Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sew... I said before I have pretty much been sewing all my life. I started out as a HUGE fan of lacing cards. My first grown-up try with a sharp needle and scissors came when I tried my hand at Barbie clothes. I was about five and it was a 100% independent project. That is when I realized that the seams go on the inside and just tracing Barbie's shape onto fabric doesn't quite make an outfit that works. This was back in the pre-bendable days when Barbie wore a curly bob and a black and white swimsuit.

My Grandma Wilson was my main source for domestic craft instruction. She introduced me to crochet, knitting and embroidery. She also taught me how to sew on her beloved sewing machine. She was very protective of that machine and I was in fear of destroying it every time I stepped down on that pedal. To this day I hear her voice reminding me never to turn the balance wheel backward whenever I touch my machine.

My instruction was rounded out a bit more in middle school Home-Ec. We made ringer style T-shirts in intro. I liked it so much I took the next class. I made an adorable kaftan that defied my skill level and looked 100% store bought. It looked so good that I came home from school one day to find one of my sister's friends wearing one just like it. I said, "Hey, I have one just like that." My sister and her friend exchanged looks and I said, "Hey, that's mine!" (I have to share a little secret here...I do not like to borrow or loan out clothing. I have no problem eating off a second hand dish but I will not wear second hand clothing.) Well, needless to say they talked me into letting her borrow it and she returned it with a huge stain on the chest!

In high school my sister and I got a little Kenmore for Christmas. I think my sister may have used it once but I put out a lot of stitches on that baby. It disappeared while I was away at college.

After college my boyfriend's mother let me use her machine. It looked pretty much like my Grandma's machine. The biggest difference being that my future mother-in-law seemed so relaxed when I was at her machine. Grandma was just as uptight about her Toro lawnmower. She loved her power tools.

My fiancee would purchase another Kenmore for me just before our wedding. I made my flower girl's dress on it. Over the next 10 years it would see a bit of home dec projects and then move on to costumes for our boys. Then it started sewing seams that looked right but would just pull out with a little tug. So, I started looking for a new machine. It was around 1995 and I ended up with a year old Viking 1100. I still sew on this machine.

I have always sewed in fits and starts followed by a period away from my machine. So what is so different about how I am approaching my sewing today? A change of focus in my life.

I home schooled my two sons from start to finish. After my second graduated I floundered for a year wondering how I could fill the void left when all the lessons and activities were no longer my main focus. I maintained a leadership role in an academic club for an extra year but when it was handed over to a new generation I knew I needed a new direction.

That direction came when my in-laws visited for Thanks Giving in 2012. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been avid quilters for years. I had taken a class in the late 1990s and had a prepared quilt sandwich that I had tried but given up on quilting. My SIL has a long arm so I gave the sandwich to my MIL with the request that my SIL quilt and donate it. That got us looking at a table runner pattern and stack of fabric that I had bought with my MIL a few years earlier but had never tackled. She realized I was short a bit of fabric so we headed to our local quilt shops to pick up what I needed so that she could do the project for me.

Needless to say, I was intrigued. I started surfing and shopping and sewing as soon as she left. I had a number of small projects under my belt by Christmas. I haven't slowed down yet.

Another huge life change coincided with the end of home school and it gets in the way of my creative time. I'm sure I will add snippets of info here and there about that over time. sewing is really quilting.

Next up for the blog--my projects and some belated shout-outs to all the blogger/quilters out there who have shared their knowledge with me. Next up for my weekend--major bike maintenance to get things in order for spring riding.


  1. Looking forward to seeing and reading more about your quilting, Gayle. Sounds like we are two birds of a feather!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm a Viking user too. I had the 6690 that was my mother's (from the early 80's) until my dad wanted it for him. He offered to replace it, and since one was available he bought me another used 6690. Love my Viking!