Memories of my precious grandmother are why I treadle.
Maria Astorga Amaya, as a young woman about 1910 in Mapimi, Durango, Mexico. She is wearing a rebozo, shawl, and holds an open fan in her right hand.
More than 50 years later in El Paso, Texas with her dog, Babalu.
In 1954 my grandmother taught me to treadle in her little adobe house in El Paso, Texas. She had a Singer treadle sewing machine with a long bobbin and mysterious Egyptian decals. With scraps I made a shoe box full of doll clothes for my chubby baby doll. Those were the pre-Barbie doll days, before the wasp waistline, long legs and cleavage.
Years later she owned two treadle sewing machines and we treadled together. She didn’t want an electric sewing machine. A few years after she died I bought my first treadle in 1973 because it brought back warm memories.
From 1990 to 1993 my treadle was in storage when I lived in Holland. By the end of the 3 years I yearned to treadle again. When my feet finally hit the treadle all the memories of treadling with my grandmother came flooding back. It was then I decided I never needed to use an electric machine again.
A few years later I decided I needed a second treadle like she had. I purchased a second at a garage sale in 1999. It wasn’t enough of the old beauties. The hunt was on for another and another, soon they were finding me. Friends and family counted them each time they visited. At about 20 they finally gave up and accepted the fact that I rescued treadles like some people rescue cats.