I’ve had a plethora of sewing projects swirling around in my brain but had been lacking the impetus to get started on any of them.  Recently motivation has increased and I’ve purchased a few supplies for some of these plans. I was lucky to already have UV thread and sail tape for a recent spinnaker repair, but some edging was looking a little dodgy and I wanted to take care of it then and there but my little sewing machine was it up to the task. I found the Speedy Stitcher online as well as a great instructional video by Sailrite and thought I could put this to use.

The Speedy Stitcher

The Speedy Stitcher

It didn’t take long for the opportunity to present itself. I am rather new to using my spinnaker and was truly hoping the sock (AKA Snuffer) would make it easy to use. I tested this theory last weekend during a no-wind race and found there were still problems to overcome. Twisting at the top was a major issue and the swivel at the head of the spinnaker should have let the twist release. Unfortunately the pin that extends from the head of the sock to the head of the spinnaker wasn’t quite long enough to expose the swivel and let it do its job.

Sock bar attachment to spinnaker head swivel

Sock bar attachment to spinnaker head swivel

After a little research, a pennant made of webbing, similar to the dog ear in the video seemed to be the simplest solution. I already had a high rated tubular webbing, UV thread and the Speedy Stitcher.

I guessed that I needed another 5 or 6 inches of distance from the end of the bar and took a little over twice the length of webbing because I wanted at least 4 bars of stitching (this is not a true “bar stitch” ) for strength. After disconnecting the bar shackle and the spinnaker swivel I threaded the webbing through each and overlapped about three inches.

Measuring webbing

Measuring webbing

I started with the box or “x” stitch shown on the Sailrite video. On my test webbing I found the larger needle and thicker twine difficult to work with so I used my UV T90 polyester thread and a smaller #4 needle. This was much easier for me to handle but required some hand winding on the bobbin. The smaller thread doesn’t stay wrapped around the tension post as well as the heavier twine so I had to keep a thumb on it much of the time.

My first row, needs work

My first row, needs work

I ended up with 5 total bars of box stitches and I am feeling very good about the overall strength- we will soon see if I am right. As I neared the end of the fourth bar I started to get excited about finally writing about a project where I didn’t spill my own blood.  I won’t be writing that for this project.

All 5 rows done and a very strong webbing pennant extends the head of the spinnaker another 5" down the sock

All 5 rows done and a very strong webbing pennant extends the head of the spinnaker another 5″ down the sock

Shazam is ready to fly!

For a little interesting history, check out the Speedy Stitcher website.  It is an American made product that has been in demand on farms, sailboats and leather working industries since 1909!

2 comments on “First Speedy Stitcher Project

  1. I’ve used a Speedy Stitcher since I was a little kid. My father taught me how to use the “Ommel” to repair leather and canvas items. English was his second language, and he always used the Finnish name when refereeing to the the Speedy Stitcher. I didn’t know what it was called in English. His was old and had no box with the product name.

    A few months ago I needed to repair some damaged webbing. I asked my wife where her “ommel” was. She looked at me funny and said WTF in some way I don’t recall. I had to describe what I needed. I didn’t know the English name.

    After the repair was complete I went to Google Translate to find out what “ommel” means. It’s Finnish for stitch.

    • Terry, that is a great story! I was sure it had been around for eons, not just since 1908 when this produce came out. Such a simple yet brilliant invention!

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