My antique White treadle sewing machine
Often when I'm sewing, I use one of my kerosene lanterns for light instead of flipping on an electric light switch. On a cloudy day or in the evening, it might be a bit harder to see, but the perfect fit of the treadle machine and the old-fashioned light make for a pleasurable time. Something else I do when I'm sewing with my treadle is wear one of my homemade aprons.
All of my aprons (and I have an entire "wardrobe" of them) are made using a one-yard pattern that I've used for the past thirty years. And they have all been sewn either on this treadle machine or by hand. They are old-fashioned aprons, and I make them the old-fashioned way. I have "good" aprons and work aprons, and I love them all. Two of my oldest aprons are used only for canning and harvesting veggies from my garden--they are a perfect "basket" for carrying my harvest into the kitchen. These old aprons are permanently stained, and I love them dearly! I wear my good aprons for everything else, and I choose which one to wear based on my mood.
When I wear my aprons, I also wear memories: My three newest ones, in lovely, summery calicos, remind me of a summer lost when I had major surgeries that included months long recuperations. My twin sister set me up with those. She cut out fabric, gave me needle and thread, and encouraged me to start handsewing them. In the end, both the aprons and I emerged in one piece, ready to take on the work of life.
My oldest apron is faded and stained...but I still have it because it reminds me of when my sons were a lot younger and we were all under one roof. It used to be my favorite apron, so it saw a lot of hard use. This old apron helped me cook and bake countless meals, chase chickens out of the garden, gather eggs, bring in a load of firewood to feed our woodstove in winter or lettuce and tomatoes to feed my family in summer, and wipe off dirty hands and faces. How could I throw away such a treasure?
My old treadle sewing machine is full of memories too. I've clothed my family, made gifts, and prayed for my sons' futures all while using it. I sometimes like to sit and sew and wonder about who used my old sewing machine before I did. Was she a mother? A farm wife? Was she content with her circumstances? Did she sit by lantern light and dream dreams for her family too? I hope so!