16 October 2012

The Featherweight, Revenge, and Quilt Backs

Oh my, I love this thing!

Since last I blogged, I did manage to clean, oil, thread, and start sewing on the featherweight.  I found a pdf of a manual thanks to some lovely commenters who told pointed me in the right direction. (Click here to download a copy).

I'm contemplating also getting this book:
Folks on instagram noted that it has a lot of great tips

I've already done over 15 hours of stitching on this thing.  I know the timing because I watched the entire first season of Revenge via Netflix.


It's entertaining and a little trashy...complicated enough to hold my interest, but not so complex that I couldn't follow whilst not so much watching as listening.  

The featherweight is noticeably quieter than my other machine, which is great for having videos or audio books going.  I don't have to set the volume too high.

Well, the quilt I stitched up must remain under wraps as it is destined for a magazine, but I did want to show you the back:

photo 2(1)

This is a sheet from The Company Store (100% cotton and bought on clearance, where you can still grab a king size flat for $32).  I love snagging high quality sheets on sale and using them as backs for my quilts.

I silk screened my name onto the sheet and wrote in the year with a permanent marker.  I haven't always marked my quilts with a name and year, but there's a quilt appraiser in the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild and she gave a little talk that explained in part how useful it is to have just that little bit of information attached to your work.

This is another quilt back I made ages ago:

photo 1(1)

It was a high-school graduation present for my cousin Derek.  It spells out his name and graduation year in morse code.

I was recently reminded of this when Gary pointed me towards his version of my kelp quilt on the Material Obsession blog:

photo by Kathy Doughty

Isn't that gorgeous?  He has done some kelp strips and mixed in some Morse code that spells "act love walk." 

I love the whole idea of codes in quilts.  Morse code is just one possibility.  Yoshiko Jinzenji also developed a code for writing messages into a quilt.

One of my works in progress (from...um...three years ago...yikes)  is a bee quilt using her code...
code quilt paragraph

I really need to finish that quilt! I think I was stalled by the lack of a design wall, but I don't have that excuse anymore!


  1. Pick up the manual. It is worth every cent in help on cleaning the bobbin and such. Enjoy your FW...they are priceless for fun.

    1. Thanks, I think I am going to get it!

  2. wow! I can't believe it's been so long since you started that red and white quilt...I remember it! I love the idea of using a code to put a special message into a quilt!

    1. Yeah, I'm kind of in denial about how long that one has been languishing! I will finish it soon!

  3. I used Morse code in the quilting on inside of my Labyrinth quilt which you can see here:

    1. That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I also recommend purchasing the manual. I keep mine in the box with my Featherweight. It has lots of great information all in one place.

    1. Thanks! I think I will get it soon!

  5. I also like the hidden messages in a quilt. I did a nautical flag quilt for my grandson that says "Duncan sleeps here ZZ" He is living in LA, near the ocean and is very much into codes and such that a 10 year old. Thanks for a great blog and LOTS if inspiration.

  6. Are you still using your Featherweight for quilting? I just got one, and I'm looking for tips -- like, which foot to you like to use for a quarter inch seam, and do you piece with the Featherweight just sitting on a regular table or do you recess it into a cabinet?

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Yes, I use it for piecing about 1/2 of the time.
      I put a bit of tape on the plate to mark 1/4-inch and that seems to work well.
      And yep, I just set it on the table.

      Have fun with your featherweight!


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