Fond Memories of a Quilter’s Companion
shared by: Tricia Patterson
Managing Editor, McCall’s Quilting, Quick Quilts and Quiltmaker
We received a response to one of one of our feature McQ&A questions from Barbara Harris of Magnolia, Texas. It was such a delightful read, and carried sentiments many quilters share, so much we want to share it with you.
Thank you Barbara!
Singer FashionMate. 1972-2017
It is with somber fondness I must report that a pillar of the Harris household, Singer FashionMate, passed quietly and suddenly from this realm on July 29, 2017 after a long and productive career. A rather plain and simple being with a pale, frost green face, she was adopted in 1972, during the era of polyester double knit, from the local S&H Greenstamp store and came to reside with her current companion, keeping her in stitches for the next 45 years. Singer was a faithful and reliable assistant, only occasionally showing any rebellion by breaking threads or looping stitches and rarely complained about denims or batting. Even when her throat plate was covered in fuzz and lint, she performed well. She had a great knack for holding things together and pressing her best foot forward (and backwards). She just kept bobbin’ along and kept her dogs fed. She was never known to have needled anyone in her whole existence, although she did seam to hate invisible thread and went on a years long strike against its use.
Singer’s first accomplishments included garments such as psychedelic colored bell bottoms and evening attire for athletic banquets, along with mending chores. An occasional set of curtains and other small projects were accomplished as well. In the mid 70s to early 80s she seamed up a few baby garments. In the late 1980s, she zigzagged off in a new direction and stitched her first log cabin quilt, which still exists to this day. With that feeling of accomplishment, she eventually fabricated over 25 other quilts, mostly her favorite, simple log cabins, but also some nine patches, a double wedding ring (which only took 12 years to finish as she despised the taste of the invisible thread and refused to work on it), several memory quilts with pictures (one was for the 100th birthday of her companion’s grandmother) and appliqué, a flannel biscuit quilt (which caused considerable congestion) and a variety of baby/toddler quilts. In more recent years, never too old to try new things as long as they weren’t too complex, she tried her arm and foot with craft items such as tote bags, placemats, microwave bowl hotpads, toy sacks, cosmetic bags, pillows, aprons, children’s hooded capes and whatever various semi-useful things her companion could claim were gifts. Finally, this week while working on a lovely blue and yellow log cabin quilt block, her internal anatomy suffered a catastrophic failure. Her gear was stripped, broken. She stopped dead in her throat as it seamed her foot and arm were no longer spooling with her bobbin. CPR was attempted with a limp response and a trip to the urgent care center confirmed that she had seamed her last. Hospice was called in and her life support was disconnected forever. May she always RIP.
She had no fancy stitches to offer and her operator has no special expertise, but together they seamed to get along, making many stitches in time, saving 9…or more. A memorial service was held August 1, and was attended by many of her colorful offspring that still reside nearby. Then, surrounded by her beloved fat quarters and tattered user manual, she was gently sealed in her case and interred in the garage. Her feet, needles, bobbins and attachments have been preserved for future possible transplantation. She will be missed but always remembered.
-Barbara Harris, Magnolia, Texas