Friday, February 28, 2014

Quilt Saga

This quilt and sewing machine repair have become quite the epic tale.

Doug and I took my machine to the repair shop on the morning of his birthday.  We had originally made lunch plans with friends, but yet another snowstorm was on the way, so we canceled lunch, grabbed breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts, and headed to see "Steve," who sells and fixes vacuum cleaners and sewing machines.

Steve assured us that my 70s Kenmore was repairable, and we spent a pleasant half hour talking with him about how he got into the business and learning that his true passion is hot cars.

On our way out, a tiny vintage Singer caught our attention. It had its own little black suitcase, complete with attachments and the original manual with a 1952 copyright date. It was $399, but we were completely taken with the charm and beauty of this little machine.

We left but ended up turning around about a mile down the road. Doug had succeeded in convincing me that I needed it.

When we got it home, we learned that it was a Singer Featherweight, a brand that now has almost a cult following.

Here's a photo of just the machine:

And here's one with all the extras:

Weighing just 11 pounds, these petite workhorses were made from the 1930s to the 1960s and are prized by quilters because they can be easily transported for group sewing sessions.

I was pretty excited because having the additional machine meant that I could work on the quilt right away. And my friends were more than ready to help me:

I sewed along fine for awhile and then the needle met with some resistance. I wasn't going to push my luck with this one, so we took it back for a quick adjustment.

Back home, I continued sewing again, and then had a problem with the needle refusing to stay threaded.

At this point, I was ready to just return it and get my money back.  But so many websites and bloggers touted the virtues of the machine that I was torn.  And a call to Steve indicated that he was willing to play with it for awhile and make sure it was right. "You're going to love this machine once it's working right," he said. "Don't give up on it."

So yesterday, Doug visited Steve yet again and traded machines with him.

With my Kenmore all better, I finished the quilt last night and am waiting for my client to pick it up this weekend (hopefully before yet another snowstorm slams us on Sunday).

I ended up using a different sheet than planned for the border and back, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  There are so many colors in the shirts that I decided this plaid complemented the shirts better than the blue checked one I ordered.  But I'm sure I'll find a use for that one in another project.

As for the little Featherweight, I think it's destiny that we met.  I checked the serial number and then went to the Singer website to date it.  It was originally delivered within a week of my birthdate.


  1. I wonder if I just found one, myself.

  2. Hard to tell Schaughn, although the Featherweights are portables and generally don't come with a table.