Friday, February 4, 2011

Baby, Baby

I have been wanting a Featherweight off and on for years and years. A black one. With a scroll plate face. That's what I wanted and nothing else would do. How do I know nothing else would do? Because I already owned a Featherweight, a tan one. It's a bit complicated, but here it is. When my father died my sisters and I cleaned out the attic and found my mother's old sewing machine which had been mouldering for years, she had to have stored it there when she got a new machine back when I was 9 or 10 years old.

By the time this machine was found the storage box had rotted through on the bottom and was no good at all. The machine itself needed cleaning, oiling, and a new belt, it had some rust on the bottom plate and a chip in the chrome knob of the wheel, but it's a great little machine. In the time after my dad's death it was a comfort to me to own it, but it wasn't the Featherweight I had always dreamed of owning. I named her Alice after my mother. During the ECQG quilt show in 2009 one of our vendors was selling replica Featherweight boxes and I bought one (I think it cost me $20). It was black, but it was good to have a box for Alice, much better than the alternative!

So for years I would sometimes look on eBay at the glossy black beauties for sale. I'd bid occasionally but I never won. It's hard to be competitive about buying a machine when you have a perfectly good machine sitting in the closet. I'm far too pragmatic for that. But at the Tiny Stitches retreat there were several ladies using Featherweight machines and it made me wonder why I didn't bring mine. It certainly would have been more convenient than hauling my Bernina to the mountains.

I found myself looking at eBay again. Try very hard to imagine my surprise when I found a black scroll face plate machine up for auction that came with a brown and tan box. Hmmm. The man selling it knows nothing about these machines except that they are "valuable" and after finding one he was trying to flip it for a profit. He didn't have a lot of pictures posted, but from what he had there it was clear it was showing some wear. He had no idea if it would stitch but the motor ran and the light worked. What we had here, ladies and gentlemen was a bargain, maybe. Nobody had bid on it and there were only six hours left before the sale was done. I put in a lowball bid and walked away. I realized the machine might need a fair bit of work before it was good for sewing but I thought it was a sign that it came with the box I needed for Alice. Fifteen minutes before the auction ended I checked in to see I had been outbid but it was still well below my upper limit, I began to think I really had a chance. Sure enough, I won it! Well, then the stress began. What if it was awful? A bargain that costs hundreds of dollars to set right is no bargain, right?

The transaction went very smoothly. She arrived yesterday, the man who sold it to me packed it wonderfully and didn't gouge me on shipping charges. Could it really be that easy? Yes, in fact, it was. I took it out of the box, inserted a needle and threaded her up. She sews a fine stitch. This morning I took her to Ashby's for cleaning and oiling before I really take her for a spin, but I am very excited about my new baby, I've named her Betsy. The bonus, she came with half a dozen feet, the original manuals and the brown and tan box which needs some tender attention but is a perfect home for Alice.

1 comment:

QuiltGypsy Mermaid said...

Love reading your blog! I have a featherweight also. Mine is 1950, her name is Etta, after my Gramma. Happy Quilting!