Sewing Flash Back

Seems like all I do is sew this year. Before the Covid crisis I was sewing a giant quilt for my mother. It is the most detailed and beautiful quilt I have made to date. After I finished piecing it it went off to my long arm quilter to be quilted. While it was gone I went to sewing masks. I have sewed over 120 masks so far.

My quilt came back and so I am taking a mask break and I am putting the binding on the edge of the quilt which will complete this project. The binding is the slowest part of the job because first I have to create the binding by attaching two and a half inch strips together end-to-end, ironing it in half and sewing it with the machine all around the edge of the quilt. Then comes the hand sewing where I fold the binding over the raw edge of the quilt and attach it to the back.

Tonight as I was sewing tiny invisible stitches to the binding and quilt I had a flash back to fourth grade. I was on the blacktop of the play ground and I was sewing something by hand. She I liked to sew back then more than I liked to run around. I remember one of the teachers, Mrs. Baldwin who was a short stout woman with salt and pepper hair who looked a little bit like a turtle came over to me while I was hand sewing something. I am certain I must have been making big, unattractive stitches. She told me a story about two tailors. One who made tiny stitches close together, which took him longer, but produced beautiful clothes that lasted forever and a second tailor who made big long stitches and finished making the clothes very quickly, but they fell apart and were unattractive.

This one very short story changed the way I hand stitched forever. I try and take tiny stitches, mostly hidden at the edges and have been happy with the outcome ever since.

Mrs. Baldwin was not my teacher that year, but was the next year. I can’t say what else she taught me, but I do remember liking her as my teacher. I am certain if she we alive today she would not remember telling me that story of the two tailors, but it is a lesson I use often. Teachers are so important.

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