Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Saga of Lisa's Singer Featherweight

Sometimes you get the opportunity to do something for another person that makes you so happy you feel kind of guilty for even talking about it – but you have to because it's such a cool story. I've posted here about my sister Lisa's quilts. She is a fabulous quilter and seamstress and I have so many beautiful things that she has made. She belongs to a couple of different quilting groups. One gets together every Wednesday evening to sew and one group plans “quilt camps” a few times a year where they rent rooms in pretty country inns and everybody brings their sewing machines and their fabric and they spend the whole weekend sewing, quilting, eating and gabbing. Lisa loves these groups and I love it when she tells me stories about them.

A couple weeks ago she called me one evening and she just needed someone to talk to. She's going through a few of life's challenges – we all have them – and she needed to blow off a little steam. In the course of our conversation she mentioned that she had been saving extra money here and there to buy herself something she'd been wanting but now an unexpected expense had come up and she was going to have to start all over.

I asked her what she was saving for and she said, “Do you know what a Singer Featherweight is?”

“Sure,” I told her. “There's one I my living room under the end table.”

There was a long pause and the she said – with no small amount of disbelief, “You have a Singer Featherweight?”

Yes, I told her. I've had it for close to twenty years. I used it to piece a few quilt tops but I don't do much quilting and I prefer to use my Husqvarna for regular sewing. I said that I hadn't taken it out of its case in close to ten years and every time I banged my toe on it or had to move it to clean I thought about putting it out on the sidewalk with a “Free – Take It” sign on it. I thought she was going to faint.

Well, we discussed it a little longer and I had no idea they had become so popular and so coveted. I looked them up on eBay and they are going for anywhere from $300 on up. I was stunned. Lisa said, “Would you sell it to me?” Apparently they are particularly popular among women who attend these quilting and sewing groups because they are so small, portable and reliable. I told her I most certainly would NOT sell it to her but I'd be happy to give it to her.

So it took me a couple weeks to find the right box to fit it in but I bundled it up and called UPS and they came and got it and off it went to Coudersport, Pennsylvania. I think I was more excited about giving it to her than she was about getting it. She called me a few days later and was just about speechless. “It's in such good condition,” she said, “it's nicer than any of the ones the ladies in our group have. Where on earth did you get this?”

I told her about the old house I used to live in and, when the people who owned the house decided to sell it, we found it in a storage closet. Nobody there wanted it so they told me I could have it. I took it but hardly ever used it. There were some other things in the case – some 50 year old interfacing, a box of tools and accessories, and I added a stack of leftover quilting fabric I had no use for. Just listening to her raving about it made me so happy.

She called me again the other night and said she'd looked the serial number up online and it was made in 1947. She said, “It sews perfectly. Just imagine all the things that were made on this, baby clothes and aprons and patching kids' clothes. I just love it so much.”

I can't begin to tell you how happy it has made me to listen to her talk about it. And I'm even happier I didn't put it out on the street with a Free sign on it. Hearing her talk about it has made all those stubbed toes worthwhile.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Awwwww....I love this story. There is just nothing like making a sister happy, is there?

  2. No, there isn't. She was so happy! And I was glad it went to a good home.


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