Friday, July 13, 2012

Nona's Magical Supply of Thread

Gertrude Maxine Wahl Buchanan (1916-1998)

My grandmother

me --> Bruce Albert Buchanan --> Gertrude Maxine Wahl Buchanan

When I was 15 I spent the summer with my Nona.  Nona is Italian for grandmother.  Sometimes we would walk down the street and visit her cousin's wife, Edith Litizzette.

Edith had just bought a brand new sewing machine.  It could embroider and do all sorts of fancy stitches.  I remember looking at her machine and thinking I was seeing something out of the Jetsons.

It was a brand that I couldn't even pronounce.

The best way I can describe how to pronounce it is,  think of how you say "cupful."  Remove the "cu" and add an "aff" sound.  Well anyway, it sounded fancy and from the future.

A couple of years later when I was visiting Nona, she told me that she had bought herself a Pfaff sewing machine.  She only had it a few years when she fell and broke her shoulder.  She could no longer sew with it, so she gave it to me.

Pfaff Tiptronic 1171

She also gave me all of her notions as well.  For you non-sewers types, notions are all the supplies that you need to be able to sew: needles, thread, thimbles, pins, chalk, measuring tape, etc.  Included in her supplies were many spools of thread.

You sewer types are probably thinking, "That is no way to organize your grandmother's thread."  But I have to keep the thread in its drawer like this. If I organize it, it will lose its magical powers.

I'm not talking about the silly magic we see at shows.

I'm talking about REAL magic.  You know like Harry Potter magic.

Doesn't seeing Harry this young make you feel old?

You probably are wondering how it is that my supply of thread has magical powers?  Well, let me tell you.  I have owned this supply of thread for almost 20 years.  I HAVE NEVER HAD TO BUY THREAD SINCE!  I'm not kidding.  

Nona's Magical Supply of Thread always has the exact color I need for every project.  Many times I will buy fabric and think, "I should get matching thread."  Then I say to myself, "Let me give Nona's Magical Supply of Thread a chance first."  And sure enough, in that drawer will be the exact color I need.

I know each spool isn't magical, because over time I have emptied spools and had to throw them away. BUT MY SUPPLY NEVER GOES DOWN.  My drawer is just as full as when I got it 20 years ago.  

In fact just today I was hemming some pants for my daughter.  She had bought some scrubs for her trip to Guatemala.  She wanted colorful scrubs, so she bought lime green and red ones.  Sure enough, in Nona's Magical Supply of Thread were the exact colors I needed.

Maybe you are still skeptical and don't believe that Nona's thread is magical.  Maybe you are telling yourself, "Heather probably doesn't sew that much.  She probably only hems pants every couple years or so."  To you I say, "Nay. Nay."  I have sewn over 20 quilts, several years worth of Halloween costumes for five children, countless dresses for my daughters, and many many purses.  Look more closely at Nona's Magical Supply of Thread.

See?  Magical!


  1. ...and a third. You are ambitious! Best wishes!

    Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  2. Love that story! Oh my goodness...three blogs...good for you :)

  3. Even though I haven't sewn in awhile I still maintain my thread supply. You never know when you'll need that 1 particular color!

  4. What a cute story.

    I found your blog through Geneabloggers. Welcome to Geneabloggers.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets