National Sew Day in Union County

“Sew Day is next Saturday,” the email announced.

A day of sewing!? I wanted to go. My husband didn’t. He said he had other things to do. I made sure he had enough leftovers in the refrigerator, packed up my sewing supplies and the quiche I had prepared. People who sew all day need plenty of nourishment to keep up their strength.

Others agreed. By the time I arrived, food covered two tables and the counter. Three pots of soup, a green salad with fixings, chips, dips, crackers, spread, brownies, bread pudding, fruit compote, cake, ice cream, cookies, an apple cobbler, plus an assortment of beverages. We had adequate food for the day of sewing.

I looked around for a table to hold my sewing machine. Not the first table, the Featherweight Brigade had taken it over. Each had arrived carrying a small black suitcase. The four women swung those black boxes up on the table, snapped open the locks and lifted out the cutest little black Singer sewing machines. The 11 pounds of cast aluminum make these vintage sewing machines coveted by quilters for Sew Days.

The first time I saw the FW Brigade, I knew I wanted to join them. With my affinity for buying sewing machines at yard sale, I unknowingly purchased one. At home, I discovered I had snagged The Machine and joined the FW Brigade.

I swung my FW onto a table across from an impressive modern white machine with many sewing options. Unlike the FW which can only sew a straight seam, my sewing partner could choose from an array of fancy stitches. She sewed straight seams. Using my Featherweight I sewed straight seams and stitched together blocks for a disappearing nine-patch. After an hour of sewing, I needed more blocks to assemble and a beverage. I returned nibbling a cracker and sipping coffee. I sat down to assemble blocks.

My friend who does not sew arrived and offered to iron blocks for me. We checked out the food for lunch and agreed on the superb quality of the chip and dip. We chatted. She ironed. I sewed.

Another friend who also does not sew arrived carrying a cardboard box. “I bought this sewing machine 20 years ago to learn how to sew, and I have never used it,” she announced. A proficient seamstress smiled and guided her to an empty table, “time to take the machine out of the box and learn. Let me show you how to thread it, then you try,” the expert said with her congenial smile.

Threading conquered, the teacher gathered up pre-cut quilt blocks. “you can sew these together to make a four-patch block. Pin and sew them together like this.”

The newby sewed together a handful of blocks, stood up, checked out the snacks and roamed the room to see what others were sewing. A couple were making pillowcases to hold the Quilts of Valor that other seamstresses were assembling. Others worked on community quilts.

We all took time to inspect each other’s machines as we ambled over to the snack table. I chatted with the women grouping fabric by colors and inspected the hand sewing of four women finishing the binding of a quilt.

I only stopped at the snack table twice that time. I started to reach for more until I heard, “Lunch time. Let’s pray.”

Leaving their sewing tables, old and young gathered at empty tables to chat and eat. Sure we came to sew but sewing was just the excuse we used to get to enjoy the guarantee of food and fellowship.

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