Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Beast on my Dining Room Table - by Elisa Belmont

Hello to all of the fabulous members of our Guild, and welcome to our new blog! We are so thrilled to have you with us and we hope you enjoy reading our monthly contributions.
If you haven’t met me, I am the Secretary of the Guild. I am a novice quilter – I’m also the one who doesn’t understand why we have to iron everything, and why math ever has to enter the picture while I’m blissfully sewing away, making one crooked quilt after another.  I put so much love and heart into my quilts,  I hope it somehow compensates for the  fact that you have to lean sideways to see my design.
I sew on a 1960’s mint green vintage Perfection sewing machine, and I’d like to tell you the story of my torrid and tumultuous love affair with a machine that some have labeled “The Beast.” 
The true origin of my machine is mysterious and unknown. Some have said that stitches from my machine were found in the couture garments sewn for Jackie O during the Camelot years in the White House.  Others have whispered about unconfirmed sightings of my machine in the jungles of Vietnam, patching and mending uniforms  for our troops.  
I remember my Mom sewing  Halloween costumes for us  when we were little.  She was not the most patient of seamstresses,  but The Beast was always faithful and tolerant of her temper tantrums.  That was certainly good practice for  when I came along. When the sewing bug bit me in my 20’s, I  asked if I could borrow the machine.  Eventually I had  it completely refurbished to the glorious state she is in today.  I have her cleaned and serviced once a month, and I sit by like a proud Mother Hen while my repairman gushes over her.  We both have no doubt she will sew forever.
She is cast iron and weighs about 85 pounds.   Many of you have seen me carrying her from the car for our Saturday Sews, stopping and letting her rest every few feet.   I am always careful to place her on a table that is suitable for her.  More than once I have set her on one end or the other, only to watch her flip the entire table over as she obviously is unhappy with the spot I have chosen.  This is just one of the subtle ways she communicates with me.  She is rarely fussy and would sew through sheet metal if I asked her to.  She sits proudly at the end of my dining room table, and we have dinner as a family together every night. 
She has a great sense of humor.  At our first Officer’s Sew for our newly formed Guild, I sat next to Melanie Sullivan, who serves as our Historian and is the super creative one.  Melanie told me that when her machine runs out of bobbin, a little sad face appears on her computer screen to let her know.  I saw The Beast roll her eyes.  I then explained that when my machine runs out of bobbin, she lets me know by giggling when I  take my entire piece out and it is not sewn together.  Ah, that Beast! So michevious!
She is no wallflower, never timid or submissive. When I press her pedal and stitches are sewn, you are sure as hell going to know it,  and so is everyone within a half mile radius.  Her sweet song has been described as similar to “ the rapid fire of a Tommy machine gun.” 
Obviously, I love my machine more than I probably should.  I am sometimes surprised when I take a piece out and it has come out perfectly, when I never imagined it would.  Please say hello to her at our next Saturday Sew, she would love to meet you all!


  1. Great Post Elisa!!! You are an amazing quilter!

  2. Love this post!
    I had a beast of my own that retired to the garage. Then one day my husband was on a cleaning rampage in the garage and donated the machine to goodwill. I had no idea this was happening u til a few days later he mentioned it. He was so proud that he didn't ve away my old and broken $100 Janome I had got at Joanns a decade before. He said the case had dust on it so it looked too old to use. That machine was older than me. So the moral of the story is...
    If you have a beast of your own don't put it in your garage.

  3. There is nothing like a beast or a workhorse. How can I find out about your guild? I was just talking to my husband this afternoon, about how crappy it was that we didn't have a modern quilt guild here in fort worth. Well, what do you know :) I think that is hilarious. Would love to join! January T


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