Saturday, July 16, 2011

Going to pieces

The auction listing had the magic words: several sewing machines.

This is a good indicator of the potential for finding patterns.  Many, if not most, estate sales will have a sewing machine, i think because people just felt it was one of those things a woman ought to have in her household.  But a sewing machine may prove to be unloved and unused, gummed up and dusty.  Not necessarily a bad thing, if you're after the machine and can clean it up, but if you're after patterns, you won't find 'em there.

But someone with several sewing machines?  Ah, they're hard-core (or an optimistic hoarder of craft stuff, which can be just as good).  And whether or not you want the machines, you're likely to run across notions and sewing supplies in the box lots.

So after seeing this listing, i hied myself to Boonsboro that afternoon for the auction.  Bit of a hike to get out there, but it's a pretty drive.

There was not a single pattern, alas - this had been a quilter, not a sewer-of-garments.  But amongst the boxes of tacky plastic canvas, fabric i couldn't quite justify, and heaps and heaps of Tupperware i haven't room for, there were a few interesting things.  I missed out on the Gingher pinking shears and the cutting mats and the vintage cookbooks, but i got one batch of boxes, because it included this:

Okay, it's a swell old box, but i didn't buy it for the box, of course.  Inside, there were lots (72, to be exact) of these:
...along with a whole pile of plain muslin squares, presumably intended to be alternated with the pieced squares - it's enough to make a twin quilt top, by my quick-and-dirty estimates.  Many of the fabrics are plainly 1930s, and the quilt squares are all pieced by hand.  (This represents an insane quantity of work: the tiny checkerboard squares, when finished, are hardly bigger than a dime...)

I laid out a few squares, so you can get an idea what it might look like once assembled:

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