Gingham

I'm often reluctant to work with a curated selection of fabrics. I'm not sure why, but the thought of being limited to a specific collection, no matter how extensive, causes me anxiety. It doesn't matter who the designer is; it could even be me, but my first reaction is an inner clenching.

I was a bit surprised when Vicki from The Fabric Society contacted me to discuss a promotional post for some of their fabrics and I  enthusiastically agreed to participate. 

Though I'm usually a believer in the ideal of sticking with plan A, I also see the value in pushing beyond my comfort zone and that, oftentimes that leads to new discoveries.

It certainly did this time.

I didn't really have a design in mind when I chose a variety of colors from their collection of Fresh Solids. Frankly I was hoping that something would come to me.

I lived with the fabrics for a bit, mostly because I was in the midst of QuiltCon prep when they arrived, until I came up with this simple and graphic design.

After a bit of play with concept as well as pairing colors, I was ready to piece the top together, a super-quick process.

Then this little top was off to the long armer, bound and ready for it's close-up. The whole 40" x 40" quilt took about a week from design to finished product.

When I look at this design my head fills with other possibilities and variations, many of which you will be seeing in the weeks to come. None of it, however, would have been possible if I hadn't ignored my instinct to fear the limitations of working with a set group of fabrics and embraced the opportunity to create in a new way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep your eyes open when you're driving along.

Those were the words of advice Aunt Rena imparted to me after I told her about this:

This is a Vintage 15-91 Singer sewing machine complete with cabinet.

We found it on the side of the road.

The other day, my boyfriend went for a run in our neighborhood and came home to report that there was a sewing machine in a cabinet about 1 mile away perched on the edge of a curb outside someone's house. 

"Do you want to go check it out?" he asked.

What do you think I said?

We drove over and found the cabinet on the curb, obviously discarded by someone. I opened the cabinet to reveal what I instantly recognized as a vintage Singer. The drawers still contained several machine feet, bobbins, as well as the owner's manual.

He asked me if I wanted to take it home.

What do you think I said?

Yesterday I plugged it in and discovered it still works. 

Today I called the local Singer servicing center and asked if they worked on vintage Singers?

What do you think they said?

I'm taking it in on Monday and, if all goes well would like to refurbish the cabinet as well as the machine, though that's not a must.

Mostly, I want to sew something on this machine. We were fated to be together. So many other folks could have found this machine, though they might not have been folks who sewed. They might have brought it home to admire and display it for all its vintagey coolness and that's not a bad thing. I, however, want to do more than just bring it home. I want to give this old and sadly discarded machine a new life and new work. I want to make a modern quilt or an indie garment pattern using this machine. 

And, when I do I'll think about all the other people that might have used this machine in the past. Maybe it helped a newlywed make curtains for her first home or a mom sew a much-desired halloween costume for her son or a special quilt for an elderly friend. Who knows what this machine crafted in the past, but, hopefully, we will be crafting together in the future.

A few years ago my uncle gave me my grandmother's Shabbat candlesticks. They had been gathering dust in a box set off in some long-forgotten corner. The sale of his apartment prompted him to sort through the box and there they were. 

I never knew my grandmother. She died when my dad was 18, but I'm her namesake and have always had a certain curiosity about her.

The first time I lit candles using those candlesticks I thought about how she had been the last person to use them and how amazing it was that we two, who shared not only a genetic connection but the exact same name (both first and last), were connected over time by these candle sticks. 

That's sort of how I feel about this sewing machine. I don't know and will never know who used it before and what they made, but me and my creations will be connected to them in a roundabout way.

If that doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will.

I'll keep you posted about the machine as it is brought back to life.