top shelf, and I snip off a piece of this hope, tuck it into my heart and keep going.

The other night I found a photo of the first sewing machine I ever owned: The Genie, by Singer. My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was a Freshman in college, majoring in Clothing and Textiles. I sewed on it forever, then passed it on down to my daughter. I have a lot of memories like this that are easily recalled when I see photos. I’m thinking on what I have that I could give up…give up to the refugees that are certainly coming our way. And to end this post on a better note (I’m not really going to jump out the window, I promise), I want to give something away to you.

I finally got all the bits from the last two giveaways mailed out, so before summer disappears, Shelley of Nanakaboodle (ETSY) and I are doing a teeny giveaway of Cluck, Cluck Sew’s Diagonal Seam Tape. I’ve ordered multiple times from Nanakaboodle and she always has really prompt shipping and a cheerful customer service.

UPDATE: Giveaway is closed, but thanks for reading!

To win this roll of seam tape, leave me a comment below telling me about your first sewing machine.

Think Good Thoughts & Let’s Share Joy and I don’t know what else, but you do.
Happy Quilting!

34 thoughts on “This and That • August 2021

    1. I’m still using the first machine I ever bought: a Kenmore heavy sucker that keeps on sewing through rattles and thick layers of quilts. The first machine I ever sewed on was a treadle that my mom bought at a flea market. It had its own desk so I have no idea how my parents got it home…but cars had bigger trunks back in the olden days!

  1. My first machine was my mother’s treadle machine. She had had it electrified which was a big thing was back then. For sure their were no bells and whistles.

  2. My first machine that I made many things on including my bridesmaids dresses and most of the clothes our first baby wore was my grandmother’s singer treadle I used it till I finally left work to have my second baby then bought a husqavana 2000 that lasted me till two years ago when it started tO smoke one day in the middle of sewing,couldn’t get it fixed so back to the treadle again till I could again afford a machine now I have a singer feather weight still looking for a more modern machine that does a few fancy stitches but this does most of my piecing beautifully so giving me time to look around.

  3. Mine was a Kenmore. Made a lot of my clothes after college using that Kenmore, always fighting with the tension. As soon as I got married, I upgraded to a manual Bernina. It sewed like a dream. That was 30 years ago.

  4. My first machine was my mom’s featherweight and now I have passed it on to my daughter. I love featherweights!❤️

  5. My first machine was an industrial Singer, given to me by my parents when I graduated from 8th grade in 1966. I had that machine, which worked perfectly, until I gave it to a veteran who was just learning to see in 2019. I hope she is enjoying it still. At one point I had 7 sewing machines, but now, after a few years of downsizing, I have a Bernina, and my girlfriend’s grandmother’s 1921 Singer treadle, which sews a perfect stitch.

  6. The first machine that I purchased for myself was a Montgomery Wards machine. I sewed my wedding dress on that machine. I have passed that machine down to my daughter. Previous to that machine, I sewed on a old White machine that was passed down to me from my aunt.

  7. My ex-husband bought me my first sewing machine the Christmas before our wedding. I sewed quilts and clothing (including costumes, ski clothing, and hunting clothing) on it until I could afford a new machine and then gave my first machine to my son who still uses it for mending. He even replaced a zipper in his wife’s winter coat.

  8. My first machine had no markings. It had been my neighbor’s that she bought for her daughter and it it sat unused and unappreciated until she gave it to me. I married the neighbor’s son 😉… lugged that machine in the back of a Ford Escort from MO to CA over three decades ago. Now I’ve passed it on to my daughter.

  9. My first was a little Brother machine I bought in the military PX, to sew on my new stripes in 1975. Every time I got promoted the machine would come out of the closet and do it’s best. Little did I know I needed a #16 needle to get through those heavy patches. I used it for about 10 years, eventually sewing curtains for our Volkswagon van, and then dresses for my little girls. it sat in the closet for years untouched while they grew up, and I grew older. My second machine was another Brother, a Christmas gift from my new husband, who remembered I said I used to sew for the girls. The first grandchild was coming and I never stopped sewing after that, and am sorry I let so many years go by ‘in between’. BTW – I am currently on chapter 6, same audiobook. I pop in my wireless headphones and listen while I stitch/cut/machine embroider etc. 7 1/2 hours to go.

  10. Let’s think good thoughts AND do good things! My first sewing machine also was a singer, given to me by my Mother for my 21st birthday. It served me well for many years.

  11. My first very own sewing machine I bought the weekend after I graduated from college – a 1980 Viking in their new color at the time – Burgundy. Still have it and use it – going strong!!

  12. A lovely inexpensive Sears Kenmore was my first sewing machine. I could zig-zag on it and even drop the feed dogs. Started with garment sewing and moved on to crafts and quilting. Sewed my wedding dress on it and my first baby quilt for my first child. A few years back I oiled her up and she still purrs. And 50 years have gone by. She was a good investment and remains a good friend.

  13. The first machine that was truly mine was a Kenmore 1774 model (the last 2 numbers tell you the year). I worked 2 summers at the hardware store 3 miles away (many days walking to work) for the wage of $1.25 per hour. It still is a workhorse! I can clean it out all by myself (no technician is really needed). My daughters have sewn on it, the 12-year-old across the road has used it. It has CAMs that are placed in the top to sew decorative designs. It is still treasured by me.

  14. Hi Elizabeth. Your post today was perfectly suited to describe my life right now. Our smoke has finally cleared here. We had some rain. Here in Canada we have a Federal Election coming on Sept 24. Normally I work the elections to do my civic duty. I’m not as sure now with COVID-19 numbers rising. So many anti vaxxers/anti maskers in our area. More memories stirred reading your post. I’m a polio survivor. My first sewing machine was a Brother with a blue and white case. It weighed 2 ton I’m sure. Recently the exact machine was donated to our Guild for our annual fundraiser. I can’t figure out how I used to pack that thing with me when visiting my mother. 😉

  15. My younger sister and I learned to sew on a treadle machine – not sure what brand – making simple doll dresses. We were in elementary school. Mama thought that was safer for us, because it was slow. By Junior High, we’d graduated to her Singer 201, and her new post-war Brother zig-zag. The first machine I bought was likely a Singer 401 or 403 – a tan slant needle. I didn’t get along with it, and swapped it for an Elna, which I loved.

    Thanks for “Artist are not athletes”, and Jim Isermann. I need to “tend to my knitting” and my quilting, and stop reading/watching the news, so as not to despair.

  16. That was a very moving post. Seems like all the news is extra, extra bad, so I appreciate any frivolity.

    I bought my first sewing machine shortly after I got married in 1971. It was a Singer Touch and Sew. When it broke maybe 20 years later, the repair shop told me it had too many plastic parts and wasn’t worth fixing. I wish I had gotten a second opinion, but the inexpensive Kenmore he sold us was pretty good. In 2012 I started quilting and also wanting some decorative stitches, so I bought a Bernina that cost about ten times what the Kenmore had.

  17. My first sewing machine was purchased from a Police sale, of unclaimed stolen goods, for a princely sum of $25. It was a Bernina. Solid, dependable, but I couldn’t drive it properly as I had only had sewing lessons at the age of ten for a few weeks. I knew nothing of tension, or oiling it, or adjusting it for different fabric types. It didn’t come with a manual, and our town had now shop. I did everything wrong. I tried quilting without a quilting foot, and using regular seam widths.
    When I took up sewing seriously, I traded it in for a husqvarna with the training wheels attached, and life was much easier. Auto this and that. But I promptly won a new Bernina in a competition. I gave it to my youngest daughter who was taking up sewing, and unlike me, she learned to drive it like she was born to it. She will never part from that machine, whereas, I think I will always appreciate my training wheels.

  18. My first and second machines were 1960s Kenmores, then after many years I moved on to vintage Singers, still do all my piecing on a 1951 Singer 201 or my featherweight, occasionally the 301. Have a Janome 8200 now and use it exclusively for machine quilting and binding. Rarely even look at the decorative stitches.

  19. My first machine was a 1960 Singer that a friend of my mothers gave me. It worked when she gave it to me and still does today.

  20. The first machine I sewed on was my grandmother’s New Home . My mother had a White machine that I used also. My first new machine was a Kenmore my husband bought me that I used until he bought me a Viking Lily 545 in 1999. I used it until I wore it out in 2018. I bought a Juki to replace her.

  21. Mine was a Singer too, not as pretty as yours! I bought it for myself in 1977, because I’d grown up sewing in my mother’s Singer, tho I must say I preferred her black one in a table to the one I bought. I ended up selling it to another quilty friend in 1992, when I bought myself a 1090 Bernina, which I still have, that is a workhorse. I just had to have the motherboard replaced. I own 2 Featherweights, one black (an Aunt’s), and a green one, as well as a Babylock Crafters Choice, a Brother embroidery and Pfaff embroidery machine(s), and a Babylock serger and BERNINA serger. Working in quilt stores and having friends upgrade, I was never without a machine to sew on.

  22. My first sewing machine was a Kenmore from Sears that I bought for about $200 in 1974. I was 16 and had saved up my babysitting money to buy it. I still have it but mostly use the Bernina I bought about 20 years ago with a bonus from my adult job.

  23. Elizabeth! You’ve just sent ME down the rabbit hole with Isermann! I went to art school and studied art & design. I actually had a wonderful 2D drawing I’ve wanted for years to recreate in fabric (someday stained glass – when I get back to that). Thank you! It brings back so many memories of 2D classes, and art school (RIT, class of ‘76).

    And, I love, the “Artists are not like athletes…” so true. I need to write that up and put it on my wall as a reminder. A reminder that I’ll most likely never have a quilt at Paducah, QuiltCon, or the International Quilt Show, etc…and that’s ok. I could strive for it, but I’m happy just getting any quilting done at all. Thank you again. I needed all of this today.

  24. What a beautiful post! I too am riveted by the all the sadness in the news, and have been trying to keep my focus on beauty and quilting. I bought my first sewing machine when I was pregnant as a way to make cheaper baby clothes, but after I bought it, I realized I could buy them cheaper, and I had no time to make them.

  25. I never had any interest in sewing until I was an adult.I bought myself a Brother from Walmart. I still hate that thing. I never cold get the tension right. I now have another Brother,an NS40. I have had it for 9+ years and have loved it so much.

  26. Omit me from your giveaway (distance) but just to say…. I really love your posts. They are always thought provoking. Your 2000 to-do list reads like a “lifetime goals” list, so of course there are leftovers there;). My first machine was Bernina Minimatic, circa 1970s, which was a used machine my Grandma bought me in 1990 when I wanted to learn how to quilt. An old sturdy quiet beautiful machine and set me on the path of Bernina brand loyalty, lol.

  27. My first machine was a used Singer Stylist model 477 from the late 60s–a hand-me-down given to me as a wedding gift (1975) from my husband. It served me well until I was able to afford a new Bernina–830, which I still have! It also put me on the path to Bernina brand loyalty. I learned to sew on my mother’s 1947 Singer Featherweight 221. The FW is mine now, so I guess I’ve come full circle.

  28. The first machine I sewed on was Grandma’s treadle. She was a professional seamstress as in made a slipper satin wedding dress with cathedral train and no pattern. She fit it on the bridel So she had it electrified. My cousin inherited it. So my first machine was a Kenmore. I used it until I tried to teach my daughter-in-law how to sew when I gave it to her. Then I saved up until I could buy a Bernina (last all metal one). Two teenage boys and jeans! I’m still using this one, and the boys are both Grandfathers.

  29. When I was still home I used a treadle not sure of my age then but my very first machine in 1960 was a
    Singer Slant-O-Matic 500 and I’m still using that now.

  30. Just caught up on your last couple posts – enjoyable, as always! The news out there is horrible; I do the little things I can to be helpful and to be a good person and citizen and then I turn to quilt making for solace and personal expression. Grateful to have it. I am an accomplished list maker, having survived my career as a physician and medical director of a health care organization by keeping my long “to do” and, yes, “done!” lists close at hand! I’ve transferred this to quilt making, keeping a permanent record of periodic “updates” in hand made blank books gifted me by a friend as well as throw away lists on other paper updated every few days. My first sewing machine was my mom’s Sears Kenmore!

  31. I don’t want to win the tape (thank you!) but my first machine was bought at a pawn shop by my dad after I graduated from college. I had it for 25 years. Then my husband bought me Penelope (the street I grew up on) for our 25th anniversary. I also have my grandmother’s machine made the year my mom was born. Her name is Willie (my grandmother’s name). Finally, I just inherited my husband’s aunt’s Bernina Aurora 440 with 15 hours of use on it. I am sewing machine blessed at the moment!

Comments are closed.