Martha remembers…


Dear Sewing Family,

How could any American ever forget 9/11? My guess is that you and I remember exactly where we were when the news broke about the twin towers being hit. My son called me. I was glued to the television set the rest of the day along with most of the world I suppose.

Kathy McMakin was at the airport headed to Albany, New York to do a big Viking workshop. I was to join her two days later. She was told to grab her suitcase and run to the parking lots. Required to leave the building fast. We never got to New York to teach. If you remember the airports were closed for the total week.

My prayers are again today with the families of all who lost loved ones. My son’s friend, Shawn, who had come to Huntsville to be in his wedding right here in my living room was killed. One sewing friend had a son who was killed. And so many others.

In the section below I have included part of my newsletter written the week after the attack on the world trade center. I thought you might like to read it.

So many have lost their lives trying to stop terrorism since that date. I pray for their families. So many have been wounded. I pray for them.  I pray that our leaders as well as us as individuals can pray that God will intervene in showing us the way for our country concerning this situation. I truly believe that only God knows what is best. We have elected leaders. We must depend on them—sort of. But as my pastor, Dr. Jackson said Sunday, we need to be on our knees asking God’s guidance and intervention. Only God knows all of the answers.

May God Bless You,



September 17, 2001
Dear Friends,

Thank you for all of your letters this week. We have needed each other like no other time in the history of sewing. One of our newsletter friends has a son, Josh, who is still missing from the World Trade Center. He was a stock broker working on the 102nd floor. She is praying to find his body. I am certainly praying for Josh’s family as well as for all of the other families who lost loved ones. I am praying for our leaders that God would guide them in very important decision making. I am praying for the security of our country and other countries from terrorists. I am praying that this revival of prayer from our leaders, our people and people all around the world will continue for years to come. Our pastor, Dr. Jackson, said this morning, “I think there has been more praying this week than in my lifetime.” We must not stop praying for our country. I would think almost everyone reading this letter has a contact who knows someone whose life was lost during this horrid situation in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania last week. One young man who grew up in Huntsville was on one of the planes.

Our president and other leaders have asked us to go back to work this week and keep the economy going. They have requested “business as usual” although from our hearts that will be difficult. I am going to write a little about sewing straight from my heart. Sewing has gotten me through some of the most difficult times in my life. When I divorced and was so heartbroken, not knowing exactly what to do next, I turned to my sewing machine. Actually, I was back at my parents’ house and I really just wanted to go to bed and sleep. My mother insisted that we go to the fabric store and buy fabric and a pattern. She insisted that I sew myself a beautiful pants suit. I never shall forget that green polyester suit; actually it was beautiful and I wore it for several years. That sewing machine helped me through my grief over the divorce.

When I was divorced and hardly knew where the next money was coming from to go to the grocery store, my sewing machine was my best friend. I well remember my budget for fabric was $2 an outfit for me. I made all of my clothing as well as my two boys’ clothing. Well, nearly all of it; I never made t-shirts and blue jeans. Mama bought those as well as our shoes. I even had a little sewing business since I hemmed skirts for one of my neighbors. One of the happiest Christmas seasons I ever celebrated we had almost no money. I sewed every one of our Christmas presents and wrapped them in the comic sections of the Sunday newspapers.

This is the time to sew for most of us who know that sewing is therapy and sewing offers stress relief. In our time of grief, that sewing machine of ours can be the world’s best therapist. Sewing for those less fortunate is always a great way to get one’s mind off of one’s own troubles. Having the fun of making something beautiful is a wonderful way to begin healing and to stop worrying. It is also something to do to keep us away from watching all of this tragedy replayed on the television set.
I pray while I sew so my sewing machine time is a time of prayer. I usually pray for the person that I am sewing for; now would be a good time to sew and pray for those who are in grief, for our country and for our leaders.

I am grateful to God that John and Suzanne and family are safely back in this country. They had been on American soil for 9 days when this horrid event occurred. Please pray for our missionaries around the world. Suzanne’s parents are coming home for their stateside assignment early October, I pray for a safe trip for them. They are also missionaries in Africa.

I, like many of you all around the world, have read my Bible a lot this week. I have also read from Oswald Chambers, Henry Blackaby and Max Lucado. All of these people have offered words of comfort. I even brought Dr. Henry and Richard Blackaby’s book, “Spiritual Leadership” to my office with me this morning. It has chapters on the leader’s challenge, role, preparation, vision, character, goal, influence, decision making, schedule, pitfalls and rewards.

I have had the feeling that this country is going to get back to the roots which made this country great. My roots in Scottsboro, Alabama, include putting God first, being honorable and trustworthy, loving family, seeing about people in trouble, truly caring about friends and acquaintances, and sewing – mostly to save money and be thrifty. Mama always planned our wardrobes around the sewing machine. She spent a lot of time planning how to have beautiful things but save lots of money by sewing them. Some of my happiest memories center around Mama sewing and later my sewing. My grandmother made all of her family’s clothing from the time she was 12 years old because her mother was sick and could not sew. She even made the men’s shirts on her treadle machine.

I believe now is the time to go back to our country’s founding values as well as values stated in the Bible. Sewing is certainly one of those values. When I re-read Proverbs 31:17 this week about the wife of noble character I read: 13 “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.” 17 ” She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” 21 “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” 22 “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.” 24 ” She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” Her other qualities – her fear of the Lord and her other things of “substance” are also listed in the chapter. It is interesting that the Proverbs’ woman is a businesswoman, a seamstress, and a merchant as well as a woman of God whose attractiveness comes entirely from her character. She is a woman of integrity; she is industrious; she is very resourceful; she is compassionate. Actually Kathy McMakin pointed out to me this morning that Adam and Eve sewed. Genesis 3:7 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

Now let’s have some blog fun!! With football season right upon us I found these pictures made at a licensing, I think in 2009. Don’t ever say we don’t have fun in Huntsville! Don’t ever say that heirloom sewing is not creative!! We were making a tote, I think, out of really snappy red, white and black fabric. The technique was crazy patch with machine embellishment. SO we have a Georgia fan and an Alabama fan in the room!! Look what they did!!! Perfect!

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If you have not tried crazy patch with stitching either by hand or machine you have missed so much fun. Gloria McKinnon has two videos teaching hand embellishment techniques for crazy patch which you will love. If you are not a hand embroiderer (yet) but you want to do hand embroidery which is easy and very forgiving if you make mistakes, then silk ribbon embroidery is for you. I PROMISE! Gloria makes hand embroidery beyond easy.

CLICK TO WATCH >> Embellishing Crazy Patch 1 with Gloria McKinnon

CLICK TO WATCH >> Embellishing Crazy Patch II with Gloria McKinnon

SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK (Written for the September, 17, 2011 newsletter)


Brother Jimmy preached Sunday from Psalm 85. I will write a few verses but I think you would love to read the whole thing. Brother Jimmy said, “We have been shaken to the roots of our lives. We are in revival and we need to keep this state of revival, prayer and going to our churches and to our knees.” “Only God can heal a broken heart.” “We need to ‘want to’ walk with God.” “How does God change a nation? One person at a time.” “Pray for security for our nation.” “We need to turn back to God.”

Psalm 85 1-9
1 You showed favor to your land, O Lord; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered al their sins.
3. You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.
4. Restore us again, O god our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints-but let them not return to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.