Friday, May 12, 2017

Antiquing the Old Dominion!

"Old Dominion" is an old nickname for the commonwealth of Virginia.

As one of the 13 colonies, the colony of Virginia became the Dominion of Virginia.

As a new Virginia landowner, it's fun for me to learn these little tidbits.

I hit the mother-lode of quilts, quilt tops, vintage machines AND depression glass while on my “day to play” in Manassas.

All that was on my agenda was an evening guild meeting, which left the afternoon wide open for some exploring.

I was told there were great quilt shops in the area.  And I love quilt shops.  But I wasn’t in search of more fabric, and I wanted to spend a day in my jeans, tshirt, ponytail and running shoes just wandering.  I didn’t want to be recognized or be “ON”.  That was being saved for the evening.

The best place for me to wander and poke around?  Antique malls.

I am so grateful for a smart phone and a GPS!  They can get me anywhere.

Take a look at this photo.  What do you see?  Count the machines.



I’ve never seen this one before!

The wiring was crumbling, so it was left behind after a simple “Hello!” and some petting.  Sleek 1950s styling, and I do have such a penchant for blue machines.  Something about them!


a 3/4 sized MORSE!

I’d never seen one in the wild!

I do have its big brother at home, and I really like to sew in a cabinet, so this baby didn’t come home either.  Besides, I had just rehomed 5 machines, I didn’t want to back-slide, did I?  Pet the machine and move on, Bonnie!


Three blue machines!  One booth!

I smiled at this one.  I have a machine with the exact same coloring and body style at home.  I LOVE the stitch length dial on it…SO very 1950s, early 1960s.  It’s got a starburst reminding us of when the space age was all the rage.


This one was badged Thalhimers!

Remember how badged machines worked? All of the machines were made “no name” by the manufacturer, and a retailer could order a batch of machines for their store or brand, and have their own name on them.

Thalhimers was a fancy dancy department store in Richmond!  More info HERE.

My identical machine at home says “Best Built”  But it is the same machine.

Here is the post with close ups of mine from 2013.


A sweet 401!

I have a couple of 404s that I love.  I don’t see myself ever needing to sew with a multitude of cams, and I prefer the narrower feed dogs that come with a straight-stitch-only machine.  But someone will pick this up and love it!  I’ve heard it’s the greatest machine ever made.

The Singer 500 that I have is just a modern “up do” of this model.  The body was restyled, but the workings are the same. 


Beautiful decals on this redeye!


No machines left with me!

But these did.


Melamac plates, just like my grandmothers!

It was $12.00 for the set of 6 dinner plates and 6 salad plate.  These are cabin bound.  Besides, they look quilty!  Summer dinners on the deck?  Here we come!


This lovely bowl is going to Irene when I teach in Kentucky very soon!


It’s ALL about the shape!

This one is for me.


THIS is wrong on so many levels!!!

First of all, it would only work for me if I was about 4’7”.  And this is the BACK of the cabinet, not the front.  That round part in the center is what usually faces the wall.  I just hope no one trashed the machine that was inside….I am just NOT a fan!

However, the quilts that I came across were plentiful, full of cheerful fabrics and so many hours of work.  I started wondering about the hands that did the stitching.  Did they quilt because they had to, or because they wanted to?  What conversations happened while the pieces were being sewn together, one by one?  How much living happened during the making of these quilts?

Who was covered and comforted through long nights of deep dreaming under these quilts?

As mother’s day rolls around, I’m thinking about mothers and children, and quilts made with purposes.  How the stitching may have been set aside while meals were cooked, while noses were wiped and tears were dried, while grandmother’s watched their children raising their own babies and remembering what it was like to be young mother’s themselves.

If only the stitches could tell us the story!

Yesterday was rainy, drizzly and cold.  I presented to two guilds yesterday, one meeting in the morning, and one meeting in the evening.  There was a long nap in between just to catch me up to speed as I have been go go go since last Friday.

Today I feel rested and ready for our Blue Ridge Beauty Workshop with the Eternal Quilters of Glen Burnie!


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Vintage turkey tracks quilt found in Virginia.

Don't be swallowed up by the busy! Our lives are more than just making a living.


  1. Thank you for the wonderful quilt show. I love how our quilting ancestors used fabric. When they ran out of one kind or color they used what ever else they had. And they didn't worry about getting the blocks balanced. So much more interesting! Makes me want to go to Virginia again!

  2. DH is gone for a boys weekend and I am playing all weekend. On the agenda....getting some projects/challenges finished for guild that are due in June!!!

  3. What fun to have time for antiqueing. Wish I knew my sewing machines because I bump into them all the time thrifting. I so love my new machine, I don't think I could ever go back to the older models.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Bonnie. I love the last quilt in that slideshow. How interesting a design from simple 9-patch and snowball blocks combined.

  5. Thank you for showing us all those wonderful quilts and machines Bonnie. What fabulous variety.

  6. But, but, but Bonnie he really wanted to be with his big brother and he was only $50! I guess I am going to have to do a road trip to my Brother in NC. I never see the "good stuff" at the stores around here. I probably would have bought some of the fabric that was on the shelves. I love when you have your driving trips - antiquing, learning some history and the scenery!

  7. Still setting up new "home" in 5 th Wheel. Dreaming of sewing again. Love the old machines. Mine are all gone now. It is lovely to see the ones in antique stores. Hoping we will get o that area in the fall. My husband has promised me a drive on Blue Ridge Pkwy.

  8. Looking forward to your visit to Ky. I know the classes will be great.

  9. It was nice to be reminded of Thalhimer's as we used to have one in Winston Salem many years ago! In Manasses, I am usually visiting my sister. We'll need to do more exploring! Thanks for your grand travel tips!!

  10. Bonnie, the way you feel and think about old machines and quilts is the way I feel too.
    Also I think that about old houses. What stories could be told about the happy times and
    sad times that people had in the old homes and fabric that was used in the quilts. Glad
    to see some one else feels the same way that I do. Thank you for all you do for us quilters.

  11. Hi Bonnie, you were in my town at a mall that I frequently visit. Just last week I was there touching those 4 very lonesome machines & lovely old quilts. I did not see that lovely Red Eye or the converted treadle base ( which I agree is horrible to do); however, since this has already happened & we are remodeling a house in TN & I've been looking for a unique washstand for the powder room, this might just be the right item. Were the Red Eye & treadle base in the same mall or at a different location? I wish I'd known you were here, we could have met & had a bite to eat . I follow your blog daily & even have En Provence in the works. Would have loved to attend the Manassas classes, but, had a grandson's graduation in TN. Sorry I missed you. Hopefully, next time you're in this area or if we have moved to TN and you're having classes near Central TN.


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