Saturday, November 10, 2012

And Then There Were Eight!

Eight featherweights a hummin’ during a Crumbs workshop – I believe I can say this is the MOST featherweights I’ve had in any class at one time, ever!

Piles of fabric, baskets full of color – we had such a great time!

One of the featherweights had a special story ---a tale of a traveling circus!  And of the “little people” who owned the featherweight and hauled it from place to place to place along with the circus caravan, using the machine to design and mend costumes and the other necessary sewing needs of a traveling troupe of performers.  What a great story!

Another story was told of a featherweight found at the curb on trash day ---knocking on the door of the throw-it-out owners and asking if they could “HAVE” it and being told “please take it ---“.

I am NEVER that lucky!

Tallahassee_2012 142

Another fun one!

Have you seen one of these? It’s an Elna Lotus ---not sure on the age, but I’m guessing 70s?? Anyone know?  It has no case, the little flaps fold up to protect the machine, and fold down to become a work surface.  This one was found at a yard sale for $75.00.  A steal!

7 different “chapters” all with their own demos, and time to sew as many units as you can within a given time frame ---that was our day.  It’s a fast paced, fun and scrappy free-for-all  with lots of fabric trading, and letting that inner child come out to play.

Here are the photos taken of our progress:

Today is workshop day #2 with the Quilters Unlimited.
Cathedral Stars!

I’m ready for them --- I hope they are ready for me!


  1. Hi Bonnie,
    I was/am the owner of one of the little Elna Lotus TSP's. Mine has an air-controlled foot pedal. I bought it new in 1985. What I loved about it was the fact that it was the size of a small toaster oven. She now resides with my daughter who is attending grad school. It's a perfect apartment-sized machine. Got to love those Europeans who know how to build great things in small packages!


  2. I will never be lucky to find a featherweight at the curb! I can't even find a second one at a flea market.

  3. Love the Crumb blocks. They did a wonderful job. Your books and methods inspire me like no other. So glad I found you and your books. Because of you, lol, I now have 5 sweet old Lady's in my collection. And love them all. Still working on two but the other three are humming right along. The Lady's in your class were a blessed group to have had you come. Wish I could get our guild to have you come see us.. am going to work on that.

  4. Hi Bonnie,
    My Mum's Lotus dates back to very early 70's or perhaps even the late 60's. It's called a Lotus because of how the sides fold open to reveal the machine (like a lotus flower). Elna has just released a new version of the Lotus but I was disappointed to find it is much bigger and heavier (the whole reason for buying the Lotus was how portable it was). The new one is computerised and has all the bells and whistles - I think I still prefer my Mum's version. My sister is using it these days. I travelled from Australia to Papua New Guinea with it back in the mid 1980's and basically learnt to sew on it! It is fantastic for free motion quilting.

  5. In Australia, these are known as "Baby Elna" and if you can find one & prise it from the owners hands, you are one lucky sewist!
    They are super popular because of the portability & quality of stitching just like a Feather Weight.
    Love the crumbs!

  6. Bonnie, I keep reading the blogs and watching tutorials and looking at pictures, but I'm starting to think that crumb building is beyond me. My need for perfection and control have me stymied and creatively imprisoned...HELP! LOL...it will happen when I learn to let go. Everyone's work looks great! And I want a featherweight BADLY!

    1. Sharon, the best cure is to go to one of Bonnie's workshops!

  7. love the blocks, now how do you store your crumbs? and what's the biggest crumb?

  8. I had an Elna Lotus, and gave it away when I thought I wasn't going to sew any more. Dummy me! Now I wish I had it back. It was a wonderful little machine.

  9. I have either an older or newer version of that Elna. Mine is all white. It was my first machine. I sewed lots of baby stuff and even quilted an extra long twin quilt free motion on it! I still have it but now it is just for taking to classes or group sewing times. I used it for 23 years before getting a VIking Sapphire. I paid way more than $75! Love those crumbs! Have a great day- K-

  10. The colors in all those blocks in the slide show are wonderful and invigorating! Now I have to add a crumb quilt to my list of Bonnie quilt to dos!

  11. I can't even find one featherweight to buy, let alone pick up on the side of the road!
    I am curious about the one photo in the slide show that had the word "evil". Seemed an interesting choice. Is there an explanation for that one? : )

  12. I have several Elna Carinas, which are a bit bigger than the Lotus. But I am still looking for a Lotus.

  13. Just found a link that history info of Elna up until my Air Electronic Carina. http://needlebar.org/main~nb/elna/index.html

  14. My first sewing machine was an Elna Lotus and it was probably bought around 1972. Until today I have never seen another of these machines.

    I love crumb sewing and am at present just sewing all my crumbs together in 4" or 12" squares to be used in future projects. Somehow the pile of crumbs never seems to get any smaller no matter how many squares I sew.

  15. I think if I ever get to take a Bonnie workshop, I'd love to be in this one. Love the crumbs and the wonky stars and free pieced letters. L - O - V - E

  16. I had a Elna Lotus ZZ for a while and tailored a jacket on it!! It has no problems sewing bulk.
    I took it across several states flying with it as carry on with no dramas at all. But sold it as I already have plenty of machines and used it to finance another machine I prefer. They appear to be bullet proof for travel, but I hear from those in the know they are not known generally for holding their tension and can have moments of it dropping out and then returning to normal for no apparent reason. But that if you get a good one, they're lovely finds. Unforgiving rotary hook however, if you turn the hand wheel the wrong way, thread will catch and bind around the back of the hook and jam up badly. You may not be able to untangle it without help!!
    Very cute though, when sewing well make a lovely straight stitch,
    making it popular for quilters or travel sewers.
    They come in ZZ, SP and TSP versions with different numbers of stitches, and accessories live in under the top flap.

  17. Elna recently released a new version of the Lotus, and it is almost $900.00. Looks just like the one you show in the picture, except that it is white and trimmed in blue. I went for a test drive, and it sews beautifully. But, I wasn't looking to spend that kind of money.


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