Making quilts was once thought to be an activity for old ladies, but that is changing. Younger people are getting interested in quilting too. In the old days, usually the quilts were practical—made for bed covers or for wrapping up in to keep warm. Nowadays quilts are more artistic and some are only meant to be displayed on a wall.
At the quilt show in Parksville on Vancouver Island last weekend, a friend and I admired many quilts of various styles and types. Most were newly made but, pictured below in the heritage section, are three quilts made in a very basic, old-fashioned way, with much of the sewing done by hand. One of the quilts was made 125 years ago. The old quilts had a lot of hand sewing on them, but there were early models of sewing machines on display to show what quilters might have used from the early 1900s on.
This Singer from 1912 was operated by turning the wheel by hand. This was awkward because it left the seamstress only one hand to hold pieces of cloth together and guide them under the needle.
Later Singer models used a long belt around that “drive” wheel and another wheel under the machine. The belt was driven by a rocking action by the feet on the treadle. Hence, your treadle sewing machine. Who needs a treadmill when you have a treadle sewing machine? And it leaves your hands free to guide the fabric.
Then came the electric machines. Heaven! This Bernina is quite basic, but this company still makes one of the finest sewing machines available. They have the latest, fanciest machines you could wish for, and models for all levels of sewing abilities and needs.
These two Singers below are the kind you turn by hand. If you can’t find the second machine, it’s tiny, brown, and tied to the handle of the old wagon next to the washboard.
And for serious quilters, we have the quilting machines that allow a lot more room to the right of the needle for that huge quilt to be passed through the machine. There are also commercial grade long arm quilting machines, but most home quilters find a way to work with a regular sewing machine. Take your choice.In the next post I hope to show you some of the more modern quilts we saw at the quilt show. Many were amazing and all were inspiring.