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Quilting a King Size Quilt on a Featherweight Machine
by April Henry
Recently, on our Singer Featherweight Facebook Group, Nancy Goff posted what she had recently made on her little Singer Featherweight. We were all stunned at her exquisite work and amazing accomplishment. I invited her to share her venture here on the blog because this was simply Featherweight inspiring! So, let me introduce you to Nancy and her beautiful Snowflake Quilt - the first bed-sized quilt she has ever made. (I know... we were all truly in awe, too!)
Hi, I’m Nancy Goff. I’ve had my 1937 Featherweight for a couple of years, and have only been quilting about that long as well. Though I have been sewing for 50 years or so, and learned to sew on my mother’s featherweight in the 60s.
Since I am so new to quilting, most of what I have made has been wall hangings, and the largest quilt previous to this one was meant to be a lap quilt, approximately 45x60.
In Jan of 2016 I took on the challenge of making a king size quilt for our bed. I choose this pattern from Ruth B. McDowell’s book “Pattern on Pattern,” but updated it with bold, modern solid colors.
I followed Ruth’s guidelines to piece and quilt it in six sections. She did not give instructions for the piecing, so I created my own.
Once they were all pieced, I layered the quilt sandwich and used the walking foot to do straight-line quilting following the lines of the snowflake to make all the shapes quilted as triangles. So each hex, diamond, trapezoid and large triangle was quilted to the smaller triangle shape. In the background/negative space, I quilted parallel lines at 1”. I left the last row of pieces unquilted.
When all the 6 sections were quilted, I turned back the batting and backing along the unquilted edges, made sure they were still straight, and stitched the seam the same as you would when piecing. Then trim the batting so it just meets and lies flat and hand baste it along that seam. Then trim and hand stitch the backing up almost to the top point (center of the snowflake when assembled.)
I put the sections together in pairs which wasn’t too hard to do on the featherweight. But when it came to putting the pairs together, it got harder. This is a really weird shape when it is not all put together, long wings going up on each side since each seam is only going from the edge to the center. But I discovered that I was always working halfway into the quilt with each seam so the roll of fabric inside the throat of the featherweight was never any bigger. But I did need to set up tables to carry the length when it was being assembled and the final quilting done.
I want to say that although I have 6 other sewing machines, I rarely use them. Maybe if I did, I would discover some of them are just as wonderful as the featherweight. Most of them are also “Vintage” Singers and so are very reliable as well. But I just LOVE the perfect stitches and lack of thread/bobbin issues with the featherweight. So don’t just collect these lovely little ladies--use them!!