A quilt in the most recent issue caught my eye, as it was made from bow-tie blocks set in the Xs and Os pattern. That set off the little lightbulb in my head - didn't I have a stack of bow-tie blocks from a Treadle On Block Exchange?
A few moments of hunting through the stack of UFOs produced a packet of 24 origami bow-tie blocks in reproduction-type fabrics and unbleached muslin. Origami, or 3-D bow-tie blocks are made with 5 squares of fabric and no set-in seams. The center bow-tie on the block winds up being three-dimensional, like a real bow-tie!
The plan for this block exchange was to use a pre-1900 sewing machine to create the blocks. Mine were made on a Singer VS 3 that was made sometime around 1894. She is a well-loved handcrank machine who sews a fine, smooth straight stitch.
The VS part of her name means she uses a vibrating shuttle mechanism to create stitches. The shuttle moves back and forth in an arc, passing through a thread loop made by the needle action and creating a lockstitch.
Here's a close-up view of the shuttle and its bobbin. The bobbin is approximately 1 inch long.
I didn't have enough blocks to make a satisfactory arrangements of Xs and Os. And rather than get caught up in making more bow-tie blocks, I decided to go with a simple arrangement. Once I make a 25th block, I'll have a nice square group of bow-ties. I've been dreaming of applique border treatments, so maybe that will be the finishing touch for this quilt.