A few years ago, when I was considering taking up quilting, I stumbled across a picture of a featherweight on the internet and I was smitten. I spent much of that day reading everything I could find on these precious machines. There was a lot to discover, the different faceplate designs, different colors – oh my gosh, it was even available in a freearm version! I decided right then that I would love to have a Featherweight someday.
That evening my husband got home from work I was saying that now that our daughter was off to college I wanted to get a sewing machine and learn to make quilts. Before I could even get around to mentioning the featherweights I had just fallen in love with, my “helpful” husband announced that there might be an old sewing machine in a box in our garage among my brother’s things. Before he could see the excitement drain from my face he raced out there to find it.
My heart sank a bit. Lord only knows what he might find. My brother, with whom we were very close, died unexpectedly many years earlier. He left me all of his tools, which had been stored in our garage for so long because I couldn’t bear to part with them, nor was I ready to even go through them. I couldn’t imagine why my brother, a former construction company owner, electrician, Harley Davidson enthusiast, Alaska pipeline builder type of guy would even own a sewing machine. And surely, if he did, it would have to be the toughest most industrial thing – certainly not the machine of my quilting dreams.
It wasn’t long before hubby came back in. I could not believe my eyes, immediately I recognized the “box” hubby had referred to, was actually a featherweight case! I assumed I must be wrong, after all I had only seen one on the internet. My thoughts quickly turned to pleadings: Please, please, please let it be in there. Please let it be in repairable condition. Well, we often do not get exactly what we ask for. It was in there, but, as far as being in restorable condition, not so much. The decals were all intact, the paint shiny and good. It was near perfect! I was astonished. Actually, it was totally surreal. I don’t know how else to describe how I felt. My brother had left me the most beautiful machine, which didn’t actually get to me until the very day that I had fallen in love with Featherweights – more than 10 years after he died. A gift, and a confirmation. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around why he would even have it, but here it was.
Sometime later our daughter came home from college and I was excited to show her the Featherweight and was thrilled to learn that she remembers it! Shes says it was in the upstairs office of his big shop. She recalls that when she was five or six years old she had admired it one day and that they discussed how cute and little it was. He told her, “It’s just your size!” I will be so happy to pass it on to her one day, she was only nine when he died and he totally adored her.
Well, it’s been a few years since then. I took my first quilt making class with the Featherweight, pieced my first quilt on it and then I had to retire it. I couldn’t bear the thought of possibly marring the finish of my brother’s machine. So, when hubby and I put together my sewing room, a display shelf was installed for the Featherweight. From it’s perch above my design wall, the Featherweight has its place of honor and I feel that a part of my brother is with me when I sew. No wonder it is such a happy place.
Thanks for letting me share my story.
Edited to add photo, (I hope)