Featherweight Maintenance & Lori Holt Retreat - McCall, Idaho 2019
by April Henry
From June 3rd through June 7th, we were in McCall, Idaho for one of our year's highlighted events - the Featherweight Maintenance & Lori Holt Retreat!
Teaming up with JK Quilts to create this 5-day, 4-Night event was incredibly memorable - surrounded by nearly 50 Featherweight fans and quilters, the Featherweight camaraderie was exhilarating with non-stop learning! The week included Featherweight History, an all-day Novice Featherweight Maintenance Workshop, some Advanced Featherweight Maintenance concepts along with day after day of one-on-one personal Featherweight assistance and exploration. Sprinkle in a fun pop-up quilt shop by JK Quilts & trunk show, various local prizes collected from McCall, Idaho merchants, inspirational stories, laughter, snacks (and more snacks!), an apron exchange, swag bags of goodies and fabric, and so many quilty friendships made, you will understand why this blog post recap is as long as it is. Of course, Lori Holt being our guest teacher, she brought us all her Farm Girl Vintage treats and inspiration - it was a fabulous retreat!
There was always something wonderful happening in the room, so if you were a retreat guest and have some more fun photos to add to the photo recap and commentary below, we would love to share them with other Featherweight & Lori Holt fans... feel free to email them to us through our direct email found on the contact us page here.
Monday - Registration, Meet & Greet, Getting to the Know the Machines & Featherweight History:
Before we opened the doors we could hear the joyful excitement from the ladies outside the room, waiting in anticipation for the retreat to begin.
In this photo, Colleen, Jeannie and Tammy are all smiles as Jen & Janalyn open the doors to direct guests for check-in.
Carmon making introductions and instructions as the Retreat begins!
Can you spot the Featherweight outside?
Ruthie came along, too, and was very excited to get set up to sew!
After the design board activity, Carmon, Christian and Burl went around the room meeting everyone and learning about the machines before the Maintenance Workshop on Tuesday. Monday evening was also the History lesson time when Christian gave a walk-through of the Featherweight Timeline as well as a show-n-tell of some of the very scarce Featherweight badged machines.
Shawn getting to know Mr. Toda (who came along with his wife, Tammy) while he helps with some maintenance troubleshooting before the big day on Tuesday.
Burl assessing Stephanie's machine
Carmon discussing Featherweights with Caroline and her husband, Mark.
Monday night before the Featherweight History Lesson, Ruthie helped Chris (Wendy's husband) set up the hors d'oeuvres - Farm Girl Vintage style, of course.
Shawn, getting started on Foot Controller Adjustments
Burl working with Susan and Sandi
Janet getting her machine all ready for a good oiling and greasing.
Carmon assisting Linda with her machine
Sheila M. servicing her Singer 222K Free-Arm Featherweight. Someone has been sewing quite a bit lately -- look at all that lint! :)
Penni working with Ingrid; Donna & Stephannie (mother / daughter) getting ready for more Featherweight maintenance.
Even Liz and Jen joined in on the fun as pupils at their first Featherweight Shop Maintenance Workshop!
Time for lunch! (oh wait... maybe it's time for Limoncello cake dessert!)
Burl assessing the presser bar on Darcia's pretty pink Featherweight machine with Tammy looking on. The hole for the presser foot thumb screw had stripped out and so a replacement presser bar was needed for the screw to go in properly and securely.
Shawn assisting Penni
As many of you know, at our workshops where Ruthie is present, she selects one case to do her case refurbishing process. This is the case she chose.... BEFORE....
... and AFTER!
You can do this process, too, following along with her video tutorial here. If your case needs a new case handle, we carry several case handle styles here, and case clasps (aka: latch) here. Although, the clasps sell out quickly, be sure to sign up for the in-stock notification and you can be alerted as soon as we have more available again.
After maintenance, is it time for ice cream? Psssst... check out Sheila's machine mat! It's all the selvedge edges of the Lori Holt fabric she's used.... pretty creative!
Look at this handsome bunch! This would be most of our Featherweight technical staff -- from left to right: Shawn, Christian, Carmon, Chris, and Burl
Original Farm Girl Vintage Quilt
Introducing Lori Holt... and all her Farm Girl Vintage quilts! After the Maintenance Workshop, Lori arrived and gave us all a walk-through of her Farm Girl Vintage patterns.
Her trunk show was so exciting to see in person! Lori's quilts are just as adorable as shown in the books and photos online, but seeing them in person - so fabulous!
Farm Girl Vintage 2 - Pattern Book coming out this fall! Click here to learn more!
This is Lori's Autumn Love pattern
Some of the other guests showed their finished quilts as well!
This was Debbie C.'s first quilt retreat! She came over from Montana and it was such a delight to see her completed Vintage Christmas quilt!
Lori Holt's Cozy Christmas line of fabric for Riley Blake Designs is truly some of the best Christmas fabric ever - cutest prints, colors, novetly... the epitome of vintage Christmas! Snag some now if you haven't already, because it's already getting harder and harder to find. We just might have a small number of Vintage Christmas quilt kits left from last Christmas if you want to make the same complete quilt like Debbie did above.
This particular quilt is rather special. The quilt pattern (also by Lori Holt) is called Farm Sweet Farm and was a featured Sewalong on the Lori Holt blog earlier this year. What makes this quilt so special is that it was Janet's very first Lori Holt quilt and it was made during her major health recovery this past winter. She pieced much of it on the Singer Featherweight 222 she purchased from us last Christmas, so to see her accomplishment in person and enjoy the fruits of her labor with this sew-n-show was incredibly sentimental for all of us.
P.S. The Farm Sweet Farm quilt kits are nearly all sold out, but I think we might have one or two left here. If the kits happen to be all sold out by the time you read this and yet you still want to make this quilt as well, you can order just the sew simple shape templates here and follow along with Lori's blog sew along here.
These patterns were so much fun with the "happy" colored fabric and the adorable Farm Girl Vintage prints. Plus, to have Lori Holt facilitating us all in real life was surreal!
Here is our Ruthie with her Apron Block. She put the pedal to the metal so-to-speak and got right down to Farm Girl Vintage sewing business, and her blocks turned out beautifully! Great job, Ruthie!
Look at Sheila's cute Tractor Block
Ruthie and her daddy (Carmon)
(Read more about huckleberries here.)
Lea with her cute apron block.
Terri and Shannon sat near the room entrance, and so each day we were able to see their pretty painted Featherweights. Shannon had a new one to show each day! Teresa, Susan and Pam in the next row up.
Sandi was our vintage pink girl... Her entire set-up was adorable and even made a pink tractor (photograph below)! Patsi, Darlene and Myra in the background.
Colleen & Jackie in the rows behind them and Sally & Maria, in the back, seen over Denise's left shoulder.
Carmon was asked to do a demonstration of the Zymol cleaning and polishing process. He is a maximizer and enjoys making these Featherweights look so pretty and shiny as well as giving them a protective wax to preserve their finish.
Tips for the process:
- don't let the cleaner dry
- always use a fresh little rag
- work in small areas and work fast
- If it dries too fast, you'll have to go over it again to eliminate any hazing.
For a full video tutorial, click here.
Pam, Jackie, Cynthia, Patsi, Teresa (shown in photo below), Darlene, Donna, Tammy, Jeannie and Myra gathered around Carmon for a machine cleaning, waxing & polishing tutorial. Darlene's machine got the demonstration!
Those tulips! 🌷 Lori captured the shape perfectly with this new design!
Ingrid and Penni were picked to be partners for their apron exchange and it just so happened to be that they sat right next to each other. That made it especially charming for these two!
Maria & Pam exchange adorable half aprons... look at the pockets on the apron Maria made Pam - such cute Farm Girl Vintage block detail!
Liz and Cynthia - aren't they cute? They look like they're ready to make up some fresh homemade Huckleberry pies!
Marianne and Donna exchanging aprons, with Lori sweetly looking on in the background. Marianne is Janalyn's sister and was the quiet, always ready, contented helper behind the scenes... her kind assistance certainly did not go unnoticed!
Stephanie from Oklahoma exchanged aprons with Ruthie and the one she gave was bona fide vintage! It was gingham and had smocking and was ooohed and ahhhed by all. Ruthie felt privileged to receive it and as much as she has been collecting and studying vintage apparel, it was the perfect gift for her!
Wendy and Melanie exchanging very cute ruffly aprons!
Tammy and Stephannie exchanging aprons.
Sally & Tammy trading aprons
Jen was so funny! This thread catcher was supposed to have gussets but instead it became a puppet...? She was hilarious!
Debbie's flower blocks turned out perfect!
Of course, Ruthie brought her pale pink Featherweight to the Workshop to sew... However, the highlight of her week was learning to crochet with Lori, followed by the personal neighborly instruction from Ingrid. It can be a challenge to broaden our crafty toolbox to learn new skills or sharpen new ones, but with Lori Holt's happy color Chunky Thread, Ruthie and so many others caught the crochet bug. Like quilting, crocheting is a quiet pastime skill that can pass down through generations.
Ingrid helping Ruthie as she learns to apply the crocheting steps
Daddy giving Ruthie's machine a quick fix after a thread jam.
(If your machine has thread caught behind the bobbin case base, this video tutorial will show you how to fix your machine, too.)
The one unique feature of our Featherweight Maintenance Retreats is the ability to break out into smaller groups or sometimes even one-on-one to teach certain aspects and areas of the machine. On this afternoon, Frank, Ingrid and Darlene were learning from Carmon about the tension unit and how to disassemble, assess, troubleshoot, clean, polish and reassemble the parts. Click here for a tutorial showing how to disassemble and reassemble the tension unit.
Pam, April and Patsi watching the disassembly and reassembly as well. Myra grabbing a quick picture with her phone camera.
Having a smooth thread path is very important, free from lint, burrs, oil, etc. The tension unit is one area that can be important to assess for proper stitch formation. Click here for a polishing tutorial.
This one took some muscle! The tension unit needed properly aligned. This tutorial will walk you through alignment of the +/- indicator ring.
When the rest of our staff went home after the first day of the Workshop, Frank T. (a fellow guest) became the resident assistant! He was so helpful and eager to walk others through the process of learning about their Featherweights as well. Here he is helping Darlene with her light socket.
Darlene needed to address some electrical issues with her machine. We loved her catch-all dishes!
Late Thursday, Carmon was asked to service Lori's pretty red painted Featherweight. Most of the ladies were busy sewing and learning new things so it was the perfect quiet time for him to take the afternoon, going over each and every little area.
Carmon showing Lori all that he was able to do to get her machine in tip top running shape! You can see the final and pretty little stitch sample below:
Thursday night supper at The Mill with the Todas! To listen to their history and amazing life stories were a highlight of our week to just relax and enjoy #featherweightfellowship together.
Ruthie and Sheila, showing their adorable pin cushions. Ruthie used an antique porcelain sugar bowl and Sheila had a small milk glass compote - both perfect examples for our last day's project.
And once Ruthie was finished with her pin cushion, it was back to crochet again.
Melanie's pink and yellow apron block was such a sweet way to coordinate from Lori Holt's Sew Cherry fabric collection.
Janet H. provided this photo after she set everything up in her room on the last day. This was just a small taste of everything each guest received during the week of the Featherweight Maintenance and Lori Holt Retreat.
Notice the quilted Mini Featherweight Wall-hanging setting in front of the Featherweight Shop black gift bag in the photo above? That was a special kit item we debuted at the Workshop for each guest, which featured Farm Girl Vintage fabric and Featherweight precut diecuts. We've now made similar Mini Featherweight 1-Block Wall-hanging quilt kits available in the shop -- all with Lori Holt Farm Girl Vintage fabric!
This photo speaks volumes... just by looking, you can tell that this room was all abuzz! Nearly 50 Featherweights in one room and it was spectacular!
Our Final Farewell and a McCall, Idaho Icon
Growing up in, around, or even as a returning guest to McCall, Idaho, Ice Cream Alley is the place to go for a big scoop of yummy ice cream. Ruthie was wanting to go before we left town, but it was soooooo cold! Nevertheless, it would probably be awhile before we would be back for a "mountain-sized scoop", so despite the 46 degree late spring weather, we stood in line and ordered. Her giant scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream was the sweet end to the week!