Sounds Easy Enough 

Several weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that I wanted to FMQ on Lennie the Featherweight and had no way to do it.  Lowering the feed dogs isn’t in the cards, you see, because Lennie’s ‘ vintage ‘ and that’s not how he rolls.

I got a few suggestions from Claire at knitnkwilt, namely get a darning foot, put my machine in neutral ( who knew Lennie had a neutral?) and cover up the feed dogs.  

I’m doing something wrong 😟. 


I found neutral.  I found a darning foot.  I even used up template plastic for a fancy-schmancy cover for the feed dogs, because honestly, when will I ever totally lose it and jump into anything resembling appliqué.

Even with the feed dogs covered, manipulating the piece around under the darning foot is nigh to impossible.  I’m pulling and tugging and cursing like a sailor.  I’m either going to break the needle or tear the fabric.

The results look pretty good though.

Any suggestions?  Are there adjustments I can make to the machine?  Tylenol?  Wine?



  1. I assume “neutral” means your stitch length is zero? If so, you don’t even need to cover the feed dogs. I always free motion quilt with my feed dogs up, uncovered, and stitch length zero. I get the best tension that way. Of course, each machine is different, so do what works with yours.

    I may have the answer to your impossible-to-move fabric, too! The first time I tried quilting, I had the same issue. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out. I seriously thought I would never be able to quilt. My issue was that the pressure on my presser foot was too high, so even though I was using the darning foot, it was still clamping down on my fabric like it’s life depended on it. I adjusted the pressure on my presser foot down to zero, and it was smooth sailing from there.

    I haven’t used a featherweight before, but I found this site explaining how the presser foot pressure works. It sounds like there isn’t a zero pressure setting like there is with modern machines, so you will just want to unscrew the pressure screw most of the way without letting it come out completely.

    Good luck!

  2. Pressor foot pressure sounds like it could be the culprit, as Bobbi mentioned. At a recent retreat another woman with a Featherweight was having problems with her pressor foot pressure even on ordinary stitching. No amount of loosening would help. She planned a trip to the repair shop after the retreat, and I have not heard the results.

      • Welllllll…. after multiple attempts at mixing several variables, I landed on one I think will work. I unscrewed the pressor foot screw until I was certain it was about to fall out (but didn’t), covered the feed dogs and raised the stitch lever all the way up. Now I think it’s a matter of practice. Thank you, Claire and Bobbi, for the suggestions!

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