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Common Threads


Common Threads

Delivering Hope and Meaning Through Sewing Machines


By Margaret John Jankowski
  • 208 pages of personal narrative 
  • Paperback
  • 5.5” x 8.5”
  • June Book Special: Get 10% off and free shipping when you bundle Sewing & Survival and Common Threads here.

Common Threads is the unique story of a unique idea: that sewing machines, passed from one to another, can provide hope and meaning to both those who receive them and those who give. Margaret founded The Sewing Machine Project, a grassroots nonprofit, based on this concept. Common Threads shares the extraordinary journey from idea to action, with stories that inspire, challenges that are real, outcomes that are profound, and evidence that small ideas can indeed mend communities. “Listen to the sound of inspiration inside yourself. I’m talking about that voice that guides you to put your goodness into the world. Listen to that voice and then follow, for just a few steps. Follow and see what happens.

The sewing machine is an invaluable treasure! As Margaret has shared, “This is the story of an idea, the organization the idea inspired, and the deep lessons within. Presented in snapshots, tiny windows into the idea’s growth, this frame-by-frame narrative is the only way I can think of to present it, for this is how it has been revealed to me. The idea’s profound insistence on carving its own course is undeniable.”

Margaret John Jankowski is a writer, maker, and nonprofit leader living in Madison, Wisconsin. She is the founder and director of The Sewing Machine Project. A lifelong sewist, Margaret’s mind is “on fire” when she is planning a project in three dimensions. The Sewing Machine Project represents the intersection of Margaret’s passions as it provides the opportunity to sew, serve, and write about the incredible individuals she encounters. Margaret divides her time between her home in Wisconsin and Switzerland, where she spends time with her husband, Peter. Margaret finds deep joy in traveling, reading, walking with friends, and sitting and laughing on the front porch with her two kids.


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