In Episode 27, Florence finally catches up on her stitching in a hotel room in Emporia, Kansas, while dreaming of her business back in Milton Falls.
Imagining the Milton Falls Quilting Company and all that Florence’s business entails has been so much fun for me — and at the same time it’s a little bit scary, since I don’t know all that much about starting a business. So far I’ve been using a common sense approach — if I wanted to start a quilting business where we sold patterns and kits, what would I do? If we also wanted to sell finished quilts to stores, how would I go about it? The good news for me, is that there were women in the 1930s who did just that, and I can take a cue or two from them.
The thing I’ve had no trouble imagining is Building No. 5 — the mill building Florence has rented from Arthur Purefoy for one dollar. I can see its red bricks, and the river that rolls alongside it. I spent four years as a grad student in western Massachusetts, and when I think of mills, I think of Lowell, one of the country’s most famous mill towns.
Having lived most of my life since then in North Carolina, I also think of the textile mills like this one in Stanley, N.C., the town my mother-in-law grew up in.
At my guild meeting a couple of weeks ago, one of our members did a marvelous presentation on vintage sewing machines. I was curious what sewing machines she thought Florence’s workers would use. Special industrial machines? She thought not. The industrial machines of that period tended to be for sturdier stuff than cotton fabric. So maybe something like this?
We’re continuing to have a great time over at the Quiltfiction Club on Facebook, the closed group in which we share quilts and quilt stories, and talk about quilt history and 1930s cake recipes. I hope you’ll come join us!
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