2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Join Date: Sep 2004
Inspiration - Perspiration - Humiliation - new beginnings
Well. I gaily started off a new quilt to offer for sale at a convention in June. Proceeds go to breast cancer research.
Did I mention that while I started sewing at 3, embroidery at 5 and quilting at 8.... I haven't actually done either of the last two for quite a while?
My sewing machine skills have been updated through the years as new fabrics and machines came along, but quilting and embroidery are like riding a bicycle aren't they?
HAH! In theory, no problem.... in practice a drunken orangatan could do better!
I recycled the quilt project into two placemats that I'll hope to spill spaghetti sauce on ASAP! Clearly more practice is needed before I attempt a serious quilt. And this is from someone who used to be able to freehand quilt at 14 stitches per inch - lay a ruler anywhere and it came on the inch. Now.... It's not just lack of practice, it's the eyes. And maybe some dexterity loss in the fingers too. Reading glasses anyone? Sore hands? Practice and Ben-Gay please!!
I did switch out many of my trailer's halogen bulbs for soft white LED's and got a very nice clamp on light that is helping a lot, but obviously I'm going to be making a few potholders and table runners before I take another stab at any major hand quilting.
I'm not letting the auction down though. I know a family of Amish quilters - used to be 4 ladies, now only two remain. I shamelessly sent my sister to their house and had her select a masterwork to auction. (I've fessed up to the committee too.)
I'm sad to report that Karen and I share a shock. Amish quilting which used to be the gold standard of quilting is declining rapidly. There are a lot of Amish in Ohio - more than Pennsylvania as a matter of fact. For years we've noticed that as the tourists move in compromises are made. I sent Karen out to buy me a quilt. She tried several shops she and I have visited for years. She was just underwhelmed with the slapped together "basting stiches" and unmatched corners she saw on some of the quilts. She finally went to my secret farmhouse and found the good ones. Everywhere else, it's become an industry... and frankly I wouldn't be surprised of some of those quilts originate in the Pacific Rim. You see them on e-bay all the time.
It's not just the authentic quilts that are vanishing as the older generation passes. Amish home cooking? Women used to be famous for fruit and shoo-fly pies... but if you drive past that Amish farmhouse, you'll see industrial sized cans of commerical pie filling in the trash. The crust? Maybe home made, maybe store bought. The pie is put together by an Amish woman but not from fruit from the garden. Amish wooden toys? Yes they're still made - from parts like wooden wheels made in China. The difference between assembly and MAKING it.
Of course if you think of it, progress has changed everything for women. Remember this saying "A man will work from sun to sun, a woman's work is never done" That was all about spinning, weaving and most of all SEWING. Think about the power loom and spinning machines, then the sewing machine, and commercial knitting machines. PBS even did a show on how the Mixmaster stand mixer changed cooking in the 20th century - Angel food cake used to require a woman with a whisk or hand egg beater whip 15 egg whites to hard peaks! I remember "helping" my mom make one with real eggs in her Mixmaster - Then mom started her affair with Duncan Hines.....and the powdered egg packet. Now? A "scratch" cake means you scratched the box open with your thumb. I don't know if Angel cake is even available in a mix anymore - you just get "store bought" right? When was the last time you even saw an angel food cake pan that wasn't in a junk shop?
I watched one of those competitive chef contests recently. They were all buying ready made puff pastry! Am I the last person on earth who (used to) make it with butter and flour and a rolling pin? I confess that the thought of doing so again.... does not inspire eagerness!
I do occasionally still make bread - and I never had a bread making machine. Next time I'll risk it in the Dutch Oven.
So why should the Amish be immune? Even their buggies have rubberized tires. And most now carry cell phones (seriously). It used to be that there would be a coin operated phone in every cluster of Amish homes - just to call for an ambulance or fire truck or a horse vet. No more pay phones - so apparently a cell phone is less "mechanized" than a wired one. I don't know if they're still regarded as communal property though.
Nostalgic but realistic. In the good old days, sheets and pillow cases had to be IRONED. Shoe strings broke ALL the time. How many times were you late for school or church or the neighborhood kick the can game because you had to restring a shoe. Permanent press GOOD. Nylon shoe strings GOOD. Progress OK.
Good night dear friends, Paula
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
I read every word of your post above, Paula, and enjoyed your insight and reflections. This gave me an interesting read on a warm humid midwestern morning. I had to laugh at your reaction to returning to quilting. You see, I hand embroidered and hand quilted in the 70's while four babes crawled and ran around my feet, but when I returned to it with retirement, I did feel like "getting on a bike after falling." I could ride again, but I'd lost the finesse. Slowly, it's coming back, so stay with it. Your hand-worked pieces are still priceless when completed. ~G
1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
1978 Argosy Minuet, 6.0~Minnie/GPZWGN
Chev Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison, 4X4, Crew Cab
WBCCI #5013 AIR #2908
Go, Mizzou...Tigers on the prowl!
I was unaware of Quilts of Valor, so appreciated the heads-up that this organization exists. My nephew has done one tour of duty in Iraq and is soon to be deployed to Afghanistan. He has been fortunate in returning healthy, but so many have not. This appears to be a really well-meaning group, who's aim is to provide support for wounded service members, regardless of political stance and beliefs.
My cousin gave me a t-shirt with this saying many years ago when my kids were little, and I find it is just as appropriate now, when they have grown and gone and I THOUGHT I would have lots of "extra" time on my hands: "God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind, that I will NEVER die!" ...add a few Quilts of Valor to the list, long as it is!
My friends and I have done Quilts of Valor blocks as part of quilt retreats. Everyone takes their scraps and puts together a block, usually off the same pattern, and we try to coordinate colors. Then someone takes it home, and puts it together. Our local quilt shop has a drop off for the tops: tops and backing together, then a longarmer takes it home and donates the batting, puts it together and passes it off to someone else who does the binding. Someone withing the organization has a family member who works at Walter Reed in D.C. so they go there. We all feel good because it takes minutes to do a block and a beautiful Quilt of Valor results!
The Mrs. does not read the forum except when I bring something to her attention. When she awakes I'll bring the the Quilts of Valor idea to her attention and am sure she will love the idea and want to contribute to a group quilt.