While I’m on vacation I’m republishing old posts. This one ties to my posts about my unknown family quilt series.
Some families pass along Confederate swords to younger generations. My family passes on sewing notions. My grandmother, mother, and aunts all sewed; and I’ve ended up with much of their sewing stuff because I’m the one in my generation who sews. Much of it is useless and good only for the landfill, such as 60 year old elastic. Some is sentimental, and some is still useful.
What’s left are buttons, Singer sewing machine attachments (and one Singer machine,) hooks and eyes, awls, tracing wheels and paper, wooden thread spools, and my grandmother’s thimble. The strangest legacy is a very heavy button covering machine produced by the Defiance Manufacturing Co. I don’t know what happened to the patterns and zippers my fore mothers used, but none survive.
Here are just some of the goodies.
I always wanted an awl, and now I have one. There are more buttons than those shown. Maybe a few have some value, but most seem to date back no farther than the 1950s. I now have plenty of snaps and hooks and eyes, plus plastic rings.
The Singer machine accessories include a gatherer, lots of feet, buttonhole and zigzag stitch attachments, and some unknown gizmos. I’ll look into the used accessory market to see if these have any value.
The instructions and order form for the button covering machine, which was purchased in 1951 by my grandmother, were preserved, along with business correspondence between her and the company. The manually operated machine is heavy, and I think some parts are missing. My cousin was thrilled to offload that.
I had my mother’s Singer machine already. It’s billed as portable, but weighs about 25 pounds. I learned to sew on it, but haven’t used it in decades. If anyone is interested in a Singer 99-13, made in 1930, let me know.
My favorite item is my grandmother’s thimble, of course. My aunt had a jump ring put on it so she could wear it on a chain. It’s now part of my jewelry collection, and you never know when you might need a thimble in one’s daily rounds.
Just Around The Corner
I’m still on vacation so here’s a post about one of my favorite quilts. It is visually pleasing and conveys a pointed message in a humorous way.
My recent visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Jazz Age exhibit revealed a surprise near the end – a quilt. The exhibit features scads of diamond and platinum jewelry, stylish but uncomfortable looking furniture, impractical coffee and tea sets, flapper dresses, intriguing textiles, and all sorts of room interior designs. However, its sleek styles didn’t find their way into period quilts.
Yet as a portent of the 1930s, Mrs. Shaw’s Prosperity quilt can’t be beat.
Herbert Hoover’s quote “prosperity is just around the corner,” inspired this wonderful humorous quilt created by Fannie B. Shaw between 1930-1932. It is 72″ x 86″ and is hand appliqued, pieced, and quilted. It’s in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.
The applique figures depict women, businessmen, baseball players, a farmer, a cowboy, and more peeking around the corner expectantly. Mrs. Shaw even included herself in her hallmark apron. She used a variation of the attic windows pattern and quilted footprints in the sashing to show movement and the search for jobs.Apparently the farmer behind the plow represents her husband, a Texas farmer.
In the lower right corner, Uncle Sam finally arrives with farm relief, money, and legal beer. Priorities priorities. Mrs. Shaw included the Democrat donkey and the Republican elephant in her blocks, maybe “a plague on both your houses” sentiment or a suggestion that both parties need to work together.
Some contemporary “message” quilts strike me as unduly heavy and shrill. In contrast, the Prosperity Quilt is fun to look at, inventive in its use of the attic windows block, and yet it conveys effectively the widespread distress of the 1930s. You can catch more flies with honey …
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Tagged as Fannie B. Shaw, prosperity quilt