Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Teaching My Daddy to Sew!

I'm finally getting around to writing a very special post.  This past August, we planned a family vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  We reserved a beautiful cabin that would accommodate us along with my parents (who we planned to kidnap on our way and force them into taking a break from the real world).

I have several different stories to share about this vacation but for this post, I will concentrate on my Daddy.

Our cabin was reserved for 9 days and the only worry I had prior to our vacation was...HOW WILL WE KEEP DAD OCCUPIED SO HE WON'T GET BORED AND WANT TO GO HOME EARLY!!

On Day #1....Dad was content to sit and read on the front porch (along with his constant companion...his 3 pound, toy breed Mi-Ki named Zealy).  She is sitting on the porch swing next to him.


On Day #2....Dad was content to teach Kirsten all the ins and outs to shooting pool.


On Day 3...Dad was content to help the rest of the family put together a jigsaw puzzle.


On Day 4....Dad was content to rest. :) :)


On Day 5....Dad started to show the beginning signs of boredom!  Oh boy!!!!  I had taken two of my vintage Singer Featherweights to have some mother/daughter bonding (sewing) time and on this day, Dad started insinuating that he could sew better than both my mother and me.  I do need to explain to everyone reading that my Dad had never sewn one stitch in his life....but he's always had a talent for thinking he can do anything!  :) :)


With a big smile on my face I said... "Sure, Dad....if you want to sew, I'll teach you!"  Of course, I had to remind him that he did indeed need to put his doggie Zealy down on the floor in order to use both hands while sewing!!! :) :) :)

My Mom and Dad, getting ready to sew side-by-side (once he puts the dog down that is!)


Thankfully, I had packed quite a bit of different fabrics, including lots of pre-cuts (jelly rolls, charm squares, layer cakes, etc.)  Even though I would have NEVER DREAMED my Dad would want to sew, I had brought the PERFECT fabric for my Dad...a layer cake of pre-cut 10" squares of big construction trucks.

The Sewing Lessons Begin!



Dad sewed and sewed for two straight days until he had completed his very first (and possibly only :) :) quilt top!


I brought his quilt top home with me after vacation, added a red inner border and a wider outer border using fabric from the same line.  We ended up with a quilt large enough to fit a full size bed!

Time to quilt....


I used a royal blue tone-on-tone for the backing...and a quilting design called "Swoosh" from Urban Elementz.


Not a great photo...but here is a portion of the quilt hanging from my banister....


Spread across my queen size bed....


I used the red fabric in the border to bind the quilt also.  While on vacation, I thankfully remembered to write a label and have Dad sign it...the best part!!!


The quilt is currently here in New York just waiting to be mailed to Dad or hand-delivered whenever I get to make a trip back home.

Teaching my Dad to sew will always be a special memory I will forever hold in my heart.  He really did an awesome job and needs to make a few more quilt tops!!!!  He has lots of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who want quilts made by him now that everyone knows he can SEW!!!!!

The secret is out now Dad....better get busy!!!!!

126 comments:

  1. I came over from Bonnie Hunter's post - I think this is just too wonderful. My dad never quilted, but could sew on buttons, mend, and made sails for boats he made. He DID know how to take apart and fix most sewing machines in his day which was good as there weren't repair centers back then.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing about your own Dad. Dad's are truly special! :)

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  2. Where's the Kleenex! Beautiful story. I too hopped over here from Bonnie Hunter's post.

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    1. Thank you Sherie for taking the time to read my post!!! Have a great day!

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  3. Found this after reading Bonnie Hunter's blog. Tell your father that he should do more piecing of quilts. I really like the top he made and, I'm sure, that definitely all of the grandchildren would love one too. Good work, Dad.

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    1. I will certainly relay the message Debra! Thanks for reading. You are correct...there is quite a bit of demand for a quilt made by him now. :)

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  4. Found this after reading Bonnie Hunter's blog. Tell your father that he should do more piecing of quilts. I really like the top he made and, I'm sure, that definitely all of the grandchildren would love one too. Good work, Dad.

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  5. I'm also here from Bonnie Hunters site…what a great memory for everyone!

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    1. Thank you Sharon! It WAS a special time for us all. :)

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  6. Another visitor from Bonnies blog. This is a great story Theresa and what a special time. How did the little dog cope with Dad sewing for two days-or did it just sit on his lap???

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    1. Thanks for reading. Zealy doesn't know she is a dog and even though Dad spent many hours at the sewing machine, he also took plenty of breaks to give Zealy the attention she demands. :) :) :)

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  7. What an awesome story Theresa! Tell your Dad that he did a GREAT job!! Making quilts for all his grandkids and great grandkids will be a fabulous hobby and make great memories!! Thanks so much for posting this story. Jacqui from Canada

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    1. Thank you Jacqui! I will share your thoughts with Dad. Hopefully we can encourage him to keep sewing! :)

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  8. I too am visiting from Bonnie's blog! I loved how you showed what your Dad was doing each day! I'm sure the grands & great grands are going to want one! Thank's for sharing your vacation with us!

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    1. Thank you Tami for reading and for your kind comments! Have a wonderful day!

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  9. Hello from another visitor from Bonnie's blog. What a priceless memory you both share. You and your Dad have a very special relationship. Glad I stopped by . . . linda-kaye!

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by also Linda-Kaye! Thank you for reading and for your kind words!

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  10. Theresa, thank you for sharing such a warm and loving story about your Dad with Bonnie so we could all read it. The fact that you quilted his quilt makes it more special, I loved the label. Please share more quilts as your Dad continues, sew Dad sew.
    Piece on from East Texas!

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    1. Thank you Ana! Trust me...if Dad makes more quilts, I will certainly be sharing them!

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  11. I hopped over from Bonnie's blog too. This is a wonderful story about your time with your dad and the memories that are bound up in that quilt. I told the story to my husband and showed him the quilt. He's the son of a quilter and he was very impressed by your dad's work.

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    1. Thank you Myrna for stopping by and reading! Let your husband know that I will share his thoughts with my Dad. Blessings!

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  12. They all have said it all, I say big DITTO...THANK YOU

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    1. Thank you Suzanne for reading! Have a great day!

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  13. That is such an awesome story about teaching your Dad to sew! When my a Dad was last here in October we enjoyed time working on writing his "memoirs" so that all of us kids will know about his childhood growing up in NYC. No matter what we do with our Dads, it's just so special to spend time with them. I'm glad you shared this story.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Jackie. What you and your dad did together sounds awesome and priceless.

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  14. Zealy needs a quilt too! It doesn't have to be very big....but I am sure she will want one along with his children and grands. What a sweet story...and we look forward to many more to come! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for reading Sally! I'm sure Zealy will get a special quilt made. :) My mom already makes dresses for her.

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  15. I came from Bonnie's blog too - this is a terrific story. What precious memories you created! My Dad died 12 years ago and I treasure all the memories I have of him.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! I'm so sorry for your loss but am glad you have such precious memories of your own.

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  16. What a fabulous memory for your entire family! Get him busy on more. ♥ He's a GEM of a dad.

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    1. Thank you Marilyn! I certainly hope to convince him to make more quilts!

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  17. I too came from Bonnie Hunters site. What a wonderful vacation with so many great memories. You must be so proud that he was able to sew his first quilt. Great job dad

    Sandy k

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    1. Thank you for reading. Yes, you are correct....I am very proud of him.

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  18. Also from Bonnie, tears streaming thinking about the wonderful memories you have. Miss my PAPA every day.

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  19. i need a box of tissues! what a heartwarming story! you are so blessed to have a dad like yours and now to have shared something so special with him! thanks for sharing this with us!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I'm blessed to have great parents.

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  20. Such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing with us via Bonnie. I hope you continue to spread the word to others because this could be the impetus to encourage other 70+ year old men to have a seat and put their foot to the sewing machine pedal.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts! I agree that more men should get into quilting. My dad truly did a great job. :)

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  21. Another Bonnie transfer -your story brings great memories - my Dad would actually hand quilt with my Mom at the big frame as long as none of her lady friends were about. Larger stitches than the ladies, but each one exactly the same as the one before. He would have been in his early 70's at that time, recovering from his 2nd heart attack, but unable to "just sit" & do nothing. I still have, and occasionally use, the Grandmothers Flower Garden that he helped with. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. What a wonderful story about your own dad. The quilt must truly be a treasure! Thank you for sharing!

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  22. I also came from Bonnie Hunter' s site. What a touching post! You will always treasure that special vacation. And kudos to Claude! Love from Tressa from Oklahoma, who lost her daddy 22 years ago.

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    1. Thank you Tressa! I have no doubt your heart is full of special memories of your daddy. Blessings!

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  23. How wonderful. If you want to keep him interested in quilting, try googleing Ernest B Haight and share his story. Ernest quilted over 300 quilts, many of them prize winners at the State Fair.

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    1. Thank you Mary, I will have to do that! I appreciate the information.

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  24. I'm also came from Bonnie's site... What great memories you two will now have! Very touching. He did such a wonderful job. ~ April

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  25. And another from Bonnie's site. What a wonderful memory you made with your Dad. Just wonderful!

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  26. I love this story.... and your dad IS a great sewer/piecer! :) Will he have his own Featherweight? You did a wonderful job with the borders and quilting. I can't wait to hear about him receiving it and his current sewing projects. Thanks so much to you for emailing Bonnie Hunter and Bonnie sharing.
    ~ Christina in Cleveland

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I have already offered him a Featherweight. Don't worry he won't have any excuse not to sew more. :)

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  27. So glad you shared this with Bonnie so she could spread your story even farther. What a sweet memory you will always have!

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  28. Sew, we can teach old doggies new tricks!! Such a wonderful tale. Thank you so much for sharing it. Please tell your Dad that he has a fan club!

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    1. Thank you Margo! I will certainly let him know he now has a fan club! :)

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  29. What a wonderful memory you made with your Dad. Thanks for sharing your memory-making vacation with us. Kathy (from Bonnie's site, too.)

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    1. Thanks for reading Kathy! Blessings to you!

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  30. Also from Bonnie, My Hubby retired recently and was bored last winter, I wanted to teach him to quilt. He wasn't interested. He had a stroke in September, now needs to do something. Would still love to teach him to sew, I am hoping Maybe!!!! Made my son a cowboy quilt for his birthday and he wants to learn, Ramona from Maine

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    1. It's never too late. Maybe this will encourage your husband to give it a go. :)

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  31. Well, Bonnie is certainly making a lot of people smile with your story, Theresa. Thanks for sharing with us! Kath in Ohio

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  32. Thanks for sharing. This so does touch my heart. Thanks to Bonnie for sharing your email and blog address. It really made me smile.

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    1. Thank you for reading and for your sweet words.

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  33. I am so glad Bonnie shared your story with her blog readers. You deserve a lot of credit, not everyone would take the time to teach an older person these days. What a loving, caring daughter your parents raised, and what a wonderful man to try something new, he is a great example of never being too old to learn something new! I so enjoyed reading this!

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    1. Thank you for writing. I have very special parents and I treasure every minute I get to spend with them.

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  34. Popped over from Bonnie Hunter's blog- Loved your Dad's quilt! I'd tried to get my father to sew, but no dice. He did support his 3 daughters' addictions by funding fabric purchases when we went to Lancaster. I agree with others- the pup needs her own quilt!

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    1. Funding fabric purchases is something special also! Don't worry, his pup is spoiled rotten and never does without! :) I'm sure she will have a new quilt in no time.

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    2. Came over from Bonnie's site as well..such a beautiful story.

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  35. Theresa....I followed the link from Bonnie Hunter's blog to read your story.

    You have a really COOL dad and an awesome memory of time shared together. I would definitely vote for dad to make many more quilts for his family to cherish and cuddle with.....he did a really fabulous job. You are obviously a very caring and patient person to make time for your family to vacation together and to take the time to teach him to sew....maybe dad should go with you to the quilt shop next time to pick out fabrics himself and plan his next creation...;). Thanks for blogging about the experience....I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your family vacation.

    Happy Quilting,
    Becky

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    1. Thanks Becky, I can't wait to share your words with Dad. Good idea, I'll have to take him fabric shopping for his own fabric.

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  36. anyone can become addicted with enough encouragement. Congratulations! job well done by both of you.....

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  37. Jumped the link from Quiltvile Q&S. This is a delightful post of a cherished memory! Keep on Stitching! Cathy vJ in MA

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    1. Thanks...I hope to keep him stitching in days to come.

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  38. I, too, came over from Bonnie's blog. This was a wonderful story! I hope you can encourage him to continue sewing. My suggestion is to get Zealy a basket to put on the sewing table, so she can be right there with him and watch him sew. Sure works for Anne of Bunny Hill and Polly of Aunt Polly's Porch! Check out their blogs with their resident pets.

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    1. Thanks Nancy....I will certainly check out the blogs you mentioned. After all this attention, dad will have to continue making quilt tops. Well have to get a special sewing basket for Zealy.

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  39. Hi Theresa,
    Another from Bonnie's blog... What a wonderful way to spend a family vacation!! I just have to know... can your dad sew better than you or your mom? Or is this the beginning of the challenge for him to improve his skills?
    I will look forward to more "sewing with dad" blogs.
    Vicki from Wisconsin

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    1. Vicki...heehee...I have to be honest and say that his seams met perfectly! It sure shocked me! :) I certainly hope to keep him going!

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  40. Bonnie sent me, too, and I'd like to share my story. I wanted to be on the school volleyball team when I was 12, and since my mother had died when I was 9, I had no one to make my uniform (back in the mid-60s). What did I do? I cried, but my Daddy told me I could make my own uniform. Yeah, right--I didn't know how to sew, but my Dad said he would help me...and he did. Every night, after supper, we would work on my uniform, starting with reading the guide sheet, to figuring how to cut everything out, to sewing it all together, even inserting a zipper in the side seam of the shorts. His words to me were "You can do anything you set your mind to." And lucky me, we just celebrated his 86th birthday on January 5th. Thank you for sharing your story and listening to mine.
    Loretta

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    1. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful story and such an awesome father! Thank you so much for sharing, reading your words made my heart smile! Please tell your dad I wish him a belated 86th birthday!

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  41. Thank you for sharing your story! His quilt is great! And, I know he will treasure it. Hold onto those vacation memories. I think your Mom and Dad need to have a yearly contest to see who is the best. Or how many quilts can they make before next vacation? Of course the winner will be the one who gets the finished quilt!

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    1. Celia....a yearly contest sounds great. I wonder if I can tempt them to do it?? :) :)

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  42. How sweet, I never had any vacation time with my Dad and he died suddenly at 71, so hang onto these special memories and I hope that quilt gets plenty of loving, it certainly will be a great conversation started. Bonnie sent me over for a look and she is right it did make me smile.

    Happy Sewing

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    1. Thank you Kim for your kind words. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  43. Fantastic, cannot wait to tell my Dad, as he gets bored when he comes to visit us! Next time I am going to sit him in front of my sewing machine! Great story, thanks for sharing it with us.

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    1. Give it a try Sue! You just never know what will happen!!! :) :)

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  44. It is truly wonderful to read these stories of special dads. Sadly, my dad was of a different ilk: he "liked" little girls in the wrong way. I have very few memories of childhood. At 65 years old, I still have such anxiety about bedtime (even though my father is long gone) that I have to stay up and quilt at night. Thank heaven for quilting! Reading these stories helps me by filling in the blanks with how things should have been. Your dad is a real gem! I am so glad you shared.

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    1. Carol, my heart hurt as I read your words! I'm thankful that you have found quilting to bring your comfort and peace. Thank you for sharing your story. Blessings!

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  45. What a wonderful story! How nice to be able to share a passion with your father!

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    1. Thanks Kevin....you are a prime example that men make awesome quilters! :)

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  46. bester papa auf der welt ...Glückwunsch

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    1. Thank you for reading! Yes, he is the best papa!

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  47. Precious moments with your Dad - you lucky woman!!

    Pamela in SOMD

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    1. Yes...the time spent together was precious and priceless!

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  48. Well done your Dad! You're never too old to learn!
    My father never MADE anything from fabric, but he did repairs of a simple nature, in fact he's the one who taught me to sew on buttons. National Service had forced him to learn, so I had to learn too, at the age of 6.

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    1. Marly...what wonderful memories you have also! I'm not sure we could ever convince Dad to sew on a button!! :) :)

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  49. That is one special quilt. He did a great job and now you have a wonderful family memory.

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    1. Yes Becca....his quilt will be a treasure item! Thanks for your kind words!

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  50. I love that your Dad learned to sew and that he pieced a quilt top, but what I love even more is that you went on vacation with two sewing machines and a supply of fabric! Awesome! I never can get away with that!

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    1. Ann....I don't ask permission...I just do!!!! LOLOLOLOL

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  51. This is SUCH a wonderful story! You will treasure the memories forever, as I'm sure he will. And he has the quilt as a reminder of a wonderful family trip!

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    1. Thank you Amy! I hope we get the opportunity for many more family vacation/quilting memories!

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  52. Such a precious memory and beautiful quilt for some lucky family member. May he live long enough to make one for each of you. Linda

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    1. Tantie....when I first made the label for his quilt, I jokingly told him that I had written..."This quilt is to go to my favorite daughter, Theresa" !! LOLOLOL

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  53. What a great story. . . . my father wouldn't have allowed himself to be kidnapped (I think he hates vacations!) LOL And I know that he would never, ever even think about sewing anything.

    Did you stay at Oak Haven? My DH & I rented a cabin there back in 2005 for our honeymoon & loved the area.

    Thank you for a wonderful read.

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    1. Thank you Sherry! Off the top of my head I can't remember where we stayed exactly but I think the word "Deer" was in the name. LOL Trust me...if I had been asked if he would ever do something like this PRIOR to our vacation, my response would have been "NEVER, NO WAY!" I guess I should never say never! :) :) :)

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  54. Another Bonniac checking in Theresa . . . such a heart warming story. Love reading every word, even through the joyful tears! How special. Thank you for sharing your family with us. Go Dad, make more quilts Claude!!! Hugs, Allison in Plano

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    1. Thank you Allison! I'm hoping that when he sees just how many people are cheering him on...he will get busy and make more!! :)

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  55. Your dad is very impressive and the quilt is beautiful. But you are also impressive. You have answered everyone's comment. I know this takes time. Thank you. (another visitor from Bonnie's blog.)

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    1. You are so sweet! When I made this post I never dreamed it would receive such attention. (Of course...all thanks must go to Bonnie Hunter for that!) Blessings!

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  56. I'm from the Netherlands and Bonnie send me to your blog.
    What a wonderful story. I had tears in my eyes when I read it.
    Like a few others, my dad was not that great. He always put me down. But his dad, my grandfather was a wonderful man. He teached me a lot of sewing. He was a tailor. My love for sewing (quilting) I inherit from him. And I'm thankful for that.
    I hope you and your father will have a long time together. Thank you for the story.

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    1. Ruth, thank you for sharing your story! What a lovely grandfather you had! It is wonderful to hear that your grandfather shared his talent and in doing so nourished your own love for quilting. Many blessings!

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    2. Hi, Ruth -- My grandfather was a tailor also! Though he did not teach me to sew, he did teach me to love fabric! The smell of wool takes me right back to his shop where I spent so many happy afternoons after school. A question: I remember a sewing machine that was attached to a pole coming down from the ceiling; did your grandfather have anything like that? No one I've asked has ever heard of a sewing machine set up that way -- but isn't it a fabulous idea? -- no little "harp" space to contend with!

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    3. Hi CarolB, I'm sorry - I never saw a sewing machine coming down from the ceiling. My grandfather had a traddle machine. I never saw an other one.
      My grandfather lived and worked in Rotterdam. There is a big harbour. He sew suites for the chinese bootsmen before WO2.
      I notice we are the same age. Is'nt that a coincidence?

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  57. I too popped over from Bonnie Hunter's blog and loved your story. While Dad was never a sewer, my mother was. My dad lived with me for about 11 months and he would come and stand at the doorway of my quilt room and watch me sew. I just knew he was thinking of my mother. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thank you Patti for sharing about your father. I have no doubt that watching you sew resulted in loving memories of your mother for him. You sound like an awesome daughter.

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  58. What a wonderful story! I guess we are never too old (or young) to learn to quilt. I once was in the hospital and I couldn't understand why my husband didn't come to visit me before he went to work on the afternoon shift. Finally, he walked in with a new t-shirt on. He had made it. I had cut it out and never gotten around to sewing it and while I was sick, he made it. His mother never sewed and he had made one or two t-shirts with my help. I bet he would be only a good quilter but also a long armer. We are no longer together and I don't think he really has an idea of my passion for quilting vs sewing now. Thanks for sharing a great story. Isn't Pigeon Forge a great place. I haven't been there in about 40 years and it was great then. I remember a store with a working weaving loom in the front window.

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    1. Thanks Suze, I really enjoyed reading your comments. Pigeon Forge is truly a gorgeous area, but I may be a tad prejudice since I'm from East Tennessee anyway. :) Maybe you will get an opportunity to visit there again. :)

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  59. I also just came over from Bonnie Hunter's site. I just had to say that I love your story and I love the quilt top your dad made! Makes me wish I could get my dad near a sewing machine, but that's just about the only thing he won't go near!

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    1. Debbie...maybe your dad just hasn't gotten bored enough! :) Who knows, you may get the perfect opportunity to entice him to sit down at the machine one of these days. :) :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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  60. Another visitor from Bonnie Hunter's site. What a great story and what a wonderful vacation to share with your Mom and Dad! So glad you had the opportunity to do this and especially to document it, in photos and in the quilt label. I've taught quite a few men to sew: husband, sons, grandsons, friends. Pretty much, they are gung-ho katy-bar-the-door, very fun! Thanks for sharing this with us.

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    1. Maureen, thanks for sharing! I wish my grandson's lived close enough for me to teach them to sew. Hopefully, one day I will get a chance. :)

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  61. I too found you via Bonnie Hunter! Love this story! I'll be submitting my email to follow you next. My dad never sewed but he used to love seeing the clothes I would make for myself and tease me while I stood in front of the mirror checking my hem to be sure it was even. If I took too long he would say "what's the matter Kathleen . . . is it a 16th of an inch off?!" Keep the love going. My dad passed away in 2007 and I still miss him terribly. Then I think of things like this and I smile.

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    1. Kathy, so happy to have to read and decide to follow my blog. The story you shared is adorable. It sounds like you had a very special dad (with a sense of humor). Your memories are priceless!

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  62. I'm another one who was sent here from Bonnie's blog post. I think it's an absolutely wonderful quilt made by your dad. I lost my father in 2007, and I wish that my father had made a quilt top or quilt for my daughter. It's a special thing, and I hope that your dad continues to make quilt tops.

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    1. Jennifer, thank you for your kind words. I'm sorry for your loss. Your father may not have made a quilt but I'm sure he made many other wonderful memories for you to share with your daughter. Blessings!

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