About Me

I am a retired elementary teacher and fill my extra hours with quilting.

My husband is a retired machinist & welder and also has guided hunters for wild game. We have lived in Alaska since before we were married (& that was more than fifty years ago). We have three children and twelve grandchildren.

Sewing has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My mother made my clothes until I learned to make them, following her example & instruction. I’m not sure just when that was, but I had already learned to sew & was making things at the age of nine when I was old enough to join the local 4-H club.

Our sewing machine was a Bruce treadle machine. A neighbor asked my dad to plow a field & he gave dad the sewing machine in payment. Many decades later my mother bought an electric Singer, but she used it mostly for embroidery stitches. For patching (especially Dad’s farm overalls), piecing comforts, & general sewing, she used the reliable old treadle machine.

Fabric (we called it “material”) left over from projects was put aside for patching, cutting quilt squares, or making doll clothes.

My mother cut two-inch square pieces of cardboard & glued sandpaper to one or both sides. These were used to cut squares from fabric scraps to be used for patchwork tops. I didn’t hear the word “template” until many years later. When there were enough squares for a top, she pieced them together by machine, sometimes randomly, sometimes alternately with plain blocks. After adding batting & backing, they were tied. We called them “comforts.”

My own collection of two-inch fabric squares grew considerably over the years. During my high school years I started piecing the squares together, but didn’t finish anything.  After our third child was born, we bought bunk beds for the first two.  I split that first top into TWO sections, added batting & backing, & tied the resulting comforts.

Recently I dug them out of a storage barrel, removed the lumpy batting & worn backing, washed them, & hung them on the line for a photo. Imagine my surprise to see the quilting patterns that showed up—Nine Patches, & Sunshine & Shadows.

First quilt effort, Sunshine & Shadow

First quilt effort Nine Patch

Soon after I moved to Alaska as a young single school teacher, & Mom’s sewing machines were no longer available to me, I bought a slightly used SINGER FEATHERWEIGHT portable with buttonholer & zigzag attachment, for $150.  Probably the most elaborate garment I’ve made with it is my wedding gown (1959).

In 1972 I upgraded to a Bernina 830, top of the line, with zigzag & embroidery stitches, buttonhole settings, etc. I’ve made just about everything: general clothing, household linens, lingerie, waterproof clothing, dog harness, leather items, fur parka, & of course, quilts.  The Bernina came with a twenty-five year guarantee, & at the time I thought that was forever! It wasn’t, of course, for now we’re well past that, & it’s chugging along just fine.

We were advised to keep the Singer Featherweight rather than trade it in, & I’m glad we did. I’m still using it, & several of our grandchildren have used it to make their first quilt blocks.

2 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Linda Kau Says:

    What a pleasure to find your blog and see this story of your sewing adventures.

  2. karla Says:

    Hello Nancy! Just a few moments ago I was at Lisa’s Facebook, where Tammy had left your blog site. I began viewing on your blog, then went back to the beginning because I needed to say Hello…… it has been so many years. And your quilts are just wonderful.

    Your name gave me a thrill as I viewed the Hoffman Challenge quilts last fall in Spokane. They were part of the annual Washington State Quilt show.

    Happy New Year to you and Ken.

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