Back in Time

Growing up my parents used terms that my generation just never picked up and repeated. My father always said the price of things in terms of “two bits, four bits, and six bits” meaning 25 cents, 50 cents and 75 cents. Maybe some of you remember your grandparents saying the same thing and wondering where did the “bits” come from?

Me too, so I looked it up and here is the origin.

So what does this have to do with sewing? Well, you know that our local chapter of the American Sewing Guild gets donated fabrics, unfinished quilts  and notions all year and this is what showed up this week:

What we have is a pre-printed quilt top and all the colored fabrics and bias binding stem strips for a 1955 vintage quilt. It was mailed in brown paper from Chicago to the West Coast for the complete sum of 46 cents…less than 2 bits!

Along with the first quilt kit there is another package without directions or colored fabrics:

When I first saw them I told my buddy Sandi who is a quilting pro about them and she said that by now the muslin fabric must be in bad shape but it is the smoothest softest most wonderful cotton I have ever felt!

Maybe some of you have used Lee Ward kits for craft projects over the years, I know I did in the 70’s while making sparkly Christmas ornaments from their kits. But do you know that the spirit of the company is alive and well after many takeovers and buy-outs…yes, it is now Michael’s.

With Spring in full swing our local birds are really making a show for us. All these were snapped this week by Mr. Mole.

A robin parent gathering twigs for the new nest.

A Rufous hummingbird returns from wintering in Mexico.

And lastly, a female turkey walking along the fence tops looking for Mr. Turkey who has been spending a lot of his time in the tall trees.

Time for me to get back to the crazy brides…9 dresses hanging up waiting to be finished and 4 new ones on the calendar next week. Speaking of crazy brides, a call came in yesterday:

Caller: Yeah, I am getting married July 1 and want someone to totally remake my mother’s wedding dress from 1980.

Me: Most remakes take more than 2 months to complete

Caller: Well I don’t even live in this state and want to do this long distance but I rarely come into town and my mother is very possessive of her dress and veil and doesn’t want to let it out of the house. Do you make house calls?

Me: I am booked through July so this is not going to work.

Caller: When I am back in town the end of June I will bring the veil around so you can remove it from the cap and sew it to a comb.

As my Spanish cousins say, “vamos a ver”…we shall see…ha ha!






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27 Responses to Back in Time

  1. jay says:

    Those bird pics are wonderful! What a treasure from the past the quilt kit is too.

  2. Becky Pearson says:

    I love all the nature pics of your yard. They look similar to ours! And I super love the inquiry’s you get from crazy brides! Thank you!!!

  3. Sandi Benfield says:

    OH dear! Your friend Sandi does’t know what she is talking about😩

  4. Laura Jansen says:

    I’m drooling over that panel. To get my hands on it and do some thread painting!! Hope your friend, or whomever gets to work on it, has some fun! Thanks for the “bit’s” info.

  5. MelM says:

    My mother made one of those quilt kits in the 70s. Hers was a tree of life pattern. What I remember is her calling me and my brothers into the room and handing us each a piece of the colored fabric and telling us to find her number 73, or something because you have to applique them on strictly in order to get them to lay right. The quilt is on her bed and used every day for over 40 years so it isn’t cheap fabric prone to falling apart.


    LOVE the tale of the July first bride. Sometimes I receive those calls too 🙂 They DO NOT LISTEN TO WHAT I AM SAYING 😦 Where have MANNERS gone in the USA ? Sometimes they call me with ALL SORTS of activity in the background 😦 We are trying to schedule appointments or I am TRYING to tell them… NO, I HAVE NO TIME 😦 Some women CONSTANTLY interrupt me and I honestly just want to HANG UP 😦 ALAS, I sew for a living so I bite my tongue 🙂 LOVE the bird pics Mr. Mole 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      I get so many calls from brides who work at a call center or their kids are in the background at home screaming or crying. It gets easier to say I am booked solid to avoid letting such chaos come to my sewing room. The day a bride asked what type of play equipment I have for the children to romp on during the fitting, I just answered back, I am not a McDonald’s.

  7. Connie says:

    When we lived in La Push, WA (ocean side of the Olympic Peninsula), we had enough rufous hummingbirds to drink a quart of syrup every day until they suddenly decided it was time to head south. It was common to have four birds drinking and at least four more fluttering around, tapping them on the shoulder, saying, “It’s my turn.” The drinker would turn around, look, think “It’s only you” and go back to eating or realize “Oh, it’s YOU” and take off in a hurry. It was the clearest demonstration of pecking order I’ve seen.

    Now we’re miles off the migration route along the Rockies and rarely see a hummer, and when they cruise by, it’s a very short visit although our backyard is full of flowers—or will be when they come through in August.

    • mrsmole says:

      My brother who lives in LA has so many hummers that they have to wait in a holding pattern before diving in for a drink. If we get 4 to stick around all summer it is a bonus!

      • erniek3 says:

        North Seattle, we still get nesting rufous hummers in our block. They love the rhododendrons – they will build in the center of last year’s leaf rosettes, pulling the leaves around the center, a nest about the size of a tennis ball. Just….out of reach of the cats, and too low for the crows. The jays do not bother them at all, and they are very combative with everything and every body else.
        Thank you for the photos of the kit. I’ve seen ads for them in old craft magazines, but never the real thing.

  8. Fabrickated says:

    You are so lucky to have humming birds and to get a photograph – they are rarely still! And the quilt kit is very interesting and I hope it is just kept for people to look at and learn from rather than made up.

    It’s interesting how single minded the brides are – as if the world must revolve around them. A midwife friend says the pregnant women are the same – rather self obsessed. Oh well we all learn in the end.

    • mrsmole says:

      Working with the public is a real eye-opener and patience tester as you well know, Kate! We have a feeder hanging in the shade under the patio and the hummers can sit and rest and just look around because the other larger birds will not bother them otherwise it is a battle for supremacy!

  9. Mitch 1066 says:

    ooooh that quilt kit is lovely!

  10. Kim says:

    What an amazing find – and price! Wow! It would be amazing to see that finished (no, I’m not volunteering 😂).
    I recall phone calls like that. The unfortunate thing is that they almost always DO call back when they say – and are absolutely certain that you said you would do the work. Oh, and by the way ‘ I can’t call by until two days before the wedding’. Stay strong Mrs Mole 😘
    P.S. The bird photos are delightful.

    • mrsmole says:

      How many Wednesday calls for a Saturday wedding does it take before you pull your hair out? How many calls on Friday for the Saturday prom does it take before they realize no one is just sitting around waiting for a rush job? You would never expect any other service person to tackle a last minute job like that!

      • Kim says:

        Quite. I will celebrate along with you when you retire too. It’s wonderful to say no without any thought at all (and no apology).

  11. Those vintage quilt kits are still in demand. My mom had one partially finished and I donated it to a quilt group (they were looking for one) so they could finish and use for their annual auction. The blue dots of the quilting lines never come out, making it easier to date them.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you for sharing that. I’m hoping someone will want to tackle one of these kits and make a little history come to life…fingers crossed!

  12. Kathy niskanen says:

    I always get so excited when you post something. It makes my day thank you.

    • mrsmole says:

      Funny, Kathy, I get excited when I see you at ASG functions too!!! We have so much respect for the jobs we each have to do! Thank you.

  13. Michael says:

    My father referred to priceslike two bits, etc. He was about the only one I recall doing that, and he’d be well over 100 were he alive. Thanks for the memory.

  14. pdxknitter says:

    I love that quilt – how wonderful it came to you! I have some really old cotton pillowcases, and they are the most buttery soft cotton ever. Let me know if you don’t get any takers, I’d love to make something like that.

    And as soon as you said “two bits” all I could think of was the line from “Zorro, The Gay Blade” where he says to the assembled villagers, “Two bits, four bits, six bits, a peso! All for Zorro, stand up and say so!” Whereupon, they all cheered. Hilarious. And totally not what you’re talking about. 🙂

  15. JustGail says:

    I agree with those who think those quilt kit fabrics are in fine shape. I’d even add they’re probably much better quality than what’s made today. Not sure about quilt block kits, but the pre-marked pillowcases to embroider – thin and poly-cotton 😦

    If you don’t find anyone in your guild (or commenters that already offered) to make them, I’ll also volunteer to take on the project.

    I’ve often seen advice to not give a reason why you can’t or won’t do something as the asker will have a counter-argument why your reason is not valid, at least in their world. It sounds like that doesn’t work on some brides!

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